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Re: Mississippi Masala & Self-Employment

Posted by Carole on October 21, 2001 at 19:21:24:

In Reply to: Mississippi Masala & Self-Employment posted by Satya J. Gabriel on October 21, 2001 at 17:57:58:

Does this mean that motivation is different depending on the culture? Isn't it still true that in a community of farmers a person still has to be motivated to farm?

Even in slavery the slave has to be motivated to do work.

: As some of the messages on this board indicate, self-employment within a capitalist society is not an easy choice. We are all taught to conform to particular norms of behavior at an early age, including how to participate in the economic life of society. In a capitalist society, we are more likely to be trained to play roles as wage laborers or managers than to be taught to be self-employed. In addition, the relationships we encounter in a capitalist society will tend to push us in the direction of participating in the wage labor relationship, as wage laborers, managers, or, in those rare cases, appropriators. The political, cultural, and economic relationships that are "normal" in such a society will tend to support the choice to participate in the wage labor relationship, not to engage in self-employment. However, in a society where self-employment predominates the reverse will be true. People would be trained to be self-employed and to accept self-employment as normal. This training occurs early in life and usually includes direct experience at the sorts of activities necessary to being successfully self-employed. For example, children who grow up on an independent farm are likely to participate in farming activities and to find such activities relatively easy to do by the time they reach an age to be self-employed farmers. We might want to think about all the various ways we are enculturated to participate in certain types of economic relationships and not in others. It is not a case of "motivation" or "drive" to be self-employed, any more than it is a case of "motivation" or "drive" to get out of bed in the morning or to engage in wage laboring or management of wage laborers. It is a matter of enculturation and the creation of normality.

: When you view the film _Mississippi Masala_ think about the way the societies (social formations) depicted in the film (Uganda, Mississippi) shape the possibilities for self-employment, in particular for the primary characters who engage, at one time or another, in such self-employment. What is the role of racism in overdetermining their ability to be self-employed? What about the role of political processes? Cultural processes other than racism? Other economic processes? See how many self-employed producers you can identify in the film and ask how they are similar or differ in their relationship to the community(ies) depicted.



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