Re: The End of Evil, re Science & Religion

Matthew S. Tomaso (Tomaso@MAIL.UTEXAS.EDU)
Mon, 9 Oct 1995 08:44:00 -0500

Scott Holmes, trying to pull us all back into anthropological discourse, wrote:

> If these observations are true: then, what does that say about the utility
>and/or value of "pomo" anthropological work?

Not much. Most of the postmodern-influenced anthropologists don't take the
phenomenological contradictions of postmodernity that seriously. rather,
the discipline seems to have superficially latched onto certain agreeably
interesting writing techniques and certain evaluative positions (such as
multivocality) as shared interests.

>Is it possible to utilize
>the concept of "Others" without resorting to scapegoating but still
>allow for "Values"?

Why not? (perhaps I don't understand the question as phrased)

>It seems to me that defining "Others" is just one
>example of the process of creating a context, delineating a boundary so
>that something can be known. Naming a Thingee...

Scott asks so many interesting interrelated questions that its difficult to
pry apart anything to provide meaningful discourse. In this last section,
he seems to be suggesting that 'othering' is part of structuring (ordering
the universe through concepts). I agree. But an extreme postmodern
position, as I understand it/them, would be that this structuring, and the
desire to know, are neither necessary nor desireable. Of course, again,
very few postmodern-influenced anthropologists take this 'hard-line'
position on the postmodernity thingee.

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