Hey guys! I just came across this article about the make-over Disney gave Merida from Brave for the next film. It reminded me of Sharon’s case study and I thought some of you might find it interesing!
The creator of Brave, Brenda Chapman, is very unhappy with Disney about this new sexist portrayal of Merida. Here is an interesting quote by Champan, “I think it’s atrocious what they have done to Merida, when little girls say they like it because it’s more sparkly, that’s all fine and good but, subconsciously, they are soaking in the sexy ‘come hither’ look and the skinny aspect of the new version. It’s horrible! Merida was created to break that mold — to give young girls a better, stronger role model, a more attainable role model, something of substance, not just a pretty face that waits around for romance.”
Here are some quotes from theorists i plan on using.
Althusser: “It is here that the role of the ruling ideology is
heavily concentrated, the ideology of the ruling class, which holds State power.
It is the intermediation of the ruling ideology that ensures a (sometimes
teeth-gritting) ‘harmony’ between the repressive State apparatus and the
Ideological State Apparatuses (1970).” – from “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses”
“all ideology hails or interpellates concrete individuals as concrete subjects, by the functioning of the category of the subject (1970).”- “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses”
Derrida: “And thereby one puts
into question the authority of presence, or of its simple symmetrical opposite,
absence or lack. Thus one questions the limit which has always constrained us,
which still constrains us – as inhabitants of a language and a system of
thought – to formulate the meaning of Being in general as presence or absence,
in the categories of being or beingness …” -“Differance”
“… you are right about getting put in the SHU for having literature. I’m in the SHU for having copies of 2 calendars, one from 1999 and 2000. They are cultural (Aztec) artwork butaccording to CDC, it’s “Prison Gang” related. So we can’t have anything that
expresses our culture or roots. Yet the whites (no offense) can walk around with
swastikas and lightning bolts and all kinds of Nazi symbols but nothing happens
to them.” -Carlos Tolentino
I’m glad I wrote this paper because I really enjoyed doing the research for my case study. I didn’t really know much about the Colombian palm oil industry when I started out. I’ve been doing a lot of papers on farmers and farm labor this semester so I thought I’d pick a similar topic for this class. I started out by looking into the Green Revolution, because I know that had a lot to do with farming and such. I didn’t want to write about India because I feel like that’s been done a lot and Shiva had already given a theoretical analysis about it. As I researched the Green Revolution, I stumbled upon Mexico and learned for the first time about how green technology was initially developed there. I explored some more and then decided that I wanted to write about the Green Revolution in Latin America since I’d never heard anything about it. After reading some more I decided to do it on the palm oil industry since almost every agricultural interaction between countries is a result of the Green Revolution. The Green Revolution caused many developing countries to be economically depended on developed countries. So basically right after they stopped being colonies and thought they were free, the developing countries were right back where they started, under the thumb of the developed nations.
This led to my use of neocolonialism in my paper since neocolonialism is the economic control of one country by another. This applied in my case study since the United States economically controlled Colombia with palm oil. During the Green Revolution, developed countries gave out loans to developing countries so that they could get started. But the developing countries could never quite pay back their debt so they became dependent on the developed country for economic support and transaction. In Colombia, their biggest industry is the palm oil industry, and one of their biggest buyers is the United States. If it wasn’t for the business of the United States, Colombia’s palm oil industry, and economy, would be struggling. I liked applying theory to my case study as well because then I could see an example of the things we had learned about in class. Not only was I able to use neocolonialism in my paper but I was also able to fit in power and discourse. I honestly think that having to write this paper made me understand the concepts a lot better.
One of the things that bothered me when doing my research was reading about people who have been displaced from their homes. It’s just such a horrible thing to do to people and I really feel for the people who have had that happen to them. Millions of Colombians have been displaced from their homes and many have problems assimilating to different lives. In a video I found, many of the people were displaced from farms that they had, had for generations. The farmers had a hard time acclimating to city-life and many couldn’t find jobs. The Colombian military and government has done more than take the homes and land of its people, they’re also economically disenfranchising them.
I’m posting the video below as well as a website that has statistics about internally displaced peoples.
In one of my articles “Palm Oil in Colombia: Biofuel or Bioterror?”, the people talked about how the people in Chocó are accused of growing coca to produce cocaine. Some say that is used as a tactic to try to push innocent farmers off their land so that agricultural businesses can use the land. These farmers may not be as innocent as some might think. I found a video that talks about the cocaine trade in Colombia and one of the first thing it says is that cocaine is quite common in rural areas and that it’s actually used instead of money in trade. The people themselves don’t really put it towards the drug trade. It’s not until it comes into the hands of drug dealers, does it go towards being sold in places like the United States.
I thought it was interesting the two points. Also, the video is a nice short little overview of cocaine growers in Colombia.
I decided that it would be a good idea to write the theory part of my paper separately because then I could just think about that without any other thoughts in my head. I generally put all my citations in when I’m done writing the paper so that I don’t interrupt my flow while writing. That’s why after some parts I have a (source 3, 54) because that came from the my “source 3” and it was on the 54th page.
There are many reasons for why these events have occurred. Theorists Goldsmith and Foucault have written much about the way in which Colombia is controlled by outside interests and how its current government is able to perpetuate this ideology. Goldsmith explains the process by which North America is able to control Colombia. Back in colonial times, Spain politically controlled Colombia. The emphasis is on “politically” because under colonialism, a country controls its colony by implementing a governing body over the colony. This ensured that there was a reliable and safe system for powerful countries to trade within, since they directly controlled the system (source 8). After colonialism; however, Spain no longer controlled Colombia since politically, it was its own country with its own government. This does not mean Colombia is completely independent. “Much like the Spanish colonialists searched for gold using military might during the sixteenth century, the United States is searching for green fuel” (source 5). Unlike the Spanish colonists, the United States does not have political control over Colombia so it cannot directly extract green fuel. The United States, and other countries, have to obtain the goods they want through other means.
Thus ushers in the age of neocolonialism. Neocolonialism is where former colonial powers still economically control their colonies. Supposedly, former colonies are independent and able to make their own decisions, entitling them to a new form of freedom that they did not have before under colonialism. However, “…formal colonialism came to an end not because the colonial powers had decided to forego the economic advantages it provided, but because, in the new conditions, these could now largely be obtained by more politically acceptable and more effective methods.” (source 8). The former colonies’ new found freedom was just a façade for what was really happening. While politically these new countries were independent, economically they needed the former colonial powers to survive. If a government wants to stay in power in a developing country, it has to adopt economic policies that appeal to developed countries and even large corporations (source 8). While these policies are almost always detrimental to the people of a country, their government is willing to do whatever it takes to remain in power.
These new governments have to be wily if they are going to trick their people into obeying them when their policies negatively impact the people. This is where Foucault’s theory of power and knowledge comes into play. Whenever theorists go to publish their work, it has to go through an institution of learning and be approved by others in the same field. If the theorist wants to be published; however, it is in their best interest to write something that coincides with the current thinking of the time (source 9, 52). Theorists, and people, who agree with the ruling ideology are the ones that will be published and heard by the rest of the world. Dissenting voices, and new ideas, are almost never acknowledged because they create unrest and reside in conflict with those in power. Those who are in power, call the shots and are the main leaders in not only ideological thought, but also political and economical thought.
The people who are in power in the former colonies, generally adopt an ideology that coincides with the desires of the former colonial powers and corporations. This ideology usually consists of economic policies that are favorable to developed countries. Since governments are supposed to represent what the people want, it is understood by the rest of the world that, that is the particular ideal within a country. It is much more complex than one state choosing an ideology because “…the state consists in the codification of a whole number of power relations which render its functioning possible…” ( source 9, 64). The government has to use its power of discourse to convince its own people, or enough of its own people, that a certain ideology is the correct one. This same government is itself subscribing to an ideology when it agrees to dominant economic policies that in the end, have a negative impact. The developed countries have their own discourse that developing countries subscribe to, creating the web of different power relations that make up the world.
I’ve decided that an outline of my paper would be a good thing to do because then I can write down all my thoughts and organize them. This way when I write the paper, I can just go down through my bullet points and elaborate on them just a bit. So this is the outline that I have for my paper:
Introduction: Give a little history and then a brief overview of my case study
how the Green Revolution began
impact(s) of the Green Revolution
Colombian palm oil industry
impact(s) of the palm oil industry
Introduce my theories/theorists
Power and discourse/knowledge (Foucault)
History: Green Revolution
began in Mexico in the 1940s
high yield wheat varieties were developed in Mexico with the help of the Rockefeller Foundation
crops were bred to be resistant to pests and diseases, to have a lot of grain, and to not need a lot of sun
crops needed a lot of fertilizer to survive and were unable to produce seed for the next year
in the 1960s-70s, green technology spread around the world enabling other countries to become self-sufficient as well
took hold in Asia, especially India and China
didn’t take off in Latin American due to lack of government support and land reform
Case Study: Colombian Palm Oil Industry
it’s used in biofuel, food, lubricants, make up, etc.
processed food w/palm oil is considered “healthier”
considered greener than most things which is why people in North America want to consume palm oil
“Because palm oil seeds are renewable, consume carbon, and give more oil per seed than other products, some people believe palm oil can allow citizens of the global north to continue their over-consumption and avoid the ecological crisis.” (source 5)
Colombia is the world’s largest producer of palm oil
there’s been a 40 year civil war in Colombia with the government and paramilitary groups on one side and left-wing guerillas on the other
4.2 million people have been displaced as a result of the civil war
2nd largest amount of internally displaced people after Sudan
October 1996: the “Genesis Operation” occurred where the paramilitary went in the Chocó region and told people to leave
the Chocó region is home to mostly people of African descent, indigenous people, and people of mixed races and it’s the region with the largest amount of displacement
2000: police told peasants to sign papers allowing military bases to be established but really the papers were giving big agricultural businesses the right to develop a monoculture in the area
“Under Colombian law, after occupying and working land for a period of five years or more, communities have the right to receive titles to their holdings.”
was often disregarded
companies that grow, process, and sell palm oil force farmers off their land “through deceit, intimidation and even murder”
there’s 100,000 hectares of palm planted and President Uribe wants to increase it to 250,000
Colombian President Uribe wants to make Colombia the world’s biggest producer of palm oil by 2020
Colombian authorities and paramilitaries have forced 100s of people off their land to achieve this goal
in an effort to alleviate the loss of these displace people, humanitarian zones were created for them to reside
humanitarian zones were created in Chocó but they were usually in the middle of plantations and not anywhere close to usable agricultural land
Theory: Goldsmith and Foucault
Neo-colonialism is where former colonial powers still economically control their colonies
“…formal colonialism came to an end not because the colonial powers had decided to forego the economic advantages it provided, but because, in the new conditions, these could now largely be obtained by more politically acceptable and more effective methods.”
former colonies seem independent, but their “governments” are puppets of either corporations or more powerful governments
the only knowledge allowed, is the knowledge that agrees with the ruling ideology
those who have the power, create the discourse
“…the state consists in the codification of a whole number of power relations which render its functioning possible…” (64)
Relating Theory and Case Study
Colombia is economically controlled by the US
US demands palm oil products, Colombia is trying to be #1 producer
palm oil is Colombia’s only viable industry, needs the demand of the US
neo-colonialism at its finest
isn’t good for the people because Colombia will do whatever it takes to ensure the vitality of the palm oil industry i.e. uproot its own people
the Colombian military is in power and controls the ideology that rules Colombia
military dictates what people believe i.e. the people trying to hold on to their land are really trying to produce cocaine
allows military to rule without question since they’re seen as helping/protecting the people
During this research, I have learned a couple of new things about food in Kathmandu. One of them is this website (http://www.foodmandu.com/Restaurants.aspx). I thought this website was quite innovative. Basically, it has a list of restaurants in Kathmandu and you can order online or call to for delivery. It is similar to online order service here with fast food chains such as pizza hut or sergis however this website is created to cater to the specific needs of Kathmandu. For example, since we do not use house numbers and door-to-door mail system, you have to put your area name and phone number. They call you when they deliver and you go to the junction of your area to pick up your food.
This research process has shed light on many aspects of soccer that I had been unaware of beforehand. In particular, I realized that exhibition games have underlying motives that lie outside the realm of pure sport. An exhibition game, or a ‘friendly’, is played between two teams but removes the competitive outcome; the match is played in order to solidify tactics, mold the team, and encourage teams to get to know each other. For example, a few years ago, I happily attended a football match between AC Milan and the national team of Hungary, and although Hungary lost, it was amazing to see the interactions between my favorite players; I felt lucky to have seen such superstars in Budapest at all. There was absolutely no competitive implication to the match’s outcome, as a national team played a club team, but it was in Hungary’s best interest to play against such a world-renown club team in order to prepare for the World Cup qualifiers (needless to say, Hungary did not get through to qualify for the World Cup. Our team is not the most talented).
However, my research has concluded a new motivation behind these ‘harmless’ games, a financial incentive that boosts the team’s image, popularity, and monetary success. Consider my particular case study, Real Madrid. According to Forbes, Real Madrid makes 65% of its profit outside of Spain, earning $16 million in 2012 just from friendly games alone in Europe, the United States, Kuwait, and China. Real Madrid has also strategically set up exhibition games with several Canadian and American teams, which will not only popularize the team, but will gain immense revenue as well. Is this ushering a new era where money takes over priority? It is already evident that football players receive outrageous amounts of money just to transfer club teams (regard one of my previous posts for Cristiano Rondaldo’s record-breaking transfer fee). I hope not, because that would diminish the quality of the footballing world to a severe extent.