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Relativism swings right - click opera — LiveJournal
February 2010
 
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Thu, Mar. 24th, 2005 10:34 am
Relativism swings right

35CommentReply

andypop
andypop
rigid codes of hierarchical binarism
Thu, Mar. 24th, 2005 12:05 pm (UTC)
Re: Different (Vinegar) Strokes

This is very interesting, but Eagleton and (typically for him) Furedi are making very broad and unfair generalisations. For me, the atomisation of what I see with hindsight as a very authoritarian left of the late 70s/early 80s has had a valuable effect in that there is now an acknowledgement of difference - for instance, Janice Raymond's ignorant attacks on transsexuals are not any longer widely regarded as justified or as part of a progressive agenda. The caricaturing of this awareness as a sort of ultra-relativism is just lazy. It is absolutely vital to any serious left-wing agenda that we acknowledge the kind of nuances which trad-left politics impatiently ignored. We are not talking about a transgender viewpoint vs a black lesbian viewpoint vs a working class viewpoint or whatever, we are talking about an acknowledgement that within those groups one person cannot speak for 'their' group and thus sideline all other viewpoints, which was a common feature of the left 25 yrs ago. This also means that a person's insights cannot be dismissed just because they don't belong to the social group under discussion. This opens up possibilities rather than closing them down. If some are using this to silence others, we are not going to stop them by complaining about relativism. We are going to stop them by pointing out that they are wrong.

I'm particularly suspicious of Furedi since he was a leading light in the RCP, notoriously the nastiest, most authoritarian, and most cult-like of all the groups on the left at that time. His more recent analyses strike me as often very superficial & designed more to generate publicity than to make a genuine point.

Certainly there is a lot of waffle coming out of academia. What else is new? If the people who could be agitating for social change are instead wasting their time muttering about the waffle coming out of academia, setting up straw men and knocking them down, we aren't going to get anywhere.


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liliski
liliski
Liliski
Thu, Mar. 24th, 2005 12:30 pm (UTC)
Re: Different (Vinegar) Strokes

I think the point is that academia has been, and should be, a force for social change and a site of agitation. You are criticising Furedi for being an agitant, as are the New Right. Hardly a case of waffle and straw men then...


ReplyThread Parent
andypop
andypop
rigid codes of hierarchical binarism
Thu, Mar. 24th, 2005 01:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Different (Vinegar) Strokes

No, I'm criticising Furedi for being a shallow hypocrite. There are plenty of genuine activists out there.


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