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Culture as dialogic relation


Eugene in response to Mike wrote:


Relationships are not possible without bodies and things. Relationships are mediated and embedded. …. culture does not have “internal territory.


He said that my truth works well in America and his truth works well in Russia…I just want to make a circle, a community again… Maybe it is a utopia but maybe not…


I like Latour’s idea of “ready made science/truth” in contrast to “science/truth-in-action.” I think my US and Russian relatives referred to “ready made cultures” while I’m searching for “culture-in-action.” …


I think it is more useful in the given conditions to find ways of disrupting and redrawing the socially constructed boundary between our communities than to spend time on accurate description of the already constructed and stable boundary constituting these cultures.”


I am drawn to your relational and ‘transformationalist’ approach to cultures. Being a migrant myself (from Iran in 1974) I  understand the struggle between the two existing worlds of origin and immigrant cultures. How does one ‘make a circle’ (or a community) out of the two mutually exclusive truths? We ‘travel’ between these two cultural (and geographical) spaces back and fort, sometimes we accept and get accepted (a singer from each side travels to the other side), other times neither side like what they see (hiding facts is dishonest,  revealing facts is cruel).


To over simplify ways of connecting two cultural spaces: one can think of bridging, boundary crossing, hybriding or third spacing, and war of annihilation. Bridging is to link any commonalities between the two—‘we are in the same boat’ (rituals, myths, events, trade). Boundary crossing is to leap out of ‘my way’ and attempting to see the ‘other way.’ If voluntary, it requires a lot of good will on the part of ‘traveler’. If non-voluntary, one is forced to cross its own boundary and accept the other side. E.g., when one deals with bureaucracies of both sides—getting visa for the US, or permit to work in Russia or Iran. Third spacing is to produce something different and new from the existing two truths. Is this what Eugene want to do by finding ‘ways of disrupting and redrawing the socially constructed boundary between our communities’?


All these options depend, as Mike said, on process; mediation, facilitation, agents of change, etc. And it takes two to tango too, at least.


The last option is a hostile take over;   colonization, ethnic cleansing, genocide, in which one culture becomes hegemonic and aims to destroy all other cultures by a fundamentalism, terrorism, etc. In some way, this seems to relate to the Johari Window effect at the group and culture level.  http://www.noogenesis.com/game_theory/johari/johari_window.html

It is about space of visibility in cultures and what we know and what we are willing to disclose to ourselves and to others. Mutually exclusive truths produce mutual cultural blind spots--non overlapping radars.  What happens between mutual ignorances?  Perhaps mutual culture of fear and hate.


For example, if Sharon regime builds the wall around and between all the Arabs communities and bulldozes all Palestinians to the sea, then what happened to the Palestinian culture? When ‘bodies and things’ (eg, people, houses, farms, schools) are not there anymore what happens to the relationships?

Perhaps a new culture will be born in Diaspora at the global level.