Theory, History and Self-Characterization of Social Margins in Public Writings
1. Introduction: Intellectual Narratives as HistoricalInquires and Life Refl ections 1
1CHAPTER 1 Introduction: Intellectual Narratives as Historical Inquires and Life Refl ections The unexamined life is not worth living (Plato: The Apology of Socrates, 38a) I have written this book to argue for the following theoretical proposi- tions. First, intellectuals are the pivotal agents who promote praxis – the creative practice of action that challenges the existing social order and social institutions. Praxis is often associated with the Aristotelian poiesis, which means any individual and creative practice in craft or art; how- ever, such creativity has come to mean any abstract thoughts offering new insights on how to address new problems in contemporary society1 or any attempt at nomothetic reasoning in the sociological literature that is totally irresponsive to the uncertainty, complexity and contingency involved in the making of history.2 The life stories of the intellectuals I investigated are records of their own life-making within their emplotments of historical events that were unknown, uncertain and contingent. I there- fore interviewed them because they represent the principal social agents who advocate, preserve and safeguard the traditions and values prescribed by the society in which they are situated. It is proposed that intellectuals demonstrate their own creativity in telling their own stories. Second, and equally important, I wish to contribute my research on intellectual narra- tives as a practical basis for challenging the dominant schools of thought on modernity and intellectuals: the taken-for-granted view that progress in history is the triumph of scientifi c knowledge, a triumph which, in modern times, intellectuals have...
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