Emma Larkin’s Finding George Orwell in Burma
2. Using the Larkin text and the handout “Finding George Orwell in Burma: Some Notes on the Exercise of State Power” as inspiration, discuss some of the ‘tools’ the post-colonial government of Burma has used to exercise power over the people of Burma. Relate the concepts in the handout to specific examples from the Larkin text, as well as class discussion (including the events of 2007 as depicted in the ‘Burma VJ’ viewing). Among others, be sure you include two primary ‘tools’ in your discussion: 1) the concept of fear; Aung San Suu Kyi chose to title her most important book Freedom from Fear. In what ways has the Burmese government utilized fear as a means of controlling the populace?; 2) A central theme of Orwell’s writings was the power of surveillance. Use the term panopticon, as mentioned in Larkin (p.79) and slide #’s 42-46 in the ‘History and Politics in Burma’ Powerpoint presentation, and check out the good entry on “panopticon” in wikipedia (not all wikipedia entries are adequate, but this one is – just type “panopticon” in the search bar and it should be one of the first hits).
Leaving Burma for a moment, in what ways do governments in general (including your own government), powerful corporations, the financial sector, etc. employ fear as a tool of manipulation and control? Include the concept of surveillance/’the panopticon’ in your response. What, if anything, can be done by ordinary folks to fight the power of fear as it is utilized in attempts to control us? (This response should be about 2/3rds of a page to one page in length; 20 points possible)
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