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Social Death - Assignment Example

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Grace Hong’s essay titled ‘The Possessive Individual and Social Death: The Complex Bind of National Subjectivity’ offers numerous insights into historical social constructs. Focusing on the evolution of American history since the time of the Declaration of Independence,…
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Social Death
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Download file to see previous pages Possessive individual traces its origins to the framing of the constitution, whereby, only the propertied white males of the new country were accorded citizenship. Not only were blacks (who were slaves at the time) were excluded, but so were women and a large section of white male population. The privileged minority of propertied white men enjoyed laws that reinforced their ownership of material wealth. But, even before they could acquire and retain material property, they had claim to their person, which is the fundamental ownership. In effect, each of the possessive individuals is extended a right of ownership of their person, which would thwart any exploitative contractual relationships with their peers. There is a limited degree of fairness to the laws pertaining to possessive individuals, insofar as they govern the internal relations of the group. However the very notion of a national constitution catered to the possessive individual is blatantly unjust for all excluded communities. Take, say, the case of African Americans. By virtue of not even enjoying a right toward their own personhood, their aspirations and endeavors toward ownership of material property is pre-empted. The lot of women (even whites) was none too better, for they are first the property of their father, then husband and finally her son through the span of her life. Is she is denied ownership of her own person, and thereby the possibility of ownership of material property.
The concept of social death follows swiftly from that of possessive individual. By denying the right to ownership of one’s own person, the individual is reduced to a social non-entity. With respect to the idea of nationhood, he/she is not part of the society. By being excluded from the cultural epicenter of a nation, the dispossessed individual suffers a social death. They may yet serve a role in the economic system of the country, especially if it adopts the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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