“We are not far from the world of Balzac and Austen”

From Capital in the Twenty-First Century, by Thomas Piketty {AmazonSub-KForces of Divergence}

To be sure, it would be a mistake to underestimate the importance of the intuitive knowledge that everyone acquires about contemporary wealth and income levels, even in the absence of any theoretical framework or statistical analysis. Film and literature, nineteenth-century novels especially, are full of detailed information about the relative wealth and living standards of different social groups, and especially about the deep structure of inequality, the way it is justified, and its impact on individual lives. Indeed, the novels of Jane Austen and Honoré de Balzac paint striking portraits of the distribution of wealth in Britain and France between 1790 and 1830. (my emphasis [Fans of Jane Austen: I note, at least, 26 Austenites])

[insert bad joke: a single man in possession of a good book]

My email & tumblr is axisnorthanger, and northanger @ LiveJournal & Twitter. Several years ago, a roommate took me to a D&D game (or whatever you call it) and the gamemaster (or whatever you call him) asked my name: Axis Northanger! So this is a good introduction for T.R. Young (1928-2004) and the Red Feather Institute. Critical Criminology archived Young’s Criminal Justice related material. Wayback has the rest (In Remembrance).

What’s bolded above connects to this Young lecture: Dramaturgical Analysis, essentially outlining the work of Erving Goffman, and Young’s book, The Drama of Social Life: Essays in Post-Modern Social Psychology.

Groking something new, for me, involves making distinctions, sorting through a ton of data. Compelling data points require look-stop-listen, bogging down the process with something remedially related and totally trivial to Uranus in Gemini on the Aldebaran-Antares Axis on the USA horoscope.

This post is dedicated to T.R. Young, because he is not trivial.

First learned about Young and RLI here, when the original website was still accessible. Ethnomasochism (apparently a white-male subset of ethnocentricity, antithetical to Neoreaction), recalled Stephen Pfohl’s Venus In Microsoft: male mas(s)ochism and cybernetics (see also Virtual Futures: Cyberotics, Technology and Posthuman Pragmatism, edited by Joan Broadhurst Dixon and Eric J. Cassidy).

This is fascinating. I watch myself watching myself watching my fantasies while watching my fantasies watching myself. This is true. Just look at the statistics… This is my body — a telematic exchange of faith leaping screen to screen. This is whitemale techno-magic. This is obscene. This is fascinating.

…a fascination with making the gendered contradictions of CAPITAL implode into “cool memories” floating across what is screened — this is characteristic of the whitemale mas(s)ochistic practices that dominate our geographical present.

Didn’t Yahoo!Pfohl back then, but Google more persuasive this time. [see: Stephen Hawking: ‘Transcendence looks at the implications of artificial intelligence – but are we taking AI seriously enough?’, published May 1st.]

Steve Pfohl serves as counterpoint to Stephen Hawking. While Hawking represents the best of modern science; pure intellect, sure and certain of truth, unburdened by doubt or passion, Pfohl represents the uncertainty, ambivalence and partisanship of postmodern social science.

I first met Steve Pfohl at Central Michigan University where he came to give his by-now famous/infamous presentation, Terror of the Simulacra: Struggle for Justice and the Postmodern. The presentation was engaging to some and infuriating to others at Central Michigan. Rather than distance himself and his life from the subject of his study as required by value-free methodology and as normative to most of the social scientists who are older than you or I, Steve used his childhood, his parents, his grade-school work, his nude body and his shaved head with its single braid as part and parcel of the discourse he brought us.

From a T.R. Young tribute to Carl Sagan: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 (and here), Part 4.

Black Madonna Durkheim, however, travels

…under the influence of a strange and power-reflexive method …under the influence of sociological deconstruction.

[Neither Pfohl or this method mentioned, but see: Reflexivity (social theory)]

Pfohl & power-reflexive & pdf here (Images of Deviance and Social Control, pp. 429-453; and this link’s to Amazon Canada with the best review). This appears in Pfohl’s Studies in Crime and Social Justice, Course Objectives: Punishing Criminals: Hiding Whitened Guilt.

“White guilt” and “ethnomasochism” are midirections from “white collar crime”. “White”, here, isn’t so much about race as it is an economically-based criminal categorization. Post-Pfohl, this formula equation emerges:

white guilt = white collar crime

Key text “Images of Deviance”. Critical point: Uranus in Gemini (upcoming at LiveJournal) — Pfohl’s The “Discovery” Of Child Abuse (from, Deviance: A Symbolic Interactionist Approach, edited by Nancy J. Herman). Discovery describes why “low-status pediatric radiologists” were able to surmount the constraining vision impeding recognition to “see” and “label” child abuse.

Good way to end this is another quote from (Note #1) T.R. Young’s Symbolic Interactional Theory and Nonlinear Dynamics: Social Magic in Human Activity:

The history of the false scientization of social dynamics began with Auguste Comte, Vilfredo Pareto and George Lundberg among many others. At first, Comte called his new science social physics. Pareto said: “My wish is to construct a system of sociology on the model of celestial mechanics, physics, and chemistry.” Lundberg was even more explicit when he said, “The social sciences are concerned with the behaviors of those electron-proton configurations called social groups….It is sometimes convenient to use different words to designate behavior mechanisms of different systems or levels of electron-proton configuration. But certain basic concepts of proton energy and force are equally applicable to all behavior…from the point of view we have adopted, any situation in which we choose to observe association or dissociation is regarded as a field of force…” (Cited in Rickman, p. 299). Any such use of the concepts from one field of endeavor to the dynamics of another field is, technically, poetics. However, the choice of terms is more than mere poetics, it is political; the structure of bureaucratically organized work, politics, military, and school makes any theory using the concepts of force, power, and object and objectivity preferable to one using concepts of prophecy, definition, subjectivity and coercive sanction. The idea of a objective science of human behavior complete with universal laws and deductive predictions, which must be verified in the quest for truth, is a process which helps depoliticize the struggles of workers, colonial subjects, women, or students–anyone who challenges the putatively natural order of the social world dramaturgically embodied by mechanistic models of society.


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