Download The Intellectual as Stranger: Studies in Spokespersonship by Dick Pels PDF

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By Dick Pels

The highbrow as Stranger explores the old organization among photos of the highbrow and people of the stranger, or the outsider to society. utilizing distinctive case-studies, Pels examines the ambiguous strangerhood of political intellectuals comparable to Marx, Durkheim, Sorel, Freyer and Hendrik de guy.

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Sample text

Not even sociologists. But it does make an important difference to the way in which we engineer these conversations, to the way in which classifications threaten to do violence to and ‘debunk’ others, if one factually accepts this groundlessness and this performative circularity—something which Latour appears to take for granted but which is very far from characterizing the empirical awareness of both ordinary people and professional sociologists. The real treason of the intellectuals, I have already said, is to conceal this inevitable treason, to forget about and let others forget about the ‘original circle of representation’ which affects all their efforts to speak for the social.

Following the actors’ would rather reveal that in many (if not most) cases they stabilize their suspicions about the (in)validity of their opponents’ justifications and settle their disputes with them by means of objectivist assertions about what ‘really’ makes them tick. The descriptivist and agnosticist ‘withdrawal’, while openly criticizing reification and essentialism on the level of scientific interpretation, loses its critical edge against all commonsense reification or ‘everyday essentialism’ by its unwarranted and hasty projection of a performative epistem/ontology into everyday practices.

25 This tensionful substitution is simultaneously the source of social, political, and intellectual innovation (new groups and new facts can only come into existence and grow in strength by being spoken for) and the embryonic germ of usurpation (because spokespersons always silence those subjects and objects in whose name they speak). As Latour and Callon would phrase this dialectical dilemma: since we all need to translate what others are and what they want, we inevitably betray them, and have to renounce all hope of a faithful, literal translation.

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