Traditionalism and Modernism

Dissertation – Philosophical and Historical Understanding of Traditionalism and Modernism in the UK

Chapter 1: Introduction

This dissertation is focused on enhancing philosophical and historical understanding of traditionalism and modernism in the UK. The principles of modernity have played an important role in order to contribute to the decline of faith in Britain. It is also concluded that the traditional principles are getting obsolete in a contemporary society and people living within the society are more likely to adopt the modern way of living. The present era is the era of materialism and all goods and services are transformed into commodities for sale which also includes healthcare, religion, education, personal identity and in some cases happiness and people are very less likely to emphasize on the social norms and traditions.

1.1 Main Objectives of the Study

The points of the exploration are:

  1. To provide a philosophical and historical understanding of Traditionalism and Modernism.
  2. To assess how commercialization and commodification have resulted in the decline of religiosity.
  3. To juxtapose the Modernist doctrine of egalitarianism to social solidarity within the construct of a mechanical society.
  4. To assess how objectification of human-beings has resulted in the decline of ‘Sacredness’ through the principles of sexuality.

Chapter 2- Literature Review

This chapter will comprise of a literature review that will examine various components of modernity including: attendance to consumerism and commodification; the ideology behind egalitarianism and its root to capitalism; the shift from social solidarity to individualism and the classical and modern approach to sexuality.

2.1 Attendance to consumerism and commodification

There is much research evidence that argues how faith has played a role during the post-Enlightenment era and pre- Enlightenment era. Sarah Williams in Buckingham (2003) argued that the working class have a more complex way of imagining their belief structures and suggested that this decline does not adequately explain these phenomena. Thus we need to look at the way individuals have conserved faith and how they translate their faith in the modern era.

This suggest that the decline in faith in Britain may be an exaggerated point, as times change individuals must learn to contemporize their Faith by bringing to life the traditional principles that they hold true and living them in a society which demands a modern form of life. In other words Balshaw (2004) says that “the Sacred does not disappear indeed in many ways it is becoming more rather than less prevalent in contemporary society” (Clements and Sarama, 2003).

According to Fredrick Michelle (reference) the Cold War symbolized the battle of two opposing and prominent ideologies, capitalism and communism. These ideologies were best represented by the United States and the U.S.S.R, who during the Second World War were allies in combating the forces of Nazi Germany. Their opposing ideologies twisted not just their own nations but the entire world into a state of conflict, which was perhaps one of the most trying periods in human history. The United States which was the beacon of a free market economy, characterized by democracy was in conflict with the U.S.S.R a totalitarian dictatorship characterized by communism. According to Michelle this conflict had an enormous impact on the social, economic and political sphere.

Coffield, Moseley and Eccleston (2004) added that the demise of the U.S.S.R led to a paradigm shift which resulted in capitalism being the dominant commercial culture globally. This global ideological take-over is more commonly referred to in modern times as consumerism, which is a powerful worldview that has deep effects on the attitude and way of living of people all around the world. Principally consumerism calls for all goods and services to be transformed into commodities for sale. This includes, but is not limited to healthcare, religion, education, personal identity and in some instances happiness as being means of commodification.

In this worldview therefore prosperity is measured in terms of material acquisitions namely in the form of money, as being the ultimate goal to a successful and meaningful life. This attitude has subsequently influenced societies view on religion (Cunningham, 1998). For instance take Christmas or Easter which are both sacred and public holidays in Britian, however According to Gertler and Vinodrai (2002) many grown-up members in religious rituals don’t intentionally comprehend the typical importance of these ceremonies. He added

“You may ask many civilized people in vain for the real meaning of the Christmas tree or of the Easter egg. The fact is they do things without knowing why they do them. I am inclined to the view that things were general”.

Although it is more dominant in Western societies, there is also now an emergence of this worldview even in developing nations, which is leading more and more people to conform (out of necessity) to a commodified worldview (Hamilton, 2003). It would be reasonable to assume that this might infect the world of religion as well, so that commodification effects religious conceptions. Moving into a world of commodification whereby people are tied to seeing things as objects, objects that can be bought and sold. This is something I will investigate in my interview.

In addition, Hall and Thomson (2007) The Protestant Ethic & The Spirit of Capitalism reveals to us how Calvinists in the sixteenth and seventeenth century looked upon an individual’s prosperity inside business and reserve funds was an evidence that they were bound for salvation. We can relate this to the early beginnings of free enterprise and an individual’s obligation and prospects, with time the stress of religious beliefs was disintegrated as a free market system succeeded. With this new society came increasing rationalisation, this lead to disillusionment and definitely alongside that came a reduction in religious belief system and church participation.

As well, spiritual experience is something that can be understood, not by practice or by individual effort, but through a simple exchange, money for ablution. It is therefore not surprising that many religions today have adjusted their fundamental tenants and have become “consumer religions” Loveless (2002), or religions that promise material success by selling religious services. This it is not surprising that in this context religion, both new and old, take matters of the utmost sacredness and commercialize them. That is why in a country with such a rich history such as Japan a funeral can cost more than one million dollars!

 One of the major influencers of formative sociology of religion in Scanlon, Buckingham and Burn (2005) suggests that Western societies are undergoing an extensive period of secularization. He found that in Britain alone church attendance during the mid-nineteenth century had fallen by a staggering forty percent. Juxtaposed with a study conducted in the 1960’s where the decline in church attendance was only ten percent, this shows us that over the course of thirty years there was a decline of over thirty percent in attendance. This highlights that secularization has been part and parcel of the modernist philosophy and it can therefore be concluded that secularization is a component of modernism. Naturally this leads to a question, that is, to what extent has Faith decreased due to the forces of modernity?

2.2 The ideology behind egalitarianism and its root to capitalism

Weber accepted that religion (and particularly Calvinism) really served to offer ascent to the rise of modern capitalism, as he affirmed in his most celebrated and disputable work, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.

In The Protestant Ethic, Weber contends that capitalism emerged in Europe partially due to how the faith in destiny was deciphered by regular English Puritans. Puritan religious philosophy was dependent upon the Calvinist thought that not everybody might be spared; there was just a particular number of the choose who might avoid damnation, and this was built in light of God’s decided beforehand will and not on any activity you could perform in this life (Sefton-Green and Sinker, 2000).

For all intents and purpose, Weber noted, this was troublesome mentally: individuals were (naturally) restless to know whether they might be endlessly cursed or not. In this way Puritan pioneers started guaranteeing parts that in the event that they started doing great fiscally in their organizations, this might be one informal sign they had God’s approbation and were around the spared – yet just in the event that they utilized the tree grown foods of their work well (Thomson and Hall, 2006).

This alongside the logic suggested by monotheism prompted the advancement of normal accounting and the computed quest for fiscal achievement past what one required basically to live – and this is the “soul of capitalism.” Over time, the propensities connected with the soul of private enterprise lost their religious essentialness, and balanced quest for benefit turned into its own particular profit. Resulting to inequalities (class, race, gender, sex) in different institutions within society.

In 2005 Wilson concluded based on the finds of another study that only six percent of people in the Christian populous attend church (Thomson and Hall, 2006). His study outlines the pre-existing notion which has been upheld that there is a drastic decline of religious values, beliefs and practices which ultimately resulted in the loss of its social significance due to commercialism. To provide a succinct example of this, gone are the days when something as sacred as a wedding ceremony occurs in a church.

 Most dream weddings today are about the honeymoon not about the marriage itself. In nearly each culture, the marriage could be a vital life event that involves celebration in a very deeply personal and memorable method. People, place, and preparation are the foundation of the marriage, as couples style a ceremony that tells their story. While the motivations and preferences of every couple are terribly completely different, the deep desire to celebrate love in a very special and lasting method is consistent across ages and cultures. Wedding tourism, that is, voyaging universally with the end goal of getting hitched or commending a wedding (Sefton-Green and Sinker, 2000) has ended up progressively mainstream lately (Loveless, 2002).

Weddings have become a commodity, providing opportunities for every host destination to plug itself as an area wherever a special life event is commemorated in Associate in an unforgettable method (Boden, 2001). According to Cunningham (1998), a UK primarily based supplier of marketing research, one in 5 United Kingdom and Northern Ireland weddings takes place abroad; between 2005 and 2010, the amount of weddings abroad exaggerated by twenty seven percent. The need to honeymoon abroad has additionally been growing, as client preference analysis discovered that the share of consumers eager to honeymoon abroad has up from fifty seven percent to seventy percent within the period from 2008 to 2010 (Mintel, 2010).

It is therefore logical to conclude that commercialization and commodification are, as previously mentioned, characteristics of capitalism. Another facet which emerges from this ideological worldview is egalitarianism and in particular its connection with globalization. Cunningham (1998) highlights that religion is the “opiate of the masses” -a way for the elites to reinforce the oppression of the lower classes. This results to class inequalities taking place on both global and local level.

According to Cunningham (1998), economically speaking, 20% of the world population is rich. This shows that 80% of the worlds wealth is controlling the economics of the world. The social effect of globalization which promotes inequality is largely due to geo political influences and the internet. Berger (1967) states that with the fast development of technologies, media and sciences comes a decay of religion and an addressing of its place in the public eye. He happens to state that religion, previously, has held the explanations for our unanswerable inquiries and offered intending to lives. Notwithstanding that our inquiries are currently replied by science and innovation then the congregation and religion is no more required. This procedure is additionally alluded to as the Rational Choice Theory (RTC) of Religion.

The influence of the internet and the meta geo politics effects different countries. For instance, if one nation (Britain) is going through the credit crunch and recession process, this affects other countries within. For example the case of the Twin tower bombings in Washington paved the way for Muslims to be viewed as terrorist not only on a local front but on a global front too.

This influenced the notion of individualism in religion, whereby members of society are somewhat forced to practice their faith behind closed doors.

2.3 Shift from social solidarity to individualism

Buckingham (2003) did an investigation of the Arunta native tribes in Australia. He found that religion has social capacities for its parts. Clements and Sarama (2003) discovered tribes treated most things as normal yet a few things were separate as taboo and move wonder. Durkheim contended these exceptional things speak to something of incredible force and in his view this can only be society. Thus worshipping these things is worshipping society, regardless of the possibility that these tribes weren’t mindful of it. Durkhiem argued that the collective consciousness of society was deteriorating and as a result, individualism has taken over.

Buckingham (2003) argues faith performs a social occasion by providing psychological support throughout times of emotional stress that may otherwise threaten social life. This shows how Religion plays a solidarity role in individuals life, by allowing them to have a sense of belonging.

Balshaw (2004) contended that Individualisation sees religion as progressively ‘a matter of individual decision’ not just as far as things like love, additionally as far as a ‘pick and blend ” approach to religions (joining together different plans and rationalities to make customized manifestations of conviction). Such individualisation advances to fulfil religious desires in circumstances where people ‘can no more depend on social foundations.

Religion is genuine for Durkhiem; it is an articulation of social order itself, and undoubtedly, there is no social order that has no religion. This shows that the standards of religion still however exist in modern society. Thus Religion is a declaration of our aggregate cognizance, which is the union of the greater part of our distinctive awareness, which then makes an actuality of its own. Along these lines without the faith in confidence we see an increment in Anomie. Where by people create a feeling of norm lessness which regularly has a pessimistic effect on their mental, physical and enthusiastic soundness. Also the development in libertarianism and independence heads a development in Def interest, which than prompts secularization and outcomes to the decay of confidence. Hence the value of egalitarianism leads to the breakdown of social solidarity whereby individualism is the core principle as appose to solidarity. As Wagner (2004) so skilfully expressed “But ultimately, modernity is about the increase of individualism and individuality.” whereby shared beliefs within ones community is not embraced through a collective consciousness but through individuality. For instance if one was invited to attend a wedding, one will only attend if the dates are suitable and fits the schedule of that particular individual.

“We must stop thinking of the individual and start thinking about what is best for society today” Hillary Clinton, (1993) however in modern day individuals represent their own particular interest toward oneself. Collaborating just to the extent that needed by Laws, Contracts and Public opinions that constrains their actions. This is something I will explore in my research, by inspiring my interviewee’s to discuss their personal views on religion in relation to solidarity or individualism.

2.4 Classical and modern approach to sexuality

In The Transformation of Intimacy (1992) Giddens alludes to the new examples of sexuality. He contends that the radicalized modernity is converting intimacy. Sexuality has ended up unreservedly drifting. argued that sexuality in modern society is fixated with the notion of sex being freed from both reproduction and subservience to a fixed object. This is something I will investigate in my research, by eliciting my interviewee on their perception of intimacy and sex in modern era.

In Addition, several factors have begun to wear down the power of clergy in the Western world: the shortage of male priests (Hoge 1987), non-ordained women performing clerical tasks (Wallace 1992), the presence of women clergy (Lehman 1987) and the changes they have introduced (Ice 1987), declining church attendance and participation. Thus this therefore highlights how sexuality tends to play a role of a limitation rather than a strength when discussing the decline of faith in Britain. Men no longer have the only authoritarian role within the church, women are allowed to participate in such activities.

The traditional point of sexuality – Clements and Sarama (2003) discusses the traditional Chinese philosophy in understanding sexuality. She argues that the Ying and Yang example whereby both sexes complement each other, whereby Yin and yang are complementary opposites within a greater whole. Everything has both yin and yang aspects, which continuously work and act together, never existing in total stasis. However in modern era, we see the notion of Ying and Yang deteriorate dramatically due to the increase of same sex relationships. This state’s how traditionalist philosophy has perhaps extended its branches and as a result of this, Traditionalism only exists to a certain extent in the modern era philosophy, due to features of modernity where individuals take for granted the notion of “free will” and use it perhaps for selfish and material advantage as appose to spiritual and generous way of living.

Cunningham (1998) had a fixation on sex. He developed a theory of how our sexuality begins at a very young age and develops through various fixations as one gets older. Many of his theories was based on pleasure principle, which was developed because of sex. In modern society, sex pleasure is not limited to genital satisfaction.

politically speaking, sexual abusive has only in recent years been brought to the surface in modern society. Individuals who were brought up in a mechanical society, whereby women were used as sex objects, rape victims, was more or less seen as a norm.

Angela Davis argued that women of a particular ethic background was more at a disadvantage of being abused as appose to their white counter part. However due to the various policies implemented in modern society such as the 1967 act on abortion, and the sexual effect Act implemented in 2003 shows how sexuality has shifted from traditional to modernistic views. Whereby Sex cannot be used as a patriarchy act rather it is know against the law to treat Women as sex objects,

It is also important to highlight the fact that homosexuality is booming in the UK, with the gay and lesbian marriages now being legalised. Almost three-quarters of a million UK adults say they are gay, lesbian or bisexual – equivalent to 1.5% of the population, a survey suggests. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) says 480,000 (1%) consider themselves gay or lesbian, and 245,000 (0.5%) bisexual. Not only does this show the shift in traditional to modern philosophy but also how the traditional notion of sex has completely and utterly been dismantled because of “new” types of sexuality.

In addition with the enhancement of medical practice and cures, doctors are now able to robot-ify the notion of reproduction through IVF and other medical procedures which kills the traditional approach to reproduce.

The holiness of marriage is dead, Goode (1971) and Gibson (1994) contend that secularization has brought about marriage getting less consecrated and to a lesser degree a profound union and even more a viable responsibility which can without much of a stretch be relinquished. Research British Affiliation association indicates that 65 per cent of marriages no longer involve a religious ceremony, so many people do not attach much religious significance to their marriages. Not to mention the increased commercialisation and commodification of sexuality through pornography and mass media communications (Hall and Thomson, 2007)

Cash based foundations advertise private enterprise; wage obliges employment, and families oblige pay. Along these lines, the economy has profound/great impacts on examples of sexuality, particularly marriage and childbearing (Gertler and Vinodrai, 2002). The family has normally/(previously) been a solid organization, underpinned by both religion and the lawful framework. It is identified with a stress that attracts regard for family capacities of help and childrearing, typical practices of dependability, and the familial lust (illegal in the public arena). Medication has ended up more critical in the creation and control of sexuality, a pattern alluded to as the medicalization of sexuality (Tiefer, 2004). Traditional society might not have the intends to take care of sexual issues, for example, sexual transmitted deceases or abortion.

Chapter Three: Methodology

This chapter describes and explains the methodology deployed in this study and at the research methods reading which informed my choice of methods. This study is a practical project of field study type.

Chapter One introduced the subject of this dissertation, i.e. to investigate the nature and impact of national and local initiatives on geography teaching in schools with ICT (Information and Communication Technology). The focus is particularly the significant factors that influence and facilitate teachers’ ability to embrace ICT and incorporate it in their geography teaching and use it with pupils. I am interested in discovering what the main barriers are to teachers who do not integrate ICT in the geography curriculum. This had to be “doable within the time, space and resources available” (Blaxter, et. al., 1999, p.25) and was refined from the early rather ambitious aims to being more focused.

There are many models of the research process, most of them devised according to a series of stages. Cohen and Manion (1994) identify eight stages of action research, which appeared rather too scientific in approach, as I was seeking to “understand individuals’ perceptions of the world” (Bell, 1999, p.7). Other representations of the research process, including one with five stages of research shown in diagrammatic form showing design, sampling, data collection, data analysis and the report are presented by Blaxter et. al. (1999, p.8). This seems to be a rather over-simplification of a long and complex process.

Johnson identifies the following “stages of activity which must be worked through in carrying out and completing an investigation” (Johnson, 1994, p.172).

  1. Establishing the focus of the study
  2. Identifying the specific objectives of the study
  3. Selecting the research method
  4. Arranging research access
  5. Developing the research instrument
  6. Collecting the data
  7. Pulling out of the investigative phase
  8. Ordering the data
  9. Analysing the data
  10. Writing up
  11. Enabling dissemination

(Johnson, 1994, p. 172)

These and other “representations of the research process” such as those presented in diagrammatic format by Blaxter et. al. are “simplifications and idealizations of the research process” (Blaxter et. al. 1999, p.7). They acknowledge that the work of researchers is “anything but linear” (Blaxter et. al. 1999, p.7). They present some other models of research, including their own preferred “research spiral” which shows the process going through “a number of cycles, the effects of each one impacting upon the way in which successive cycles are approached” (Blaxter et. al., 1999, p.10). However, Johnson’s stages have guided my research as my preferred approach is through clearly defined small steps and which fits well with the model of geographical enquiry. Johnson also moves beyond the dissertation report as being the final stage, through to dissemination of the findings, which I identified early as being an objective of the research process.

Using the Johnson model the remainder of this chapter describes and explains the methods I undertook in the ten-month period of the research.

3.1 Establishing the focus of the study

This was relatively straightforward as it stemmed from my interest in geography as a school subject and in ICT as a tool for teaching and learning. Blaxter et. al. see research as being “powerfully affected by the researchers own motivations and values” (Blaxter et. al., 1999, p.15) and this seems to be essential in order to sustain the interest over a period of time, to be able to utilise strengths and prior knowledge and for the research to be useful in my professional life.

3.2 Identifying the specific objectives of the study

Cohen and Manion (1994) identify the first stage in the research process as being identification and formulation of the “problem”. There may not always be a “problem” as such as the focus for research, but in this instance there is. The problem identified is that despite statutory curriculum requirements and government initiatives to support the development of teachers skills and to provide curriculum materials, “the use of ICT is underdeveloped” and “new technology is used effectively in geography in only three schools in three” (Ofsted, 2001a, p.1).

Traditionalism and Modernism
Traditionalism and Modernism

At about the same time as I commenced this work in January 1999, the Government announced details of NOF training (funded through proceeds from the National Lottery) as an entitlement for all teachers. This was a particularly interesting development as it raised expectations for the integration of ICT in geography teaching and I decided that NOF training would become the focus for my research. The geography support team of Staffordshire Local Education Authority, of which I am one of two officers, was encouraged to bid for approved training provider status working in partnership with the School of Computing at Staffordshire University. The bid was successful and Staffordshire ICT for Teachers (SIfT) initially became a regional provider of geography ICT training for the NOF initiative and subsequently became a national provider, attracting teachers from schools all over England. Johnson advises that it is important to “attempt to define specific objectives in advance” and this development provided me with the trigger to assist in “identifying particular objectives” including help with “choosing the research method and deciding on the forms of access needed” (Johnson, 1994, p. 173).

Background reading and the literature review was an on-going process. Initial reading influenced “formation of research objectives” (Johnson, 1994, p.173) but new official reports were published during my research, specifically by Ofsted (2001b) and Teacher Training Agency, (2001), which had a significant impact on my work, predominantly to reinforce my own findings, so reading continued throughout the research period. In the literature review I have attempted to “provide the reader with a picture …. of the state of knowledge and of major questions in the subject area being investigated” (Bell, 1999, p.93).

3.3 Selecting the research method

Guided by Johnson (1994, p. 174) I found that selecting the research methods was a “crucial element” in the research process. I decided to use a variety of complementary research methods which were largely qualitative through interviews with teachers and observations and examination of documentary evidence in order to form case studies, but with some initial quantitative research to gather background evidence of teachers’ experience and attitudes, in order to set the scene.

Case studies were used to “follow up and to put flesh on the bones” (Bell, 1999, p.11) of the initial survey and to examine “participants’ perceptions and judgements” (Simons, 1996, p.229). Although case study research has had its critics in the past, it is “now widely accepted as a form of research” (Simons, 1996, p.225) and fits my objectives of investigating how individual geography teachers view the use of ICT in their teaching and how they are supported or otherwise in their schools. The notion of the “paradox of case study” is introduced by Simons (1996, p. 225) who claims “by studying the uniqueness of the particular, we come to understand the universal” Simons (1996, p. 231).

Johnson (1994, p.183) notes that “qualitative methods are slow” and indeed visiting six schools to interview eight teachers, was a time-consuming process, but one which I felt was worth pursuing in order to obtain a better illustration of the varied nature of the schools and to reflect the individual perceptions and experiences of the teachers during their NOF training.

3.4 Arranging research access

Through my work as Geography Adviser and as a member of the NOF Approved Training Provider, SIfT, I was “totally enmeshed in the subject” of my research and “an active participant” (Blaxter et. al., 1999, p. 11). My close involvement is significant because it explains how I gained access to the teachers I interviewed and provided relatively easy access to geography teachers. I gave out questionnaires to teachers embarking on their NOF training with SIfT during the period September 2000 to April 2001. This work has been “affected by the researcher’s own motivations and values” (Blaxter et. al., 1999, p.15) although it does not aim to investigate the quality of a single training provider, the SIfT schedule and materials, but the wider impact of strategies and initiatives. This research therefore is as “open and transparent as possible” (Blaxter et. al, 1999, p.16). The sample of teachers is small, all undertaking their NOF training with SIfT but broadly representative of geography teachers from a range of schools, as shown in Chapter Four. Retrospectively, it could have been possible to include a school in this study which had not started NOF training yet, in order to make comparisons with those who had.

3.5 Developing the research instrument

Three main research instruments were used during this work. An initial survey questionnaire was given to teachers embarking on their NOF training with SIfT. The questionnaire evolved after being trialled with a teacher who was not part of the sample. Bell (1999) provides sound common-sense advice on designing and administering questionnaires. The questionnaire was designed to be quick and easy for teachers to complete, with several questions involving a choice of tick boxes, with a minimum amount of written response required. Twenty-nine questionnaires were returned, so it was a relatively small sample. The sample was a “non-probability sample” (Cohen and Manion, 1994, p.88) with the participants selected for “convenience” as they attended initial “face-to-face” training days at the start of their SIfT training. Most of the respondents completed the questionnaire during their training day and returned it at the end of the day, thus maximising the return with minimal inconvenience to the teachers.

The data from the returned questionnaires was collated and analysed and the findings can be found in Chapter Four. The questionnaire was designed to “gather data at a particular point in time with the intention of describing the nature of existing conditions”, (Cohen and Manion, 1994, p.83). From this initial questionnaire a small sample of teachers was identified who would be “prepared to complete a more detailed questionnaire in 4 – 6 months time” which would form the basis of the more detailed case studies.

The next stage was undertaking the research to form the case studies. I visited each of the six schools and conducted a prolonged interview based on another, more detailed questionnaire with one or two members of the geography department. I support the view that “a major advantage of the interview is its adaptability” (Bell, 1999, p.135) and each interview was “semi-structured”, although based on the same questionnaire schedule, differed according to the responses of the teachers involved and their experiences set against different school contexts.

Traditionalism and Modernism Dissertation
Traditionalism and Modernism Dissertation

As part of the background to the school, reference was also made to the most recent Ofsted report available for the school. In most of the case study schools an examination was made of pupils’ work using ICT and in some cases informal lesson observations were undertaken during these visits. These were used to provide a recognised context for the case study and to draw some conclusions with Ofsted’s annual subject report.

3.6 Collecting the data

Questionnaires were distributed to and collected from teachers at the start of their NOF training, from September 2000 to April 2001. It was important to gauge the experiences of teachers prior to the start of their NOF training in order to gather information to provide the background to the case studies. The initial questionnaire was confidential, but teachers who were offering to take part in a follow-up questionnaire and school visit were invited to give their names. Anonymity in the report was promised and respected. The questionnaires provided a mixture of data. Some of the data was subsequently analysed in a quantitative way, largely to do with the background and experience of the teachers and the ICT resources which they had experience of. Other data, to do with perceptions of ICT in geography and the NOF training was more qualitative.

The fieldwork period took place in May and June 2001 and was a “distinct and discrete phase of the investigation” (Johnson, 1994, p.177). During this time visits were made to six schools, and eight teachers were interviewed based on the follow-up questionnaire and some classroom observations and scrutiny of pupils’ work were also undertaken. The interviews were used to gather information about teachers’ experiences and opinions of NOF and provision of ICT support in school and their plans for the future with regard to ICT developments. These visits took place four to eight months after teachers had started their NOF training, so that the case studies could start to examine the impact of the training. The interviews, classroom observations and Ofsted reports provided more detailed qualitative data used to form the case studies, which can be read in Chapter Four.

3.7 Pulling out of the investigative phase

The fieldwork period was a most significant part of the research and the part in which I found I was “investing most in the study, by way of time and personal involvement” (Johnson, 1994, p. 177). I tried to avoid the “open-ended period of data collection” (Johnson, 1994, p. 178) as I intended to include six case studies from the start. However, because this stage was arguably the most interesting and rewarding, it was tempting to visit more schools, although this was impossible because of time constraints. Each visit lasted on average three hours, which included a general tour of the geography department, the interview, classroom observation and talking to pupils.

The research was intentionally undertaken during teachers’ involvement in significant professional development, as this was critical to the issue. However, some schools were still at an early stage in their development of ICT in geography and in School C, Teacher 5 said “Come back in January and see what we have done then” when developments would be further embedded in practice. This is a frustration of small-scale research, which in some ways never seems complete.

3.8 Ordering the data

All the questionnaires were “collated and classified” and kept for subsequent analysis and held on file even after the research was complete so that the researcher was “prepared to be accountable for the investigations” (Johnson, 1994, p.179). Field notes were written up based on the interviews and classroom observations.

3.9 Analysing the data

The data collected from the questionnaires and school visits form much of the substance of Chapter Four, to help evaluate the specific experience of some teachers in order to make generalisations. The tension between the study of the unique and the need to generalise is necessary to reveal both the unique and the universal and the unity of that understanding (Simmons, 1996, p.238).

The findings from my research are compared to findings from my background reading and of official reports from Ofsted and TTA, to avoid the weakness noted by Johnson that in many dissertations “little use is made of the data collected in the eventual discussion of the thesis topic” (Johnson, 1994, p. 179). The initial questionnaires were analysed and the data is presented in Chapter Four in statistical and tabular format where appropriate. This is compared with research from elsewhere, especially with findings from Ofsted and TTA. The data collected from interviews and classroom observations during school visits form the basis of the case studies partly though quotations from teachers and to make recommendations which can be found in Chapter Five.

3.10 Writing up

The aim of this stage was so that “the overall conclusions or ‘message’ of the research be summarized in an assimilable and memorable form” (Johnson, 1994, p. 179) and to communicate “the researchers empirical experience” to a wider audience (Johnson, 1994, p. 180). The case studies in Chapter Four are “ideally suited to the needs and resources of the small-scale researcher” (Blaxter et. al., 1999, p.66).

3.11 Enabling dissemination

It was important to research an aspect of education that was topical and relevant to today’s teachers. It was an important part of the research process that the findings and particularly the recommendations are made available to a wider audience of teachers through my work as Adviser and as a member of the Geographical Association’s ICT Working Group. Consequently some of the findings, results and conclusions will be used on courses. I feel that I have a “duty to make dissemination possible” (Johnson, 1994, p. 180) to the rest of the SIfT Geography team in order to influence future developments and strategies.

Chapter 4 – Findings and Analysis

In this chapter the results of the data analysis are presented. The data were collected and then processed in response to the problems posed in chapter1 of this dissertation. Three fundamental goals drove the collection of the data and the subsequent data analysis. The findings presented in this chapter demonstrate those goals were to develop a base of knowledge about the relationship between the individual and their own faith in modern society. Their interpretation of the scared holidays such as Christmas and Eid. And their personal views on sexuality and faith. These objectives were accomplished.

One of the first inquiries for my Investigation is to see whether you belong with a religious affiliation? My outcomes uncovered larger part of my members had a place with a religious association. However during my semi structured interview, I came across a candidate who was atheist in their views of the manifestation of the divine. This highlighted a slight increase as non-religious believers in UK. As stated by the 2001 consensus In the UK, the individuals who portray themselves as non-religious have climbed from 31% to half between 1983 and 2009 as stated by the British Social Attitudes Survey’s 28th report issued in 2011.

The data reported in this project during my focus group method, suggested that participants were only answering the question based on what their fellow group members would answers were. During my focus group interview I found that only one participant agreed to belong to a religious affiliation. However when leading my semi structured interview, I found that my members were more calm in noting my inquiries in a truthful way without needing to stress over different members replies. This brought about my information to overflow legitimacy.

Furthermore when asking my participants, weather they attend a place of worship. I found that throughout my centre gathering strategy, members non-verbal communication were unbelievably unfriendly with dubious answers, for example, “as often as one can attend”. Applicant B, throughout the focus group interviews included “I attend my place of worship because I am born into a faith and therefore I must practice by it”. This explanation specifically highlighted to me how maybe the more established era have neglected to install in the more youthful era the exclusive explanations for the importance of heading into a place of worship.

What was staggering is when asked the same inquiry throughout my semi structured interview, participants were more quiet into going in-profundity with their replies. Applicant D for example said “I attend my place of worship because it is a part of my identity, tradition and history. It provides a sense of solidarity within the community and family and gives us a sense of belonging “. Needless to say, the general contention here to highlight is the way that 75 percent of my participants concluded up in not having attended a place of worship. What’s more, when asked what relatives are less averse to go to a place of worship, majority of my participants addressed the elderly parts of the house hold. The older generation are more religious than the youthful ones; ‘for many young individuals, disengaged conviction is, progressively, offering path to no conviction whatsoever’ (Davie, 1990: 462).

This indeed highlights how the more seasoned era who have existed by their Faiths standards and customs, principles and ethics as pair to the new era who fit in with the post illumination period have diverse perspectives on attending a place of worship.

Moreover, the commodification of religion was highlighted throughout my research. When my participants were asked why they attended a place of worship, candidate A answered” was only a result of a special occasion such as Holi” . This demonstrated to me to what degree commodification has really occurred in advanced time. Christmas and Holi are holy days which have obscure philosophical implications which happened to be obfuscated because of the strengths of a free market system and consumerism. Whereby everything including religious, occupation, wellbeing, and training is utilized as a product to upgrade capital for public opinion

Interestingly, a census completed by the Yougov in walk 2012 in the interest of the British Humanitarian Association demonstrated most individuals in Britain (63%) had not attended a place of worship, 43% of individuals attended a place of worship over a year ago and 20% of individuals had never attended. Only 9% of people had attended a place of worship within the last week. Furthermore statistics collected by the National Centre for Social Research in 2009, showed membership of most religions is lower now than it was 30 years ago.

Question 5 in my research was revolved around identity and what element helps the essentialness of their character (religion, family, occupation, training) . Throughout the focus group discussion, all the members said either Family or Education was a number one necessity in their lives. However not one member picked religion as an essential element that shapes their character. Similarly when conducting my semi structured interview, the same results were presented to me in contrast to focus groups . Greater part of the members said “occupation” as their component which shapes their character. Candidate A discussed how ” imperative it was for them to have a better quality of life therefore, working would be the only solution. I can buy all the things I want too”. This fortified Durkhiem belief system of independence. Whereby individuals in the public arena today is really so self image orientated. the “I” is more essential than “we”. Realism over rides mysticism in current.

The third aim of my research was focused around the traditional and modern principles of sexuality. With a recent report stating that 4 out of 10 marriages are expected to end in divorce (Morrison, 2002). This could be said to show a declining importance of religious morals and beliefs in people’s lives. At the point when participants were requested their opinion on “sex before marriage”. The effects of this was shocking without a doubt with 99 percent of my members concurred with the idea of having intercourse before marriage. Only one participant did not agree with this thought.

What was much all the more amazing, is that the discourse changed from sex before marriage to what the Holy religious scriptures sayings were in reference to sexuality. This demonstrated to me, that my members were completely mindful of the conventional perspective of sexuality, then again they pick not to pay heed to that. It is as though Faith has not part in Modernity.

When asking participants whether religion is a big part of their everyday life? is it a private or public matter? Focus groups, outcomes demonstrated a large portion of my members concurred with religion being an imperative part of their lives, in any case they included that religion in particular a private matter. This to me highlights the idea of independence existing in modern society. It doesn’t however indicate that there has been a decrease in religion but instead we immerse ourselves into the modern era, we accumulate characteristics of the modernity in order for us to fit in within society.

Semi structured interviews showed 100 percent of my members concurred with religion being a private matter. Applicants and B and C went further on by examining how the global forces have impacted their choice in making religion as a private matter. Candidate B utilized the illustration of the 9/11 bombings making it perilous for Muslims to stroll around out in the open because of generalization.

Chapter 5: Conclusion

On the basis of the above discussions, it can be concluded that the principles of modernity have played an important role in order to contribute to the decline of faith in Britain. It is also concluded that the traditional principles are getting obsolete in a contemporary society and people living within the society are more likely to adopt the modern way of living. The present era is the era of materialism and all goods and services are transformed into commodities for sale which also includes healthcare, religion, education, personal identity and in some cases happiness and people are very less likely to emphasize on the social norms and traditions (Short, 2003). The people nowadays are measuring prosperity in monetary terms and it is considered to be the ultimate goal to a successful and meaningful life. According to Clements (2010), the emphasis of materialism in the modern era is due to decline of faith and misconceptions about the religion and people are not following the religious values which is very alarming situation. This can be understood from the fact that attendance in the churches is continuously decreasing in many countries of the world (Calthorpe and William, 2001). It is not only very common in the developed nations like United Kingdom but it is emerging in the under developed countries. One of the main reasons behind this is faith has come to mean an acceptance of creedal truths as objective facts and the religious scholars are not successful in convincing people about God’s existence. There are significant percentage of people who believe that existence of God is an Illusionary thing. Religion also has been used by the elites in order to exploit the lower classes which are creating inequalities both at the global and local level. This is more common in those countries where the literacy rate is low and people don’t have necessary awareness about their rights. The lack of awareness regarding the individual rights results in exploitation which is also harmful for the society. Although there is no religion in this world which allows exploitation of the people, however, the negative use of religion is also common in some parts of the world.

The recent development of technologies, sciences and media has also contributed significantly in order to reduce the interest of the people in religion. The strong confidence of the people on science and technological progress has decreased their faith on religion. The people living in different parts of the world have started believing that religion has nothing to do with the modern society. However, it is a fact that religion plays an important role in order to bring peace and comfort in the people life by allowing them to have a strong sense of belonging. It has been used by the people in order to improve their quality of life and bring prosperity in the society by following the ethical and moral standards. On the basis of the discussions which are made in the literature review chapter, it is also concluded that in the present era, there is a strong shift from social solidarity to individualism. This shows that instead of thinking about the over the overall society, the people are more concerned about their individual benefits. Although the standard of religion still exists in the society, however, people all over the world are not following the religious values or standards in order to spend their life. It is a fact that few decades back religion was considered one of the most important factors that can help to transform the life of the people. However, in the present world, there is a slight increase in the non religious believers in the UK and all over the world. The individuals who claim themselves as non-religious are increasing and there are very few people who are ready to show their religious affiliations.

The discussions made in the research findings chapter helps to explain that older generation were more religious than the youthful ones and if necessary measures are not taken in order to increase the religious affiliations of the people then after few years there will be very small percentage of people who will claim themselves as religious. According to Ofsted (2009), nothing is more dangerous than the elimination of religious values from the society. The discussion reflects that there are very few people nowadays who believe that religion is an important element that shapes their character and help to improve their life. The high modernity in the society is as a result of capitalism and industrialization and it is more likely to reorder to natural and social world. This helps to understand that there will be a strong impact of capitalism and industrialization on the society (Short, 2003). It is also concluded that due to capitalist and industrial development, people are more concerned about movement of goods and capital and there is a strong decline on faith and on the traditional forms of society. The research objective of providing a philosophical and historical understanding of Traditionalism and Modernism has been achieved through the discussions which are made in various sections of the dissertation. The discussions made in the literature review chapter reflect that few decades back people had deeper respect for long held cultural and religious values and these values were considered to be an important part of the society. Therefore, people were more traditional and prefer to adopt the traditional values. However, in the modern era, there is a criticism on traditionalism and majority of the researchers believe that traditional values restricted both individual freedom and the pursuit of happiness (Ofsted, 2009). This increases the importance of modernism and it has motivated the people to follow the modern values, norms and traditions.

The proponents of modernism believes that in order to grow in the society, exploit the economic opportunities in an effective manner and achieve the desired level of economic growth and prosperity, it is essential to follow the modern values because the traditional methods and values are no longer effective in the modern society (Clements, 2010). There is a common perception that traditional values were more effective in the past and the present world demands implementation of the modern values. However, there are also some researchers who believe that it is important to have a combination of modern and traditional values because both values have significant importance in improving the overall society (Stark and Laurence, 1992). The research objective of assessing how commercialization and commodification have resulted in the decline of religiosity also has been achieved. The discussion made under the literature view section of the research shows that in the modern era of globalization and capitalism, the different societies of the world are more focused on commercialization and there is a strong decline of religiosity. One of the main reasons behind this is everything in the present era has been commercialized and people have started believing that implementation of the religious values could create hurdles in the growth and development of the society. This opinion is not correct because religion always have an important role in order to meet the needs and requirements of the humans and society (Richard, 1978).


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Buckingham, D. (2003). “Living in a young country?: youthful creativity and cultural Policy in the United Kingdom”. Youth Cultures: Texts, Images and Identities. Eds. K. Mallan and S. Pearce. Westport Conneticut, London: Praeger: 92-107.

Clements, D. H. and Sarama, J. (2003). “Strip mining for gold: Research and policy in educational technology – A Response to “Fool’s Gold” EducationalTechnology Review 11 (1): 7-69.

Coffield, F., Moseley, D., Hall, E., Eccleston, K. (2004). Learning Styles and Pedagogy in Post-16 learning. London: Learning and Skills Research Centre.

Cunningham, H. (1998). ‘Digital Culture – the view from the dance Floor’ in Digital Diversions: Youth Culture in the Age of Multimedia. Ed. Sefton-Green, J. London: UCL Press: 128-148.

Gertler, M. S., Florida, R. Gates, G. and Vinodrai, T. (2002). Competing on Creativity: Placing Ontario’s Cities in North American Context. Report prepared for the Ontario Ministry of Enterprise, Opportunity and Innovation and the Institute of Competitiveness and Prosperity. Ontario, Canada.

Hall, C. and Thomson, P. (2007). “Creative Partnerships? Cultural policy and inclusive arts practice in one primary school.” British Educational Research Journal 33 (3): 315 – 329.

Loveless, A. M. (2002). Literature Review in Creativity, New Technologies and Learning. NESTA Futurelab.

Scanlon, M., Buckingham, D. and Burn, A. (2005). “Motivating Maths: Digital Games and Mathematical Learning”. Technology, Pedagogy and Education 14 (1): 127-139.

Sefton-Green, J. and Sinker, R Eds. (2000). Evaluating Creativity: making and learning by young people. London and New York: Routledge.

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Discrimination Human Rights

Is discrimination ever tolerable? When should discrimination become a human rights issue?

If one had to explain what exactly discrimination is, in the context of mutual human relations, one could simply say that it is an action in which an individual is treated unfairly in comparison with another person, under similar circumstances. But the issue is far more complex than could be expressed so briefly as there are many forms of discrimination, both direct and indirect. While defining discrimination in plain and simple language would not be possible,  it can be stated that discrimination becomes noticeable only when a person is unjustifiably excluded from an activity or expelled completely from a group of people; and after it becomes noticeable it also becomes a human rights issue and needs to be dealt with seriously.

While unfairly treating a person or group of people differently from other people or groups of people can be termed as discriminatory and illegal, it certainly does not mean that discrimination is always unlawful. Two common examples of justified discrimination are affirmative action and varying height requirements for men and women who wish to be part of the Police Force. This kind of discrimination is, in fact, aimed at ironing out the existing inequalities. Affirmative action is used to give opportunities to already underrepresented groups. Similarly, having different height requirements for men and women means women are given an equal chance to be part of the Police Force.

There are instances where discrimination becomes absolutely essential and if not practiced there is a serious risk of causing harm to one or more persons. One would not expect a blind person or a person with limited vision to be issued with a driver’s license. The act of discriminating against him in this case, is crucial in ensuring his own safety and the safety of people on the road. In other words, discrimination against people with some kind of physical or mental disability becomes vital when it means putting them in life endangering situations. Similarly, one would not hire a person with learning disabilities to teach school children. One needs someone who can effectively teach the students and that would be impossible in this case. Discrimination in cases where a person is considered to be unqualified for a particular job should not actually be regarded as discrimination at all. If a person is not qualified for a particular profession or job, there might be many other opportunities that fit perfectly with their skills and expertise.

Discrimination in Society

Instances of justifiable gender discrimination can be seen in society and are definitely not considered to be wrong. A woman is treated with love and affection by her boyfriend. He would not do the same with one of his male friends, (if he’s heterosexual) and this is not discriminatory at all. Justifiably, a man with a terminal disease would either be unable to get health insurance or get it at a very high rate. A person who gets pulled over for driving drunk a couple of times, may get his license revoked and this is definitely rational discrimination.

The only negative side to defending certain forms of discrimination is that sometimes the line between the benefits and harms of discrimination is somewhat distorted. What seems right at the time from every logical angle may eventually turn out to be discriminatory in the future. In many ancient societies women were rarely allowed outside the house; they were considered to be weak and mentally less capable and therefore, not fit to do things other than household chores. At that time this was considered to be the norm but today it comes under gender-based discrimination. The only rational way to decide on an issue like this is to consider whether the particular discrimination has more benefits or harms and to decide accordingly.

Generally, discrimination becomes illegal when it is carried out in respect of a person (persons) belonging to a specific social group. If one doesn’t hire a mentally challenged person for a teaching job that would not be discrimination but if one excludes him simply because he is Asian, it definitely comes under discrimination. If this happens in rare instances, the said individual could always find a job elsewhere but if it becomes a general practice in society, whereby the person is unable to find a job anywhere, it is social discrimination. This means a personal dislike for a certain social group cannot always be fought against; every human being has the right to have likes and dislikes. However, if this dislike is so widespread in society that it affects a person’s right to a normal life, it is clearly discrimination.

Even in cases where the intention was not to discriminate, if the final outcome is the exclusion of a particular group and unequal opportunities for them, it will still be called discrimination. For example, if there is the same height requirement for men and women who wish to enter the army, this would mean fewer women would get in. If this gender inequality is present in other parts of society as well, then it means fewer employment opportunities for women and therefore, it is definitely discriminatory even if the intent was not there.

There are certain factors that are uncontrollable and therefore, being discriminated against on account of these factors is completely unjustified and unlawful. For example, one has no control over the color of one’s skin or one’s country of origin. Discrimination based on these factors, is thus all the more unfair.

There are five main factors which are used to discriminate against individuals. Discrimination against people from a particular race or a certain ethnic background is the most common one. Treating a person unfairly because of his/her sexual preferences is another. Using a person’s religion or belief system against him in a way where he is denied equal opportunities and is unable to profess his beliefs is also wrong. Age-based discrimination, whether it is because the person is too young or too old is still unjust. The last is unfavorable treatment of people with disabilities, both in employment and in general dealing.


Most countries in the world have some form of legislation to deal with cases of discrimination. The people of New Zealand, for example are protected against discrimination in a number of different areas in accordance with the Human Rights Act 1993 and with United Nations conventions. Similarly, the Employment and Industrial Relations Act (2002) completely prohibits discrimination in the workplace. Federal law prohibits discrimination based on (but not limited to) race, sex, religion, disability or age and yet it is only the state of Michigan and 6 other cities that have actually imposed a ban on discriminating against hiring people who are overweight. It is understandable if obese persons are unable to perform their duties but to overlook them simply because they don’t look good is completely unwarranted. The Citizens Medical Center in Texas only hires people with a body mass index less than 35. They claim that the intent is to hire people who appear normal and therefore do not attract attention to themselves. The policy clearly goes against the federal law on discrimination. Certain companies refrain from hiring smokers which is justifiable considering the side effects of the habit and the consequent higher health insurance premiums for such people. However, any form of physical appearance, which does not hinder the person from performing his work efficiently, cannot be used to discriminate against him. Appearance discrimination indicates intolerance towards the physical appearance of people which is completely and totally unjustified.

There are several courses of action that can be taken by a person who is being discriminated against. Going to court is one option but before going to the court one can also file a complaint with one of the several government bodies. These include the Industrial Tribunal  (under the Employment and Industrial Relations Act, 2002), the National Commission for Persons with Disability (under the Equal Opportunities (Persons with Disability) Act) , the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality for Men and Women  (under the Equality for Men and Women Act), the Public Service Commission (under the constitution of Malta), the Ombudsman (under the Ombudsman Act), the Broadcasting Authority (under the Constitution of Malta), and the Employment Commission (under the Constitution of Malta) .

In order for the authorities to take action, the complaint must be made by the victim himself. Legal Notice 461 0f 2004 and Legal Notice 85 of 2007 however, allows people or organizations with a legitimate interest in the case, to support the individual in judicial or administrative procedures, with his permission. By law, the National Commission for Persons with Disability has the power to assist such people. The assistance could be of a financial or legal nature or it could simply be help in writing the complaint. The Commissioner for the Promotion of Equality is empowered under Article 11 of the Equal Treatment of Persons Order, to investigate the matter and to take necessary steps if the complainant needs help in formulating the complaint itself.

Under the Employment and Industrial Relations Act, if there is a case where an employee has been dismissed without due cause or if there is any other violation under Title 1 of this Act, the matter will be transferred to the Industrial Tribunal for a decision, following a referral made by the complainant or someone acting on his behalf.


To conclude it needs to be emphasized that the defining factors in the act of discrimination change with time. What we consider a normal act today, might become discriminatory in the not-too-distant future. However, discriminatory actions against certain individuals or a particular group have far-reaching consequences and therefore cannot be taken lightly. Steps have to be taken to regulate society through effective legislation and through regulatory bodies that can take action against individuals or parties that are guilty of such discrimination.

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Autonomy and Democracy

Society, Privacy, Autonomy and Democracy: Individual or Social good?

Understanding the correlation between privacy, autonomy and democracy have become a major thought for focus among political theorists. Unlike the debate on privatization influencing the market economy, this is mainly centered upon conceptualizing the inner links between privacy and legality. The concern has come into the picture because of a variety of reasons. It may be technological developments or emergence of aggressive identity politics, one or the other way these have triggered unforeseen social issues. Through this essay, I shall try to detangle the intertwined nature of individual privacy, autonomy and democracy and bring out the relations existing in-between them.

Technology today has inevitably advanced to an extent, where employing all types sophisticated devices without regulation is likely to leave no trace of privacy. Inventions like powerful surveillance cameras and biotechnological techniques have unscreened the impenetrable areas of life. It has now become essential to be vigilant about the individual image in life.  But rapid upsurge of identity politics in the issues like feminism, multiculturism, gay movements, racial discretion and national politics has given birth to ambiguities or highlighted the limitations of privacy rights. Constant critics on drawing boundaries between the individual interests and democracy have generated suspicious thoughts of condemnation, segregation and dominance on one part or another. Most important of all, privacy has created a significant impact on the society. It has been a potent reason for the arrival of prevailing forms of racism, ethnocentrism and nationalism. At this point, older regulations to protect the privacy of people are not ideal. Moreover, people are volunteering themselves to relax their private space with an interest to gain goods and services. The interests to acquire a self-determined life and fantasized rewards are affecting the idea of democracy and the autonomous subjects working under it.

Radical critiques from the anti-democrats have also influenced the deprivation of conceptual resources in making a proper judgment. The necessity is to take account of all the possible sources available, reshape and refine it. The main resources in context are privacy rights and democratic rules. On the other facet, feminism has always questioned the loopholes in the democracy. It has played an important role in revealing and justifying the issues faced by women in the civil community based on lack of economic opportunities. However, it has also given rise to situations where democracy is forced to build discriminatory laws and experience legal disabilities. So there are obvious discrepancies and complexities in the modern day society. The issues related to privacy and publicity have mostly been discussed in terms of male interests and norms which thereby have led to prolonged opposition against following the social hierarchies.


Whole societal structure can be seen in two halves, private and public. Firstly, public involves the egalitarian ideals of preserving peace and unity among the people. Secondly, privacy or personal space essential for individual well-being tends to create segregations in the society. Thirdly, autonomy resides somewhere in between the two spheres that influence both the ideas. Democracy certainly requires autonomy for its functioning. Besides solely working on the central command of power it distributes its autonomy among various levels. So democracy and autonomy are related to each other.

In fact, separation of privacy and autonomy is potentially not feasible as they are interrelated in a very dependable way. Similarly, using a public approach by considering the society as a whole by disregarding the various levels in the social structure is also not a viable option. So at the least, rules must exist to provide legal protection and acquire political balance in safeguarding the privacy and publicity. In other words, both the voices of many and individual voices must be protected in a democratic setup. The core intention of democracy should be to avoid leveling, prohibition and homogenization. Again, feminists are continually arguing about having personal priority over privacy. On this context, natural domain that comes into the picture relates intimate relationships, sexuality and family needs. With the attention to this matter, efforts have been made to refine the concept of privacy that oppresses women.


Autonomy greatly influences the policies and principles structured in the interests of society. A few autonomous agents are provided with the power to take actions and judgment. This in one sense is nothing, but overlapping the identity interests over the democracy. The providing autonomy to a group of people to regulate the democracy has both advantages and disadvantages. If deserving subjects who are clean in their conduct are placed as autonomous bodies, it would lead to prosperity. On the contrary, incapable candidates can pose questions over the justice of democracy. Likewise, it is also true that too much autonomy gets bad results. This happens when a person considers his choices as supreme and disregards the balance in privacy and publicity. The personal choices arise as a result of convictions, desires and values. As a result, it directly influences the goal set and actions of a person. There are also other instances where a person doesn’t have his own goals, but gets inspired or carried away by others actions. This is where self-direction comes as a part of illusion. In addition, ongoing social life is another factor that influences the person’s motives. Here an autonomous subject depends on the others judgment to carry out his actions. But in strict terms, autonomous person is one who has his/her choices and actions into play according to own will. Now the question is How to balance these actions following the rules democracy?

As an example, consider the operation of the Web. Democratic ideals must allow the web or internet to operate at maximum potential. Meanwhile, it also needs to protect the privacy of Internet users. Internet today is vastly familiarized, so these statements may seem as a matter of common sense. Nonetheless, for obtaining the objective, one has to perceive things relatively in a complex way. It requires the understanding of the real world situation and devising appropriate rules in a constrained environment. Looking at today’s trend of widespread use of social media, has left us ponder about making a distinction between public and private deeds. Something that was entirely concealed before is not anymore. The times have changed. Furthermore, it becomes more complex as there are distinct groups of people interacting with each other with diverse mindsets from all over the world. I after referring the Book called “The Public and problems” from the author John Dewey came to know an alternative way to perceive the distinction between privacy and publicity. The solution provided focuses on understanding the actions and consequences of the users. In other ways, after observing the adaptability of the users to the new technologies, rule of thumb is to keep aside the old situations and avoiding taking strict unforeseen decision that affects the people. The democratic principles must support the ever changing people to have their way of life. Additionally, imperatively taking decisions on the social privacy can outburst negative consequences and restrict the freedom of movement of the people.

The consequences of one’s actions can be direct and indirect, and as a democratic body it is very important to classify the actions of a user. When it comes to direct consequences, it remains bounded within a definite area and it can be dealt privately. Whereas indirect consequences on the other hand spread to a vast extent immediately after the action takes place. It should be clear by now that indirect consequences must be taken care of to preserve the public interests. Consider an example, where a house owner is burning garden waste in front of his house. In this case, immediate result would be affecting his children and family members. But if toxic pollutants are being burnt then, it becomes a question of the whole neighborhood. Here first part is a direct consequence and other is indirect consequence. The situation can be taken care by installing pollution measuring instruments and warning the owner, so that he hesitates to burn the toxics again. So private acts, triggering public consequences must be taken care by the legislation. In the pollution problem, the process would involve inquiries, warnings and charges against the home owner.


The indirect consequences are not always bad for the society. For instance, if a group of Facebook users come together and discuss their common problems with Facebook groups, it doesn’t pose any problems. It could rather solve the problem unless the issue is anti-democratic and against the government. So in this new generation the conventional philosophies may require refinements with the use of pragmatist approaches. It is very much necessary to safeguard the individual privacy along with curbing the activities that lead to mass tension. Overall, privacy, democracy and autonomy must be considered as parts that whole make up a whole system called society. Also to note, there are unavoidable influences between all the three subjects, and considering them as individual entities can create social enigmas that could remain unsolved. Finally, privacy is not to be neglected but instead must be considered as essential element to democracy and autonomy.

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