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CULTURE AND POLITICS / Vol. 58, No. 2 (Summer 1991)

July 1, 1991

Arien Mack, Editor

 

Table of Contents

 

Arien Mack

Editor’s Introduction

 

David Bromwich

The Context of Burke's Reflections

This article analyzes the context of the book Reflections by Edward Burke. During the regency crisis of 1788 to 1789 in Great Britain, Burke argues from constitutional principle and not the interpretation of a precedent when he speaks of the chaos. He seems to fear the use of a degraded king for the shadow of the crown, to screen a usurping assembly from any criticism of measures iniquitously legal. Thus, there is

an interesting symmetry between his judgments of the House of Commons in 1789 and of the National Assembly in 1790. In Burke's own life, the consequences of writing the Reflections are well known. 

 

Bruce Robbins

Othering the Academy: Professionalism and Multiculturalism

This article discusses the cultural dimensions of the academe. According to the author, a paradox about culture stands out: it stands for an elite set of texts and standards, now perceived to be threatened by academia's bizarrely populist taste for the all-too-public products of a commercialized culture industry, while at the same time culture also stands for the democratic domain of the common, including the common reader, which serves as a club with which to batter the university's supposed overspecialization, self-enclosure, and narrow self-interest. Lastly, public culture sets itself against the view that the emergent transnational cultural forms and flows of today's world are radically homogenizing.

 

Susan Harding

Representing Fundamentalism: The Problem of the Repugnant Cultural Other

This article discusses modern academic representations of fundamentalists. Academic inquiry into fundamentalism is framed by modern presuppositions which presume fundamentalists to be a socially meaningful category of persons who are significantly homogeneous in regard to religious belief, interpretive practices, moral compass, and socioeconomic conditions, a category of persons whose behavior defies reasonable expectations and therefore needs to be explained. Further, political judgment and will are not neutralized by understanding fundamentalism as one of modernism's so-called others. 

 

Kathleen Stewart

On the Politics of Cultural Theory: A Case for "Contaminated" Cultural Critique

This article races the cultural politics of constructive social-scientific theorizing and contaminated deconstructive theorizing. Constructive social-scientific theorizing sees its object from a decontaminated distance while contaminated deconstructive theorizing disrupts the distance between observing subject and the real world of objects. It is the essential function of narrative to bear witness, to leave a trace, to confer form in life and so survive. The author suggests that cultural critics also follow the traces. And to do so requires more than good intentions and a relativist method posing as a theory.

 

Chon Noriega

Citizen Chicano: The Trials and Titillations of Ethnicity in the American Cinema, 1935-1962

This article deals with motion pictures which addressed the issue of the place of the American in the US. Given the nature of the social problem of American citizenship, the films had to define the internal-external paradigm as a domestic rather than international one. The social-problem films fall into three major genres: romantic melodrama; courtroom drama/juvenile delinquent and boxing films. While in general these genres provide for diverse courses of action, each of the above films has an act of violence

as the inciting incident, the incident the narrative attempts to resolve.

 

Jerome Vogel

Culture, Politics, and National Identity in Cote d'Ivoire

This article discusses the interaction between cultural policy and politics in Côte d'Ivoire. The Ivorian government sees culture as basic element of political integration. Since accession to independence in 1960, the Ivorian government has pursued a policy of rapid modernization of all aspects of the economy and of society. Rapid transformation of society was encouraged by a number of government decisions, a primary one being the promulgation of a new legal code essentially based on French law. 

 

Robert Heilbroner

Economics as Universal Science

[reprinted in 70th Anniversary issue, 71:4]

This article discusses economics as a branch of social science. According to Jack Hirshleifer, economics enjoys its imperial status because it supplied part of the master pattern of social theory. Sociobiology supplied the other part. Together the two yield a unified social science, in which certain ultimate principles like scarcity and opportunity cost, and the universal bioeconomic processes of competition and selection, will always remain valid for analyzing and predicting the course of human behavior and social organization. 

 

Margaret C. Jacob

The Enlightenment Redefined: The Formation of Modern Civil Society

This article discusses the social and political tendency within contemporary Enlightenment scholarship in reference to the author's research into the Masonic lodges of Western Europe. The author states that Freemasonry, for all of its exclusivity, secrecy and gender bias, transmitted and textured the Enlightenment, translated all the cultural vocabularies of its members into a shared and common experience that was civil and hence political. Rather than imagining the Enlightenment as represented by the politics of Voltaire, or Gibbon, or even Rousseau, or worse as being incapable of politics, we might just as fruitfully look to the lodges for the nascent political modernity.

 

 

 

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