File spoon-archives/postanarchism.archive/postanarchism_2004/postanarchism.0403, message 66

Date: Sun, 14 Mar 2004 19:57:01 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: [postanarchism] - (on anti-academicism)

Well, I think this is a little different from what I
was vaguely and rudely alluding to.  First of all, I
think it is important to recognize the
institutionalized split between the academic world and
the rest of the world. This is a separation that we
need to try to overcome, no?  I am certainly against
the anti-intellectual mode of much of the social world
as well as of the anarchist scene.  The question,
then, would be how to overcome this separation: on one
side a wide-spread anti-intellectualism and on the
other an institutionalized academic sphere.  Certainly
a simple anti-academic stance that so easily merges
with the socially generalized anti-intellectualism is
problematic.  When I was critical of what I called
academicization, what I meant was the bringing of
anarchism into the academy without attempting at the
very same time to overcome this separation (I realize
that shouldn't have aimed this criticism at Mueller's

So the question is: what direction are we aiming in
here?  Bringing anarchist theory into the academy to
be appreciated and discussed as an academic topic, or
at bringing a greater theorization and reflection into
anarchist practice and critique?  Work like Newman's
seems mostly moving in the first direction: into the
academy.  To me, the point is to move in the other
direction while trying to end the separations that
make up our social world.  

I don't care if people are "tainted" with academic
discourses, but I hope that in doing so those
discourses are de-academicized.  This is more,
therefore, than a "series of accusations, more similar
to the adolescent harangues hurled at a parent, which,
whether baseless or not, are merely a sort of societal
twitch by which many of us mark our independance",
which does not recognize the separations that help to
maintain our society.  This is not about individual
academics gaining independence (that would be rather
boring), but of how to challenge and transform these
institutional separations in the first place.  Thus, I
don't see this as a battle between tradition and the
new, but between our present society and its
destruction.  I'm certianly not, however, trashing
theory or its use--I'm against that kind of

Hopefully, I was a lot more clear this time.


ps: I'll get back to the Badiou very soon.

On Sun, 14 Mar 2004 wrote:

> I am rather confused by this "anti-academicism" that
is in the midst
> of a proliferation these days (see, for example,
that extreme of what
> is known as "Cultural Studies" in the US, which, by
action or
> reaction, abandons textual Marxism, for example, in
a transposition to
> "television studies" - isn't there even a book on
"The Philosophy of
> the Simpsons"). And I side with Jason on the point
that, for the most
> part, it is folks whose thoughts are especially
"tainted" by academic
> discours, whether historically or conceptually or
both, who are so
> quick to denounce this "academicism". But this is
not a question of
> whether or not one may retain the styles and forms
of her forebears
> while, at the same time, critiquing them - nearly
all of the
> "academic" bigwigs of the past fifty or sixty years,
from the germans
> of the Frankfurt school to the french of the
> Post-structuralist vein, have incorporated the
thoughts of those who
> they were in the process of breaking away from - Fr
>  eud and Marx, in particular. It is a question of
whether or not the
> brutal "denunciation" of academics actually serves
any purpose.
> Deleuze constantly made statements which tended to
imply the
> uselessness of philosophy, etc., all the while
spending his entire
> life buried in just that task (his declaration, for
example, that
> there is always something more important to be done
> philosophizing). I don't remember hearing of Deleuze
in the
> third-world assisting the hungry, the poor or the
tired. Also, his
> remark that his work with Guattari "Anti-Oedipus"
was written rather
> for the "anti-academic", that is,
"not-too-educated", than the
> post-grad, abstraction-junkies of academia -
meanwhile, that work is
> utterly bound up in the thought of some of the most
"academic" of
> thinkers. I do not mean to lambaste only Deleuze,
here, however. He
> should be noted as merely an example among the many.
Perhaps it may
> even be worthwhile to investigate this behavior as a
sort of
> self-denunciati
>  on? Why not?
> This debate on "anti-academicism", which, as I see
it, and as I hope
> to have briefly illustrated, is nothing of a debate,
and rather of a
> series of accusations, more similar to the
adolescent harangues hurled
> at a parent, which, whether baseless or not, are
merely a sort of
> societal twitch by which many of us mark our
independance. The real
> debate should be on that of received knowledge, in
any of its many
> forms (whether academic or anti-academic), because
that is what we are
> really sounding out our anger against. It matters
not whether we are
> accusing Foucault or the KKK, we are in a battle
against tradition,
> the form of thought as something pre-established,
not only "the
> intellectuals".
> Thus, I am always taken aback by this style of
denunciation. Just
> because philosophy can't actively change a
government does not mean
> that it isn't allowed to involve itself in this
action in other forms.
> In other words, theory's failure to "bring about the
desired changes"
> is not a reason to thrash it, nor to tout its
>  philip.
> "L'amour, c'est quand nous pouvons dire que nous
avaons le ciel, et
> que le ciel n'a rien."  -Badiou


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