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[Xmca-l] Re: A supplement to David's reflection on Translatability



Silverstein suggests that as citizen-scientists we use our knowledge to illuminate people, to reveal what is going on.
Blommaert adds that is the least we can do.
The question I have is if the intent is to reveal, to show, to illuminate, at the level of epistemology, the level of knowing, is this intent an inadequate ethical response?

On page 2 there is an exploration of the western philosophical concept of words, concepts, things, as formalized and resting upon a system of denotational structure. Linguistic anthropology is revealing, showing, illuminating this formalized, denotational structural system. 

This practice is based in fact within a whole cultural belief system that can be commoditized and exported around the world and now each nation state is incorporating this notion of translatability of meaning into their  institutional languaging practices.
Is it possible as Greg asks to stay within this culturally bound system as an aspect of the Enlightenment project which had the effect of breaking apart the medieval trivium. (see page 3).
 This Enlightenment movement of thought which kept grammar and which kept logic, and showed semantics to be the way language is truth-functional.
What you get with this breaking up of the medieval trivium is a sense of purity, a sense of objectivity, a sense of a notational system of denotation that is scientific.

What needs illumination, what needs to be revealed is the ethical way this culturally bound system demarcates a particular figuring of the world, a symbolic figuring that encompasses our particular ways of forming citizen scientist identities focused on translatability of meanings..
As citizens of nation states we have this culturally bound denotational structural system as our presumed reality in order to develop pure and objective structural systems of language. (not languaging which is a notion of ethical practice).
This is very illuminating, and revealing, and very culturally bound.
Now that we are illuminated and the curtain has been pulled back will anything change?.
As citizen scientists working within institutions upholding culturally bound standards now exported to all nation states what do we do with what has been revealed. 
After revelation, what is the next step?





-----Original Message-----
From: "Huw Lloyd" <huw.softdesigns@gmail.com>
Sent: ‎2016-‎01-‎02 10:06 AM
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: A supplement to David's reflection on Translatability

Quite so.  But there is no contradiction in excusing oneself and fobbing
off others whilst being acclaimed as distinguished.  The abuse of ethics
stupefies: it closes down the scope of reflection.

Best,
Huw

On 2 January 2016 at 17:45, Martin John Packer <mpacker@uniandes.edu.co>
wrote:

> I'm certainly not trying to suggest that MS lacks ethics!  On the
> contrary, I think his diagnosis of the university as generally an
> institution of normalization (in the sense of evaluating everyone, no
> matter their diverse abilities and backgrounds, against a single standard
> that derives from an elite) is an ethical diagnosis. My point is that if it
> is so hard to change the university even when one has a fair degree of
> power (MS is a named "distinguished service professor" in not one but three
> departments - anthropology, linguistics, and psychology - as well as member
> of the Committee on Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities), then this
> suggests that there is not much merit in pointing out the operation of
> power to (powerless) undergraduates!
>
> Martin
>
> On Jan 2, 2016, at 12:08 PM, Huw Lloyd <huw.softdesigns@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Well, I'm not sure that this is what Larry's intent was, but it does have
> > obvious relevance.
> >
> > It seems to me that one can "escape" normalisation, if one is ethical.
> > Ethics are what defines a profession.  Without ethics we are merely guns
> > for hire.
> >
> > Best,
> > Huw
> >
> >
> > On 2 January 2016 at 16:57, Greg Thompson <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >
> >> Yes, I see the contradiction there. I had the same reaction when I first
> >> heard MS say it in his Language in Culture seminar (MS is not afraid to
> >> repeat himself, indeed, in his short manuscript on Abe Lincoln, he notes
> >> that the Gettysburg address had a long history in Abe's mouth and among
> his
> >> friends prior to being said in its canonical version).
> >>
> >> If I may give the sympathetic reading, one might make the
> anthropological
> >> argument that one must fully inhabit an oppressive regime in order to
> >> understand it. Thus, using his Wizard of Oz metaphor, we might say that
> the
> >> position that MS is inhabiting is simultaneously Toto and the Wizard.
> >>
> >> I think that this can provide the seeds of revolutionary action by
> exposing
> >> the workings of power to critique by others who can see those
> >> inner-workings but without having to fully participate in them.
> >>
> >> [and perhaps this goes back to an older question I have about
> understanding
> >> a system from the "inside" as opposed to from the "outside" - or
> perhaps in
> >> a more Gadamerian sense we might just speak about these as two different
> >> horizons of understanding the system?].
> >>
> >> -greg
> >>
> >> On Sat, Jan 2, 2016 at 9:34 AM, Martin John Packer <
> >> mpacker@uniandes.edu.co>
> >> wrote:
> >>
> >>> No, my point was that one the one hand we have a call to be
> >>> "citizen-scientists" in the face of oppression, while on the other hand
> >> we
> >>> have a confession that although the university is "at the highest
> >> pinnacle
> >>> of what you might call the oppressive regime" grading will continue as
> >>> usual.
> >>>
> >>> If we can't change the very institution we work in, what kind of
> >>> citizen-scientists are we?
> >>>
> >>> Martin
> >>>
> >>> On Jan 2, 2016, at 11:10 AM, Greg Thompson <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com>
> >>> wrote:
> >>>
> >>>> Martin,
> >>>> I'm not clear on what the expectation was that the speakers were
> >> setting
> >>> up?
> >>>> To pull back the curtain to reveal the role that language plays in
> >> social
> >>>> stratification?
> >>>> You don't suppose that this can be found elsewhere in their work?
> >>> ("their"
> >>>> in the generic sense of "linguistic anthropologists' work").
> >>>> Seems a tall order to fill in a single conversation between just two
> >>> people.
> >>>> -greg
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>> On Sat, Jan 2, 2016 at 6:52 AM, Martin John Packer <
> >>> mpacker@uniandes.edu.co>
> >>>> wrote:
> >>>>
> >>>>>> Its only disappointing if you thought that anything else could come
> >> out
> >>>>> of
> >>>>>> it.   Note that this was uttered in the context of ethics.
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> Best, Huw
> >>>>>
> >>>>> But the speakers themselves set up this expectation! Here are the
> >>>>> remaining remarks:
> >>>>>
> >>>>> MS: Yes, exactly. Indeed there are norms even of these other
> >> components,
> >>>>> these non-denotational components as we were saying. They're
> >> understood
> >>> in
> >>>>> terms of a folk system of enrigisterment, but there's lots of other
> >>>>> variation as well that people are actually behaving in terms of and
> >>> working
> >>>>> in terms of. But this one particular, massively complex system - to
> >>> which
> >>>>> indeed the aspiration of working under the umbrella of superdiversity
> >>>>> responds - is indeed a complex one in which people confuse standard
> >>>>> register with normativity in the first place, and they confuse
> >> language
> >>>>> with denotational structure. So all of these sorts of things that
> >> we've
> >>>>> taken decades and decades to pull apart, at least so that they become
> >>>>> visible to us as students of languaging, as it were get collapsed
> into
> >>> one.
> >>>>> And most importantly and - as you pointed out - most tellingly, they
> >>> become
> >>>>> instruments of oppression and stratification.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> JB: At the individual level.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> MS: At the individual level, through various kinds of
> >> institutionalized
> >>>>> forms so that you are summoned as a citizen-scientist to say: 'Where
> >> do
> >>> I
> >>>>> stand on using my knowledge to, as it were, maybe illuminate people,
> >>> maybe
> >>>>> reveal what's going on.'
> >>>>>
> >>>>> JB: At least show what's going on. That's the least we can do.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> MS: That's the least we can do. There is a wonderful scene in the
> 1939
> >>>>> Hollywood movie 'The Wizard of Oz' in which...
> >>>>>
> >>>>> JB: 'The witch is dead'
> >>>>>
> >>>>> MS: no no it's not that the witch is dead
> >>>>>
> >>>>> JB: ...a hit a few weeks ago when Margaret Thatcher died
> >>>>>
> >>>>> MS: that's a different story! Leave the Baroness out of this... there
> >>> is a
> >>>>> wonderful scene in which Toto - the little dog of Dorothy - pulls
> >> back a
> >>>>> curtain when you see the mountebank, the snake-oil salesman, working
> >> the
> >>>>> levers of the machine that's running this thing which supports
> >>> [purports?]
> >>>>> to be Oz. And we can certainly try to be that little Toto.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> JB: So on that note thank you very very much, Michael.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> MS: Well it's always a pleasure to talk to you guys!
> >>>>>
> >>>>> On Jan 1, 2016, at 11:38 PM, Huw Lloyd <huw.softdesigns@gmail.com>
> >>> wrote:
> >>>>>
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> On 2 January 2016 at 03:04, Martin John Packer <
> >>> mpacker@uniandes.edu.co>
> >>>>>> wrote:
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>> It's a little disappointing that they oppressed their own
> >> conversation
> >>>>> at
> >>>>>>> the following point, no?
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> Martin
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> MS [Michael Silverstein]:  I say to my students all the time: 'now
> >>> that
> >>>>>>> I've revealed to you the entire massive machinery of
> >> socio-linguistic
> >>>>>>> oppression, of stratification around the standard and so on, that
> >> will
> >>>>> not
> >>>>>>> stop me from correcting your papers because my institution is at
> the
> >>>>>>> highest pinnacle of what you might call the oppressive regime'.
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> JB [Jan Blommaert]: Absolutely. And at the same time - maybe this
> >>> could
> >>>>> be
> >>>>>>> a useful conclusion of this conversation - at the same time it
> >> proves
> >>>>> also
> >>>>>>> that there is no absence of norms, there is no shortage of norms
> >> even
> >>>>> in a
> >>>>>>> sociocultural organization of language. Normativity is everywhere.
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> On Jan 1, 2016, at 9:16 PM, Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com>
> >> wrote:
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>> I decided to start a new thread because I did not want to shift
> the
> >>>>>>> focus that David’s thread opened up on myth busting.
> >>>>>>>> However, I do want to share a paper on the topic of
> translatability
> >>> and
> >>>>>>> the uses of standardization that does overlap somewhat with the
> >> other
> >>>>>>> thread.
> >>>>>>>> The format is a conversation between Michael Silverstein, Jef Van
> >> de
> >>>>> Aa,
> >>>>>>> and Jan Blommaert.
> >>>>>>>> Entering this conversation exploring the notion of translatability
> >>> as a
> >>>>>>> culturally bound philosophical construct may have some relevance
> for
> >>> the
> >>>>>>> other thread ongoing.
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>> Sent from Mail for Windows 10
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>> <NOVEMBER 4 2014 390 BLOMMAERT and
> >>> Silverstein_in_conversation.pdf>
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>> --
> >>>> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> >>>> Assistant Professor
> >>>> Department of Anthropology
> >>>> 880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
> >>>> Brigham Young University
> >>>> Provo, UT 84602
> >>>> http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>
> >>
> >> --
> >> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> >> Assistant Professor
> >> Department of Anthropology
> >> 880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
> >> Brigham Young University
> >> Provo, UT 84602
> >> http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
> >>
>
>
>