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Women’s Studies Conference; RP Dayschool on Hegel, Marx; Derrida in Prison and Dialectic; A New Journal of Philosophy of Education

the worker tries to gain mastery over the labour
process). The contradictions arising directly from
this type of work are arguably near-maximal for free
labour: labour allows negligible mastery of skills;
the efficacy of labour is felt to be external to the
labour process and is located in the spheres of circulation and exchange. It is through consumer power
that the worker feels at home in the world; labour
power is ‘recognised’ as consumer power. Character
formation consequently involves individualist types
of spending pattern, domestic habits and attitudes,
which are thought to compensate for the emptiness of
work (‘consumerism’). However, contradictorily, work
remains the decisive arena to contest the terms of
exchange between capital and labour and such contest-

ation involves collectivist character traits necessary
for attempts at mastery of the labour process (strikes
etc.). This all points to the validity of Luk~cs’

claim about the primacy, as a category of social
being, of control by the subject over the act of
labour, whether as a consequence of more mediate considerations arising from social labour (e.g. wages/
workers’ control) or those intrinsic to the act
itself.

The many points of departure for theory development
contained in Labour make it worthwhile (if difficult)
reading.

Howard Feather

NEWS

News Items
If you attend of hear of events related to Radical
Philosophy’s broad interests or aims, or belong to
a group with goals in co~non with those of Radical
Philosophy (whether or not the group is concerned
with the narrowly philosophical), other readers may
like to hear about it. Why not send us a short
report for the News Section, at the editorial
address?

one that took place in the afternoon. Perhaps for the
first time in this country, a group of feminists
involved in some way with philosophy met to talk about
the relationship between their feminism and their
philosophy. We discussed the ways in which our
feminism either might or does influence our teaching.

A few texts were mentioned as potentially useful in
this regard. Some were American publications written
by American women in a similar position to ourselves.

It emerged that there were political differences
between us, but these were not sufficient, at least at
the outset, to deter us from deciding to continue the
discussions.

Alison Assiter

Women’s Studies Conference
Recently a conference on teaching Women’s Studies was
held in London. The day began with a presentation, by
women involved in Women’s Studies and related courses,
of some of the joys and pitfalls of their teaching and
studying. One of the most interesting, and revealing,
sessions was run collectively by the students in their
final year of the MA in Women’s Studies at Kent
University. They had had to confront several problematic issues – for instance the question of men teaching on the course, and the more general worry over the
nature of the teacher/student relationship. Their
general position was that they did not object to men
qua men teaching, but they did have qualms about, for
instance, a particularly aggressive male teaching a
course on sexuality. And they believed that there
were ways in which the role differences of teacher and
student could be minimised. But some people at the
conference had reservations about the possibility, or
indeed, the legitimacy, of playing down the difference
in function of teacher and student.

For us women in philosophy an exciting session was
40

RP Dayschool on Hegel
Marx and Dialectic
As readers will know from Joe McCarney’s letter in
RP 30, with the revival of interest in Hegelianism in
Britain and North America it is very much a live issue
whether the study of Hegel and Hegelianism should be
a major concern of Radical Philosophy. The dayschool
on ‘Hegel, Marxand Dialectic’ held on 22 March at
Goldsmiths College in London went some way to showing
how it might be.

Two themes of importance were explored. Chris
Arthur and Peter Osborne (from Sussex) read papers
which both bore on the question of the leverage upon
social critique afforded by Hegelian concepts.

Chris’s argument, in many ways a development of his
article in RP 30 – with, incidentally, his first

response to Hunt and Swan’s article in the same issue
– discussed, amongst other things, where it was useful
to use the idea of the negation of the negation.

There were, he argued, sloppy and uninformative uses,
notably in Engels, where the negation of the negation
amounted to little more than a term for describing
the emergence of new concepts in place of contradiction. But the negation of the negation added substantially to our understanding of social progress
where a common subject can be identified at each
stage of the process – notably in MRrx’s account of
the negation of human beings by alienation in private
property. But even these substantial uses may lead,
as they did in Hegel, to merely enclosing unsatisfactory social institutions within others. Thus Chris
wanted to insist that the ‘negation’ of a negation
such as property had to be its real abolition, and
that as a ground for further social progress.

Peter Osborne took issue with Gillian Rose’s
recent Hegel contra Sociology, in which she argues
that all social theory since Hegel – and notably Marx
and Habermas – has reinstituted Kantian transcendental
pre-conditions for social critique. While much of
the discussion naturally focussed on what Rose’s
interpretation of Hegel amounted to and whether it
could be sustained, Peter’s paper also took up the
more general question of whether an Hegelian approach
as described by Rose could be a basis for social
critique. On Peter’s account, Rose regarded the
Hegelian Absolute, in which finite and infinite are
united, as a sufficient basis for critique, even
though the absolute cannot be known but only expounded
in a phenomenology such as Hegel’s. Peter argued that
this experience of the Absolute only showed us that
social or ‘ethical’ life was in general determinate
md finite. We would still need a social theory to
understand the given forms of determinateness, and
that is implicitly ruled out by Rose’s view.

The second important theme raised during the day
was that of the justification of acts of resistance
to an established order. Dave Lamb (from Manchester)
read a paper on Hegel’s view of the ‘moral rebel’

who in opposing a given level of ethical development
brings about or foreshadows progress beyond it. The
subsequent discussion on the role of the rebel seemed
to me the liveliest of the day. The considerable
detailed knowledge of Hegel which Dave and others
present were able to bring to the discussion made
insights from Hegel rise above the usual obscurity.

We hope to hold another dayschool on the same
general area. For attendance at the school exceeded
our expectations, more speakers are available, and
there is clearly plenty to discuss. A further school
may take place in June, so readers should keep a lookout for notices, or write to Madan Sarup (at
Goldsmiths College, New Cross, London SE16) or to me
(at the editorial address) for more information
nearer the time.

No~l Parker, March 1982

Derrida in Prison
Towards the end of December last year the French
philosopher Jacques Derrida suffered, at the hands of
the Czech authorities, the kind of harrassment which
has already been meted out to visiting academics from
Britain and Canada. Derrida, who is married to a
Czech, arrived in Prague on Saturday 26 December with
the purpose of participating in an ‘unofficial’

philosophical seminar. This was to be one of a series
of meetin~s which, for the previous year and a half,
had been held on a weekly basis under the aegis of
the former Charter ’77 spokesperson Ladislav Hejdanek.

Czech writers and academics whose political views
clash with the dogma of the regime are not only
expelled from their posts, but deprived of access to
libraries and other basic instruments of information
and research. Hejdanek’s seminars, like those
formerly organised by Julius Tomin (now in exile),
were in part intended to alleviate the resulting
intellectual isolation by putting such people in
contact with representatives of their disciplines
from other countries.

Derrida did participate as planned in the seminar
at Hejdanek’s home the following Monday, but failed
to return as expected the next evening. Since two
other participants had been tailed after leaving the
meeting, it was assumed that Derrida had been picked
up by the police and expelled from the country like
his British and Canadian predecessors. In fact the
Czech authorities had gone one step further. In line
with a. growing tendency to employ criminal charges
against domestic poU tical offenderc;, Derrida ha.d
been arrested and imprisoned on a lucidrous accusation of ‘drug-smuggling’.

Fortunately, Derrida’s spell in jail·was not prolonged. After a flurry of diplomatic activity in
Prague and in Paris he was released in the early
hours of Friday morning, and left for France by train
the same day. As is the custom on such occasions, a
group of leading French intellectuals – including
Etienne Balibar, Michel Foucault, Felix Guattari and
Jean Genet – issued a communiqu~ expressing relief at
his release. The statement continued:

Because Jacques Derrida represented us all in
Prague, indignation is not enough. We consider
the increasing cynicism of this totalitarian
regime as an act of force, an ill omen, and a
political attack on all those, both in
Czechoslovakia and in Poland, who are
struggling for basic freedoms.

Peter Dews

VIVE LA /.U1T£
DES TRAVAllLlVRS
DANSUS

PET/rES

ENTe£PHISES
41

A New Journal of
Philosophy of Educ·ation
A group of philosophers of education centred at the
University of Auckland have told us of their plans
for a low-cost alternative journal of philosophy of
education to challenge stagnation in that field and
give attention to emerging critical themes. The
journal, to be called Access, will be published twice
yearly from the Department of Education at the
University of Auckland, Private Bag, Auckland, New
Zealand. Early editions are likely to include work
from Kevin Harris, Maxine Green, ran Snook, Colin
Evers, Jim Walker and James McClellan. Requests for
subscriptions should be sent to Reaper Press Ltd,
28 Rothesay Bay Road, Auckland 10.

Books Received

w.

D.

Nol:H Parker
S.

H.

M.

M.

J.

R.

P.

J.

F.

K.

S.

R.

A.

S.

C.

M.

G.

J.

W.

H.

P.

T.

If~~~&i
~;:.,:.~.~.::

G.

K.

J.

C.

A.

42

~T. Cook and D. Punter, Romanticism and
Ideology, RKP, £6.95 pb
Bienkowski, Theory and Reality, Allison & Busby,
£10.95 hc, £5.95 pb
Davis, The Unique Animal, Prytaneum Press
(121 Bouverie Road, London N16), £12.95 hc,
£6.95 pb
Clarke, The Foundations of Structuralism,
Harvester, £20 hc
Cowen, The Crisis in Urban Planning – A Marxist
Perspective (Glos. papers in Local and Urban
Planning 11, Dept of Town Planning, Glos. College
of Arts &Technology), no price.

Davies, Meaning~ Quantification~ Necessity, RKP,
£14.95 hc
Evans, Lucien Goldmann – an introduction,
Harvester, £15.95 hc
Femia, Gramsci’s Political Thought, OUP,
£17.50 hc
Geyer and D. Schweitzer (eds), Alienation, RKP,
£12.50 hc
Green, The Pursuit of Inequality, Martin
Robertson, £12.50 hc
Hall, Diagnoses of Our Time, Heinemann,
£16.50 hc
Halliday and M. Molyneux, The Ethiopian Revolution,
NLB, £15 hc, £5.95 pb
Harris, Teachers and Classes – A Marxist
Perspective, RKP, £4.95 pb
Heath, Questions of Cinema, MacMillan, £12.50
hc, £4.95 ph
Keat, The Politics of Social Theory, Blackwell,
£12.50 hc, £4.95 pb
Lacey, Modern Philosophy – an introduction, RKP,
£7.95 hc, £3.95 pb
Kruks, The Political Philosophy of Merleau-Ponty,
Harvester, £16.50 hc
Levi-Strauss, The Naked Man, Jonathan Cape,
£17.50 hc
Lowy, The Politics of Combined and Uneven
Development, NLB, £12 hc, £4.50 pb
MacDonald (ed), Perception and Identity, essays
presented to A.J. Ayer, Macmillan £6.95 hc
Moline, Plato’s Theory of Understanding,
University of Wisconsin Press, no price
Newton-Smith, The Rationality of Science, RKP,
£9.95 hc, £5.95 pb
O’Brien, The Politics of Reproduction, RKP,
£11.95 hc
Ricoeur, Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences,
Cambridge, £20 hc, £6.95 pb
Rockmore et aI, Marxism and Alternatives,
D. Reidel, no price
Rose, Hegel Contra Sociology, Athlone Press,
£18 hc, £6.95 pb
Soper, On Human Needs, Harvester, £18.95 hc
Thompson, Critical Hermeneutics – the Thought of
Ricoeur and Habermas, Cambridge, £17.50 hc
Wringe, Children’s Rights, RKP, £12.50 hc
Whitmarsh, Simone de Beauvoir and the Limits of
Commitment, Cambridge, £14.50 hc

D. Aers,

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