Re: reinventing self/other

Matthew S. Tomaso (Tomaso@MAIL.UTEXAS.EDU)
Thu, 2 Nov 1995 17:34:38 -0600

carter pate wrote:

>Amen to Mike Salovesh's Nov. 1 post. And why not go back to Simmel?

I'll second that, but I'd also add that Lacan and Bakhtin do have some
innovative and useful things to say. One could equally attack Bourdieu for
blatantly plagiarizing Weber and others, but I think it more important that
good theory, old or new, be reintroduced than that we worry about who said
it first. We need to reinvent this stuff over and over again in order to
finally convince ourselves of its utility.

>And no disrespect to those active in the discussion. But shouldn't we reflect
>on whether our PhD programs (like american management practices v. those of
>Japan) are forcing us into a short-term perspective from which we lose, and
>select poorly from, our own scientific mainstreams?

I'd agree with this as well, but not completely. Although I am in a PhD
program, I think that the problem runs much deeper than indicated here. I
see it as something inherent in the political ecology of academic discourse
- tenure making and all that (have to agree with Daniel A. Foss on this
one). As I see it, people are not encouraged to delve too deeply into the
history of the discipline because we have this built in millenial reaction
to everything new and thus, good, old, theory is often left behind. This
has the effect of making it necessary to rediscover whole genres of problems
which had previously been dealt with. What Julian Steward might have to say
about some of the recent neo-evolutionary thought comes to mind. Or,
perhaps, what Weber might have anticipated in practice theory and
hermeneutics, what Marx, Engels and/or Maitland might tell us about the
importance of history... the list goes on and on and on.

Matt Tomaso.
Anthropology. University of Texas at Austin.
Phone/Fax 512-453-6256