Social Theory: The Multicultural and Classic Readings

By Charles Lemert | Go to book overview

their overall job performance, including showing up for work on time or on a consistent basis. But they represent only a small segment of the worker population in the inner city. Most workers in the inner city are ready, willing, able, and anxious to hold a steady job.

The long-term solutions that I have advanced would reduce the likelihood that a new generation of jobless workers would be produced from the youngsters now in school and preschool. We must break the cycle of joblessness and improve the youngsters' preparation for the new labor market in the global economy.

My framework for long-term and immediate solutions is based on the notion that the problems of jobless ghettos cannot be separated from those of the rest of the nation. Although these solutions have wide-ranging application and would alleviate the economic distress of many Americans, their impact on jobless ghettos would be profound. Their most important contribution would be their effect on the children of the ghetto, who would be able to anticipate a future of economic mobility and share the hopes and aspirations that so many of their fellow citizens experience as part of the American way of life.❖

Patricia Clough ( 1945-) was born in Corona in Queens, New York City, and educated at the University of Illinois, where in addition to studying sociology and cultural criticism, she studied cybernetics at the world-famous Biological Computer Lab. During the 1960s, Clough was a nun in the Roman Catholic Order of the Sisters of Mercy; yet, she broke the traditional silence of the convent to participate in political and social movements in Brooklyn. Her books include The End(s) of Ethnography ( 1992), Feminist Thought ( 1994), and Auto-affection: The Unconscious in the Age of Teletechnology ( 1999).


Cultural Criticism and Telecommunications

Patricia Clough ( 1997)

Since the 1980s, deregulation has led to intense competition in the development of telecommunications. Cable services, satellite systems, interactive CD and video games, VCR innovation, and camcorders all have moved the apparatus of television beyond a broadcast model. Zapping, time shifting, multiple forms of storage and replay, have become reference points of a vision to interface the so-called passivity of television watching with the Net in the production of what is referred to as push-pull programming. Push programming means making the activity of browsing the net a machine function, moving it further from the user's consciousness. It means cascades of information across various sites--phone, PC, wristwatch, miniature TV monitors. Without waiting for the user's prompt, these devices will provide the user with updated traffic reports, the stock market's ups and downs, shopping opportunities, and updates on personalized information needs. There still will be pull programming, which the user is invited to choose; pull programming is the option to turn to old movies, reruns of TV sitcoms, video games, and sources of various abstract knowledges. Part of this vi

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Reprinted by permission of the author. A version of this essay originally appeared in Perspectives, the newsletter of the American Sociological Association's Theory Section.

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