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Re: [xmca] Lewin and unification of the social sciences
If *massive human toll was experienced by all* was [and is] a criteria
for change, then the youth unemployment rates around the world may become
that *mass human toll*.
I cannot imagine figures of 50% or higher unemployment rates not at some
point reaching the level of crisis that throws cherished assumptions into
The end of the 1st world war, as mentioned, was also a critical moment
when the world turned and our sense of security was uprooted.
On Tue, Jul 30, 2013 at 9:10 AM, Greg Thompson <email@example.com>wrote:
> Andy, I'm totally on board with you here. Must not have been clear in my
> The massive human toll was felt by all. I think even Vietnam was more
> widely felt than any of the recent American wars. America has managed to
> hide its wars so that they are barely felt by the mainstream population. So
> I see little chance of developing a civic generation anytime soon. But
> maybe someone else can give me hope?
> And as for "rooting", not sure what other meanings you'd add - the two I
> had in mind were: 1. rooting - as in "cheering" for one's preferred team in
> a sport and 2. rooting - as in what an animal does when it searches for
> food (typically in the ground - like a pig searching for roots) and there
> is 3. rooting - as an infant does when his cheek is stroked, he "roots" or
> orients his head to the mother's breast so that he can nurse. Hadn't
> thought of that third one, but maybe that works too...
> Is there another meaning in Australia?
> On Mon, Jul 29, 2013 at 6:47 PM, Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> > Greg, people in the social cohesion business record that from the
> > mid-1930s till the late 1950s (in the US) there was what they call "the
> > long communitarian generation", after which life descended into
> > with signs of recovery only in the past couple of decades. As to the
> > why, that is open to question. Ironically, it may well be due to the
> > conditions of depression and war. But it was far wider than science. It
> > affected every aspect of life from family stability, to church-going, to
> > sport, to politics and union membership.
> > Otherwise, I again am in total support of your thesis.
> > But I guess "rooting" does not have the same meanings in the US as it has
> > in Australia?
> > Andy
> > Greg Thompson wrote:
> >> A propos the previous conversation about the fracturing of the social
> >> sciences into self-contained, self-sustaining units, I came across this
> >> 1947 piece by Kurt Lewin.
> >> I'm starting to think that there was something about the post-WWII
> >> historical moment that encouraged this kind of work. Maybe something
> >> a shared and powerful ethic of working together to solve serious
> >> facing humanity? (whereas today's social science tends to pick little
> >> problems every here and there - XMCA researchers excepted, of course).
> >> maybe there was a greater appreciation that social problems are real?
> >> Lewin devotes a portion of his article to metaphysical questions of
> >> existence - what objects does the mainstream public see as particularly
> >> "real" today? (What is Latour's term for more or less "real"?). My guess
> >> is
> >> "genes and neurons" would be what people think of as the most real and
> >> most
> >> important objects in our lives. That's why brain researchers can publish
> >> book after book about what "brain science" tells us about how to raise
> >> better children or to stop war or whatever - and these books get gobbled
> >> up
> >> by publishers and the public. Most of the times the links between the
> >> science and the suggestions are specious at best - usually much worse
> >> that.
> >> For most people today, I suspect that social and psychological phenomena
> >> are nothing more than ghostly (geist-ly?!) apparitions. Makes it hard
> >> anyone to see the relevance of a "social theorist" to the problems
> >> humanity today. Can't we just solve these problems with a pill? or by
> >> rewiring the brain? or recoding the genes?
> >> To put my position another way, it's not so much that I am AGAINST
> >> neuroscience as it is that I am FOR social science. Or better, for both
> >> neuroscience AND social science. That seems to me to be what Luria was
> >> to. And Lewin too...
> >> (and btw, someone recently articulated this position very nicely on
> >> but I've forgotten who - apologies for not citing them...).
> >> Rooting (in both senses) for the underdog.
> >> -greg
> >> ------------------------------**------------------------------**
> >> ------------
> > --
> > ------------------------------**------------------------------**
> > ------------
> > *Andy Blunden*
> > Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
> > Book: http://www.brill.nl/concepts
> > http://marxists.academia.edu/**AndyBlunden<
> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> Visiting Assistant Professor
> Department of Anthropology
> 883 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
> Brigham Young University
> Provo, UT 84602