article of interest

Raphael Allen rcda at
Mon Nov 29 20:04:21 PST 1999

When I read the first post in this thread, I thought to myself, "Yo bloods, haven't we already done this one?!! Don't we have enough pinatas hanging from the ceiling already?" .

But then I felt a little flattered that we'd taken on so many folks who are not so easily taken in. So, more constructively, I might add to Angela's suggestion.

Sometimes, when a presentation seems hard to understand, it's because the idea's paradigm is still in its first or second generation, and thus still in need of folks to organize those commissioned textbooks, coherent research programs, and disciple-training regimens that will make good on the paradigm break that's advertised in early works. Thomas Kuhn made this argument (in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions , [1970] and in subsequent lectures, circa 1980) when he described the great difficulty of converting a "paradigm-break" into an "ascendant paradigm", and then into a "normal", or fully institutionalized, paradigm. He suggests that 'clear' communication of new paradigms comes more easily as the paradigm becomes more "normal" -- which seems somewhat paradoxical, but it's starting to make sense when I think about neoinstitutionalism in the '70's, the "new economic sociology" of the 1990's, or feminist poststructuralism in the '90's.

How many of the folks on Lingua Franca's list of bad writers are presently regarded as 3rd or 4th generation disciples of the specific paradigm associated with them? Most? Very few? Does the same hold for the good writers?

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