Nothing new under the sun (not even pomo)

Agnar Sturla Helgason (agnar@RHI.HI.IS)
Sun, 5 Dec 1993 16:37:24 GMT

>Anybody around here think that pomo is maybe, maybe, not just a fad, and
>not just a variant of Nazism, and not just a new academic power game?

No 'pomo' is definitely an old academic power game. Try the following:
A few thousand years of indian philosophy, Heracleitus, Cratylus, Xenophanes,
Socrates, Protagoras, Gorgias (and other sophists), Herodotus, Pyrrho,
Carneades, Montaigne, Pascal, Hume, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein and oh, so
many others.

The reason why anthropology has become so saturated with postmodernists is
quite plain, at least to my mind: Too many anthropologists, too little
research funds. It is simply a cheap way of gaining influence (citations)
and standing. Research is expensive, time consuming and, lets face it,
sometimes boring. Telling others that research is futile is at least cheap.

Don't get me wrong, I think that a lot of the problems addressed by
postmodernists (of all periods) are important. It's just that with everyone
jumping on the bandwagon, nothing gets done in anthropology. I hope the
next bandwagon/fad is more constructive.

| Agnar Helgason |
| University of Iceland |
| E-mail: |