GABlog Generative Anthropology in the Public Sphere

July 21, 2016

A Brief Addendum to “Originally Leftism, revisited”

Filed under: GA — adam @ 6:42 am

It is already implicit in my argument, but is not necessarily thereby obvious, that a large part of the attraction of exposing the products of discipline as stolen centrality is that it opens up virtually unlimited fields for the social sciences. We have evidence that discipline leads to benefits, but that evidence needs to be taken on faith, once we consider there is always another way the flow of benefits to that individual or group could be explained. I don’t think we would be going too far to say that the origin of the social sciences—economics, sociology, political science, anthropology, psychology, etc.—lies in the imperative to sever the link between discipline and benefit (which would mean all the social sciences are constitutively leftist). It’s not a coincidence that the social sciences emerged as the notion of “civilization” disappeared. Once you start speaking in terms of social “structures” and “laws” you are undermining the “naïve” sense that increments in discipline generate increasingly disproportionate rewards. Leftism, then, provides a form of challenging and invigorating intellectual resentment that a civilizational politics cannot match because civilizationism (reaction or restorationism) starts with certain undeconstructable notions to be taken on faith. You can always define and analyze the social laws and structures in more complex ways, you can always challenge some previous definition and analysis and, in particular, you can always show that the previous definition or analysis still presupposed some link between discipline and benefit, and therefore was not sufficiently scientific, failing to explaining apparent discipline and apparent benefit in terms of something impersonal. I believe, of course, that the intellectual rewards of the approach I take are far greater than those of the social sciences, but, like GA more generally, could probably never be more than marginal, institutionally, granting, as it does, the irreducibility of “faith.” My approach would also be too “personalizing,” insofar as it must reject other approaches as dyscivilizational.

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