Re: foucault on slavery and politics --Psych/physical tools?

From: Mike Cole (
Date: Wed Mar 23 2005 - 04:50:37 PST

Hi Mary-- I somehow missed your note to Jay.

Yes,culutre as historical process has the implications needed. And I
like it too.
But I think an and/both approach to the issue is preferable to an either/or
--- process or residual of history as encountered by the child at
birth. That is,
viewed synchronically, culture appears as an already-there set of structured
meansing, practices, etc that the newborn must appropriate for
acceptance into the group (the acquisition of appropriate (d)
knowledge a la Goodenough. And
even duirng a life time, at least in times and places of relatively slow socio-
ecological change, it may appear pretty static (an illusion, change is constant,
but perhaps not "paradigm shifting" change). Viewed in the loinger
term, there is
no avoiding the culture as process view. In my usages, a concentric
circles (your onion) versus weaving together point of view).

The relation of this discussion to contextualist world views is, I
think, clear, but if not, worth more discussion for sure.

On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 12:42:02 +0200, Mary van der Riet
<> wrote:
> In response to Jay's comment on 'ossification' and culture, when one
> thinks of culture as a dialectical process, would that not counter any
> idea of stagnation/ossification? If cultural frames 'afford' us
> particular opportunities/concepts, do not we in turn utilise, interact
> with and form culture - almost then 'affording' culture the opportunity
> of becoming something different?
> I always find Clifford Geertz's articulation of the concept of culture
> useful. He draws a distinction between a stratigraphic approach (culture
> as a layer, for example on an onion, that can and must be removed), and
> a more synthetic understanding of the relationship between culture and
> the individual: culture as a process. This moves away from culture as a
> variable - which is how much psychological research is conducted.
> Mary
> Mary van der Riet; School of Psychology; University of KwaZulu-Natal
> Private Bag X01, Scottsville, 3209
> email:
> tel: 033 260 6163; fax: 033 2605809
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