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Critical Theorists Domination Theory - Essay Example

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The author of this essay "Critical Theorists Domination Theory" explains that social, political and economic theories are only valuable if they find application in practical government policies. The period spanning the last two centuries has seen the emergence of many competing theoretical explanations…
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Critical Theorists Domination Theory
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Download file to see previous pages As it stands now, many democratic governments across the world (including here in Australia) have embraced one or the other variant of capitalism. But purely in terms of theoretical principles, it is socialism that offers broad scope for devising and implementing social security policies for citizens. More importantly, in the context of this essay, it is Marxism and Socialism that address directly issues such as public welfare. Since Marxism puts the collective good ahead of individual interests, robust social security policies are to be found within this analytic framework. (Arato & Gebhardt, 1978) Moreover, when one looks at the performance of social security measures in Australia, some major failure areas become apparent. Access to basic healthcare, quality education and decent standards of living are in no way guaranteed to a majority of citizens. It is only the top 20 per cent of the population (in economic terms) that can avail of these necessities without uncertainty. The rest of the population is dependent on favourable labour market situation, foreign policy environment and public welfare initiatives to make ends meet. In this context, a case is to be made for revisiting the process of the dialectic and look for fairer solutions to these persisting social problems. Marxism and its later branches, including Western Marxism, the Frankfurt School, etc, by way of providing a nuanced understanding of the organization of societies also thereby offer new alternative solutions to social issues. (Craib, 1997, p.64) Social problems in contemporary Australia and elsewhere are created by inequitable wealth distribution, inequity of power and political franchise, human exploitation for private profits, domination of the working classes by the elites, commoditization of culture and the alienation of humans from their work and from each other. In this context, revisiting Marxism (especially the Frankfurt School) is a healthy exercise, as it has the potential to offer up solutions for these issues. It was Marxism that first propounded the notion of class division – something that was present in all historical societies and civilizations – being at the root of most social problems. Marx was particularly vocal on what he perceived to be the domination of one social group (the working classes/slaves/peasants) by the minority group holding much power and wealth (capitalists/royalty/feudal lords). (Habermas & Michnik, 1994, p.5) In contemporary Australian demography, such distinctions are not stark. As a participant of the global neo-liberalisation program, the Australian economy and society have undergone rapid change over the last three decades. As this rapid transformation unfolded, categorical distinctions of class are no longer straight forward. For example, many highly-skilled immigrant professionals from minority communities were able to establish their careers and integrate themselves into the Australian mainstream. To the extent that this situation has spread the wealth of the country more evenly, the task of the policy makers is alleviated. But public institutions and the policies they implement are still far from ideal, carrying several flaws from the previous eras. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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