File spoon-archives/foucault.archive/foucault_1998/foucault.9806, message 9


Date: Wed, 3 Jun 1998 05:23:25 EDT
Subject: Re: reification, agency, Habermas


In a message dated 6/3/98 2:13:13 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
kingma-AT-mcmail.CIS.McMaster.CA writes:

<< at p. 101 of the first volume of the Theory of Communicative
 Action, Habermas writes:  "Concepts of social action are distinguished ...
 according to how they specify the coordination among the goal-directed
 actions of different participants:  as the interlacing of egocentric
 calculations of utility ... ; as a socially integrating agreement about
 values and norms instilled through cultural tradition and socialization;
 as a consensual relation between players and their publics; or as reaching
 understanding in the sense of a cooperative process of interpretation."
 So, there at least for Habermas coordination is something that can be
 achieved through strategic action.  >>

I checked your reference. I think this kind of topic is pertinent to the list
and see no reason to go off list. I am always interested in everyone's
viewpoint.  Your point is well taken as Habermas does seem to be saying that
"coordination" is achieved through both strategic and communicative types of
action.  My point is that he makes a significant distinction
in his writings and includes that on p.101 also as when he says,
         "...only the strategic model of action rests content with an
exlication of the features of action oriented directly to success; whereas the
other models of action specify conditions under which the actor pursues his
goals - conditons of legitimacy, of self-presentation, or of agreement arrived
at in communication, under which the alter can link up' his actions with those
of alter."
        This distinction that Habermas makes is obviously the cornerstone of
his work as he distinguishes between strategic and communicative action by
stipulating the three validity claims.

In your original post you said,
               <<A parallel with Habermas:  in Habermas's "lifeworld",
individuals
coordinate their activities through "communicative action"; when the
lifeworld is colonized by economic and bureaucratic "systems", the means
by which activities are coordinated are beyond the control of individuals.>>

I took issue with this because Habermas' works seem to indicate that there is
a conflict between individuals according to which kind of 'action-orientation'
they have.  Those using a systems rationality are thought of as strategic and
their attempt at "coordinating" action is considered as colonizing or at least
as a rationalization of their interests.  Communicative action orientations
entail the validity claims as well as an interactive orientation.  Thank you
for pointing out that Habermas used the term 'coordination' in an umbrella
manner in this instance, I hadn't noticed it before as he had often used the
term, coordination, by referring to communicative action orientations.

Fred Welfare 

   

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