m of care – aug 19

david on creative refusal

from museum of care fb page:

With David Graeber’s latest book (co-written by David Wengrow), The Dawn of Everything, coming out in October this year, we thought it might be a good idea to dedicate the next reading group to ‘Culture as Creative Refusal,’ which develops as one the of key points of the book.

Link to the text: https://drive.google.com/…/1s2q…/view...

Zoom link:

dawn of everything.. david on dawn of everything.. david wengrow.. et al


notes/quotes from meeting:

steve bachelor: this way of understanding culture.. conscious rejection of B.. in very rejection new orders are created.. sees culture as a deliberate critical project.. that can be done in ways thru refusal in addition to resistance itself.. so helps move along theories of social science that have relied on models.. entropic in a sense.. ie: argue toward a resolution of contradictions.. but that there’s a diff kind of political act .. people in everyday ways defining selves against things.. david says ‘what would it look like if start by creative refusal.. to defend someone against something’

see.. i think that sucks our energy.. it’s like someone else gets to determine the start of each day

kenneth: on dialogistic convo as a mode of knowing.. that one should look coherent.. if we were to refuse coherence as an aesthetic ideal.. and rather.. bring people together.. that normally couldn’t.. that would bring something diff in grad student life.. diff way of thinking about knowledge

let’s refuse student ness..

steve: it’s part of your dissertation.. so in formal institution.. yet you’re arguing in favor of forms of knowledge generated outside of institutions.. encapsulated for me this idea of speculation and surprise.. aka: magic.. underneath all of this that as humans we’re drawn to.. wengrow talks about early cognition (paleo period) .. was like thinking magically

steve: article is very ethnographic.. so i read it w very little expertise.. thesis i accept on its face.. but i’m to well read in heroic societies at all.. so i get where argument goes.. but elements were novel to me.. wonder how david understands heroic societies

vassily: via david’s course on value.. one of main references was.. jim scott’s books.. 1st book on notion of moral econ.. ie: when have a revolt.. later books more about everyday life/resistance.. david liked these more.. ‘domination and the art of resistance’.. david liked because offered diff approach to power.. in ‘the art of not being governed’.. talks about schismogenesis.. david talked about values of what we’re against.. this is where he talked about heroic societies.. great B societies.. came to define selves in opposition to values of society.. ultimate values: order, wealth, security.. vs: charisma, contests, personal reknown.. david talks about anti heroic societies in debt.. many ie’s of that.. in this paper.. saying 1\ societies never in isolation


fuller too much law et al

theory of value

kenneth shared in chat: there is also against the grain: a deep history of the earliest states https://astudygroup.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/against-the-grain_-a-deep-histo-james-c-scott.pdf

steve: in article.. david uses anthro do counter jim

vasilly: paper is called.. ‘ethnogensis, ethnicity, and cultural refusal’.. by rachel corr and karen powers

steve: so if i understand david’s critique.. starting from ethnogenesis is false.. have to start from schismogensis.. because no beginning

rather (from what i’m gathering of schismogenesis).. from letting go .. of that hard won order et al

vassily: on people who flea and the B occurs.. often don’t hear about it.. don’t want to be seen/heard/bothered

nika: not one vs other society

graeber/wengrow back & forth law et al

zinaida: i’m always looking for additional arguments for ie: how would we live w/o colonization of tp.. how to convince people if don’t have ie’s.. an argument for utopian thinking that limits what we have today.. ie: chose something at expense of something else

graeber model law

steve: we would want to dispense of any universals of what comfort is.. even people who see life as something other than kinds of comfort.. when i see refusals reincorporations and refusals.. i see things i don’t want to be a part of.. yet i’m still participating in.. i think each of us have to resolve that in our own way.. and in dialogue w others we consider in our community.. yet.. i belong to a lot of communities i haven’t consented to.. and some i have.. ie: military service.. easier to sign the paper than run away from it.. comes down to how i define comfort.. utopia not either/or.. full of all sorts of contradictions.. like david on anarchism.. an ethics of practice first.. now what i am.. but what am i doing.. ie: i just took a sip of starbucks.. it’s the leftover of my wife.. last 1/3.. my take.. i like the scraps of people who have

in chat:

tanya: Interesting – so if we want to make refusal or alternative choices accessible we need to make it accessible.

kenneth: accessible, desirable

huge –

accessible today.. and something 8b people already crave.. that deep

tanya: Are we always just reacting?

huge question

sucking the energy out of us

vassily: Not reacting can also be a form of resistance I guess

steve: jim would say.. writing books is a solitary endeavor.. don’t know why i chose this works.. but then goes on to say he’s just polishing others’ ideas.. i think humans will enitably rely on categories.. what i like about david’s theory.. starts from action.. schismo allows one to think of aspect.. emotional labor.. and productive labor.. david always about defining a field then go from there ie: because we’re social creatures.. we will behave in certain ways.. i wonder what is david’s categorical status.. i think it’s play and surprise.. and improv.. speculative.. but needs science.. because science is (center) of politics.. makes us rethink.. where are those space of generation.. often times those spaces exists because people are saying.. here’s what i don’t want to be like..

beyond the monastic self ness

yeah.. energy suck

tania: I believe schismogenesis in psychology has to do with interpersonal dynamics and conversation styles.

tanya: i don’t want to react.. but i appreciate the discussion.. i was curious where gregory bateson came up w schismo.. so i’m reading ecology of mind.. i’m in aa.. and there’s a whole chapter on that.. so i’m real curious about the system of refusal..

i think if we go refusal route.. we exhaust our energies on that.. rather than ie: revolution of everyday life.. and revolution in reverse et al


vassily: might be interesting to read bateson in this group.. because we use word schismo a lot in this group..

steve: i’d esp be interested in 2 types of schismo: symmetrical and complementary..

mark in chat: To include in Ken’s language of cogency, we should include ‘false starts’/mistakes in our thinking as well

false start: sea world

nika: 29th reading group about anti Ed..




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