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General News    H4'ed 6/20/21

My Interpretation of Vociferous Contemporary American Conservatives Today

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General Audience with Pope Francis
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Duluth, Minnesota (OpEdNews) June 20, 2021: In the spirit of celebrating Father's Day 2021, I will celebrate the thought of the American Jesuit Renaissance specialist and cultural historian Walter J. Ong (1912-2003; Ph.D. in English, Harvard University, 1955).

Figuratively speaking, Father Ong was a father figure to me in my adult life - just as the fictional character Saul Berenson (played by Mandy Patinkin) is a father figure to Carrie Mathison (played by Claire Danes) in the television series Homeland (2011-2020; 96 episodes).

Now, Ong liked to characterize his own thought as phenomenological and personalist in cast. In addition, Ong regularly refers to his noetic (his term) concerns. For further discussion of Ong's philosophical thought, see my lengthy OEN article "Walter J. Ong's Philosophical Thought" (dated September 20, 2020):

Click Here

However. in the present review essay, I am also writing to call your attention to Kia Hamid Yeganeh's exciting new forthcoming article "Orality, Literacy, and the 'Great Divide' in Cultural Values" in the International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy (Emerald Publishing). Professor Yeganeh in business and global management at Winona State University in Minnesota was kind enough to send me drafts of his forthcoming article.

In 2010, I myself published a lengthy review essay in Emerald Publishing's print and online journal On the Horizon, volume 18, number 4 (pages 337-345). (But it was not about Ong's work.)

In the present review essay, I will highlight Professor Yeganeh's exciting forthcoming new article and certain highlights of Ong's thought. In addition, I will highlight certain aspects of Michel Foucault's work, including the 2021 English translation of his posthumous book Confessions of the Flesh, volume 4 in The History of Sexuality series. The present review essay is admittedly associative and digressive. It unfolds in four subsections:

(1) Introductory Remarks;

(2) Walter J. Ong's Testimony;

(3) Michel Foucault's Testimony;

(4) Hamid Yeganeh's Testimony.

In the subsection "Michel Foucault's Testimony," I will highlight not only the 2021 English translation of Foucault's posthumously published book Confessions of the Flesh, but also the American Jesuit James W. Bernauer's comprehensive 1990 book about Foucault's thought. Through my interpolated interpretations in brackets in one lengthy quote from Bernauer below about Foucault's most vociferous critics, I indicate for you how I interpret the vociferous contemporary American conservatives today, including certain ultra-conservative American Catholic bishops who now want to publicly prevent our American Catholic President Joe Biden from receiving the Roman Catholic sacrament of Holy Communion at Mass.

Because today is Father's Day 2021, I would also encourage you to reflect on what sorry father figures that those American Catholic bishops are. Even though Pope Francis is deeply doctrinally conservative, he is not such a sorry father figure as those American Catholic bishops are. For further discussion of just how doctrinally conservative Pope Francis is, see my OEN article "Pope Francis on Evil and Satan" (dated March 24, 2019):

Click Here

Clearly Pope Francis exemplifies how a Roman Catholic bishop can be doctrinally conservative, but without simultaneously being a culture warrior, as certain American Catholic bishops are.

Now, briefly, the vociferous contemporary American conservatives today are still deeply embedded in the consciousness that evolved in Western culture under the influence of the print culture that emerged after the Gutenberg printing press emerged in the mid-1450s.

INTRODUCTORY REMARKS

Professor Yeganeh is a professor of international management at Winona State University in Minnesota. His research focuses on international business and cross-cultural management. He has published in more than two dozen international journals.

Could Professor Yeganeh's exciting forthcoming new article be a harbinger of further comparably exciting developments to come in the near future as we continue to emerge collectively in our still ongoing battle against Covid-19?

In his exciting forthcoming new article, Professor Yeganeh analyzes the conceptual relationships between orality/literacy studies, on the one hand, and, on the other, studies of cultural values. He "adopts a purely conceptual approach to connect orality and literacy [studies] with eleven cultural dimensions adopted from [the studies of] Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck's (1961), Hall's (1976), and Inglehart's (1997)." From those studies, he identifies eleven pairs of cultural dimensions.

For the orality/literacy studies that Professor Yeganeh works with in his exciting forthcoming new article, he draws on various other relevant sources: "(Akinnaso, 1982; Chafe, 1982; DeVito, 1966; Havelock and Herschell, 1978; Horowitz and Berkowitz, 1964; Horowitz and Newman, 1964; Jahandarie, 1999; McLuhan et al., 2011; Ong, 1982)."

Professor Yeganeh's reference here to McLuhan is to an edition of Marshall McLuhan's 1962 book The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (University of Toronto Press). As you know, not many academics in the 1960s and 1970s reacted as positively to McLuhan's 1962 book as Walter Ong did in his 1962 review of McLuhan's book in the Jesuit-sponsored magazine America. Ong's 1962 book review is reprinted, along with other Ong pieces about McLuhan, in An Ong Reader: Challenges for Further Inquiry, edited by me and Paul A. Soukup (Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, 2002, pages 307-308; see the "Index" for further references to McLuhan).

Even though McLuhan's name was widely known in the popular press in the 1960s and the 1970s, not many academics in the 1960s and 1970s reacted positively to his work, as the essays that Gary Genosko reprinted in the three volumes of his book series Marshall McLuhan: Critical Evaluations in Cultural Theory (London and New York: Routledge, 2005) show.

Nevertheless, I would also call your attention to the more positive academic developments that Marco Mostert itemizes in his 575-page 2012 book A Bibliography of Works on Medieval Communication (Turnhout: Brepols).

Perhaps Professor Yeganeh's article "Orality, Literacy, and the 'Great Divide' in Cultural Values" in the International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy will help prompt more contemporary academics to revisit McLuhan's 1962 book.

WALTER ONG'S TESTIMONY

Professor Yeganeh's reference here to Ong is to his 1982 book Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word (London and New York: Methuen), his most widely translated book.

In Professor Yeganeh's title "Orality, Literacy, and the 'Great Divide' in Cultural Values," he uses quotation marks around the expression the "Great Divide." Even though I myself have not used the expression the "great divide" non-pejoratively, as Professor Yeganeh does, to his credit, in my estimate, I myself have come close to the spirit Professor Yeganeh's non-pejorative use of the expression in certain striking contrasts that I spell out in my article "Walter Ong and Harold Bloom Can Help Us Understand the Hebrew Bible" in Explorations in Media Ecology, volume 11, numbers 3&4 (2012): pages 255-272 (see esp. 260-261).

Of course, you could argue that all of the bipolar dialectical contrasts that Ong operationally defines and explains can also be described by the non-pejorative use of the expression the "great divide." That is, the dialectical contrasts that Ong glories in working with involves a so-called "great divide" conceptually.

Now, when Professor Yeganeh describes his approach in his exciting forthcoming new article as "a purely conceptual approach," he means it! In other words, he succinctly characterizes whatever conceptual frameworks he borrows from his various sources. Put differently, in Ong's 1982 book Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word (London and New York: Methuen), his most widely translated book, Ong operationally defines and explains each of the nine "Further Characteristics of Orally Based Thought and Expression" that he discusses (pages 36-57) a wee bit more fully than Professor Yeganeh operationally defines and explains his eleven somewhat similar conceptual frameworks that he borrows from Ong and his various other sources; hence, Professor Yeganeh aptly characterizes his approach as "a purely conceptual approach."

To review, here are Ong's nine "Further Characteristics of Orally Based Thought and Expression":

(1) orally based thought and expression is additive rather than subordinative (pp. 37-38);

(2) orally based thought and expression is aggregative rather than analytic (pp. 38-39);

(3) orally based thought and expression is redundant or "copious" (pp. 39-41);

(4) orally based thought and expression is conservative or traditionalist (pp. 41-42);

(5) orally based thought and expression is close to the human lifeworld (pp. 42-43);

(6) orally based thought and expression is agonistically toned (pp. 43-45);

(7) orally based thought and expression is empathetic and participatory rather than objectively distanced (pp. 45-46);

(8) orally based thought and expression is homeostatic (pp. 46-49);

(9) orally based thought and expression is situational rather than abstract (pp. 49-57).

Now, if Ong's nine characterizations are accurate for primary orality, then secondary orality would deeply resonate with our collective memory of these nine characteristics of primary oral thought and expression in our collective unconscious (in Jung's terminology).

However, Ong's nine characteristics of orally based thought and expression can also be re-phrased as not being the characteristics of literate thought and expression - that is, literacy, for short:

(1) literacy tends not to be additive rather than subordinative; instead, it tends toward subordinative structures and expressions;

(2) literacy tends not to be aggregative rather than analytic; instead, it tends toward the analytic;

(3) literacy tends not to be redundant or "copious"; instead, it tends to eschew redundancy or "copiousness";

(4) literacy tends not to be conservative or traditionalist; instead, it tends toward being inner-directed and individualistic;

(5) literacy tends not to be close to the human lifeworld; instead, it tends towards detachment from the human lifeworld;

(6) literacy tends not to be agonistically toned; instead, it tends toward being irenic;

(7) literacy tends not to be empathetic and participatory rather than objectively distanced; instead, it tends toward being objectively distanced;

(8) literacy tends not to be homeostatic; instead, it tends toward favoring change;

(9) literacy tends not to be situational rather than abstract; instead, it tends toward being abstract.

As we will see below, Professor Yeganeh's composite list of eleven characteristic somewhat resembles Ong's list of nine characteristics.

In any event, Professor Yeganeh's "purely conceptual approach" in his exciting forthcoming new article strikes me as being consistent with the spirit of Ong's relationist thesis in the "Preface" to his 1977 book Interfaces of the Word: Studies in the Evolution of Consciousness and Culture (Cornell University Press, pages 9-13). In it, Ong says the following in the first sentence: "The present volume carries forward work in two earlier volumes by the same author, The Presence of the Word (1967) and Rhetoric, Romance, and Technology (1971)." He then discusses these two earlier volumes briefly.

Then Ong says, "The thesis of these two earlier works is sweeping, but it is not reductionist, as reviewers and commentators, so far as I know, have all generously recognized: the works do not maintain that the evolution from primary orality through writing and print to an electronic culture, which produces secondary orality, causes or explain everything in human culture and consciousness. Rather, the thesis is relationist: major developments, and very likely even all major developments, in culture and consciousness are related, often in unexpected intimacy, to the evolution of the word from primary orality to its present state. But the relationships are varied and complex, with cause and effect often difficult to distinguish" (page 9-10; emphasis added).

Thus Ong himself claims (1) that his thesis is "sweeping" but (2) that the shifts do not "cause or explain everything in human culture and consciousness" and (3) that the shifts are related to "major developments, and very likely even all major developments, in culture and consciousness."

Major cultural developments include the rise of modern science, the rise of modern capitalism, the rise of representative democracy, the rise of the Industrial Revolution, and the rise of the Romantic Movement in philosophy, literature, and the arts.

In my estimate, Ong implicitly also works with this relationist thesis in his massively researched 1958 book Ramus, Method, and the Decay of Dialogue: From the Art of Discourse to the Art of Reason (Harvard University Press) - his major exploration of the influence of the Gutenberg printing press that emerged in the mid-1450s. Taking a hint from Ong's massively researched 1958 book, Marshall McLuhan worked up some examples of his own in his sweeping 1962 book The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (University of Toronto Press).

Next in Ong's 1977 "Preface," he explains certain lines of investigation that he further develops in Interfaces of the Word. Then he says, "At a few points, I refer in passing to the work of French and other European structuralists - variously psychoanalytic, phenomenological, linguistic, or anthropological in cast - such as Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan, Roland Barthes, and Tzvetan Todorov, not to mention Claude Levi-Strauss and certain cisatlantic critics such as Paul de Man, Geoffrey Hartman, J. Hillis Miller, and Harold Bloom, who are more or less in dialogue with these Europeans" (page 10).

Now, Ong is not everybody's cup of tea, figuratively speaking. Consider, for example, Ong's own modesty in the subtitle of his 1967 book The Presence of the Word: Some Prolegomena for Cultural and Religious History (Yale University Press), the expanded published version of Ong's 1964 Terry Lectures at Yale University. His wording "Some Prolegomena" clearly acknowledges that he does not explicitly claim that his thesis as he formulated it in his 1977 "Preface" does "explain everything in human culture and consciousness" - or every cause -- but that the shifts he points out are "sweeping."

Now, please note just how careful and cagey Ong's wording is when he says that his account of the evolution of certain changes does not "explain everything in human culture and consciousness" - or every cause.

On the one hand, Ong's terminology about primary oral culture (and primary orality, for short; and his earlier terminology about primarily oral culture) is sweeping in as much as it refers to all of our pre-historic human ancestors.

On the other hand, his cagey remark about sorting out cause and effect does not automatically rule out the possibility that certain changes somehow contributed to the eventual historical development of writing systems and specifically phonetic alphabetic writing (= literacy) as well as to the historical development of human settlement in agriculture (or agrarian) societies and economies.

MICHEL FOUCAULT'S TESTIMONY

Now, in 2021, the English translation of Michel Foucault's unfinished posthumous book was published: Confessions of the Flesh: The History of Sexuality: Volume 4, translated by Robert Hurley; edited and with a "Foreword" by Frederic Gros (New York: Pantheon Books; orig. French ed., 2018). In it, the scholar, public intellectual, and political activist Michel Foucault (1926-1984), who completed graduate studies in both philosophy and psychology, and who subsequently taught both philosophy and psychology, closely details in ancient Western Christian texts what Ong refers to in his 1982 book Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word, mentioned above, as the inward turn of consciousness (esp. pages 178-179).

Arguably Ong's deepest discussion of the inward turn of consciousness can be found in his 1986 book Hopkins, the Self, and God (University of Toronto Press), the published version of Ong's 1981 Alexander Lectures at the University of Toronto.

Now, Foucault's discussion in Confessions of the Flesh of spiritual direction in the context of early Christian monasticism is detailed. Consequently, I want to point out here that the spiritual direction that Ong received in the Jesuit order no doubt differed in certain ways from what Foucault describes. The American Jesuit Joseph A. Tetlow discusses Jesuit spiritual direction in his new book Handing on the Fire: Making Spiritual Direction Ignatian (Boston: Institute of Jesuit Sources, 2021).

Now, in Frederic Gros' "Foreword" to Foucault's Confessions of the Flesh (pages vii-xiii), Gros notes that Foucault's 1976 first volume of The History of Sexuality in French was subtitled The Will to Know (page vii), a subtitle that does not appear on the title page of the 1978 English translation - which is subtitled An Introduction.

In 1970-1971, Foucault presented Lectures on the Will to Know: Lectures at the College de France 1970-1971, edited by Daniel Defert; translated by Graham Burchell (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).

For a relevant historical study of the conceptualization of the will in Western culture, see Vernon J. Bourke's book Will in Western Thought: An Historico-Critical Survey (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1964).

However, with respect to Foucault's Confessions of the Flesh, it strikes me that his 1981 lectures at the Catholic University of Louvain are most relevant. See the 2014 English translation of them as the book Wrong-Doing, Truth-Telling: The Function of Avowal in Justice, translated by Stephen W. Sawyer; edited by Fabienne Brion and Bernard E. Harcourt (University of Chicago Press; orig. French ed., 2012). In their helpful essay "The Louvain Lectures in Context" (pages 271-321), Brion and Harcourt repeatedly refer to Foucault's five May 1973 lectures on "Truth and Juridical Forms" at the Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro (pages 272, 281, 284, and 301).

Now, in the 750-page 2014 book The Cambridge Foucault Lexicon, edited by Leonard Lawlor and John Nale, the American Jesuit James W. Bernauer (born in 1944) in philosophy at Boston College contributed entries for understanding Foucault's Confessions of the Flesh on "Christianity" (pages 61-63), "Confession" (pages 75-79), and "Religion" (pages 429-431).

Bernauer is the author of the comprehensive 1990 book Michel Foucault's Force of Flight: Toward an Ethics for Thought (Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press). Bernauer studied under Foucault in Paris, and he started writing his comprehensive book before Foucault's death in 1984. In Bernauer's chapter "Ecstatic Thinking" (pages 158-184), he says, "The last experience of thought that Foucault elaborated as an escape from the prison of [Enlightenment] humanism [also known as rationalism] was an ecstatic thinking, a characterization that may be understood provisionally as a designation for two transitions. . . . The first section of this chapter, 'On Christian Experience' [pages 161-165], focuses on the context and the content of this study [Foucault's study of the classical and early Christian eras], which would have been the substance of the announced fourth volume in his history of sexuality, Confessions of the Flesh. Respecting Foucault's own wishes, this unfinished volume will never appear" (pages 159-160). However, contrary to Foucault's own expressed wishes that no posthumous books be published, this unfinished but well-developed book has now been published.

Figuratively speaking, Ong's similar escape from the prison of Enlightenment rationalism occurred in his massively researched 1958 book Ramus, Method, and the Decay of Dialogue: From the Art of [Personalist and Agonistic] Discourse to the Art of [De-Personalized and Conceptually Agonistic] Reason [in the Age of Reason and Enlightenment Rationalism] (Harvard University Press) - a profound philosophical study, the philosophical import of which has not yet been widely recognized by philosophy professors (with the notable exception of James Collins [1917-1985; Ph.D. in philosophy, Catholic University of America, 1944] in philosophy at Saint Louis University).

In any event, Bernauer also says, "Having wondered for several years about the violent reactions Foucault evokes [as did Marshall McLuhan also], I have come to conclude that his work, especially its last stage [involving ecstatic thinking], exposed an especially sensitive area of contemporary consciousness, not only its reluctance to think differently, but more important, its sacralization of the modern [Enlightenment] experience of the self [in what Ong and McLuhan refer to as print culture]. This experience [of print culture] functions as a refuge from a world and a history that are grasped as fatally determined. Foucault's uncovering [in his late work] of the early [classical and ancient Christian] processes from which the experience of the self [in print culture] derives, and his call to abandon that experience [of print culture], affronted not only a philosophical position but a love, a self-love, that survives in a culture that has lost its way intellectually, politically, and morally. . . . [Foucault's] ecstatic renunciation [in his late work] of the modern relation to the self [in print culture], which is announced in Foucault's last writings, was unacceptable [to his most vociferous critics] because all too many in his audience have only that relation as an imagined barrier to nihilism" (page 160).

In a very different context, Ong refers to certain present-day thought as being subject-oriented, but not "subjective" (in his 1986 book Hopkins, the Self, and God, page 95; also see pages 83and 130). According to Bernauer's account of Foucault's late work, Foucault's late work is subject-oriented, but not subjective (i.e., not narcissistic, as Foucault's most vociferous critics claimed he was).

Perhaps not surprisingly, Bernauer is also the author of the entry titled "Ong, Walter J., S.J. (1912-2003)" in The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Jesuits, edited by Thomas Worcester and others (pages 575-576).

Now, for understandable reasons, in the 750-page 2014 book The Cambridge Foucault Lexicon, Charles E. Scott does not happen to refer explicitly to Foucault's then-unpublished work Confessions of the Flesh in his somewhat lengthy entry on "Genealogy" (pages 165-174).

But Scott says that Foucault "wrote in an essay published in 1982 that the goal of his work since the early 1960s 'has not been to analyze the phenomena of power, nor to elaborate the foundations of such an analysis. My objective, instead, has been to create a history of the different modes by which, in our culture, human beings are made subjects. . . . [I]t is not power, but the subject, that is the general theme of my research'" (quoted on page172; ellipsis and bracketed material supplied by Scott).

Foucault makes his overall concern with the subject sound like a deep exploration of what Ong refers to as the inward turn of consciousness.

Now, in the fall semester of 1982, Foucault presented faculty seminar at the University of Vermont. After his death on June 25, 1984, in Paris at the age of 58, the 1988 book Technologies of the Self: A Seminar with Michel Foucault, edited by Luther H. Martin, Huck Gutman, and Patrick H. Hutton, was published by the University of Massachusetts Press. Rux S. Martin wrote the "Introduction" (pages 3-8).

For many informed academics in the 1970s and 1980s and subsequently, Foucault was a thought leader. But as we collectively continue to emerge from our still ongoing battle against Covid-19, are Foucault's academic followers yet ready to move on to the further challenges of Ong's mature thought from the early 1950s onward and of Professor Yeganeh's exciting forthcoming new article?

In Martin's "Introduction," he says, "Shortly before his death in 1984, Michel Foucault spoke of an idea for a new book on 'technologies of the self.' He described it as 'composed of different papers about the self (for instance, a commentary on Plato's Alcibiades in which you find the first elaboration of the notion of epimeleia beautou, 'care of oneself'), about the role of reading and writing in constituting the self . . . and so on.' The book Foucault envisioned was based on a faculty seminar on 'Technologies of the Self,' originally presented at the University of Vermont in the fall of 1982. This volume is a partial record of that seminar" (page 3; ellipsis supplied by Martin).

Martin is quoting from page 62 of the published interview of Foucault conducted by Paul Rabinow and Hubert L. Dreyfus, both professors at UC-Berkeley, and published as "How We Behave" in the November 4, 1983 issue of Vanity Fair (pages ?????).

The same interview with Foucault also appears as "On the Genealogy of Ethics: An Overview of Work in Progress" in the 1983 second edition of Dreyfus and Rabinow's book Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics (University of Chicago Press, 1983, pages 229-252, with Foucault's statement about "the role of reading and writing in constituting the self" appearing on page 231; but also see pages 245, 246, 247, 248, and 250). Dreyfus and Rabinow say that they interviewed Foucault at Berkeley in April 1983, in English (page 229).

Now, as Foucault's references to Plato and to the role of reading and writing suggest, he is thinking primarily of Western literacy. However, for Ong, orality/literacy studies encompass the whole human race, including persons in pre-literate and residually oral cultures. See Ong's article "Orality-Literacy Studied and the Unity of the Human Race" in the journal Oral Tradition, volume 2, number 1 (January 1987): pages 371-382.

Similarly, in Professor Yeganeh's exciting forthcoming new article "Orality, Literacy, and the 'Great Divide' in Cultural Values," he includes social values not only in literate cultures, but also in pre-literate and residually oral cultures as well.

The 1983 second edition of Dreyfus and Rabinow's book on Foucault also includes a two-part "Afterword: The Subject and Power" by Foucault (pages 208-226). The first part "Why Study Power: The Question of the Subject" was written in English by Foucault (pages 208-216). The second part "How is Power Exercised?" was written in French by Foucault and translated into English by Leslie Sawyer (pages 216-226).

In the second part, Foucault says something else that ties into another theme in Ong's mature work from the early 1950s onward: "Rather than speaking of an essential freedom, it would be better to speak of an 'agonism' - of a relationship which is at the same time reciprocal incitation and struggle; less a face-to-face confrontation which paralyzes both sides than a permanent provocation" (page 222).

Ong discusses agonistic structures in his 1981 book Fighting for Life: Contest, Sexuality, and Consciousness (Cornell University Press), the published version of his 1979 Messenger Lectures at Cornell University.

But also see Ong's further discussion of agonistic structures in his 1982 essay "The Agonistic Base of Scientifically Abstract Thought: Issues in Fighting for Life: Contest, Sexuality, and Consciousness" that is reprinted in An Ong Reader: Challenges for Further Inquiry, edited by me and Paul A. Soukup (Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, 2002, pages 479-495).

Also of related interest is Harold Bloom's 1982 book Agon: Towards a Theory of Revisionism (Oxford University Press).

Now, in the 1983 second edition of Dreyfus and Rabinow's book, mentioned above, Foucault says, "I have more than a draft of a book about sexual ethics in the sixteenth century, in which also the problem of the techniques of the self, self-examination, the cure of souls is very important, both in the Protestant and Catholic churches" (page 231). It would be wonderful to see Foucault's draft published!

For further discussion of Foucault's Confessions of the Flesh, see my 4,800-word online essay "Michel Foucault's 2021 Book on Ancient Western Christianity, and Walter J. Ong's Thought":

https://hdl.handle.net/11299/220309

HAMID YEGANEV'S TESTIMONY

Now, in Professor Yeganeh's exciting forthcoming new article "Orality, Literacy, and the 'Great Divide' in Cultural Values," among other things, he says, "literacy can be considered as much a consequence of socio-economic development as it is its cause (Fuller et al., 1987; Graff, 1979, 1986; Stanovich, 1993). Whether we take literacy as the cause of socio-economic development or its effect, we should recognize that the cultural and social divide between orality and literacy remains significant." Amen.

When Professor Yeganeh links his eleven adapted conceptual frameworks about orality and literacy with eleven various cultural dimensions, he produces the following list of characteristics, each of which he briefly operationally defines and explains:

(3.1) Concrete vs. Abstract;

(3.2) Additive vs. Subordinative;

(3.3) Redundant vs. Concise;

(3.4) Emotionally Resonant vs. Accurate;

(3.5) Homeostatic vs. Accumulative;

(3.6) Fluid Knowledge vs. Solid Knowledge;

(3.7) Communal Learning vs. Individual Learning;

(3.8) Mnemonic vs. Analytic;

(3.9) Subjective Information vs. Objective Information;

(3.10) Simple vs. Complex;

(3.11) Conservative and Traditionalist vs. Changeable and Speculative.

However, Professor Yeganeh enumerates only nine cultural dimensions. In short, "orality is associated with cultural values such as high-context communication, poly-chronic time, public space proxemics, collectivism, hierarchical social structure, subjugation, past-orientation, religiousness/traditionalism, and survival dimensions."

"By contrast, literacy is connected to values such as low context communication, mono-chronic time, private space proxemics, individualism, egalitarian social structure, dominance, future orientation, secularity/rationality, and self-expression cultural dimensions."

In an email message to me dated June 8, 2021, Professor Yeganeh says, "I am working on another paper connecting orality/literacy to management practices and organizational phenomena. I am relying on W. Ong, J. Goody, and C. Levi-Strauss, among others." I look forward to seeing Professor Yeganeh's new essay.

 

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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; Ph.D.in higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)
 

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