Introduction : ‘We have been taught, inside the classroom and outside of it, that there exists an entity called the West, and that one can think of this West as a society and civilization independent of and in opposition to other societies and civilizations. Many of us even grew up believing that this West has a genealogy, according to which ancient Greece begat Rome, Rome begat Christian Europe, Christian Europe begat the Renaissance, the Renaissance the Enlightenment, the Enlightenment political democracy and the industrial revolution.’ (p. 5)
About sociology and the way of analyzing societies or nations, after the advent of capitalism, that gave way to the idea of societies or nation-states as ‘islands’ that follow an ‘inner clock-work’, he writes : ‘Since social relations have been severed from their economic, political, or ideological context, it is easy to conceive of the nation-state as a structure of social ties informed by moral consensus rather than as a nexus of economic, political, and ideological relationships connected to other nexuses. Contentless social relations, rather than economic, political, or ideological forces, thus become the prime movers of sociological theory.’ (p. 9)
At another place Nikolaus Dimmel comes to a similar conclusion when talking about the analysis of violence in sociology : ‘The mainstream in sociology is not capable of explaining the power relations other than through personal relation(ship)s. Violence is generally seen as physical or psychological damage and/or the threatening by others.
(‘Deshalb vermag etwa der Mainstream der Soziologie als einer sozialtechnologischen Disziplin, das Gewaltverhältnis nicht anders als über personale Beziehungen zu erschließen. Gewalt wird hier gemeinhin als körperliche (physische) und/oder seelische (psychische) Schädigung eines Anderen oder von Anderen oder/und deren Androhungen verstanden.’) Gewalt – Ein Verhältnis, Streifzüge 63.
The global economical, political and ideological violences that are governing our microcosmos are neither included in mainstream-sociological analysis nor in other mainstream media political analysis. Thus these ways of explaining the world do not have – or should not have – any significance, but it is exactly them who fuel the ideas of our rulers and those who want to rule.
Eric Wolf in his Afterword :
‘This book has asked what difference it would make to our understanding if we looked at the world as a whole, a totality, a system, instead of as a sum of self-contained societies and cultures; if we understood better how this totality developed over time: if we took seriously the admonition to think of human aggregates as “inextricably involved with other aggregates, near and far, in weblike, netlike connections” (Lesser 1961: 42). As we unraveled the chains of causes and effects at work in the lives of particular populations, we saw them extend beyond any one population to embrace the trajectories of others – all others.’ (p. 385)
In his book Wolf describes the history of and the connections between groups, societies, nations, &co in América, Asia, Africa, Australia before the Europeans discovered (for them) the new continents; then follows an account of the advent of the European explorers and their greed and hunger for natural resources which entailed the transformation of the societies through mercantilism. In the last chapter he speaks about the Industrial Revolution and the crisis of capitalism. Wolf makes it clear that everything is connected and that everything was connected already before our current phase of (digital) globalization. Reading ‘Europe And The People Without History’ I realized that we as people and societies are absolutely helpless, we have absolutely no power opposite capitalistic imperatives. The principles of the decisive decisions have nothing to do with the people, neither with the life of communities nor with states or state-unions. These decisions are not taken by a man or a woman or a group of people, they just materialize out of capitalistic imperatives. We are living in (violent) structures that are shaped by these decisions. Resistance is incorporated and sold back to us.
We can vote and even when the “good” win, we can be sure that they are going to be corrupted by these capitalistic imperatives. We cannot do anything against that. We just have to wait. So I asked myself, what else can I do than surfing through world history as decent as possible, nonchalantly unimpressed, and keep trying not to be governed to such an extent. Michel Foucault again. We have to build our own world, in spite of all the police. A Merz-world. Because [w]ithout indulging one’s delights you cannot overcome the reality which prevents us from indulging our delights.’
(‘[p]rofan gesagt: Ohne der Lust zu frönen lässt sich die Realität nicht überwinden, die uns der Lust nicht fröhnen lässt.’)
Lorenz Glatz, Meer der Lust. In: Streifzüge 51
This is what we are trying here in Dala-Floda. Our society is temporary – she has to vanish because we have no resources, and those who have resources keep them for themselves – but many ideas and feelings how everything could be better, are coming up. And they can’t exorcise these ideas and feelings.
It’s raining time and again, sometimes only for five minutes, sometimes for half an hour, sometimes heavily sometimes only in drops. The water from heaven hits my open notebook and it ripples the paper. Is it the primordial quality of water to ripple. The rain breathes the oceanic of the water into the paper. I asked Ella, student of literature in Glasgow, if she had read Virginia Woolf, The Waves. ‘No, just To The Lighthouse and Orlando.’ Not bad either. Also the wine, which I spill while I’m writing, ripples. There are oceanic waves in my flower-ornamented wine glass.