Saturday, September 03, 2005


This from Simon Williams's Emotion and Social Theory:
Within the modern rationalist project--elements of which include the legislative ambitions of philosophical reason, the gardening ambitions of the state, and the ordering ambitions of the applied sciences--underdetermination, ambivalence and contingency are construed as a threat... (17; my emphasis)
Now, there is surely an argument to be made about the relationship between sovereignty and landscape gardening, between politics and pruning, and so on. But I hardly believe that this is what Williams means. Surely this is a typo. What, then, did he mean to write?

I take the correct word to be an antonym of ambivalence, just as legislative ambitions are opposed to underdetermination and order undermined by contingency. But I can't for the life of me think of a word that sounds or looks like "gardening" that would make more sense in this context.

Answers on a postcard, please.

Otherwise, perhaps Williams is indeed referring to the horticultural side of power...

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