The Classification of Cultural Ideologies and Literary Trends
Market economy changes social priorities in order to activate people and make them balance contradictions in its demand and supply. Its pressures drive them to adopt one economic and politic strategy that instils in their mind as a Zeitgeist or an idée directrice. Its impact is strongest in the young generation of twenty-year-olds, who exhibit the greatest degree of flexible economic mobility as they choose their first profession and they willy-nilly fill the gaps yawning in market sectors. Their discordances set moving economic trends that influence young peoples’ mind as vogues, manias, fevers and runs at the stock-exchange. They harden their vague political opinions and orientate them in one definite direction dictated by the actual needs of the economic clock. Older generations are less liable to change their vocation and adapt to new political tensions. They accept the new course in a passive way and concede only a slight bent of their opinions in its favour. They just stand aloof and let the masses of young people act as the genuine movers of the social engine.1 Literary trends naturally represent only one of the bystreet battlefields of political strife, they serve for preparatory underground conspiracy and help undermine the ancient régime. The main battlefield is found in high politics controlled by the gerontocracy of elders but their decisions surf on waves of mass discontent heaved up by the van of young juvenocracy. Gerontocracy dominates also in literary institutions but it is juvenocracy who prevails in advancing new artististic trends. Literary development may be described as the rotation of young ingoing generations because the literary sociology of generations reliably measures the pulse of the literary process. Its flourish culminated in the Weimarer Republik during the early 1920s.2
Every cultural trend looks like a 8-year old reign of one generation in politics, literature, arts, music and fashion. Young philosophers, artists and fashion designers hardly ever realise that their taste has something in common but they fight with enemies in their cultural field as relentlessly as political parties in the parliament. They form literary groups that take part in public campaigns and try to infiltrate into ruling institutions. They cannot seize decisive influence in government cabinets, media, dailies, publishing houses, parishes and art galleries that are controlled by old garnitures but they can definitely influence the counterbalance of forces in the entire society.
What joins the young generation together into a united front are projections of one axiological hierarchy into different cultural fields, nowadays often called paradigms. This term was coined by Thomas S. Kuhn3 and became fashionable in the mid-1960s. In his view the scientific paradigm is a “universally recognized scientific achievements that, for a time, provide model problems and solutions for a community of practitioners”.4 “Successive transition from one paradigm to another via revolution is the usual developmental pattern of mature science.”5. His concept was applied fruitfully by Jonathan H. Turner 19786 to the field of evolutionary sociology. It helped him develop a sort of ‘sociology of collective emotions’.7 Kuhn’s theoretical activities coincided with those of the French philosopher Michel Foucault, who preferred to use the terms discours ‘discourse’ and épistémè (Greek ἐπιστήμη) defined as ‘a cultural pattern of ideas of the period’8.
Kuhn’s paradigm is something like Lucien Goldmann’s vision du monde. In his opinion “literature and philosophy are, on different plans, expressions of one vision of the world”. “Visions of the world are not individual facts but social facts.”9 Another suitable expression covering this complex of meanings is Frederic Jameson’s and Paul de Man’s favourite catch-phrase of ‘aesthetic ideology’. These authors search for a convenient equivalent for a temporal coincidence of one aesthetic and cultural sensibility or political and scientific world views but they rarely try to decompose it into the smallest elements.
Every cultural paradigm is a temporal cross-section and transversal profile of social moods that reflect the actual state of the market and are perceived in the most exacerbated way by the young generation. When the young enter the economic market, they lack clear-cut opinions but they identify their generations’ ‘aesthetic ideology’ with its momentaneous priorities. These priorities help to crystallise their life-long vision of space, time and social type and harden their dominant moral norms and aesthetic feelings. Its components require a brand new aggregate of terms tuned in accord with types of conjunctures. In the previous chapter the lexical word-stem -nomy (from Greek νόμος ‘law’) was applied as a designation of an economic cycle and its ruling economic elite but its reference may extended also to social norms, ethic standards and laws. Compound words with -cracy are convenient as a denotation of the type of a social elite and its political rule. The root -sophy may stand for what was referred to by Michel Foucault as épistémè. Gaston Bachelard recommended to use his catchword conpures épistémologiques10, meant as ‘a system of knowledge’ common in philosophy and science.
The apparatus of further terms may designate dimensions common to various arts and humanities. So -metry may refer to the proportions of an aesthetic object and ideal, -chrony to its temporal orientation (nostalgic past, hopeful future), -topy to local setting (Arcadia, pastoral idyll, desert island) and -typy to the ideation of the major hero, heroine and minor characters. Colinear trends in art, sculpture, music, ethics and mythology combine different dimensions but stem from one common axiology. When integrated into an n-dimensional space, they form a complex called cosmos. Table 71 outlines a paradigm of arts and cultural fields bestriding the regular booms of edification (eunomy). Their subsystem can be termed ‘eucosmos’ in opposition to alternative vision of the universe such as ‘technocosmos’ or ‘democosmos’.
Literary theory and all humanities urgently need a systematic taxonomy of trends uniting their sectionary priorities. It should yield a transversal classification of actual tendencies cutting across all spheres of spiritual life and artistic kinds. Most traditional terms are mixed ‘bunch-words’ concealing complex agglomerates of meanings and have to be analysed into elementary dimensions. Basic dimensions include time and space covered by Michail Bakhtin’s ‘chronotopes’. Bakhtin defined them as “characteristic temporal and spatial visualisations of the world”11. Every work of arts conveys something that Lucien Goldmann denoted as a vision du monde and is manifested in a specific concept of historical time called -chrony (Greek χρόνος, khrónos ‘time’) and geographical space called -topy (Greek τόπος, tópos ‘place’). Another aspect cutting across all arts concerns human figuration, various types of personal heroes and characters summed up under the label of -typy (Latin typus ‘type, character’). Further essential dimensions in art are aspects of sound instrumentation called -phony (Latin phonia, Greek εὐφωνία, euphōnía) and quantity indicated by the word stem -metry. Moreover, similar passions and emotions in verbal and visual arts may be coordinated by the convenient word-root -pathy (Latin pathia, Greek συμπάθεια, pátheia ‘passion’).
Table 71. The coincidencies of trends in various social sciences
The transversal taxonomy of trends in humanities also needs to coordinate parallel tendencies in the cultural fields of religion, philosophy, science, ethics, economy and sociology. Table 72 proposes to classify them by means of a set of word-roots such as -cracy, -nomy, -doxy and -sophy. The first item -cracy (from Greek κράτος, krátos ‘rule, strength’) is suitable for tendencies in politology and the reign of different regimes. The second item -nomy (Greek νόμος, nómos ‘law’) seems to be advisable for an expedient typology of conjunctural tendencies in economy. The item -doxy (Greek δοξία, doxía, from δόξα, dóxa ‘belief’) is a good match for religion and general ideology. The next entry -sophy (Greek σοφία, sophía ‘wisdom’) offers an acceptable chance for distinguishing various approaches to philosophy and the methodology of science.
Table 72 demonstrates their inner coherence by listing coinciding currents in economy, religion, philosophy and literature. In general it is very difficult to grasp the common denominator of trends prevailing simultaneously in various humanities at one time. Deducing simultaneous paradigms from one another is a laborious task, it is better to rely on statistical coincidences in their predominant occurrence.
1 D. W. Schumann: The Problem of cultural age-groups in German thought: a critical revision. PMLA LI, 1936, 1180-1207; The Problem of age-groups: A statistical approach, PMLA LII, 1937, 596-608.
Pedersen: Die literarischen Generationen, in: Philosophie der Literaturwissen-schaft, ed. E. Ermatinger, Berlin
1930, S. 153; Wilhelm Pinder: Das
Problem der Generation in der Kunstgeschichte Europas.
3 T. S. Kuhn: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago 1965, 1970; Notes on Lakatos. In: Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, vol. VIII. Dordrecht 1971, 137-146.
4 T. S. Kuhn: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996, p. 10.
5 Op. cit., 1970, p. 12.
6 Jonathan H. Turner: The Structure of Sociological Theory. New York 1978.
7 Jan E Stets; Jonathan H. Turner: Handbook of the sociology of emotions. New York, NY: Springer, 2006.
8 Michel Foucault: Mots et choses: une archéologie des sciences humaines. Paris: 1966.
9 Lucien Goldmann: Recherches dialectiques. Paris: Gallimard, 1959, p. 46.
10 Gaston Bachelard: La poétique de la rêverie. Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1978, p. 4; La poétique de l'espace. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1978, 1957.
11 Mikhail Bachtin: François Rabelais a lidová kultura støedovìku a renesance. Praha: Odeon 1975, s. 222.