Re: Pluck and Culture Change

William M. Loker (wloker@RA.MSSTATE.EDU)
Tue, 23 Apr 1996 09:01:34 -0500

The discussion of the importance of "pluck" or the dedication of a small
group to change their culture reminds me of the French conviction in the
early days of WWI that "fighting spirit" or "elan" was the key to success
on the battlefield. The French then proceeded to get mowed down by
superior German armaments!

OTOH, we can not dismiss the importance of human agency in shaping the
direction of trends in cultural change. As Giddens pointed out, human
life (and culture change) consists of a dialectic relationship between
structure and agency. I imagine the eficacy of agency has alot to do with
the goals of those doing the agencying (to use a Foss-ism). That is, are
the people working for change trying to channel the great currents of
social and cultural change (e.g. working for more humane and constructive
applications of computers in education) or are they bucking the trend
entirely (e.g. working to ban computers from the school room ...).

William M. Loker It were not best that
Anthropology we should all think alike;
Mississippi State University it is difference of opinion that makes horse races.
(601) 325-1663 Mark Twain, 1894