Sunday, December 11, 2005

global search and replace

All you have to do is take the whole of social theory, search for the terms "limits" and "constraints", replace these with "resistances", and various assertions about human affairs become so much more plausible. I know every year we have some political issue that members of the American Sociological Association proffer up a resolution about, but couldn't we do this one year instead?

Any proclamations about limits with respect to human beings or the institutions they staff is just so, ugh, limiting. Why can't the word just be abolished, plowed into the lexical soil along with barrels of salt so that it will never sprout again?

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, Harvey's "Limits to Capital" and Meadows' "Limits to Growth" certainly come out sounding different.

Anonymous said...

the Central Resistances Theorem?

Anonymous said...

don't constraints tend to be properites of systems (as in: the division of labor places constraints/limits on the percentage of the population that can, say, becomen doctors), whereas resistance seems to apply more to actors (as in: the anti-school orientation of some disaffected urban youth has been interpreted as resistance to an achievement-oriented society, blah, blah, blah).

Anonymous said...

The resistance as x approaches zero...

Oh, wait. That's calculus, not social theory.

A+ said...

Moments when you know you're a real sociologist: when issues of semantics become so important as to warrant a proclamation of actually abolishing an actual word or phrase from the language. See: sex role, stereotype.

I'm not saying I'm any different; just saying, is all.

Anonymous said...

Okay sociologists. You chose to enter the field, but when, when is your work to begin???

Anonymous said...

huh?