File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_1996/96-05-20.182, message 95

Date: Wed, 6 Mar 1996 15:07:28 +0100
Subject: Re: Bhaskar 'concrete singularity'

>Thanks to Bwanika, but I feel I am missing something here.
>>Let me look at *body mutulation* from a sociological point of view. Then we
>>can translate that to Bhasakarian philosophy and see were we stand today.
>>In a small East African country Uganda, gender issues have been lifted
>>shoulder high. From an educational  to universalistic view pont. That is to
>>say women are cardinal in bring about "human agency".  Therefore the
>>restructration of this country is hinged on women total emanicipation.
>This just seems to assume so much. Who determines whether or not gender
>issues have been lifted shoulder high? (i)Is it the women ?

This a deliberate government policy of cources nutured by the women
societies themselves.

 (ii) Is it the  men ?  No it is simply that women have played a big roll in
the making of new Uganda , women army generals , women professors, women
vice president !

 (iii) Is it the government ?  Behind govt policies are those people
mentioned above who lobby in parliment collidors. This is a force 

 Is there any difference between (ii) and (iii)  Distinctive difference i.e.
women organisation i.e. bigamy, feminist, and so on.?

>>In the 80's, the question of body mutulation was brought to the fore.
>>Debated and suggested that the act should be stopped immediately. That issue
>>concerned only one small tribal grouping in the East of the country.
>>This was as if , the debate which banned the practice has fuelled the
>>practice itself.
>But did the debate emerge out of nowhere? Were the practices not still in
>place? Is there not a difference between consensual mutilation and enforced?
>And how might we tell the difference?
>>That is when even University graduates, who had left their
>>villages for so many years, though of going back to do what was banned by
>law !!
>This seems a particularly suspect monocausal claim from a critical realist
>perspective. Is it being claimed that if the 'well-meaning liberals' had
>kept their noses out of that which they did not understand then the
>practices would not have continued? Moreover, body-mutilation may well play
>a role in society. In Britain, as pointed out, Punks regularly engage in
>various forms of 'body mutilation'. This can be as an identity marker, for
>reasons of vanity, etc. But from a sociological perspective can we take the
>accounts of the agents themselves as incorrigible? They may be unaware of
>the 'real' reasons for their practices. And what if male punks decided
>against the wishes of the female punks to carry out genital mutilation on
>them, would this be acceptable? What if the female punks voluntarily
>accepted this practice through fear of ostracisation, or perhaps a belief
>that the "God" Johnny Rotten, would visit them and bestow upon them untold
>powers, would this be acceptable? Is any form of practice acceptable if it
>plays a social role?
>>These practices  are human values , do we really know what brings them
>>about? Or do we really understand there intrisinc value to human survival ?
>No, we clearly don't, at least, not in an ahistorical universal sense. Each
>explanation will be time-space specific. But nonetheless we can attempt to
>navigate these stormy waters. Do we have any other choice?
>>A view from the western world will point into the same direction. Now, this
>>not called body mutulation.
>Why? This assumes a universal 'western' perspective. Mutilation is not a
>word that applies in all instances. Is the voluntary piercing of one's nose
>the same as the enforced removal of one's clitoris? Yes, why do such
>practices endure is a vital question. What role do they play? What role do
>the people subject to such practices think the practices play? What power
>structures do the practices help to keep in place? I, by the way have very
>few answers to these questions, nonetheless this shouldn't stop us asking
>>Here then, we can really study Bhaskarian philosophy in it true colours.
>Can you elaborate what you mean by this, please? In terms of the original
>question of the priority of elements within the 'concrete singularity'
>Bwanika seems to want to give priority to social forms. Although I could
>simply have misunderstood the posting.
>I can't do better than end with a quote from Feyerabend, when questioned on
>whether anything really goes.
>"No, Let me start from a completely different end. All over the world people
>are dying, they are being gunned down, they are starving, do not have enough
>medicine, there is not enough clean water and so on. They may still be
>people who say, "we cannot interfere because this is a culture of its own
>and we must not touch any culture which hass gone according to a different
>history and so on." I say to this, "NO! Where there is misery, there must be
>interference. My limit is where people start suffering." ('Three Interviews
>with Paul K, Feyerabend': Telos, 1995)
>Of course, what is meant by interference is an interesting question, but in
>todays interdependent world we already interfere. And inaction in the face
>of suffering may well be the most telling form of action.
>The 'rubbish tip of 'history' is littered with failed attempts to eradicate
>suffering, buit does this mean we should stop trying?
>Colin Wight
>Department of International Politics
>University of Wales, Aberystwyth
>SY23 3DA



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