Friday, October 01, 2004

What does 'Lumpenlogocracy' mean?

logocrats = people who gain their authority from use of words and other symbols (i.e. professional groups such as scientists, engineers, doctors, lawyers, college professors)

lumpen = prefix in social theory denoting the part of the group that is lowest and least powerful; most common usage is "lumpenproletariat": "The lowest, most degraded stratum of the proletariat. Used originally in Marxist theory to describe those members of the proletariat, especially criminals, vagrants, and the unemployed, who lacked class consciousness." (according to the dictionary)

lumpen-logocrats = unemployed or insecurely employed people with higher degrees, stereotypically people with Ph.D's who drive cabs or wait tables for a living...or perhaps Ph.D's who cannot find tenure-track jobs and have to cobble together a living from teaching classes here and there (usage from sociologist Charles Derber and his colleagues)

lumpenlogocracy = perhaps an oxymoron, since "-cracy" usually refers to who rules in a society (e.g., democracy, plutocracy, autocracy), and thus anyone who is "lumpen" can't really be "-cracy"...on the other hand, it is a kind of daring statement that the lowest professionals are trying to assert their authority

[Note: this post was created on 10-18-2005 as a linkable container for information removed from the web log's sidebar when the blog roll was added.]

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