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Member since: Wed Jan 18, 2012, 10:29 PM
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The median income for an individual in the US was just over $28k in 2013.

Two decades ago, it was about 15k. Adjusted for inflation, $15k in 1993 is almost equivalent to $28k in 2013. That means that wages have barely risen (if at all) over the past two decades.


Hegemonic Masculinity: Rethinking the Concept (December 2005)

A very interesting scholarly article authored by James W. Messerschmidt of the University of Southern Maine and R. W. Connell of the University of Sydney, Australia.

The concept of hegemonic masculinity was first proposed in reports from a field study of social inequality in Australian high schools (Kessler et al. 1982); in a related conceptual discussion of the making of masculinities and the experience of men’s bodies (Connell 1983); and in a debate over the role of men in Australian labor politics (Connell 1982). The high school project provided empirical evidence of multiple hierarchies—in gender as well as in class terms—interwoven with active projects of gender construction (Connell et al. 1982).

These beginnings were systematized in an article, “Towards a New Sociology of Masculinity” (Carrigan, Connell, and Lee 1985), which extensively critiqued the “male sex role” literature and proposed a model of multiple masculinities and power relations. In turn, this model was integrated into a systematic sociological theory of gender. The resulting six pages in Gender and Power (Connell 1987) on “hegemonic masculinity and emphasized femininity” became the most cited source for the concept of hegemonic masculinity.


What emerged from this matrix in the mid-1980s was an analogue, in gender terms, of power structure research in political sociology—focusing the spotlight on a dominant group. Hegemonic masculinity was understood as the pattern of practice (i.e., things done, not just a set of role expectations or an identity) that allowed men’s dominance over women to continue.

Hegemonic masculinity was distinguished from other masculinities, especially subordinated masculinities. Hegemonic masculinity was not assumed to be normal in the statistical sense; only a minority of men might enact it. But it was certainly normative. It embodied the currently most honored way of being a man, it required all other men to position themselves in relation to it, and it ideologically legitimated the global subordination of women to men.

Men who received the benefits of patriarchy without enacting a strong version of masculine dominance could be regarded as showing a complicit masculinity. It was in relation to this group, and to compliance among heterosexual women, that the concept of hegemony was most powerful. Hegemony did not mean violence, although it could be supported by force; it meant ascendancy achieved through culture, institutions, and persuasion.

These concepts were abstract rather than descriptive, defined in terms of the logic of a patriarchal gender system. They assumed that gender relations were historical, so gender hierarchies were subject to change. Hegemonic masculinities therefore came into existence in specific circumstances and were open to historical change. More precisely, there could be a struggle for hegemony, and older forms of masculinity might be displaced by new ones. This was the element of optimism in an otherwise rather bleak theory. It was perhaps possible that a more humane, less oppressive, means of being a man might become hegemonic, as part of a process leading toward an abolition of gender hierarchies.

Source: http://gas.sagepub.com/content/19/6/829.full.pdf+html

The civilian labor force participation rate-by educational attainment

Here is some data I got from looking at the BLS data sets.

Civilian labor force participation rate for population aged 25 years and older by educational attainment-October of each year from 2004-2014

Less than a high school diploma:

2004 45.3
2005 45.5
2006 46.6
2007 47.1
2008 48.2
2009 46.9
2010 46.6
2011 47.3
2012 45.9
2013 44.6
2014 45.1

High school graduates, no college:
2004 63.4
2005 63.7
2006 63.3
2007 62.7
2008 62.8
2009 62.0
2010 61.3
2011 60.4
2012 60.0
2013 58.4
2014 58.1

Some College or Associate Degree:
2004 71.7
2005 72.0
2006 72.0
2007 71.4
2008 71.4
2009 70.7
2010 70.1
2011 68.9
2012 68.7
2013 66.8
2014 66.6

Bachelor's degree and higher:
2004 77.7
2005 77.8
2006 77.7
2007 77.1
2008 77.5
2009 77.4
2010 76.2
2011 75.9
2012 75.4
2013 75.0
2014 74.6

Anything that stands out to you from these figures?

To the nearly two-thirds of the voting-eligible population who "sat out" this year's election

This guy thanks you

Mitch McConnell's mission: Degrade and destroy the Obama presidency

Poll: Non-Voters' Participation Would Ensure Obama Victory
While 52 percent saw the country as being on the wrong track, Obama was viewed favorably by 55 percent of those polled. Twenty-five percent viewed Romney favorably, compared to 51 percent who had an unfavorable opinion of him. The U.S. Congress had a 51 percent unfavorable rating.


Don't ever let anyone tell you that voting doesn't matter.

Hard work pays off....

...for people who aren't doing the work.

Re: FDR vs. Obama: read this

While FDR’s inaugural did include salvos against the “unscrupulous money changers,” his actual policies in his first term relied heavily on cooperation with the business community. The NRA —which FDR hailed as the most important recovery measure—essentially allowed businesses to form cartels, under the friendly supervision of the pro-business Hugh Johnson. Many of the signal liberal accomplishments of the New Deal were not initiated by FDR; in several cases, the president came to reluctantly embrace policies that social movements on the left and liberal advocates in Congress forced onto the agenda.

Indeed, during FDR’s first three years in office, his version of the New Deal faced more serious challenges from populists and insurgents on the left than from Republicans. Far from the bold, unyielding advocate fighting off conservative resistance, the FDR of the first New Deal was navigating between competing ideological camps, attempting to build a broad, all-class alliance. Indeed, FDR was always surrounded by teams of advisers with widely divergent views of the government’s role and he kept them—and the public—guessing about which side he was really on.

The most famous—and perhaps telling—example of FDR siding with the conservatives came in 1937 when he agreed that it was time to retrench government spending. This policy—advocated by Treasury Secretary Morgenthau—helped plunge the country back into a deep recession. While FDR was able to partly reverse course, he had the benefit of a Congress with overwhelming Democratic majorities. Even so, it was not until the war mobilization that the level of government spending proved sufficient to pull the U.S. out of the Depression. Had it not been for the war crisis and mobilization, FDR may well have left office in 1940 with the U.S. still mired in difficult economic circumstances and with the New Deal’s political foundation hardly secure.

In any case, when it came to domestic politics, FDR was playing defense from the late 1930s through the end of his term. Even with nominal Democratic majorities, conservatives in Congress managed to defund several New Deal agencies that had been crucial to liberal aspirations (e.g. the National Resources Planning Board) and to launch investigations that undermined popular support for labor unions, one of the key pillars of the New Deal coalition.

Looking back, there is no question that FDR was able to accomplish far more in terms of liberal reform than Barack Obama has or will achieve. But explaining that gap in terms of the individual character of FDR and Obama is far off the mark. Few presidents moved in as many different directions, with as little concern for ideological consistency as Franklin Roosevelt. To attribute his success and Obama’s limitations to FDR’s clear and consistent vision may well be appealing to contemporary liberals hungry for a simple narrative that provides a clear target for their disappointments. But that does not make it a sound historical or political analysis.


Another factor I would add: the urban-rural divide doesn't favor us in midterms

Sure there are a lot more people in urban areas than in the countryside, but many of the demographics most favorable to the Democratic Party-the poor, ethnic and racial minorities, young people-don't vote at the same rate as rural and suburban, middle-class white people do. Middle-class (broadly speaking) white people in rural and suburban areas=the Republican voter base.

Also with the way districts are drawn and how Democratic voters are packed into cities via gerrymandering doesn't help. Or the fact that two Senators from Wyoming=two Senators from California. Lots of urban-rural inequality in terms of population distribution between different states and within them, as well.

Why are right-wingers/Republicans-on average-more likely to own guns?

(Apologies for the provocative thread title...)

As you can see, 56% of Republicans report living in a household with at least one firearm, compared to only 31% of Democrats.

It's even more stark a difference in gun ownership rates if measured in terms of ideology.

Note that the above is predictors of *personal* gun ownership, rather than *household* gun ownership. Conservatives are 1.5 times more likely to own guns than non-conservatives, compared to Republicans being 1.2 times more likely than non-Republicans.

Now, obviously there are plenty of other variables here, some of which are even stronger predictors of gun ownership among individuals than either ideology OR partisanship. Race and age are both equally strong predictors of gun ownership as ideology is, with whites and older Americans being both 1.5 times more likely to own guns as non-whites and younger Americans, respectively. We also see a big gap between the married and the non-married; the former are 1.7 times more likely to own guns than the latter. An equally large gap exists between Southerners and non-Southerners, with the former group being considerably more likely to own guns than the latter.

But the biggest gap of all-by far-in terms of individual gun ownership?

Gender. Men are 5 times as likely to own a firearm as women are.

Keep in mind, however, that all of the demographics in our country that are more likely to own a gun-men, whites, older Americans, married people, Southerners, rural Americans (or at least, "exurban" suburbanites closer to rural areas)-all of these groups, are also more likely to vote Republican and identify as "conservative", anyway.

So maybe....the original claim in my thread title is kind of a spurious one. It may be technically true, but it's misleading. I mean...there probably *is* a relationship between ideology, partisanship, and likelihood of gun ownership, but I don't think it's nearly as clear-cut as "conservatives/Republicans are more likely to own guns."


How do you know you are right?

What is reality, what is truth, what is knowledge, and what is right or wrong, good or evil, are all questions that philosophers-and human beings in general- have preoccupied themselves with, for the better part of many millenia.

The question is: How do you know you are right? Because every human being has, at their very core, philosophical assumptions about all of those things. Is it possible to transcend those core, foundational philosophical assumptions about the world, about the universe, and about the nature of being? Is there such a thing as a universally shared assumption in philosophy-and if there is, what if we ALL got it wrong? (Which brings us back full circle...what is "wrong"?

Do we have any way of knowing for sure that we are right?

Wage slavery, the Republican Party, and the ideological construct of the "Self-Made Man"

I think the Wikipedia article on "wage slavery" is really interesting and provides some useful historical context for this topic.

Among abolitionists, both views were prevalent. Some abolitionists in the United States regarded the analogy as spurious. They believed that wage workers were "neither wronged nor oppressed". Abraham Lincoln and the Republicans argued that the condition of wage workers was different from slavery, as laborers were likely to have the opportunity to work for themselves in the future, achieving self-employment. The abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass initially declared, "now I am my own master", upon taking a paying job. But later in life, he concluded to the contrary, "experience demonstrates that there may be a slavery of wages only a little less galling and crushing in its effects than chattel slavery, and that this slavery of wages must go down with the other"

Self-employment became less common as the artisan tradition slowly disappeared in the later part of the 19th century. In 1869 The New York Times described the system of wage labor as "a system of slavery as absolute if not as degrading as that which lately prevailed at the South". E. P. Thompson notes that for British workers at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries, the "gap in status between a 'servant,' a hired wage-laborer subject to the orders and discipline of the master, and an artisan, who might 'come and go' as he pleased, was wide enough for men to shed blood rather than allow themselves to be pushed from one side to the other. And, in the value system of the community, those who resisted degradation were in the right." A "Member of the Builders' Union" in the 1830s argued that the trade unions "will not only strike for less work, and more wages, but will ultimately abolish wages, become their own masters and work for each other; labor and capital will no longer be separate but will be indissolubly joined together in the hands of workmen and work-women." This perspective inspired the Grand National Consolidated Trades Union of 1834 which had the "two-fold purpose of syndicalist unions – the protection of the workers under the existing system and the formation of the nuclei of the future society" when the unions "take over the whole industry of the country." "Research has shown", summarises William Lazonick, "that the 'free-born Englishman' of the eighteenth century – even those who, by force of circumstance, had to submit to agricultural wage labour – tenaciously resisted entry into the capitalist workshop."


The gap between the idealization of the upward mobility and potential entrepreneurial skills of wage laborers-as put forth by the Republican Party of the mid-1800s-and the cruel reality of industrial capitalism as it developed, is not a bug, but a feature that dates back to the GOP's founding.

This is why millions of American workers are both willing and compelled to believe the "rugged individualist" mythology of the "Self-Made Man." It dates back to the 19th century, if not before-when industrial capitalism was developing in the United States. And you can still see this today in the rhetoric of the Republican Party. For example:

As Republicans our first concern is for those waiting tonight to begin or resume the climb up life's ladder. We do not accept that ours will ever be a nation of haves and have nots; we must always be a nation of haves and soon to haves.

-Mitch Daniels.

Because for the Republican Party's true believers (among working-class people),they are not wage slaves, but future business owners.
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