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When we are asking for dissent or challenge, we don’t realise that our minds are saying don’t do it, conform, it is less risk, less anxiety, it’s survival.
As we've seen, rules that sustain many forms of domination are typically created and imposed by the state. This may result in several sub-groups operating separately as the "Federal Government" or as the "citizens." Once everyone is broken up into groups, the class will be invited to suggest a number of laws, serious or whimsical, which will be voted upon for use in the activity.
Laws can be used to stabilize power, especially by means of the state's bureaucratic apparatus, and by means of its coercive resources for monitoring and enforcing compliance. The law with the most votes will be used in the activity. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to draw upon the reading for this week and to conceive of ways to support and enforce the law we've voted upon in class.
This class activity is meant to center around an interactive back and forth dialog between the students and the instructor, who serves as a facilitator, guide, and mediator. Student responses reflect their learning and understanding of the assigned material: "How would your group go about making this law appear legitimate / illegitimate?
This is meant to illustrate material from the assigned readings (see article below by Piven and Cloward, for example), notably how laws may be used to create and stabilize power (e.g., how laws may be framed to appear legitimate, how laws are enforced, how politicians might garner public support for a law, etc.) as well as how laws can be challenged or changed (e.g., how laws may be framed so as to appear illegitimate, how citizens may evade law enforcement, how citizens might build support to change a law, etc.). " --This question challenges students to think about the ways that politicians may garner support for a law and conversely how citizens may make a law appear illegitimate, such as through their framing of the law, shaping public opinion through the media and ads, publishing op-eds about the law from their particular point of view, etc.
As a former Associate Director of Admissions at Berkeley Haas, I believe the current suite of questions is fantastic.
Now, let’s discuss strategy – what Haas is looking for and how to best approach each question.
A simple way of generating the back and forth dialog envisioned for this activity is for the instructor to ask representatives from groups comprising the "Federal Government" to briefly present what they've come up with in response to one of the factors mentioned above and presented to their group (e.g., how they would make the law appear legitimate) and to then invite the "Citizens" to respond (e.g., how they would make the law appear illegitimate). "How would your group go about monitoring compliance with this law / evading compliance with this law?
The instructor may then walk students through each additional factor in turn (e.g., how to monitor compliance with the law/how to evade compliance, punishments to impose against those breaking the law/ how to survive or evade punishments for non-compliance with the law, etc.). " --This question challenges students to think about how to monitor compliance with a law as well as how compliance may be evaded.
Each group is expected to draw explicitly upon the reading for this week, using terms and ideas from the article to support their goals and to respond to the other groups. Also note that the first two pages of the activity (beginning with the title, "Creating and Challenging the Status Quo," and ending with the section on "The Playing Field") are intended to be copied and distributed to students as a hand-out or "flyer" for their use in this activity.
This is meant to be a fun activity to help illustrate many of the dynamics described in the reading for the week. Here is an illustrative sample of discussion/dialog questions that instructors may use to generate discussion and to assess student learning.