Tuesday, October 21, 2008

ally's statement of purpose, part one

This is a critical time in the history of our world. Rainforests are being demolished, global poverty is rising, and people are being kicked off their land and out of their houses. The earth around us is being bought and sold and privatized, and shopping malls are replacing community gardens everywhere. How can we put a stop to this domination and exploitation?

The nature of my course of study requires that I draw from several disciplines in order to examine overlapping areas in relation to my topics of interest. I will draw from history, sociology, anthropology, sustainable development, women’s studies, and political science to explore power relationships in our dynamic world.

I am designing my major to address issues revolving around globalization, power relations, and the nature of social change. I want to examine several aspects of globalization, including effects on local cultures and identities, labor and workers, and the environment. I intend to examine the structure and effects of current institutions of global economics, such as the World Trade Organization and World Bank. In addition to studying private systems of power, I plan to study social revolutions, social movements (such as the Global Justice Movement), and collective behaviors as avenues for social change.

As the cultures and peoples of the world become more interconnected and corporations have a growing influence on many of the world’s countries, the need for a critical examination of our interactions on a global scale magnifies. How democratic is the spreading system of capitalism? What forms of oppression and injustice are being fostered by corporate globalization? In what ways are local identities and diversity being traded for hegemony, monoculture, and assimilation? What forms of globalization foster democracy and social justice, preservation of human rights, and sustainability? What sort of society would maximize democratic involvement and minimize social stratification? How would such a society be organized, and how would power be distributed?

Another focus of my course of study will be on social power dynamics and inequalities in relation to class and gender. What systems and ideas perpetuate sexism and classism? Who benefits from globalization? Who benefits from capitalism? How does the state of globalization reflect the power relations present within a society, and how does it affect or reinforce them? What role does government play in all of this? What impacts do transnational corporations have on global structures of governance? How do current structures of governance act to support or restrict the power of corporations?

I am especially interested in examining the effects of corporate globalization on agrarian populations and on farmworkers, with a specific focus on Latin American populations. I plan to consider the effects of globalization on immigration and poverty, as well as the effects of free-market ideas and capitalism on globalization. I will focus on indigenous resistance to corporate globalization, water privatization, ecological devastation, worker exploitation, cultural domination, and imperialism. What are people doing everywhere to fight for their land and for human rights?

This is just a broad and basic look at my studies of interest, and I hope that more detailed and specific questions will arise and be explored throughout the course of my study.

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