Define “we”


Jordi has mentioned that society is a complex body that cannot easily be defined, spiking my curiosity to investigate this idea further. Furthermore, in order to write from the perspective of society, we must first understand what is meant by this “society”. Only then can we evaluate the impact that a business or the government has on it, or the influence that it has on a business or the government’s actions as is expected from us in our white paper. The public, I have come to realize, is a complex body that comprises society. So what is the public and who is society?

The excerpts we read from Globalization from Below by Donatella della Porta and her fellow authors, gives an insightful perspective on the composition of the “public”. Their discussion of “frames” will provide a helpful source in defining the complexity of the “public” in question. Frames, as described in Globalization from Below, are the interests and actions of the public, continually shaped, created, and culturally sensitive. For example, society can be divided into groups with different perspectives about the Nike sweatshops (people in Indonesia against it, for it, people in the States against it, for it, etc.) or into which of the 7 main goals of the social justice movement they were protesting for. Just as the government has laws and a business has mission statements, society has frames: beliefs, values, meaning, and most importantly direction.

I am confident that della Porta’s book is a reliable source. She and her fellow authors make it very clear throughout their writing that they are merely presenting a case.  They analyze the case from various angles as they present a satisfactorily unbiased report of the dynamic of society. In other words, persuasion is left out of their piece of writing, focusing on empirical data and the consequences of it. Furthermore, being members of “the public”, the authors are undoubtedly a useful source in analyzing public movements. Value can be retrieved from this angle if nothing else.

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2 Responses to Define “we”

  1. Alyssa Haglund says:

    I’m a bit confused about this post. Is your final paper topic on the definition of “We”? I believe that the use or framing can be used to break down society into smaller groups, but this is only relevant when they are coming together under a common belief. You can still divide the population into sections by belief, but what purpose would this prove if they were not uniting over that belief? Perhaps I am missing the purpose of della Porta’s use of framing, but I thought it only concerned those that were uniting under that belief…

  2. Alyssa Haglund says:

    Additionally, this reminds me of the U.S. Constitution, which states “We the people of the United States…” Therefore, I think “we” can be defined using the “of” following it. i.e. we the people of Lewisburg, we the students of Bucknell. I don’t think you can leave anyone out, like the government or business people because they are still members of the population. Sometimes people separate government employees from society, but think of it on a smaller scale. Sonali is the president of the senior class, but would still be included in the “we the senior class at Bucknell.”

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