Well, I don't think a community is "defined by shared beliefs."
I think a community is of a group which has shared cultural practices,
some of which may be "beliefs" but most are practical skills that
enable shared coping and caring (of the environment & of others) in the
community. Most are unarticulated, even transparent to the members of
To doubt, or even to challenge cultural practices most often does not
"drain" the shared life of the community. Most often they are ignored.
Sometimes they are accepted and amalgamated-- interpreted by the
culture. Works of art, political movements, and even consumer products
are simple ways that communities embrace new interps, ways they change.
These challenges (or simple cultural re-interpretations) reveal also
that communities are not composed of fixed frameworks like grammatical
rules. The stability of communities is a much looser, intuited
membership. Perhaps the ability to be flexible is one way of measuring
the health of a community, ie, those that are open and flexible are
much healthier than those which call for rigid and alledgedly
unalterable cultural practices.
is this the kind of "commentary" you're looking for?
On Mon, 11 Jan 1999 07:38:54 -0800 (PST) Tony Roberts
> Commentary works to drain the shared life of some community of meaning
> and reality. This community is defined by shared beliefs which are
> deeper than assumptions in that they "go without saying" for everyone
> in the community. To doubt this belief is precisely to become
> alienated from this community, is to stop constructing ones immediate
> lived experience exclusivly within the limits of this communitys
> perspective. Alienation from a community is finally an ability to see
> the limits of that communitys' perspective. These beliefs which go
> without saying are grammar rules which structure a shared space of
> experience where many important meanings are fixed and stabilized.
> Commentary works to unfix and destabilize this common sense or
> conventional wisdom which "everybody knows" in the community by
> bringing these contexting beliefs into question ,by telling an
> alternative story about what's going on. This story claims to be the
> "real truth" behind the delusion the poor benighted souls of the
> community live, in their ignorance, as truth. Imagine a modern day
> minstral show put on by David Duke and Company. Imagine it filmed and
> distributed through Dukes' website. This minstral show would bring
> into question everything that must go without saying if being black
> means what most black people feel the need to think it means in order
> to feel comfortable in their skins. To the extent that it succeeded in
> doing so, it would drain the black experience of all meaning and
> reality. It would define the point of view of the black community as
> delusion. Part of the neccessary ideological arsenal of any community,
> Jesse Jackson's or David Duke's, consists in commentaries which
> convincingly define the perspective of the other as pathological
> delusion. Power is finally the power to make ones' commentaries true
> for the people they are about. Resistence is finally resistence to the
> commentary of the other. In the animal kingdom, the rule is eat or be
> eaten. In the human world, the rule is define or be defined. Power is
> the power to define, to make knowledge a dispersion of what goes
> without saying from ones' own perspective and, at the same time, a
> commentary defining the alterity of the other as delusion and deviance.
> Any Comments,
> Tony Michael Roberts
> "I am no doubt not the only one who writes in order to have no face. Do not ask me who I am and do not ask me to remain the same: leave it to our bureaucrats and our police to see that our papers are in order." Michel Foucault
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