Social Death - Assignment Example

Comments (0) Cite this document
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,…
Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
GRAB THE BEST PAPER94% of users find it useful
Social Death
Read TextPreview

Extract of sample "Social Death"

Social Death’ and ‘Possessive Individual’ according to Grace Hong Grace Hong’s essay d ‘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, the author charts a cogent description of how the socio-polity resisted progressive changes. The book is focused on women of color feminism and the culture of immigrant labor. But prior to arriving at their specific discourse, a broader framework of understanding is laid out. Hereby, two important terms are introduced by the author.
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 state-capitalist model. This was exactly the black American experience for more than a century after the Emancipation Proclamation. While the capitalist system does not discriminate labor based on color or gender, the idea of nationhood does. And while a shared culture is central to the formation of a nation, it is irrelevant to the needs of capitalist machinery. It is for these two complimenting reasons that black Americans were the backbone of work in Southern plantations, while virtually being socially dead. It wasn’t until the end of the Civil War and freedom from slavery that they could reclaim their self. That first step, however nominal it might have proved, did lead to their social rebirth and cultural revival. The consequence of this renaissance was the acceptance of ‘black voice’ in several mediums of art, most notably, in American literature, since the late nineteenth century.
Grace Kyungwon Hong, The Ruptures of American Capital, Women of Color Feminist and the Culture of Immigrant Labor, Chapter 1 – The Possessive Individual and Social Death: The Complex Bind of National Subjectivity, Universit of Minnesota Press, London, 2006, pp. 3-29. Read More
Cite this document
  • APA
  • MLA
(“Social Death Assignment Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 500 words”, n.d.)
Social Death Assignment Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 500 words. Retrieved from
(Social Death Assignment Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 500 Words)
Social Death Assignment Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 500 Words.
“Social Death Assignment Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 500 Words”, n.d.
  • Cited: 0 times
Comments (0)
Click to create a comment or rate a document


Globalization: the death of social identity: a critical review of the urban strategies within the new paris supermetro

...?Globalization and Social Identity Introduction In the modern age, societies are characterized by a rise in the mobility of people, capital, and technology and even the information related to these entities. Amongst these, people and capital have emerged as uncontrollable players who constantly disrupt the production processes and the balance of power. Thus, power can no longer be contained within formal institutions and has thus become an integral part of the global information network (Castells, 1999). Sassen (2001) says that while capital, technology and information are distinct, the global network of production and social space has produced a primary association between them. This recasts power into...
8 Pages(2000 words)Essay

Death influenced by “medical, ethical and legal” matters in a particular social context (Aiken, 2001, p.8). Doctor-assisted suicide has been accepted legally by many countries, and in such a context, death is viewed from a totally different perspective. When the patient is suffering severely from an incurable illness, doctor-assisted suicide becomes an act of humane concern (Wellman, p.53). Another ethical question that is related to death is, when exactly to declare that an individual is dead. The decision on this question has a heavy bearing on organ transplantation (Veatch, 1997, p.247). Each nation has formulated its definition of death after reviewing the “theological,...
2 Pages(500 words)Essay

Because I could not stop for death by Dickinsons

...? Essay on Dickinson’s ‘Because I could not stop for death’ Emily Dickinson, the renowned American poet, was going through social isolation along with dealing with her ailing and aged mother, when she wrote ‘Because I could not stop for death’ in 1863. This poem was initially written as ‘The Chariot’. Dickinson went into chronic isolation for 25 years; she wanted to leave the physical life and indulged in the complexities of soul and a free mind. Her friends had separated from her; some had got married and others had moved on in their life. This is when she became aloof and made perpetual decisions in her life. This critically acclaimed poem came out when she decided to detach from public exposure, friends and family. It basically... ...
3 Pages(750 words)Essay

Select a topic from EITHER (i) social justice, OR (ii) God's existence, OR (iii) death and meaning in life. Which thinker or p

...? Meaning of Life and Death--A Quest of Standalone Intrigues First M. al Affiliation Introduction The meaning of life has been a longstanding quest of humankind. As per the foundations of philosophy, learning about people’s origins and the real reason why one exists in the world is the question that philosophers have wanting to find an answer for. Consequently, the exploration of this matter also solicits thoughts on another aspect: death. In Jostein Gaarder’s best selling piece--a book about philosophy entitled Sophie’s World--the titular Sophie ponders on the thought of life and death and why the two co-exists. The 15-year old fictional character has viewed the relationship between the...
9 Pages(2250 words)Essay

Death is a Social Construct

...Death is a Social Construct People love life; there are very few people who think about eternal life. These people do not dread death when it comes; they accept it with open arms. For others, they dread the pain and the diseases that it brings with it. When death comes, our consciousness ceases before the heart stops and death is not complete if the heart is functioning. The concept of death has evolved in our society. Every culture holds a different concept of death, which may be based on religious factors. In ancient times it was described as the process in which the spirit left the body. It was said that the body and...
4 Pages(1000 words)Essay


...desire ton to want to live any longer. The car even goes through its own ritual of death as Lyman pushes it into the river, following the devastation he feels of not being able to save his brother. “The headlights reach in as they go down, searching, still lighted even after the water swirls over the back end. I wait. The wires short out. It is all finally dark” (Erdrich 2002). The value the car had held was non-existent any longer. Those happy days were devastated and clouded by death, innocence lost because of how white culture had interfered and ripped the two of the apart. The only statement that Lyman had to say about what transpired was this, “My boots are filling”, (816). In a soft voice...
2 Pages(500 words)Essay

Slavery : Examine the 'social death' thesis of Orlando Patterson. How convincing is it Does it hold for all societies, at all times why there was slavery, but think about what function it served - especially economically and socially

..., it was to maintain their ‘property’and not on humanitarian grounds. Islamic slavery seems to be the most considerate towards them, but even there the Prophet could not ask for abolishing it. All he could do was to encourage the masters to behave in a better manner. "Social death" theory In his book, “Slavery and Social death: A Comparative Study”, Orlando Patterson discusses the elements and structure of slavery that make it different from other forms of subordination. He studies different societies and tribes where slavery flourished. The point he wants to make is that the status of a slave makes him a socially dead person. Patterson is known...
6 Pages(1500 words)Essay


...Death and Aging Introduction Death and aging are two words that can never be separated because the former leads to the latter. According to some quarters, aging and death are part of life. Others claim that everything that has a beginning definitely should have an ending. Aging is associated with biological changes that progresses from birth through old age and death (Hof & Mobbs, 2009). Aging in the society has been characterized by hair turning grey, wrinkling of the skin, and even low muscle activity. The causes of these phenomena have never been clearly defined. A number of theories have been postulated to try and explain these events. The argument of the first...
2 Pages(500 words)Essay

Based on your reading of The Death of Woman Wang,describle and analyze how Confucian ideals are ever present to all levels of Chinese society,and how they affect social relations

...that individuals need to mend their lives and acts rather than criticizing others. This idea is mutually accepted and practiced in the Chinese society. This, to a great extent, has helped in providing a level of security to Chinese women who are not criticized for working, having relationships and moving around freely today. There is a mutual acceptability and widespread use of this norm. The only person to judge and review his acts, within the social and legal boundaries, is the person himself. This point of Confucius has also become the point of measure to judge the behavior of others (Keng, 473-518). Interaction with others, as stated by Confucius, has become a lesson of personal development. When interacting with...
4 Pages(1000 words)Essay


...Death Death Death means loss of life and is considered the ultimate fate of human beings. It is always regarded as unfortunate. The death of a relative is very traumatizing to the family members especially if the family depended on the deceased. Also, families lose focus on their life due to despair and grief of losing loved ones. Trauma from death has more impact if the relatives watch their patient die. I witnessed the death of a relative as a result of a road accident. My cousin was a fanatic of fast driving and was involved in a grisly accident after reckless driving. He suffered head and chest injuries. Doctors performed several surgeries, but the internal bleeding could not stop. The deteriorating health condition resulted... in a...
1 Pages(250 words)Essay
sponsored ads
We use cookies to create the best experience for you. Keep on browsing if you are OK with that, or find out how to manage cookies.

Let us find you another Assignment on topic Social Death for FREE!

Contact Us