Week 7 Social Contract Theory Discussion

Katniss is conflicted about the possibility of a rebellion against the Capitol and her role within it. Social Contract theory invites us to think about our relationship to others. (Think, for example, about the current debate over wearing masks. Isn't this simply an iteration of different perspectives related to contract theory? Some think individuals have no responsibility toward others in society while others believe that societal interests require individuals to give up some freedom for the betterment of the whole.) Thomas Hobbes thought people left to their own devices would become brutish; they would succumb to chaos. People, regardless of their situation were always better off submitting to the power of the state, even when it was brutish. On the other hand, another contract theorist, John Locke, thought that people are responsible to rise up against a tyrannical state in order to maintain the basic freedoms of the individuals who compose it.

At this point in the games, we are seeing Katniss consider whether or not she should lead the rebellion. 

This exercise requires you to think about the idea of morality being created by a group of rational people who decide to enter into an agreement. So far in our exploration of The Hunger Games, the capitol has created a society, and those in the capitol have maintained the society by its rules--rules which have oppressed the districts (some more than others) in order to keep its power. 

Prompt:

Drawing upon what you now know about contract theory, write a letter to Katniss urging her to take action (what kind of action is for you to consider).

As you make your argument to Katniss, make sure you are utilizing the information from the video about social contract theory. Be able to explain its basic ideas and then apply it to Katniss' situation. It could even help you to illustrate your thinking to Katniss by drawing on our current social situation of wearing/not wearing masks.