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Common Sense as a Cultural System

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Common Sense as a Cultural System Geertz seeks to understand roughcast shapes of colloquial culture vs. worked-up shapes of studied culture – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Common Sense as a Cultural System


1
Common Sense as a Cultural System
  • Geertz seeks to understand roughcast shapes of
    colloquial culture vs. worked-up shapes of
    studied culture
  • common sense dimension of culture not usually
    conceived as forming an ordered realm

2
Common Sense as a Cultural System
  • the elementary forms of religious life among the
    Australian aborigines, native botanical systems
    in Africa, spontaneous sense of design on the
    Northwest Coast, concrete science in the
    Amazon
  • traditional occupation of anthropologists to find
    out about systematized knowledge in different
    cultures

3
Common Sense as a Cultural System
  • common sense
  • immediate deliverance of experience
  • realm of the given and undeniable,
    matter-of-fact, self-evident realities
  • just life with world as its authority
  • if it rains it is common sense to step into the
    house
  • what everyone with common sense knows

4
Common Sense as a Cultural System
  • common sense
  • not a tightly integrated system but based on
    conviction by those who have it on its validity
  • common sense (problem of everyday experience,
    how we construe the world we biographically
    inhabit)
  • interpretation of experience constructed,
    historically cultural system what leads to what
  • system of thought based on pre-suppositions

5
Common Sense as a Cultural System
  • common sense
  • Discuss Zande vs. Evans-Pritchards common
    sense (what is the underlying system)
  • Why is it useful to look at categories that cross
    cultures (e.g. hermaphroditism)
  • Give own examples of common sense systems
  • that have shifted historically
  • that demonstrate cultural relativity

6
Common Sense as a Cultural System
  • common sense
  • How is common sense knowledge system built?
  • What are transmission systems for common sense
    knowledge systems?
  • Give examples of how common sense can regulate
    activities of the society (e.g. economic,
    agricultural, etc.). What are the limitations?

7
Common Sense as a Cultural System
  • common sense
  • Give examples of how anomalies in the system of
    commonsense thought can be explained away?
    (Zande witchcraft)
  • Discuss each of the stylistic features
    (quasi-qualities) of common sense naturalness
    (p. 18), practicalness (p. 20), thinness (p.
    22), accessibleness (p. 24).

8
Common Sense as a Cultural System
  • common sense / everyday experience
  • categories organized into systems
  • transmitted body of knowledge
  • natural symbols
  • formalized knowledge information infrastructures
  • Why? moral order creates meaning

9
Locating Identity
  • Explain the places of memory concept. Give
    examples of such 'places' that you are familiar
    with. How is memory organized around space and
    time?
  • Why is memory related to identity of groups? Why
    is it important for groups to have 'memory'
    organized a certain way? What are the channels of
    transmission for group memory (say, in a family,
    an institution, a nation).

10
Locating Identity
  • Give examples of mnemonic devices (landscapes,
    verse, objects, etc.). Which ones among them
    could serve as collective markers, and which ones
    organize personal memories. How do they differ?
  • Discuss how memory can be individual, collective,
    and hegemonic.

11
Locating Identity
  • Why does the author say that systems of
    remembering and forgetting are socially
    constructed. How is 'forgetting' part of the
    process of remembering?

12
Locating Identity
  • What, in your opinion, is the significance of
    memory research for managing memory institutions
    (libraries, archives, museums)? What do they have
    in common as connection to building collective
    identity? What are the pittfals for these
    institutions?

13
knowledge information data

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14
Intellectual Origins of Knowledge Systems
15
Intellectual Origins of Knowledge Systems
  • critical analysis of knowledge processes
  • repositioning of discourses (self-awareness,
    situated knowledges)
  • include diversity
  • civic responsibility, driving democratic change,
    balancing power
  • or what? loss of capacity for social criticism

16
Intellectual Origins of Knowledge Systems
  • how structured knowledge systems operate
  • relationship of knowledge systems to moral order
  • deviance
  • culture / nature
  • naturalizing discourse
  • memory (social, personal)

17
Intellectual Origins of Knowledge Systems
  • knowledge systems
  • related to post-Enlightenment epistemology
  • critical analysis of knowledge practices in
    particular time periods (discursive formations
    supported by institutions)
  • concepts ideology, hegemony
  • assumption knowledge systems are not neutral,
    they promote the interests of the ruling class
  • situated knowledges
  • personal experience
  • communities of practice and information
    infrastructures supporting information flow

18
Intellectual Origins of Knowledge Systems
  • history of knowledge
  • by subject? periodization? episteme?
  • history or archaeology of human sciences
    (Michel Foucault) avoids producing the
    traditional unity of subject, spirit,or period

19
Intellectual Origins of Knowledge Systems
  • history of knowledge
  • history of knowledge represented as a dynamic,
    constantly changing totality
  • shift from a traditional historical inquiry into
    what was known at a given moment to discursive
    practices that rendered something knowable
  • discursive practices are first hand evidence to
    understand what was knowable

20
Intellectual Origins of Knowledge Systems
  • analysis of an episteme theorization of the
    grounds of knowledge by analyzing the
    representational paradigms which organize the
    theorization
  • what could be knowable? boundary objects?
    anomalies? displaced categories?

21
Intellectual Origins of Knowledge Systems
  • episteme historically specific, dynamic field
    of representations of knowledge
  • defined in Michel Foucaults Archaeology of
    Knowledge as the total set of relations that
    unite, at a given period, the discursive
    practices that give rise to epistemological
    figures, sciences, and possibly formalized
    systems

22
Intellectual Origins of Knowledge Systems
  • analysis of a range of fields in a given
    historical moment demonstrates a set of
    discursive practices common to all the fields
  • constraints and limitations imposed on a range of
    discourses in the human sciences and other
    knowledge practices
  • Foucaults Order of Things (17th century) the
    problem of order as organizing episteme

23
Intellectual Origins of Knowledge Systems
  • how episteme is multiplied
  • by communication among different disciplines
  • language technology of transmission totality
    of peoples interactions ...

24
Intellectual Origins of Knowledge Systems
  • post-Enlightenment epistemology
  • modernity ideas of progress, science, nature
    (as logical and ordered), reason
  • reflected in the discourse of science and
    technology (technocriticism Haraway)
  • dichotomy of nature / culture (cf. Haraways
    natureTM or nature as not nature and cultureTM
    )

25
  • In the late 18th century, science becomes
    established as cultural apparatus, in the form of
    materialized semiotic fields
  • (Haraway, Modest Witness_at_Second_Millennium)

26
  • Instead of a search for the perfectly
    proportioned image containing the 'soul' of the
    knowledge to be remembered, the emphasis was on
    the discovery of the right logical category. The
    memory of this system of logical categories and
    scientific causes would exempt the individual
    from the necessity of remembering everything in
    detail ... The problem of memorizing the world,
    characteristic of the sixteenth century, evolved
    into the problem of classifying it
    scientifically.
  • (James Fentress and Chris Wickham, Social Memory,
    1992, 13)

27
The Laboratory, or, The Passion of OncoMouse,
(Lynn Randolph 1994)
From Donna Haraways, Modest_Witness_at_Second_Mille
nnium.FemaleMan _Meets_OncoMouseTM), 46.
28

From Donna Haraways, Modest_Witness_at_Second_Mille
nnium.FemaleMan _Meets_OncoMouseTM), 47.
29
Knowledge and Society
  • knowledge and power, ideology, hegemony

30
Knowledge and Society
  • constraints and limitations inherent in knowledge
    systems (Foucault)
  • hegemony (Gramsci)
  • critiques of ideology and culture (Marx-Engels
    Marxist critics Georg Lukacs, Antonio Gramsci,
    etc.)

31
Knowledge and Society
  • hegemony (Gramsci 1930s)
  • ability in certain historical periods of the
    dominant classes to exercise social and cultural
    leadership and by these means, rather than direct
    coercion of subordinate classes, to maintain
    their power over the economic, political, and
    cultural direction of the nation

32
Knowledge and Society
  • hegemony binds a society together without the use
    of force, under the leadership of the dominant
    classes
  • how achieved? manipulations of images and
    meanings institutions as producers of sense,
    knowledge, and meaning

33
Knowledge and Society
  • hegemony does not operate by having people
    concede power against their common sense, thus
    they bear complicity in their own subordination
    to the ideology of the ruling class
  • winning of consent for unequal class relations
    (e.g.peasants-workers strike in Italy)

34
  • Gramsci and Hegemony
  • _____________________________________

ilkustration credit Introducing Cultural
Studies (Icon Books, 1999)
35
illustration credit Introducing Cultural
Studies (Icon Books, 1999)
Gramsci and Hegemony _____________________________
_______ consent compromise culture as site of
struggle of competing interests intellectuals
forge consent in the interest of the ruling class
36
Knowledge and Society
  • consent is achieved in the realm of consciousness
    and representations
  • a totality of social, cultural and individual
    experience is capable of being made sense of in
    terms that are defined, established and put into
    circulation by the power bloc

37
Knowledge and Society
  • consent is achieved in the realm of cultural
    agency of institutions
  • the state, the law, the educational system, the
    media, the family are prolific producers of
    sense, knowledge, and meanings
  • organizers and producers of individual
    consciousness, institutions are taken as
    impartial or neutral, representative of everybody
    (no apparent reference to class, race or gender)

38
Knowledge and Society
  • consent is achieved in the realm of cultural
    agency of institutions
  • institutions shape the knowable, and hide the
    fact that they are shapers of knowledge (they are
    ideological)
  • institutions are sites in which hegemony can be
    established and exercised if captured or
    colonized by a power bloc

39
Knowledge and Society
  • consent is achieved in the realm of cultural
    agency of institutions
  • power bloc finds allies in professionals and
    managers and intellectuals of various kinds
    (subaltern classes for Gramsci) who perceive
    their interest as congruent to or identical with
    those of the dominant group

40
Knowledge and Society
  • Results? Hegemony naturalizes what is
    historically a class ideology, and renders it
    into the form of common sense
  • Power is exercised not as force but as authority
    cultural aspects of life are depoliticized
    ideology is naturalized
  • Culture may be seen as mode of domination and
    liberation (cultural studies)

41
Knowledge and Society
  • critiques of ideology and culture
  • analysis of culture in terms of its relationships
    to a mode of production and its specific social
    formation (Marx-Engels Marxist critics Georg
    Lukacs, Antonio Gramsci)

42
Knowledge and Society
  • capitalist mode of production structure
    political, legal and cultural institutions of
    their time
  • culture is a form of superstructure which
    articulates the interests and ideologies of those
    who control the economic base of society
    (reductionism, economic determinism)

43
Knowledge and Society
  • contribution of cultural analysis analysis of
    art, literary form and ideology
  • reading of cultural texts as expressions of
    social experience and ideology
  • recognition that institutions are involved in
    distribution of power in society

44
  • Knowledge Structures the link between of
    knowledge production and social control
  • production of knowledge and handling of knowledge
    in organized systems (information
    infrastructures)
  • how institutions such as bureaucracies moderate
    this process
  • how process affects individuals
  • analysis of sites of struggle over representations
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