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2023 Abstracts Stage 3

Fractured Unions: The Historicization of the Trade Union Movement and the Fight to Incite the Tolerant

The fragmentation of the modern workforce means that trade unions now face the challenge of making themselves appear both relevant and useful to people’s working lives. Increasingly precarious and service based jobs mean that people no longer identify with their work as strongly as they once did, and increasingly isolated jobs make it hard to connect with other workers both mentally and physically.

Industrial action is only possible through mass organisation and, the aged concept of what the unions represent, who and what they are fighting for is an increasing problem for the unions and the people they claim to defend. Engaging workers in their defensive aims against unfair working practices and low wages whilst funding this action through membership maintenance is a constant battle for the Trade unions.

This project seeks to address the issue of inciting action amongst an increasingly tolerant workforce resigned to mistreatment as a standard, due to the problems of late stage capitalism. It will make use of Gramsci’s Marxism in exploring the historicization of the trade union movement, and to provide a springboard for potential actions which could reinstate the trade unions into every workers mind as their first line of defence for fair and fulfilling working practices.

The stage of the modern workforce will be set by Virno’s postmodern neomarxist thought, in describing the fragmentary nature of our industries and working identities. To fight for a cause, a person must first identify with it, and be given sufficient evidence that the fight is worth their increasingly diminished time and effort.

The current wave of strike action along with the governments minimum service levels bill has brought the trade unions back into the national consciousness providing an opportune period to reinstate themselves in workers minds as the defensive institutions they claim to be. The minimum service levels bill will be used as an object to orientate the discussion, in its blatant attack on the right to strike for all of the UK workforce while using the fragmented nature of work to its advantage.

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2023 Abstracts Stage 3

Towards a New Understanding of Antiwork Politics

My project paper is a discussion of the theoretical framework of antiwork politics with a specific emphasis on antiwork’s conception of production and its relation to work. The object of the paper is the reddit forum group r/antiwork and the territory is work and production. I found antiwork’s theoretical framework through Kathi Weeks’ The Problem with Work. In this text, the concept of production as a central topic in the critique of work is discussed. From there, through an analysis of the Introduction to Marx’s Grundrisse, I established the traditional conceptualisation of production. Then, I looked at the problem of productivism, antiwork’s primary critical point, through Baudrillard’s critique in The Mirror of Production. Finally, I introduced Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of production, found in Anti-Oedipus, as an alternative way to conduct antiwork critique. This project was a chance for me to philosophically investigate an area of everyday life that is widely discussed but contains many inconspicuous elements.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 3

What kind of prison do people deserve?

Analysing the UK’s contemporary penal system using Marx and Foucault.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 3

Alienation within the Service Industry

I will use Marx’s concept of alienation to understand experience of workers within the service industry. Ultimately this dissertation will find that Marx’s concept of alienation still applies to work today.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 3

To What Extent has Modern Digital Technology Changed the Formation of Human Identity?

Reading key thinkers such as Hegel, Marx, and Blumenberg the project will assert an anthropology which states that human identity naturally needs techne in its formation.
By tracing the development of techne into modern digital technology, Stiegler will help demonstrate how the changing nature of technology has come to change the formation of human identity.
Drawing on Heidegger, Agamben and Baldwin the project will prove how modern digital technology simultaneously systematises and fragments human identity. It will then analyse whether these effects on human identity are either positive or negative from both humanist and post-humanist perspectives.
The project will finally question what the future holds for the development of modern technology and whether human identity formation will become entirely dictated by technology or continued to be formed under the control of humanity.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 3

A philosophical investigation into the effect of precarious work on identity construction and formation in post-modern capitalist society.

An investigation into the effects of non-creative and creative precarious work on identity formation in post modern society, looking at these two kinds of work and how they can be seen to corrode or consolidate people’s views of themselves, through an analysis of the work of Bauman, Taylor, Sennett, Virno, and Marx.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 2

According to Italian Marxist Feminist Thought, what is the role of women within capitalism?

An evaluation on women’s position in the transition to capitalism, the function of capitalism, and 21st century capitalism through the works of key Italian Marxist Feminist thinkers. This project will analyse how Italian feminists have critiqued and developed Marx to develop a new theory on capitalism which focuses specifically on women’s exploitation. Analysis of Italian Marxist feminist theory will demonstrate how and why they understand capitalism to inherently entail women’s exploitation.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 3

Using the theories of Karl Marx, Herbert Marcuse, and John Rawls, explore how the notion of exploitation is inherent to all socio-economic practices which have impacted the wealth gap in America over the last two centuries

The issue of income inequality is becoming increasing prevalent within today’s society, currently the world’s richest 1% have more than twice as much wealth as 6.9 billion people, and nowhere on earth is this situation more problematic than America.
Within my project I investigate American society and the socio-economic practices it has adopted over the last 200 years. I used the books The Theory of The Leisure Class, The Affluent Society, and What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets, as together they create a timeline of how this western society’s economic and social practices have evolved. This allowed me to unpack some of the key practices which have directly impacted the American wealth gap. Such as: Conspicuous Consumption, Mass-Production, Aggressive Advertising and Commodification
Furthermore, the practices highlighted within my chosen texts allowed me to use the theories of Karl Marx, Herbert Marcuse, and John Rawls to investigate the exploitative aspects inherent to them. I used , Marx’s The Communist Manifesto, Das Kapital and other collected works, along with Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man as well as Rawls’ Justice as Fairness: A Restatement and A Theory of Justice to find out how these thinkers would find these practices exploitative.
Ultimately, I attempt to display how exploitation is a common a characteristic to all socio-economic practices which have impacted the American wealth gap over the last 200 years.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 3

“The impact that oppression has on the sense of community within the working classes in Tyneside”

This research project sets out to investigate a basis for the possible link between oppression and the sense of community within a working-class society, mainly in Tyneside. Community relations will be observed more specifically within events including the Meadow Well riots, the UK miners’ strike and the aftermath of the closing of shipyards under the power of Margaret Thatcher. Philosophical concepts discussed will be focussed through the political lens of philosophy, with Marx and Rawls. Marx’s work on class oppression and Rawls’ ‘Theory of Justice’ will be explored in relation to the working-class communities in Tyneside. As well as this, identity-focused philosophers, including Taylor, Bauman and Nietzsche are to be discussed and compared with each other, and the object in question.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 3

This investigation performs a value analysis and an analysis of the conceptual frameworks provided by Eastern and Western spiritual doctrine through the concept’s divinity and transcendence.

Karl Marx’s A Critique of Hegel’s ‘Philosophy of Right’ (1970), and Plato’s Plato Repiblic I (1937) are employed as the primary tools into the search for the meaning of Eastern and Western spiritual doctrine, also providing frameworks through which the concept of spirituality can be understood.
This investigation concludes that Eastern spiritual doctrine has more real spiritual value than that of the West through providing a value-system orientated towards freedom and a ‘pure’ conceptual framework orientated towards truth. The concept of divinity in Eastern spiritual doctrine exudes oneness and reciprocity, whilst transcendence focuses on being and presence.
Western spiritual doctrine on the other hand is thought to be reducible to a Capitalist mechanism due to the orientation of control pertinent to its value system and implicitly motivated conceptual framework. Divinity in Western spiritual doctrine embodies oppressive instruction, and its transcendence is linked to Capitalist exploitation. This, then, puts into the nature of Western Reason for its embedding with such oppressive structures and frameworks.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 2

An analysis of British Journalism’s evaluation of Marxism, with emphasis on the BBC.

This project aims to analyze the concepts of state capitalism, totalitarianism, authoritarianism, anarchism, and the idolization of revolutionary figures through a Marxist lens. It takes into consideration both the theoretical and practical sides of revolutionary history provided by theoreticians such as Marx, Engels and Parenti and leaders such as Lenin, Castro, Mao and Xi.

Doing so, with a heightened focus on communist nations and communities, it is intended to be a response to the BBC’s, and the general British Media’s, own claims about Marxism.

In discussing the true intentions of the media in regard to its portrayal of Marxism, I intend to highlight the obvious, and subtle, shortcomings of the British media. This project will focus on Marxism due to its decisive nature and extensive history, which allows ample opportunity for analysis and evaluation of journalistic sources.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 3

Marx, Benjamin, and Fisher: The Work of Art Commodified

Abstract:
Capitalism represses the emancipatory force of a work of art regarding both its production and how it is viewed. In transforming artists and artworks into commodities, the authority of artist and work of art are lost. The commercial function of capitalism brings art into the culture industry, in which art became a mere object for exchange.

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2020 Abstracts Stage 2

The Ethics of Marriage and Divorce: The Key to Living a Prosperous Life in Contemporary Society

This project is founded upon recent published data which portrays an increased trend in the rate of divorce over the last century. The central thesis of the dissertation involves the question: why has the rate of divorce increased over time and should this be at all a concern or reflection of modern-day society?
Contemporary attitudes omit an attitude of divorce being a less scandalous, daunting concept in comparison to earlier decades, however, this project examines whether the marital benefits may indeed be experienced outside of the marital realm.
The dissertation considers contextual societal components with feminist viewpoints to analyse the sexual, reproductive elements of marriage in regard to monogamy and child bearing to then analyse the material, economic elements of marriage within a Marxist perspective.
I include the philosophical theories of Hegel and Kant to examine the ethical elements of marriage as well as the work of John Finnis to consider a more contemporary standpoint.

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2017 Abstracts Stage 3

Back to class: An investigation into the English canon through a Marxian critique of tradition and value in the education system of England

Concept: Hegemony, dialogue, critical thinking

Object: The work of Antonio Gramsci and Paulo Freire

The aim of this investigation is to argue that there exists a hegemony within education, specifically English literature. This hegemony prevents the reading of texts such as An Inspector Calls in a critical, working class dialogue.

To argue this, this investigation will examine; what is hegemony? How does it function? Where is it in education? And how can we stop it?

This investigation will argue that for a critical education system, we must adopt the work of Paulo Freire and begin the process of genuine dialogue with students when undertaking a reading.

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2015 Abstracts Stage 3

Is the law economically or ethically routed? A study into Modern and Ancient Mesopotamian Laws

Objectives: To investigate the degree to which the law is both economically and ethically constituted – To compare and contrast Ancient Mesopotamian law with our own.
Territory: Modern EU law – The Code of Hammurabi (1754 BC) – Ancient Babylon – The Code of Ur-Nammu (2100 BC) – Ancient Sumer ‘ The German Ideology ’ – Marx ‘ Elements of the Philosophy of Right ’ – Hegel

Structure: I will begin by first describing both the Code of Hammurabi and the Code of UrNammu, subsequently contrasting them with Modern law. After this, Marx will be used to argue that the law is economically routed, whilst Hegel to state that it is ethical and has progressed over time. Finally there will be an analysis of the changes made in modern day law, to exhibit the shift away from the financial ‘burdens’ of ethics, in the era of late Capitalism.

“Political Economy regards the proletarian … like a horse, he must receive enough to enable him to work. It does not consider him, during the time when he is not working, as a human being.” – Karl Marx, 1844

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2013 Abstracts Stage 3

“I’m Gonna Make Him an Offer He Can’t Refuse … ” A discussion concerning the definition of political legitimacy and its features, comparing the Sicilian Mafia with Sicily’s central governments of the 1860’s and 1920’s

Can the notion of political legitimacy be effectively applied to the Sicilian Mafia? What defines a legitimate authority? Can the Mafia be seen as legitimate if the state is not? These concerns will be discussed within the parameters of two central points in Sicilian history; the Unification of Italy during the 1860’s and the Italian Fascist regime of the 1920’s, allowing for a comparison between the Sicilian Mafia organisation and Sicily’s governments.

Philosophy
MARX; is the state merely an illusion, disguising our real interests? I must have self-mastery in order to be free and rational; is the Mafia therefore legitimate?
RAWLS; There must be a publicly recognised universal and fair distribution of justice in a well-ordered, liberal society; does the Sicilian state achieve this?
The thought of HOBBES and ROUSSEAU regarding the definitions of ‘authority’ and ‘political legitimacy’ will be used as framework to the discussion.

Sources
Historical interpretations and genealogies; including Pantaleone’s The Mafia and Politics , Dickie’s Cosa Nostra: A History of the Sicilian Mafia , and Duggan’s Fascism and the Mafia . Coppola’s The Godfather films were used for inspiration.

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2012 Abstracts Stage 3

The Age of Aquarius: The Mayan Calendar and Evolution of Consciousness

OBJECT: THE MAYAN CALENDAR

CONTEXT: THE EVOLUTION OF CONCIOUSNESS AS MEASURED BY THE MAYAN CALENDAR

TERRITORY: SPIRITUALITY, PREDESTINATION AND NATURE

CONCEPTS: CALVIN, MARX, LYOTARD, WEBER AND FOUCAULT

AIMS: The Mayan Calendar is a meter of the evolution of consciousness. The Mayan Calendar has taken us into the new Age of Aquarius. I intend to discuss what changes this actually means for our civilisation and assess predictions of our future that we are now moving into a more spiritual ‘Golden Age.’

INTENTIONS: Analyse the future via Diana Cooper who predicts that we are moving from living in the third spiritual dimension into the fifth. Discuss the concept that our lives might be predetermined using Calvin. Look at our past with Karl Marx and see whether through ‘Alienation’ we have lost our sense of togetherness. Look at Lyotard and the concept that science relies upon a kind of faith. Is science better than faith? Use Weber to find where we have lost our sense of ‘spirit.’ Look at how we have become fragmented with Nature through technology and networks. I also look at Lungold’s concept of ‘hypnosis by repetition’ and use Foucault to assess whether we are stuck in a rut with capitalism and need to change our lifestyles.

METHODOLOGY: I have used hermeneutic interpretive and the genealogical approach to help me find meaning in texts and look at how concepts have changed over time.

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2012 Abstracts Stage 3

Capitalism in Modern Britain: a Corrupt System that Needs Improvement?

An investigation into the workings of the economic system of capitalism in modern Britain. Is there an alternative to the system which is causing the economic crisis?

In this project I will be exploring the idea of the effect of the capitalist economy on the workplace of modern Britain. Is it a corrupt system? What are the alternatives?

I will examine the recent unpopularity capitalism is receiving (anti-capitalist movements in the press etc.) and look at the reasons why.

I have chosen to look specifically at the work of Karl Marx and his critique of capitalism. I will address the way in which capitalism has created a divide and imbalance within the workplace and look at how Marx explicates these using key themes.

I have chosen to examine the business structure of the John Lewis Partnership as an alternative to conventional models. In doing so, I will demonstrate how analysing the key points of Marx’s critique can also highlight the way in which a successful alternative can develop. I will conclude by answering the question posed: Is capitalism a corrupt system that needs improvement?

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2012 Abstracts Stage 3

Karl Marx without the Prejudice. A Critical Evaluation of Karl Marx using Henry George to Defend Private Property

Karl Marx refutes private property because:
1. It leads to an illegitimate division within society.
2. It alienates the labourer from their objectified labour (property owner takes from the labourer).

Henry George highlighted the following problems with Marx’s position (all of which stem from his prejudiced original position, namely, Communism must be right):
1. The removal of private property contradicts the values of independence and self-reliance.

2. Marx accepts property to be important in determining identity but then refutes property. There needs to be an alternative source of identity which is not provided.

3. The problem of alienation remains unresolved because the product of the labourer is still taken from them.

4. The relationship between objectified labour being necessary to maintain society and identity stemming from objectified labour means objectified labour is necessary for the continued existence of society. Therefore:
a. Either, private property should not exist, in which case society will no longer exist.
b. Or, society emerges that does not require objectified labour.

5. Marx forgets the importance of incentive for human production. Without a selfish incentive humanity will reduce its productivity and thus be unable to sustain the growing human population.
a. Valuing labour by time is a prime example of Marx’s ignorance of incentive.

A possible alternative to the system that causes the growing division of society:
1. No longer an income tax

2. In the place of income tax is land value tax (user of the natural resource pays a percentage of the resources value in order to attain the ability to utilise the resource for his benefit)

3. Retain VAT (Value Added Tax) for internet transactions and other transactions the government seeks to control.

Benefits:
1. Increased utilisation of natural resources.

2. Simplification of tax system.

3. Increased accountability for tax obligations.

4. Increased benefits received by the local communities.

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2012 Abstracts Stage 3

How Legitimate is Industrial Action and What is its Purpose?

I have looked at KARL MARX and his theory to try and decide whether strike action is legitimate and what purpose it plays.

Marx would have supported the miners’ strike and seen it as legitimate as it was the working class seizing the means of production. However he would not see the teachers strike as legitimate as it was too individualistic and too led by capitalist values.

Within my project I have focused on how legitimate strike action is. It seems that public perception had changed in the last 30 years and I have endeavoured to uncover why this is.

Despite feeling that industrial action is legitimate I found it difficult to show this in regards to the teachers strike … but it just feels somehow wrong.

The other philosopher I have focused on within my project is JOHN LOCKE. He again would see the miners’ strike as legitimate as their rights were being threatened and therefore it was their duty to show discontent for this. After all, we only enter into a society to have our natural rights protected. Yet, Locke was unable to justify the teachers strike.