Unit 1.6 Examination and appreciation of ideologies and values.doc

Unit 1.6 Examination and appreciation of ideologies and values.doc

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UNIT 1: CULTURE AND SOCIETY
Examination and appreciation of
ideologies and values
We all have our own personal beliefs and values. As individuals we value our freedom but we also
have to accept that if everyone were completely free to do as they chose we might soon find
ourselves in a state of anarchy in which there was no established order or framework for behaviour.
Consequently, we accept that there have to "be certain restrictions that help to maintain a balance
between our own freedom to do things and freedom from actions and forms of behaviour that might
prove harmful.
We also enjoy a series of rights as individuals and these rights allow us considerable freedom of
expression, to associate with other people and to take a whole range of other actions. With these
rights come responsibilities in terms of how we behave. In addition, there are some things that
nearly everybody accepts as desirable social goals, such as equality of opportunity. This does not
mean that we can, or should, all be equal. Instead it represents the ideal that all members of society
should have an equal ability to succeed if they have the capacity to do so.
Ideologies
Ideologies are connected with our core beliefs and the way we look at things, usually in a wider
social, political and economic context. Followers of the teaching of Karl Marx believed in the
significance of economic status and the power of the working class to become a revolutionary force
to overcome the ruling class. In the twentieth century there was a sharp ideological division
between Western countries such as the USA and UK, with their emphasis on democracy and
competing political parties, and countries such as Russia and China, where a communist ideology
was based on a single party exercising power.
In the 1950s and 1960s there was talk of an imaginary 'Iron Curtain' between East and West and
there were often acute tensions between the major powers. In the last 20 years, differences have
been less pronounced and ideologies have become more blurred. Many eastern European
countries, once part of a vast communist bloc, have become more democratic and
marketoriented in recent years. A number have now gained membership of the European Union
(EU).

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The rise of Hitler was accompanied by Nazism and the belief in a superrace, embodied in
handsome Germanic types with blue eyes and fair hair. In the Nazi state there was certainly no
thought of equality of opportunity, and some groups were discriminated against in the extreme
manner commonly referred to today as 'ethnic cleansing'. Jews, in particular, and also marry
nonwhites and Romany travellers, were identified and dealt with ruthlessly.…read more

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Politics almost inevitably involves a measure of compromise.
Increasingly, the most successful politicians are often the most pragmatic.…read more

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Unquestionably, in recent years the ideological differences between the two main parties have
narrowed -- so much so that an increasing number of voters find it difficult to distinguish between
the policies of the two main parties and to identify any distinctive form of ideology. The danger is
that disillusionment will turn to apathy.…read more

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Moral codes do not have the force of law but they are said to represent a shared value system.
Often these operate in fairly simple ways, summed up by the phrases 'doing good' or behaving as
a 'good citizen'. Other moral codes, which may also reflect religious beliefs and values, maybe
more elaborate. Some people see moral codes in a strict way -- they see moral absolutes which
must always be followed.…read more

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Ask the examiner
For religious reasons, I believe that abortion is wrong. Can I express this viewpoint?
Firmly held and sincere religious beliefs will always be respected, but questions about
abortion are rarely clearcut and you might be expected to consider arguments used by both
supporters and opponents of abortion. In your conclusion you will be able to make your own
position clear, perhaps saying whether you would or would not approve of the use of
violence to support a particular belief.…read more

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The Freedom of Information Act. This Act gives individuals a general right of
access to personal information held on them by various public bodies. It also requires these
bodies to publish a range of information but, in both cases, a number of exceptions exist and
critics argue that individuals cannot always gain full access to information in the ways initially
envisaged.
When a law protects a human right, it becomes a legal right in the country concerned.…read more

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Certain groups suffer from discrimination even though such actions are illegal. Women may
not receive the same pay as men for equal work members of ethnic minority groups maybe
discriminated against because of the colour of their skin homosexuals of either sex may be
discriminated against because of their sexual orientation and disabled people may find that
their access is limited in many areas. Such discrimination is often very difficult to prove.…read more

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Under the Act, it is an offence to
treat a person differently on the grounds of race, colour, nationality or ethnic or national origin.
Disability Discrimination Act. First passed in 1995, this Act set up the Disability Rights
Commission to support people discriminated against on the grounds of mental or physical
disability. It applies to both employment and the provision of services, not least in terms of
access to shops and public buildings.
Minimum Wage Act.…read more

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Companies and individuals guilty of discrimination may get bad publicity and may have to pay
large fines.
People are much more aware of their rights and can get advice from trade unions, the
Citizen's Advice Bureau or antidiscriminatory bodies.
The move to a single commission will help to streamline the system and give it a sharper
focus.…read more

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