Pol 266 third essay exam

Okay, I neglected to post the questions to the second essay exam—but that’s no reason not to post the third exam!

Here she be:

Pol 266, SSI-12
Essay 3

Your answer should be typed, 1500-2000 words (4-6 pp.), and include a source citation for the event or phenomenon you use in your analysis. Due Wednesday, June 27. Again, answer in a continuous essay, and no title page, please.

Political scientist Harold Lasswell famously defined politics as who gets what, when, and how, a definition in which politics is often interpreted as a fight over the distribution of [material] resources. But “resources” may be understood more broadly—as respect, authority, decision-making power, etc.—which in turn requires that one broaden her or his perspective to consider the context in which various cultural issues may be configured as political resources. Given this,

1. Is there a way to deal with the individual as a political subject without also taking her or his culture into account? If not, how and under what circumstances should cultural claims be taken under consideration?
2. Should religious claims be given special consideration? Why or why not? What about “bad” religion (and who decides what’s bad)? What about more general claims of conscience?
3. What is the role of the state in adjudicating clashes between or within cultures and/or religions? How can or should the state determine “who speaks for culture”?
4. If protection of an individual’s capabilities requires interference with the group, should the state intervene on the individual’s behalf? If so, under what circumstances? Should it intervene in the present in order to protect future individual capabilities and opportunities?
5. What if Nussbaum (and I) and liberals generally are wrong to focus on the individual; what if the best way to insure a truly human life is through the protection and promotion of community. Is it possible to develop human capabilities in a communitarian society? If so, how to avoid the extremes as presented in Atwood’s Gilead?

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About proftp

I teach political science and bioethics as an adjunct at a CUNY school.
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