Issues in Interdisciplinary Studies Volume 11 (1993)

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    The Virtues of Taking Time, Taking Time for the Virtues
    (Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, 1993) Bailis, Stanley; Gottlieb, Stephen; Klein, Julie Thompson; Gerber, Leslie E.
    The virtues are now of central concern to most ethicists. But confusions arise when important virtues like "justice" are discussed without reference to the narrative traditions (e.g., Christian or Libertarian) which give real context and specificity to virtues. Whatever one's narrative tradition, the virtues it elaborates and nurtures will only be vital if adherents of that tradition have the capacity for taking time for one another. The virtues are "a language" that enables us to describe our lives. Without time-consuming conversations (with fellow adherents and non-adherents) the self will remain either incompletely defined or self-deceived. The good life within a narrative tradition is a well-crafted life, one focused more on ends than means, a life of attentiveness rather than distraction. Invoking Neil Postman, Mother Theresa and other critics of American mass culture, the author describes the barriers placed before those who would take time for the virtues.
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    Rhetoric, Narrative, and the Rhetoric of Narratives: Exploring the Turns to Narrative in Recent thought and Discourses
    (Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, 1993) Bailis, Stanley; Gottlieb, Stephen; Klein, Julie Thompson; Gerber, Leslie E.
    This investigation of narrative in a variety of disciplines offers more than a survey. If the current intense interest in narrative represents yet another example of Romantic subjectivity asserting its claims against Enlightenment rationalism, then it is merely faddish. A deeper account of narrative's significance is being made, however. It insists that there is no non-narrative way of apprehending reality. For actions to be intelligible they require location in a coherent tradition. Such traditions are sustained by master narratives. Hence, narrative analysis challenges the very distinction between public rationality and private subjectivity; is anti-foundationalist and relativist: and recognises the plurality and particularity of major narrative traditions. Treating postmodernism, communications theory, disputes about non-narrative modes of discourse, and the fragmented character of contemporary narrative-based communities, the author focuses attention on what is genuinely revolutionary in the turn toward "story." Such theorists as Frederic Jameson, Alasdair Maclntyre, James Gustafson, John Milbank, and Hayden White are discussed.
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    "Narratime": Postmodern Temporality and Narrative
    (Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, 1993) Bailis, Stanley; Gottlieb, Stephen; Klein, Julie Thompson; Gerber, Leslie E.
    The default mode for too many historians is a discredited view of time. Uncomfortable with disciplinary uncertainty and distrustful of disorder, historians resort to linear chronology and a conception of a neutral temporal framework whose origin is Newtonian. The author first draws on a variety of postmodern theorists to argue for the legitimacy of "multiple temporality" and a plurality of non-hegemonic cultural narratives. He then surveys developments in photography, the Western novel, Third World literature, sculpture, and recorded music. These aesthetic contexts display an extraordinary richness of temporal representation, a richness that historians would do well to attend to. Our technological environment, he concludes, has "refigured" both time and space in very Einsteinian ways. Thus, as post-modern culture multiplies temporal and narrative possibilities, it will become untenable to embrace conventional senses of linear chronology. Theorists discussed include Raymond Williams, Walter Benjamin, Elizabeth Deeds Ermarth and Roland Barthes. Analysis is of such artists as Faith Ringgold, Jenny Holzer, Ann Hamilton and Barbara Kruger.
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    Narrative and the Physical Sciences
    (Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, 1993) Bailis, Stanley; Gottlieb, Stephen; Klein, Julie Thompson; Gerber, Leslie E.
    A fable is presented that depicts a view of the situation of science in a postmodern world. This is followed by a brief account of how a foundationalist interpretation of scientific epistemology emerged. The attack on foundationalist views of science by the history of science, philosophy of science and sociology of scientific knowledge leading to Rorty's return to narrative is reviewed. Possibilities for a postmodern science are considered. Two examples from the new science of chaos are used to indicate that science is utilizing narrative-like approaches and is adapting quite well to a postmodern world.
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    Narrative and Social Science: Reclaiming the Existential
    (Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, 1993) Bailis, Stanley; Gottlieb, Stephen; Klein, Julie Thompson; Gerber, Leslie E.
    From the model developed by Malinowski, ethnographic writing has assumed a standard form. Implicit genre conventions include the unobtrusive presence of the ethnographer; the aim of representing "the native's point of view"; embellishment by jargon: a focus on everyday situations: and the contextual exegesis of native concepts. Such conventions serve to enhance anthropology's disciplinary respectability and authority. But the form is "monologic," revealing nothing of the multi-leveled richness of the encounter between scientist and subject. New narrative forms arc recommended, in which neither ethnographers nor subjects are presented as finished entities, but rather as open, vulnerable human colleagues. The work of Manda Cescra and Jose Maria Arguedas provides alternative models of the "dialogic," non-detached, anti-positivist approach favored by the author.
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    Introduction to Special Number: Narrative Theory
    (Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, 1993) Bailis, Stanley; Gottlieb, Stephen; Klein, Julie Thompson; Gerber, Leslie E.
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    The Academy and Social Change: What Are the Rules?
    (Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, 1993) Bailis, Stanley; Gottlieb, Stephen; Klein, Julie Thompson; Gerber, Leslie E.
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    Narrative and Social Science: A Response to Gregory Reck
    (Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, 1993) Bailis, Stanley; Gottlieb, Stephen; Klein, Julie Thompson; Gerber, Leslie E.
    While his appeal for open narratives arising from dialogic encounters between scientist and subject has much to commend it. Reck appears to be abandoning the search for causal explanation and useful generalization. Further, neither mathematical models nor abstract categories are in themselves dangerous. Much depends on how data so collected and organized is applied. In any case, both quantitative work and abstract analysis help protect the scientist from bias and imprecision. In the minds of powerful grant-awarders, narrative accounts are merely preparatory to what is "real" - i.e., statistical presentation. Thus, despite its many detractors, positivism remains powerful and widespread. Reck's enthusiasm for ethnologies that qualify as creative art overlooks the fact that social science's quest for systematic comprehension means that it cannot be a literary enterprise. Reck (and Jones) do not take seriously enough problems of falsifiability. When narratives compete with one another, what criteria or procedures allow us to test them? Narrativists complain about the aridity of technical social science, yet they themselves seem about to produce another inaccessible theoretical literature.