Birmingham Sch. and first instance

Pete Bratsis aki at cunyvms1.gc.cuny.edu
Mon Dec 5 23:08:34 MST 1994



I suspect that the quote given might come from one of Hall's early
essay's 'Rethinking the Base and Superstructure Metaphor' (in Class,
Hegemony and Party, 1977) - I've never read it so I can't say for sure.
I've only read his stuff on Thatcherism and his debate with Jessop.

While noting the economic dimentions of everyday life or culture
is not 'demystifing' - noting the class dimensions of such examples
are. Instrumetal rationality is not class neutral .
As Claus Offe notes in his 'Two logics of collective action', instrumental
rationality functions very well in sychronysing capitalist collective action
but is counter productive for prol. collective action.  Given that collective
action amoung workers implies actual individuals commining together and acting
in concert - there is a necessary level of reaching understanding/producing
higher identies.  Instrumental rationality necessarily works against such
'reaching-understanding' levels for labor by functing to atomize workers,
etc, etc.  As we speak, there are thousands of students studing for their
M.B.A. learning the latest techniques on how to syncronize the movements
and actions of capital.  Workers have yet to establish and formalize
how workers can establish what is in their best interest.

In this respect, I suppose one can talk about a determination in the first
instance since what is being determined is the actual choice of actions
rather than the effect on the action by some limiting force.  What I
like about Hall is his abandoning of the concept of 'false consciousness'
in favor of establing the rational foundations people have in accepting
a given hegemonic project - highlighting the importance of cultural
awairness and political cleverness necessary for any hegemonic project to
be successful.  In conjucture with this point, it should also be noted
that the working class has structural impediments in this decision making
process given the foregoing and the 'cultural effects' of capital and its
requiste instrumental rationality.


Peter Bratsis
Grad. Center, CUNY





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