Tuesday, May 17, 2005


The other Skinner

Just to prove my liberal elitist credentials and, maybe, evoke the ire of former Leftists who now bash people like Lakoff, there is a wonderful review of three new editions by Cambridge professor Quentin Skinner (no relation) in the New York Review of Books this week, though only a sample of it is online.

The article notes quite rightly that the rejection of Marxian materialism has created some new space for political ideas and, by extension, language. Now, I think that the idea that we have to reject Marx to think about political ideas is, well, silly. But I welcome the conversation that Skinner's work provokes and hope that we can think about bit more seriously about the historiography of our own moment. Language has a genealogy of its own, and that genealogy is a roadmap of power relations that need to be understood.

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