Drawing on Polanyi, Austin and Lacan, Marie Pellegrin-Rescia and Yair Levi offer a powerful critique of the language and categories of thought that dominate the contemporary intellectual and political landscape. The general tendency to dichotomize concepts such as left and right, social and economic, globalization and anti-globalization, is, they argue, a consequence of our subservience to the primacy of the rational economic agent. The authors offer a selection of case-studies of co-operatives, which are shown to be paradoxical entities in a worldview in which the social exists only as a metaphor for a space concerned with the damage caused by the economic. Through an analysis of experiences in achieving civil accord in South Africa and in establishing a new town in the mountains of Sicily, they offer a new political orientation in a world of uncertainty. In doing so they attempt an answer to one of the most intriguing questions of our time: should we accept as a fait-accompli the way our society is conceived and shaped, or can we have a say in the matter and assume the ethical responsibility involved?
Table of Contents
Contents: Foreword; Preface: Marie L. Pellegrin-Rescia. Part I The Social as Metaphor, Marie L. Pellegrin-Rescia: Introduction to Part I: theoretical approach and historical overview: Section A, The theoretical approach; The thinking-talking human being and his categories of thought; The speaking-acting subject and the symbolic field of language; The speaking-acting individual and the imaginary of the Social Field; Section B, A historical overview; Interdependence and places of wandering: a history of places and bonds; Symbolic delimitation versus imaginary bonds; Anthropological debt versus imaginary work places; Readiness to lose versus imaginary places of production; Conclusion to Part I. Part II Cooperatives as Examples and their Paradoxes, Yair Levi. Introduction to Part II: cooperatives, categories of thought, embeddedness/disembeddedness; Images, myths and stereotypes; Section A, The official discourse; Origins and constituent elements; Section B, A critique of the official discourse; Tensions and inconsistencies; Interpreting the socio-economic duality; Paradoxes of cooperatives; The case studies; What have we learned from cooperatives?; Summary and conclusions. Epilogue: Beyond The Social as Metaphor, Marie L. Pellegrin-Rescia; Introduction to epilogue: going beyond the social: doing things with words according to the symbolic register; Thinking nestedness as a system of constituent rules; Thinking the political with the categories of the symbolic: the example of South Africa; The virtual more real than reality: The Città Aperta of Sicily; Conclusions, Marie L. Pellegrin-Rescia withYair Levi; References; Index.