College of Education Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 2019

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Social and Cultural Foundation in Education

Department

College of Education, Department of Teacher Education

First Advisor

Karen Monkman, PhD

Second Advisor

Stephen Haymes, PhD

Abstract

This thesis explores primarily the work of Hannah Arendt and its relationship with the milieu of 21st century U.S. capitalism, sometimes referred to as neoliberal capitalism. Beginning with her work on Jewish pariahdom, this paper explores the Arendtian pariah’s journey from a useful sociological phylum in studying The Jewish Question, to its capitalist iteration as an apt description of the lived reality of the white working-class. As Parvikko (1996) explains, Arendt worked on three levels of abstraction in order to tie the phenomenal to the theoretical so that she could frame the individual. In so doing, Arendt was able to draw individuals together, in all of their unique particularity, and relate them to the rest of humanity (Parvikko, 1996). For that reason, this theoretical analysis draws on the work of Herbert Marcuse, Frédéric Lordon, and Sheldon Wolin among others in order to extend Arendt’s second and third level theoretical abstractions. Further, this paper draws on the personal journals and conversations of the author, as a member of the white working-class, in an effort to produce contextual examples of the lived situation of the white working-class. What emerges is an image of the working-class as a neoliberal pariah class and a vision for resistance to the machinations of the domination of neoliberal capitalism.

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