No Culture in the Cockpit Please!

“It is a common error to attribute this irreducibility of difference to the influence of ‘culture’, or more precisely to the exclusive relationship each individual is supposed to have with ‘his’ culture.”
– Jean-Francois Bayart, The Illusion of Cultural Identity

When unfortunate accidents happen, like plane crashes, people sit on the edges of their (cultural) seats to await the official word regarding how the mishap took place and what could have prevented such a casualty from occurring. This may be especially true when fatalities are involved. Unforeseen mechanical errors are a bit easier to swallow and stomach than outright human error and oversight, although human im/precision is already involved in ensuring that equipment works safely. Continue reading “No Culture in the Cockpit Please!”

The Alchemy of Circumstances

novelAfter quoting from Maria Iordanidu‘s novel, Loxandra (c. 1963)–a novel set in the early 19th century in the city then known as Constantinople–concerning an episode in which an otherwise unassuming shopkeeper is questioned by the protagonist as to whether he had participated in the massacre of Armenians–Jean-Francois Bayart goes on: Continue reading “The Alchemy of Circumstances”