You know, the project that JH undertook immediately after _TCA_ was _Moral Consciousness & Communicative Action_ which, in a phrase, sought (chapter 1) toMessage 1 of 6 , Dec 1 9:16 AMView SourceYou know, the project that JH undertook immediately after _TCA_ was _Moral Consciousness & Communicative Action_ which, in a phrase, sought (chapter 1) to redefine philosophy as midwife to interdisciplinary research, while advancing (in other chapters) his sense of reconstructive science as evidently paradigmatic for such interdisciplinarity, in effect (I would argue) integrating at a level of philosophical theory what he had just practiced in _TCA_. So, the sense of anthropological inquiry pertinent to Habermasian work is that which exemplifies reconstructive inquiry, which extends his developmentalist turn (from the 1970s) beyond the evolutionist sense of development in _TCA_ to the development of discourse ethics. The ultimate relationship of developmental lifeworld and evolutionary anthropology is reconstructive. But reconstructive for *what*? Why do we do inquiry in the first place? It is, in some sense, a practical intent of advancing lifeworlds---of enhancing
Anyway, inquiry into developmental processes and historiographical work are exemplary kinds of reconstructive inquiry for Habermas, and both of these kinds of inquiry are integral for the traditional sense of anthropology. Anthropology itself is exemplary, if not paradigmatic, of interdisciplinary inquiry in the fullest sense of human sciences that *Geisteswissenschaften* originally intends. Given that TCA's first words are about the perogatives of philosophy, moving in a distinctly philosophical vein (i.e., the Habermasian interest, one might say), one could easily believe that _TCA_ anticipates what JH meta-theorizes in _MCCA_ (i.e., given _MCCA_, then _TCA_ should be read in light of _MCCA_). (It's fitting of a development-reconstructive perspective on inquiry that one reads earlier events through a later lens.) _TCA_ is at least reconstructive inquiry as critical hermeneutics, but more than that (I would argue) it seeks to reconceive the metatheoretical character of
"social" sciences *as* anthropological. _TCA_ is only elaboratively concerned with the theory of communicative action as such (a conception of communicative action already grounded and preliminarily explicated in "What is Universal Pragmatics?"). _TCA_ is largely concerned with *performing* critical reconstructive inquiry in terms of particular exemplars of theory in the human sciences, working through an interdisciplinary set of readings that is only integratable by a sense of thinking that is anthropological. He "does" Theory as reconstructive hermeneutical engagement meant to explicate his own stance on anthropological inquiry. Altogether, this expresses a discursive idealization of what lifeworld self-reflectivity can understand about its own lifeworldliness, i.e., as reconstructively understood participation in evolutionary processes.
I cringe at notions of "intervention" that seek to "penetrate" (Fred's term which I adopted in reply, but don't endorse). Intervention is rarely justifiable as analogous to surgery (let alone violent destruction). Moreover, if critique is *conceived* as emancipatory (which requires a participatory engagement by critique), then it's conceived to work in solidarity with its other (like teaching generally), and intervention is only instrumental to emancipatory processes. Thus, the loose figurations about what inquiry does should steer away from objectifying the other.
Intervention is about having something else cease. But critical inquiry should be motivated by interest in *initiating* understanding or constructivity. Interest in restoration (which is the aim of emancipatory critique) should be guided by interest in the costructiveness that is thus *enabled*. It's the enabling that is paramount. Intervention is instrumental to enabling.
Relative to the interests of anthropology, inquiry that does not serve colonization of the other contributes to what enables the other. Here, inquiry becomes a two-way education process, where the frameworks that enable inquiry (prior to the research) also, in the temporality of research, communicatively enrich the *capability* of the other to *participate* self-reflectively in such inquiry. While controlled inquiry overtly seeks to prevent such a dynamic of participation, participatory value is a hallmark of valid ethnographic work.
The dramaturgical model of anthropology that Victor Turner and Richard Schechner strove for years to institute also exemplifies what a *communicative* anthropology involves: There is a kind of reciprocity in the event of inquiry, at the very beginning: The other is occasioned by the event of inquiry to *perform* for the inquirer, striving to live up to perceptions of the research project, meeting the researcher halfway, so to speak, in a problematic (for the researcher) endeavor of satisfying the apparent needs of the guest researcher. To get beyond this baseline reality of anthropological inquiry (where, e.g., the subject *constructs* a presentation of being-the-subject that strives to please the guest inquirer), ethnographic research standardly strives to become a pre-inquiring member of the locality that annuls the artificiality of interaction. This becoming a member can only be theoretically understood as communicative in the broadest sense, which was conceived no
better anywhere than by Habermas' theory of communicative action at the time that _TCA_ was done. Lifeworld meets anthropology in the lifeworldliness of doing valid inquiry, as well as in distanced conceptions of theorizing inquiry.
Developmental conceptions of lifeworld meet evolutionary conceptions of anthropology at the locus of child development, which is of course inheritance (Larmarckianly cultural as well as genetic) and environmental adaptation. To my mind, Habermas' engagement with developmental perspectives has been basically an anthropological endeavor, i.e., doing anthropology as developmental theory. His appreciation of the evolutionary conditions of development are as integral now (e.g., for his recent free will essay) as it was before _TCA_ (e.g., in _Legitimation Crisis_, 1973). Habermas' contribution to lifeworld anthropology is an empirically-sensitive theoretical focus on development (to the point of discourse ethics and the especially philosophical work that distinguishes his career) that is non-biologistic and integrative across kinds of inquiry.
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Gary, As I understand Habermas effect from his works, there has been a thematization of cultural universals as symbols which addresses claims to validityMessage 2 of 6 , Dec 2 8:19 PMView SourceGary,
As I understand Habermas' effect from his works, there has been a
thematization of cultural universals 'as symbols' which addresses
claims to validity and also specifies the methodological nexus in our
interpersonal relations. But, does Habermas address the structural
divisions of society. No, not foundationally. He does take up specific
political and biographical problems; he does address a kind of cultural
evolution (is the term evolution appropriate given that Darwinian
evolution implies a type of randomness?) and he often focusses on
historical reconstructions of philosophical arguments. The idea of
cultural Lamarckianism, of some formal connectivity between generations
was/is a major thrust of ethnology.
What I am looking for, through his works as well as through philosophy
and the social sciences, is why Habermas seems to begin his
reconstructive works with Durkheim and Weber and then jumps to Parson's
and the 60's completely passing the ethnological debates between
Fraser, Radcliffe-Brown, Thomson, Kroebar, Levi-Strauss and many others
concerning the social organization of societies. Habermas picks up this
debate when it has subsided into Levi-Strauss' mythopoetic worldview
perspective and he never takes up Derrida's critique of Levi-Strauss'
mythopoetic view which was really a criticism by Levi-Strauss of the
social sciences. If we are going to discuss cultural evolution, then
isn't the relation of primitive and non-primitive, ancient and modern
The current debates between Habermas and Foucault, Habermas and
Derrida, Habermas and Rawls, Habermas and Searle, etc. all rotate
around the earlier ethnological debates concerning the social
organization of societies. Are we supposed to take the Wittgensteinian
medicine that these are all merely 'forms of life' and hence all is a
complex relativity? Why were the early notions of classification and
universals jettisoned? Why was the spirit of inquiry that ethnology
It seems to me now that the unrationalized lifeworld is far more
pregnant than the social sciences leads us to believe in spite of the
massive coercive pressures of consumerism and the state's psychological
repressiveness e.g. the retardation of police and fire departments,
city/state/national political organizations.
Fred, Might not this hiatus simply have suited JH s purpose? ... Parson s ... others ... I also think you are overlooking aspects of Habermas s discussion inMessage 3 of 6 , Dec 8 2:16 AMView SourceFred,
Might not this hiatus simply have suited JH's purpose?
--- In email@example.com, chaney525 <chaney525@...> wrote:
>why Habermas seems to begin his
> reconstructive works with Durkheim and Weber and then jumps to
> and the 60's completely passing the ethnological debates between
> Fraser, Radcliffe-Brown, Thomson, Kroebar, Levi-Strauss and many
> concerning the social organization of societies.
I also think you are overlooking aspects of Habermas's discussion in
TCA1, where he does survey ethnological debates concerning cultural
relativism eg. the Azande etc. I agree he doesn't dwell on these
issues, and in my dissertation I suggest that his *resolution* is
unsatisfactory...but there is at least some discussion there.
>If we are going to discuss cultural evolution, then
>isn't the relation of primitive and non-primitive, ancient and
It might also be considered a bit, shall we say, politically
incorrect...to label a social form "primitive" is fairly judgmental.
> It seems to me now that the unrationalized lifeworld is far more
> pregnant than the social sciences leads us to believe
JH might want to overlook/ignore what you term the "unrationalized
lifeworld" as the realm of Dionysus. What card-holding rationalist
seeks to venture there? :-).