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2021 Abstracts Stage 3

A discussion on how policing by consent operates and the challenges it presents in democratic societes

• The objective of my project is to discuss how policing by consent operates in a democratic society and the consequences to individuals and societies when the boundaries of policing by consent are transcended, particularly when it is believed that excessive and disproportionate force is used.

• The aim of my project is to describe the mechanisms by which policing by consent can be achieved, with the absence of transgression and force, and to also demonstrate the consequences for individuals and societies when this ethos is not embedded in policing practice.

• In order to do this, I am the applying the philosophical concepts of Bourdieu’s study of ‘symbolic power’, Hobbes ‘social contract theory’ and Bauman’s notion of ‘liquid modernity’. This is an important subject because the use of force by legitimate authority in a fair and proportionate manner to uphold laws continues to be relevant and a contentious issue in modern day society.

• Hobbes ‘social contract theory’ describes how we need laws to govern human behaviour and we need state force to ensure compliance with these laws. Hobbes believes man has a desire for security and order to ensure self-preservation with the end goal of avoiding misery and pain, therefore man enters into a social contract where individual rights and liberties are surrendered in exchange for security and peace. This can be applied to the concept of ‘policing by consent’ as it describes how individuals willingly engage in lawful behaviour in order to maintain security and order.
• Bourdieu’s notion of ‘symbolic power’ demonstrates that symbolism in the police is important in generating consent with symbols, such as uniforms, as they reinforce their position of authority in society. The symbolic power of the police evokes feelings of trust and the belief that they have just cause and legitimate authority for upholding the law. The symbolic power the police have can be utilised to generate consent from the public.
• At times the police have to reasonably use a legitimate amount of force to maintain order, however a consequence of this is the risk of the abuse of this force. Therefore, using Bauman’s notion of ‘liquid modernity’ it can be demonstrated that the police’s reputation is volatile, and the police are constantly on trial by the public. The transgression of boundaries of policing by consent can be extremely detrimental to public attitudes on the police.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 3

Has lockdown justly taken away our liberty?

The aim of this project is to determine if an approach which is based on trading off negative and positive liberty assess properly whether the lockdown was just or not? Within this project both positive and negative liberty will be measured within each theory. Comparing them whereby the positive sense protects life versus the negative sense in which our liberties are restricted. Both a Utilitarian and Hobbes social contract theory shall lean towards a more epistemologically positive approach to this. Through trying to give objective truths to measure the positive and negative liberties at play. While Badiou and Deleuze’s theory on the event shall offer a sceptical epistemological approach. They give a differing answer from a ‘simplistic’ objective approach. Finally, through Foucault and his biopolitics, we are able to highlight perhaps another force which is in play; power. Where in fact our pursuit for reintroduction of liberty is a paradox which was subsequently never there in the first place.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 2

To investigate representations and models of beauty with a view of understanding whether they are inherently oppressive or whether they can be a liberation if one “takes control” of them

This project will be looking into the representations and models of beauty with a view of understanding whether they are inherently oppressive or liberating. The beauty industry along with the media industry have advanced in such a way that we see a correlation with the rise of beauty standards and a decline in mental health in women (and sometimes men) in society today. Furthermore, it will be Investigating as well as arguing whether the beauty industry is truly corrupting the minds of the younger generations or whether they are aiding the younger generations in finding their liberation. The findings showed that mental health is suffering greatly amongst the youth and there are numerous statistics to show links to social media platforms, especially those promoting vanity. Even conservative countries like Saudi Arabia give crucial priority to the western industrialised culture and hence embark on the westernised criteria of beauty standards. The philosophers touched upon in the project including Georg Hegel, David Hume, as well as influential feminist thinkers like Kathy Davis and Kathryn Morgan have demonstrated that the underlying deeper motive for women’s bodies undergoing so much exploitation is all a consequence of wanting the approval of the male species.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 2

Freedom, Power, and Psychoactive Therapies.

Does drug prohibition provide safety within society, or does it merely conceal our freedom, and the freedom of low-income and minority communities to protect the middle-classes?

This project focuses on a Foucauldian framework to analyse the power dynamics between the systems that are supposed to protect us, and addicts’ abilities to control their own forms of therapies. It also analyses the freedom of addicts themselves, and whether the therapies currently in place helps these people to break out of their situations and take control over their own lives, or whether it just slots them into a position that conforms with societal norms at current.

I also analyse different future options for therapies for low-income and minority communities breaking from their drug addiction with psychedelic therapies and psychoactive substances.

The aim of the essay is fundamentally an attempt to breakdown the lives of addicted people and the ways in which we can continue to support them and provide them with the freedom that as humans, we deserve.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 3

‘Carpe Your Crypto Diem’ The Digitalisation of Currency as an Act of Political Liberation

This project aims to establish if cryptocurrencies are liberating, offering more political freedom. It will also consider if they’re a positive development for society. To do this it will answer several questions. Firstly, it will define what cryptocurrencies are and introduce key examples. Then it will consider if cryptocurrencies can be understood as money. By presenting a genealogy of money and following how money has evolved it will demonstrate how our intuitive understanding of money is flawed. Money is a social institution, used to represent credit as Henry Macleod suggests. It will discuss the social ontology of money further, introducing the works of John Austin and John Searle. This will demonstrate that money isn’t something inherently valuable, rather it’s an object with an assigned function that society holds a set of beliefs about. Therefore, digital tokens or cryptocurrencies could function of money. However, they’re lacking the trust money requires to be credible. This project will then question why we don’t trust cryptocurrencies. It will consider why we trust the currencies we use today. Ultimately, governments establish this trust, and they are put in a position to do this via the social contract. Cryptocurrencies have no links to governments and therefore lack this. However, by discussing monetary policy this project will demonstrate how governments take their power and control further, manipulating our spending to reach their own targets. This project will question if this could be the reason why governments vilify cryptocurrencies, are they doing this to maintain their own power? This brings us to our last question; can cryptocurrencies liberate us from this control? It will consider the possibility of establishing a techno-Leviathan. Could placing an automated self-sustaining system as sovereign grant us more freedom. Ultimately, this project will conclude that this would be politically liberating. Cryptocurrencies remove third parties from monetary exchange, limiting their control and granting an individual more freedom.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 3

Should one exercise their right to freedom or remain within an authoritative state to maintain security? An exploration of positive and negative freedom within Attack on Titan through the field of political philosophy

Should one exercise their right to freedom or remain within an authoritative state to maintain security? Through exploring the notions of positive and negative freedom in relation to protagonist Eren Jaeger within Attack on Titan, it was found that his use of positive freedom was manipulated into fuelling his own agenda for freedom. Ultimately, one should exercise their right to liberty as long as it does not undermine the freedom of others.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 3

Investigating the management of the coronavirus pandemic in England during 2020, and discussing the cultural shaping of identity and the value of liberty for individuals

The coronavirus pandemic in 2020 has affected thousands of lives in England and South Korea. The management of the virus has been difficult, in terms of creating regulations that the common people would be willing to follow.
The responses in both countries, however, were significantly different. It can be considered that due to the contrasting cultures and identities, the responses from the people and the management from the governments were influenced by such background frameworks that are the foundations of the priorities.
This suggests that in an individualistic or idiocentric country, the government will prioritise people’s liberty and the economy, thus placing more importance on individual lives rather than the collective, alluding to less consideration of those extremely vulnerable. In comparison to a collectivist or allocentric country, the government will prioritise everyone’s safety, and the people will respond with discipline, thoughtfulness and accepting of regulations, that could be deemed invasive, for the sake of defeating the virus and lowering mortality rates. By considering the cultural shaping of identities, the value of liberty is displayed, in which individualistic countries lean towards individual freedom than the collective safety.

This project explored the philosophies of Charles Taylor, Anthony Giddens and Zygmunt Bauman.
Other thoughts include the discussion of the East Asian Tradition, Confucius Ethics, with the sociological research of Geert Hofstede. The political and philosophical view of Robert Nozick will be utilised to understand the value of liberty.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 2

What affect does the unconscious have on behaviour and does this mean we have complete free will?

My project aims to understand the role that the unconscious has in affecting human’s behaviour and whether, because of this role, it can mean that humans have complete free will.
Does the unconscious have an effect on us without us even being aware?
If you are controlled by something unbeknown to you, are you able to have complete free will?
My object is the unconscious. My territory is the unconscious in relation to the effect the unconscious has on behaviour. Linking this all to whether this means we can have complete free will or not.
This project with focus on concepts such as: unconscious, morality, repression, free will and behaviour.
Freud – The Unconscious, A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis, Freud’s Models of the Mind: An Introduction.
Sartre – Existentialism and Humanism

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2002 Abstracts Stage 2

Which Freedom?

Whether its freedom based on John Locke’s natural justice, reflected in Goya’s work, or Sartre’s existentialist and progressive notions, evident in Picasso’s work, the Modern period has done much to influence the contemporary concept of what it is to be free. Both artists were Spanish and these works portray the violent political turbulence of their times. Locke theorised that the state played a major role in determining an individual’s freedom and hence put forward a theory for the reformation of the legal system, as a means of according the ordinary man with freedom. This concept culminated in the theory of natural justice, which formed the basis for the civil rights movement and ultimately the contemporary English legal system. Underlying Locke’s theory was a Modernist faith in reason and the drive for progress. The modern individual was actively involved in this progress and was more reasoned in their judgement of the world. Early Modernity brought a greater emphasis on reason in all aspects of life and freedom was achieved through rationality, as the rational man was free to determine his will. Goya clearly demonstrates such values in his work. He was progressive, both in his technique and in his subject matter. Ordinary people became the subject, reflecting Locke’s conviction in their importance and, as is evident, the way politics affects their basic liberties. Which Freedom? Towards the end of the nineteenth century there was a shift in thinking which rejected some of Modernity’s earlier values, this mood was lead by Sartre and captured by Picasso. Sartre probably captured the general mood of High modernity with his existential theory. He did not believe that there was a fixed universal nature of man like Locke therefore man must decide his own nature and existence-how he lives. Man may feel some angst at the responsibility of freedom but we must make a conscious choice to create meaning for our lives and as there is no universally morality then our decisions take on a greater significance. The only foundation for human values is human freedom and absolute freedom constitutes absolute responsibility. Picasso reflected such tendencies, towards the individual’s mind and the deconstruction of previous theories, through his highly progressive work. He focused on representing the feeling that his subject gave him, as opposed to the reality, like Goya, whilst deconstructing the form. The liberty Picasso utilised in his work is, perhaps, the ultimate proof of Modernity’s contribution to individual freedom.