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The origins and evolution of an intellectual social project
Author: Derek Robbins

In two parts, the book examines, first, the attempts of three thinkers of the first half of the twentieth century to reconcile, in different socio-cultural contexts, the legacy of idealist philosophy with the claims of empirical social science, and, secondly, the trajectory of Bourdieu’s career in France from philosophy student to sociological researcher to political activist. It traces a progression from thought to action, but an emphasis on action informed by thought. It poses the question whether Bourdieu’s attempted integration of intellectualism and empiricism correlated with his particular socio-historical situation or whether it offers a global paradigm for advancing inter-cultural understanding. The book is of interest in confronting the question whether socio-political organization is best understood by social scientists or by participants in society, by experts or by the populace. It will stimulate general consideration of the relevance of a sociological perspective in everyday life and how much that perspective should be dependent on inherited concepts. Part I analyses the work of Alfred Schutz, Aron Gurwitsch and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Part II that of Pierre Bourdieu. The book is methodologically meticulous in situating these works socio-historically. It provides an introduction to some ideas in social philosophy and shows how these ideas became instrumental in generating a theory of practice. The book is aimed at post-graduate students and staff in all disciplines in the Humanities, and Human and Social sciences, but, more generally, it should interest all academics concerned about the contemporary social function of intellectuals.

Derek Robbins

’ [the historical development of Gestalt psychology]. These six lectures, given in 1933–34, led to his first published article in French (Gurwitsch, 1934) and to two subsequent articles of 1936 (Gurwitsch, 1936b and 1936c). Gurwitsch gave his second course at the Sorbonne in 1934–35 on ‘intentionalist psychology’10 and, the following year (1935–36), the third on the work of Goldstein and Gelb. His interest in the psychology of language led to his second French publication – a review of Psychologie du langage published in 1935 (Gurwitsch, 1935). This was followed by an

in The Bourdieu paradigm
Derek Robbins

problem of perception in phenomenology and in Gestalt psychology]. In April he applied for a renewal of his research grant.5 His application makes it clear that he had become aware of the potential value of Husserl’s phenomenology in facilitating a dialogue between philosophy and Gestalt psychology. Merleau-Ponty’s application was denied, but he was appointed Professor at the lycée in Chartres and, in 1935, he moved to Paris, where he taught at the École Normale Supérieure until 1939 when he was mobilized for military service. According to Embree, Merleau-Ponty first

in The Bourdieu paradigm
Beckett and the matter of language
Laura Salisbury

the German clinician’s position, derived from Gestalt psychology, that the brain is not a fleshly typewriter whose keys may be broken to produce specific and repeatable errors in the message. Woodworth implies that particular areas of the cortex do not fire according to the push and pull of reflex arcs, as classical aphasiologists such as Wernicke had thought; instead, the brain ‘functions in wide-spreading patterns or dynamic systems and not in sharply localized centres’.34 Indeed, Woodworth asserts that the brain works, as Beckett notes down, through a ‘[p

in Beckett and nothing
Abstract only
Derek Robbins

that ‘reality’ is inaccessible. Aron Gurwitsch (1901–73) studied in Berlin under Carl Stumpf, who had struggled there to reconcile the legacy of German idealist philosophy with the emerging sciences of physiology and psychology. The form of reconciliation attempted by Gurwitsch involved seeking to argue for the theoretical benefits to be derived from associating the emphases of phenomenology and Gestalt psychology. Gestalt psychology was intent on demonstrating empirically that there are objective networks of meaning which impinge on our perception and which are not

in The Bourdieu paradigm
The Manchester School, colonial and postcolonial transformations
Author: Richard Werbner

Anthropology after Gluckman places the intimate circle around Max Gluckman, his Manchester School, in the vanguard of modern social anthropology. The book discloses the School’s intense, argument-rich collaborations, developing beyond an original focus in south and central Africa. Where outsiders have seen dominating leadership by Gluckman, a common stock of problems, and much about conflict, Richard Werbner highlights how insiders were drawn to explore many new frontiers in fieldwork and in-depth, reflexive ethnography, because they themselves, in class and gender, ethnicity and national origins, were remarkably inclusive. Characteristically different anthropologists, their careers met the challenges of being a public intellectual, an international celebrity, an institutional good citizen, a social and political activist, an advocate of legal justice. Their living legacies are shown, for the first time, through interlinked social biography and intellectual history to reach broadly across politics, law, ritual, semiotics, development studies, comparative urbanism, social network analysis and mathematical sociology. Innovation – in research methods and techniques, in documenting people’s changing praxis and social relations, in comparative analysis and a destabilizing strategy of re-analysis within ethnography – became the School’s hallmark. Much of this exploration confronted troubling times in Africa, colonial and postcolonial, which put the anthropologists and their anthropological knowledge at risk. The resurgence of debate about decolonization makes the accounts of fierce, End of Empire argument and recent postcolonial anthropology all the more topical. The lessons, even in activism, for social scientists, teachers as well as graduate and undergraduate students are compelling for our own troubled times.

Techniques, materials, land, energy, environments
Andrew Patrizio

historians and critics writing since the 1970s, that help situate such environmental art within the ‘expanded field’ of ecology, environmental justice, nonhierarchy and new materiality. Interestingly, Rosalind Krauss’s highly influential essay ‘Sculpture in the Expanded Field’ was published in the same year as Gibson’s book, 1979. Gibson writes that ‘ [a] picture can only be seen in a context of other nonpictorial surfaces ’, 40 and in re-examining the relationship between ‘content’ and ‘frame’ forms a bridge between cognitive and gestalt psychology and the semiotics of

in The ecological eye
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To fasten words again to visible – and invisible – things
Catherine Gander and Sarah Garland

Visual Perception (1954) and Visual Thinking (1969) appealed to Gestalt psychology to argue for a ‘perceptual thinking’ that refutes a Cartesian mind/body dualism and celebrates the embodiment of thought and meaning. ‘Perception starts with the grasping of striking structural features’, Arnheim wrote in 1954, anticipating advances in cognitive linguistics and neuroscience by thirty years.17 At roughly the same time, Nelson Goodman’s analytic aesthetics formulated a turning point in AngloAmerican philosophy: Languages of Art (1968) remains ground-breaking in its

in Mixed messages
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The Neuendettelsau missionaries’ encounter with language and myth in New Guinea
Daniel Midena

Max Wertheimer, ‘Numbers and Numerical Concepts in Primitive Peoples’, in Willis D. Ellis (ed.), A Source Book of Gestalt Psychology (Abingdon: Routledge, 1938). 67 Wertheimer, ‘Numbers and Numerical Concepts’, p. 265. 68 Wertheimer, ‘Numbers and Numerical Concepts’, p. 265

in Savage worlds
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Of images, poetry and Pandaemonium
Owen Evans

, the nature of the images therein and their origins in his life and work as a whole. The chapter will start to look at them through the lenses of his other work and in the context of his lifelong preoccupation with the image. Summarising Jennings’s understanding of the image, Charles Madge likens it to the central principle of gestalt psychology, founded on ‘“the combination of many effects, each utterly insensible alone, into one sum of fine effect”’. 3 A short appreciation of Magritte, written for the surrealist journal London Bulletin

in British art cinema