The goals of this assignment are
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- to critically engage with this week’s readings (i.e. “Critique” and “Compare”) so that you can,
- apply theory/readings to real-life examples (i.e. “Clarify”) and vice versa,
- to help create personal awareness of technology and/as a society,
- to begin to articulate your position on these topics in both academic and casual contexts.
Writing style Rubric
Tone of C-project should be scholarly; there should not have major typos or grammatical issues; writing should be lucid and concise.
Select one article from this week’s readings. Summarize the author’s main argument and then critique it. The summary portion should be no more than two to three sentences. A critique might include explicating the importance of the passage. It might consist of a more traditional analysis wherein you take the author to task by criticizing his/her argument.
The critique should be complex and original; it goes beyond the obvious.
In his essay “Steve Jobs, Romantic Individualism, and the Desire for Good Capitalism,” Streeter explores how culture romanticizes the image of business celebrities, relying on the story of Steve Jobs to illustrate his point. The author states that popularizing the CEOs is institutionalized to make profits; as a result of the machine’s functioning, Steve Jobs has become a powerful symbol, a set of activities to embody the American Dream, rather than a person. The author concludes by saying that America has to realize no one is self-made.
The author performs a masterful exploration of the phenomenon of business celebrities. The argumentative canvas of the essay appears solid because the author successfully makes the notions of romanticism, political economy, brand, and personality converse with each other. The convincing power of the argument lies in how the author reveals the narrative behind stories such as Steve Jobs’. From this essay, one can reason that the popularization and romanticization of business persons have an underlying purpose, which is to convince ordinary people of their omnipotence and all-round support.
There is, however, a point that the author fails to allocate, making the argument look one-sided. He stops on the profit the business celebrities make and how business persona can become a weapon in the political game, going no further in his reasoning on the simplified narrative. If he did so, he would reason that the oversimplification produces a story that is palatable for the broad public, a story that convinces people that being rebellious is enough to achieve as much as Jobs did.
By rendering the biography in several simple stages and coloring it with messages designed to empower, the popularization machine overlooks the “hard work” component of Jobs’ success. On the other hand, the author may have omitted this point on purpose, to provoke further critical thinking.
Select a particularly dense paragraph from the same reading and cite the location (i.e. Author’s name, page number). Summarize the major points succinctly in a manner that someone without a college education might understand it. Be sure to cover all the major components of the paragraph. Provide a real-life example to illustrate the point the author is making. The example cannot be something we have previously discussed in class. (You can see what we have discussed in class from my class notes)
Passage is indicated; clarification is accurate; content is easy to understand without being oversimplified; all potions of the passage are clarified
The article features a passage entitled “Jobs Since 2011” wherein the author explores the notion of political economy (Streeter 3118-3119). By the end of this passage, the author summarizes Steve Jobs’ narrative in the context of the political economy.
He states that, in 2011, Jobs outshined more popular business celebrities – not least because his health issues became more evident, he resigned from his CEO position, and assigned Cook to do the job. The primary reason for Job’s popularity, however, was the political context in which it happened. His personality was favorable because the overall social anxiety about capitalism was running high, and the U.S. economy needed a story such as this.
The life of Steve Jobs was marketed after his passing, speculating on his creative power and revealing his wrongdoings in a romanticist light. Given the public anxiety over the inconsistency of capitalism and the approaching elections, the candidates chorused their willingness to create an economy to support a new Steve Jobs.
The reason the figure of Steve Jobs has become an asset in the political game is that it was associated with the “good” capitalism, which valued the power of personal. The story of a rebel becoming a success was presented perfectly possible with the help of new, humane capitalism. Pragmatic and, partially, positivist capitalism – the ones that preyed on vulnerable taxpayers – were rejected. The personalized capitalism that favored talents, with all their flaws and imperfections, was marketed using the figure of Jobs.
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Select a second article. It should be reading from this course but does not have to be from this week. Compare and contrast the authors’ arguments. Do the arguments build on each other? How so? Are there small or major points of discontinuity? If so, what are they? Which author do you tend to agree with and why?
A high-level analysis of two-piece; content from both pieces is placed into conversation with one another.
“The Shifting Politics of the Computational Metaphor” is a chapter devoted to cyberspace as a tool for the transformation of societies and the world. The author Fred Turner states that what was once a weapon in the Cold War has become a utensil of liberation and at the same time – a giant market platform. Turner’s and Streeter’s arguments are both complimentary and contradictory to each other.
First, and about the cyberspace as a market, Turner notes that the Internet was predicted to become an all-encompassing giant network – which it has become. What is more, it was said to encourage negotiation on equal terms and democratize corporate hierarchies. This idea is reflected in the concept of “good” capitalism suggested by Streeter, the one that encourages individualism and creates equal opportunities for the talented.
At the same time, the individual component, which seems to be valued by such capitalism, is underrated in Turner’s article. With the cyberspace as the metaphor for the universe, the individual experience fades into non-existence. What is valued is the sum of individual experiences (users) compiled into a vast collective consciousness (the Web).
The authors, therefore, fundamentally disagree with each other on whether individual experiences matter in this world and whether it is based on the power of the few or the collective. The article by Streeter seems to be more relevant to-date since it is more recent and is not grounded on predictions from the 1960-s. Besides, the economy and political power per se are condensed in the hands of the state-controlled private sector – which lies at the baseline of capitalism and which is why cyberspace cannot be a metaphor of objective reality.
Use the below concepts in your answers
- Business Celebrity.
Streeter, Thomas. “Steve Jobs, Romantic Individualism, and the Desire for Good Capitalism.” International Journal of Communication 9 (2015): 3106–3124. Print.