Re: rank, hierarchy, and power

Eve Pinsker (U56728@UICVM.BITNET)
Fri, 6 Jan 1995 17:24:58 CST

I'm glad that Lieber posted his clarification of logical typing and hierarchy
re Dwight Read's post: If "man" is used both to mean "person" and to mean
"male person" then it's being used at two different levels of logical type.
One way of defining
the distinction between "marked" and "unmarked" terms is that unmarked terms
can be used at two levels of logical type (hierarchical levels, as Lieber
defined hierarchy in the previous post).Another example: "cow" can refer to
male and female cows, or specifically to female cows -- that's the unmarked
term; "bull," referring only to male cows, is a marked term.
The problem for us, re dominance-connected issues, has to do with what
Charles Taylor called the "politics of recognition" in the essay I referred to
a few days ago (_Multiculturalism and the Politics of Recognition_, published
as a book by Princeton Univ. Press 1992). As he says there, the notion that
not being recognized, "recognition" having to do with the public
acknowledgement and valuing of important aspects of one's "identity," is a bad
thing is NOT a cultural universal -- it's bound up w. historically and
culturally specific notions of what it means to be a person and what the
relationship between the person and the collective is and/or should be -- i.e.
human rights. Once one has accepted the premises (that people are individuals
in the Western sense as described by Louis Dumont, that the realm of public kno
wledge and display is central to the proper development of self, that
individuals have identities, etc.) that
make recognition a fundamental human right, THEN it makes sense that one can be
socially or psychologically damaged if the unmarked term, that
when used to refer to a higher logical type includes one's self, does NOT
include one's self-identity when used in in its lower-logical-type sense.
E.g., when "man" is used as a generic term that includes "woman" but is used in
opposition to "woman" in its lower level sense, women feel unrecognized and
damaged. Given the cultural premises of our own society, this feeling is
real (however culturally constructed), does make sense, and being
"unrecognized" can indeed have very real social, economic, and political
repercussions within society as we're constructing it. BUT this shouldn't stop
us, as anthropologists, from being able to step back and ask why we make so
much fuss about being recognized, and what recognition means to us, as compared
to people at other times and places. I thought this was obvious, but maybe
not. Eve Pinsker (