Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Stumbled upon this article today, it's interesting in how it relates to the Marxist concept of how superstructures can influence how a culture dictates an individual to be. In the article, it is like authoritarianism/totalatarianism vs capitalism or socialisms way of influencing... maybe more capitalism?
I started looking into it by brushing up on Marxism (via wikipedia) and this stood out;
"Society does not consist of individuals, but expresses the sum of interrelations, the relations within which these individuals stand."

— Karl Marx, Grundrisse, 1858
[Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy, by Karl Marx & Martin Nicolaus, Penguin Classics, 1993, ISBN 0140445757, pg 265]

In circling back to the idea of how these superstructures relate to the influence of culture on power relation in different social groups and how these cultures help dictate the clashes that occur when differing social groups come into contact and create superstructures of oppression [classism/racism/etc].

Central to understanding this seems to be getting a grasp of Marx's concept of the dialectic

This stems from Hegel's concept of the dialectic but with a focus on materialism, or, dialectical materialism .
Gould, the biologist contributes to this idea by using it as a heuristic for biological systems, their complexity, ecology, and interdependence. I like this idea, and it aids the philosophical to biological and sociological transition. [I should look up more of his work and philosophy; Gould, Stephen Jay (1990). "Nurturing Nature". In …. An Urchin in the Storm: Essays About Books and Ideas. London: Penguin. p. 153.]

This may relate to Noam Chomsky's work with linguistics as well; he talks about a deep structure and a super structure to grammar, is there a way this harmonizes which the deep and superstructures of culture from a Marxist perspective?

It seems that an emergence or connectionist theory, which would maybe be more in line with how the cultural model im considering works, but this appears to counter the ideas of language used by Chomsky. Is it acceptable to use only part of his work to connect it to the connectionist model?
The connectionist model may also work in the network modeling of the Framptom heart study; is this part of how the influence of social networks was partly analyzed? If this can work, then we can connect a long line of theorists and ideas from the linguistic level to the cultural; political and economic, and then use this column to run over a text like a grater, shredding the pieces to see how they fit to create a whole of oppression and how the cultural legacies are altered or maintained over time in response.

But I digress...

Returning to Marxism and base-superstructures, this seems to very an issue I have to pay attention to as it has come under criticism, I need to lookup Raymond Williams as a critic of this. He seems to have a school of theory called cultural materialism (and cultural studies ) which is, as I mentioned, one aspect of the thesis I need to cover. His bleedings of Marxism are worth paying attention to analyze texts seems worth pursuing. This seems to imply that I am conducting a neo-marxism literature review focusing on mexican literature. But the fun would be in adding a case-study or experimental element to the study which would involve real subjects. I worry about the language issues, and it looks like either way I will need to practice mis espanol.

I think this is where the research portion needs to come in. Now that I have a clearer idea of a topic and a philosophical basis to fill so many of those precious pages to explore, I need to see what has been done in this field, if anything (Fingers Crossed!).




Stuart Hall [consumption (I need to consider this in view of Gould and Chomsky...hmmm)]

Terry Eagleton
Pierre Bourdieu

***that is a foundation, but I think the idea of change is complicated by the concept of a cultural legacy and cultural echo from the last post... I need to look at how the neo-marxist approach is used to get a better understanding of this***

Althusser's "levels" connect to Gladwell's Tipping Point, and seems to link with Gould's punctuated equilibrium and ecological theories. Althusser seems to be a key source I can use. Too bad he also strangled his wife...

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