The reading and viewing materials for the final four weeks of class focus on cap

The reading and viewing materials for the final four weeks of class focus on capitalism as a centre. The thinkers and producers of these materials unpack the centre of capitalist power relations in a variety of ways (i.e., they seek “to understand the social organization of dominant power relations in terms of the ways in which these power relations shape both broad patterns of inequality and everyday experiences” to varying degrees). For example, they do so through: highlighting the tensions between democracy and capitalism (What is Democracy?); troubling the rebranding of corporations as ‘socially conscious’ and serving ‘the common good’ (The New Corporation); identifying the ramifications of ‘cancel culture’ and ‘identity politics’ on class consciousness and solidarity (Exiting the Vampire Castle); showing the ways in which capitalist ideology produces our identities and relies on fantasy in order to function (Fighting Our Fantasies); theorizing “a pervasive atmosphere, conditioning […] the production of culture” which “act[s] as a kind of invisible barrier constraining thought and action” (Fisher, 2009, p. 16; Capitalist Realism); and challenging our assumptions regarding the duration of capitalism and the way we conceptualize revolution (Stop Making Capitalism).
Your task is to critically reflect on how well these materials unpack the centre (choose one or two to focus on or identify the patterns and tensions between them) by making clear and concise connections to Power & Everyday Practices. Ask yourself: is there a centre that is left unmarked and taken-for-granted in these materials? Is there a centre—a ‘normal’—that is reinscribed in the readings or documentaries? If so, what effects—emancipatory or otherwise—might these representations have? If not, how can you further interrogate these broad patterns of inequality and their connections with your everyday experiences? Can you find theoretical parallels between these materials and the textbook? Can you supplement their conceptualization of power with another theorist we’ve encountered throughout the course (Bhabha, Hall, Said, Spivak, Foucault, Gramsci, Marx, etc.)? In short, your task is to critique one or more of these materials by further expanding, complicating, reworking, unpacking, and/or disrupting the centre that they’ve already unpacked.
Remember, a “critical approach is not simply a negative evaluation, an attack, a finding of fault, or a complaint. Good critical thinking can also have a positive or ambivalent character. It moves us beyond dualisms of positive and negative to capture the complexities of knowledge and experience. […] Moreover, critical thinking requires that we ask informed, analytic questions and that we are prepared to engage with the analysis that is opened up through this questioning process” (Brock et al., 2019, p. 18). Your assignment should seek to ask a critical question of this kind—in the form of a tweet at the top of the page (or at the beginning of your podcast)—that further expands, complicates, reworks, unpacks, and/or disrupts the centre that these materials have unpacked. In addition to your critique, you must ensure that you demonstrate a strong understanding of the materials you are critiquing (demonstrate you’ve read/viewed them carefully and briefly summarize and describe how they unpack the centre).

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