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India And Modernism - acharya - 11-04-2006
Science, hegemony and violence
Table of Contents
A Requiem for Modernity
THE UNITED NATIONS UNIVERSITY
OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS
BOMBAY CALCUTTA MADRAS
The United Nations University's Programme on Peace and Global Transformation was a major world-wide project whose purpose was to develop new insights about the interlinkages between questions of peace, conflict resolution, and the process of transformation. The research in this project, under six major themes, was co-ordinated by a 12-member core group in different regions of the world: East Asia, South-East Asia (including the Pacific), South Asia, the Arab region' Africa, western Europe, Eastern Europe, North America, and Latin America. The themes covered were: Conflicts over Natural Resources; Security, Vulnerability, and Violence; Human Rights and Cultural Survival in a Changing Pluralistic World; The Role of Science and Technology in Peace and Transformation; The Role of the State in Peace and Global Transformation; and Global Economic Crisis. The project also included a special project on Peace and Regional Security.
Oxford University Press, Walton Street, Oxford, OX2 6DP
The United Nations University
Toho Seimei Building, 15-1 Shibuya 2-chome
Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150, Japan
Â© The United Nations University, 1988
Printed in India by P. K. Ghosh at Eastend Printers, 3 Dr Suresh Sarkar Road, Calcutta 700014 and published by S. K. Mookerjee, Oxford University Press YMCA Library Building, Jai Singh Road, New Delhi 110001
1. Introduction: Science as a reason of state
2. Francis Bacon, the first philosopher of modern science: A non-western view
3. Science, colonialism and violence: A luddite view
4. Atomic physics: The career of an imagination
5. Violence in modern medicine
6. Science and violence in popular fiction: Four novels of Ira Levin
7. Reductionist science as epistemological violence
8. On the annals of the laboratory state
1. Introduction: Science as a reason of state
The thinking person cannot but notice that since the Second World War, two new reasons of state have been added to the traditional one of national security. These are science and development. In the name of science and development one can today demand enormous sacrifices from, and inflict immense sufferings on, the ordinary citizen. That these are often willingly borne by the citizen is itself a part of the syndrome; for this willingness is an extension of the problem which national security has posed over the centuries.
Defying protests by (and to the mortification of) pacifists and anti-militarists, a significant proportion of ordinary citizens in virtually every country have consistently and willingly died for king and country. There are already signs that at least as large a proportion of citizens is equally willing to lay down their lives heroically for the sake of science and development. In 1985, one Japanese doctor praised the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for the indirect benefits they have brought to Japan. In an election held soon after the gas tragedy in 1984, the affected citizenry of Bhopal returned the same regime to power that shared the responsibility for the disaster. Likewise, demands for new steel mills and large dams often come from the very regions and sectors in the third world which are most likely to be the first victims of industrialization.
What are the sources of such commitment to the development of science, and the science of development? Can one identify and challenge the philosophical and ideological framework within which the commitment is located? Can one not go beyond shedding tears copiously over the misuse of modern science by wicked politicians, militarists and multinational corporations, and scrutinize the popular culture and philosophy of modern science? May the sources of violence not lie partly in the nature of science itself? Is there something in modern science itself which makes it a human enterprise particularly open to co-optation by the powerful and the wealthy?
These questions have been with us ever since Archimedes devised new weapons for his city state with the hope that they would remain the monopoly of his country and not also become the property of the ungodly. But the questions had a different ring for a long, long time. From the halcyon days of Archimedes to the heady days of early colonialism, science was primarily an instrument, not an end; certainly not the end of any nation or state. Even the states which drew the most handsome economic dividends from the discoveries of modern science and technology, or justified global dominance by referring to their scientific and technological power - I have in mind the nineteenth century colonial powers - did not see science as a reason of state. The reader may remember popular anecdotes about colonial adventurers, or scientifically-minded explorers who sometimes scared off or impressed the natives of Asia and Africa with new forms of black magic based on the discoveries of modern science. The civilizing mission of colonialism thrived on this folklore of encounter between western science and savage superstitions. But in each such instance, it was science that was put to the use of the colonial state; the state was not put to the use of science.
The nature of science has since then changed, and so has the nature of human violence. We are concerned in this volume with these changes and their interrelationships. It is the contention of the essays put together here that these changes can be understood with reference to the mediatory role played by the modern nation-state, the invitation which the culture of modern science extends to state power to use scientific knowledge outside the reaches of the democratic process and, above all, the growth of institutionalized violence in place of the personalized, face-to-face, impassioned violence associated with traditional concepts of sacrifice and feuds.1
Ivan Illich has traced the contemporary idea of development to a speech President Harry S. Truman made in 1945.2 Till then, the word 'development' had had other associations which had very little connection with what we understand by development today. But such was the latent social need for a concept akin to development that, once Truman gave it a new meaning, not only did it quickly acquire wide currency, it was also retrospectively applied to the history of social change in Europe during the previous three hundred odd years.
In a similar way, we can trace the idea of science as a reason of state to a speech made by President John F. Kennedy in 1962. The speech declared one of America's major national goals to be the scientific feat of putting a man on the moon. Though mega-science had already become an important concern of the state during the Second World War, science was, for the first time, projected in Kennedy's speech as a goal of a state and, one might add, as a substitute for conventional politics. A state for the first time on that occasion sought to out-rival another state not in the political or military arena, nor in sports, but in science redefined as dramatic technology. The formulation might have been older and might have been tried out haphazardly earlier but never had it been made so directly a part of the mainstream idiom of politics as in Kennedy's speech. Perhaps Kennedy was reacting to the Russian claim that the Sputniks showed the superiority of the socialist system and, especially, that of 'scientific socialism'. Perhaps he was trying to strengthen his political image as a leader who could help American society to cope with the scientific age. Whatever the reason, for the first time Kennedy's speech showed that a wide enough political base had been built in a major developed society for the successful use of science as a goal of state and, perhaps, as a means of populist political mobilization. Spectacular science could be now used as a political plank within the United States in the ideological battle against ungodly communism.
Kennedy's speech had another implication. The boundary between science and technology had been softening for about two hundred years. The histories of science and technology could at one time be written separately. But since the early years of the Royal Society, modern scientists had intermittently been seeking legitimacy not only from the philosophical implications of their theories but also from the practical pay-offs of science. The process reached its symbolic culmination in Kennedy's concept of science - a concept which not merely incorporated technology; it gave spectacular technology the central place in science. The speech in fact anticipated the vision which occupies so much space in the popular culture of our day, namely, the image of a science which, by the beginning of the twenty-first century, will be coterminous with technology. By the mid-1980s the proportion of pure scientists to all scientists in the world had fallen to less than five per cent, and the proportion is reportedly falling at a faster rate now. The pure scientist today is an even rarer species than the scientist who does not participate in military research and development.
Yet, at the same time, we can be reasonably sure that the concept of pure science and the conceptual difference between science and technology will be carefully retained. It will be retained not because of the demands of the philosophers of science but because it is only by distinguishing between science and technology that all social criticism of science can continue to be deflected away from science towards technology. A shadowy, ethereal concept of science that has little to do with the real-life endeavours of practicing scientists can then be politically defended as the pursuit of truth uncontaminated by human greed, violence and search for power.
The studies assembled in this volume have these two basic issues - science as a new justificatory principle, and science as technological intervention - as their points of theoretical departure. However, these issues also intersect with a cultural dimension: all the studies are by Indian scholars and have primarily the Indian experience as their backdrop. This is only partly due to the accident of having an Indian editor for this volume. I shall argue that things could hardly have been otherwise.
India has been a remarkable example of an open society in which, since the early years of independence, the political Ã©lites have deliberately chosen to see science as the responsibility of the state and have, at the same time, treated it as a sphere of knowledge which should be free from the constraints of day-today politics. Every society decides what content to give to its politics and what to keep out of politics. The Indian state, representing the wishes of a powerful section of the nationalist movement and being led in the early years of independence by Jawaharlal Nehru, a gentleman Fabian steeped in the nineteenth-century vision of human liberation through science, decided to keep the practice of science outside politics but ensured that the scientific estate had a direct, privileged access to the state. It was as a part of this 'double vision' that Nehru, the modern Ã©lites which gathered around him, and the Indian state began to build science as a major source of justification for the Indian state as well as for their political dominance. That the formula did not keep science out of politics but only introduced another kind of politics into science is one of those paradoxes which lie at the heart of the distinctive relationship between science and society in contemporary India.
Thus, to mention a sector which enters the pages of this book often enough, the powers and freedoms that were given to nuclear scientists in India since the days of Homi Bhabha, India's first nuclear boss, were near-total. Firstly, nuclear scientists were freed from all financial constraints. The budget of the nuclear programme - the entire budget, not the budget devoted to research and development - was routinely pushed through parliament without any scrutiny whatsoever. And the expenditures - the entire expenditure, not only the expenditure on laboratories - were never publicly audited. All data on performance - this often boiled down to data on performance failures, unsafe technology and insufficient regard for human rights - were protected by law from the public gaze. And all enquiries made from outside the nuclear establishment were pre-empted with the help of a special act which made it impossible to mount any informed, focused, data-based criticism of India's nuclear programme.3
Secondly, nuclear scientists were given enormous scope for research if they moved out of the universities into special research institutions. While universities were starved of funds and allowed to decay, research institutions were richly funded. This might not have been a matter of deliberate policy but it certainly set a context to India's nuclear policy, because what scientists gained in research opportunities in the new institutions, they lost in personal political freedom. As I have already said, the specialized institutions set up by the state were strictly guided by the requirements of secrecy and political 'clearance'; they were expected to be professional, not academic. In other words, a systematic split between political and intellectual freedoms was institutionalized in this area right from the beginning and every young nuclear scientist was forced to choose between the two kinds of freedom.
Thirdly, once some of the finer minds of India were netted by the state in this manner and some of the less scrupulous among them were given access to power, the Indian nuclear programme could be safely handed over to the civilians; the army or the defence ministry did not need to be in the picture at all. The nuclear scientists could be their unofficial proxies. Thus, India's first nuclear explosion in 1974 was a civilian enterprise, with the army only playing second fiddle. Civilian scientists planned, initiated and executed the programme; the army and defence scientists played a peripheral role, providing organizational back-up, on-site security, and control or management of the villagers to be uprooted.
In fact, contrary to popular stereotypes, modern science or scientists in India have not been used by blood-thirsty generals, scheming politicians, and greedy businessmen. Rather, the science establishment, on its own initiative, has taken advantage of the anxieties about national security and the developmental aspirations of a new nation to gain access to power and resources. Not surprisingly, the record of mainstream scientists in India has been particularly poor in the matter of protecting democratic rights in the country. In fact, in recent years the privileged among Indian scientists have often been the most vigorous critics of civil rights groups struggling for protection against the hazards of a callous nuclear establishment.
I give the example of the Indian nuclear establishment not to make a scapegoat out of it but to draw attention to the manner in which the link between science and violence in India has been strengthened by forces within the culture of Indian science, forces which in other cultures of science in some other parts of the world have been either less visible or less powerful.
The curious case of the nuclearization of India has not one but three morals to it. First, as modern science gets more and more incorporated into technology, it necessarily has to be increasingly justified in terms of technology. The frequent exhortations to have a more 'scientific temper' (exhortations to which all Indians, but particularly the 'less civilized' traditional Indians, are subjected by the scientific and political establishments) and the repeated references to the scientific worldview as a philosophical venture in learned seminars in India are not taken seriously by 'normal' scientists (who do 'normal' science Ã la Thomas Kuhn), or by their political patrons and their admirers. For both, the slogan of the 'scientific temper' is a means of legitimizing their new-found status in Indian society. Both like to define the 'temper' as the spirit of technology and the instrumentalism which is an inescapable part of that spirit. The invocation of the 'temper' almost invariably goes with a negative reading of India's traditional cultures and ways of life, seen as impediments to a modern technological order, and with the search for uncritical legitimacy for all forms of technology - seen as an undifferentiated mass of knowledge, institutions and persons.
India And Modernism - acharya - 11-04-2006
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India And Modernism - acharya - 11-04-2006
Folks: Any answer to the following conundrum? About a year or so back, at one of those useless Hindustan Times (HT) or India Today (IT) conclave jaunts, pseudo secularist Javed Akhtar viciously attacked Hindu saints as quacks, charlatans etc; right in the presence of his holiness, gentle giant, and intellectual genius par excellence: Sri Sri Ravishankar.
And his attacks were cheered on by the motley crowd comprised of New Delhi socialites and assortment of white westerners that HT/IT beg to adorn the conclave and sing a few paeans on India's arrival as a 'great power'.
Of course, Sri Sri in his customary non confrontational style shamed Javed Akhtar in a rejoinder op ed piece. And in that op-ed, Sri Sri posed the unanswered question as to why it is that Hindus alone evoke universal contempt, and the most vile epithets and characterization are reserved fir Hindus and their saints. Christianity of course is sacrosanct for the west, they dare not say anything remotely offensive towards Islamist and Jews for obvious reasons. And of course Buddhists and their saints like Dalai Lama are revered thanks to the messianic appeal that Buddhist converts, Hollywood nuts like Richard Gere have around the world.
The cudgels are out only against the Hindus. Any explanations for this sociological phenomenon?
This is the result of reductionist process in the sociology academic circles who also call themselves the 'intellectuals'.
One of the by product of modernism
India And Modernism - acharya - 11-04-2006
Fortunately, India also happens to be a country where the intellectual tradition - if for a moment we forget the colonial overtones of such a statement - is truly bicultural. It has had six hundred years of exposure to the west and at least two hundred years of experience in incorporating and internalizing not merely the west but specifically western systems of knowledge. It need not necessarily exercise the option that it has of defensively rejecting modern science in toto and falling back upon the purity of its traditional systems of knowledge. It can, instead, choose the option of creatively assessing the modern system of knowledge, and then integrating important segments of it within the frame of its traditional visions of knowledge. In other words, the Indic civilization today, because it straddles two cultures, has the capacity to reverse the usual one-way procedure of enriching modern science by integrating within it significant elements from all other sciences - premodern, non-modern and postmodern - as a further proof of the universality and syncretism of modern science. Instead of using an edited version of modern science for Indian purposes, India can use an edited version of its traditional sciences for contemporary purposes.
This argument can be pushed in another direction. Contemporary India, by virtue of its bicultural experience, manages to epitomize the global problem of knowledge and power in our times. There is a continuity between the Indian experience of an increasingly violent modern science, encroaching upon other traditions of knowledge and social life, and the western experience with modern science as the dominant cultural principle resisting the emergence of new cultures of knowledge. There is a continuity between the experiences of the two civilizations even at the level of Ã©lite and middle-class responses to the situation.
The modern Indian Ã©lites and middle classes have a fear of the present, explained away, with the help of some forms of history, as only a fear of the past. The western Ã©lites and middle classes have a fear of the future, explained away, with the help of some forms of futurology, as only the fear of a future un-restrained by or disjunctive with the present. Evidently, the Ã©lites of both worlds have in common the ambition of containing the future by controlling the present politics of knowledge. The former fear the process of democratization of India which is marginalizing them; the latter fear the possibility of future democratization of the world which will marginalize them.
And, as if to spite those who pin their hopes in matters such as this on generational changes, on the expectation that the youth will liberate them from the certitudes of the past, in India the emerging middle-class Ã©lites seem to nurture the same hope of substituting science for politics, because politics for them is irrational and messy, and science is rational, neat and controllable. Meanwhile in the west a project takes shape which seeks to derive all politics from science for roughly the same set of reasons.
India And Modernism - acharya - 11-04-2006
JATINDER K. BAJAJ is a particle physicist who now works on traditional Indian science and technology. He is a founder of the Patriotic People's Science and Technology Group and co-edits the group's journal, the PPST Bulletin. He is presently a Resident Editor of Jansatta at Chandigarh. He has co-ordinated a major sectorwise assessment of the impact of modern technology in India for the Committee for Cultural Choices and Global Futures.
CLAUDE ALVARES is a philosopher and historian of technology, environmentalist and civil rights activist. He is associated with RUSTIC, Goa, the Association for the Propagation of Indigenous Genetic Resources, and is the Convener of the Third-World Network in India. He is the author of the widely known Homo Faber: Technology and Culture in India, China and the West, 1500 to the Present Day (Delhi: Allied, 1979) and has edited Another Revolution Fails (Delhi: Ajanta, 1985). His Science, Development and Violence will be the next volume in this series.
SHIV VISVANATHAN, a sociologist of science, is a Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies and the Convener of the Committee for Cultural Choices and Global Futures. He is also the author of Organizing for Science: The Making of an Industrial Research Laboratoy (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1985). He co-edits the third volume in this series, on social movements in science and technology.
MANU L. KOTHARI and LOPA MEHTA are physicians and philosophers of medicine who teach at the S.G.S. Medical College, Bombay. They are interested in medical epistemology and the evaluation of the scope and limits of medical research, knowledge and practice. Kothari and Mehta are the co-authors of three well-known books, The Nature of Cancer (Bombay: Kothari Medical Publications, 1973), Cancer: Myths and Realities of Cause and Cure (London: Marion Boyars, 1979), and The Tao of Death (London: Marion Boyars, 1986).
VEENA DAS, whose main work has been on Hinduism and comparative religion, is presently working on human violence. She is a professor of sociology at the Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi, and the author of Structure and Cognition: Aspects of Hindu Caste and Ritual (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1977). She has also edited The Word and the World: Fantasy, Symbol, Record (New Delhi: Sage Publications, 1986) and co-edited Welfare and Well-being in South Asia (forthcoming).
VANDANA SHIVA, by training a physicist and a philosopher of quantum mechanics, is a leading environmentalist. She is Co Director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy, Dehra Dun, and is associated with the Chipko movement in the Himalayas and with Lokayan, Delhi. She is the co-author of Ecological Audit of Eucalyptus Cultivation (Dehra Dun: EBD, 1985) and of two forthcoming books, Technology and Politics of Survival and Afforestation: Opportunity and Risks. She is now working on Terra Mater: Recovery of the Feminine Principle (New Delhi: Kali for Women); forthcoming.
ASHIS NANDY, psychologist and social theorist, is Fellow of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies and Chairman of the Committee for Cultural Choices and Global Futures. He is the author of Alternative Sciences: Creativity and Authenticity in Two Indian Scientists (New Delhi: Allied, 1980), At the Edge of Psychology: Essays in Politics and Culture (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1980), The Intimate Enemy: Loss and Recovery of Self Under Colonialism (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1983) and Traditions, Tyranny and Utopias: Essays in the Politics of Awareness (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1987).
The seven essays in this volume argue that a new kind of organized violence has been unleashed on the global scene, particularly in the third world, by the establishment of science in collaboration with the existing political and economic establishments. Starting from the premise that the worldview of modern science and technology in the late twentieth century has provided a 'legitimate' model of violence and domination, the essays examine the content of the 'rational' patterns of behaviour and lifestyles being imposed on citizens in areas such as social organization, agriculture, medicine, environment and gender. The violence, the argument goes, is not an accidental byproduct of the practice of post-Enlightenment science but lies at the heart of the modern scientific vision.
The distinguished contributors to the volume come from areas as diverse as physics, medicine, philosophy, ecology, environmental and civil rights movements, sociology and psychology. They were brought together for this purpose by the Committee for Cultural Choices and Global Futures, Delhi. The Committee is an association of scholars in search of a more holistic, politically sensitive, social knowledge and its concerns are the ecology of plural knowledge, cultural survival, and humane futures for the 'victims of history'.
The work on which the volume is based was supported by the United Nations University as a part of the University's Programme on Peace and Global Transformation.
Ashis Nandy, the editor of the volume, is at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi. He is Chairman of the Committee for Cultural Choices and Global Futures and the author of Alternative Sciences: Creativity and Authenticity in Two Indian Pioneers of Science (1980), At the Edge of Psychology: Essays in Politics and Culture (1980), The Intimate Enemy: Loss and Recovery of Self Under Colonialism (1983) and Traditions, Tyranny and Utopias: Essays in the Politics of Awareness (1987).
Jacket design: Meera Dayal Deshaprabhu
SBN 19 56222
India And Modernism - acharya - 11-04-2006
LINKS TO RHETORICAL THEORY NOTES
To Ed Lamoureux's Rhetorical Resources
Day One: Introduction to Rhetorical Theory
Introduction to Pre-Socratic Sophists
Sophists and Rhetoric, pt. 2
Isocrates and Rhetoric, pt.1
Isocrates and Rhetoric, pt. 2
Rhetoric in Rome
Introduction to St. Augustine: Christianization of Rhetoric
St. Augustine: Most significant passages
Brief survey of Rhetoric in the Middle Ages
Notes from Donald L. Clark's RHETORIC IN GRECO-ROMAN EDUCATION [a summary of some of his treatment of the classical conception of rhetoric]
Clark on the Precepts of Rhetoric
Clark on rhetorical invention
Clark on arrangement
Clark on word choice/style
Clark on delivery
Clark on memory
Summary: The Classical Conception of Rhetoric
"New Science" and Rhetoric
Trends in Contemporary Rhetorical Theory
Burke, pt. 2
Lloyd Bitzer, pt. 1
Bitzer, pt. 2
Introduction to Feminist Rhetoric
Introduction to African, African American, and Asian Rhetoric
Introduction to Michael Calvin McGee on Rhetoric
India And Modernism - acharya - 11-04-2006
INTRODUCTION TO RHETORIC AS A TOPIC OF STUDY
1) What are we going to study?
The history of Rhetoric as a topic consists of 2,500 years of communication practice, theorizing as to how that practice works, and teaching as to how to best produce it. In other words, a body of literature as to: THEORIES, MODELS, AND PRACTICE.
The study of MODELS--
speakers, speeches, and written discourse--is generally done in courses perhaps titled "history of [X type of] public address," or in our case at Bradley in a course focused on criticism of communication events: communication analysis (often referred to as rhetorical criticism), or in literature courses titled "literary criticism."
The study of PRACTICE--
communication production--takes place in public speaking, oral interpretation, interpersonal, small group, listening, and writing courses.
This course, 303, focuses on the study of Rhetorical THEORY--
by examining the historical personages, literature, and social circumstances which produced our understandings of how communication operates. This study includes interest in learnings as to how to transfer theory into practice through models: approaches to pedagogy. Communication Theory examines these questions from a social scientific point of view. Rhetorical Theory examines these questions from a humanistic point of view.
2) How may we define the topic?
Over the course of 2,500 there have been numerous definitions for the term "Rhetoric." Let's note three main approaches, the details and significance of which we will examine in greater detail through the course.
-Rhetoric is the art of discovering all the available means of persuasion in any given case (Aristotle)
-Rhetoric is adjusting ideas to people and people to ideas (Bryant)
-Rhetoric is communication which helps people think alike so that they may share values, dispositions toward actions, and actions. (Burke and Perelman)
3) Let's summarize that which Rhetoric is probably not.
(Imagine 3 circles: widest is Communication, with Persuasion and Rhetoric inside, overlapping)
It's probably not equivalent to "communication": that is generally treated as a more broad term. It's probably not equivalent to "persuasion": that is often treated as a more narrow term. While all persuasion is communication and all rhetoric is communication there is certainly communication which is neither persuasive nor rhetorical and there may be rhetoric which is not persuasive. The key thing to remember here: various theorists size these circles differently. The majority view tends to equate rhetoric and persuasion.
4) Although it has sometimes been treated as such, Rhetoric is not western civilization's key devil term.
You may hear that
-it is empty talk
-it is the ornamental use of overly fancy words
-it is the linguistic substitute for action not taken
-it is the substitution of irrationality for reason
-it primarily involves appearances rather than reality
-it is primarily unethical
We do not treat Rhetoric as any of these negatives. I will try to show you over the course of the term that these explanations are wrong. At the end of the course, you may decide that one or more of them were right. At various points in the 2,500 years, Rhetoric has suffered from one or more of these deficiencies--but given the scope of history we do not throw out the good merely due to periods of blame (we don't toss science due to Hiroshima; we don't dismiss all visual arts due to some pornography).
5) So why do we study Rhetorical theory: who needs it?
Every discipline which seeks to convey its subject matter in order to gain adherents:
we will see that "experts" have to learn to convey "hidden" truths to the masses and that "experts" have to convince others of the truth of their claims.
Every individual who wants their communication to have impact:
we will see that politicians, lawyers, and business people must use rhetoric if they are to succeed.
Those who seek to elevate their communication from the human to the humane:
The key issues here being two kinds of choice making. First, there is choice making as to what to say and how to say it. Animals can signal their intentions but that which they signal has a unitary relation with that which they want. Humans symbolize by replacing that which is not there with oral sounds and scratches on paper. There is nearly infinite variety available in the sounds and scratches they may make. We make these choices in a personal way. The more deftly we do so, the more creative become our choices. The more creative, the closer we move toward art. The closer toward artistic expression, the closer we move toward the humane condition, as opposed to the merely human. Second, rhetoric stresses the importance of society--of others. Our artistic action presents others with communicative choices rather than with force. The purpose of rhetoric is to coordinate human interaction by making a given choice preferable.
5) Humans cooperate by the social act of constructing mutually compatible interpretations of reality. Rhetoric is the refinement of the communicative life of the individual for the good of the society.
Intro to Contemporary Rhetorical Perspectives
1900-1915: Foment among the English Dept. Troops--The split
Prior to and at this time, "speech" departments did not exist in America. Colonial era schools had maintained an interest in Rhetoric both oral and written, primarily in "Classics" departments. As the school system developed many Classics departments fragmented among History, Foreign Language, and English units. Although some of the scholars/ teachers interested in Rhetoric stayed within Classics departments, many moved to English departments where, for a time, they shared common interests in oral and written discourse. Over time, however, the interest shifted, primarily, to the written mode and the study of rhetoric became subsumed within English Departments as "rhetoric and composition." English Departments further problematized this situation with their own conflicts and splits. Not only did those interested in teaching oral communication have to fight to be heard over the "traditional" preference for writing, rhetoric and composition was seen as less important than the study of great literature (a situation which still plagues many modern Departments of English). Teachers interested in speech were NOT in a good situation. They were, however, interested in teaching about oral communication, and so they "revolted" and split from the English Departments, forming Departments of Speech. Leaders in this movement included prominent Midwest professors at Illinois, Iowa, and Harvard (among others).
A: Initial/formative areas of interest on the part of early speech teachers and programs
1) oral speech in public speaking, debate, speech disorders, theatre, speech instruction, persuasion,
2) integration with classical tradition: interest in the history and literature of rhetorical theory.
3) attempts to integrate with new social sciences: not only as indicated by the work of Campbell, but as encouraged by the rapid and dramatic development of the social sciences in America.
B: Forces for continued change and fracture
Changing departments by no means solved all of the problems. Almost immediately, fractures endemic to Speech Departments themselves began to come to the fore.
1) social sciences & war influences:
the early founders were interested in the "new" psychologies and other social sciences. Due to Campbell's influence (and the influence of other "Epistemologists"), rhetorical historians and theorists were initially motivated to study social scientific features of communication events. However, as the social sciences developed into a purely quantitative and experimental mode, "humanities"-driven rhetorical theory and "science" driven communication studies began to diverge.
Further, governments and military establishments funded communication research as part of the war efforts. These activities led to the development of the modern field of communication studies. The politics, pragmatics, and technologies of these efforts also favored the social scientific.
Additionally, speech/communication departments began to take up study of professional activities in communication. Where, previously, professional research was limited to the domain of public speaking (so entailed politics and the law, primarily), "modern" research included not only theoretic research in professional, but also "applied" professional research.
These and other factors further encouraged sub-disciplinary diversity in speech communication studies.
2) continued splits in English as well--for instance,
As noted above, such diversity was not exclusive to speech/.com in the area of relative interest in rhetoric. Similar splits occured in English, as between the literature vs composition camps.
C: Rhetoric Reborn: Forces in the Rhetorical Turn
1) European philosophy and linguistic philosophy
(Nietzsche,Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Vico/Grassi, Habermas, Foucault, and a large group of others who I'll not detail here)
One of the primary descriptions of the modern philosphic age focuses on its interest in the "linguistic" or "rhetorical" turn. Many continental/European 20th century philosophers foreground the importance of linguistic action in their thought systems. Many also formulated and articulated rhetorical theories (or forms thereof). Contemporary rhetorical scholars have become increasingly interested in, and influence by, these thought systems.
2) European legal philosophy
Particularly as exemplified by the work of Toulmin and Perelman, European writers have taken an interest in the relationships between judicial systems and practical argumentation in everyday life. American scholars of argumentation and debate, strong currents in the history and practices of academic speech communication, have taken particularly strong interests in this work.
3) European textual hermeneutics
European philosophical and theological work with religious texts (textual interpretation) has led to a broad range of developments in "meaning interpretation." This work, represented by the writing of Husserl, Schutz, and others, has led to the development of philosophies which undergird all of qualitative/field-oriented research; work which is now seen as offering ways to do social science without acceptance of the positivist (and anti-rhetorical) tradition of Cartesian logic.
4) European/English (mass media) critical studies
Scholars interested in the sociology of everyday life, particularly those in England (Stuart Hall, Raymond Williams and others), have combined critical studies of mass media (its economic/organizational basese) with continental philosophy as ways to understand the rhetorical properties of otherwise taken-for-granted media practices. These scholars encourage theory, criticism, and practical action which moves media studies away from the practical interests of owners and operators toward social consciousness and change. Grossberg and other Americans carry on this tradition. McLuhan and Postman present "Americanized" versions of mass media critical theory.
5) American literary philosophy
Kenneth Burke, Wayne Booth and others have kept contemporary English scholars well within the rhetorical loop by extending literary critical techniques outside the limitations of exclusive interest in "high-culture printed texts."
6) American rhetorical theory
In addition to Kenneth Burke's work, a large number of American scholars, most identifying with Speech Communication, have developed numerous hetorical theories and approachesWeaver, Black, Bitzer, Fisher, Bormann., and many others). The National Communication Association (formerly Speech Communcation Association) and its member regional and affiliated organizations sponsor upwards of 30 academic journals dedicated to communication studies, many of which often foreground rhetorical theory issues.
7) American rhetorical subdisciplines
i. public address
"historical" study of speeches, speakers, events with a focus on communication practices in the public sphere
ii. rhetorical theory
conceptual development of thought systems about the operation of, and philosophy behind, communication action.
iii. Rhet. crit. & communication analysis
critical application of rhetorical theory to communication in action. A wedding of public address with rhetorical theory via a critical modality.
iv. cultural criticism
European hermaneutic and critical studies perspective brought to bear on communication action, particularly on on the rhetorical phenomena of everyday life. Hyde and Wander (and others) often produce outstanding examples of this work.
SOME CONTEMPORARY (AMERICAN OR OF PARTICULAR INTEREST TO AMERICANS) RHETORICAL PERSPECTIVES
1) Rhetoric as epistemic (Scott, Brummett)
2) Rhetoric and argumentation (Brockreide, Toulman, Perelman, Sillars)
3) Rhetoric and performance (including cultural studies) (Conquergood, Burke, Goffman)
4) Rhetoric of inquiry/science (Ehninger, Simons, Lyne, Nelson, Megill)
5) Narrative Paradigm (Fisher)
6) Fantasy Theme/Symbolic Convergence Theory (Bormann)
7) "Other" Voices and cultural challenges (Feminism, Asian, African, African-American, Native American, South American/Latino)
8) Ontological/Forms of Life (Conversational, ethnographic, interpersonal)
9) Historical (esp. revisionist) (Enos; Foss, Foss, & Trapp; Foss)
10) Movement and genre work (Campbell, Ja mieson)
The Classical Conception of Rhetoric
Rhetoric is an art, more particularly, is one of the seven liberal arts It is composed of principles which must be applied flexibly depending on the relationship among speaker, audience, occasion, and content
It is a matter of importance whenever humans seek to discover and communicate the humane truth It is an endeavor which develops the "Humane" condition (by helping us solve our problems in mind and society)
Stresses the power of the word showing how this power can be used properly or misused: narration and history contextualize
That probability is as important to human affairs as is certainty
Rhetoric is part of cultural affairs, especially civic, religious, and poetic
It is ethically based (prefers good to evil)
It has three faces (forensic, deliberative, demonstrative)
It seeks to persuade, inform, and/or please
Participants' contributions should influence society
It is a matter of importance whenever humans seek to convey the content and methodology of a subject in order to gain adherents to a point of view
That the power of a text is at issue
That conflict breeds discontinuities which Rhetoric can address
Rhetoric may be taught/learned
Depends on natural ability, educated training, extensive practice
Theories, models, and guided pract
ice are important perspectives for learning the art.
Virtue must be joined to eloquence
Knowledge of the world (philosophy, law, politics, history, literature) are essential
Rhetoricians have five canons at their disposal as resources
investigate facts (and "other" ways of knowing including dialectic, logic, intuition, inspiration/authority, and remembrance)
determine character of all sides of the case (stasis, status, and topoi)
artistic proofs, ethos/pathos/logical argument (and inartistic)
plan of compositions in general from the nature of all cases order the specific parts of the composition
virtues of style,
correctness, clarity, embellishment,
appropriateness types of style
plain, middle, grand
flexibility among styles that words not only "clothe," that they also "create"
thought memory (command of the material)
word memory (command of the words)
rote memorization (of parts or the whole)
vocal control and variety
physical control and variety
Speeches have parts; each part contributes to the whole
Statement of the case and its proofs
Exordium, narratio, divisio, confirmatio, confutatio, peroriatio
Rhetoric emphasizes analysis and involvement of the audience and situation
Discovery of the question and the case
Use of the enthymeme
Includes dialectical (question and answer) formats
Is most often about the audience "doing" something civic/religious
Requires extensive audience analysis so as to learn the "best" approach
Empowers people to participate in social development
Preface to the middle ages--"Dark"Ages (50-1000)
Tertullian: 2nd century Montanist.
De Spectaculis: an exhortative epistle designed to counsel Christian faithful to avoid all pagan ritual. It underscored the desperate rhetorical struggle, on the part of the new Church, to reject the decadent surface of ordinary life in favor of the new consciousness of Christianity. Everything of this world was taken as bad; of the next, good. God did not create the world as bad, but man and his efforts have polluted it. Man's inner life must be protected for communication with God. Mass culture undermines that dialog.
Second Sophistic: Lucian, Hermogenes, Capella
More emphasis on elocutio than ever before. Extensive use of declamatio for education. Growth of demonstrative (rather than judicial or deliberative)
Capella: (c. 420)
the lady rhetoric endowed with many beautiful adornments and powerful weapons
Practical applications were limited to preaching Invention relegated to inspiration. (more on pages dedicated to Augustine).
Includes letter writing rhetoric as indispensable to the study of the bible and necessary for civil affairs of state.
Isidore, Alcuin Isidore (c. 550)
encyclopaedia of human knowledge which included rhetoric and dialectic. Slows the "slide" to style; treats the 5 canons.
Treatise on legal procedure, in the dialogic form. By this time, the church was in cahoots with the state and the state needed the monastery schools to teach civic lessons in addition to Christian coverage.
authored an important book on poetry including numerous stylistic devices. His point was to show (as had Augustine) that the Bible was rich literature. Remember that by this time the monks had been working for some time to produce literary translations of the biblical texts--a testimony to the need for rhetorical elements in sacred texts.
Notker Labeo (950-1022)
Translated Capella thereby encouraging rhetorical study in the old Germanic.
writes on topoi, syllogisms and confuses dialectic and rhetoric.
The very essence of working out the authority of texts became a rhetorical problem in this period. The hierarchy of textual authority depended on the type of text and its "authentic inspiration." Rhetorical analysis, criticism, and argument were required in each step of this process.
A principle force FOR rhetoric in this period was the use of the "lectio" as a teaching and preaching method. The lectio reminds us of the conversia (declamatio) in Rome: a passage was read (almost as though it were a sample case question). It was then discussed with regard to its proper translation, interpretation, and application. Numerous arguments were put forward in defense of the "right" position and, especially, against the current "heresy." This lecture form developed into the "disputatio," a public discussion along the same lines. A significant hitch in the process: one could always retreat to an appeal to "And yet it is true" based on the higher authority of the Word of God. However, SI points out that this practice was not much different from the modern reliance on "facts, science, reason, etc." We still have to deal with the "argument to the self-evident"-- a central point in Perelman's treatment of rhetoric. One does not find rhetoric in operation at these points of self-evidence, except in that they are apparent as junctures where arguers have tried to supplant argument as the operative mode--a sort of argument in itself.
"Three factors in particular have determined this characteristic style of philosophizing. . . it is greatly inspired by JURIDICAL PROCEDURE, which is naturally based on LEGAL TEXTS and their interpretation. . . Secondly, this style of philosophizing is prompted by an unprecedented reverence for the WRITTEN WORD. Whatever has been written is by this very fact already authoritative. . . Thirdly . . . God is a speaking God, his son is called the Word, he has revealed himself through the Word and has become accessible in sacred literature" (52)
Medieval philosophy has a rhetorical structure; although middle agers would vehemently deny it.
Middle Ages (1000-1300)
Those above highly influenced those in middle period. Further, the classics were still fragmented and lost. However, various forms of rhetoric were still important in the schools as illustrated by the organization of topics which held for more than a thousand years: Septennium: Trivium: grammar, rhetoric, dialectic Quadrivium: arithmetic, geometry, music, astronomy
Middle Age rhetoricians had a sense of the 5 canons, and
1) sustained emphasis upon style. Rhetoric: related most to the style, manner of speaking. Beauty and the ability to convince were central concerns. (art of speaking well and convincingly)
2) restricting the art to, primarily, grammar (letters and poetry) letter writing (dictamen) became a major rhetorical activity. In grammar: rules for speaking and writing correctly under the presupposition that the structure of language corresponds to that of being and understanding (precursor of modern linguistics).
3) confusing the provinces of rhetoric and dialectic, esp. with regard to the assignment of invention. Remember that Augustine and the churchmen had, essentially, stripped invention from rhetoric. Hugh of St. Victor and John of Salisbury put invention with dialectic. Dialectics: concept, judgment, and reasoning were essential here. Roughly, philosophy.
4) conceiving its area, in the early period, to be theology, in its late parts, with civic affairs. The theological confusion gave rhetoric great strength (socially) but further robbed it of invention. Thomas Aquinas and "Scholasticism" which applied the method of Augustine to the doctrines of Aristotle through Cicero: rhetoric as a part of logic, attached to theology not civic affairs or philosophy in the early period. In the later:
5) retaining some of the classical concepts: for some, politics was still a rhetorical issue. Notker Labeo, Latini. This urge was driven by the need for illiterates to communicate to run their countries and led to the development of letter writing as an important rhetorical activity. "In application, the art of rhetoric contributed during the period from the fourth to the fourteenth century not only to the methods of speaking and writing, of composing letters and petitions, sermons and prayers, legal documents and briefs, poetry and prose, but to the canons of interpreting laws and scripture, to the dialectical devices of discovery and proof, to the establishment of the scholastic method which was to come into universal use in philosophy, theology, and finally to the formulation of scientific inquiry which was to separate philosophy from theology (91 in Golden et al. intro.)
Although always about (1) the subject matter (2) the nature and (3) the ends, of the art, Mediaeval rhetoric was NOT a consistently unitary study. Nor have subsequent studies provided unitary and satisfactory understandings of the nuances of Mediaeval treatments. Three rhetorical lines of intellectual development in this period:
1. rhetorical traditions as established by Cicero and Quintilian
2. philosophy and theology as a reconstructed Platonism and Ciceronianism taken from Augustine
3. "logic," supposedly Aristotelian, which actually followed Aristotle only in terms and propositions, Ciceronian in definitions and principles. Rhetorical constancies: Ciceronian influence on the entire affair. Rhetoric was used not only to discuss its own problems as subject matter, but also to work out disagreements in dialectic and theology. Kinds of oratory (deliberative, judicial, demonstrative) Distinction between the proposition and hypothesis. Delineation of the status of an issue (the questions) In the use of these status/questions (5 w's) to determine the hierarchy of textual authority. As to the treatment of logic, incomplete texts were the rule through to the 13th century. Dialectic gets mixed in with logic such that their subject matter is confused. Some placed rhetoric over dialectic; others did not. The general moving of invention from rhetoric to logic. Many subordinated rhetoric to logic by finding it to be part of logic; or at least, by finding that it is about expression rather than discovery. Others by separating the differences between demonstration and probability. Others define the relationships among the various activities such that rhetoric simply gets "divided" out of important places. Distinction between rhetoric as the "work of the orator" or as "the parts of rhetoric" "Rhetoric was to come into conflict with dialectic . . . as it was to come into conflict with theology . . . Since its discipline was gradually limited by the transfer of the commonplaces, definition, and finally proof . . . to the domain of dialectic, and since its subject matter was limited by the transfer of moral and political questions to theology, rhetoric entered into a second period during which it developed along three separate lines: as a part of logic, or as the art of stating truths certified by theology, or as a simple art of words. Rhetoric was put to use in the Augustinian tradition as a way to further the work of divine eloquence and to further interpret their meanings. Especially as a way to re-align differences pointed out in textual hierarchies. In one of two ways: rhetoric becomes a part of logic (as that part of logic concerned with probabilities); or a part of theology (as the culmination of the trivium). moderni rhetoricians: those primarily concerned with the development of style--mostly derided by others as foolish, but left alone.
Transitions to Renaissance
-rhetoric as a part of rational philosophy subordinate to logic
-rhetoric as dominate in the arts and theology
-all philosophy and subjects assimilated to rhetoric
-invention taken from rhetoric and given over to dialectic
-rhetoric as the discipline of words
-rhetoric as a way to establish verbal distinctions, later leading to physics, mathematics, symbolic logic.
-theories of poetry dealing passion, imagination, truth and virtue
-stasis (whether, what, of what sort) as basis for scientific methods which eventually sought to supplant rhetorical method.
-basis for analysis of "causes" of things
-thesis/hypothesis into modern scientific methods
-investigation of the passions
-use of common-places to invent arguments
-the "logic" of arrangement
-civil philosophies of psychology, law, literature, and philosophy.
India And Modernism - acharya - 11-04-2006
Despite the fact that the populations of China and India make up over one quarter of the population of the Earth, and that "60% of humanity lives in the Pacific Basin," and that both countries have a history that in some cases predates that of Greece and the ancient Near-East there is not a voluminous body of work on the rhetoric of Asia. The Rhetoric Society Quarterly in its almost twenty years of publication has devoted one article to Asian rhetoric and has published one bibliography devoted to the subject of Asian Rhetoric. Most of the references to be found in this bibliography are to speeches and the current writings of figures such as Mao Tse-Tung and other recent figures that have played a prominent part in the Asian political scene.
The major research that has been done in the area of Asian rhetoric seems to be primarily the work of Robert T. Oliver, a former professor of speech at Pennsylvania State University and who wrote extensively on the subject of Asian rhetoric and A. S. Cua of Catholic University who written on argumentation and Confucian rhetoric.
What I wish to focus on in this paper is the way in which ethical qualities are conveyed and which ethical qualities are particularly valued in Asian rhetoric and how this contrasts with the aretaic qualities that the speaker wishes to convey in the Aristotelian model of rhetoric. This enterprise, however, is somewhat handicapped by the fact there do not appear to be any paradigmatic examples of Asian rhetoric that are compact enough to be subjected to a thorough analysis, nor are there, in the popular literature of China, any that are of an early enough date to be models of Asian rhetoric and still fall with the purview of the historical era that we are dealing with. The Bhagavad Gita is an extended rhetorical piece which forms part of a larger epic, the Mahabharata and the larger unit of which it is a part has sometimes been compared to the Iliad both in terms of length (the Mahabharata is longer) and in terms of its centrality to Indian culture, however, because of the Gita's extensive length it is not suitable for a detailed analysis and there seems to be no other primary example from India that could serve as a paradigm for that country's rhetorical use of ethos.
The situation with respect to devising a paradigmatic oration for the rhetoric of China is even worse in that the central works of the Confucian tradition are not primarily concerned with rhetoric but with ritual, poetry, and ethical customs. Popular works that provide paradigms might include the six classic novels (San Kuo Yen Yi ( Romance of the Three Kingdoms); Shui Hu Chuan ( The Story of the Water Margin); Hsi Yu Chi ( Pilgrimage to the Western Regions); Chin P'ing Mei ( Golden Vase of Plum Flowers); Ju-lin Wai Shih ( Unofficial History of Officialdom); and Hung Lou Meng ( Dream of the Red Chamber)), however, these all come during the post-Classical period and the earliest, the San Kuo Yen Ki dates from 1494.
Due to the lack of suitable models therefore I must rely on secondary sources in presenting any kind of information about ethos in Asian rhetoric. A primary resource then will be the work of Robert Oliver who as a teacher of speech and one who worked extensively in Asia is familiar with patterns of Oriental thought. Dr. Cua, who teaches philosophy at Catholic University, has been kind enough to loan me a copy of his paper "The Possibility of a Confucian theory of Rhetoric" which will appear in a forthcoming volume edited by Kathleen Jamieson entitled Rhetoric: East and West.
ETHOS IN CLASSIC TIMES
The classical pisteis or proofs were considered to be those of ethos, pathos, and logos, appeals in which the rhetorician presented himself as a person of good character, or in which he appealed to the emotions of his audience, or in which he appealed to the principles of reason. In the Western tradition, however, it has usually been felt that the strongest appeal is that of ethos, the ethical appeal, and that rhetoric derives its force from the character of the speaker. In the Greco-Roman tradition this ethical appeal has been based on the character of the speaker, that he has shown himself to be a person of good sense, good character, and good will or fronesiV, arete and eunoia.
Aristotle links his discussion of ethos with a discussion of the virtues as a means of generating goodwill and friendship.
These qualities [good sense, good character, and good will] are all that are necessary, so that the speaker who appears to possess all three will necessarily convince his hearers. The means whereby he may appear sensible and good must be inferred from the classification of the virtue; for to make himself appear such he would employ the same means as he would in the case of others.
It is only after this discussion that Aristotle proceeds to discuss the emotions, which he defines as "all those affections which cause men to change their opinion in regard to their judgements, and are accompanied by pleasure and pain." Ethos is a way of affecting the emotions but it is not itself one of the emotions.
Quintilian, however, classes ethos as one or more of the emotions specifically those that are calm and gentle and which persuade and "induce a feeling of goodwill" These emotions, moreover, are continuous while those of pathos are momentary. The ethos that Quintilian describes or desiderates in the orator
is commended to our approval by goodness more than aught else and is not merely calm and mild, but in most cases ingratiating and courteous and such as to excite pleasure and affection in our hearers, while the chief merit in its expression lies in making it seem that all that we say derives directly from the nature of the facts and persons concerned and in the revelation of the character of the orator in such a way that all may recognize it.
This contrasts sharply with Aristotle's view that ethos is not one of the emotions but one of the causes of the emotions. The emotions that are generated by ethos for Aristotle are those of friendship and goodwill or affection towards the speaker based on his demonstration of the aretaic qualities of fronesiV, arete, and eunoia. For Quintilian the ethical appeal has become rooted in an appeal to the emotions but specifically those gentle ones that are linked to feelings of benevolence.
The change from Aristotle's conception of ethos to that of Quintilian represents a loss to the theory of rhetoric inasmuch as it has passed from being something that is sharply defined and differentiated into something that is vaguer and which has been assimilated into one of the emotions. The primary meaning of ethos, however, remains that of Aristotle and ethos is used throughout this paper as Aristotle used it, as a system or network of virtues that excite favorable feelings in the audience.
THE RHETORIC OF INDIA
As Jensen points out in his article the terms "Asianism" and "Asian rhetoric" have been used in a pejorative sense for centuries to indicate a "florid, bombastic style, exaggerated rhythmic effect, excessive figurative embellishments, and the valuing of form over substance." Of course, it should also be noted that Asia, during the classical period, referred to the area that is sometimes called Asia Minor or the Near East.
Robert T. Oliver in a Culture and Communication: The Problem of Penetrating National and Cultural Boundaries addresses the problem of establishing the ethos of Indian rhetoric. In a chapter entitled "The Rhetoric of Hindu- Buddhist Idea Systems" he examines the nature of Indian rhetoric and observes that writing was considered to be at best an approximation of what the speaker meant originally:
In India, also, even down to the nineteenth century, writing was considered too imprecise a means of conveying meaning to have any great communicative importance. Until the seventeenth century, books were inscribed on leaves and sheets of bark , which were hung like washing on lines and were called "treasure houses of the Goddess of Speech." What was truly meant was what was said at the time of composition. Then a rough approximation of this meaning was transmuted into visible symbols and "stored"; but what the true meaning might be could only be conjectured in terms of the personalities, the problems, and the intentions of the composers of the message. Reading became a search for precision--aided but also handicapped by the admittedly imprecise medium of written words.
What is especially noteworthy here is the similarity to the Plato's comments on writing in the Phaedrus. Our main concern, however, is not with the Indian view of speech as opposed to writing but of the kind of ethical appeal, in short the aretaic qualities, which is used as a form of proof in Indian rhetoric.
Oliver poses four questions, the last of which is "...what kind of discourse is effective? What are the responsibilities of speakers? What are the proper uses of speech?" The answers that he gives are based on his conception of Buddhist rhetoric. Briefly put the answer is that while we may appeal to the selfishness of people "we should not appeal for selfishness but from it." The ethical appeal is not based on personal advantage but is rather a warning against it.
A better summary of the Indian view of ethos may be obtained from Oliver's book Communication and Culture in Ancient India and China in which he states that
A person was not valued for his idiosyncratic characteristics but for his compatibility with his group. Ethos in ancient India did not arise from special merits of the individual but from his quality of representation of his family, his community, and his caste.
This conception of conformity or representation of family, community and caste is, of course, most marked in the rhetoric of Hinduism. What seems most noticeable, however, from even a superficial reading of the Hindu religious classics, such as the Gita or the Upanishads is the way in which the ethical appeal of Krishna or of the guru derives not just from his relationship to the caste but from his special relationship to the divine. In this respect there seem to be parallels to what Kennedy sees as the source of the authority of Judeo- Christian rhetoric. This is an aspect that Oliver does not deal with in either of his books and would seem to be a fruitful area for investigation.
In contrast to the Hindu rhetorician, who is bound by exigencies of caste, community, and family, Oliver sees the Buddhist rhetorician as confronting a different set of problems. As noted above the problem for the Buddhist rhetorician was one of dealing with an appeal that was not to the selfishness of men but one that was from that selfishness. Oliver's comment on this point is that "Speakers will attain their greatest effectiveness when they show their listeners that they ought not to seek satisfaction of their desires but should instead seek to transcend desire itself." This attempt to transcend desire contrasts sharply with Aristotle's discussion of the emotions. The second book of the Rhetoric is an attempt to show how the emotions can be manipulated in order to create a favorable disposition towards the speaker whether by arousing an emotion, such as anger, or by attempting to calm it and restrain it. Since the emotions are rooted in desire, for instance anger, which is
a longing, accompanied by pain, for a real or apparent revenge for a real or apparent slight, affecting a man himself or one of his friends, when such a slight is undeserved.
The speaker is advised by Aristotle to:
put the hearers into the frame of mind of those who are inclined to anger, and to show that his opponents are responsible for things which rouse men to anger and are people of the kind with whom men are angry.
This is obviously an attempt not to pass beyond desire but to manipulate and use desire for one's own purposes. The Western attempt to appeal to the passions would then be a violation of those principles of calmness and detachment that were implied by Oliver's statement that the Buddhist rhetoric should attempt to transcend desire.
Speech, in the Buddhist conception, according to Oliver, has three functions, it is to be "true, real (in terms of the attendant circumstances), and useful...." This is, as Oliver says, the beginning of a theory of rhetoric and what remains, as far as the use of ethos goes, is to enumerate the aretaic qualities of the speaker. Oliver quotes the Buddha's description of the monk as an effective preacher:
Abandoning falsehood, he speaks the truth, is truthful, faithful, trustworthy, and breaks not his word to his people. Abandoning slander, he does not tell what he has heard in one place to cause dissension elsewhere. He heals divisions and encourages friendships, delighting in concord and speaking what produces it. Abandoning harsh language, his speech is blameless, pleasant to the ear, reaching the heart, urbane, and attractive to the multitude. Abandoning frivolous language, he speaks duly and in accordance with the doctrine and discipline, and his speech is such as to be remembered, elegant, clear and to the point.
The qualities that are particularly valued in the Buddhist monk as speaker then are not those qualities which are aggressive and manipulative but those qualities which tend towards conciliation. Thus he is supposed to be truthful and to encourage concord rather than seeking what a Westerner would regard as a victory. The monk is also described as being urbane and sober, qualities which would seem to correspond to the notion of fronesiV in Western rhetoric. In fact the overall qualities of good sense, good character, and good will would seem to be as desirable in Buddhist rhetoric as they are in Western rhetoric, the most salient difference, however, is that whereas the goal of the Western rhetorician is persuasion, i.e., a change of opinion and a consequent action based upon this opinion, the goal of the Buddhist rhetorician is, by implication, conciliation and mediation. The qualities that enable this conciliation are the monk's truthfulness, faithfulness, trustworthiness, urbanity and sobriety.
The rhetoric of India, in both its Hindu and its Buddhist forms, is not without an ethical basis then. The nature of the ethical appeal, however, is rooted in conceptions of the good, of the aretaic qualities that are especially prized and valued, from those qualities that are prized and valued in the West. Thus for the Hindu rhetorician, as described by Oliver, the primary qualities to be sought are those by which he may fully represent the traditions of family, community, and caste, while for the Buddhist rhetorician the qualities that are valued may be described as those of truthfulness, compassion, and conciliation.
Given that there are no paradigmatic speeches to which we can turn for analysis, as we could turn to speeches of the embassy to Achilles in the Iliad, which provides with an idea of what a pre- Socratic Western rhetoric might have been like,to get some idea of the nature of Indian and Chinese rhetoric we were forced to turn to secondary sources to get some idea of the ethical concerns of these foreign rhetorics.
As might be expected from cultures that have highly evolved religious and ethical beliefs there is an ethical element present in their rehetorics. It is, also as might be expected, different from the ethical concerns that dominate Western rhetoric. In the case of India the primary concern, within the Hindu- Buddhist framework sketched by Oliver, is the representation of tradition. The speaker expresses himself as an embodiment of the traditions of caste and family and it is from this representation of self as the embodiment of tradition that gives his speech act such ethical force as it possesses. In the Confucian tradition the speaker derives his ethical appeal from his presentation of himself as a person who embodies certain virtues, virtues that have a rough correspondence to the Aristotelian virtues that were to be embodied by the orator. These virtues are those of ritual propriety, righteousness, and benevolence. These virtues also entailed certain corollaries, such as impartiality and patience. These virtues, as embodied in the speaker, belong to the superior man, the chÃ¼n-tzu, who is near to the status of a sage. Since these virtues belong to a superior man they are particularly attractive and therefore make up the ethical appeal of the chÃ¼n-tzu.
The aims of rhetoric, as might be expected from cultures that value these virtues more highly than the West does, are also different. The primary difference, which is especially noticeable in our discussion of Confucian rhetoric, is that the aim is not that of persuasion but that of conciliation. In a rhetoric that aims at persuasion, persuasion being understood as that which causes a person to change his opinion or to form an opinion where he had previously not held one and to manifest this through some action, such as voting in a legislature or on a jury, there exists the tendency to overcome the opponent through the use of devices such as humor, irony, or to play upon the emotions in a variety of ways. In both Buddhist rhetoric, as described by Oliver, and in Confucian rhetoric, this last tendency, to play upon the emotions, is regarded as something to be resisted.
The rhetoric of the Far East manifests an emphasis upon certain virtues, which may have analogues in Western or Classical rhetoric but for which there is not necessarily a direct parallel. It further manifests a regard for the feelings of the opponents that is not evident in Western rhetoric. Further it aims not at victory or conversion as much as it aims at conciliation. The virtues that make up the ethical appeal are those virtues that one would expect in a rhetoric that aims at conciliation. Propriety, li, because it derives from a set of traditional rules emphasizes that the speaker has a due regard for the social relations that exist between him and his audience, whether it is that of the ruler or of the people or some other relationship. Righteousness, i, establishes the moral tone or quality of the speaker. Benevolence, jen, because it contains within itself the characteristics of regard for the feelings of others, receptivity, and impartiality manifests itself as the speaker's indifference to his own feelings and his concerns for the rights of others. Within this framework of aretaic notions it would be difficult, if not impossible, to construct a rhetoric that has as its aim anything but conciliation.
It is possible, of course, to reconstruct to some degree, the nature of the rhetorics of other cultural or belief systems, such as those for Taoism, Mohism, and others that contrast in a greater or lesser degree with the systems outlined here. Robert Oliver has a number of articles on aspects of Confucianism and Taoism and other people such as Chad Hansen have written about the nature of linguistics and its influence on Chinese thought, however, the basic outline for the rhetorics of the two largest belief systems, Hindu- Buddhist, as Oliver refers to it, and Confucian seem to be as outlined here.
Obviously more work needs to be done in order to form a definitive analysis of Indian and Chinese rhetoric and since there has been no work in the early history of either culture that occupies a place comparable to that of Aristotle's rhetoric in the West, i.e., one that has exerted a formative influence on the rhetoric of either Indian or Chinese culture it is unlikely that anything more than a piece by piece analysis can or will be done.
India And Modernism - ramana - 11-05-2006
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->In India, also, even down to the nineteenth century, writing was considered too imprecise a means of conveying meaning to have any great communicative importance. Until the seventeenth century, books were inscribed on leaves and sheets of bark , which were hung like washing on lines and were called "treasure houses of the Goddess of Speech." What was truly meant was what was said at the time of composition. Then a rough approximation of this meaning was transmuted into visible symbols and "stored"; but what the true meaning might be could only be conjectured in terms of the personalities, the problems, and the intentions of the composers of the message. Reading became a search for precision--aided but also handicapped by the admittedly imprecise medium of written words.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Even though Gandhi and Nehru have written volumes their writings have still to be interpreted in light of their circumstances and times. It is this idea of imperfection in writing that allows Indian thought to be hijacked by vested interests. IOW, Gandhi and Nehru can be re-interpreted to mean the opposite of what they actually said and meant!
Also note what was not explored further in the above article
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->This conception of conformity or representation of family, community and caste is, of course, most marked in the rhetoric of Hinduism. <b>What seems most noticeable, however, from even a superficial reading of the Hindu religious classics, such as the Gita or the Upanishads is the way in which the ethical appeal of Krishna or of the guru derives not just from his relationship to the caste but from his special relationship to the divine. In this respect there seem to be parallels to what Kennedy sees as the source of the authority of Judeo- Christian rhetoric.</b> This is an aspect that Oliver does not deal with in either of his books and would seem to be a fruitful area for investigation.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
I postulate that this idea of proximity to God that Judeo-Christianity picked up from the East that made its appeal more universal.
India And Modernism - ramana - 11-05-2006
X-posted from BR
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Indira Gandhi: Great and magnanimous leader
By K. Natwar Singh
Twenty-two years ago on this day one of the worldâs greatest and magnanimous leaders was assassinated. That day the spring went out of my life. She inspired in me a lasting affection and a degree of respect verging on veneration. I have a deep sense of gratitude, as I owe her more than I can say. Probably more than I know. She had little sympathy for those who recoiled from the forces of life, the cautious, the calculating. The pompous were deflated by one ignited look, the craven were treated as the craven ought to be. She broke so many social and political barriers. Indira Gandhi was a major liberating force.
I was the first Indian Foreign Service officer to join the Prime Ministerâs Secretariat. It became PMO in Morarji Desaiâs time. In May 1966, I joined the Prime Ministerâs Secretariat and spent nearly five years there. At my marriage to Heminder Kumari of Patiala on August 21, 1967, Indira Gandhi, Dr Y.S. Parmar and Nath Pai were the witnesses at the civil ceremony, which was followed by a traditional Hindu-Sikh wedding.
On January 27, 1970, I wrote a note to her from Patiala: âHaving failed to solve the problem of addressing you (Dear Madam, Madam, Dear Mrs Gandhi, Dear Shrimati Gandhi, Dear PM etc) I have decided to send this in note form... It is now over two weeks that I have been condemned to lie flat on my back on a hard wooden bed as a result of having slipped disc. On the 11th I bent down to give my son, Jagat, his teddy bear and that is when it happened. I would have thought that middle age would arrive with a little more ceremony and a little less pain...â
She wrote to me on January 30 an enchanting letter: âI know you were on leave but I had no idea it was caused by physical incapacity to turn up. I know how painful a slipped disc can be. You have all our sympathy â however, it is giving you time to ruminate on the past, present and the future and this is something which we all need from time to time. You can imagine how life in Delhi is when one is facing explosive issues, and visiting VIPs during Republic Week. I am off on tour tomorrow morning. With every good wish for a complete recovery... Do you remember when the same thing happened to K.P.S. Menon? He had to stand in a very artistic Ajanta pose for quite some time. Now you know the perils of fatherhood.â
Here was a Prime Minister who found time to reply within three days to a letter written by a lowly Foreign Servicewallah.
In 1975, H.Y. Sharada Prasad and I put together some of her writings and speeches. The book, Indira Gandhi: Speeches and Writings, was published in London and New York. On her death anniversary it is fitting to quote from some of her stirring, sensitive and elegant speeches:
* We are deeply hurt by the innuendos and insinuations that it was we who have precipitated the crisis and have in any way thwarted the emergence of solutions. I do not really know who is responsible for this calumny. During my visit to the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Austria and Belgium, the point I emphasised, publicly as well as privately, was the immediate need for a political settlement. We waited nine months for it. When Dr Kissinger came in July 1971, I had emphasised to him the importance of seeking an early political settlement. But we have not received, even to this day, the barest framework of a settlement which would take into account the facts as they are and not as we imagine them to be.
Open letter to US President Richard Nixon, written on December 15, 1971
* <b>The British ruled over us for two hundred years. Little did those early colonisers realise that along with their flag they brought the seeds which would destroy their rule. Macaulay, who pleaded so passionately for western education, did not quite realise that he was undermining the edifice he was so anxious to perpetuate. The nineteenth and twentieth centuries brought ancient India face to face with the imperatives of the contemporary world. And we quickly absorbed all that was relevant and significant in Bentham and Mill, in Rousseau and Voltaire down to Marx and Weber. And all this was grafted on to the Indian subcontinent. And we then had Tagore, Gandhi and Nehru to mention only a few.
Address to the Royal Institute ofÂ International Affairs, Chatham House, London, October 29, 1971</b>
* <b>One of the main differences between our own struggle for freedom and that of other newly-free countries is that under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, our movement ceased to be an elitist one and developed a mass base, while retaining high intellectual and moral sensitiveness. India, which was a cultural entity, became an independent, political reality. But the process did not stop with freedom. We have always regarded freedom not as the culmination but as the beginning â the beginning of an endeavour to fashion an integrated society in which the old divisions of caste, hierarchy and privilege are abolished and new social obligations and linkages are established involving and benefiting all sections.
Inaugural address to the thirty-third session of Indian Political Science Conference, Calcutta, December 27, 1972</b>
* Our national movement was committed not to a doctrine but to a purpose â the modernisation of our society without loss of the Indian personality; the development and integration of industry and agriculture with modern science and technology; the uplift of the masses and the ending of archaic, hierarchical systems in which discrimination and exploitation had become entrenched.
Article for the October 1972 issue of Foreign Affairs
* Two years hence, in 1970, the United Nations will complete twenty-five years. Can we make it a Year of Peace â a starting point of a united endeavour to give mankind the blessings of a durable peace? To this end let us devote ourselves. One of our ancient prayers says:
Common be your prayer;
Common be your end;
Common be your purpose;
Common be your deliberation.
Common be your desire;
Unified be your hearts;
Unified be your intentions;
Perfect be the union among you.
Address delivered to the UN General Assembly, October 14, 1968
K. Natwar Singh is a former minister for external affairs
India And Modernism - acharya - 04-04-2007
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Max Horkheimer (front left), Theodor Adorno (front right), and JÃ¼rgen Habermas in the background, right, in 1965 at Heidelberg
Max Horkheimer (front left), Theodor Adorno (front right), and JÃ¼rgen Habermas in the background, right, in 1965 at Heidelberg
The Frankfurt School is a school of neo-Marxist social theory, social research, and philosophy. The grouping emerged at the Institute for Social Research (Institut fÃ¼r Sozialforschung) of the University of Frankfurt am Main in Germany when Max Horkheimer became the Institute's director in 1930. The term "Frankfurt School" is an informal term used to designate the thinkers affiliated with the Institute for Social Research or influenced by them. It is not the title of any institution, and the main thinkers of the Frankfurt School did not use the term to describe themselves.
The Frankfurt School gathered together dissident Marxists, severe critics of capitalism who believed that some of Marx's followers had come to parrot a narrow selection of Marx's ideas, usually in defense of orthodox Communist or Social-Democratic parties. Influenced especially by the failure of working-class revolutions in Western Europe after World War I and by the rise of Nazism in an economically, technologically, and culturally advanced nation (Germany), they took up the task of choosing what parts of Marx's thought might serve to clarify social conditions which Marx himself had never seen. They drew on other schools of thought to fill in Marx's perceived omissions. Max Weber exerted a major influence, as did Sigmund Freud (as in Herbert Marcuse's Freudo-Marxist synthesis in the 1954 work Eros and Civilization). Their emphasis on the "critical" component of theory was derived significantly from their attempt to overcome the limits of positivism, crude materialism, and phenomenology by returning to Kant's critical philosophy and its successors in German idealism, principally Hegel's philosophy, with its emphasis on negation and contradiction as inherent properties of reality. A key influence also came from the publication in the 1930s of Marx's Economic-Philosophical Manuscripts and The German Ideology, which showed the continuity with Hegelianism that underlay Marx's thought. Marcuse was one of the first to articulate the theoretical significance of these texts.
The Institute made major contributions in two areas relating to the possibility of rational human subjects, i.e. individuals who could act rationally to take charge of their own society and their own history. The first consisted of social phenomena previously considered in Marxism as part of the "superstructure" or as ideology: personality, family and authority structures (its first book publication bore the title Studies of Authority and the Family), and the realm of aesthetics and mass culture. Studies saw a common concern here in the ability of capitalism to destroy the preconditions of critical, revolutionary consciousness. This meant arriving at a sophisticated awareness of the depth dimension in which social oppression sustains itself.<b> It also meant the beginning of critical theory's recognition of ideology as part of the foundations of social structure. The Institute and various collaborators had a gigantic effect on (especially American) social science through their work The Authoritarian Personality, which conducted extensive empirical research, using sociological and psychoanalytic categories, in order to characterize the forces that led individuals to affiliate with or support fascist movements or parties. </b>The study found the assertion of universals, or even truth, to be a hallmark of fascism. By calling into question any notion of a higher ideal, or a shared mission for humanity critical theory undermined its own ultimate justification, and failed to provide an objective basis by which to denounce fascism. The Authoritarian Personality hypothesis which proceded from this contributed greatly to the emergence of the counterculture.
The nature of Marxism itself formed the second focus of the Institute, and in this context the concept of critical theory originated. The term served several purposes - first, it contrasted from traditional notions of theory, which were largely either positivist or scientific. Second, the term allowed them to escape the politically charged label of "Marxism." Third, it explicitly linked them with the "critical philosophy" of Immanuel Kant, where the term "critique" meant philosophical reflection on the limits of claims made for certain kinds of knowledge and a direct connection between such critique and the emphasis on moral autonomy. In an intellectual context defined by dogmatic positivism and scientism on the one hand and dogmatic "scientific socialism" on the other, critical theory meant to rehabilitate through such a philosophically critical approach an orientation toward revolutionary agency, or at least its possibility, at a time when it seemed in decline.
Finally, in the context of both Marxist-Leninist and Social-Democratic orthodoxy, which emphasized Marxism as a new kind of positive science, they were linking up with the implicit epistemology of Karl Marx's work, which presented itself as critique, as in Marx's "Capital: a critique of political economy", wanting to emphasize that Marx was attempting to create a new kind of critical analysis oriented toward the unity of theory and revolutionary practice rather than a new kind of positive science. In the 1960s, JÃ¼rgen Habermas raised the epistemological discussion to a new level in his "Knowledge and Human Interests" (1968), by identifying critical knowledge as based on principles that differentiated it either from the natural sciences or the humanities, through its orientation to self-reflection and emancipation.
Although Horkheimer's distinction between traditional and critical theory in one sense merely repeated Marx's dictum that philosophers have always interpreted the world and the point is to change it, the Institute, in its critique of ideology, took on such philosophical currents as positivism, phenomenology, existentialism, and pragmatism, with an implied critique of contemporary Marxism, which had turned dialectics into an alternate science or metaphysics. The Institute attempted to reformulate dialectics as a concrete method, continually aware of the specific social roots of thought and of the specific constellation of forces that affected the possibility of liberation. Accordingly, critical theory rejected the materialist metaphysics of orthodox Marxism. For Horkheimer and his associates, materialism meant the orientation of theory towards practice and towards the fulfillment of human needs, not a metaphysical statement about the nature of reality.
 The Second Phase
The second phase of Frankfurt School critical theory centres principally on two works that rank as classics of twentieth-century thought: Horkheimer's and Adorno's Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944) and Adorno's Minima Moralia (1951). The authors wrote both works during the Institute's American exile in the Nazi period. While retaining much of the Marxian analysis, in these works critical theory has shifted its emphasis. The critique of capitalism has turned into a critique of Western civilization as a whole. Indeed, the Dialectic of Enlightenment uses the Odyssey as a paradigm for the analysis of bourgeois consciousness. Horkheimer and Adorno already present in these works many themes that have come to dominate the social thought of recent years: the domination of nature appears as central to Western civilization long before ecology had become a catchphrase of the day.
The analysis of reason now goes one stage further. The rationality of Western civilization appears as a fusion of domination and of technological rationality, bringing all of external and internal nature under the power of the human subject. In the process, however, the subject itself gets swallowed up, and no social force analogous to the proletariat can be identified that will enable the subject to emancipate itself. Hence the subtitle of Minima Moralia: "Reflections from Damaged Life". In Adorno's words,
"For since the overwhelming objectivity of historical movement in its present phase consists so far only in the dissolution of the subject, without yet giving rise to a new one, individual experience necessarily bases itself on the old subject, now historically condemned, which is still for-itself, but no longer in-itself. The subject still feels sure of its autonomy, but the nullity demonstrated to subjects by the concentration camp is already overtaking the form of subjectivity itself."
Consequently, at a time when it appears that reality itself has become ideology, the greatest contribution that critical theory can make is to explore the dialectical contradictions of individual subjective experience on the one hand, and to preserve the truth of theory on the other. Even the dialectic can become a means to domination: "Its truth or untruth, therefore, is not inherent in the method itself, but in its intention in the historical process." And this intention must be toward integral freedom and happiness: "the only philosophy which can be responsibly practised in face of despair is the attempt to contemplate all things as they would present themselves from the standpoint of redemption". How far from orthodox Marxism is Adorno's conclusion: "But beside the demand thus placed on thought, the question of the reality or unreality of redemption itself hardly matters."
Adorno, a trained musician, wrote The Philosophy of Modern Music, in which he, in essence, polemicizes against beauty itself -- because it has become part of the ideology of advanced capitalist society and the false consciousness that contributes to domination by prettifying it. Avant-garde art and music preserve the truth by capturing the reality of human suffering. Hence:
"What radical music perceives is the untransfigured suffering of man... The seismographic registration of traumatic shock becomes, at the same time, the technical structural law of music. It forbids continuity and development. Musical language is polarized according to its extreme; towards gestures of shock resembling bodily convulsions on the one hand, and on the other towards a crystalline standstill of a human being whom anxiety causes to freeze in her tracks... Modern music sees absolute oblivion as its goal. It is the surviving message of despair from the shipwrecked."
This view of modern art as producing truth only through the negation of traditional aesthetic form and traditional norms of beauty because they have become ideological is characteristic of Adorno and of the Frankfurt School generally. It has been criticized by those who do not share its conception of modern society as a false totality that renders obsolete traditional conceptions and images of beauty and harmony.
 The Third Phase
From these thoughts only a short step remained to the third phase of the Frankfurt School, which coincided with the postwar period, particularly from the early 1950s to the middle 1960s. With the growth of advanced industrial society under Cold War conditions, the critical theorists recognized that the structure of capitalism and history had changed decisively, that the modes of oppression operated differently, and that the industrial working class no longer remained the determinate negation of capitalism. This led to the attempt to root the dialectic in an absolute method of negativity, as in Marcuse's One-Dimensional Man and Adorno's Negative Dialectics. During this period the Institute of Social Research re-settled in Frankfurt (although many of its associates remained in the United States), with the task not merely of continuing its research but of becoming a leading force in the sociological education and democratization of West Germany. This led to a certain systematization of the Institute's entire accumulation of empirical research and theoretical analysis.
More importantly, however, the Frankfurt School attempted to define the fate of reason in the new historical period. While Marcuse did so through analysis of structural changes in the labor process under capitalism and inherent features of the methodology of science, Horkheimer and Adorno concentrated on a re-examination of the foundation of critical theory. This effort appears in systematized form in Adorno's Negative Dialectics, which tries to redefine dialectics for an era in which "philosophy, which once seemed obsolete, lives on because the moment to realize it was missed". Negative dialectics expresses the idea of critical thought so conceived that the apparatus of domination cannot co-opt it. Its central notion, long a focal one for Horkheimer and Adorno, suggests that the original sin of thought lies in its attempt to eliminate all that is other than thought, the attempt by the subject to devour the object, the striving for identity. This reduction makes thought the accomplice of domination. Negative Dialectics rescues the "preponderance of the object", not through a naive epistemological or metaphysical realism but through a thought based on differentiation, paradox, and ruse: a "logic of disintegration". Adorno thoroughly criticizes Heidegger's fundamental ontology, which reintroduces idealistic and identity-based concepts under the guise of having overcome the philosophical tradition.
Negative Dialectics comprises a monument to the end of the tradition of the individual subject as the locus of criticism. Without a revolutionary working class, the Frankfurt School had no one to rely on but the individual subject. But, as the liberal capitalist social basis of the autonomous individual receded into the past, the dialectic based on it became more and more abstract. This stance helped prepare the way for the fourth, current phase of the Frankfurt School, shaped by the communication theory of Habermas.
Habermas's work takes the Frankfurt School's abiding interests in rationality, the human subject, democratic socialism, and the dialectical method and overcomes a set of contradictions that always weakened critical theory: the contradictions between the materialist and transcendental methods, between Marxian social theory and the individualist assumptions of critical rationalism between technical and social rationalization, and between cultural and psychological phenomena on the one hand and the economic structure of society on the other. The Frankfurt School avoided taking a stand on the precise relationship between the materialist and transcendental methods, which led to ambiguity in their writings and confusion among their readers. Habermas' epistemology synthesizes these two traditions by showing that phenomenological and transcendental analysis can be subsumed under a materialist theory of social evolution, while the materialist theory makes sense only as part of a quasi-transcendental theory of emancipatory knowledge that is the self-reflection of cultural evolution. The simultaneously empirical and transcendental nature of emancipatory knowledge becomes the foundation stone of critical theory.
By locating the conditions of rationality in the social structure of language use, Habermas moves the locus of rationality from the autonomous subject to subjects in interaction. Rationality is a property not of individuals per se, but rather of structures of undistorted communication. In this notion Habermas has overcome the ambiguous plight of the subject in critical theory. If capitalistic technological society weakens the autonomy and rationality of the subject, it is not through the domination of the individual by the apparatus but through technological rationality supplanting a describable rationality of communication. And, in his sketch of communicative ethics as the highest stage in the internal logic of the evolution of ethical systems, Habermas hints at the source of a new political practice that incorporates the imperatives of evolutionary rationality.
Frankfurt School critical theory has influenced some segments of the Left wing and leftist thought (particularly the New Left). Herbert Marcuse has occasionally been described as the theorist or intellectual progenitor of the New Left. Their work also heavily influenced intellectual discourse on popular culture and scholarly popular culture studies.
 Major Frankfurt school thinkers and scholars
* Alfred Schmidt
* Alfred Sohn-Rethel
* Axel Honneth
* Erich Fromm
* Franz Neumann
* Franz Oppenheimer
* Friedrich Pollock
* Herbert Marcuse
* JÃ¼rgen Habermas
* Karl A. Wittfogel
* Leo LÃ¶wenthal
* Max Horkheimer
* Oskar Negt
* Siegfried Kracauer
* Susan Buck-Morss
* Theodor W. Adorno
* Walter Benjamin
India And Modernism - acharya - 04-04-2007
<img src='http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/b6/Crittheory1.png' border='0' alt='user posted image' />
India And Modernism - acharya - 04-04-2007
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Cultural studies is an academic discipline popular among a diverse group of scholars. It combines political economy, sociology, social theory, literary theory, media theory, film/video studies, cultural anthropology, philosophy, museum studies and art history/criticism to study cultural phenomena in various societies. Cultural studies researchers often concentrate on how a particular phenomenon relates to matters of ideology, nationality, ethnicity, social class, and/or gender. The term was coined by Richard Hoggart in 1964 when he founded the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies. It has since become strongly associated with Stuart Hall, who succeeded Hoggart as Director.
Cultural studies concerns itself with the meaning and practices of everyday life. Cultural practices comprise the ways people do particular things (such as watching television, or eating out) in a given culture. In any given practice, people use various objects (such as iPods or handguns). Hence, this field studies the meanings and uses people attribute to various objects and practices. Recently, as capitalism has spread throughout the world (a process called globalization), cultural studies has begun to critique local and global forms of resistance to Western hegemony.
In a loosely related but separate usage, the phrase cultural studies sometimes serves as a rough synonym for area studies, as a general term referring to the academic study of particular cultures in departments and programs such as Islamic studies, Asian studies, African American studies, African studies, German studies, et al.. Some researchers have traced the origins of cultural studies in universities to earlier anthropological work such as the Folk Schools of Denmark in the 1920s, the Highlander School in North America's Appalachia in the 1930s, and the Kamiriithu project in Kenya in the 1970s. However, strictly speaking, cultural studies programs (such as the PhD program at George Mason University) are not concerned with specific areas of the world so much as specific cultural practices.
In his book Introducing Cultural Studies, Ziauddin Sardar lists the following five main characteristics of cultural studies:
* Cultural studies aims to examine its subject matter in terms of cultural practices and their relation to power. For example, a study of a subculture (such as white working class youth in London) would consider the social practices of the youth as they relate to the dominant classes.
* It has the objective of understanding culture in all its complex forms and of analyzing the social and political context in which culture manifests itself.
* It is both the object of study and the location of political criticism and action. For example, not only would a cultural studies scholar study an object, but she would connect this study to a larger, progressive political project.
* It attempts to expose and reconcile the division of knowledge, to overcome the split between tacit (cultural knowledge) and objective (universal) forms of knowledge.
* It has a commitment to an ethical evaluation of modern society and to a radical line of political action.</b>
Since cultural studies is an interdisciplinary field, its practitioners draw an extremely diverse array of theories and practices. Theorists which are influential in the field include (but are not limited to):
Scholars in the United Kingdom and the United States developed somewhat different versions of cultural studies after the field's inception in the late 1970s. The British version of cultural studies was developed in the 1960s mainly under the influence of Richard Hoggart and Stuart Hall at the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies at the University of Birmingham. This included overtly political, left-wing views, and criticisms of popular culture as 'capitalist' mass culture; it absorbed some of the ideas of the Frankfurt School critique of the "culture industry" (i.e. mass culture). This emerges in the writings of early British cultural-studies scholars and their influences: see the work of (for example) Raymond Williams, Stuart Hall, Paul Willis and Paul Gilroy.
In contrast, the American version of cultural studies initially concerned itself more with understanding the subjective and appropriative side of audience reactions to, and uses of, mass culture; American cultural-studies advocates wrote about the liberatory aspects of fandom. For example, see the writings of critics such as John Guillory or Constance Penley. The distinction between American and British strands, however, has faded.
Some scholars, especially in early British cultural studies, apply a Marxist model to the field. This strain of thinking comes predominantly from the Frankfurt School. The main focus of an orthodox Marxist approach concentrates on the production of meaning. This model assumes a mass production of culture and identifies power as residing with those producing cultural artifacts. In a Marxist view, those who control the means of production (the economic base) essentially control a culture.</span>
Indian sociologists and marxists have been influenced by this school deeply and deeply screwed India and Hindus</i>
Other approaches to cultural studies, such as feminist cultural studies and later American developments of the field, distance themselves from this view. They criticize the Marxist assumption of a single, dominant meaning, shared by all, for any cultural product. The non-Marxist approaches suggest that different ways of consuming cultural artifacts affect the meaning of the product. This view is best exemplified by the book Doing Cultural Studies: The Case of the Sony Walkman (by Paul du Gay et al), which seeks to challenge the notion that those who produce commodities control the meanings that people attribute to them.
Ultimately, this perspective criticizes the traditional view assuming a passive consumer. Other views challenge this, particularly by underlining the different ways people read, receive, and interpret cultural texts. On this view, a consumer can appropriate, actively reject, or challenge the meaning of a product. These different approaches have shifted the focus away from the production of items. Instead, they argue that consumption plays an equally important role, since the way consumers consume a product gives meaning to an item. Some closely link the act of consuming with cultural identity. Stuart Hall has become influential in these developments. Some commentators have described the shift towards meaning as the cultural turn.
In the context of cultural studies, the idea of a text not only includes written language, but also films, photographs, fashion or hairstyles: the texts of cultural studies comprise all the meaningful artifacts of culture. Similarly, the discipline widens the concept of "culture". "Culture" for a cultural studies researcher not only includes traditional high culture and popular culture, but also everyday meanings and practices. The last two, in fact, have become the main focus of cultural studies. A further and recent approach is comparative cultural studies, based on the discipline of comparative literature and cultural studies.
 Critical views
Cultural studies is not a unified theory but a diverse field of study encompassing many different approaches, methods, and academic perspectives; as in any academic discipline, cultural studies academics frequently debate among themselves. However, some academics from other fields have criticised the discipline as a whole. It has been popular to dismiss cultural studies as an academic fad. Yale literature professor Harold Bloom has been an outspoken critic of the cultural studies model of literary studies. Critics such as Bloom see cultural studies as it applies to literary scholarship as a vehicle of careerism by academics, instead promoting essentialist theories of culture, mobilising arguments that scholars should promote the public interest by studying what makes beautiful literary works beautiful.
Bloom stated his position during the 3 September 2000 episode of C-SPAN's "Booknotes":
"[...T]here are two enemies of reading now in the world, not just in the English-speaking world. One [...is...] the lunatic destruction of literary studies [...] and its replacement by what is called cultural studies in all of the universities and colleges in the English-speaking world, and everyone knows what that phenomenon is.
I mean, the [...] now-weary phrase 'political correctness' remains a perfectly good descriptive phrase for what has gone on and is, alas, still going on almost everywhere and which dominates, I would say, rather more than three-fifths of the tenured faculties in the English-speaking world, who really do represent a treason of the intellectuals, I think, a 'betrayal of the clerks'." 
Literary critic Terry Eagleton is not wholly opposed to cultural studies theory like Bloom, but has criticised certain aspects of it, highlighting what he sees as its strengths and weaknesses in books such as After Theory (2003). For Eagleton, literary and cultural theory have the potential to say important things about the "fundamental questions" in life, but theorists have rarely realized this potential.
One of the most damning critiques of cultural studies came from physicist Alan Sokal, who submitted an article to a cultural studies journal, Social Text. This article was a parody of what Sokal perceived to be the logical reasoning of humanists working in cultural studies. After it was accepted and published, Sokal revealed the hoax. His explanation for doing this was:
"Politically, I'm angered because most (though not all) of this silliness is emanating from the self-proclaimed Left. We're witnessing here a profound historical volte-face. For most of the past two centuries, the Left has been identified with science and against obscurantism; we have believed that rational thought and the fearless analysis of objective reality (both natural and social) are incisive tools for combating the mystifications promoted by the powerful -- not to mention being desirable human ends in their own right. The recent turn of many ``progressive or ``leftist academic humanists and social scientists toward one or another form of epistemic relativism betrays this worthy heritage and undermines the already fragile prospects for progressive social critique. Theorizing about ``the social construction of reality won't help us find an effective treatment for AIDS or devise strategies for preventing global warming. Nor can we combat false ideas in history, sociology, economics and politics if we reject the notions of truth and falsity."
Conversely, cultural studies scholars have criticized more traditional academic disciplines such as literary criticism, science, economics, sociology, anthropology, and art history.
India And Modernism - acharya - 04-04-2007
Critical theory (Frankfurt School)
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This article is a discussion of critical theory as the phrase is used by the Frankfurt School. For the more general use of the term, see: critical theory
Critical theory, in sociology and philosophy, is shorthand for critical theory of society or critical social theory, a label used by the Frankfurt School, i.e., members of the Institute for Social Research of the University of Frankfurt, their intellectual and social network, and those influenced by them intellectually, to describe their own work, oriented toward radical social change, in contradistinction to "traditional theory," i.e. theory in the positivistic, scientistic, or purely observational mode. In literature and literary criticism and cultural studies, by contrast, "critical theory" means something quite different, namely theory used in criticism.
The original critical social theorists were Marxists, and there is some evidence that in their choice of the phrase "critical theory of society" they were in part influenced by its sounding less politically controversial than "Marxism". Nevertheless there were other substantive reasons for this choice. First, they were explicitly linking up with the critical philosophy of Immanuel Kant, where the term critique meant philosophical reflection on the limits of claims made for certain kinds of knowledge and a direct connection between such critique and the emphasis on moral autonomy. In an intellectual context defined by dogmatic positivism and scientism on the one hand and dogmatic "scientific socialism" on the other, critical theory meant to rehabilitate through its philosophically critical approach an orientation toward revolutionary agency, or at least its possibility, at a time when it seemed in decline.
Second, in the context of both Marxist-Leninist and Social-Democratic orthodoxy, which emphasized Marxism as a new kind of positive science, they were linking up with the implicit epistemology of Karl Marx's work, which presented itself as critique, as in Marx's "Capital: A Critique of Political Economy". That is, they emphasized that Marx was attempting to create a new kind of critical analysis oriented toward the unity of theory and revolutionary practice rather than a new kind of positive science. Critique in this Marxian sense meant taking the ideology of a society (e.g. "freedom of the individual" or "equality" under capitalism) and critiquing it by comparing it with the social reality of that very society (e.g. subordination of the individual to the class structure or real social inequality under capitalism). It also, especially in the Frankfurt School version, meant critiquing the existing social reality in terms of the potential for human freedom and happiness that existed within that same reality (e.g. using technologies for the exploitation of nature that could be used for the conservation of nature).
In the 1960's, JÃ¼rgen Habermas raised the epistemological discussion to a new level in his Knowledge and Human Interests, by identifying critical knowledge as based on principles that differentiated it either from the natural sciences or the humanities, through its orientation to self-reflection and emancipation.
The term critical theory, in the sociological or philosophical and non-literary sense, now loosely groups all sorts of work, e.g. that of the Frankfurt School, Michel Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu, and feminist theory, that has in common the critique of domination, an emancipatory interest, and the fusion of social/cultural analysis, explanation, and interpretation with social/cultural critique.
* "Introduction to Critical Theory: Horkheimer to Habermas" by David Held (ISBN 0-520-04175-5)
* "The Frankfurt School: An Analysis of the Contradictictions and Crises of Liberal Capitalist Societies" by Richard A. Brosio (ISBN )
* "The Essential Frankfurt School Reader" edited by Andrew Arato & Eike Gebhardt (ISBN 0-8264-0194-5)
* "The Frankfurt School and its Critics" by Tom Bottomore (ISBN 0-415-28539-9)
* "Critique, Norm, and Utopia: A Study of the Foundations of Critical Theory" by Seyla Benhabib (ISBN 0-231-06165-X)
* "Critical Theory and Society: A Reader" edited by Stephen Eric Bronner and Douglas MacKay Kellner (ISBN 0-415-90041-7)
* "Critical Theory: The Essential Readings" by David Ingram and Julia Simon-Ingram (ISBN 1-55778-353-5)
* "The Critical Theory of Religion: The Frankfurt School" by Rudolf J. Siebert (ISBN 0-8108-4140-1)
India And Modernism - acharya - 04-04-2007
Postmodernism (sometimes abbreviated as Pomo or PoMo) is a term used in a variety of contexts to describe social conditions, movements in the arts, economic and social conditions and scholarship from the perspective that there is a definable and differentiable period after the modern, or that the 20th century can be divided into two broad periods. This idea has been extremely controversial and difficult to define among scholars, intellectuals, and historians, largely because, to many of these commentators, the term postmodernism implies that the modern historical period has passed, a notion which they resist.
It is generally accepted that postmodern ideas have influenced philosophy and art, expanded the importance of critical theory, and been the point of departure for works of literature, architecture, and design, as well as being visible in marketing/business and the interpretation of history, law and culture, starting in the late 20th century.
Postmodernity, a separate term, describes social and cultural conditions connected to the era in which postmodernism arose.
Scholars and historians most commonly hold postmodernism to be a movement of ideas arising from, but also critical of elements of modernism. Because of the wide range of uses of the term, different elements of modernity are chosen as being continuous, and different elements of modernity are held to be critiqued. Each of the different uses also is rooted in some argument about the nature of knowledge, known in philosophy as epistemology. Individuals who use the term are arguing that either there is something fundamentally different about the transmission of meaning, or that modernism has fundamental flaws in its system of knowledge.
The argument for the necessity of the term states that economic and technological conditions of our age have given rise to a decentralized, media-dominated society in which ideas are simulacra and only inter-referential representations and copies of each other, with no real original, stable or objective source for communication and meaning. Globalization, brought on by innovations in communication, manufacturing and transportation, is often cited as one force which has driven the decentralized modern life, creating a culturally pluralistic and interconnected global society lacking any single dominant center of political power, communication, or intellectual production. The postmodern view is that inter-subjective knowledge, and not objective knowledge is the dominant form of discourse under such conditions, and the ubiquity of copies and dissemination fundamentally alters the relationship between reader and what is read, between observer and the observed, between those who consume and those who produce. Not all people who use the term postmodern or postmodernism see these developments as positive. Users of the term often argue that their ideals have arisen as the result of particular economic and social conditions, including what is described as "late capitalism" and the growth of broadcast media, and that such conditions have pushed society into a new historical period.
As with all questions of division, there are a range of viewpoints between the hardened extremes of declaring that modernity has been completely replaced, and the other which sees postmodernism as useless term that describes nothing.
Postmodern scholars argue that such a decentralized society inevitably creates responses/perceptions that are described as post-modern, such as the rejection of what are seen as the false, imposed unities of meta-narrative and hegemony; the breaking of traditional frames of genre, structure and stylistic unity; and the overthrowing of categories that are the result of logocentrism and other forms of artificially imposed order. Scholars who accept the division of post-modernity as a distinct period believe that society has collectively eschewed modern ideals and instead adopted ideas that are rooted in the reaction to the restrictions and limitations of those ideas, and that the present is therefore a new historical period. While the characteristics of postmodern life are sometimes difficult to grasp, most postmodern scholars point to concrete and visible technological and economic changes that they claim have brought about the new types of thinking.
Critics of the idea claim that it does not represent liberation, but rather a failure of creativity, and the supplanting of organization with syncretism and bricolage this latter concept can only be described as anti-intellectual. They argue that post-modernity is obscurist, overly dense, and makes assertions about the sciences that are demonstrably false.
There are often strong political overtones to this debate, with conservative commentators often being the harshest critics of post-modernism. There is a great deal of disagreement over whether or not recent technological and cultural changes represent a new historical period, or merely an extension of the modern one. Complicating matters further, others have argued that even the postmodern era has already ended, with some commentators asserting culture has entered a post-postmodern period. In his essay "The Death of Postmodernism and Beyond", Alan Kirby has argued that we now inhabit an entirely new cultural landscape, which he calls "pseudo-modernism".
As with many other divisions, the use of the term is subject to the lumpers and splitters problem. There are those who use very small and exact definitions of postmodernism, often for theories perceived as relativist, nihilist, counter-Enlightenment or antimodern. Others believe the world has changed so profoundly that the term applies to nearly everything, and use postmodernism in a broad cultural sense. People who believe postmodernism is really just an aspect of the modern period may instead use terms such as "late modernism".
 Descriptions of postmodernism
* "Postmodernism is incredulity towards metanarratives." Jean-Francois Lyotard
* "The theory of rejecting theories." Tony Cliff
* "A generation raised on channel-surfing has lost the capacity for linear thinking and analytical reasoning." Chuck Colson
* "Postmodernist fiction is defined by its temporal disorder, its disregard of linear narrative, its mingling of fictional forms and its experiments with language." - Barry Lewis, Kazuo Ishiguro
* "Weird for the sake of weird." - Moe Szyslak, of The Simpsons
* "Itâs the combination of narcissism and nihilism that really defines postmodernism," Al Gore
* "Post-modernism swims, even wallows, in the fragmentary and the chaotic currents of change as if that is all there is." - David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1989.</b>
* "We could say that every age has its own post-modern, just as every age has its own form of mannerism (in fact, I wonder if postmodern is not simply the modern name for *Manierismus*...). <b>I believe that every age reaches moments of crisis like those described by Nietzsche in the second of the Untimely Considerations, on the harmfulness of the study of history (Historiography). The sense that the past is restricting, smothering, blackmailing us."</b> - Umberto Eco, "A Correspondence on Post-modernism" with Stefano Rosso in Hoesterey, op cit., pp. 242-3
 Development of postmodernism
Main article: The development of postmodernism
 From modernism
Modernity is defined as a period or condition loosely identified with the Industrial Revolution, or the Enlightenment. One "project" of modernity is said to have been the fostering of progress, which was thought to be achievable by incorporating principles of rationality and hierarchy into aspects of public and artistic life. (see also post-industrial, Information Age).
Although useful distinctions can be drawn between the modernist and postmodernist eras, this does not erase the many continuities present between them. (These continuities are the reason that some refer to post-modernism as both the continuation as well as the cessation of modernism.) One of the most significant differences between modernism and postmodernism is its interest in universality or totality. While modernist artists aimed to capture universality or totality in some sense, postmodernists have rejected these ambitions as "metanarratives." "Simplifying to the extreme," says Jean-FranÃ§ois Lyotard, " I define postmodern as incredulity toward metanarratives."
This usage is ascribed to the philosophers Jean-FranÃ§ois Lyotard and Jean Baudrillard. Lyotard understood modernity as a cultural condition characterized by constant change in the pursuit of progress, and postmodernity as the culmination of this process, where constant change has become a status quo and the notion of progress, obsolete. Following Ludwig Wittgenstein's critique of the possibility of absolute and total knowledge, Lyotard also further argued that the various "master-narratives" of progress, such as positivist science, Marxism, and Structuralism, were defunct as a method of achieving progress.
Writers such as John Ralston Saul among others have argued that postmodernism represents an accumulated disillusionment with the promises of the Enlightenment project and its progress of science, so central to modern thinking.
 Notable philosophical contributors
Thinkers in the mid and late 19th century and early 20th century, like SÃ¸ren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche, through their argument against objectivity, and emphasis on skepticism (especially concerning social morals and norms), laid the groundwork for the existentialist movement of the 20th century. Writers such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, and Samuel Beckett, drew heavily from Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, and other previous thinkers, and brought about a new sense of subjectivity, and forlornness, which greatly influenced contemporary thinkers, writers, and artists. Karl Barth's fideist approach to theology and lifestyle, brought an irreverence for reason, and the rise of subjectivity. Post-colonialism after World War II contributed to the idea that one cannot have an objectively superior lifestyle or belief. This idea was taken further by the anti-foundationalist philosophers: Heidegger, then Ludwig Wittgenstein, then Derrida, who examined the fundamentals of knowledge; they argued that rationality was neither as sure nor as clear as modernists or rationalists assert.
Features of postmodern culture begin to arise in the 1920s with the emergence of the Dada art movement. Both World Wars contributed to postmodernism; it is with the end of the Second World War that recognizably post-modernist attitudes begin to emerge. Some identify the burgeoning anti-establishment movements of the 1960s as an early trend toward postmodernism. The theory gained some of its strongest ground early on in French academia. In 1971, the term Postmodernism was coined for the first time by the Arab American Theorist Ihab Hassan in his book: The Dismemberment of Orpheus: Toward a Postmodern Literature. In 1979 Jean-FranÃ§ois Lyotard wrote a short but influential work The Postmodern Condition: A report on knowledge. Also, Richard Rorty wrote Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979). Jean Baudrillard, Michel Foucault, and Roland Barthes are also influential in 1970s postmodern theory.
Marxist critics argue that postmodernism is symptomatic of "late capitalism" and the decline of institutions, particularly the nation-state. The literary critic Fredric Jameson and the geographer David Harvey have also identified post-modernity with "late capitalism" or "flexible accumulation". This situation, called finance capitalism, is characterized by a high degree of mobility of labor and capital, and what Harvey called "time and space compression." They suggest that this coincides with the breakdown of the Bretton Woods system which they believe defined the economic order following the Second World War. (
On their account, MacIntyre's postmodern revision of Aristotelianism poses a challenge to the kind of consumerist ideology that now promotes capital accumulation.
The movement has had diverse political ramifications: its anti-ideological ideas appear to have been conducive to, and strongly associated with, the feminist movement, racial equality movements, gay rights movements, most forms of late 20th century anarchism, and even the peace movement, as well as various hybrids of these in the current anti-globalization movement. Unsurprisingly, none of these institutions entirely embraces all aspects of the postmodern movement in its most concentrated definition, but they reflect, or borrow from, some of its core ideas.
As empty rhetoric
The criticism of postmodernism as ultimately meaningless rhetorical gymnastics was demonstrated in the Sokal Affair, where Alan Sokal, a physicist, wrote a deliberately nonsensical article purportedly about interpreting physics and mathematics in terms of postmodern theory, which was nevertheless published by Social Text, a journal which he and most of the scientific community considered postmodernist.
Interestingly, Social Text never acknowledged that the article's publication was a mistake but supported a counter-argument defending the "interpretative validity" of Sokal's false article, despite the author's rebuttal of his own article. (see the online Postmodernism Generator)
The philosopher Noam Chomsky has suggested that postmodernism is meaningless because it adds nothing to analytical or empirical knowledge. He asks why post-modernist intellectuals won't respond as "people in physics, math, biology, linguistics, and other fields are happy to do when someone asks them, seriously, what are the principles of their theories, on what evidence are they based, what do they explain that wasn't already obvious etc? These are fair requests for anyone to make. If they can't be met, then I'd suggest recourse to Hume's advice in similar circumstances: to the flames."
There are lots of things I don't understand -- say, the latest debates over whether neutrinos have mass or the way that Fermat's last theorem was (apparently) proven recently. But from 50 years in this game, I have learned two things: (1) I can ask friends who work in these areas to explain it to me at a level that I can understand, and they can do so, without particular difficulty; (2) if I'm interested, I can proceed to learn more so that I will come to understand it. Now Derrida, Lacan, Lyotard, Kristeva, etc. --- even Foucault, whom I knew and liked, and who was somewhat different from the rest --- write things that I also don't understand, but (1) and (2) don't hold: no one who says they do understand can explain it to me and I haven't a clue as to how to proceed to overcome my failures. That leaves one of two possibilities: (a) some new advance in intellectual life has been made, perhaps some sudden genetic mutation, which has created a form of "theory" that is beyond quantum theory, topology, etc., in depth and profundity; or (b) ... I won't spell it out.
â Noam Chomsky
India And Modernism - ramana - 04-17-2007
I have the book by Jurgen Habermas since 2003.
India And Modernism - acharya - 04-27-2007
Whiteness Studies and Implications for Indian-American Identity
A new 175-page bibliography is launched on American Whiteness Studies, along with a brief discussion on how this topic relates to my research on identity in America, including implications for Indian-Americans.
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Many readers have asked why I have been inactive as a writer for so long. I have been pursuing other deeper areas of research concerning the dynamics of cross-cultural relations. My forthcoming book manuscript requires another six months of work. It is based on a 400-year analysis of American history, specifically with respect to the way in which American identity and character have evolved. One of several underpinnings of this project is the discipline known as Whiteness Studies.
Infinity Foundation is pleased to announce that its collaboration with the Center for the Study of White American Culture in New Jersey has resulted in the first comprehensive bibliography on the academic discipline of Whiteness Studies. This 175-page bibliography is available at:
My earlier article on Whiteness Studies (a dialog with the Director of the Center referenced above) is posted at: http://rajivmalhotra.sulekha.com/blog/post...ess-studies.htm. The new bibliography lists some of the major influences on my present work, but there are also other related fields involved. As with the earlier bibliography on Eurocentrism that I compiled, this represents an offering made by the Foundation to help researchers tackle and explore these important topics that are especially neglected from an Indian perspective.
The evolution of whiteness as Americaâs identity
The term whiteness denotes not necessarily race but a power structure based on a politically concocted ethnic and cultural identity. (For example, Japanese businessmen were given âhonorary whiteâ status by South Africaâs apartheid regime.) The central role of whiteness in American identity goes back to the White Anglo-Saxon Protestants who pioneered the Europeansâ conquest of America from the Native Americans. They initially referred to themselves as âEnglishâ and the natives were called âIndiansâ. Later, the âusâ included many kinds of Europeans besides the English, so they called themselves âChristiansâ and the natives of America were âHeathensâ. But then various non-Europeans such as Black slaves and many Native Americans became Christians; so the term âChristianâ was no longer exclusive and could not be a marker to distinguish the âsuperiorâ people. That is when the term âWhiteâ became popular to differentiate from the others.
Laws were enacted that gave Whites special rights with regard to property, marriage, immigration, etc. Popular literature, political discourse by the Founding Fathers, discussions in the US Congress and by Presidents, writings by academic scholars, and media â each of these explicitly utilized this classification of Americaâs population for most of the past 400 years. Only relatively recently did the term âWhiteâ go out of intellectual style to mean âreal American,â but it remains implicit and its effect is still felt in subtle and insidious ways.
The sense of White identity has had both positive and negative impacts on the formation of America as a nation. Not just 18th and 19th century thinkers, but also respected academics today like Samuel Huntington, have argued that American democracyâs vitality and innovativeness derive from its Anglo-Protestant ideology and identity. The definition of who is White and civilized, and who is not, has changed over time. The book, âHow the Irish Became Whiteâ, shows how the Anglo-Saxon Protestant monopoly on whiteness was first challenged by Irish immigrants who were not Anglo-Saxon and not Protestant (but Catholic), hence officially classified as non-White. The Irish were prevented from entering White labor unions and commonly mocked by Whites as âsavages.â It was only in the late 1800s, after years of violence and tension that the Irish finally reached a treaty with Anglo-Saxon Protestants to be admitted as Whites. Henceforth, the Irish became White. A similar struggle took place in many other cases of non Anglo-Saxon Protestant immigrants â including Greeks, Italians, Poles and other Slavic peoples, etc. This inclusion of other Europeans as Whites implied that Americaâs civic religion expanded from Protestantism to Christianity. But the core character remained the Protestant Ethic, as explained by Max Weberâs popular thesis.
Another important book, âHow the Jews Became White Folksâ, documents the same trajectory followed by Jews in the 20th century, prior to which they were classified as colored people in America. Henceforth the civic religion became Judeo-Christian, a new kind of religious ethos that is unique to America and not common in Europe. Today this Judeo-Christian civic religion remains a strong rallying cry for politicians in both the Democratic and Republican camps, but is an imperfect surrogate for whiteness as the case of African-Americans demonstrates. While predominantly Christian, Blacks are still not equals in the American power structure.
Whiteness for nation building and mapping others:
Whiteness was a key ingredient in the westward growth of America. The related notion of âManifest Destinyâ officially formulated and codified into law the right of White people to take over lands from non-White people. This was applied first against Native Americans, then to justify the conquest of California, Texas, Arizona, etc. from Mexico. Later, this right was projected overseas to justify the US invasion of Philippines, Latin America, and so forth. These notions of being a privileged club with special standing in the world were originally premised on the Bible. But later, the Enlightenment thinkers, including luminaries like Thomas Jefferson, made the same arguments without reference to God or Bible, about the inherent superiority of European civilization. The White Manâs Burden was spun as the moral duty of civilizing the non-Whites for their own good.
A key ingredient in formulating whiteness as the basis for Americaâs exceptional status was to set up a powerful mechanism to produce âauthoritativeâ knowledge about various kinds of non-Whites. This ranged from popular narratives about non-Whites to sophisticated accounts by academics. To stir up wide support for campaigns of conquest based on Manifest Destiny, sensational accounts were written about the atrocities committed by, and weird/grotesque practices of, those non-Whites who happened to be the target group at a given time.
Thus, Mexicans were widely portrayed as lazy, immoral, âmongrelsâ and abusive of their women - the women were shown to be in need of rescuing by White men. Native Americans were depicted as dangerous savages who threatened not only White women but also each other. Blacks were âchildrenâ who needed to be tutored and controlled by Whites. A long lineup of great Enlightenment thinkers, ranging from Buffon to Hume to Kant (and Jefferson), each produced learned academic tomes that lent tremendous prestige to these sensational stories that had currency among lay Whites and popular media of the day.
Today, similar atrocities literature about the âthird worldâ is generated in sections of anthropology, film, fiction, international studies. Nowadays such atrocities literature is called âhuman rights violationsâ reports, and is used to argue for interventions, such as those against Iraq. The Civilizing Mission is now called âbringing democracy and human rightsâ to the others for their own best interests.
While new groups such as the Irish, Italians and Jews were gaining acceptance by virtue of their claims to whiteness, the same did not happen for what was then Americaâs largest minority, i.e. African-Americans. Even though they were mostly devout Christians, having been converted en masse during their enslavement, they were carefully kept out of the White or âcivilizedâ camp. For a brief period after the Civil War, known as the Reconstruction, Blacks did achieve political freedom and even a semblance of social mobility. But these were swiftly taken away by a combination of political and economic shifts, and also because the intellectual climate was increasingly hostile to seeing Blacks as being on par with Whites. Leading academics, such as ColumbiaUniversityâs very influential professor Dunning, produced volumes of research showing how Blacks were incapable of handling power and responsibility. They cited all sorts of anecdotes and analyses that Blacks committed many kinds of atrocities. This intellectual climate, along with Jim Crow legislation, was powerful enough to keep Blacks out of mainstream power until the 1960s. Even today, Blacks and Whites worship in segregated Christian churches throughout America. The Black church helped cement a positive Black identity and provided a forum for political and social action, without which there would not have been the civil rights movement or the present self-confident leadership.
It has been said that Americaâs history is the story of new waves of immigrants fighting to become White (i.e. full-fledged insiders). Today, the Hispanics are divided between those who lobby to become White (i.e. assimilate and dissolve their separate identity), and those who want to claim a third cultural pole that is neither White nor Black, but distinct and called Hispanic. The latter group champions the Spanish language and its embedded culture as the vehicle to preserve its identity. Highly regarded scholars like Samuel Huntingdon have raised the alarm very openly from prestigious Ivy Leagues forums that the Hispanics will threaten the American nation because they are not Anglo-Saxons and not Protestants. Such xenophobia relies upon an army of scholars and activists - including some from Hispanic backgrounds â to stereotype the Mexicans, produce reports about social oppression within Hispanic communities, and thereby show that America is endangered by Hispanic influence.
To understand Americanness/Whiteness deeper, the three-volume American Frontier by Richard Slotkin is an excellent work. It traces deeply embedded notions of identity, privilege and destiny in the American mythos, and how this mythos has built a grand nation but at the expense of a whole series of non-White peoples. It should be required reading for all those who dismiss the civilizational superiority complex that is built into America.
In order to examine the extent to which the sense of whiteness persists today, one should reference the new bibliography mentioned at the beginning of this article. Those who want to specifically understand what is called âimplicit Whitenessâ (i.e. superior identity that is denied by the individual but exists subconsciously) should look at recent cognitive science research, such as, Devos, T., & Banaji, M.R. (2005), âAmerican = White?â Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 88, 447-466. ( See: http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/~tdevos/thd/devo...05_abstract.pdf ) Also see the paper at: http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/~tdevos/thd/Quintana_wpa2005.pdf
There are divergent views regarding whiteness as the implicit reference point relative to which American identities are being shaped even today. Some of these prevailing views are summarized below.
Perhaps the most important intellectual movement that has unwittingly created confusion about the nature of American society today is postmodernism. Many postmodernists imagine that social power based on identity differences is being eroded rapidly. To them, Whiteness is irrelevant now as the nexus of power. But they cite only the pop culture to give examples of this new idealized America, whereas Americaâs power structure is not based in its pop culture. They ignore the deeper structure of society where whiteness rules. Ziauddin Sardar has criticized such postmodernist intellectuals for complicity because he alleges that it lets western imperialism off the hook while focusing on deconstructing other cultures. Indirectly, it facilitates the re-colonization of other cultures by the West.
Another view is held by Diana Eck and her Pluralism Project, which promotes multiple religious identities, and projects America as a role model for success in this. But often, and even before 9/11, pluralism in America has been mostly interpreted as incorporating Islam into Americaâs civic religion, moving America from Judeo-Christianity to Abrahamism. This largely leaves out the non-Abrahamic religions. Buddhism is an exception to this and does get a fair representation, thanks to its powerful support base in the American academy and among important intellectuals. Also, being non-theistic it does not threaten Abrahamism and many of its practices can be assimilated easily.
However, when Hinduism is represented, the academic establishment tends to picks a ânoble savageâ as spokesperson, one who typically says lofty things like, âAll religions are the same,â etc. Prof. Joshiâs new book, discussed below, and many other writings in the Whiteness Studies bibliography prove that identity oppression is real in America. It is not something that a group of scholars in the liberal academic cocoon can whitewash away.
Whiteness Studies: A key to understanding America
Whiteness is to America what the âPentium insideâ (now âCentrino insideâ) is to a computer. (It is not something found in Europe in the same sense, because there the dominant cultural substrata varied: Frenchness in France, Germanness in Germany, Englishness in England, etc., but no melted down pan-European Whiteness, even though the European Union might move in that direction. There is a growing voice arguing that Christianity is the very core of Europeanness, giving the EU its own kind of Manifest Destiny.)
I see three dimensions to whiteness in America today: (1) as a secular blend of race, ethnicity and culture; (2) as a civic religion based on Judeo-Christianity/Bible; and (3) as a socioeconomic status. How White you are is measured in this 3-dimensional model. All other identities are based on difference from whiteness.
Relevance of whiteness to Indian-Americans
This historical background and framework is used in my research to address the following question: Will Indian-Americans âbecome Whiteâ like various European immigrants did? Or will they claim a separate identity similar to the Hispanic one, which is not White or Black, yet fully American in status? This question is one of the reasons for exploring the history of Whiteness â i.e. learning from the experiments and experiences of other immigrant groups.
Indian-Americans are already climbing socioeconomically to âbecome Whiteâ in the #3 dimension. This success reduces their âdifferenceâ from the ârealâ Whites. Historically, this was the mercantile path to the American mainstream. But it does not make them fully White because of the other two factors. Many Indian-Americans (like Bobby Jindal) convert to Christianity to reduce #2 (i.e. religion) as a factor of difference. In order to reduce the alienating impact of #1, one may adopt Enlightenment or Postmodern ideologies, and American pop culture also facilitates this blurring.
An important new book has come out based on surveys of Indian-Americans. It identifies the role of religion as a factor in making Indian-Americans feel less Americans than Whites. This book is by Khyati Joshi, âNew Roots in Americaâs Sacred Groundâ. It proves with empirical data that there is religious bias facing Indian-Americans especially on account of being Hindu (i.e. #2 factor), even after they have achieved parity with Whites on socioeconomic criteria (i.e. #3); and this applies even to the second-generation who are born and raised in USA (and hence have lesser #1 difference). This is an important new book, and more scholars need to examine this issue courageously.
What should Indians do about this identity issue, as a new minority group in America? This is a nation where identities are projected publicly in the mainstream, often quite assertively and chauvinistically.
Several Indian academicians in the humanities regard the Indian identity to be a source of conflicts in India. Amartya Sen is one prominent example. Their political position on India gets projected onto Indian-Americans, who are therefore scolded for hanging on to Indianness which is seen as something arcane and shameful. Given the all-pervading nature of whiteness as the American substratum, such a position puts pressure on Indian-Americans to de-Indianize and dissolve into whiteness. Harvardâs Homi Bhabha has come up with postmodernist theories of âmimicryâ and âhybridityâ that make this hip. But such scholars do not seem to have examined the American history of âus/otherâ (as explained, for example, in Slotkinâs three volumes), or the present depth of whiteness in America. The burden to dissolve difference is thus being placed entirely on the non-Whites. Their positions are unrealistic and oppressive.
There is a double standard here. Because identity difference is projected by scholars as a cause of conflict and violence in India, the dominant culture in India is rightly asked to shoulder the burden of removing difference with the underclasses. The same rules should also be applied to America. These scholars should similarly pressure the dominant White American culture to change itself, in order to become less White and thus shoulder the burden of reducing difference with others. But while in the case of India they champion the underclass, and attack the dominant cultureâs hegemony, they are unable to do the same in the case of America. Are they too invested in the American power structure? Would such an approach undermine their âhonorary Whiteâ status through the adoption of âWhite epistemologyâ and their positions in institutions of intellectual power?
This brings me to the trajectory followed by many Indian-Americans in the humanities to âbecome Whiteâ by proving their competence in White ways of âgazingâ. This means seeing things through European epistemological categories, which nowadays means âtheoriesâ of culture, textual analysis, etc. that have been accepted by the Anglo-American academy as a part of the âcanon of theoriesâ one is supposed to use. The Indian equivalent of such theories would be the very large and sophisticated range of âsiddhantasâ. But these are simply ignored in modern/postmodern studies, or are trivially dismissed, or are mapped/co-opted into trendy new theories owned by White experts or their whitened followers. This is a new kind of civilizational power that has been called âtheory power I call it epistemic arrogance. Bhabha is a role model being projected by the American establishment for young Indian-Americans in English Departments to emulate. He has proven himself as having the âWhite gazeâ. This is the liberal path to becoming White, just as Christianizing was Bobby Jindalâs Biblical path to Whiteness. One may think of them as left-wing and right-wing whiteness, respectively.
One finds many Indian anthropologists (serving western funding sources, mentors, institutions, journals, etc.) referring to other Indians as ânative informantsâ in their research â a racial slur from the colonial era that positions the âotherâ as someone below the glass ceiling who is not to be treated as an equal in cultural inquiry. On the other hand, the Indian who confidently gazes back at Whites (such as through Whiteness Studies), who talks as an equal, and who theorizes about them as the exotic other, is often seen as a threat especially if he is outside the control mechanisms of the academic establishment. (Such persons must be branded the âdangerous savageâ who is threatening civilization).â</span>
Sudhir Kakar and Amartya Sen disagree on whether or not there is a positive Indian identity and what its implications would be. Kakarâs new book on the psychological profile of Indians shows that there is a definite Indianness that pervades across the ethnicities, castes, and economic strata of India. He also considers this Indianness as something positive, implying that it is something worth protecting. Indeed, there are major problems to be solved in India; but the same could be said of any cultural identity in the world, and Indianness has repeatedly proven its internal reform ability without foreign interventions.
Amartya Sen, on the other hand, asserts that a distinct Indian identity breeds violence. He wants to show that there is no clash of civilizations - I use the term âclashâ not as physical violence but as competition among world-views. His stance implies that non-Western epistemologies (ways of seeing things) are invalid when they differ from Western epistemologies â i.e. Chinese Civilization, Islamic Civilization, etc. are valid only to the extent they agree with the premises of Western thought. Is he not adopting the White Gaze that sees itself as universal, and hence denies the very existence of any other legitimate gaze? It is the truth, its proponents claim in all sorts of âuniversalâ declarations.
Harvardâs Sugata Bose takes this to the next step, and debunks India as a nation-state on the grounds that it has always been oppressive and is inherently bad for its minorities. (The Mughal structure was good, though, these scholars say, because it partially cured the Indian oppressiveness.) Other Indian-American scholars use the postmodernist line without adequate examination, and directly attack the legitimacy of the Indian nation-state. But these scholars do not give the same argument against America as a nation-state, nor call for its break-up along ethnic or religious lines, despite the fact that its 400-year history shows how it has been based on the oppression, or at least the marginalization, of non-Whites! Nor are they willing to critique living scholars in the academy who study India from a standpoint that is implicitly Eurocentric. Postcolonial Studies focuses largely on the dead empire and dead scholars, and when criticizing America they are typically limited to reproducing self-criticisms by Liberal Whites. The invisible, unconscious gold-standard of whiteness as the reference point persists because of the reluctance to gaze at it.
One consequence of undermining a distinct Indianness in America is being played out in the growing field of South Asian Diaspora Studies. To cite but one example, Professor Prema Kurien is one of the upcoming young Indian-Americans being groomed by White Protestant institutions to do surveillance on Hindu-Americans. The goal is to show them as âsavagesâ invading America who needed to be civilized. She unquestioningly accepts certain premises deriving from whiteness. Indians who are benign and unquestioning of Whiteness or of Judeo-Christian norms, can serve as role models for others: these are ânoble savages.â But those who challenge the cultural power structure are branded as âdangerous savagesâ, and the syndicated research desires to impute that they must have links with violence in India. My research is examining the possibility that this is a continuation of the way the American Frontier managed the non-Whites, especially those non-Whites who were self-assured and articulate intellectuals. The academic discipline of Diaspora Studies is being used by some to keep tabs on non-Whites who do not assimilate, and especially those who want to reverse the gaze and study Whiteness.
There is also the position adopted by many that a given culture does not belong to anyone, and hence there is no âownerâ with the legitimate right to âdefendâ it. Other postcolonial scholars disagree, such as Rajani Kannepalli Kanth. They feel that this free-for-all posture is too lofty. It clears the way for âEuroModernismâ to colonize others, because it is in charge of the parameters of the inter-cultural debate, and it sets up straw-men/women of non-Western cultures to knock down. Culture is a form of capital, and the West controls most of the means of global distribution. The prerequisites of free trade are simply not in place, given the concentration of capital. There is no reason to treat this kind of capitalism any differently than material capitalism, especially since cultural capital and material capital are mutually supportive.
Regardless of oneâs position on these matters, whiteness is the underlying canvas on which this identity drama plays out today, just as it did in Americaâs past.
The cultural dynamics within America is not the only theater where whiteness is important. There are two other spheres where whiteness is a key player. In the geopolitics of today, the America/Islam ideological conflict may be modeled in large part as one between whiteness and Arabness (with the Persianness/Arabness tension manifesting as the Shiite/Sunni sub-conflict). Likewise, the America/China competition (moving towards all-out conflict) is deeper than a mere competition for economic goods. Just as America is based ideologically on the White Protestant Ethic, so also modern China is a renaissance of what its own intellectuals refer to as the Confucian Ethic.
Yet another arena where whiteness is playing a role is inside India. Indiaâs modernization is commonly being seen as synonymous with westernization. This is in contrast to the way Chinese intellectuals (such as Prof. Tu Weming, Director of the Harvard-Yenching Institute of China Studies) resist calling Chinaâs modernity as western. They use the ideological foundation of a Confucian continuity over thousands of years to frame the miracle of Chinaâs distinct kind of Modernity. The West was a catalyst, they say, but the character and future of modernization in China is rooted in its own civilization. Yet in India the intellectual trajectory is different, as it sees the native civilization to be the problem to eradicate. Indiaâs westernization of lifestyles, economy and government policymaking are often at the expense of Indic traditions. Add to this the fair-skin complex that has entered Indian aesthetics over the past thousand years, and theories of Aryans bringing civilization into India from Europe. One has an interesting study of Indiaâs own peculiar kind of whiteness at work. Perhaps, similar to the American books, âHow the Irish became White,â and âHow the Jews became White Folks,â there is need to write about âHow the Desis are becoming Whiteâ!
As a final remark, I do not consider the orthodox categories of left-wing and right-wing to be very useful, especially in the understanding of Indian society and politics. These mutually exclusive left/right binary options simply do not work, and fail to represent the far more complex dynamics on the ground. Yet Indian social thinkers have internalized these epistemic categories â as a sort of pseudo-intellectual whitening. For a leftist, any opponent is easily branded âright-wing.â Likewise, for the so-called right-wingers, those who criticize their ways are instantly demonized as âleftists.â A richer model is based on the notion of identity and culture as forms of capital, complete with capitalists, competition over control of means of production and distribution, and so forth. The sociopolitical dynamics of nations and the globe may then be seen in a very different light.
This is just a brief report on some of my ongoing work. I hope that the new bibliography will provoke free-spirited inquiry among scholars.
India And Modernism - Hauma Hamiddha - 07-09-2007
Western generalizations of religiousity
The Anglospheric (Leukospheric) arrogance coming from their military ascendancy in the past few centuries is point easily discerned by any outsider. Yet, many outsiders note only the most obvious dimensions of this -- for example the military imposition of Leukospheric political paradigms on the rest of the world. Far fewer outsiders notice the cultural subversion and imperialism practice by the Leukosphere. A still smaller set of outsiders are able to even objectively observe and anthropologize on the Leukosphere despite having been the subject of Leukospheric anthropology for a few centuries now. Those outsiders who do enter the leukospheric academia conduct anthropological investigations as converts (brown Sahibs or Gungadins or Macaulaya mAnasIka putra-s in Hindu parlance). A very small number of outsiders discover that the divide of secular and religious is a unique feature of the Leukosphere that is inapplicable to them as long as the remain outsiders. Words somewhat along this line of thought may be encountered in the prolix outpourings of S. Balagangadhara or Ghent.
While I have lived in the Leukosphere for almost a 3rd of my life I am an outsider, and will probably attain dakShiNApati as one. As an outsider, I study and anthropologize on the rich cultural diversity of the Leukosphere and also its unifying elements namely the memes of religion and its twin secularism. For us, the Hindu outsiders , or the heathens in general, these are extremely dangerous memes because it makes the Leukosphere inimical and potentially deadly for us. They are similar in a basic sense to the dreaded meme of Mohammedanism that spreads misery the world over, but the above Leukospheric memes far more subtle and richer than the brutish manifestations of the Arabian meme. Keeping this rambling preamble in mind, let us examine a work published by Elaine Howard Ecklund from SUNY, Buffalo.
What Ecklund has done is to perform surveys via questionnaires and statistically analyze the results to report trends in the religiosity of American (living in USA) scientists. The survey was performed on professors of science from what are considered (true by other objective metrics like h-index) the most influential schools of American science e.g. Harvard, Princeton and U of Chicago, U of Michigan and UC, Berkeley. Some key findings of this author are:
1) Scientists are not very religious compared to the general public, although a significant
minority is religious. 2) Scientists are interested in spirituality.
The author notes that 34% report being atheist (not believing in God) and 30% as "agnostic" (meaning âI do not know if there is a God and there is no way to find outâ). In contrast 3% of Americans claim to be atheists and about 5% are agnostic. About 52% of scientists claim to have no affiliation to a particular religion, in comparison to only 14 percent of the larger American population. 2% of scientists call themselves evangelist/fundamentalist, while 14% of general Americans do so (So a Hindu must keep in mind that he has roughly 1 in 7 chance of encountering a fundamentalist while interacting with Americans). 15% of the scientists declare themselves as followers Judaism in comparison to 2% of general Americans, and constitute the single largest religious affiliation amongst American scientists who declare having a religious affinity. The over-representation of Judaists is unsurprising in one dimension -much of recent Euro-American science has emerged from Jewish intellectual activity that began in Europe and dispersed to USA due to the German onslaught. Judaists have been at the foundation of sections of modern science, mathematics and sociological models of the Leukosphere. e.g. Krebs: Metabolic cycles, Michaelis: enzyme kinetics, Einstein: quantum mechanics(i.e. PEE), theory of relativity and the idea of unifying the 4 forces, Anfinsen: protein folding problem, Temin: retroviruses, Boaz: anthropology, von Neumann: computer science, Greenberg: linguisitics.
Ecklund suggests that this striking difference between scientists with respect to the general American is predicated on their upbringing. People from less religious families seem to be less religious as adults and most scientists seem to come from atheistic or nominally religious families. The subtle point about this observation that is missed by the insider is that the two sister Abrahamisms are very different: Judaists, unlike their Isaist neighbors, seem to have undergone evolution (perhaps in the late 1800s when they started entering scientific studies in large numbers) to accommodate scientific pursuits within their world view -- a drift towards an interpretive mode of religious practice as against fundamentalism. In contrast, Isaism has not evolved in this way, being rigidly fundamentalist, it has to be cleared to allow scientific thought to emerge.
This leads to the most important point for us-- this survey is essentially assumes Isaism as the norm, and its general conclusion on religious upbringing is only relevant to Isaists (and possibly Mohammedans, who definitely comprise a minority of the respondents). The Judaists due to their internal religious evolution have moved out of the classical Abrahmistic mold. Hence, the question whether they believe in God is relevant, but the generalization on upbringing is not. These questions are fundamentally meaningless to a true educated Hindu -- he has neither God nor religion in the sense of the Abrahamists. So the generalizations of this study do not apply to Hindus at all. However, when a study such as this is internalized by an un-educated Hindu filled with aviveka, and infected by Macaulayitis it leads to a disastrous confusion in his mind.
Another interesting aspect of Ecklund's work is that 66% of American natural scientists are "spiritual", including significant fractions of the atheists and agnostics. This term "spiritual" is defined by them in vague terms -- but if you note their self-descriptions of spirituality they suggest what might be termed a "deep connection with nature/the universe". It is such expressions that map with a Hindu's and related heathen's approach to religion. As a result it is increasingly clear that the science-religion conflict is not at all a general construct, but something unique to the Christo-Islamic (note that forms of doctrinally related Judaism have evolved to transcend this issue. This situation in science is different from the geopolitical objectives and alignments of the 3 primary Abrahamisms).
The final point of note that the author noticed was that the majority of scientists in their interviews concluded that religion is not an acceptable topic for discussion. Even outside of the classroom or in informal discussions with students. This is the Leukospheric meme termed secularism-- in the author's word often couched in the famous terminology of "separation of
church and state". This meme is peculiar in many ways- it is antagonistic in its exterior to religion as defined by Christo-Islamism, but is in its interior a twin of the religion meme of Leukosphere and sustained by very similar doctrinal constructs. Most importantly their system of ethics in secularism derive directly from the core Abrahamistic meme. The scorn for heathens is also inherited in a similar way as demonstrated by us earlier using the examples such as the popular American scientist Diamond. As result a large number of Leukospheric scientists while openly irreligious are in reality following a covert form of the Abrahamistic meme. As a result we see that a large fraction of the American scientists are in pitiable state of delusion -- truly the proverbial emperors without clothes. They think they have come out of religion to this new state secularism, but in reality are merely manifesting another form of the same meme.
-For the properly educated Hindu scientist the conflict of science and religion is a meaningless issue. It is an object of anthropological study on the Leukosphere.
-Secularism and separation of religion and state has no meaning for an educated Hindu. Accordingly, a genuine Hindu state will even comment on the separation of religion from state or public life.
-Consequently in the scientific realm a Hindu scientist does not recognize the need to deliberately keep religion out of acceptable discourse.
India And Modernism - ramana - 06-20-2008
From Pioneer 20 June 2008. I cant find the Hindu Marriage act thread but it deals with modernity and Hinduism
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->No legal issue in same-gotra marriages, rules court
Staff Reporter | New Delhi
<b>Rejecting the age-old Hindu tradition, which prohibits marriage between two individuals of the same 'gotra' (ancestral lineage), a city court on Thursday said that such tradition does not hold any importance in modern times and the statue does not bar such a relationship.</b>
The court's observations came in connection with a bail plea of Narender, a resident of Sangam Vihar in South Delhi, who married his lover from the same 'gotra.' Allowing Narender's bail plea, Additional Sessions <b>Judge</b> Kamini Lau, <b>directed the police not to arrest him over a police complaint </b>filed by the girl's family. <b>"It is evident that the law does not prohibit a 'swagotra' marriage and hence there is no reason why not two individuals who are in love and are not within the prohibited degree of relationship, cannot be allowed to marry and live happily as man and wife," </b>ASJ Lau said. <b>The tradition denouncing such marriages was instituted for the purposes of invocation and rituals and later extended to marriage only on account of genetic reasons for 'maintaining hybrid vigour,' the court said.</b>
Narender had eloped with his neighbour after falling in love and married her following stiff opposition to their relationship being 'swagotra'. Later, the girl's parents lodged an FIR in Sangam Vihar police station accusing Narender of inducing and kidnapping their daughter. During the arguments on bail, Ganpat Ram, father of the girl sought annulment of marriage claiming that he was facing social ostracism for 'swagotra' marriage and it would be very difficult for him to find good matches for his other children.
Rejecting the defence's argument, <b>ASJ</b> Lau said, "<b>The Hindu Marriage Act which abrogates and modifies all the past laws and has made marriage now strictly adult and monogamous, has done away with the caste and 'gotra' restriction." </b>The court's clarification of the legal propositions with regard to social opposition to 'swagotra' marriages came while deciding an anticipatory bail application of a youth who had been accused of kidnapping and marrying a girl, belonging to the same 'gotra'.
According to the Hindu tradition, a boy and a girl of the same 'gotra' (ancestral lineage) cannot marry as such relationship is termed as 'incest'. <b>"It is time that certain misconception about 'swagotra marriage' would be cleared and there is need to educate people in view of thoughtless opposition to such marriages and ruthless aftermath which follows in the form of honour killing or social ostracisation,"</b> the court said.
Need to think about this.
BTW anyone know what was Rajendra Prasad's objections to the HMAct that he wanted to resign?
India And Modernism - Shambhu - 06-21-2008
Re #17 above: Good read. Need to keep an eye on christo-recruited brown witzels like "prof" prema kurien