instinctive manicheanism

One is always having to remind oneself, in trying to do intellectual history, that the enunciative situation of a writer, from whence flow the texts one is continually pursuing, analyzing, using as evidence, is no mere scene dressing which easily melts in the background as we get down to the nitty gritty. It is nitty gritty all the way through. The enunciative situation is a nexus of institutionalized and non-institutionalized spaces that one forgets at one’s peril.

But even if we do try to be good historical materialists, there awaits the peril inhering in assuming a few Manichean categories to explain it all: public/private, or state sphere/private sphere, etc. I want to introduce categories as character, adventure, the total social fact, the encircling institution, the circulation agent, the writer as clerk, to snatch the real – or perhaps I should say, the everyday - from out of our instinctive Manicheanism.

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