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Showing posts from November 29, 2009

review of One Dimensional Woman

[Cross posted from News from the Zona] La mère en prescrira la lecture à sa fille… -The epigraph of Philosophe dans le boudoir. There is a story about the French feminist, Pauline Roland, that goes like this. In 1848, a faction of the socialist saint simonians had gathered together in Broussac, a village about 13 miles from Nohant, under their leader, Pierre Leroux. George Sand, who lived in Nohant, had been the one to persuade Leroux to move the village after Leroux had been officially exiled from Paris as a radical. Leroux, in turn, invited Roland to live in Broussac and assume the duties of a teacher. At the time Roland was being financially crushed under the burden of supporting her three children by her own labors; she did this because she had no intention of letting the fathers of these children intervene in any way in their lives. Thus, she felt that they had no duty to provide for the children – on the contrary. Paternity, she proclaimed, was a superstitious imposition. Anoth

junk, destiny, and personal myth

Jean-Yves Trépos, an anthropologist with the Equipe de Recherche en Anthropologie et Sociologie de l’Expertise, made a study, in 1993, of the interaction between a clinician and illicit drug users who had been referred there by the state. In “ Auto-control and proto-professionalization among drug users ” (2003), he used a concept from Elias, proto-professionalization – the emergence of recognizable codes, routines and disciplines in a given social set – and applied it to drug users, following the suggestion of a dutch medical anthropologist, Abram de Swann. It is not the individual that is proto-professionalized, in this theory, but the network in which the individual operates. We know these traits from our everyday experience: the guy who knows about computers but doesn’t work in the computer field, the amateur photographer, the birdwatcher. What we are searching for, in the initial period of capitalism as a dominant economic form in the West, are the gaps in the system of the di

the spirit of the crossroads: nature and artifice

In Legend, Myth and Magic in the Image of the Artist, Ernst Kris and Otto Kurz quote a fascinating anecdote from Pliny’s Natural History: “According to Duris, Lysippus the Sicyonian was not the Pupil of any one, but was originally a worker in brass, and was first prompted to venture upon statuary by an answer that was given by Eupompus the painter; who, upon being asked which of his predecessors he proposed to take for his model, pointed to a crowd of men, and replied that it was Nature herself.” (Naturam ipsam imitandam esse, non artificem) This exemplary gesture (and oh how I have always loved a pointed finger!) is surprising to a modern sensibility in which the finger is more naturally pointed at what exists outside the circle of men – at rock, or tree, or landscape. Kris and Kurz take the story of Lysippus as a narrative that gives us, or that gave us, for a long time, a way of thinking about what the artist does. And insofar as that doing is an immaculate birth, a recognition that