Chapter

Conversation As Another Kind of Solution

in Navigators of the Contemporary

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780226887517
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226887531 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226887531.003.0003
Conversation As Another Kind of Solution

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Academics seem to presume a very idealized, creamy notion of republican democracy, in which good arguments simply float to the top of the body politic. It is as if they were perpetually writing the Federalist Papers—they make arguments and expect those arguments to be listened to, acquiesced in, and then realized in actual politics. Exactly how this realization is supposed to take place and who is supposed to do the work are not the academics' concerns. The political irrelevance of academics is not merely a function of society's regrettable lack of respect for the mandarin class, but is by and large substantively well deserved. This chapter begins by outlining the ways in which academics should realize that their commitments to politics as a way to organize intellectual life are at odds with their own understandings of political life. Drawing upon the author's recent project, it then discusses the problems encountered in attempting intellectual politics, and some possible partial solutions.

Keywords: academics; intellectual life; political life; intellectual politics

Chapter.  4927 words. 

Subjects: Theory and Practice of Anthropology

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