Monday, August 23, 2010

De me fabula narratur

"Probably the clearest example of this separation, which prevents social scientists from putting into the scientific practice the practical understanding they have of the logic of practice, is what Voloshinov calls philologism, the propensity to treat words and texts as if they had no other raison d'etre than to be decoded by scholars. Nothing is more paradoxical, for example, than the fact that people whose whole life is spend fighting over words should strive at all costs to fix what seems to them to be the one true meaning of objectively ambiguous, overdetermined or indeterminate symbols, words, texts, or events which often survive and generate interest just because they have always been at stake in struggles aimed precisely at fixing their 'true' meaning. This is true of all sacred texts, which, being invested with a collective authority, like sayings, maxims, or gnomic poems in pre-literate societies, can be used as the tools of a recognized power over the social world, a power which one can appropriate by appropriating them through interpretation."
-Pierre Bourdieu, The Logic of Practice

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