May 12, 2010
Even though people still import hard liquor such as R & R into the village, she believes the impact would be devastating if it was legalized. With the ban of alcohol on the village it creates black markets. My interviewee described this market as being one controlled by the middle aged bachelor men, who often provided to the younger females. This can create conflict with the elders in the village, because they do not want the middle aged men distributing alcohol to the young girls in the village. It also often results in rape and abuse to these young women who usually do not report the events. They are taught at a young age to ‘just go with it’ because they do not have a voice within the village. Also getting a trooper into the village takes days and often does not resolve the issue that occurred.
Looking at the stories she shared with me I noticed a trend of conflict theory on many different levels. These groups in the village are in continual conflict, although it is hidden. The girls who “just go with it” and get raped are often stuck in the village raising their child. The male powers over the females within the village created dominate groups that organize this black market to help keep their control. Their power over the young females oppresses them into not reporting problems, and continues the male dominance. Even though this seems harsh, I believe it is in result to the other layer of conflict theory I saw in her stories.
The Western ideologies that were enforced by organizations such as ANCSA have created this multilayered society that lives in the village. Congress insisted on economic development and growth of their land to improve social and economic conditions. ANCSA was written in Western-adopted ways, and has a business nature view land as collateral. This new ideology on the land and life trickled down to the people of the village. The impact of the Western views changed these villages. Patriarchy was present in the past, although now it has a black market to live in.
My question is would legalizing cause more harm than good on the village? Many sociologist believe the legalization of drugs in America would be beneficial because they would be able to monitor the drugs better, and slowly get rid of the black markets. However rural life is different than city life, so I can not help but want to listen to the girl who came from the village.
May 11, 2010
Using the Critical Power Conflict Theory, it seems like the intoxicated people are powerless because they are not able to control their addiction (especially if they are coming in from a village), so then who is in power? I would think that sober individuals are in control, only because they are functional members of society and are not getting arrested for public intoxication, DUI's, etc. Our society (Fairbanks) is in constant conflict with the drunks and are trying to oppress them, especially in the summer!
I think Fairbanks will always have some type of problem, if we took all the alcohol away, then we would have problems with drugs, if we took drugs away, we would have problems with guns, etc. So with this being said, I think we are always going to have group conflict with the "lesser" group because we don't agree with what they are doing.
I guess there are two different sides to this story in that environmentalists want what is best for our environment and our animals that inhabit our beautiful Alaska land, and some Alaskans, the US, and the oil companies want oil and money. The social paradigm being used in this article is Critical Power Conflict Theory because the groups in our society are in continual conflict and it seems as if the oil companies have more power than the environmentalists. The oil companies are trying to gain control over the scarce resource, oil, and oppress the environmentalists. The oil companies are trying to explain themselves and justify why they should disrupt our land to get this oil... I'm pretty sure if we were to ask one of the oil companies (BP) they would say that the chance of having an oil spill is so slight, blah, blah, blah. But when it comes to reality, the possibility is very high and it just happened a few weeks ago in the Gulf of Mexico.
Rhonda McBride’s KTUU Channel 2 News article describes how youth in Bethel often start drinking at ages that might be rather unprecedented. The article explains the situation from Bethel emergency room director Matt Greenberg’s personal experiences. Alcohol has historically been a rampant social problem in Alaska. The irresponsible use of alcohol often can be linked to bigger problems underlying a community with high alcohol related problems. Social forces often can be an indicator and can lead to potential solutions.
Using the sociological conflict perspective I analyze the issues of culture clash between capitalist ‘greater America’ culture and that of traditional Native Alaskan culture. Values are in conflict and have grown incompatible between the two cultural perspectives. I believe this puts pressure on Native Alaskan’s and the political process that implement policy and regulation in the region. This cultural squeezing can create a malaise in a community and in that of the individual.
May 10, 2010
In St Marys, Alaska, an intoxicated teenager (age 18) broke into a home and tried to sexually assault a 55 year old female resident.
Reported in the same article was a fatal fire in St. Marys. Officials do not believe the two events to be related.
Approximately 5 months ago, a mother accidentally ran over her child while she was trying to pay attention to some approaching snowmachiners. Alcohol was not seen to be a factor.
These stories represent a small fraction of the incidents that occur all over Alaska. With and without alcohol, people make bad mistakes.
I don't think that these things can't happen elsewhere, because they do. I do feel that they are more significant within a smaller village where everyone knows everyone. This is part of the interactionist theory, where everyone has their own particular part to play. When someone "forgets a line" or decides to do something that is not within their part, things break down and don't really work out so well.
May 9, 2010
May 7, 2010
Many rural areas rely on the barging of fuel as well as heating oil in coastal and riverine Alaska. Many fuel supply problems can be exacerbated where shipment may be prolonged due to natural conditions, such as ice and variances in water levels from year to year and season to season. This is something lager cities don't have to contend with. In these cases other methods must be undertaken and often enough the cheapest method is the normative method, i.e., shipping by barge. Other options entail an increase in cost, normally by air. Often these areas are located off of the road system and heavily depend on one shipper. Issues outside of nature may arise such as unpredicted increases of fuel use necessitate predictive expertise. In these conditions more planning is involved for these contingencies.
When a contingency in fuel prices develops there con be an increase in the general conflict within a community between the gatekeepers of the scarce product: the decision makers and suppliers of the fuel, and between that of the people effected by the decisions and actions of those gatekeepers. Feelings of conspiracy may develop, feelings of exploitation may create a tension that last long after fuel prices are restored. However unfounded, some anger may be harbored in a small town where you rely on your neighbors for support. Businesses such as the one gas station in town, might be looked at as responsible in some ways when they are not gatekeepers. Trips planned to driving in our out of McGrath may be halted until gas prices go back down. The Town mayor Kas Healy stated: "For people who basically are living at subsistence levels, I think it's criminal that this is not regulated". Healy may be stating that this is a prevalent enough problem to where it is deemed necessary to put a state regulated price ceiling on the selling of fuel in similar situations. While the cost for flying fuel in to McGrath is more than transporting it by barge, the residents still feel that the prices do not justifiably reflect the porportional increase in fuel prices at the McGrath pump.
May 4, 2010
May 3, 2010
Women in abusive situations in rural communities are also more often than not living to an expectation of her gender role. Many women in these situations are taught they are supposed to be supportive of their partners and to be soft-spoken and feminine. Also, typically, women who are very adherent to their gender roles do not work for pay, they are typically farmhands to their husbands, which makes getting the financial security to run very difficult. On the other end of the spectrum, however, a woman who owns her own business faces a difficult decision to leave, particularly if her business (a general store, for instance) provides her community with a service they need.
Being in an abusive situation is never easy for the individual being abused, but several conditions in rural areas make the abuse even more difficult to escape from and to cope with.
You can read more about the issue of rural domestic abuse here: http://www.ruralwomyn.net/domvio.html
May 1, 2010
The President supports rural development programs including microentrepreneur assistance, rural cooperative development grants, value-added producer grants, grants to minority producers, and cooperative research agreements." (http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/rural)
In retrospect, had we chosen to implement grants, rather than just loans, 20, 30 or 40 years ago, perhaps we would have more legal workers today that are paid livable wages. So often farm hands are cheap help, but the farmers still sell their food at a higher cost.