Tuesday, February 28, 2012

American Culture Research Paper

Research Paper on American Culture

American Style
The phenomenon of American culture can be explained by the fact that it was developing apart from traditional conservatism of European culture where prejudices and old beliefs dominated over the minds of people for a long time. Its early history and early evens which led to the creation of the new nation had contributed to the future American culture and American character. The idea of American culture has been always based on equity and democracy principles, even the first colonies of puritans were self governed and were the first cells of democracy. Historically favorable economical and political conditions made the USA a land of opportunities for Europeans and immigrants from Asia as they could fully realize themselves in case they worked hard.


Geographical isolation from Europe and neutrality of the USA in major conflicts of continental Europe created a unique outlook and attitudes towards the rest of the world. Today American culture is a unique culture which is characterized by an individualism of outlook and unique attitudes toward material and spiritual components of one’s life. In many respects it’s of course based on traditional European values and European culture as both cultures have Christian religion as a main source of moral and are based on Christian values and Christian virtues.

Traditional American values are: material success, individualism, democracy and education played a key role in forming what is now known as American society. In many respects all of these values are mutually dependent as they re based on the principles of freedom and individualism. These principles play one of the major roles not only society but in economics and in nature in general. Suppressing freedom one can not achieve stability and prosperity. Freedom of trade, freedom of religion and freedom of speech these were the freedoms which were in the USA in the eighteenth century already and which were realized in Europe only fifty-seventy years later. Freedoms and democracy influenced the American culture and consciousness of people in different ways: Americans are sure that every one is equal behalf the law, everyone has equal opportunities. Equality and democracy are seen everywhere in the society: in the family, education, relations between representatives of different cultures in multi-ethnic communities of American cities, religious tolerance, and liberty in the issues of diversity of minorities and sexual issues. From the other side values of equality and democracy also contribute on the attitudes of a person towards the country and towards national symbols, as there are few countries where citizens demonstrate such patriotism as Americans do. 

Another value of material success and financial prosperity also influenced American consciousness. It’s seen in the desire of young Americans to quickly gain financial independence from their parents, individualism and desire to make decisions independently from early age. American youth becomes more responsible and financially independent earlier than their coevals from Europe or Asia, where there are closer inner family relations and bigger dependence of children upon the will of the parents. From this point material success, prosperity and social passion is measurement in American society, it’s a measurement of personality, his fortune and his abilities. In difference to other cultures the measurement of success and prosperity in the USA is hard work, persistence and diligence, none in America says “you are lucky” to the person who is richer or who got a higher grade on test.

Globalization processes of course play a great role on the dynamics in modern societies and cultures, and the USA is not an exception. It’s generally agreed that it was formed on the base of English; German and Irish culture in many respects but other cultures of Western, eastern and Southern Europe influenced it also. American culture got the influence from the African and Asian peoples as well. Still the first three cultures remained to be dominant. Probably today it’ hard to draw and describing details the particularities of any sub culture inside of American culture if we don’t take into consideration religious side and emotional particularities of the representatives of this culture. The main difference probably would be the issue of existing collectivism in a number of sub cultures, while American traditional culture is more an individual one. Individualism is characteristic for the most of European cultures (British, French, German, Scandinavian, etc.) Collectivism is more common for Eastern cultures, eastern religion and also nearly all Southern Europe (including Spain and Italy). In these cultures the role of the individual is seen only inside of a group of relatives or other close people which are mutually dependent.

It’s not similar for traditional American culture, where individualism is probably one of the key factors in personal success within American society. Individualism results in the growth of responsibilities of an individual, his responsibility over the decisions he makes, etc. But at the same time individualism sometimes results in alienation of members of society not only from other members of society, but from their close people, relatives, children, parents, etc. Perhaps it’s one of the main social problems in the USA today, it’s the thing I would like to change in myself, and from this point traditional American culture has a lot to borrow from other cultures, where the value of the family is central. It will help to save family in traditional understanding and will also help to preserve Christian tradition of family.
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Research Paper on Workplace Violence

Research Paper on Workplace Violence

From early years we are taught to watch out for the dangers out there in the world. We are also taught that the world we are living in is violent and we should be constantly aware that this violence can interfere with our lives. It is not complicated to give examples of violent things in the world we have to watch out for. We all know that at night some neighborhoods are dangerous and violent, thus we restrain from going there in the late hours. We all know that one should be careful with people he/she does not know, because these people may come out to be treacherous and brutal. We actually came to be familiar with possible sources of violence and in some way managed to live in today’s world.

 However, in the last couple of years much attention is given to a new kind of violence. Surely, this type of violence is not new, and it has been present for centuries, though it has received publicity only in the last couple of years. The type of violence I am talking about is the workplace violence.

As the name suggests, workplace violence is violence or the threat of violence against workers at the place of their work.  Workplace violence ranges from verbal threats and abuse to physical attacks, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening, disruptive behavior and homicide. In fact, physical assaults and murders are actually the leading causes of job-related deaths.


Without a shadow of doubt, workplace violence can occur everywhere: in a little grocery store on the outskirts of the city as well as in a big corporation situated in the downtown. The environment does not always have to be the stressor that leads to the occurrence of violence incident. An employee may be experiencing psychological problems, be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or suffering from familial stress. Workplace violence may occur with and be committed by individuals of different genders, all races, religions and financial statuses. However, some workers tend to be more at risk to face workplace violence. One of the groups of workers that has an increased risk of workplace violence are the workers who exchange money, deliver passengers, goods, or services. 

Another group, are those people who work alone or in small groups during late nights or early morning hours in high-crime areas. One more group of possible victims are employees that work in the community or home settings, such as visiting nurses, social care workers, gas, electricity and water utility employees, phone and cable TV installers, and other professionals of this kind. Additionally, the group that suffers one of the biggest rates of workplace violence includes the taxi drivers.

The description of vulnerable groups above makes it clear to define what actually makes a workplace or a job dangerous. However, lower I would like to one more time draw out the characteristics of violent workplaces that the above professions have in common. First of all, violence often occurs when one works alone or with a very small group of people (1). In such cases the offender chooses to attack the plaintiff because he understands that the latter would not be able to do anything to protect him/herself. Secondly, violence often occurs in the home setting (2), where the worker is alone with the offender at his house. In such cases the offender feels his/her power over the victim because the violence occurs in the setting familiar to him/her. Thirdly, workplace violence is often to occur in competitive environments (3) because of a strong desire for domination. Lastly, violence occurs in the workplaces with strictly hierarchical settings (4), where one individual feels privileged over another (A Comprehensive Guide for Employers and Employees).

Workplace violence can be divided into four main types that are: violence by strangers, violence by customers or clients, violence by coworkers, violence by personal relations. The violence by strangers (1) involves threats and harassment by people who do not have legitimate business relations to the workplace. Such type of workplace violence occurs when a stranger enters the premises of the workplace with an intention of robbery, murder, harassment or rape. This type of workplace violence annually takes away millions of lives worldwide. Violence by customers (2) or clients involves verbal or physical attacks by assailants who either receive services from the individual, or are under the custodial supervision of the affected workplace or the victim. In certain industries this type of violence occurs on every day basis. This kind of violence is usually conducted by individuals with criminal record or mental disabilities, in this case the ways of prevention are well-recognized. 

Additionally, this kind of violence can be situational and can occur because the client or customer is unsatisfied with goods or services. Violence by coworkers (3) is the physical or verbal assaults by people who have employment related involvement with the workplace.  As it has been mentioned, this type of violence may occur in every setting and it accounts for a much smaller proportion of the fatalities than violence by strangers.  Lastly, the violence by personal relations (4) is violent actions conducted by assailants who confront an individual with whom he/she has or had a personal relationship outside of work. This violence is usually targeted at ex spouses, girl/boyfriends that are working together with the assailant (A Comprehensive Guide for Employers and Employees).  

It is possible to draw up a list of setting that can signal workplace violence. These indicators/signals are as follows. Firstly, these are threatening, harassing, bullying, aggressive, or other inappropriate behavior towards individual or individuals. Secondly, these are constant and aggressively-carried-out conflicts with customers, co-workers, or supervisors.

It is obvious that the employers should be eager to prevent workplace violence. They should be interested in such prevention because it will help them maintain content and healthy employees that will work satisfactorily and this will also help them maintain the right corporate imagine. The first means that can be taken to prevent workplace violence is creating a sound prevention plan that is only a small part of agency’s workplace violence program (Bowie, Fisher, pp. 229-232). In the framework of the plan the agency should develop the following programs: Pre-Employment Screening that includes working out special pre-employment screening techniques that would provide full information about the possible employees. It is vital to develop a security program that will ensure employee safety. Techniques for security program may include employee photo identification badges, guard services, and individual coded key cards for access to the premises. It is useful for an agency to create a Threat Assessment Team that will work with management to assess the possibilities of workplace violence and develop and execute a plan to address it (Dealing with Workplace Violence, a Guide for Agency Planners). Nevertheless, the most essential part of workplace violence prevention is training. Training is necessary for employees, managers, and supervisors. Training will raise awareness of the concept and will prepare the employees to respond to such unfortunate occurrences (The USDA Handbook on Workplace Violence Prevention and Response).

To conclude the paper I would like to say that our society has become increasingly technological, industrialized and mobile. We managed to set foot on the Moon, to create computers with extraordinary abilities, we  came up with a way to fit a phone, a computer, a camera, a music player and many other functions into one device. It seems that we have managed to accomplish everything we had to and we are continuing to create new things. When thinking about it, a question may arise, if we are so creative and successful when it comes to technological devices, why can not we also come up with solutions that will stop workplace violence and violence in general. The question is sound, though when it comes to people things cannot be as black and white as they are when it comes to machinery and technology.

As sad as it is, being violent is in the nature of people. Coworkers get jealous of each others’ success and some of them, who are not mentally stable, take this anger out on the successful counterparts. 

This is unfortunate, however this is unavoidable. People setting higher positions often abuse people who work under them and who are less influential than they are. This is also unfortunate, but this is unavoidable. In my opinion, it is indeed vital to create and implement employee protection programs and do everything in order to stop violent cases. At the same time, even with the best awareness and prevention programs it is often impossible to change the human nature. Consequently, sadly, cases of workplace violence will continue to occur. __________________________________________________________
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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Deindividuation Essay

Essay on Deindividuation

Deindividuation is one of the key concepts in modern social psychology in the field of group behavior. Rooting in the findings of the first social psychologists, it has become most influential in the second half of the 20th century. Zimbardo, one of the psychologists that made great contribution to deindividuation theory defined it as “a psychological state of decreased self-evaluation, causing anti-normative and disinhibited behavior” (1969).  He believed that being in a large group, being a part of it, allows individual avoid responsibility for her actions, letting one be more aggressive, impulsive and violent. 


The state of deindividuation appears when an individual joins a large group or a crowd.  Deindividuation theory is one of the most used theories of group behavior, as it allows to explain the behavior of violent crowds. While social psychologists who worked in 1950-1970 emphasized that deindividuation is, in the first turn, a loss of self awareness, scientists, who researched this concept later,  argue that it is more of attaining collective identity instead of individual identity (Reicher, 1987). Nevertheless, all the scientists agree that deindividuation is a psychological state when aggressive and anti-normative behavior is exhibited by the individuals who become the part of the crowd.
The theory of deindividuation is of great interest to me, as it provides an explanation of the behavior of mass crowds of people. Many years ago, when I was in junior high, I noted that people behave differently when they feel they are a part of the group. Children tend to choose a victim and bully it as they feel support from their classmates, and their behavior towards the victim is changed once they are left without backing. After I got older I researched about bulling and found out that it is one of the more dangerous behaviors that a child can exhibit, because it has extremely serious social repercussions – both short-term and long-term. In the short-term, this behavior can lead to physical violence. Long-term bullying results in such things as mental and emotional trauma, serious enough to force a child into committing suicide or becoming violent themselves. The infamous school shootings are a very good example of what precisely such behavior can lead to on the part of the bullied when the pressure on them is applied far enough. I was always wondering what made children act violently, as they knew their behavior was not right, and confessed they felt guilty for their actions. Deindividuation theory provided a comprehensible explanation of this phenomenon to me. Nevertheless, I feel my apprehension of deindividuation is not very deep, I suspect I am oversimplifying the mechanisms of this process; that is why I chose to research this concept.
Few years ago I came across a very bright example of deindividuation in school setting. One of my friends has a younger sister, Brenda.  At that time she was in elementary school, and her classmates chose her as the object of bullying. Brenda was beaten regularly; her classmates took her things, poked her and abused her verbally. The girl suffered, she refused to attend school, and there were several cases when she just ran away from lessons, because the pressure was too hard for her. School psychologist worked with Brenda and with the most active bullies, but the results were scarce, as the girl still remained the most favored object of mockery and abuse.
What seemed to be positive in that situation, at the first glance, was that Brenda had a friend, Scarlett. The girl was her classmate, she visited Brenda after school, and they prepared their lessons together, and seemed to be the best friends. Nevertheless, when Brenda’s parents suggested inviting Scarlett to Brenda’s birthday, she refused. Her parents and brother tried to find out what was wrong, but Brenda refused to talk about it, her only comment was that “I will invite real friends, and Scarlett is not a real friend”.  The mystery was resolved couple of weeks later, when my friend asked me to come with him to take Brenda from school.  We were standing on some distance from the school yard busy talking, when we heard Brenda crying. Her classmates were mocking her again, and Scarlett was among them, laughing on her, and calling Brenda names. Nevertheless the next day Scarlett came to Brenda after school, acting as if nothing had happened the day before. 
Scarlett’s behavior in this situation is a vivid example of deindividuation. When communicating with Brenda one-to-one she was a normal kid, she talked to her friend, they did things together, their relationship seemed perfectly normal for the girls of their age. But when Scarlett was at school with their classmates she felt herself the part of the group, and mocking Brenda was one of the traits that characterized the members of this group, thus she joined other kids in this amusement. The phenomenon of individual identity being replaced by the collective one can be easily seen in the situation described.  Norms are one of the characteristics of identity. Scarlett’s individual norm was to behave properly with Brenda, help her, and spend time with her, while the group norm was to bully her. As soon as Scarlett joined the group her individual norms were replaced by group’s norms, and she came into the psychological state of deindividuation.
Other vivid example of deindividuation is the activity of Ku Klux Klan. People, who were loving fathers and husbands, and respected community members harassed and even murdered people of other race they wanted to drive from their communities. The masks they wore were the key element that provoked such behaviors. Ku Klux Klan members felt themselves the parts of the group, and, what is even more important, masks they wore granted them anonymity, which allowed them to exhibit the kinds of behaviors  they would never show in other situations. Still laws in many American states prohibit wearing masks on public for any reasons except religious, medical, or safety reasons (Unmasking the Klan, 1999).
Deindividuation is a psychological state person enters when she becomes a part of the crowd. In fact it is a process when individual identity is replaced by collective identity. The feeling of belonging to the group allows people to demonstrate anti-normative behavior. As we can see people of any age, gender and social class are liable to this psychological condition. In my opinion the phenomenon of deindividuation needs to be researched further, as this knowledge could help to manage the behavior of the crowds, find the solution to conquering the phenomenon of child and teenage bullying, and control the activities of sects and other societies whose activities are destructive.
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Economic Crisis Research Paper

Economic Crisis Research Paper

This research paper ill explore how the current economic crisis is affecting the market demand for automobiles in the U.S. American automobile manufacturers, especially the ‘Big Three’ – General Motors, Ford and Chrysler – were at the brink of bankruptcy in 2008 before a multi-billion dollar aid package from the government was secured. The major reason for this distress was falling demand.

It is of paramount importance to understand how the current crisis affects the demand for automobiles in order to make informed policy recommendations.        


Literature Review
Economists have suggested a variety of models for explaining and forecasting demand for automobiles. However, there has always been a lot of contention among different scholars, since the heterogeneity of automobile as a good makes the task of explicating demand a complex one. Disaggregate choice model is suggested by Berkovec (1985) who suggests that short-run equilibrium can be achieved when supply equals demand for each make and model. Qualitative choice models, as described by Train (1985), based on the distinction between deterministic and random utility, is still frequently used by economists. The Independence of Irrelevant Alternatives (IIA) suggests that consumers first choose whether to purchase a car and the class of car, then the country of origin, and finally the specific model (Wojcik, 2000). Most contemporary researchers agree that the automobile should be viewed as a differentiated product, and demand for individual characteristics should be analyzed instead of aggregate demand (Bajic, 1993).

Research Objectives
This paper will look at how the current macroeconomic climate affects demands for automobiles in the U.S. It will discuss the applicability of conventional model for explaining and forecasting automobile demand under the current conditions. 

Credit Crunch and the Demand for Automobiles
Slowing demand for automobiles has been an indirect consequence of the subprime mortgage crisis. Consumers are distressed because of declining values of their properties or rising mortgage repayments.   
Unemployment (or a threat of unemployment) is another factor influencing the decision not to purchase an automobile. Moreover, more than a half of new automotive sales have been financed sales, mostly from home equity loans. Without such down payments, consumers find it increasingly harder to afford buying a car (Jones, 2007).

Demand has been slowing down not only in the U.S. but also internationally. There are very few countries in the world that managed to escape the effects of the global financial crisis. Weak demand globally puts additional pressure on U.S. automobile manufacturers, as the combination of decreasing overseas sales and increasing competition from foreign manufacturers in the domestic market appears to be a dangerous combination.  

Furthermore, the structure of demand has changed. Demand for new cars is slowing down more rapidly than for used cars; demand for luxury cars is falling more quickly than for economy cars. These findings are consistent with The Independence of Irrelevant Alternatives (IIA) which suggests that consumer choice of automobile is a three-stage process. First of all, consumers arrive at a decision whether they want to purchase a new car and also concerning the type of vehicle they want to buy (economy being the preferred one in times of crisis). Secondly, consumers decide on the country of origin of the vehicle. Given foreign exchange risks and shifting perception of reliability of domestic and overseas manufacturers, this factor plays a considerable role in shaping the demand for particular types of automobiles. Finally, consumers make a final decision about the make and model. The credit crunch mostly affects the first stage of the process, yet it also has an impact on the second stage as well.      

It is also important to keep in mind that the market for cars is highly heterogeneous. Such factors as income, indebtedness, and job expectations influence the decision to buy or not to buy cars.

One more reason influencing the demand for cars is expectations. While consumers might expect price to fall, they also anticipate erosion of incomes and job uncertainty, thus postponing the decision to buy a car for the distant future.       

It is of paramount importance to understand how the structure of demand for automobiles changes in times of crisis. While distressed consumers are less likely to spend, weakening aggregate demand results in decreasing industrial output and deepening crisis. Therefore, governments are encouraged to engage in countercyclical investment when economy is cooling.

Understanding demand is also important for car manufacturers if they want to remain profitable. Automotive sector in the U.S. generates millions of jobs and a lion’s share of revenues in many localities. The importance of automotive industry for the U.S. economy is hard to overestimate.

For automobile manufactures, especially for the recipients of government aid, the major challenge now is restructuring. They were criticized for not being reactive enough to the changes in demand. However, reacting quickly to changes in demand is a complicated task in the automotive sector. 

The main conclusion that can be made is that the current crisis will alter the structure of automotive industry as demand slows down and changes structurally.  
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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now Essay

"Heart of Darkness" and "Apocalypse Now" Essay

Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" and Francis Ford Coppola's "Apocalypse  Now"
Most of the story in Heart of Darkness is told by one of the main characters – Charles Marlow, whose appearance is given by the author as following: “he had sunken cheeks, a yellow complexion, a straight back, an ascetic aspect, and, with his arms dropped the palms of his hands outwards, resembled an idol” (p.16). He seems to be the only character, whose exterior and interior character is clearly seen, the reader has the chance to trace his ideological development, development of his attitudes and values. For example his view towards women: “It’s queer how out of touch with truth women are.” (p.28). Women are therefore associated with the civilized European world, left behind, which is too distant from the evils of colonization in Africa.    


A focus is made on another main character – Kurtz. There’s no other possibility for the reader to imagine his character as only from others’ descriptions, as he never presents his character himself, he is somewhat presented in some minor characters also. If to judge his actions objectively - they do present the enterprise of colonization. To Marlowe Kurtz is represented by some African clerk: “… a very remarkable person…”(p37). This description was given in the first chapter and it doesn’t really coincide with those of manager and his nephew: “pestilential fellow…” (p.57). In the final chapter Kurtz’s madness is contrasted clearly through: “Nevertheless, I think Mr. Kurtz is a remarkable man,” I said with emphasis. He started, dropped on me a cold heavy glance, said very quietly, “He was,” and turned his back on me.” (p.101).

Kurtz’s madness remains without motivation, as the reader is still not aware of his inner character, and even his final response to the Marlowe’s question: “Do you know what you are doing?” I whispered. “Perfectly,” he answered… (p.106). The readers are not given any kind of justification or revealing explanation as for the Kurtz’s actions and colonization itself, which he is supposed to embody.
Within the whole novel all the events, ideas and places are characterized with two images: light and darkness. It is of course a metaphor, used to present knowledge and civility with light and mystery and savagery with darkness. As Marlow goes deeper and deeper into the jungles, his attitudes change, he remarks: “I’ve seen the devil of violence, and the devil of greed, and the devil of hot desire; but, by all the stars! These were strong, lusty, red-eyed devils, that swayed and drove men - men, I tell you. But as I stood on the hillside, I foresaw that in the blinding sunshine of that land I would become acquainted with a flabby, pretending, weak-eyed devil of a rapacious and pitiless folly. How insidious he could be, too, I was only to find out several months later”. This idea is of course reflected in the title of the story. The heart of darkness symbolizes Marlow’s journey into the discovery of truth and means more than just wild madness of the Congo.  When Marlow himself is describing Kurtz, he says: “The wilderness had found him out early, and had taken on him a terrible vengeance for the fantastic invasion. I think it had whispered to him things about himself which he did not know things of which he had no conception till he took counsel with this great solitude and the whisper had proved irresistibly fascinating. It echoed loudly within him because he was hollow at the core.” (p.74).
Conrad in his Heart of Darkness presents the contrast between civilization and primitives, which he tries to use to explore the human self. On a symbolic level the word “heart” could mean first of all life and emotion, but also some place of central importance.  This light of reason against darkness of primal, but evil is bounded with truth, than the light is simply a lie…
There’s the same conflict between good and evil, between rational and irrational in human’s heart if depicted in the film by Coppola Apocalypse Now.

The film’s story was of course indirectly inspired by Joseph Conrad’s novella. The film is about the US Army assassin’s mission, also a kind of mental and physical journey, which reflects the reality of the Vietnam conflict. This film was called a brilliant evocation of the madness and horrors of war. The film was nominated for 8 Academic rewards, but got only 2: Best Cinematography (Vittorio Storaro) and Best Sound.
The film presents some on the one hand lyrical and slow-moving, and on the other hand brutal and destructive combination of events of war in Vietnam. Traditional opening credits and titles are avoided and the title of the film we can see as graffiti towards the end of the film in the complex presided over by Kurtz.
The whole film seems to be a hallucination of the Vietnam War. It tells us about the American captain Willard, who is to make a journey through the jungle, having a special mission to terminate colonel Kurtz, who has his own war with the army of locals, and thus the whole mission becomes a trip into madness. This is a war movie, which is not alike with others, this is a spectacular opera with onward plot. It is actually the journey of Willard to realizing the process of penetrating of one of the best soldiers in the army (Kurtz) into the reality of war, that he could not avoid madness and despair. Willard says: “On the river, I thought that the minute I looked at him I’d know what to do. But it didn’t happen. I was in there with him for days. Not under guard. I was free. But he knew I wasn’t going anywhere. He knew more about what I was going to do than I did.” Kurtz felt himself a God of some region inside the enemy’s territory, having his own army to rule. A bright moment of the film is when he tells Willard about one day, when Special forces inoculated the children of some village: “… This old man came running after us and he was crying, he couldn’t see. We went back there, and they had come and hacked off every inoculated arm. There they were in a pile, a pile of little arms…”
    One of the hardest moments of the film is when helicopter attack on a Vietnam village. It was led by Col. Kilgore and swoop down on a yard with schoolchildren, with the music “Ride of the Valkyries” playing through loudspeakers. The actor ( Robert Duvall) got an Oscar for his performance and his bright words: “I love the smell of napalm in the morning”.
There’s also another scene, when the patrol boat stops a fishing boat with a family on board. When a little girl made an attempt to run after her puppy, fire was opened and the whole family was shot, only the mother was not quite dead. The boat chief wanted to provide her a medical help, but Williard shot her, he could not let anything delay his mission.
In his Apocalypse Now Coppola did his best to create a transposition Jospeh Conrad’s classic novel Heart of Darkness into horror situation of the Vietnam War. These are both stories about fears, madness, war hardship, death, correlation of different cultures. Looking for Kurtz, Marlow is looking for himself, he has not bad intentions as for Congo. The aim of the author is to show, that Marlow is actually what Kurtz used to be and Kurtz is a prototype of what Marlow could become. The characters have the chance to contrast their self and explore them with the help of wilderness and savages, surrounding them.
Kurtz spent enough time in Congo to feel absolutely isolated from his own culture, where he was believed to be a honorable personality. Now he has changed a lot, some evil side, which could be found in any person has now come outside and is leading his desire to have power, moreover, he wants to be worshipped as God. He allows the black side of his soul take a complete control over him and his actions. The understanding of some evil part of human’s soul came to Marlow after the Kurtz’s death.
It is clear that the Coppola’s movie is based on the book by Joseph Conrad. Captain Willard has the same mission as Marlow, just different destinations. A well respected, honored, talented leader – Kurtz is obsessed with the ideas and of war and finds himself absolutely under the influence of the foreign for him culture. His insanity starts when he can not deal properly all the terrible war times, fear of absolutely different cultures. American culture of course treats that of Vietnamese as something much more simple, the same as Marlow looked down at the Africans. The hardest thing about all that is to realize that such kind of superiority is not real. It is always natural for more technologically developed cultures to look down the less developed ones, but two persons from each just need to have a contact and the same inner “structure” of the personality comes out: evil side is coexisting with a good one. One should really explore thoroughly his inside world to have the chance to understand the ideas and actions of Kurtz. The conditions, that surround some individual can influence directly on his personal and even perceived sense of identity.
Both the film and the novel have more in common, the difference lies of course in historical periods and situations, which certainly could have different reasons, purposes, mentality and society, but for any society there’s nothing more ruining, depressing, destroying both morally, mentally and physically than war, besides some negative collision, conflict of cultures can influence negatively the person’s mind and psycho. Both works present a powerful exploration into the unconscious, deepest corners of human’s soul, when Marlow discovers it in himself and in Kurtz, he says: “I had – for my sins, I suppose – to go through the ordeal of looking into it [his soul] myself… I saw the inconceivable mystery of a soul that knew no restraint, no faith and no fear, yet struggling blindly with itself.”
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Rock and Grunge Research Paper

Research Paper on History of Rock and Grunge

Sometimes it is interesting to wonder for one second about how our lives would be without something we are so used to have around. For example, can we really imagine how our life would be without computers? Or maybe we can imagine how our lives would be without telephone?  Of course, it is very hard to imagine our lives without these crucial and so indispensable things. However, what would be even harder is to imagine our lives without music. In fact, can we actually do it? In my opinion, it is impossible because humans, and actually all living beings, are simply indivisible with musical sounds. Music has been so crucial to the humanity that in the last couple of decades the new science called Biomusicology appeared.  According to this science, proposed by Pennsylvania University, music entered the world even prior to the time when a human did (Wallin, Merker, Brown).


The above passages one more time indicated how vital music is for us. If truth be told, if music is so essential for us, the human beings, we should make it our goal to learn more about its different variations. In my paper I would like to present the reader with the current research I have made about such musical styles as rock and grunge. Lower I will present the history of the mentioned above music styles as well as will provide other interesting information on the topic.

Over the course of the history, the changes have influenced the way people behaved and felt.  With each social reformation, cultural forms, norms and rules were changed as well as simply the psychology of the people. Usually during the times of doubt and emotional instability music was helping those in trouble. Thus, the factors of insecurity and craving for change and freedom as well as many more factors came into play in the first half of the 20th century and enabled the birth of rock’n’roll and its future developments. It is interesting, that the emerging of rock’n’roll actually can be traced back to 1892, when popular music firstly in history became a big business. It was at that time when the music publishers started renting small offices all over New York, but especially in its bohemian neighborhoods, and would start organizing meetings for the future stars as well as listen to their new rebellious pieces. In reality, the neighborhood in New York where the first sounds of rock’n’roll sounded would later be renamed «Tin Pan Alley» (Johnstone, p. 57).

From it is beginning rock’n’roll was typically defined as a merger of rhythm’n’blues and country music. It may sound as a surprise, but some of the earliest rock artists did not even write their songs. What they did instead was covering the old blues songs and adding their own special rock touches to them. As it can be expected, at first, rock was a very secret underground movement including in its majority the African Americans.  The situation was changed when a DJ from Cleveland, Alan Freed, took the matter into his hands.  He noticed the popularity that was slowly generating around the African American rhythm and blues albums (Azerrad, p. 419). Moreover, he noticed that young, white teenagers were frequently buying them.  Alan Freed knew how to conduct business, thus he decided not to miss the opportunity. He started to advertise the African American music, using the new fashionable term “rock ‘n’ roll” for it. The advertisement took place at first n the streets, in clubs and at fan meetings, but continued with advertising on the radio. The results of Freed’s actions were overpowering. The popularization of the before known “black music” led to the destruction of the racial barriers as well as it simply turned rock’n’roll into the mainstream. When the first success came, Alan Feed started to organize the first rock concerts mainly on the East Cost of the United States (George-Warren, p. 644-646).

In the 1950s of rock’n’roll was picked up by everyone. There was no one who did not possess at least a couple of the rock’n’roll records. In fact, rock had a major social impact on the world during the 1950s. In this genre of music, the lyrics were much more offensive and political than in others. In consequence, rock’n’roll became the music of rebellion. The rock songs of that time cursed the parents, the teachers, rules, regulation and the system in general. It was at that time that the rock star of all times had emerged on the rock’n’roll sky. The name of the artist is, of course, Elvis Presley, known to everyone as the king of rock. His music was the new rage, the new religion of the teenagers (Johnstone, 56-60).

In the 1960s rock music would start to go hand in hand with sex and drugs. Actually, this decade was marked in the history by its dissolution and the drug abuse. The rock stars of that time perfectly followed the pattern mentioned above. It was a time that a rock star was expected to have a chaotic wild lifestyle (George-Warren, p. 123-124) . The rock songs of the period are filled with hints and open references to drug abuse and sexual debauchery. In 1970s the arena rock appeared. It was introduced by such legendary bands the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. Arena rock typically was a little harder than other genres of rock, though it was not at all alike with heavy metal or punk. During the 1980s, rock began to split into many different genres that, in fact, were all equally popular.  However, in the 1990s the traditions rock genres were moved a little bit out of the scene by such new streams as emo, sca and punk rock (George-Warren, p. 345-346).

The next music stream I would like to cover is grunge. It is considered that grudge is actually more than music, but it is a philosophy, a state of mind and being. The music stream was influenced by early 70’s punk and heavy metal music. Grudge was firstly introduced in Seattle where rock bands developed a sound that would lift up alternative music to the top of the musical mountain. The new stream received its name “grunge” because of the fact that the main sound in the style was a nasty, grinding guitar sound termed of the same name.

Grunge became a social movement in the early 90’s that was driven by the music.As it is with every popular music movement, grunge was immediately adopted by teenagers and young adults of the United States and quickly spread throughout the western world. Grunge became officially commercially successful in the early 1990s, due mainly to the release of Nirvana’s Nevermind and Pearl Jam’s Ten. The triumph of these bands increased the fame of alternative rock and made grunge the most well-liked and trendy form of hard rock music at the time.  It is not surprising that Seattle became the mother-city of grunge music, because the city had always been famous for the underground rebellious movements of its youth (Lyons, p. 128-129). 

As it was with rock’n’roll, grunge soon became the way for young people to express their feelings and emotions. The emotions expressed in the grunge songs were mostly the dark ideas about the current situation in the world as well hopes for the future anarchy. It can be even said that grunge songs, as song songs on the rock’n’roll movement advertised sexual violence and sexual harassment as well urging to use drugs in various forms.  It is aid that grunge was never meant to be as big as it was, however it did become very big and  had changed the lives of millions of young people all over the world (Humphrey, p. 63).

Rock’n’roll and grunge music movements, though having some differences, have for sure one things in come. That is that the mentioned movements have survived and did not lose their popularity. The philosophies of both are still alive and valid. In my opinion, the biggest contributions that the discussed music trends have made is that they showed teenagers that it was not a problem to be different (Hepcat). Actually, the underlying philosophy of the streams was that it is good and, actually, absolutely acceptable and even welcome to be different.  The changes occurred in the filed of music in the period between 1950s and 1990s has forever changed the way we perceived the world. Moreover, it is certain that they will continue to influence our perception in the years to come (Azerrad, p. 419).
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Monday, February 20, 2012

Once Upon a Mattress Essay

"Once Upon a Mattress" Essay

"Once Upon a Mattress" is a hilarious musical comedy about a town in Medieval Times that is forbidden to marry unless the Prince of the town marries first. The Queen is not anxious to let her little prince fall into the arms of someone else, and the King has no say in the matter anyway because he's a mute! The prince finally meets this girl that he's interested in but there are many points to the equation. For one thing the girl that the prince is interested in is a tom boy who is strong enough to beat up a knight (constantly), and the twist is that the prince is the exact opposite, a flaming, feminine, fragile young man.


Since the Queen does not want to let her son go, she comes up with a test to see if the girl is "delicate" enough to marry the prince. The test is that the Queen would put a single pea underneath the mattress that the girl sleeps on. If the girl cannot sleep during the night because she is uncomfortable of the little pea, than she is worthy to marry the prince. But, of course, we all know that nobody is that delicate enough to feel a single pea under the entire mattress; this was the Queen's "full proof plan" to keep her boy from marrying. The town knew about this absurd test and decided to take the fate of the town's marriage policy into they're one hands. The town cheats and places all these chains and boulders and ridiculous objects under the mattress so that it would be impossible for the girl to fall asleep, hence, making her "delicate" enough. In the end, the tom boy girl ends up marrying the feminine prince and they live happily ever after; and so do the town folk.

I thought this play was once of the best plays I've seen, in terms of being entertaining and really catering to people who want to laugh. I've seen this play one other time with my cousin in the play, and I felt that both productions did a great job.

The one thing that was a let down though was the sound system. The mics were cutting in and out at some part and although it was unavoidable during the play it was unfortunate that it happened.

As for the actors and actresses performances I thought they all did a wonderful job. Danielle and Jim from our class did a great job as well and I'm sure you're proud of them too.

In conclusion, I think that my favorite kind of genre for plays is musical comedies and I think this play is a good example of what I really enjoy. Of course I'm not completely closed minded to only those kind of shows, I enjoy all different types of plays. I just think that comedic musicals are a plus for me.

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Last Temptation of Christ Essay

The Last Temptation of Christ Essay

When I decided to watch Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ, it seemed as though I was forcing myself upon the decision. I knew that it was an acclaimed movie and I suspected that there was good reason, so I thought I'd give it a chance. My hesitation was because I also suspected that I would find the film boring, and similar to other films regarding biblical events. However, from the film's opening message that it was not based on the transcription of the Bible, until the closing credits, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my predisposition towards the movie was indeed in unjust. 


The Last Temptation of Christ was intellectually stimulating, and this was its best attribute by far. The plot and metaphor of the movie are what has made it a classic. Because of this, the script is what I found to be the most remembered part of the movie. "Fear -- you look inside of me, and that's all you'll find," or, the final "It is accomplished," are two examples of the dialogue, both spoken by Willem Dafoe as Jesus, that I found to be impressive. The script remained strong throughout the entirety of the film, and right along side of it were the performances, especially Dafoe's. The combination of good script and good deliverance were perfect for delivering the story and its message to viewers, and therefore were the cause of its success.

The film's cinematography, however, was not the highlight of the film, in my opinion. There were some scenes that were done incredibly well; the crucifixion of Jesus, the baptism, and a few others were extremely memorable. In particular, the lighting turning to red in the scene where it appeared Jesus removed his heart accented the scene's emotion perfectly, and was done so well that I did not even notice the transition until it was already complete. The majority of scenes in the film, though not as well done or memorable, were still good, so the overall cinematography was good, but not the best of any film I had scene. The score was good and integrated well into the film, but, like the cinematography, was not the film's best attribute.

Overall, I was extremely pleased with the picture. The cinematography and score were positive attributes of the film, but were not its true power. That rested in the message implied through the film's story and script, and brilliantly shown to viewers through the acting.
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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Barbara Kruger Research Paper

Barbara Kruger Research Paper

Barbara Kruger is one of the most influential artists of the last three decades. She uses pictures and words through a wide variety of media and web sites to raise the issues of power. Her works include photographic prints on billboards, magazines, metal plates, sculpture, videos, book covers, shopping bags, postcards, newspapers and T-Shirts. She uses art to express her views on issues that affect society. The issues can range from political issues, environmental issues, sexism and any other issues. __________________________________________________________


Kruger has a very unique style of art that is recognize worldwide. One thing I realized after viewing several pieces of her art was that she uses the same three colors for her art work, (red, black and white). The three colors suck you into her art. One thing that I question is why she uses those three colors. Why not blue, pink and orange. I also wonder why she only uses only three colors and not four or five. While viewing her art in class, it occurred to me that she purposely wants her paintings to be in black and white in order for the viewer to paint her art in their own vision. For example, most faces in her art work are black and white. Since the faces are black and white, Kruger lets the individual use their imagination to color the faces.
Because everyone is so different, the faces will have different shades of color from one individuals point of view to another. Some individuals will have the face lighter or darker in skin color than others. When you see a black and white picture it has no color to it. Kruger gives the individual the opportunity to color the picture. Barbara Kruger uses a lot of images or pictures from the 1950's magazines. Her political art sends powerful messages. Each individuals has a different idea or belief of what message Kruger is sending. For example in class while viewing Kruger's art, each student in class had different views about her art. Who was right and who was wrong? I don't believe that every students view is wrong. After all a picture is worth a thousand words.
Kruger has made a profession out of disapproving oppressors, from anti-abortion agitators to wife-beaters, racists, and the editors magazines. A typical Kruger piece is a long room from the floor to ceiling. One thing that I like about Kruger is that she creates work that needs to be experienced outside an art gallery. Her art is also displayed at huge billboards.
What Barbara Kruger does with her art is to challenge the viewer's concept of reality. John Berger also believes that art challenges the viewer's concept of reality.

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Mildred Pierce Essay

Mildred Pierce Essay

When does the music move and match the motion of objects in the film? During the opening credits the music is very bitter sweet and gives the audience mixed emotions about the rest of the movie. The powerful orchestra becomes loud and soft with crescendos and decrescendos as the waves of the ocean wash up and then retreat from the shore is a rolling motion. Another example of this is when the police officers are running down the hill of sand and chasing Wally, the music is in sync with their footsteps as they stumble down the hill.


When does the music try to capture the overall emotions and mood? The music becomes dramatic when something bad is about to happen. It builds up so the audience becomes tense until the climax. The music was always very mournful and sad; it brought out emotions when Kay was dying of pneumonia. It is supposed to make the audience sympathize with Mildred who loses her daughter. The music is also emotional when Mildred and Veta are re-united after Mildred marries Mr. Pierce. This is done by having a powerful orchestral score to bring out and enhance the emotions that actors are portraying on the scene.

Was the music conspicuous or did it break through? For the majority of the movie the music stayed inconspicuous. Unless the audience was listening for the soul purpose of hearing the musical score it would remained un-noticed because the audience has not been trained to listen for a musical break- through. However, there were certain dramatic scenes in the movie where the music was noticeably loud and stood out. After Veta slaps her mother there is loud noticeably music. In other scenes such as the bar or restaurant scenes there is parlor or saloon music that is noticeable to the audience.

If the music does demand your focus does it still maintain a subordinate function in the film as a whole? How? When the musical score in this film did demand attention, it did not draw the attention away form the characters or the dialogue. Instead it supports and adds to the action on the screen. The only scene where the noise was distracting was the scene in the jail where no one was allowed to talk and there were little abstract sounds like, the clock ticking, the newspaper ruffling, chairs being pushed in and out, coughing and footsteps. However, all these sounds helped to build the atmosphere of the room, the tension and frustration of Mildred as she is sitting in the station. Music and sounds also helped set the pace and rhythms of the film as the story unfolded. The music even though noticeable in some scene served to stimulates the audience emotional responses and reinforces the effects happening on the screen.

What if the musical score was removed from the film? If the musical score was removed from the film, the film would defiantly not have the same dramatic impact. The music in this film is used to fill dramatic pauses in dialogue and it is also used to effectively transition between scenes. There is military drum roll type music when there is a scene with the police. There is lonely mournful music that is often played when Mildred is talking and thinking about the past, setting the overall tone of the movie. The score put the audience in the specific time and action. It makes the audience feel sad, or angry and warns them when something terrible is about to happen. It enables the audience to further express and understand the feelings and attitudes of the characters and their actions.
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Friday, February 10, 2012

Social Movement Research Paper

Research Paper on Social Movement (Cyclic Theory)

Every Society has been going through consecutive cycles of development in different fields. Every following cycle is determined by the previous one and is considered to be an irreversible process of changes which gradually bring us to present. Thus the whole historical progress depends on the social ability to realize, define, and control the course. Moreover it is very important to know various factors affecting social processes and regulate the impact on them.


Each cycle, which may be identified with special features in political, economical and social situation within certain period, presumably consists of 4 stages such as:
 1. Innovative Stage (Rise of the new ideas, conceptions, hope)
 2. Calamity Stage (Crush of the system, depression. Revolution, period of rebirth)
 3. Exploitive Stage (Ideologies, present orientation, social changes provided by the organized movements, restructure)
 4. Reactive Stage (Past Orientation)

I would like to analyze three historical cycles of the United States of America through the mentioned stages.

I. 1929-1960. Although after the First World War United States, inspired by the victory obtained the political hegemony in the world. There were social and economical exhaustion, caused concentration on the internal stabilization and improvement, what resulted global isolation of the country. 

Therefore a new orientation called Prosperity or the Gold Standard took place. Quick unbelievable success of the “Prosperity” was obvious. And No less unbelievable was the big economical crush of 1929, known as Big Depression, which deeply shocked the nation. It was a complete disaster with millions of unemployed, starving families and rapidly increasing crime. Completely incapable to deal with the situation, Republicans lost their positions on the next elections. The “New Deal” of President Roosevelt – campaign for the economical recovery I think might be considered as the first Innovative Stage, when society in the crisis conditions is looking for the ways of escape building up an absolutely different ideology basics. Still Roosevelt had no concrete prescription and just gathered experienced and influential representatives of the economical, social and political fields and made a brainstorming, which occurred to be the setting up of a new well-coordinated of all these fields  development course. The first steps of the new government (Establishing the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, 1933 - increasing farm income by controlling production, The National Recovery Administration - restoring employment and regenerating industry, etc.) definitely determined economical recovery process, which turned out to be a stable progress in future.

The second Stage of Calamity came to the USA with Second World War,(exactly 1942-1944 – Pearl Harbour assault), at the same time I think the reason of being not prepared for the obvious war was in the internal split in the congress. Roosevelt’s request for the Judiciary reorganization in 1937 was not approved and resulted republican’s victory on the Congress elections in 1938. In addition, maintaining its policy of neutrality, refusal to alliance against raising impact of Germany and Japanese power brought USA to the deeper isolation and made it weaker. However, in spite of the rapid involvement in the war the USA managed to start Exploitive Stage “in charge” of the world, because when the smoke cleared from the battlefield only two great powers remained in the world; The USA and the Soviet Union.

After Roosevelt’s death Truman succeeded in USA. A set of complicated rearrangement global political changes took place. A basement for the cold war was preparing, therefore USA was more worried about global political issues than about taking care of its domestic affairs. He financed an after-war Europe in order to create counterbalance and support against Union Soviet Still Truman managed to launch a new Fair Deal, defined by the stable improvement of the economical life. In this Deal he extended the policies of his predecessor, and paid more attention to the social programs. This period is considered to be a beginning of American realizing themselves as one of the greatest nations claiming to the world supremacy. Fourth stage I thing is applying for the Eisenhower’s presidential term, his orientation about foreign policy and very little “domestic” activity resulted national unsatisfactory about social issues and created the ground for the new changes.

II. 1960-1992. John Kennedy started his term with new ideology claiming- “Do not ask, what your country can do for you, ask yourself what you can do for your country“, which became a symbol of the new era (Innovative Stage). It was a time of the teenage and young adults cultural revolution. After the conservative fifties this new movement eventually resulted in the revolutionary way of thinking, student rebellion, and deep changes in a social structure, lifestyle, values, laws etc were rather difficult for the population to adjust to. Difficult situation was in foreign politics (Vietnam War) as well (Calamity Stage). That is why the program of defending traditional values, and the examination of the changes was highly approved. At this time the cold war was about its end and Nixon’s doctrine contributed to that much (Exploitive Stage – restructure). I think that this cycle has the fourth stage to be longer than in the previous one. The consequences of the sixties tendency brought USA to the drugs and AIDS, in addition traditional society (with its structure, values, principles) started transforming into the way we see it today.

III.1992 - up to date. Ideology basics of the nineties appeared with the new election - the victory of Bill Clinton and the final placing of the strength and impact in the world politics (crush of the Soviet Union). In the technical, cultural and social fields began an era of the internet, which meant total change in principles of communication – increasing of their modularity. The stage of crisis might be defined as the conflicts with Iraq – and the great relief after the negotiation prevented the world from the war (Third stage). One of the famous sociologists of our times adduced an idea that we are incapable to analyze and estimate nowadays processes clearly and impartially because of our presence in this epoch. That is why the last cycle, I think, is rather difficult to be applied to the four stages. Still I believe that this theory works. And besides the analysis I made, we can prove it on the history of different societies in different periods.  
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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Essay on Industrialization

Essay on Industrialization

Influence of Industrialization on the lives of Europeans
Industrialization originated in eighteenth-century England and was spurred by the introduction of the steam engines and modernization of the textile industry. In the nineteenth century industrialization moved on, spreading to the rest of Europe, America and Japan.

The workplace of most Europeans was significantly changed. Businesses grew bigger, and industrialization sped up the formation of  «corporations, monopolies, and cartels» (Watts). Financial capital turned into an important source of power, and petroleum and electricity became vital energy sources.


The industrialization «gave man a new conception of power in relation to his physical environment» (Kreis 2004), giving one a sense of power and control over one’s physical conditions. Man was now the master of nature to a greater degree than before, and so far the disastrous consequences of industrial activities such as pollution were not as evident.

With all the benefits of the advances in technology, the Industrial Age came at a social cost. It resulted in “social dislocation, overcrowded cities, inadequate housing, worker exploitation. child labor, new extremes of wealth and poverty, political conflict, and pollution”  (Kreis 2004).

The life of the rural communities was transformed no less than the life of the cities as people flocked to urban areas to join the ranks of industrial workers. As early as in 1815 the majority of  Europeans and Americans «lived in rural villages and worked the land» (Watts), but the process of movement that was to make Europe a predominantly urban area had already started.

The advent of machine production caused profound changes in the social layering of society. The shift of industrial workers had no land of their own, but were instead dependent on those who had the means of production in their hands, that is, factory owners.This modification led many to feel that they were passed over in the scientific and industrial breakthroughs, and added popularity to the  Marxist doctrine that gained recognition in the second half of the nineteenth century. Marx claimed that capitalism is another step in the long chain of different social setups where the lower-class society members were bound to remain in the lower social layers. Industrialization, Marx claimed, led to a perpetuation of the poverty and discrimination based on class.

The Industrial Age has elicited criticism from many thinkers, especially those belonging to the Romantic movement who believed it led to depersonalization of people and society, and destruction of nature, while others endorsed the growing might of man.

Success of humankind’s scientific and economic achievements has led many thinkers to support the policy of "laissez-faire", meaning that the less government intervention into society’s affairs the better. This view was supported by Bentham, a utilitarian philosopher who believed that the best decision is the one that best serves the interests of many people. Thomas Paine (1737-1809) also said that «the best government is the one which governs least» (Kreis 2004).

The utilitarianist philosophy was a step forward from the old irrational moral systems. The utilitarians backed the passage of the 1832 Reform Bill that gave the middle class the franchise. They argued for the drastic reforms in the social sphere, abolition of aristocracy and even monarchy, earning themselves the title of philosophical radicals. Utilitarians held to the idea expressed by Bentham in Fragment on Government (1776) that «correspondent to discovery and improvement in the natural world, is reformation in the moral» (Kreis 2004).

The establishment of the middle-class capitalist ideas in Europe, the success of the Western civilization gave impetus to the view of other nations as intellectually and culturally inferior. The ideas of racial supremacy led to the appearance of Social Darwinism, “the pseudo-scientific application of the theory of evolution to social and political issues”, that  «reinforced ethnocentrism and racial bigotry” (McNeill). To some extent these notions gave extra momentum to the First World War later on.

Thus, the palette of thought in the nineteenth century ranged from denunciation of the achievements of the industrialization that failed to bring improvement in human life to enthusiastic support for the process that radically advanced the economic development of society.
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Competition Law Essay

Competition Law Essay

The Competition Act 1998 includes a lot of features been in the author’s draft Bill. Actually this brings UK competition law into line with the model of European Community (EC) that today has been adopted in some other member states. The Chapter I of the Act prohibits agreements and concerted practices, which preclude, restrict or warp competition in the United Kingdom (UK), unless they are freed under Article 85(3) or on the UK grounds equivalent to this Article.  A provision in analogous terms to Article 86 of Rome treaty (called the “Chapter II prohibition”) forbids abuses of chief positions in the UK. In both, the essentials of an effect on trade within the UK are substituted in the Act for that on trade between the EC member states. In the first case there is also the requirement that the decision, agreement or practice in the UK is or is intended to be executed similarly to the standard for the EC jurisdiction described by the European Court in the case of Wood Pulp.


A main clause provides that courts and tribunals “must act (so far as compatible with the provisions of this Part) with a view to securing that there is no inconsistency between (a) the principles applied and the decision reached by the court in determining that question; and (b) the principles laid down by the Treaty [of Rome] and the European Court, and any relevant decision of that Court, as applicable at that time in determining any corresponding question arising in Community law” in determining questions arising under this legislation as well as “must, in addition, have regard to any relevant decision or statement of the [EC] Commission”.

Major of the UK laws on competition (apart from the mergers and acquisitions control and general investigations of oligopolies) are repealed, including sections 44 and 45 of the Patents Act 1997 which regulated the supply of patented agreements and tying and automatic extension provisions in patent licenses.

In brief, the UK Competition Act of 1998 spreads prohibitions equivalent to 85 and 86 articles to situations when EC law does not apply, as there is insufficient or no effect on trade of the United Kingdom and other member states.  The importance of the extension is not only in covering many situations that previously were not covered by described articles, but also in providing greater enforcement authority and proximity.

The competition authorities in the United Kingdom, applying the new prohibitions, have started investigations, connected with complaints, made out decisions and even faced appeals against those decisions. The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has set strong fines on companies found to have breached the rules and has used its powers to launch so called ‘dawn raids’ that means unannounced inspections of the premises of those suspected in the rules infringing. At the same time, OFTEL and OFGEM (the utility regulators) have not hesitated to use their powers applying the new laws on competition to the sectors they are responsible for. In addition, regulations have been developed to govern the procedures of both the Competition Commission’s Appeal Tribunals and the OFT; secondary legislation has made exclusions from the powers of investigation, prohibition and rules for the penalties determination. Besides the OFT and the sector regulators have issued guidance to assist the Act interpretation. Moreover, cause of the Act applying by reference to the equivalent EC legislation on competition, this Second Supplement also involves the main developments in the met EC law on competition.

So, it contains:
1. New cases regarding the concept of ‘affecting trade between Member States’ and the meaning of an ‘agreement’;
2. New block exemptions on research-and-development agreements, vertical and specialization agreements;
3. Proposals for the ‘modernization’ of EC competition procedure. The proposals are likely to have a significant impact on the scope and operation of the Competition Act in the UK.

Though the Bill comprises these careful provisions for enforcement by public authorities, it does not specify what effect the prohibitions have on private rights stated in The Human Rights Act of 1998, which was incorporated by the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law.  The only express provision is section 2(4), which simply says that agreements prohibited under Chapter I are freed.  Provisions of previous legislative acts governed private rights are repealed. 

Various questions will have to be resolved according to the EC interpretation clause and general principle.

This includes the following:
  • Are agreements forbidden by Chapter I invalid? Does the invalidity affect provisions not restricting competition or being exempted? 
  • Does Chapter II also prohibit conduct?
  • Whether a person can claim damage in respect of the Chapter I or II breach? How much it influence if the claimant was party to the breach?
  • Has a person the right to claim an instruction restraining Chapter I or II breach?  If so, in what situation?
  • Whether conduct prohibited by Chapter II or I can affect the proprietary rights enforcement?  If so, in what circumstances?

Under conventional United Kingdom standards of established interpretation, the Act on Competition of 1998 might have been regarded as not conferring any private right on action for damages. The prohibitions defend the public interests and the Act provides an detailed enforcement and immunity system where agreements and conduct are notified to the OFT. If the careful arrangements protecting parties notified the OFT remain exposed to civil liabilities which could be very substantial one can say that the system seems to contradict them. 

That clauses in the Act which provide for the use of the OFT’s findings facts and information in court proceedings has been suggested to indicate that the Act confers rights to claim damages. On one hand, the fact of referring to proceedings related to the agreements validity could explain the provisions. On the other hand, the interpretation part of EC specifically explains that it applies to decisions as to the liability of an agreement for harm caused by its Community law infringement. So the position under Community law is necessary to be considered.

The European Court has considered Articles 85 and 86 to make direct effect and confer rights on private parties that must be protected by national courts. It has not definitely stated about ability to claim damages for private parties. Nevertheless, in accordance with EC law general principles, the protection of these rights in national courts must be efficient and not less favorable than that accorded to similar rights under national law. The UK Act could be considered to form the second criterion circular, but at the same time there is a strong argument based on the first criterion about the rights protection that would be ineffective in case damages could not be claimed.

The House of Lords majority strongly supports the opinion that damages can be claimed infringement for articles 85 and 86, but do not make a clear decision to this effect. Therefore the majority of the Court of Appeal expressed some doubt on this view, which seemed to hold that judicial survey provided an effective remedy for breach of article 30 against the state. However, it is submitted that the damages availability for infringement of articles 85 and 86 is highly likely to be confirmed.

These decisions are regrettable from the point of a person interest in the effective competition law enforcement. To an anti-competitive agreement third parties very often have a less concern and worse information than a party to expose its incompatibility with law on competition.  Moreover, the function of article 85 analysis of the Court of Appeal appears to be unduly restrictive, and it remains to be considered if it will be overturned. The main point is a question of EC law that should be directed to the European Court. To the UK Act interpretation the application of Chapter II should follow the result under Treaty’s Article 85.

In Gibbs Mew v. Gemmell The Court of Appeal said that the situation would be different under article 86 since the article imposed the duty only on the dominant party. However, an agreement making a dominant position abuse in infringement of article 86 or Chapter II is likely also to contradict article 85 or Chapter I. Also it could still be disputed that the victim cannot rely on its participation in such a kind of agreement even if damages were claimed under article 86. 

In spite of Gibbs Mew v Gemmell a party may still meet a prohibited agreement to claim damages for distortion as to its validity. 
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