Re: Build Your Own Best-Seller [was work (markets)]

John McCreery (jlm@TWICS.COM)
Tue, 1 Oct 1996 20:19:06 +0900

>>-- [ From: Timothy Mason * EMC.Ver #2.5.02 ] --
>>John McCreary wants someone to write a book about all those welfare cheats
>>out there. Already done. Christopher Jencks - among others - has written dry
>>, compassionate and intelligent books about the Aemrican Welfare system. If
>>you don't feel comfortable with your stereotypes - and you would be right
>>not to do so - try flipping through 'Rethinking Social Policy ; Race,
>>poverty and the underclass', (Harvard, 1992). You could also try William
>>Julius Wilson's 'The Truly Disadvantaged ; the inner city, the underclass,
>>and public policy, Chicago, 1987. I could go on. (Bourdieu's most recent
>>book is in the same area).
>>These issues are also discussed regularly in the New York Review of Books. I
>>often get the feeling, reading this list, that anthropologists are unwilling
>>to apply their training to the observation of their own culture, and are
>>quite happy to accept the pontifications of opinion mongers. Whilst you are
>>ready - quite rightly - to accord full human cognition to the Yanomamo, you
>>are reluctant to go beyond the caricature to look at the lives of women
>>struggling to bring up their children in the inner city ghettoes - who live
>>- if Robert Snower will excuse my unauthorized misuse of his typo -
>>ghettorized lives.
>> Tim Mason
>> (
>Actually, Tim, I know about Jencks, who is, indeed, a great sociologist.
>He is, unfortunately, like Geertz a writer with strong appeal to the New
>York Review of Books crowd (of whom I am pleased to say I am one), but one
>with little draw outside that narrow circle. What I know about Mike
>Cahill is that, while Jencks has done a marvelous job of studying the
>system, Mike has lived and fought with it. He has been a participant as
>well as an observer in the truest sense of the term and is more than well
>qualified to write an insider's book populated with heros, villains and
>fools, with the kind of human drama that conceivably could sell well in
>airport bookstores.
>Actually we've just had a wonderful example elsewhere on the list. Bob
>Snower pontificating on the evolution from collectivist to individualist
>societies came across to me as someone infatuated with hopelessly
>retrograde ideas. Bob Snower describing his neighbor the Yanomamo woman
>who left her husband and children to return to the jungle and to being
>able to wake up surrounded by a circle of people she knew became someone
>to take seriously. Now I have to ask him, what about the husband and kids?
>What about their culture, their consciousness? Now I am hearing the voice
>of experience instead of someone regurgitating long-dated theories. That
>makes me want to stop and listen. I hear the heart of anthropology

John McCreery
3-206 Mitsusawa HT, 25-2 Miyagaya, Nishi-ku
Yokohama 220, JAPAN

"And the Lord said unto Cyrus, 'Shall the clay say to him who moldest it,
what makest thou? Let the potsherd of the earth speak to the potsherd of
the earth." --An anthropologist's credo