Revolution Lullabye

November 6, 2007

CCR 735 Notes for 11/6 Continued

Filed under: Uncategorized — by revolutionlullabye @ 6:30 pm

I was able to more closely read Anthony Cohen’s Symbolic Construction of Community (Chapter 4) and found many of his ideas very striking and good possible connections to my work with the distributists, who were so desparately trying to create an alternate community in early 20th century Britain. Good stuff for that future article.

 Cohen is describing the relationship between community and identity. Communities are so important because it is where we derive our self identity from. That’s why we so closely guard our boundaries.

In times of change, we turn to symbols, historically and mythologically created (language can be symbols) to build up the sense of community and combat the outside force that is threatening the community. Symbols are shorthand for the shared values of our communities – values that we might not agree upon in meaning, but the symbol’s form is generally accepted and regarded.

Symbols and rituals are the bridge between belief and actual reality.

There is no neutral culture, community, or perspective (98). No no man’s land.

We use our history selectively to shape and explain our present – “mythological distance” (99).

Ethinicity as a strategy to gain power, for self-identity (106).

It doesn’t matter that government is becoming bigger – that will not kill communities because communities are inherent parts of human existence, of human identity.

Some good quotes:

“Symbolism owes its versataility to the fact htat it does not carry meaning ihernetly. A corollary of this is that it can be highly responsive to change” (91).

“The form can persist while the content undergoes significant transformation. Frequently, the appearance of continuity is so compelling that it obscures people’s recognition that the form itself has changed” (91).

“The familiar, orderliness, is invoked to inject sense into the unfamiliar” (100). Good for distributism.

“So if the individuals refer to their cognitive maps to orient themselves in interaction, the same is also true of collectivities. The maps are part of their cultural store, accumulated over generations and, thus, heavily scented by the past” (101).

“A frequent and glib description of what is feared may be los tis ‘way of life’; part of what is meant is the sense of self” (109).

“Since the vitality of cultures lies in their juxtaposition, they exaggerate themselves and each other” (115).

Look up Durkheim!

“The boundaries consist essentially in hte contrivance of distinctive meanings within the community’s social discourse. They provide people with a referent for their personal identities. Having done so, they are then themselves expressed and reinforceed through the presentation of those identites in social life” (118).


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