[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [xmca] FW: ScienceDaily: Online interactions have positive effects for real-life communities

Emily, that **is** an interesting, zinger phrase. Here are some offhand thoughts.

The statement "all communities are imagined communities" seems like a nice example of what Ilyenkov called the "secret twist of idealism" in his essay The Concept of the Ideal (1977). I first encountered this essay in that xmca course we did back in 2003, when I first came around xmca.

A key theme in Ilyenkov's understanding of ideality is that idealism in the Plato-Hegel philosophical lineage has a basically correct idea of ideality, as an objective phenomenon that confronts the individual.

A quick non-technical definition of 'ideality' or 'the ideal' - these are technical terms not found in everyday English and therefore require explanation - might be 'the collection of socially understood meanings in given culture, which are manifested to the individual in the course of activity, especially productive activity'.

The secret twist that idealists make, according to Ilyenkov, is their tendency to take the phenomenon of 'the ideal' as the **entirety** of reality - and forget, ignore, deny, downplay, etc. its material basis, that is, how the ideal is transformed out of the material.

So in the "twisted" sense of ideality taken just by itself, as idealists are prone to do, community is indeed an "imagined" thing. Community, from this perspective, is just a collection of socially constructed meanings and imaginings. But materialists like Ilyenkov, you, me, and many in CHAT, that begin with the idea that communities are material things, tend to find such phrases to be a jarring way of describing things. What is jarring to me about the phrase "imagined communities" is it formulates the ideal in such a way as to powerfully **overshadow** the material. In a single, admirable phrase, it performs the secret twist

In fairness to the author, they did qualify their thought-provoking statement by saying <**To a certain degree** all communities are imagined communities ...>

If I were to try to use a provocative formulation like that, I'd want to quickly balance it with statements about the relationship of the ideal to the material. I might say something along the lines that that the material forces and social relations in a society **manifest** themselves to the individual in the form of cultural reflections and images, that is, in the form of the ideal, or ideality. No individual actually experiences an entire community - or an entire anything - but learns to grasp such things as wholes by internalizing historically and culturally created ideal images and understandings of them.

In that materialist sense - and in terms of **individual experience** - all communities are, indeed, to a certain degree, "imagined" entities - brought to us, as such, by that special human capacity to create ideality (sociocultural meanings) alongside our material activities.


- Steve

On Apr 6, 2010, at 10:12 AM, Duvall, Emily wrote:

Hi All,
This just came out and the summary on this site has a few interesting
statements, particularly this last one:

"To a certain degree, all communities are 'imagined communities' -- that
is, our sense of being part of a community is always something we must
create in ourselves, and it often occurs through media."

I thought this might be of interest to some xmca-ers.... I know that
this last statement is quite a zinger for me. Not so much our sense of
being a part of a community, but that communities are imagined.


Online interactions have positive effects for real-life communities

Online interactions not only have positive outcomes for real-life,
place-based communities, but the intersection between online
communication and the offline world also forms two halves of a support
mechanism for communities, according to a new study.

xmca mailing list

xmca mailing list