Of Interest

Henry Farrell at Crooked Timber links to an article at the Economist about business books, schools, and management theories. I’ve been interested in business innovation while examining the whole problem of creativity.

Tom Peters started the whole mess when he wrote In Search of Excellence

Timothy Burke on male-female conversation

So what do we do to acknowledge or deal with the validity of the complaint against some men in specific and against masculine privilege in general? Two very different things, depending on the nature of the complaint: we have to learn to distinguish between questions of power and questions of etiquette.

We have been very badly served by those forms of feminism, Foucauldianism and other kinds of critical theory that undifferentiatedly locate power everywhere, or reduce all kinds of interaction and social relation to nothing more than power differentials. When we react to every single form of daily practice as if it is as vitally connected to power in the world as every other practice, we lose any ability to set an agenda and react proportionately to the problems we face. To me, this is one of the subterranean ways in which certain flavors of Foucauldian rhetoric end up being reactionary: by placing power everywhere, and refusing to speak of some kinds of power as peculiarly or particularly illiberal, they encourage a kind of simultaneous rhetoric of radical anger fused with a futilitarian inability to actually do anything except complain about relative trivialities, because it is the trivialities which are accessible to critique.