one of his war articles, Masip replied to the physician Gregorio Marañón, one of the most significant intellectuals of twentieth-century Spain, in light of a letter Marañón had sent to the press explaining his discontent with the Communist
Samuel Moyn and Jean-Paul Gagnon
alone; instead, it flows from the determinate fact that it promises emancipatory self-rule, in a contestatory and unending process. Gagnon: Your collection Global Intellectual History (2013), co-edited with Andrew Sartori, offers readers an
“When the purpose at hand begins from the perspective of a philosophy of praxis, that is to say from a motivation to enhance the leverage of radical democratic interventions in history, then the forming of the intellectual problem takes a particular shape.” — Gavin Smith, Intellectuals and (Counter-) Politics: Essays in Historical Realism
This statement frames Gavin Smith’s thoughtful, complex text Intellectuals and (Counter-) Politics: Essays in Historical Realism. Indeed, you could call the book a manual for the forming of a problem from this kind of perspective and with this motivation. To give a comprehensive discussion of how this might happen, Smith brings in a whole range of questions: What is an intellectual? How do intellectuals reach audiences? How are counter-politics situated within time and space, and how should they be studied? By including the domains of intellectuals, political actors, publics, and the constraining tendencies of structure—of “capital’s fierce demands”—in his analysis, while always recognizing the porous and fluctuating boundaries between these domains, Smith (2014: 11) frames the question of activist scholarship and the ongoing historicity of politics in a way that attempts to grasp their changing, tangled, and slippery nature. The result is an immensely rich book that provides a nudge along the path to a complex account of arrangements of capital and political mobilization that it reveals.
Donald M. Nonini
Marilyn Strathern, in her collection of essays, Commons and Borderlands (2004: 39–40), reflects on interdisciplinary research collaboration and its products in the contemporary British university setting. She points to two opposed pressures on such research. One, seeking “undivided outcomes,” comes from those engaged in interdisciplinary research who see “an object held in common, the joint product, multi-authored, of diverse efforts.” The other comes from those determined to attribute “ownership” as a matter of “undivided origins” to an individual “owner” of the object—its presumed creator—who can be uniquely identified and appropriately awarded, often with legal intellectual property rights in the form of patents or copyrights. While the perspective of researchers connected to the former impetus is one in which several researchers see themselves as bringing their complementary knowledges to bear in an “orientation to a joint project (‘problem solving’, etc.) [which] takes precedence” (ibid.: 48n4), that of the latter requires that they parse out origins to specify how “collaboration can be unpicked to identify the individual person, or the individual team, with whom the origin rests undivided” (ibid.: 40). Both pressures are, in the case of the British academy, very recent. Calls for interdisciplinary research have been articulated over the same period of the past two decades during which new property claims have been made—by universities, by ‘society’, and by for-profit corporations—on intellectual creations in the university milieu.
Ana Isabel González Manso
the perception of a new temporality influenced a certain group of nineteenth-century Spanish intellectuals when they wrote or thought about history (and, consequently, the meaning they gave to it) and the various solutions they put forward for the
The post–Great Recession, zombielike resurrection of neoliberalism has taken much of Europe and the United States on a hard-right detour into a twilight zone of populist nationalism, where far-right critiques of the status quo resonate more deeply with the white working class than leftist analyses. As rising fears of cultural eclipse, economic decline, and elite resentment drive the appeal of right-wing nationalists in the United States, Europe, India, and beyond, what role should intellectuals, and especially anthropologists, play in countering the creeping authoritarianism and growing inequality of our times? What kind of leverage can intellectual labor have on social reality? How can intellectuals broaden the boundaries of political possibility so that progressive, transformative collective action becomes imaginable?
The neoliberal regulation of academic work
Ana Luisa Muñoz-García
This article aims to analyse the multiple ways in which the neoliberal regulation of knowledge is negotiated by returning Chilean scholars. The data gathered suggest the construction of knowledge is highly regulated by a principle of intellectual endogamy. Intellectual endogamy is characterised by conservatism, reflected in a lack of diversity in research themes and problems and maintained by a peer-review system that controls scholars’ access to research funds. However, it is also characterised by instrumentalism, which is reflected in the requirements for obtaining research funds, such as publications in indexed journals and discourses of efficiency and productivity. Both facets engender a neoliberal regulation of academic work. This research encourages an expansion of the conversation about how academic mobility affects knowledge construction.
There is little doubt that Sartre would have a strong claim to the title of greatest French intellectual of the twentieth century, but what exactly does “intellectual” mean in relation to Sartre? It is beyond both the compass and purpose of this paper to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the debate around the definition and role of “the intellectual.” I will simply dip a toe into these troubled waters by focusing on two dimensions of the term intellectual, namely what I call a socio-professional definition and a political definition.
In my book, The Rules of Art,2 I demonstrated that the intellectual world is an autonomous world within the social world, a microcosm which constituted itself progressively through a series of struggles. In the history of the West, the first to acquire their autonomy with regard to power were the jurists, who in twelfth century Bologna succeeded in asserting their collective independence in relation to the Prince, and, simultaneously, their rivalry amongst themselves. As soon as a field is constituted and asserts its existence, it asserts itself into the internal struggle. It is one of the properties of “fields” that the question of belongingness to this universe is at stake in the very midst of these universes. Suppose that, like a French historian by the name of Viala, one makes a study of the French writers of the seventeenth century: one uncovers lists of writers, one compiles these lists and one undertakes to describe the social characteristics of the writers. In terms of a good positivist method, it is beyond reproach; in fact, I believe that it is a serious error.
South Africa's Struggle for Human Rights by S. Dubow Intellectual Traditions in South Africa: Ideas, Individuals and Institutions by P. Vale, L. Hamilton and E. Prinsloo (eds). Review by Jonathan Allen