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<May I throw in Bourdieu's idea:
> "Dès qu'on traite le langage comme un objet autonome,
[...] on se condamne > à > chercher le pouvoir des mots dans les mots,
c'est-à-dire là où il n'est > pas: > [...]. Ce n'est que par exception [...]
que les échanges symboliques se > réduisent à des rapports de pure
communication et que le contenu > informatif > du message épuise le contenu
de la communication. Le pouvoir des paroles > n'est autre chose que le
pouvoir délégué du porte-parole: et ses paroles > [...] sont tout au plus un
témoignage ... de la garantie de délégation > dont > il est investi. [...]
l'autorité advient au langage du dehors...
> [Pierre Bourdieu, Ce Que Parler veut dire, p 103-5]
> > I shan't insult you by translating! I find my students
find Bourdieu less > clear in translation to English, than in the French,
perhaps that is > generally true.>>
Only for those who speak French....
OK I'll try to transliterate (with apologies, because I think Bourdieu
changes meaning when translated):
"If we treat language as an autonomous object, [...] we condemn ourselves to
finding the power of words in the words, that is, where it is not [...] Only
exceptionally does symbolic exchange [symbol-exchange] consist solely of a
purely communicative interrelation, or the informative content of the
message co-equal the whole content of the communication. The power of words
is none other than the power delegated to the speaker: and his/her words
[..] are at most an evidence [witness statement] ... of the delegation
warranty he/she bears. [...] authority invests language from outside [it]"
Bourdieu's book is very well translated into English, by the way, as
Language and Symbolic Power (ed J Thompson). I feel that the difference
between French and Anglophone philosophical mindsets, and the nature of
philosophy, does mean an inevitable shift in meanings.
As for the American Declaration: it does indeed, paradoxically, state a
belief which the locators did not implement, which was not so and still is
not; this is an example of Bourdieu's point, whereby the belief invested in
that beautiful assertion makes it true, and being so accepted, it becomes
the basis by which later generations may have worked and may work upon its
becoming (if incompletely) the case.
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