Marxist theories of etiquette? (fwd)

Kenny Mostern kennym at
Sat Mar 11 13:28:16 MST 1995

[at first I sent this only to Jon, and then I decided it was list


The basic outlines of what you said seem to me fine, and I always
especially appreciate the claim that must revolts on behalf of
"vulgarity" are aristocratic in origin--certainly that is my take as well.

I do, hoever, think you overstate the extent to which working class
revolt against bourgois etiquette tends to accept the values of
politeness into which it maneuvers.  In general, I think there have
always been serious splits in the working class movements on this
question, splits that often get articulated to the category "gender",
though no always appropriately.  It is plausible that those seeking
"leadership" of the working class have always tended unusually much to
acceptance of bourgeois manners, and in doing so have improved their own
positions more than their class's.  Finally, and I believe this is the
case in any elaborated theory of coalition politics, to have insides and
outsides to etiquette, to acknowledge that vulgarity is appropriate under
certain conditions and manners is appropriate under others.  The
challenge is to define when and where.

Kenny Mostern
UC-Berkeley Ethnic Studies Graduate Group

Against:  racism, sexism, homophobia, capitalism, militarism
For:  the truth--and the funk!

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