Class, Gender and Identity

The themes of Class, Gender and Identity, more specifically their advent, awareness and actualisation are key debates that have reverberated throughout historiographical discourse. As historians struggle to define history and maintain its relevance within the fluidity of modern society these themes find themselves subject to the forces of redefinition, modelling and structuring.

During the latter part of the twentieth century the paradigm of history changed. The inclusion of gender history, born from feminist movements, brought to light the necessity of attitudes within the profession to change. The significance of both genders was now to be studied equally. Gender history itself is often misunderstood due to its roots, this avenue of discussion is not a drive from women’s attempts to assert some form of female dominance throughout history, but recognise their impact interwoven throughout its course.

Class is far from a new line of analytical thought. Class has been used to define the socio-economic status of individuals for countless years. Debate rages around the concept of Class consciousness, the idea of a class becoming aware of itself and its political voice. Perceptions range from a more Marxist & Weberian view, that class is defined by the control of the means of production to ideas Class Consciousness rose from the conflict of the other. That is the attempt of those in varying positions of social standing and wealth, seeking to define themselves as much as by who they are as who they are not.

Identity is a much more complex matter. The cultural dimensions of this theme inevitably render it exponentially more troublesome. Identity can span transnational borders, the Republic of Letters for example, in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, sought to spread and engage in epistemological debates across Europe. Members of this society identified and saw themselves as much a citizen of this republic as they identified themselves with their home nation. The prominent problem perpetuated by the parameters of defining the word Identity. You can Identify yourself with any number of things: whether that be a philosophical or political viewpoint; your nationality; a group or organisation. These things can define an individual or can be used as part, or the whole of an individuals Identity. To study the formation and changes to Identity, is to study the relationships those you are trying to define had with the world they inhabited.

Not to disregard other analytical methods of studying history, such as Economic. It is these factors that truly define the practice, and I would suggest they are the three key ways history is engaged with.


Obama or Romney

Its a simple decision, Romney is wrong for the world.

There is no sitting on the fence on this matter, despite claims from Romney that there is no difference between the candidates besides competence, in reality there is a vast difference between their policies and a vast difference in the futures they envisage for the USA.

Romney is aggressively pursuing a course that would set the States back years. In terms of Human Rights, he plans to ban abortion, even in cases of incest or rape. He plans to relax environmental constraints on businesses exacerbating climate change and global warming. Moreover Romney believes in order to keep the USA in competition with China employment laws would also need to be ‘relaxed’, casting, as some analyst have stated, the United States back to the nineteenth century.

Romney is also set on a plan to cut Government expenditure, packages such as the $787 billion relief fund pushed through Congress by Obama to tackle the United States struggling economy would be a thing of the past. It is packages like these that have led to the stable growth of the US economy over the past thirteen quarters, not exactly the failure the Republicans crow that it is.

But it only gets worse, another two huge issues arise with Romney’s policy direction. He wants to immediately repeal Obama’s Health Care bill, possibly the most valuable domestic achievement of his term in office. This turn would leave countless US citizens without any health care support. What is more, is that this will be coupled with a sizeable reduction in welfare provision if the Republican takes the Presidency. Whilst those on the right may be crying it is up to the individual to support themselves, get a job so that they can afford medical insurance, this is not possible if the Government of the country does not provide an environment in which the economy and job opportunities can grow. By cutting Government expenditure, which increasingly runs the risk of sending the US into a double dip recession, Romney will not just remove this environment, but hold the US citizenry to account for a situation far beyond their control.

Social inequality is a bugbear of liberal democratic institutions and feeds the apathy that many democratic countries face. Romney’s budgetary plans are aimed at redistributing wealth back to the rich, depriving the poor to an even greater extent. If the ascribed budget gets the go ahead those earning over $1 million will receive a thirty-seven percent tax cut, at the other end of the scale benefits to the poor would be cut up to a staggering sixty-seven percent. In a time of economic uncertainty this is a potential recipe for social unrest on a massive scale.

Secondly Romney wishes to pursue a more active form of Foreign Policy. What this means in reality is Romney will spend the promised $2 trillion on defence – this money will have to come from somewhere. There is a growing certainty war with Iran will ensue, a war the United States cannot afford, especially as it is still enthralled in other messy middle eastern conflicts.

Apathy with Obama’s term has arisen due to the restraints under which the President has had to act under. Obama has been attacked constantly over the previous four years by Republicans in Congress and the Senate. He has managed to stabilise the States creating and saving nearly three million jobs, increasing health provisions and providing the support that is expected from modern democratic institutions.