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Re: Thailand, Habermas

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  • Gary E. Davis
    Stephen, I m glad you took time to provide some background on Thailand, for the sake of anyone s interest in relating Habermasian conceptual interests to that.
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 3, 2008
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      I'm glad you took time to provide some background on Thailand, for the sake of anyone's interest in relating Habermasian conceptual interests to that. You provide a good opportunity for “applying Habermasian conceptions” to a real development. Your backgrounding on Thailand is fascinating and seems authoritative! I’m very grateful. It’s at least a narrative of colonialism and modernization that expresses a common genealogical bricolage in modern history.

      My posting that you're responding to disappeared from the archive because I didn’t believe that my view of Thailand, based on a few news articles, had much use beyond it's thin context of the Thai election. Also, my earlier reveries on reading Habermas AS such in that long, long posting seemed too odd afterward. I needed to withdraw all that for fleshing out some other time, in more-Habermasian terms.

      I'm not going to dwell with many of the wonderful details of your discussion; only, for the most part, recommend to others. But a few comments.

      SE> First, the insurgency (if that's what it is) in the South is certainly not Islamist, as GD wrote.

      GD: A Reuters article characterized the armed uprisings as something led by Islamic insurgents. I don’t need to press the point. I presume that most Muslims, the world over, don’t support armed insurgency. But what Islamic militants are commonly doing worldwide is co-oping locally-rooted conflicts as opportunities for “Islamic” leadership.


      SE>….Never mind that the cash [to rural areas by the Thaskin administration] was loans and that most of it was used to buy TVs and stereos rather than for start-up local industries as ostensibly intended….

      GD: A joke in the poorest rural area of the U.S., Appalaccian Kentucky, is that “the people are so poor babies have to sleep in the box that the color TV came in.” Global village, indeed.

      SE> Discourse? Not a chance.

      GD: I hope you don’t believe that Habermas intends discursive foci to be immediately applicable to the street, so to speak. He’s addressing a broadly hierarchial situation of university ß> professions, educators and policymakers, inasmuch as language of expertise is integral to the professions. Your narrative is easily relatable to his interest in “discourses of application,” mediated by social structures of government and education that enable opportunities across levels of society. That a given society lacks those levels, thus far, argues for Habermas' work, in context with normal issues of development and public policy. Your narrative on cultural rationalization and conflict could easily supplement Habermas’ model of social evolution and modernization in _Theory of Communicative Action_, vol. 2. Your narrative is like a field trip in social-evolutionary modernization studies. That’s what makes it so valuable for this list in particular.

      Thanks again,



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