Geography Political Science Essay

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Geography/Political Science

(a) the main characteristic of the Cold War was, first of all, that this was an ideological conflict between two superpowers, the U.S. And the Soviet Union. From that perspective, Colin Flint's statement is definitely true and can be supported through some of the events that went on during the Cold War period. Certainly, in Soviet Union, the geopolitical agency in the home came hand in hand with the dictatorship of the Communist Party.

In its opinion, the simplest way towards winning the Cold War was that of a complete control over society, which would allow the Party to control in depth both the resources of the country and the way these would be directed towards the purpose and objectives that the Party had set. From this point-of-view, control was extended over the home in different forms, ranging from the control of the access to information to the roles that were attributed to the members of the family.

From this perspective, the differences in terms of gender politics between the U.S. And the Soviet Union were quite consistent. For much of the 1950s and 1960s, the image of the American woman was that of the manager of the household, the individual that, through her care, would ensure that the conditions at home allowed the other members to concentrate on their roles. From that perspective, the male would work and bring home a salary, while the children would go to school.

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The idea of Communism promoted a perceived equality among all the members of society including, from that perspective, between man and woman. The Communist woman did not have as her primary role that of staying at home and caring for her family, but rather a working role, in which she would participate alongside her husband in the creation and support of a Communist society. This was also a result of the national politics of Soviet Union, which proposed, among other things, the creation of a fully egalitarian society.

Essay on Geography Political Science Assignment

The active participation of women in working life and in national policies was also clear through some of the messages and actions during the Cold War. For example, the Soviet Union sent a woman in space and celebrated her success for a long time, propagating the idea of the first woman in space. National politics needed to underline the idea of all members of the society participating to the common success of the group in the long run.

On the other hand, in the United States, gender politics sometimes played an important, albeit occasionally restrictive role. During the 1950s, for example, the increased scare of Communist penetration on a national level led to a centralized campaign of persecution against some of the minorities, especially sexual minorities. Minority groups such as homosexuals were believed to be essentially vulnerable to potential blackmail by Communists and, as such, were marginalized and often accused. Such campaigns are examples of how gender politics and national objectives and policies are intertwined.

(b) Gramsci's idea on cultural hegemony proposes cultural domination as a preliminary step in achieving a Communist revolution in economy and society. In other words, the advent of Communism must be prepared culturally, through cultural hegemony, through a culture war in which leading Communist thinkers will be used through different communication channels in order to achieve a dominant voice and propagate their ideas on Communism.

In many ways, this did happen throughout the Cold War, although it was often not necessarily a national party policy. In fact, in many cases, the idea of cultural hegemony was transformed to become simple propaganda that nobody wanted to hear anymore. However, one should consider, for example, Western thinkers, such as Jean Paul Sartre, who continuously advertised their Communist and Marxist formation and thought (most plausibly, because they had never lived in the Soviet Union). Cultural hegemony could have become a reality through the continuance affirmation of such respected writers and thinkers.

In the United States, the cultural hegemony (because it existed here as well) had a slightly different approach and, as such, was much more successful. The U.S. constructed a society that reflected the American culture, based primarily of consumerism, but also on adjacent components, such as the movie industry (the perfect way to promote a cultural hegemony at a global level), the music industry and media overall. Since these were successful instruments of propagation to which consumers actually adhered voluntarily (in comparison with the Marxist approach, to which consumers often did not), cultural hegemony in the American way was much more successful during the Cold War and, eventually, it helped consistently to the final conclusion.

The cultural hegemony also included, at least in the 1950s and 1960s, the perception of the role of the woman in the household and in society. Movies dating from those period, as well as simple clips such as advertisements, consistently promoted the image of a woman in charge of the household, but not much involved in other parts or functions of the society. In many of the movies where the woman is active, she is portrayed as a rebellious character, revolting against common norms and perceptions.

2) (a) With the end of the Cold War, which divided nations on ideological principles between Capitalism and Communism, several theories appeared aimed at filling in the vacuum of theoretical descriptive thought. One of these theories was Huntington's clash of civilizations theory that points to the fact that future conflicts will have as the underlying and fundamental cause the conflict of cultures and civilizations rather than ideological, political or economic reasons.

As he puts it in his article from Foreign Affairs in 1993, "it is my hypothesis that the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural. Nation states will remain the most powerful actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations"

As such, his theory is based on two important ideas and premises: (1) the period of time following the Cold War will be a conflicting one and (2) the conflict will be based on cultural differences. A third characteristic of his theory derives from the latter, namely that by culture, Huntington actually means religion: the lines he places between the different civilizations are religious lines, as the civilizations are based on the religious majority in the respective reasons.

This leads to one of the many flaws his theory has, namely the fact that he explains many of the potential conflict with a religious explanation, despite the fact that the conflicts are often political or economic ones. For example, the potential conflict between the Orthodox and the Japanese civilizations is not a clash of civilizations: Huntington refers to the conflict between Japan and Russia, which has always been a political and economic conflict and has absolutely no religious background.

As for Said's theory on Orientalism, the main characteristic he attaches to the theory is that this is a political doctrine created by the Western civilization with the purpose of dominating the Oriental world. Additionally, he emphasizes the idea of two conflicting civilizations in which one dominates over the other. The main characteristics of Orientalism are, according to him, "expansion, historical confrontation, sympathy, classification"

(b) First of all, it is not necessarily a matter of determining which of the authors makes the strongest points, because both writers have very strong arguments, despite the fact that many parts of their theories are biased and flawed. The main problem with their theories is, in my opinion, the fact that they start from prejudices and subjective ideas that the authors already have and their arguments are built so as to support these rather than the logical way in which the arguments build up to the conclusion.

In the case of Huntington, the theory is simplistic and based on limited observations. The divisions he makes between the main civilizations of the globe are based solely on religion, which means that he either does not understand some of the histories of people in the world or simply chooses to leave these out. It is difficult to support the idea that countries such as Greece, Bulgaria or Romania, members of the European civilization both through their history and through their current political orientation, as well as economic exchanges, belong to anything but the Western civilization, despite their predominantly Orthodox population.

In the case of Romania, Huntington is also markedly outside the necessary knowledge to make a good case: Transylvania does not belong to a civilization or other based on its religion, but rather on the ethnicity of the people there. In other cases, such as Kazakhstan, it is hard to determine why this country is included in the Orthodox sphere, with its predominantly Muslim population. Anyhow, these are details in the overall framework of things.

The most important weakness in Huntington's arguments comes from the evidence we find… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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