Re: The "American" in AAA

Warren Sproule (Warren.Sproule@SOCIOL.UTAS.EDU.AU)
Tue, 21 Feb 1995 13:36:47 +0200

No napalm from this quarter, John: For what its worth (probably not much),
this constitutes one of the most intelligent, honest and comprehensively
SANE postings to an academic List I've encountered to date. I'll be
surprised if it garners much response: Some won't understand/get the point;
others are more intent on spleen-venting, ego-stroking and character
assassination; and for the remainder of readers, it pretty much says it all
(IMHO, beautifully). My net-surfing time is about to be drastically
curtailed as a result of teaching/admin/research commitments in this new
academic year - the usual chaos! - but I couldn't go into 'Net exile'
without expressing my heartfelt appreciation for, and general endorsement
of, the sentiments behind this note. It's a model for (what used to be
called) conducting an intellectual debate...


On Sunday Feb 19th John McCreery (JLM@TWICS.COM) wrote

>It continues to be a source of amazement to me that people who call themselves
>anthropologists can rattle on in high anxiety about THE proper application of
>ethnic or other labels. Does noone read Evans-Pritchard any more; that proper
>old bastard who gave us "segmentary opposition" to talk about the Nuer and
>all those other folks who have no problem with "we" being relative to the
>"you" we are talking about? Or if E-P is too ancient, what about Geertz
>describing self-labeling in Morocco? Or Rodney Neeham (out of Wittgenstein)
>on "family resemblance" (as opposed to taxonomic, essence and attributes)
>definitions. 'Tis queer indeed that folks who ought to know about such things
>react with thrill and amazement to "Postmodern" pronouncements on the
>fluidity of language use. Best evidence I know for culture; high-powered,
>late 20th century academics whose logic is stuck at the _Organon_ (by
>Aristotle--for the sake of those who don't follow references to dead Greek
>Then, again, it isn't a souce of amazement at all. An academic economy that
>demands "originality" in its products and requires a high rate of "production"
>to achieve success is precisely analogous (a fractal in fact) of the
>capitalist market system of which it is a part. To ensure the sale of new
>products, it demands that we forget the old ones (except when nostalgia
>will sell something new). The only things that must be retained are the
>primitive notions on which the system rests. A combination of old-fashioned
>(Aristotlean, shades of Aquinas) logic chopping and programmed obsolescence
>in the output is a beautiful way to keep things turning over. Progress? That's
>another story.
>Bring on the napalm <g>
>John McCreery (JLM@TWICS.COM)