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9 Comments

  1. Here is one small thing:

    Termed by Gans as a “charismatic aristocracy”,

    I think you mean “charismatic autocracy,” and this is me, not Gans.

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  2. On the emic-etic distinction:
    “An ’emic’ account is a description of behavior or a belief in terms meaningful (consciously or unconsciously) to the actor; that is, an emic account comes from a person within the culture. Almost anything from within a culture can provide an emic account.
    An ‘etic’ account is a description of a behavior or belief by a social analyst or scientific observer (a student or scholar of anthropology or sociology, for example), in terms that can be applied across cultures; that is, an etic account attempts to be ‘culturally neutral’, limiting any ethnocentric, political, and/or cultural bias or alienation by the observer.”

    Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emic_and_etic

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  3. One term I’ve come across in reading Gans is “intentional structure”. In the new TOOL I haven’t found a concise definition though Andrew Bartlett provides a useful one in this paper on page 94:

    https://www.jstor.org/stable/41925304?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

    He writes “…”intentional structure” refers to a real-world configuration of concrete “intersubjective” relationships between living animals with biological appetites and social desires, desires now occasionally mediated by a communal event of the shared abortive gesture of appropriation.”

    Hopefully, this is a sufficient definition though intersubjective may need to be ‘technically’ defined.

    Appreciate the work, everyone.

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  4. I think it would be better to regroup “institutional” and “formal” representation in one definition:
    On the Institutional:
    “Because what we have called the “institutional” aspect of the original event is directly linked to ritual and religious practice, and thereby to cultural institutions in general- to those aspects of human history which must be referred to specific historical origins – this aspect can be traced to the commemoration of the specificity of the event, which is to say, in the terms of the hypothesis, to the body of the victim and to the concrete circumstances surrounding the murder, all of which can be said to be signified metonymically by it. This aspect of representation defines the perspective taken by Girard, which as we have seen tends to organize itself around the notion of the sacred.” (TOOL)

    “In the institutional case, the community or some part of it attempts to reproduce the event’s peace-bringing effect by repeating the salient elements of the originary configuration, notably, the designation/worship of the sacred central figure in a collective rite, generally ending in a sacrificial feast.” (Gans’ Chronicle N°587)

    On the Formal:
    “What we have called the formal pole of representation, from which develops scientific and logical discourse, and in general those cultural elements that involve the creation of models of reality-in-general rather than thc preservation of historical memory, derives from the presence of the community to itself as mediated by the victim-sign. For this presence, although the product of a specific event, is in itself a pure “space” of signification, an awaiting of the sign-in-general.” (TOOL)
    “… formal representation reproduces the moment of signification independently of its originary sacred context. The central object was first designated by the aborted gesture of appropriation become a sign, in a conscious, intentional act. As a result of the sign’s “portability” in memory,
    individuals separated from the communal scene subsequently communicate to one another, or simply to themselves, the “idea” or signified of a specific object.” (Gans’ Chronicle N°587)

    Sources:
    – The origin of language (1st edition, P18);
    http://anthropoetics.ucla.edu/views/vw587/

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