Social Intersections 01 (the reading list)

So let’s begin with a very meagerly annotated reading list. Some of the annotations, I’m afraid, will be very brief indeed. I will make no effort to distinguish between different disciplines or even between critical and literary sources.

  1. Bakhtin, Mikhail 1993 Rabelais and His World Indiana University Press, Bloomington
    Originally published in 1941, this work represents a veiled critique of Stalinism. It examines how popular medieval traditions of carnival – as evident in the work of Rabelais’ Gargantua and Pantegruel (16th century) – worked to resist the dominant power of the Church. Rather than directly resisting this power, carnival demonstrates strategies of inversion, parody and material, bodily humour, manifesting an alternative, experientially grounded, profoundly playful, creative and participatory, conception of life. The underlying suggestion, applied in the modern context, is that regimes of autocratic state power can never entirely dominate popular culture.
  2. Voloshinov, Valentin 1973 Marxism and the Philosophy of Language, Harvard University Press.
    Written in the 1920s, Voloshinov’s work is relevant in terms of his argument against Ferdinand Saussure’s concept of language as an abstract, synchronic system. Instead language is conceived as a material social process, embodying aspects of class struggle. This can be likened to notions of the way in which everyday life, although shaped by conditions of power and ideology, acts as a terrain of micro-level contestation and tactical resistance (see, for instance, Certeau). Some critics argue that Volushinov was a nom de plume for Mikhail Bakhtin.

More soon.

[Ludicrous, will move to a separate doc.]

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