This essay revisits the question of Sartre's method with particular emphasis on the posthumously published Notebooks for an Ethics, Critique of Dialectical Reason (Volume II), and “Morale et histoire.” I argue that Sartre's method—an ever-evolving though never seamless blend of phenomenological description, dialectical analysis, and logical inference—is at once the seed and fruit of his mature ontology of praxis. Free organic praxis, what Sartre more than once calls “the human act,” is neither closed nor integral, but is rather intrinsically open-ended and integrative. Thus a philosophical method that seeks at once to illuminate human experience and human history must itself be both a reflection and inflection of the essential openness and integrativity of praxis itself. In the conclusion, I argue that the openness and integrativity of Sartre's method are its core strengths and the sources of its continued philosophical worth.
Sartre’s Integrative Method: Description, Dialectics, and Praxis
Matthew C. Ally
The Art of Revolutionary Praxis
Ghosting a History without Shadows
Duane H. Davis
Philosophers hitherto have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it. —Karl Marx 1 Marx famously offered this invocation to revolutionary praxis in his eleventh Thesis on Feuerbach. Inspiring as it may be, this
The Return of Stolen Praxis: Counter-Finality in Sartre's Critique of Dialectical Reason
What is counter-finality? Who, or what, is the agent of counter-finality? In the Critique of Dialectical Reason, Sartre employs a complicated and multivalent notion of counter-finality, the reversal of the finality intended by an agent in different contexts and at different levels of complexity. Sartre's concept of counter-finality is read here as an attempt to rethink and broaden the traditional Marxist notion of commodity fetishism as a tragic dialectic of human history whose final act has yet to play out. The article analyses and explicates Sartre's complex concept of counter-finality, focusing on material antipraxis.
Theory for Praxis
Peacemaking, Cunning Recognition, and the Constitution of Enmity
This article argues that scholars and activists concerned with peace and social justice in Israel/Palestine may unintentionally undermine their own goals when they abandon theory for praxis through recognition of parties to conflict. Recognition of ethno-national identity in peacemaking efforts helps reproduce the hegemonic order. Recognizing the subaltern here is a form of Elizabeth Povinelli's 'cunning recognition', which may do little more than produce a moral community of the recognizers. This case illustrates a broader pattern in which controversial ideas only succeed in arriving at the center of politics when they can no longer be implemented. It raises concerns about abandoning theory for praxis more generally, suggesting that theory not be abandoned because it is inconvenient for political purposes.
Lévi-Strauss, Barthes, and the "Structuralist Activity" of Sartre's Dialectical Reason
The paper examines Lévi-Strauss' criticisms of Sartre's conception of dialectical reason and history as presented in the last chapter of La Pensée Sauvage, suggesting that these criticisms are misplaced. Sartre's notion of reason and history in the Critique is much closer to structuralist accounts than Lévi-Strauss seems to recognize, but it differs in placing a strong emphasis on activity and praxis in place of the latter's passive conception of reason. The active role of the inquirer in structuralist thought is examined using Roland Barthes' account of "The Structuralist Activity," which is shown to have important affinities with Sartre's own conception of the relation of structure and praxis in the Critique. I then briefly consider a modified conception of the role of history in structuralism expressed by Lévi-Strauss in the mid-seventies, suggesting that his altered position still fails to recognize the important role of praxis in structuralist accounts of history. I conclude by suggesting that Lévi-Strauss' criticisms are nonetheless important for illustrating the "Critical" character of Sartre's Critique.
The Meaning and Truth of History: A Note on Sartre's Critique of Dialectical Reason
Joseph S. Catalano
My goal in writing this article is to give a brief overview of the two volumes of Sartre's Critique of Dialectical Reason. After a brief introduction, I proceed in three stages that move from the abstract to the concrete. I thus trace the development of such notions as comprehension into the dialectic, praxis into singularity and incarnation, the practico-inert into the totalization-of-envelopment, and the enhancement of the notion of scarcity as a general historical condition into a collective free choice. I also suggest new divisions for Critique II.
Transforming Participatory Science into Socioecological Praxis
Valuing Marginalized Environmental Knowledges in the Face of the Neoliberalization of Nature and Science
Brian J. Burke and Nik Heynen
Citizen science and sustainability science promise the more just and democratic production of environmental knowledge and politics. In this review, we evaluate these participatory traditions within the context of (a) our theorization of how the valuation and devaluation of nature, knowledge, and people help to produce socio-ecological hierarchies, the uneven distribution of harms and benefits, and inequitable engagement within environmental politics, and (b) our analysis of how neoliberalism is reworking science and environmental governance. We find that citizen and sustainability science often fall short of their transformative potential because they do not directly confront the production of environmental injustice and political exclusion, including the knowledge hierarchies that shape how the environment is understood and acted upon, by whom, and for what ends. To deepen participatory practice, we propose a heterodox ethicopolitical praxis based in Gramscian, feminist, and postcolonial theory and describe how we have pursued transformative praxis in southern Appalachia through the Coweeta Listening Project.
“Double Critique” and the Sufi Praxis of Travel in Leila Ahmed's A Border Passage and Fatema Mernissi's Scheherazade Goes West
she became a professor of sociology at Mohammed V University in Rabat. Both have been described as pioneering “Islamic feminists,” speaking to the West as Arab Muslim women seeking to construct a theory and praxis of “human equality and gender justice
For an anthropological theory of praxis
Dystopic utopia in Indian Maoism and the rise of the Hindu Right
Across the globe, we are seeing a popular shift of appeal from a liberal‐humanitarian imagination of the world, or even a communist‐socialist ideal, to one that is more conservative and often called ‘right‐wing populist’. In the ethnographic context analysed here, a utopian movement for revolutionary social change, led by Marx‐Lenin and Mao‐inspired Naxalite guerrillas, that once had a wide appeal in parts of India, is superseded by a more conservative utopian imagination of Hindutva forces. In exploring the Indian Maoist case, I suggest that dystopia is embedded within utopia. If those engaged in utopian social transformation seek to challenge prevailing ideology to transform people’s actions, it is equally possible for their utopian imagination to retreat into ritual that not only bears little relevance to most people but may also be potentially harmful and pave the way for other ideals to become prevalent. In analysing this Indian case, the paper suggests that we develop an anthropological theory of praxis, one that deals not only with how imaginations to change the world become realised in practice, but also accounts for multiple competing imaginations and how and why some become prevalent over others in daily life, in a dialectical process of reflection and action.
Tourism and Applied Anthropology in Theory and Praxis
Kevin A. Yelvington
Academic social and cultural anthropology concerned with tourism has provided thick descriptions of the tourist exchange in a number of contexts, with exegeses devoted to illustrate the sexualized Other, the appropriation of landscape, the uses of the past in the present, and the detrimental effects of tourism structures on the ‘host’ communities. It has shown us how pilgrimages, beaches and museums become iconic and fetishized in the tourist’s gaze, how the landscape is appropriated and a geographical space is turned into a cultural place. Yet, for applied anthropologists concerned with the impacts of the world’s largest industry on local ‘toured’ populations and how the (unequal) tourism exchange is (unequally) constituted through material and symbolic historical processes, do the theories generated in the academic tradition provide a use-value? Do those anthropologists engaged in community-centred methods such as participatory action research, and working in theoretical traditions through praxis, approach their subject in the same ways as their nonapplied anthropological counterparts? Indeed, what can applied anthropologists, as such, and the consideration of applied projects, contribute to theory in anthropological research on tourism more generally?