Theory, History and Self-Characterization of Social Margins in Public Writings
3. The Narrativist Turn and the Historical Constructionof Intellectual Self 37
37 CHAPTER 3 The Narrativist Turn and the Historical Construction of Intellectual Self This chapter aims to question and criticize the dominant practices of scientifi c inquiries of history and to focus on my concern, namely the emergence of the intellectual self. Such inquiries distort, obfuscate and even stifl e the precise understanding of history. To recapitulate, Lewis and Sandra Hinchman concluded that narrativist approaches question the status of science as a rigorous establishment and then make science the highest form of knowledge. The kernel of science, episteme, which orig- inated from the purifi cation of thought for certainty, predictability and permanence in the Platonic tradition, has been and is challenged by uncer- tainty, contingency and refl ections on the course of change in history. I therefore challenge the following propositions about science: (1) science may be seen as the unquestionable progress of history and human life towards promises of happy endings; (2) science constrains the exploration of the historical possibilities of human actions and obstructs intellectual imaginaries; and (3) science avoids asking the question of whether his- torical contingency and uncertainty lead to tragic episodes in life. Such invocations of the tragic call upon intellectuals to fulfi l their duty to speak, write and act on behalf of the victims. Zygmunt Bauman’s life project of the ‘stranger’ in exploring the other(s) in history is thereby taken to reinvent the intellectual identity. This calling reveals an intellectual capturing, understanding and empathizing with the victims as other(s) and purporting...
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