Publication Date

2011

Degree Name

MA in Social Justice in Intercultural Relations

First Advisor

Janaki Natarajan

Abstract

Achieving social justice has been historically proven a difficult task. This paper analyzes the disconnect between those in the US middle class who want to do good – achieve social justice in some or all its forms – and what is actually achieved by their chosen course of action. The central question is: if there are so many in the middle class Left who have dedicated their lives to achieving social justice, why are the disparities between the rich and poor and oppressor and oppressed exponentially growing? To answer this question, an historical materialist analysis is employed to explore the epistemological and material sources that catalyze this disassociation of theory from practice. Particularly, the development of Western knowledge under capitalism and its process of articulation and reproduction from the rise of capitalism to the present is examined. To contextualize the theoretical analysis with real-world data, a survey was conducted of PIM68 students about their political analysis and views on achieving social justice. Through a synthesis of these results and analysis of contemporary theory, the theoretical provenance of the Middle Class Liberal’s (MCL) resistance to conceptualizing capitalism as a total social system is exposed, and how, specifically, Postmodernism is the governing ideology inhibiting it from formulating successful strategies of resistance, transformation and transcendence. Through this examination, it is concluded that social justice is incompatible with the logic of capitalism, and as long as the MCL wants to do good but fails to comprehend how good needs to be done in order to achieve sustainable results, social justice will never be attainable as an end to its means. By achieving these general objectives, the result will be very specific: to reveal there lies in wait a kernel of potentiality within the MCL that can induce an ideological transformation resulting in the adoption of a genuine fraternal allegiance to the oppressed masses of the world; which in turn can lead to a morally justified compulsion to commit class suicide.

Disciplines

Civic and Community Engagement | Politics and Social Change | Social and Behavioral Sciences

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