Malcolm X-Quoting Anime Cats with a Sociological Bent: The Pinky Show

Cute Hello Kitty-type animation? Check. 11-year old sounding voices? Check. Quoting of Malcolm X, sociological theory, analysis of context and social interpretation? Check.   What exactly is the story behind the cute animated cats of the Pinky Show?  Their videos include “Thomas Edison Hates Cats”…Let’s see if these revolutionary animated grad school kitties get Habermasian on us…

(From Wikipedia: Between Facts and Norms

“Habermas contends that law is the primary medium of social integration in modern society, and is power that extracts obedience from its subjects. As power alone cannot grant it its legitimacy in modern society, law derives its validity from the consent of the governed. Arguing that law is characterized by an internal tension between facts and norms that develops from the modern process of secularization, Habermas introduces a new term, “communicative power”, in this book. Pointing out that legitimate law-making is itself generated through a procedure of public opinion and will-formation that produces communicative power, he asserts that this communicative power, in its turn, influences the process of social institutionalization. In his words:

“informal public opinion-formation generates ‘influence’; influence is transformed into ‘communicative power’ through the channels of political elections; and communicative power is again transformed into “administrative power” through legislation. This influence, carried forward by communicative power, gives law its legitimacy, and thereby provides the political power of the state its binding force.”

There is, hence, a circular and reciprocal relation among communicatively-generated power, legitimate law, and state power that, Habermas believes, are co-originally juxtaposed. The co-originality of legitimate law and political power suggests a functional connection between them — “power” functions for “law” as the political institutionalization of law, and “law” functions for “power” as the legal organization of the exercise of political power. The functionalist codes of both law and power, then, suggest that “law requires a normative perspective, and power, an instrumental one”. This difference leads Habermas to distinguish between “communicative power” and “administrative power”.”

(BTW: Some more random social science stuff:

Definitions of oft-used terms normative and positive;

Clifford Geertz: “At the University of Chicago, Geertz became a “champion of symbolic anthropology“, which gives prime attention to the role of thought (“symbols”) in society. Symbols guide action. Culture, outlined by Geertz in his famous book The Interpretation of Cultures (1973), is “a system of inherited conceptions expressed in symbolic forms by means of which people communicate, perpetuate, and develop their knowledge about and attitudes toward life” (1973:89). The function of culture is to impose meaning on the world and make it understandable. The role of anthropologists is to try (though complete success is not possible) to interpret the guiding symbols of each culture (see thick description). His oft-cited essay, “Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight,” included in The Interpretation of Cultures, is the classic example of thick description at work. Geertz was quite innovative in this regard, as he was one of the first to see that the insights provided by common language philosophy and literary analysis could have major explanatory force in the social sciences.”;

Thick Description: “In anthropology and other fields, a thick description of a human behaviour is one that explains not just the behaviour, but its context as well, such that the behaviour becomes meaningful to an outsider.”

C. Wright Mills:

“Sociological imagination is a sociological term coined by American sociologist C. Wright Mills in 1959 describing the ability to connect seemingly impersonal and remote historical forces to the most basic incidents of an individual’s life. It suggests that people look at their own personal problems as social issues and, in general, try to connect their own individual experiences with the workings of society. The sociological imagination enables people to distinguish between personal troubles and public issues. For example, people in poverty by this perspective might stop to consider that they are not alone, and rather than blaming themselves should criticize the social forces that directed them into their present condition.”;

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs i.e. EA’s The Sims:

“Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is often depicted as a pyramid consisting of five levels: the four lower levels are grouped together as deficiency needs associated with physiological needs, while the top level is termed growth needs associated with psychological needs. Deficiency needs must be met first. Once these are met seeking to satisfy growth needs drives personal growth. The higher needs in this hierarchy only come into focus once all the lower needs in the pyramid are satisfied. Once an individual has moved past a level, those needs will no longer be prioritized. However, if a lower set of needs is no longer being met, the individual will temporarily re-prioritize those needs – dropping down to that level until the lower needs are reasonably satisfied again. Innate growth forces constantly create upward movement.”)

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