Re: [OPE-L] Theories and Practices

From: Howard Engelskirchen (howarde@TWCNY.RR.COM)
Date: Wed Dec 07 2005 - 10:48:50 EST

Yes, Jerry, I have no doubt you are right about practice, and, though I
haven't read Steve's book on India, I noticed with attention Rakesh's
frequent high praise of it, which I'm sure would not have occurred if there
were not deep respect shown for practice.

But, look at the limited question of closing the hermeneutic circle.  This
is a claim about how we view the world and in the end will shape the
coherence of our approaches to theoretical practice.  On that limited point,
the closure leaves out the test of practice.  That's significant.  That's
all I'm saying.

But I have still not read closely, forgive me.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Jerry Levy" <Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM>
Sent: Wednesday, December 07, 2005 10:00 AM
Subject: [OPE-L] Theories and Practices

> Hi Ian W., Howard and others,
> I am only going to reply to  brief sections in Ian's and Howard's posts
> because those sections, in particular, caught my attention.
> 1)  Ian wrote:
> > Some general observations. Ruccio's essay encourages my belief that
> > "postmodern Marxism" is both anti-science, at least science as I
> > understand it, and anti-Marxist. (These are not arguments against
> > Ruccio's propositions, but I think it is helpful to categorise the
> > postmodern current).
> I  think it is worthwhile noting the following historical trend:
> ever since the mid-19th Century, Marxists have been fragmented
> into different intellectual traditions and political tendencies and groups
> which have often claimed that _other_ Marxian traditions and
> tendencies are 'anti-science' and 'anti-Marxist'.    I can think of no
> historical experience where the individuals and groups making
> these claims have not moved on towards dogmatism, sectarianism,
> and -- in cases where the accusers had power -- repression.
> I am accusing you of none of these things, but I think it is worthwhile
> given this historical experience to reflect upon this praxis.  While I
> think it is often worthwhile to situate a perspective within a historical
> and intellectual  tradition (or, as you put it,  "categorize" a current),
> let us not forget how categorization has been abused by so many
> Marxists in the past as a way of dismissing alternative perspectives.
> This is not a call for relativism.  Nor is it an endorsement of the
> perspectives you are critiquing.  Nor is it an objection to the thrust
> of your critique.  Rather, it is simply a precautionary note that Marxists
> should consider at the outset of the 21st Century.
> 2).  "the relevance of practice"
> Howard:  Perhaps I'm not understanding you correctly, but when you
> suggest that there is a rejection of the "relevance of  practice to
> by post-modernism and post-modern materialism,  I think this is
> misleading.
> I think that post-modernist materialists emphasize the importance of
> praxis.  Indeed,  this tradition might be seen in part as being a
> response to Marxian traditions which simplistically derive practice
> from theory:  e.g. a response of sorts to traditions which "derive"
> on the basic of abstract theory the need to prioritize praxis "at the
> point of production."   In emphasizing gender, race, and class
> _together_ , rather than ranking and separating them, they recognize
> and _emphasize_ the relevance of practice!    Similarly, when they
> emphasize the _variety_ of struggles by different communities, including
> the many communities that are formed outside of the workplace,
> they are offering a critique of some traditional perspectives on praxis
> and are putting forward alternative visions of practice.  It should
> also be noted, I think, that postmodern materialists not only conceive
> of practice, but also practice practice: i.e. they tend to be engaged
> in a wide variety of struggles.  When, for example, they are housing
> activists, environmental activists, feminist activists,  gay and lesbian
> activists etc. they are engaging in a particular type of praxis which, it
> seems to me, is consistent with their theoretical  perspective.
> If I have misunderstood your point, which is entirely possible, please
> feel free to correct any improper impressions that I may have.
> In solidarity, Jerry

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Thu Dec 08 2005 - 00:00:01 EST