Re: [xmca] And now for something completely different: Larry Craig

From: Paul Dillon <phd_crit_think who-is-at>
Date: Fri Dec 07 2007 - 18:09:41 PST

Estimado David,
  My post was written in response (pace!) to your statement that no one on the list could disagree with the statements you made. So it’s kind of surprising that you write that my position “ . . . is Wolff-Michael Roth's position, and I've already described my disagreement with it.” which indicates that you must have known that some do disagree with what you wrote. OK, we all use rhetorical flourish in exhalted moments of apparent insight, right?
  Your brief paraphrase really doesn't seem to me to capture my position. For example, in your second paragraph you bring in some terminology that hasn’t been clarified in context and which I personally try to avoid, specifically, the terms “culture” and “collective” or their combination. I also didn’t use the word “culture” but “traditions and legacies”. The difference is important. The word "culture" might have been useful at one point for our understanding but has become too much of a catch-all term confused with ethnicity and other levels of social phenomena. My position, which I believe is Vygotsky’s, is that “mind” arise in the interactions between individuals or groups of individuals and preserverd for futurre generations in symbolic and semiotic traditions and legacies. I can hardly agree with your comments on "creativity" and "revolution". I think that all really creative people have expressed the sensation of being a “conduit”, from Newton standing on
 the shoulders of giants, to the almost 70 year old Bob Dylan in Scorcese’s documentary admitting that he had no idea where the words of his best songs came from. But you sort of admit this too, when you mention Lenin coming back from Switzerland and, as the Black Panther slogan said, “Seizing the Time”. (that would be a good one to unpack). Whatever Lenin did, he never claimed that the Bolshevik Revolution was his creation. Zizek wrote a wonderful book about Lenin’s work during that period, “Barbarians at the Gate” .
  It would be interesting to explore Bourdieu’s expansion of Marx’s notion of capital into the non-economic domains but I don’t believe it is an “idealist” appropriation of the term. For Marx, capital is the accumulation of social labor (the labor incorporated in objects) in an economic system defined by private property and commodity production with all its preconditions and diverse manifestations. There are lots of passages, analyses, and examples in the Grundrisse and Capital. When Bourdieu talks of “symbolic capital” in relation to different fields (which can be associated with activity systems, or families of activity systems, such as Engestrom’s health clinics) I think the idea makes sense in terms of accumulation of knowledge, control over codes, -- this is the Weberian part of Bourdieu’s analysis, power in society not being reducible to the control of economic capital, but in capitalist societies those other “prestige goods” (different kinds of symbolic capital)
 can be analyzed in terms of their production, distribution, exchange and consumption, along the same lines as economic capital.
  Finally, I’m definitely not talking about “folkloric re-enactment” when I’m talking about cultural revival. Evo Morales’ celebration at Tiwanaku was not a folkloric reenactment. The ongoing recovery of the systems of knowledge that allowed the native Andean peoples to achieve levels of agricultural productivity that have never since been attained using all kinds of occidental science is not folkloric re-enactment. Folklore is what’s left when the traditions and legacies are not used and people accept that change but preserve the practices anyway (this also needs lots of unpacking). But many conquered originary peoples have never accepted the death of their traditions despite centuries of domination. You ended your post with some musings on death and after-life, but what I’m talking about is living and here and now. The European expansion destroyed many traditions, many legacies, great accumulations of knowledge (objective mind), the recovery of which should never
 be confused with some kind of re-enactment after which the actors return to a “real”, everyday, non-folkloric culture.

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Received on Fri Dec 7 18:12 PST 2007

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