File spoon-archives/habermas.archive/habermas_2001/habermas.0102, message 17

Subject: RE: HAB: The German context
Date: Tue, 6 Feb 2001 15:46:03 -0600

I think the list should benefit both "philosophers" and "practitioners" and
believe that both would communicate in the spirit of provoking/stimulating
and creating an enlarged view of the Habermas work.

As a belated response to "E":
I believe that Habermas has critically engaged organizational theory in his
work, at least (in my partial exposure to his work) both the bureaucratic
and systems theories that are "in play" in business institutions. (and
subsequently get "valued" in our governmental processes)  His work would
enable a critical analysis of the personal, cultural, and social
contributions to the Daimler-Chrysler evolution and believe he could/would
understand the respective national histories as contributors to the
situation, though the understanding would not be reduced to that particular
aspect.  But, in the end, how would we engage the analysis?  What do
democratic societies expect from corporate entities regarding how they run
their organizations?  Fair employment practices, participation in funding
our collective life through taxes, fair participation on the corporate
playing field, to name the things that come to mind.  The corporate interest
would be one of what processes and methods are most likely to give us the
results we are seeking.

I think this would be a "sidebar" use of Habermas work, as it seems to me
that his work, particularly that in Between Facts and Norms, is most
concerned (in the end) with the way "the law" could be transformed through
discursive practices.  He feels a "right" to insist on more democratic
practices (as in how could they be more legitimate) in those realms that
claim a role in "justice".

It seems that some American business school thinking (organizational
learning theories, etc.) has benefitted from the work of Habermas but in the
end, the interest of those studies has been organizational effectiveness
which carries some good democratic "freight".  His theory of communicative
action has more direct relevance to public action.  I found John Forester's
books to be illustrative of how Habermas' work has entered public policy
decision making (albeit his bias is to show how a professional planner can
"use it") and/or in a substantive critique of public policy, and the
regulatory, legislative and judicial processes that "codify" our decisions
and guide our actions.

-----Original Message-----
[]On Behalf Of Ron
Sent: Monday, February 05, 2001 10:43 AM
Subject: Re: HAB: The German context

What is purpose of this list?

Respectfully, Ron J.

>From: matthew piscioneri <>
>Subject: HAB: The German context
>Date: Sat, 03 Feb 2001 08:54:47
>Hello List,
>If we can put to one side E's interesting characterisations of the
>differences between German & USA's management techniques, for example, then
>I think the comments on JH's _BFN_ are instructive for this reader at
>I don't think it is useful to ignore what I might call the 'democratic
>psychosis' at the heart of a lot of JH's work. Of course reading what JH
>to say about his historical background in _Autonomy & Solidarity_ his
>fearing for democracy in the FDR is understandable.
>I guess what this rather ad hoc post wants to say is that in tune with Max
>Pensky and the mysterious E, overlooking the acute situatedness of JH's
>is to miss out on the centrality of JH's theory-as-praxis as political
>Of course, it all depends on the reasons you come to Habermas or what uses
>you have for his communication theoretic. If you want to build an
>understanding of his work then the German historical context is one part of
>the jigsaw. If you want to use JH, then it's a different story I suppose.
>regards to all
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