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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

CEP 818: How Do I Love Thee: Abstracting

How do you abstract social injustice or inequality? Cartoonist often present current events related to social injustice or inequality in their work. For example:

Photographers often capture dramatic examples of social injustices or inequalities due to current or staged events:

 Peaceful Protesting Above.Typically in a peaceful protest, you don't see the participants being pepper sprayed. The officer was later reprimanded for his actions. In the photo, it is easy to see people holding up cell phones and recording the injustice.

 A depiction of a societal view that the poor suffer due to socially constructed economical differences between the rich (zombies) and the poor.

A depiction of a shopper walking by a poor man showing, once again, the gap between the "haves" and the "have nots." In this photo, I believe it is an abstract depiction of the subject matter because the viewer of this photo could "see" different things by observing. One might not necessarily only draw the conclusion of social inequality by looking at it. One may see it as -- a "problem" of homelessness in the urban areas. One could also see it as the two people in the photo not noticing each other because they are so different (gap).

In a previous module I also gave an example of social injustice in a poem (I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings). So how do I abstractly depict my subject matter differently in this module?

X marks the spot!! Considering that with abstracting and analogies we are looking at two topics that are seemingly unrelated (a treasure map and social inequality based on traits at birth i.e. gender, ethnicity, etc.) I thought about how much our birth traits effect our social position in life. In this treasure map, the X for the treasure is located on the map with a Caucasian male. Caucasian males have an advantage to other ethnicities and females of any ethnic background here in the United States. I wanted the student to see that by certain birth traits we are closer to success or at the very least access to certain things-education, health care, etc. That led me to creating the info graphic below:

rich_vs._poor title=
I created this infographic but I'm not sure it is actually "abstracting" the subject matter.  If you are able to look at the infographic and determine based on picture alone what it is I am depicting it is obvious.  However, the idea of an infographic to depict social disparities is not commonplace. Infographics are usually used to visually represent data.  While I didn't use actual data in the above infographic, I was illustrating the concept of the disparities visually. I intentionally made the graphics on the right (heart, building, house) somewhat opaque to illustrate that those things are less accessible to those that are "poor."

Much of our access to education, health care and "wealth" can be determined by where are born (developed or undeveloped nation), our gender, our "race", ethnicity, and the socio-economic status of our parents. Sure, we could achieve upward mobility-for women the easiest way to do so is by "marrying up".  However, I wanted to student to think about how if they had been born another gender, race, in a different place in the world---how much would their lives be different and would they have taken a different path?

Between the cartoons, photos, presentation and infographic I believe I have shown multiple representations of social inequality and/or social injustice. However, I do think there would be many other ways to abstract my topic and hope to develop more in the near future.

(All photos above were licensed by Creative Commons for resuse except for the infographic which I designed using and of course the prezi that I created which used "pre-approved" prezi photos from Google Images ). 

1 comment:

  1. I am a college level professor and used this blog in my social inequality course lecture today. My students were engaged in discussion and very interested in seeing the depiction of social inequality and social injustice as Ms. Hilliker outlined here. They enjoyed the infographic very much and it also provided me with ideas for future assignments on gender stratification, etc. Thank you for your creative efforts! SO 208 Social Inequality Instructor