Re: [xmca] Don C about the "epic" googlization film - a bit of mcahistory

From: Martin Packer <packer who-is-at>
Date: Fri Jun 29 2007 - 08:20:45 PDT


Perhaps the position you define here is a necessary corrective to the
tendency in the social sciences, and I suppose in our narcissistic society,
to focus on the individual and neglect the collective level. But I worry
that you've gone a bit too far. Both ethically and conceptually.
Conceptually, many of us live now in societies which are no longer
traditional, which are not simply reproduced but are, for better or worse,
continually transformed. To grasp this characteristic we need to continue to
pay attention to personal agency, to the ways that people are able to
realize *new* possibilities. And ethically, if we want our societies to be
transformed for better, and not for worse, each of us needs, personally and
collectively, to continually question (and, yes, critique!) the
possibilities that at any moment seem to be those available to us. If it is
truly a *dialectic* of individual and collective that we need to employ
(here I completely agree with you), then I think we *do* still have to
wonder about the expertise of (not 'in') individuals, as well as and in
relation to expertise at the collective level. Society may not care, but we
must. We've got to a point, as a species, where we've changed the direction
of life, on this planet at least. It's become clear that western society, at
least, is not 'immortal'; it's quite able to destroy itself. To align 'life'
and 'society' as though the two are good friends is no longer possible. If
this happens life will undoubtedly survive, but personally I'd prefer that
we find a way to redirect our society to avoid this particular outcome.
That's going to require that individuals be awake to not only what is, but
what could be. My new bumper sticker: 'Think personally; act collectively.')


On 6/28/07 6:49 PM, "Louise Hawkins" <> wrote:

> individual lives are the means by which life reproduces itself. There is no
> ulterior reason for individual life other than to make life and society
> survive. Harold Garfinkel talks about "immortal society," which contrasts our
> own mortality.
> Individually we realize possibilities that exist at a collective, cultural
> level.
> Now when you think activities from the perspective of society, or rather, the
> dialectic of individual and collective, we no longer have to wonder about
> expertise in individuals but at expertise at the collective level, where it
> doesn't matter whether it is in this or that person, this or that individual.
> LIFE and society don't care, as long as the activity reproduces them.

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Received on Sat Jun 30 12:09 PDT 2007

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