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Theory in Action, Vol. 5, No. 2, April 2012 ( 2012) DOI:10.3798/tia.1937-0237.

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Introduction: The Politics of Knowledge and History Corey Dolgon1 [Article copies available for a fee from The Transformative Studies Institute. E-mail address: journal@transformativestudies.org Website: http://www.transformativestudies.org 2012 by The Transformative Studies Institute. All rights reserved.] Moments of clarity in American politics are rare. The current season of Republican debates and primaries offers few exceptions. While the gaffs and hijinks provided by Newt, Mitt, Rick and Ron are already legion, the humor that paves the GOP campaign trail obfuscates more often than it illuminates. When Romney does his best Thurston Howell III impression, highlighting how different the daily lives of the very rich are from the rest of us, it shows more about his idiosyncratic aristocratic aloofness than it demonstrates how structural inequality shapes the way in which wealth and money dominate democratic processes and economic policies. And regardless of the way in which liberal pundits lament Clinton era policies or the 1960's War on Poverty, or even FDR's Economic Bill of Rights (now that was Socialism), it is important to remember that elite power and wealth have ALWAYS dominated electoral politics and economic and social policies in the United States. Inequality, discrimination, and fascism are not simply manifestations of Regan or either Bush, but have existed throughout Democratic and Republican regimes alike. More interesting to me though, are the pearls dropped from the constipated lips of Rick Santorum. Recently, he attempted to paint Obama as an elitist because the President advocates policy initiatives to fund higher education for all. Santorum suggested that such a focus made Obama a snob: There are a lot of people in this country that have no desire or no aspiration to go to college, because they have a different set of skills and desires and dreams that don't include college.And to sort of lay out there that somehow this is should be everybody's goal, I
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Dr. Corey Dolgon, Associate Editor. 1937-0229 2012 Transformative Studies Institute 1

Corey Dolgon

think, devalues the tremendous work that people who, frankly, don't go to college and don't want to go to college because they have a lot of other talents and skills that, frankly, college, you know, four-year colleges may not be able to assist them. The Left and liberal mediaHuffington Post, MSNBC, etc.have rightfully skewered Santorum for his hypocrisy (after all he has an B.A. from Penn State, an MBA from University of Pittsburgh, and a law degree from Dickinson School of Law, his wife has dual college degrees, and his daughter attends a major college). Their primary critique is that Santorum is pandering to a working class, anti-intellectual, hard-core right-wing base. But I think this rhetoric reflects more heinous dynamics at work, ones that betray the REAL conservative agenda and how the rich and powerful maintain and manage a hegemonic bloc. On the one hand, instead of pandering to a stereotyped, redneck, blue collar conservative working class, I suggest Santorums claims pander more to the elite conservative corps responsible for funding Tea Party organizing, Gingrich and Romney PACs, etc. Santorums rhetoric reassures this group that inequality and hyper social stratification is not only a moral good, but one welcomed by the poor and working class themselves. The Wall Street, Washington, and wealthy cowboy republicans can rest easy in knowing that the non-rich, white conservative base will satisfy themselves with religion, guns, racial supremacy, family values and a variety of myths about traditional ways of life. I hesitate to sound the vulgar Marxist, musing about the masses opiates. And I dont actually believe such strategies work effectively for very long. But I do think the conservative elite need to keep repackaging their grand narrative in order to rationalize, reaffirm and redeem their ascendency. On the other hand, though, I do think there is a discursive battle being waged. The non-rich conservative base DOES need to be held in check and the dumbing down of huge swaths of the American population has been a vital strategy in recent class struggles. The Romney, Gingrich, Santorum, Paul cohort have a vested interest in making sure that populist discourse is extremely conservative and obfuscating, that poor and working class people continue to vote AGAINST their own interests, and that critique remain befuddled by not only the question of Whats the matter with Kansas?, but the resonant questions of Whats the matter with Nebraska, Oklahoma, Georgia, Louisiana, Wyoming? and if they are lucky, Whats the matter with Ohio and Florida?
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Theory in Action

Santorum isnt so much pandering to the non-elite conservative base, as he is trying to recommit them to a self-defeating ideology. This helps to explain another of his recent pledges, never to mention the name of previous presidents if he is elected. To effectively promote and strategically reinforce false consciousness (oops, there I go again with the vulgar Marxism), one has to be anti-historical as well as antiintellectual. To PROMISE to forget the past is an odd campaign pledge, but it goes beyond simply asserting that he will never blame problems on previous administrations. Santorum would like to promote a blank slate where the hegemonic gains of progressive and radical movements (labor rights, civil rights, environmental legislation, etc.) never happened. Santorums entire candidacy celebrates the triumph of a radically conservative ideological campaign over the past three decades. And his continued success among party faithful suggests that, while theories of false consciousness have rightfully and effectively been critiqued for their lack of nuance and sophistication; for their seeming ignorance of the lived social history and cultural realities of everyday life; and for the agency with which non-elites actively embrace the language of the powerful; promoting false consciousness is still an active and effective strategy and must be challenged at every turn. Armed with this analysis and commitment, we bring you some outstanding and important articles that promote and support a radical counter hegemonic project. Jesse Daniels piece on critical media literacy argues that we can have a transformative impact on our students by using documentaries in a critical context. His research suggests that critical pedagogy can produce media literacy in ways that bridge the gap between traditional content and teaching and new media opportunities. In a similar vein, Susan Kahlberg discusses a course in health communication where attempts to use active learning infused theoretical lessons on how health issues are discussed and communicated with engaged projects about how to design public health information campaigns. Kahlbergs course and article address the particulars of how public intellectuals, armed with progressive pedagogies, can teach students not only how to critique the ideological constraints of mainstream public health messaging, but also empower them with new strategies and experiences. Another critical pedagogy entry, Ray Mullers article From Apathy to Activism implores us that we can fuse e lessons about C.Wright Mills sociological imagination, with practical examples of civic engagement addressing the very social problems under scrutiny. In promoting a humanist sociology, Muller suggests that a humanist pedagogy
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provides a powerful tool for moving students from the apathy of Mills trap, to being actively engaged in challenging the worlds problems and their root causes, thus transcending simply the analytical quality of mind that Mills proposed, to an activist sociological citizenship that Muller sees as an ultimate goal. Daniel Rubin reinforces the analysis that neoliberal and conservative solutions to the root causes of social problems often suffer from the same ideological limitations that promise to fail. While No Child Left Behind in general and hi-stakes testing in particular continues to get support from liberals and conservatives alike, Rubin argues there has been a move away from critical thinking and the fight for social justice in education. He offers both a critical, dialectical critique of mainstream educational policies and presents examples of techniques and projects which help students view the world around them in a more critical fashion. Walsh and Tsilimpounidi focus on non-educational interventions, presenting us with the analysis of a recent hunger strike in Athens, Greece. They explain that, the strike offered supporters the opportunity to engage more widely with debates on immigration and human rights across Europe, alongside reading the virulent effects of the economic crisis in financial capital terms and resulting neo-liberal backlashes. The strike itself became a performance of resistance which not only offered a public critique of neo-liberal policies, but also created a new consciousness among those demonstrators and supporters. Finally, Augustin Rodriguez presents a theoretical investigation of poverty, explaining how the roots of poverty are rooted in the marginalization of the rationalities of the so called poor, a marginalization that renders them disempowered from realizing their conception of the good life. Returning to my initial thoughts on false consciousness, Rodriguez argues that the genuine liberation of the poor demands their empowerment founded in the liberation of their rationalities [and] reformers must focus on building systems of discourse that allow the marginalized to participate in the shaping of the dominant rationalities that govern us all. A call to action, indeed!

Volume 5

Number 2

April 2012

IN THIS ISSUE 1 5

Theory In Action

Introduction: The Politics of Knowledge and History. Corey Dolgon Transforming Student Engagement through Documentary and Critical Media Literacy Jessie Daniels Designing Health Messages to Promote Social Change Susan Kahlenberg From Apathy to Activism: Civic-Mindedness, Critical Pedagogy, and the Sociological Imagination Ray Muller Critical Pedagogy and Dialectical Thought in the Secondary English Classroom Daniel Ian Rubin The disappearing immigrants: hunger strike as invisible struggle Ally Walsh and Myrto Tsilimpounidi

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104 Marginalization and the Multiplicity of Rationalities: A Discourse Theory of Poverty Agustin Martin G. Rodriguez 122 Book Review: Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor by Rob Nixon. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011. Pp. 370. $45.00 (Hardcover). ISBN: 978-0674049307 Claudia J. Ford 126 Book Review: Weaponizing Anthropology: Social Science in Service of the Militarized State by David H. Price. AK Press, 2011. Pp. 208. $15.95 (Paperback). ISBN: 978-1849350631 Neema Caughran 131 Book Review: Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence by Christian Parenti. Nation Books, 2011. Pp. 304. $25.99 (Hardcover). ISBN: 978-1568586007 Blaine Pope

Journal of the Transformative Studies Institute

Theory In Action
Theory In Action
Journal of the Transformative Studies Institute 39-09 Berdan Avenue Fair Lawn, NJ 07410 Telephone: (201) 254-3595 www.transformativestudies.org

Theory In Action is published quarterly. Subscription rates, print


version: Individuals: $35.00 USD* per single issue, $105.00 USD* yearly with free online access. Institutions: $200.00 USD* per year with free online access. * For orders within the continental U.S. add $2.00 USD for shipping & handling for each copy, $8.00 USD for yearly subscription. For orders outside the continental U.S. please add for shipping & handling $25.00 USD per individual issue, $100.00 USD for yearly subscription.

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For advertising information, please visit the journals website at www.transformativestudies.org or call (201) 254-3595. 2012 Transformative Studies Institute ISSN 1937-0229 (Print) ISSN 1937-0237 (online)

Indexed and Abstracted by:


Alternative Press Index, EBSCO / H.W. Wilson, ProQuest, Modern Languages Association Library of Congress: H1 .T485 361 14 2007214369

Cover design and page layout by Elsa Karen Mrquez-Aponte. Print compilation by Sviatoslav Voloshin.

Editor-in-Chief
John Asimakopoulos, CUNY-Bronx

Editor
Ali Shehzad Zaidi, SUNY-Canton

Associate Editors
Corey Dolgon, Stonehill College Dave Hill, Middlesex University, London Peter McLaren, University of California, Los Angeles Deric Shannon, University of Connecticut

Book Review Editors


Eric Buck, Sociatecture Eva-Maria Swidler, Villanova University

Founding Editor
John Asimakopoulos, CUNY-Bronx

Editorial Board
Mihaela Albu William Armaline John Asimakopoulos Steve Best Marc Bousquet Eric Buck Graham Cassano Vanny Chang Jay Corwin Abraham DeLeon Corey Dolgon Luis Fernandez Victoria Fontan Ben Frymer Carol Gigliotti Richard Gilman-Opalsky Rodica Grigore Richard Van Heertum Dave Hill Joy James Patrrice Jones Paul Jonker Nathan Jun Caroline Kaltefleiter Ruth Kinna Michael Loadenthal Elsa Karen Mrquez-Aponte Peter McLaren Mechthild Nagel Jesus Lopez Pelaez Michael Parenti Emma Prez Clayton Pierce Christian A.I. Schlaerth Deric Shannon Jeffrey Shantz Stephen Sheehi Kyung Ja (Sindy) Shin Stevphen Shukaitis Eva-Maria Swidler Caroline Tauxe Bill Templer Sviatoslav Voloshin Ali Shehzad Zaidi

CONTENTS Vol. 5, No. 2


1 5

April 2012

Introduction: The Politics of Knowledge and History. Corey Dolgon Transforming Student Engagement through Documentary and Critical Media Literacy Jessie Daniels Designing Health Messages to Promote Social Change Susan Kahlenberg From Apathy to Activism: Civic-Mindedness, Critical Pedagogy, and the Sociological Imagination Ray Muller Critical Pedagogy and Dialectical Thought in the Secondary English Classroom Daniel Ian Rubin The disappearing immigrants: hunger strike as invisible struggle Ally Walsh and Myrto Tsilimpounidi Marginalization and the Multiplicity of Rationalities: A Discourse Theory of Poverty Agustin Martin G. Rodriguez Book Review: Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor by Rob Nixon. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011. Pp. 370. $45.00 (Hardcover). ISBN: 978-0674049307 Claudia J. Ford Book Review: Weaponizing Anthropology: Social Science in Service of the Militarized State by David H. Price. AK Press, 2011. Pp. 208. $15.95 (Paperback). ISBN: 978-1849350631 Neema Caughran Book Review: Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence by Christian Parenti. Nation Books, 2011. Pp. 304. $25.99 (Hardcover). ISBN: 978-1568586007 Blaine Pope

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Theory in Action is an interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal, whose scope ranges from the local to the global. We do not privilege any particular theoretical tradition or approach and there are no strict word or page limits for our articles. We publish papers that connect academic scholarship with activism, what R.K. Merton calls theories of the middle range. We value radical and unconventional ideas, expressed in different styles, whether academic or journalistic. Furthermore, we are interested in how theory can inform activism to promote economic equality, create democratic political structures and promote self-organization and direction. We seek to promote racial, ethnic, and gender equality as well as resistance to all forms of injustice. Drafts and poorly written or formatted manuscripts will not be considered. We will only consider final polished manuscripts that are of high-quality writing, have an innovative approach or ideas, and that are congruent with the institutes overall mission. Manuscripts deemed important, but not selected for the journal, will be considered for online-publication under either the Policy or Activist sections of the TSI. This may occur if for example the article does not fit with a particular focus or theme of the Journal issue or if space limits us to these difficult decisions. However, TSI will make every effort to provide the authors work with as much exposure as possible.

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W R I T I N G S O N

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edit ed by der ic shannon, ant hony j. no c el l a ii, & john asimakop o ul os

About
The Transforma ve Studies Ins tute (TSI) fosters interdisciplinary research that will bridge mul disciplinary theory with ac vism in order to encourage community involvement that will a empt to alleviate social problems. As part of the mission, scholars, ac vists, and other concerned individuals in elds such as social sciences, humani es, and law will be invited to conduct research and become involved in like-minded various grass roots organiza ons. The Ins tute is concerned with issues of social jus ce and related ac vism, and its aim is to provide a working model of theory in ac on, through shared research, governance, and opera on of the center. As such, the ins tute may provide a working laboratory for evolu onary socioeconomic forms of organiza on. Further, we invite literary par cipa on through our independent, peer-reviewed journal Theory in Ac on, through which research associates, scholars, ac vists, and students may disseminate their research and expand thema c social dialogue. TSI also welcomes opportunies to work with na onal and interna onal scholars who serve as research associates and fellows. In addi on, the ins tute plans on collabora ng with various worker educa on programs, labor centers, universi es, think tanks, advocacy groups and non-pro t organiza ons. TSI is managed and operated by a dedicated global team of academic scholar-ac vists, grassroots ac vists, and the concerned public. Many of TSIs members have mul ple graduate degrees, mul ple years of secondary and college level teaching experience throughout most disciplines. TSI also provides consul ng services, custom policy papers and projects, and operates a speakers bureau.

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In Search of One Big Union: A Singing Lecture by Corey Dolgon, Folksinger & Sociologist Corey Dolgon, a Ph.D in American Culture and Sociology Professor has been performing singing lectures for almost a decade. Focusing on the role that folksongs play in the U.S. labor movement, Coreys words and music bring both history and theory to life. He is a long-time labor activist and community organizer and has used folk songs to build solidarity on the line and engage students in the classroom. This singing lecture covers labor history from a multicultural perspective and examines the function of folk songs in workers lives, labor, and organizing.

I learned about the importance and power of strikes and labor unions. I never knew there were songs about them. [The lecture] made the period come alive for me. --Stonehill College student Coreys work weaves together a coherent and accessible narrative about labor struggles with a tour de force of labor songs that moves audiences. --Chris Dale, Professor of Sociology, New England College Corey's music added tremendous spirit to our National Labor Assembly. I encourage other unions to add Corey's talents and expertise to their agendas. --Cheryl Johnson, President, United American Nurses, AFL-CIO Corey Dolgons singing lecture is a hit. From union retirees to active union members, from academics to management, all received a good time and good learning. --John Ralston, U. of Louisville Labor-Management Center Coreys wonderful voice, abundant energy, and great knowledge about folksongs, labor, and other social movements were entertaining, very informative, and inspiring. --Kathleen Odell Korgen, Professor of Sociology, William Patterson U.

Please contact Corey for scheduling a lecture or receiving a sample CD at 617-298-0388 or at cdolgon@worcester.edu. More info @ www.coreydolgon.com

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Theory in Action the Journal of the Transformative Studies Institute 39-09 Berdan Avenue, Fair Lawn, NJ 07410 USA www.transformativestudies.org Email: journal@transformativestudies.org

The Transformative Studies Institute (TSI) is a fully-volunteer social justice think tank managed and operated by a global team of scholar-activists, grassroots activists, and the concerned public. TSI publishes independent peer-reviewed journals including Theory in Action, operates a speakers bureau, fellowship program, and various community outreach projects, and provides consulting services and custom policy papers. Our goal is to establish a tuition-free accredited graduate school to foster interdisciplinary research that will bridge theory with activism and encourage community involvement to alleviate social problems. Principles

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