17 juin 2009

is society changing as much as we hear?

"In a changing society", "in a period full of innovation and challenges". These types of catch all sentences are heard regularly, if not systematically, in official reports by governments or in experts’ reports. Interestingly enough, it can be found also in the 19th century, and in the 18th and so on. Even Paul Valery referred from time to time to that common wisdom in his "Essais quasi-politiques". Therefore, all observers appear to believe that their society is on the move… Is it true, or what does this catch-all phrase really show? It tells more about rhetoric than about an actual social analysis. It is used to provide legitimacy to those who want to suggest a new idea or concept. By starting to say that the world is changing, the author consolidates and legitimises his position to lobby for change as well. The novelty of some propositions will then be made less troubling, against the background of this supposed changing environment, making new ways of thinking indispensable. Even more confusing and manipulating, by creating a feeling of an unstable environment, the author creates at the same time the need for an answer. And, as a saviour, he comes with it. Such sentences in introduction of reports and papers should always be seen critically, and ask weather there is really a changing environment, or if it is only a way to legitimise a discourse. Always question why, with which objective indicators, can that “change” be demonstrated. 

 

Posté par asheshes à 16:03 - - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]
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