Thursday, February 6, 2014

After authority, too?

I teach an upper-level class on “Culture and power” which examines the workings of “power” outside of explicitly political institutions (but still mostly on a larger social context, not in private relations along the lines of “the personal is political”). At the start of the semester we talked a little bit about the power relation which exists in the classroom between the teacher/professor and the students. Then, the other day a student from next door stepped in at the start of our class and asked me if she could borrow my chair since they did not have enough chairs in their classroom.

I did not really mind, since I can’t teach sitting – so I graciously gave my office-style throne away. But I kept thinking – is there a common “cause” for whole societies moving beyond this or that – or for “the end” of (almost) everything as we (or our grandparents) knew it? I guess there is – but it’s complicated; I would need to write a book to explain it all. By the way, “After Authority” is the title of a book which came out in 2000 (and was rereleased as an ebook in 2012).