Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy
TO HUMAN NATURE?
SCIENCE, IDEOLOGY AND HUMAN ANCESTRY
All our attempts to frame human nature are beset by problems around the concept of ideology. This is as true of Darwinian biology and the problem of the place of humanity in nature as it is of the psychoanalytic understanding of t the unconscious. The concept of ideology refers to legitimation and to the intrusion of values into putative facts. At a deeper level, it refers to how frameworks get constituted and how criteria for acceptable conclusions get established on the basis of value systems or world views. There are two particular concepts at work here. One is social location or interest group; the other is power. Ideologies reflect social locations and serve established or aspiring powers.
Recent work has made it clear to those with eyes to see that there is no place in science, technology, medicine or other forms of expertise where you cannot find ideology acting as a constitutive determinant. My own research has been concerned with the biological and human sciences, with particular reference to their bearing on conceptions of human nature. This biases the examples which I explore. In biology you can find ideological determinants in conceptions of microprocesses, and you can go step by step from there to the most general features of organisms and on to social systems, cultures, larger political systems, even the world and the universe. That is, in a way, what we mean by a world view, for example, when we say that science is a world view and that the scientific revolution of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries could have made other conceptual choices than it did.
This is especially true of the way some of its leading figures dealt with the role of purposes or final causes in scientific explanations, i.e., they banished them from the so-called mechanical philosophy and thereby created a sub rosa theme in the history of science which re-admitted values and purposes at levels which were fundamentally important but not apparent on the surface of scientific writings (Young, 1989a). As a result, ideology is pervasive but often implicit (Young, 1977).
When I canvassed various examples I might have gone into to try to make my main point about what has happened to the concept of ideology, I thought of many too many, too easily. One is at the cutting edge of popular expositions of natural science, Richard Dawkins' writings on The Selfish Gene (1976) and The Blind Watchmaker (1986). These are widely regarded as among the best writings about the world view that follows from neo-Darwinian evolutionary thinking. Another candidate for illustrating ideology at work is Darwin's concept of natural selection, the explanatory principle which lies at the heart of biological change, as fundamental as gravity is to physics and affinity is to chemistry (Young, 1985a, ch. 4, 1992). Biological and social theory are mutually constitutive in the concept of social Darwinism, which has had a renaissance in social policy and debates about the economy of nature in these hard times (Young, 1985). There are debates about these issues especially among advocates of close readings of Darwin's research materials, an activity which is too often conducted at the expense of assessing the role of broader and deeper determinations (Bohlin, 1991) but I would still claim that the constitutive role of ideology is well-established for all but the most blinkered textual exegete.
As we have seen, the ideology of biologism carries over in the social sciences into functionalist explanation in psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics (Young, 1981). It turns up again in architecture and town planning (Meller, 1990), while an even more general version of the same way of thinking - systems theory - is to be found in all sorts of disciplines (Boulding, 1985; Lilienfeld, 1978), including psychiatry and family therapy (Treacher, 1986). Functionalism uses an orgasmic model of systems as the basic reality, draws on concepts of structure and function from physiology and stresses adjustment or adaptation as a goal for organisms, social groups or whatever (Gouldner, 1970; Demerath and Peterson, 1967).
There are links between functionalist thinking and theology in the past and present. In the past, functionalism developed as a secularisation of natural theology, whereby there was mutual harmony, directed by Divine plan. All was for the best in the best of all possible worlds. Whatever was was as it should be and coadapted to what else there was (Paley, 1802; Young, 1985a, ch. 5; Brooke, 1977, 1979, 1991). These ideas became secularised during the nineteenth century and were expressed in physiological analogies applied to the social realm in the work of Herbert Spencer (Greene, 1959; Peel, 1971; Young, 1970, ch. 5; see below, ch. 8).
In the early twentieth century the admixture of respectable physiology and confident extrapolation to society became characteristic of a whole school of writers, led by Lawrence Henderson on the fitness of the environment and the social system (1913, 1970; Heyl, 1968) and Walter Cannon on The Wisdom of the Body (1932; Benison et al., 1987; Cross and Albury, 1987). The sociological version of functionalism eventually came full circle, and its scientistic analogies were applied to the history and sociology of science itself, in the work of Robert K. Merton (1938, 1968). A theological version of this way of thinking a basis for mutual harmony has recently been revived in the Gaia hypothesis. An eminent scientist, James Lovelock, invites us the see the universe and all that is in it as a vast, mutually adaptive system in which all parts are in equilibrium with all others. His notion of Gaia is thought to ensure the co-ordination (Lovelock, 1979, 1988).
One way of thinking about the role of ideology in all these disciplines is to see their concepts as part of an overall ideological project the naturalization of value systems which have a conservative tendency. I have listed the above concepts and disciplines in the service of the claim that there have been fairly convincing ideological critiques across a broad range of scientific ideas, and I have cited publications referring to each of them.
The same can be said of many other individuals and their work, although I will refrain from annotating every example. I am thinking of Isaac Newton and esoteric knowledge (Rattansi, 1973); of Mary Shelly and Erasmus Darwin on theories of life (Jordanova, 1986; McNeil, 1987); of Gall and Spurzheim on phrenology, and the origins of brain research, of other key figures in the history of brain research in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, e.g., Magendie, Broca, Ferrier, Sherrington, Pavlov, Eccles (Young, 1970, 1995); of the history of the dispensing of patronage of the natural, social and medical sciences by the Rockefeller charities (Brown 1979, 1979a; Abir-Am, 1982; Kohler, 1991); of some of their most prolific protégés, the molecular biologists, whereby there flowed from Watson and Crick's double helix a whole plethora of developments, leading to a belief that genetic engineering can voluntarily reshape all of life, including humanity, eventually virtually at will (Yoxen, 1983, 1986). Once again, there are admirable learned writings on each and every one of these subjects.
But they are twice-told tales, and I don't want to tell them again. I want instead to offer a single quotation and then explain why I gave up on setting forth a version of the expositions listed above. The quotation is most interesting. I was reading the television review in The Observer (28 October 1990), when I saw a passage I had also laboriously copied off a video of a natural history television programme. I had the same experience as the reviewer, John Naughton. He was completely bowled over by one sequence. He wrote, 'The dominant image of the week came... from Part Four of "The Trials of Life" (BBC 1), in which Whispering Dave Attenborough finally hit his stride. The programme dealt with the grisly subject of how animals hunt and are hunted. It started with some relatively innocuous piracy practised by seabirds on one another, then moved to some truly terrifying footage showing a pack of killer whales catching and apparently torturing seal cubs.
'It was the closing sequence of the film, however, which will live forever in the minds of all who saw it. Mr. Attenborough gave a breathless running commentary as a group of chimpanzees closed in on a hapless colobus monkey which they then proceeded to dismember. As the hunters went for the kill, the rest of the group cheered and shrieked in an orgy of savagery.
'Creeping up on them as they digested their meal, Attenborough turned to the camera and said: "These bloodstained faces may well horrify us. But we might also see in them the faces of our long-distant hunting ancestors. And if we are appalled by the mob violence and blood lust we might see in that, too, perhaps, the origins of the teamwork that has, in the end, given human beings many of their greatest triumphs." It was a sobering moment, for which he had chosen just the right words. People said that if he lived to be a hundred, Mr. Attenborough would never cap the scene in "Life on Earth" in which he was cuddled by a huge gorilla [and whispered so as not to alarm the beast]. Well, they were wrong.'
I thought of spending an entire chapter on unpacking that quotation, because of its Social Darwinist assumptions about 'man the hunter', because of the kind of voyeurism involved, because of the belief that these were the origins of co-operation in the history of the division of labour. The whole topic of science as ideology is there in one short passage.
After I had thought through all of the above possible ways of making my point about the concept of ideology it began to dawn on me that there is definitely something passé about the framework of ideas and issues within which the science/ideology dichotomy is a central problem. It also dawned on me that it is more that two decades since I first wrote an article which treated science as ideology (Young, 1971). Today, however, 'ideology' is one term in a dichotomy, the other member of which can no longer sustain its role as Other in a sharp split. The forebears of the modern formulation of ideology in the writings of Karl Mannheim set a deeply ambivalent task. The original Ideologues of the French Revolutionary period set out 'to subject the ideas of science to the science of ideas'. This is an intriguing phrase, setting a self-contradictory task. It tacitly assumes that there was some stand-point for the science of ideas which would allow one to view presumably with an advantage more illuminating than scientific objectivity the ideas of putatively objective science (Rosen, 1946; Temkin, 1946; Lichtheim, 1967).
I suggest that a deeper shift was occurring, one which was characteristic of another concept that has earlier and later connotations, just as 'ideology' has. That concept is 'positivism' (Kolakowski, 1972; Simon, 1963). We juxtapose the nineteenth-century positivism of Auguste Comte and his British part-allies, Mill, Spencer, Harrison, with idealist science (Annan, 1959; Eisen, 1964, 1967). Yet they were actually in opposition to realist science in arguing that something not objective, in the sense of being separate from human consciousness, was the true source of knowledge: phenomena. Similarly, the original Ideologues - Cabanis, Destutt de Tracy were arguing that there was a discipline about something intra-human ideas to which the ideas of science are accountable and which they considered to be more epistemologically basic. So ideology, then as now, doubted that nature speaks for itself and asks where else we ground knowledge (Thompson, 1990, ch. 1; Eagleton, 1991, ch. 3).
In its Mannheimian form, the concept of ideology juxtaposed situationally-contingent knowledge with situationally non-contingent knowledge. Where, if at all, that boundary could be drawn has been the subject of an ongoing debate within the discipline Karl Mannheim founded when he wrote Ideology and Utopia (1929-31), subtitled An Introduction the Sociology of Knowledge. The startling and subversive claim of his position was, as I have already mentioned, that knowledge has a sociology, that is, it is socially located and therefore contingent (pp. xxiii, 36, 68-9, 185, 269). This undermined the notion that knowledge could be like natural science was supposed to be: neutral, objective, above the contending forces in society and culture. In the end, Mannheim believed that the sociologist of knowledge could find an interest-free vantage point. He adopted a position of 'relationalism' which eschewed the toughest epistemological questions (pp. 70, 71, 77, 166, 253).
Once the question about whether or not there can be situationally non-contingent knowledge (outside of purely deductive systems) was put, there seemed to be no obvious stopping-place (Berger and Luckmann, 1967; Habermas, 1971; Young, 1971, 1973). History and the human sciences were ideological. Was economics? Perhaps there was soft economics economic policy which is ideological, and tough economics mathematical economics which was still scientific. What about psychology? Is psychoanalysis ideological, while behaviourism is scientific? There was a time when behaviourism presented itself as 'purely' scientific. Nowadays it would be more likely to be seen as more nearly purely ideological. Psychoanalysis went through a very scientistic phase from the mid-1930s until the 1960s, but is now largely proud of its humanistic strains (Rayner, 1990; Young, 1986, 1992a). I've already touched on the recent inroads into the claimed objectivity of biology. Then there are chemistry and physics.
Successive waves of challenges to the objectivist account did not stop at the threshold of natural science. Those who sought to separate the substance of knowledge from its context (or, in its Popperian form, the context of justification from the context of discovery) often lost hold of their neat distinctions. Where Robert Merton opened the door to the sociology of scientific knowledge with his studies of Puritanism and the Scientific Revolution (1938), others went to the heart of physics, for example, Paul Forman (1971), in his work of Weimar Culture and quantum physics how the latter adapted to the former.
My own work on evolutionary biology and ideology attempted to go to the basic assumptions of Darwinian evolutionary theory and the functionalist sciences, while Steve Cross, Edward Yoxen (1981) and others addressed themselves to other aspects of biology organismic, functionalist and molecular biological research. I shall return to some of these questions below.
For the moment, however, I want to recall my point about the concept of ideology feeling passé, because the science/ideology dichotomy no longer feels dichotomous. This is not only because the concept of ideology seems less scandalous than it did two decades ago. Indeed, the subject has received sustained attention (Harris, 1968; Larrian, 1970; Plamenatz, 1970), and there is something of a new vogue for writing about ideology: witness more recent books on the subject (albeit not concerned with natural science) by Thompson (1984, 1990), McLellan (1986), Susser (1988), Zizek (1989), and Eagleton (1991). Let us pause to recall how scientists and philosophers of science (left, right and centre) squealed in the 1970s that to bring ideological analysis into science would lead (how quaint it sounds to the 1990s ear, jaded by the fragmentations and nihilism of postmodernist discourse) to unthinkable relativism.
I have never thought of myself as a relativist, but I vividly recall how academically eminently radical scientists sought to burn me and others at the stake for mounting ideological critiques of biological (Young, 1977) and IQ research (Levidow, 1978). By using the concept of ideology in our own view of science, instead of labelling conservative and reactionary science as ideological and therefore wrong, we were joining the polluters and abandoning the left's claim to special affinity to the truth. 'Science as ideology', like the subsequent provocative phrase, 'science as culture', was thought to betray the bedrock of realism in the theory of knowledge of orthodox Marxism. The goal of all good socialists, as one put it, should be to wash science again and again, until the stain of ideology was removed. Left science was to be the whitest on the block, and we polluters were claiming to find ideology everywhere. One critic went so far as to say that one might as well have put 'shit' in place of 'scientific fact' in one of my arguments, so prurient was my position. We were violently attacked in The Socialist Register (Rose and Rose, 1979, etc.), subjected to a whispering campaign (including the allegation that we had obscure CIA connections), and given the right of reply, only to have that reply rejected, so we published it ourselves (RSJ Collective, 1981).
While orthodox scientists, historians and philosophers were defending those ramparts, the citadel of science was being both outflanked and undermined in so many ways that we modern-day ideologues should, by contrast, have looked tame. Indeed, the safety of the received view of science free of metaphysics and world views if they but knew it, had long-since been in peril. Eminently unradical philosophers of science had already historicised and exposed the philosophical muddles in the most basic ideas of science. I am thinking of the subversive metaphysical explorations of the contradictions even the absurdities in the world view of modern science penned by Alfred North Whitehead in Science and the Modern World (1925) and by Edwin Arthur Burtt in The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Physical Science (1932). I have touched in these matters in chapter one, particularly as they bear on postmodernism and ideas of human nature.
A related challenge was being mounted by Arthur O. Lovejoy, whose The Great Chain of Being: A Study in the History of an Idea (1936) was the model for research in the history of ideas and the periodical his research inspired, The Journal of the History of Ideas (1940-). I shall never forget the thrill of reading that book the first time in 1960. I suppose you could say that it set the course of my whole research career. At one level the notion that ideas have histories is eminently respectable, but at another, the claim that scientific ideas have histories, whose study could be a legitimate domain of research, relatively independent of empirical data, was anathema to traditional inductivist and hypothetico-deductivist notions of science and of scientific progress. Science is not just or even largely about facts: it is about traditions and ways of looking at things. The history of ideas was, in its way, profoundly ahistorical in its willingness to eschew the social context of scientific research, its roots in the productive process and other aspects of the socio-economic and cultural base.
What was subversive about all this was twofold. It expressed the vicissitudes, the contradictions, the compromises, illogicality and sheer orneriness of what had been hailed by idealisers of the great scientific revolution of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and the subsequent progress of the advancing 'edge of objectivity' (Gillispie, 1960). It also showed how much continuity there was between Late Renaissance thought and the supposedly New Philosophy of the virtuosi of the Royal Society and their Continental correspondents. Neo-Platonism and Hermeticism were rife in the thinking of writers who were being hailed as making a decisive break with superstition. What was being represented by historians who were sycophantic to the self-conceptions of scientists as a radical epistemological break was nothing of the sort, or, to put the point more modestly, was nothing like as complete as its celebrants were prone to claim. ('Epistemological break' is an anachronistic phrase from the 1970s; what they thought had occurred was an end to epistemology, replaced by a linear notion of positive science, which made philosophy largely redundant, except as a handmaiden to science itself.) This was especially true in chemistry and what was later to be called biology. William Harvey may have been hailed as a mechanist in Descartes' Discourse on Method (1637, Part Five), but he was a devoted Aristotelian when he was at home and never tired of saying so (Young, 1989a). Similarly, chemistry was much, much slower to break with alchemy and to become fully mechanistic and atomistic than reductionists would have us believe.
Eminent historians like Owsei Temkin (1946) and George Rosen (1946) wrote about medicine and ideology in one framework of discourse. Leonora C. Rosenfeld (1941) and Aram Vartanian (1953, 1960) showed that debates about human nature and mechanist reductionism of animals and humans were utterly philosophically-led (Young, 1967), while Walter Pagel (1951, 1967) made similar claims for the histories of physiology and medicine. E. J. Dijksterhuis (1950) and C. C. Gillispie (1951) showed, respectively, that the mechanization of the world picture and the origins of scientific geology were inseparable at the very moment of scientific triumph from theological preoccupations and controversies. Not science versus theology but science in the context of theology. The mechanical philosophy of Robert Boyle was integral with his natural theology. Newton's mathematical principles were of a piece with his Biblical ruminations. Charles Lyell's uniformitarian geology was carefully composed so as to be consistent with his views on Genesis, and he never deviated from believing in the separate creation of man, no matter how much he conceded to Darwin with respect to the evolution of other forms of life. Similar claims about science being conceived within a framework of basically theological assumptions were later to be convincingly made about Darwin (Moore, 1979; Desmond and Moore, 1991, but cf. Young, 1994), Wallace and their generation (Smith, 1972; Durant 1979).
By virtue of these and other excellent historical researches, science came more and more to be seen as rooted in wider intellectual history, conceived in the broadest cultural terms, although there was much less tendency to root it in contending class forces and movements in the socio-economic base. We were made privy to sects and interest groups, but their social and economic bases were not explored until much later. Even so, the notion of the unencumbered scientific mind testing value-neutral facts as they bore on purely intellectual hypotheses never had a chance at the hands of unblinkered historians of thought.
In the 1950s and 1960s, N. R. Hanson (1958), Gerd Buchdahl (1969), A. C. Crombie (1959), Mary Hesse (1980) and others enriched our understanding of the philosophical bearings of scientific thought. A subsequent generation, including P. M. Rattansi (1973), Charles Webster (1975), Quentin Skinner (1969) and John Dunn (1969), linked those ideas to wider political and social concerns. Thereby the epistemological goals of modern science came eventually to be rooted in genuine social history, not merely the history of ideas.
Related work was occurring in Renaissance studies, showing how strong were the continuities between Renaissance thought and aspects of the scientific revolution which had been underemphasised. The leading lights in this work were D. P. Walker (1958) and Frances Yates (1971). She was a delightful women who looked rather like Miss Marples and was as good at unravelling mysteries. I vividly remember the raunchy way she once said, with glee, 'Next I'm going to get Descartes,' meaning that she would knock him off his ultra-rationalist pedestal by showing his links with the very traditions we think of him as having eschewed.
Cartesian dualism is in no way a clear distinction between two forms of ontologically basic kinds: extended substances and thinking substances. Descartes conceptions of body and of mind make up an historic compromise between the claims of the church, certain notions of the individual soul and the requirements of his peculiar version of mechanism. Cartesian dualism was a resolution of historical forces rather than a scientific law. The process that led to it is more like the way a secular law gets codified than it is like a Platonic Form, written in the fabric of Being. It is an historical compromise which, as Whitehead stressed so eloquently, is then subjected to the fallacy of misplaced concreteness (1926, esp. ch. 3; see above, ch. 1), whereby our abstract notions get seen as the most concrete rendering of reality, rather than as ideas that should be changed if, as this one certainly has, they serve us ill, according to particular value choices which are in conflict with those which dictated the original conceptualisation. And yet Cartesian dualism is one of the most basic ideas in the modern world view (Young, 1989; 1994a, ch. 1).
I am suggesting that the union of the history of ideas with the history of culture played a very subversive role with respect to received accounts of the history of science and its epistemological status as a bastion of rationalism. The science/ideology dichotomy was very hard to maintain if one read the writings of historians and philosophers who were not cut off from the connections or articulations of science. Twentieth-century positivism saw to it that most scientists had no inclination to study the writings of the thinkers whom I have listed, and people like Charles Singer (1959) provided them with the decontextualised histories of scientific discoveries which perpetuated their isolation from the determinations that constitute ideas in science, just as they do in other dimensions of culture.
I'll only sketch the other movements which have undermined the science/ideology dichotomy. I have stressed various aspects of the history of ideas, because it is easy to think of that discipline as passé, rather than realising how subversive it was, long before anyone set out as an avowedly political project to push against the distinction between science and ideology. The history of ideas provided the essential basis for joining forces with social and cultural studies.
Other ways of challenging the rationality and autonomy of science have a more contemporary ring. I am thinking of neo-Marxist ideas of nature in which nature is seen as a societal category with a history (Lukács, 1923; Schmidt, 1972; Young, 1985b). Science has always accepted the concept of natural history; it is a more radical thought that nature has a history, that it is inside history, in so far as we can know it (Gold and Young, 1982). Nature outside history is a noumenon a thing in itself, unknowable, in principle. Lukács essayed on this, just as Gramsci wrote about the historicity and ideological determination of notions of matter and the atom (Gramsci, 1971, pp. 446, 465-66). Other Marxists have dwelt on the mediations between socio-economic base and intellectual superstructure (Young, 1985a, ch. 6).
Alongside politically committed ideas of this kind are nominally apolitical approaches such as contextualism, social constructionism, the anthropology of knowledge in the abstract and fieldwork anthropological studies in labs, studying a particular tribe, its belief system and its ritualistic practices, moving from Robin Horton's (1967) juxtaposition of African traditional thought with Western science to Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar's (1979) investigation of the culture of a particular lab.
The person whose theoretical and applied work I have found astonishingly fruitful with respect to science, nature and other social practices is Mary Douglas, whose Purity and Danger (1966) and essays 'In the Nature of Things' (1975, pp. 210-29) and 'Environments at Risk' (1975, pp. 230-48) never cease to prove helpful in surprising directions. Her insight that 'Dirt is matter out of place' may be the single most fruitful notion for the insight that how we see any part of the world and life is inescapably inside a belief system, no matter how esoteric that bit of the world may be from fundamental physical particles to the universe. I find this approach worth more than reams of what is on offer as 'the social studies of science', even though much of that tendency also acknowledges a debt to her ideas.
The philosopher whose work has, for me, been as important as Douglas' is Richard Rorty, whose Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1980) and essays collected in The Consequences of Pragmatism (1982), Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity (1989) and Philosophical Papers (1991) dethrone the category of science and place it on a par with other classificatory categories of librarianship, i.e., just one kind of story-telling. His assertion that 'Truth is made and not found' is as insightful as Douglas' anthropological version of the same conventionalism. Hers is tribal; his is epistemological. He offers a devastating critique of the high tide of the philosophy of science when logical positivism claimed hegemony for science above other forms of knowing (Rorty, 1982, ch. 12).
All of which brings me to Donna Haraway, to whose work I shall devote the rest of this chapter. In particular, I want to celebrate her masterpiece, Primate Visions: Gender, Race and Nature in the World of Modern Science (1989), which is among the dozen best books I have ever read. Before going any further I should declare an interest. She is generously cited in my work, as I am in hers. I have made a television film in which her ideas loom large (Postle and Young, 1982) and have published her essays (Haraway, 1991). But make no mistake. I do not praise her because I made the film and published the essays; I did those things because I admire her and her work enough to put serious time and resources into trying to make them better known.
She is a feminist, rather loosely a neo-Marxist and (until a paper to which I shall allude below) a postmodernist. Her topic is the use of primates as a model for humans. This topic is at the intersection of many issues, as I shall try to indicate. Primatology is the discipline in which we create a pedigree for the concept of humanity in the family, society, et cetera, which we want to legitimate. It its therefore a contested terrain. She traces the vicissitudes of this modelling through the histories of disciplines, research careers of individuals, the rise of institutions and research facilities, granting bodies, personal patronage, the relevant aspects of political, geopolitical, imperialist, social and cultural history, adverts, films, television programmes, you name it.
She even points out that one of the people who sought to teach language to apes, Roger Fouts, was an adviser for the latest remake of 'Tarzan' - 'Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes' (1984; Haraway, 1989, p. 132). Tarzan was a vastly popular embodiment of the idea of a gentle bond between simians, other aspects of the (Rousseauesque) 'state of nature' and humankind. African animals, our kin, had something to teach us about a caring, thoughtful state of nature, if we approached it in the right frame of mind. The Johnny Weissmuller film series (p. 155) was part of the common experience of my generation, and subsequent actors' portrayals have been staples of children's television since the 1950s. The l984 Earl of Greystoke is Tarzan's latest incarnation, based on the best version of recent studies of animal behaviour that consultancy fees can buy.
Part of the richness of Haraway's explorations lies in the interweaving of the academic, the popular and the commercial in illuminating how we come to think of our place in the economy of nature. She grants that there are many subjects in the history of biology and anthropology which could serve her purposes in writing Primate Visions. She chose primate sciences because 'monkeys and apes, and human beings as their taxonomic kin, exist on the boundaries of so many struggles to determine what will count as knowledge' (p. 13). There follows the first of innumerable lists of disciplines and issues, each concerned with border disputes (p. 14), leading to the general issue: she wants to 'set new terms for the traffic between what we have come to know historically as nature and culture' (p. 15).
I have been a student and admirer of her work since I first encountered it during a visit to Johns Hopkins in 1979, but nothing in my previous reading of it prepared me for the rich, highly-textured, highly-articulated, multi-layered, genuinely profound text that constitutes the book. Her work is heir to all the traditions I canvassed above, and she is quite explicit about their roles in her thinking. She studied biology as a graduate student at Yale, where the influence of G. E. Hutchinson fostered a broad, cultured sense of biological meanings. Interdisciplinary studies at Yale provide both a model and many of the case studies for her research as an historian. She joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins, perhaps the leading institution in upholding the Germanic ideals of scholarship in graduate work (Geiger, 1986). It is the place where A. O. Lovejoy (1948) founded the discipline of the history of ideas, and Owsei Temkin set the highest standards in culturally and philosophically based historical studies of medicine and biology. She moved from there to the University of California at Santa Cruz, whose unique program in History of Consciousness offers an even broader perspective on human self-reflectiveness and where Norman O. Brown (1959) and Hayden White (1984) are colleagues whose historical and historiographic perspectives are very enabling.
What strikes me as so powerful about her story is that she sets new standards for sheer immersion in the texture of the history of ideas, institutions, research traditions, individuals' reflections in themselves. It is exhausting to read, and her style makes no concessions to mellifluous cadences, yet it is very, very exhilarating. It is 'too much' in the best sense. She takes us through the minutiae of complex networks, the mediations, the resolutions of forces that lead to scientific patronage, conception, research, publication and dissemination. The texture is so fine, the networks so highly-articulated that any hope of maintaining a dichotomy between the substance and the context of science or between science and ideology becomes a forlorn one. Context and substance are not just interdigitated but inextricably intertwined or mutually constitutive.
This is all quite deliberate. She says at one point, 'I will periodize primatology in order to confuse the inside/outside boundary. My argument is not that "outside" influences have continued to determine primatology into the period of problem-oriented, quantitative studies, but that the boundary itself gives a misleading map of the field, leading to political commitments and beliefs about the sciences that I wish to contest. My periodization takes pleasure in confusing boundaries' (p. 125). She concludes, 'I do not wish to tell a causal tale, but to multiply associations and clusters, so that the chronology of discoveries and explanatory transitions in primatology becomes provocatively problematic. The main point is not that the following associations are indisputable, but on the contrary, to illustrate how a chronology is necessarily a political history' (pp. 125-6).
Most of the comments on this book that I have read have been very uncomprehending, especially in the British press. Readers don't know what the hell to do with it. They say, in effect, 'All this is very interesting and industrious, but the thesis is unproven'. They don't grasp that it is the cumulative weight of textured entanglement that makes her case. It is not an argument in the ordinary sense. It's more like the Tar Baby: the more you make contact with it, the more you get stuck into it ('Born 'n bred in the briar patch! Born 'n bred in the briar patch!'). Some commentators have been irritated, a few hostile to her avowed (but utterly unstrident) feminism, some are sardonic and patronising, unable to acknowledge her consummate knowledge of her chosen domains of study and their myriad interrelations. I say shame on those critics. Her book reminds me of Black Athena, Martin Bernal's critique of received views on the origins of classical Greece's putatively purely Aryan civilisation. (Indeed, she pays tribute to his work in a recent essay Haraway, 1992a, p. 331) Once one has been immersed in his or her argument, one is left wondering how anyone could have thought otherwise.
It bulges; it overflows; it spills out concepts: stress, patronage, aspects of functionalism, how television documentaries get sponsored, how films about cyborgs get made, how science fiction gets written, why women do or don't get jobs in academic departments, who their partners and lovers are or were, the impact of divorces and of sexual practices and the bearing of these experiences on what gets published and on how primates get seen and conceptualised. There is a relentless quality about it. All very 'unscientific' but a cornucopia of scholarship and insight of the sort one gets in bull sessions among researchers and students in a field when one is being told what really went on.
Indeed, her own research is an example of the kind she describes. It is a nodal point or intersection in a very gratifying network of mutually influencing scholars, especially including Steve Cross, William Albury, Constance Clark, Ludi Jordanova, Karl Figlio and me. There is a long, long list of acknowledgements, appropriately including seventeen of her own doctoral students. She shows how such debates and patronage networks end up defining a discipline. Here is an example: 'Debates raged about whether the peaceful chimpanzees and gorillas or the tight-assed baboons were the better model for "man's" evolutionary past and so future hopes. Books were published on the connections of primate studies to man's putative propensities toward xenophobia and territoriality. E. O. Wilson named "the xenophobic principle" in Sociobiology (1975). Man's natural aggressiveness versus his peace-loving capacities were argued on college campuses while the Vietnam War killed the Vietnamese and the darker-skinned and white working-class contemporaries of the young people in the audiences' (p. 126). There follow two pages of titles of books in this particular time frame which justified 'man the hunter', man the aggressor, e.g., The Territorial Imperative, The Social Contract, The Hunting Hypothesis, The Naked Ape, The Human Zoo, The Imperial Animal, On Aggression, The Inevitability of Patriarchy, on and on. After softening us up with this saturation bombardment of otherwise risibly implausible titles by eminently respectable people, she asks how else than by reference to the geopolitics of the period can one account for such an outpouring of books providing a pedigree for what the American government was up to in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The result is that one is at first alarmed by her apparently sly elision between Wilson's sociobiological categories and the Vietnam War, only to find it appropriate in the light of the accumulating list of warmongering titles. I have read those books and lived though those times, and I am sure she is right.
She tells a parallel story about the National Geographic specials, which are among the most-watched programmes in television history. Five of them have been about nonhuman primates: Miss Goodall and the Wild Chimpanzees (1965), Monkeys, Apes and Man (1971), Search for the Great Apes (1975), Gorilla (1981), and Among the Wild Chimpanzees (1984). To celebrate nine years of underwriting the series, Gulf Oil launched an advertising campaign with a full-colour photo, showing 'two wrists and hands reaching in from opposite sides of the page to meet in gentle embrace. The hands are richly sensuous; they fill the space in which they intertwine. One is white, young, with well-trimmed nails; the other, about the same size, is brown, hairy, showing signs of a harder life. Both hands are open and vulnerable' (p. 133). The advert is entitled 'Understanding is Everything', and the text says, 'In a spontaneous gesture of trust, a chimpanzee in the wilds of Tanzania folds his leathery hand around that of Jane Goodall sufficient reward for Dr. Goodall's years of patience"' (ibid.).
Donna Haraway asks, 'What mediates spontaneity?... when may (white) woman best represent (species) man? How do the race, species, gender, and science codes work to reinvent nature in the Third World for First World audiences within post-colonial, multinational capitalism?' (pp. 134-5). Her reply provides a characteristically bold synthesis of science as legitimation and as available for appropriation for the purposes of corporate image: 'Gulf took on sponsorship of the series the same year the giant company, ranked number 8 among the Forbes 500 and traditionally one of the Seven Sisters of international oil companies, was in the news for major slush fund scandals to U. S. and overseas politicians, resulting in the forced resignation of the Chairman of the Board. The 1970s were not only scandal-ridden for the oil giant; they were also economically disastrous because of the formation of OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) and Kuwait's subsequent takeover of its oil fields. Gulf moved from the unbeatable ally of British Petroleum, ruling the rich oil fields of a small Middle Eastern country, from which Gulf's profits amounted to more that a $1 million per day in the mid-1970s, to a supplicant for crude oil from an assertive Kuwaiti government. The years of intense media focus on the system of international oil profits and politics and on the "energy crisis" brought a new form of advertising by the energy multinationals. Ads were full of scenes of natural integrity and environmental restoration and preservation through the enlightened, scientifically guided practices of giant companies. It was a good time for Gulf to associate itself with the thesis that "no thinking person can share in the destruction of anything whose value he understands... Association with the National Geographic Society and with the television specials is only one aspect of Gulf's lively concern for the environment. But it is an especially proud one"' (p. 135). It is also 'association' in another sense. It is hoped that as a result of their generous patronage of such lovely television specials we will not associate Gulf Oil with scandal, economic imperialism and despoiling of nature but with the gentle symbiosis between this gracious woman, her fellow-creatures and a pastoral rendering of the earth.
Science, its ideological bases, popularisation and wider ideological and hegemonic purposes are here intertwined in a multilayered message. This example reminds me of a Sunday magazine photograph which I once analysed (Young, 1985, p. 625). It depicted Richard Dawkins, looking like a cross between a choirboy and a movie star, a wise, bearded, elderly Charles Darwin, Konrad Lorenz (a founder of ethology, a Nobel Laureate and a follower of Hitler in the 1930s), Robert Ardrey (a playwright and conservative autodidact who also essayed on the biological inevitability of private property, hierarchy, patriarchy, competition, etc.), E. O. Wilson (the father of recent sociobiology, offering a much-disputed basis for many of the same things in the behaviour of ants and other organisms in the evolutionary chain). All were pictured alongside Watson and Crick's double helix. Biological inevitability is conveyed at many levels in a single collage. It comes across as a unified story, legitimated by the strands of DNA twisting down the side of the picture. I agree with Donna Haraway that people actually learn their deepest assumptions about nature and humanity in this mixed up way. They do not pause (nor are they invited to do so) to discriminate between the level of molecular biology, fairly close extrapolations, mixtures of original work and wild overgeneralizations, and frankly popular and propagandist potboilers.
She also enlightens us about how and why 'King Kong' was made, though I'm sorry to report that there is no analysis of the macho classic 'Any Which Way but Loose', which teams Clint Eastwood as a bare knuckle street fighter with a particularly pugilistic chimp. Instead, we are treated to innumerable examples of the patronage of the Rockefeller and Wenner-Gren foundations (whose financial resources came from exploitative technologies) and the Josia Macy Foundation (money from Macy's department store). Their vast funds have been used across a wide range of fields to support a (relatively enlightened) version of stable, biologicstic order in animal and human social affairs. Whole disciplines and innumerable institutions were directly established by these patrons, notably the Yale Institute of Human Relations (pp. 71-3, 220), the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (Dicks, 1970), sociobiology (in an earlier incarnation), molecular biology (Abir-Am, 1982), the integration of biological, medical and social sciences (pp. 103-4; Brown, 1979, 1979a), world-wide organisations for the promotion of western ideas about medicine and mental health (p. 104; Fisher, 1978).
It is not too much to say that these activities (and many more not listed here) were part of a world-wide conspiracy to palliate class conflict and make the world safe for international monopoly capitalism. Organismic thought became the universal rhetoric, prestructuring assumptive worlds so as to make people less likely to think in terms of contradiction, dialectic, or any other model not compatible with market notions of competition and distributive justice. Individuals, groups, industries, nations all could be seen as having an essential contribution to make to the smooth running of 'the social organism' (the title of a pioneering paper by the evolutionary philosopher, Herbert Spencer, 1860; see below, ch. 8), just as cells, organs and systems play their parts in the overall physiology of the biological organism.
The larger goals were quite explicitly spelled out in the foundations' internal documents. In some cases the aims were avowed in the projects, for example, the Rockefeller-funded Trilateral Commission for world order, drawing on leaders from around the globe, rather like a super United Nations. (the land for whose New York headquarters they also donated) with the philanthropic oil family as hosts. This world-wide scheme is helpfully examined in a collection edited by Holly Sklar (1980). There was also the Rockefeller Foundation's huge programme in promoting the so-called Green Revolution for a single world system of agriculture in the guise of ways of increasing crop yields in the Third World. The manifest project was intensive cultivation, requiring expensive fertilisers; the latent and final effect was the world-wide demise of the peasant farmer, whose small plot was integrated into 'economically viable units', suitable for world crop markets.
The research projects, ongoing support of scientific meetings and seminars and the funding of institutions and careers created a relatively stable set of interrelating subcultures, whose participants got doctorates, jobs, publications, and achieved the colonisation of other academic and research institutions and professional organisations, periodicals and curricula. She shows us exactly how it's done.
For example, 'The hoped-for unity of the sciences through the new communications theories was actively promoted by an important social mechanism immediately after World War II: the series of ten Macy Foundation conferences on cybernetics, beginning in 1946 with a meeting entitled "Teleological Mechanisms in Society" and ending in 1953 with the last of the conferences entitled "Cybernetics: Circular Causal and Feedback Mechanisms in Biological and Social Thought". These meetings had profound consequences for cybernetic evolutionary theories of animal behavior developed in the 1950s. The Macy Foundation sponsorship grew out of its commitment from its origin in 1930 to a holistic approach to health through the integration of biological, medical and social sciences.... The Foundation's special technique was the conference series, in which about fifteen scientists were invited to form an original nucleus to meet for two days at least once a year for three to five years. Between 1940 and 1950, the Foundation sponsored 132 conferences with over 800 participating scientists. The interdisciplinary emphases of Macy, coupled with its long-term interest in mental health, human relations and the physiology of integrative, homeostatic processes, led the Department of State to ask the Foundation in 1946 to conduct sessions on human relations in the Department, drawing on its resources in clinical psychology and cultural anthropology. In 1948, Macy facilitated the London International Congress on Mental Health, which preceded the founding of the World Federation of Mental Health, charged with applying mental health principles to human relations within and among nations and serving as a consultative organization to UNESCO and the World Health Organization' (pp. 103-4). They also funded a series of annual interdisciplinary conferences on The Central Nervous System and Behavior, which sought to integrate psychology and neurophysiology, as discussed above in chapter six.
That example of the Rockefeller Foundations role in the patronage of ideas is complementary to how ideas get wedded to personal research pedigrees and lineages. At the dawn of the era of foundation funding, the careers of Robert Yerkes and James Rowland Angell showed how the combination of ideas and access to patronage could build intellectual empires. Haraways succinct accounts of status convey this well: 'The connection of Yerkes with human engineering were direct and multi-levelled. He held a key place in liberal corporate reform linked to human engineering institutionalized thorough the National Research Council, its Division of Psychology and Anthropology, the Engineering Foundation, the Research Information Service, the Personnel Research Foundation. Yale's Institute of Psychology and Institute of Human Relations, the Rockefeller and Carnegie philanthropies, and critical people like James Rowland Angell, the president of Yale who helped Yerkes build his primate laboratory. Angell had been a prominent advocate of "functional psychology" at the University of Chicago early in this century. He chaired the Department of Psychology at Chicago from 1905-19, was dean of the university faculties from 1911-19, and acting president from 1918-19. He chaired the National Research Council from 1919-20, was president of the Carnegie Corporation from 1920-21, and president of Yale from 1921 until 1937. Angell was a director of the New York Life Insurance Company and the National Broadcasting Company, served on the National Committee for Mental Hygiene, and was a trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation from 1928-36. Angell and Yerkes planned Yale's graduate-oriented Institute of Psychology, funded by the Laura Spellman Rockefeller Memorial in 1924. Angell paradigmatically represented the elaborate interconnections of university, industry, philanthropy, and science policy in the development of the material structures and ideologies of the scientific management of society' (p. 67).
In her chapter on 'Remodeling the Human Way of Life: Sherwood Washburn and Physical Anthropology, 1950-80', Haraway shows how a highly contentious social Darwinist idea 'man the hunter' gets embedded in doctoral theses, careers, publications and the curricula of institutions: 'Washburn actually did little observing of living primates in the field; but his students at Chicago and Berkeley defined a major body of primatological practice. Prior to the time [1955-6], only two Ph.D.s (one of them Washburn's) had been earned in anthropological departments for some branch of primatology since the publication of Robert and Ada Yerkes's monumental tome, The Great Apes, in 1929. Between 1960 and 1979, there were to be 161 more (although only a portion of them were behavioral field studies) with others still in departments of psychology and biology or zoology. Of the first nineteen of those in anthropology, fifteen were supervised by Washburn; of forty-seven behavioral primatological doctorates in anthropology prior to 1979, twenty were granted at Berkeley, which also awarded fourteen of the forty-two anatomical primate Ph.D.s... The nearest competitors were Chicago, where the Washburn influence remained after he left, and Harvard, under his former student, Irven DeVore' (p. 218).
She concludes this detailed account by spelling out the colonization of institutions: 'Although after 1970, the number of primate students not associated with Washburn increased, his students dominated the field in the United States in the 1960s and have remained a force well beyond. They got important jobs during the period of the subject's institutional consolidation (up to 1975), e.g., at the Davis, Berkeley, San Diego, and Santa Cruz campuses of the University of California, and at Harvard, Chicago, Stanford, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Texas. They in turn supervised the dissertations of a large percentage of the next wave of field workers. While the dense institutional network associated with Washburn does not indicate a tight intellectual community, it does indicate patterns of access to careers, recognition, and publication, as well as shared explanatory background and assumptions about field practice, which were to be the basis of both criticism and revolt' (p.223). She elsewhere describes Washburn only half-ironically as a 'patriline', 'a very visible father in the primate order' (Haraway, 1991, p. 850).
After the account of Washburn's influence, she plunges straight into a similar patronage network founded by David Hamburg, whose accounts of human stress built on the foundations laid by Washburn. Hamburg extended evolutionary models of human nature into psychiatry and went on to become Chief of Adult Psychiatry at the National Institutes of Mental Health and president of the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine (pp. 223-6). Her account here makes contact with the American mental health establishment and reminds us that the Rockefeller charities were also active in Britain in funding the Tavistock Clinic and the Institute of Human Relations, host to John Bowlbys biologistic version of psychoanalysis, to socio-technical systems theory (a form of scientific management, coupled to the understanding of unconscious motives) and the applications of systems theory to psychotherapy. The British mental health professions have also been deeply influenced by Rockefeller patronage and the forms of thinking promoted by its largesse.
When she turns, in Part Three, to detailed examination of the ideas and careers of women scientists, the tone changes radically. She sets out to explore primatology 'as a genre of feminist theory', using as her case studies Jeanne Altmann, Linda Marie Fedigan, Ardrienne Zihlman and Sarah Hrdy (there is a summary of their problematics on p. 350), with a reprise on science fiction, especially a story by Octavia Butler about Lilith, whose biology is complex and has been altered by intervention and whose ruminations about her life provide the book's final sentence: 'I suppose I could think of this as fieldwork but how the hell do I get out of the field?' (p. 382). This is a perfect succinct rendering of the epistemological problem posed by the constitutive role of ideology in theory, the conundrum of self-reference and the ineffability of objectivity.
Throughout the final chapters Haraway dwells on how people in less than powerful situations, and perhaps not keen to be in them, negotiate meanings. Indeed, the whole book is about the origins, negotiation, deployment and propagation of meanings. In that sense, all of the things I have stressed above about power, status and careers are secondary.
She says early on, 'Such structures enable and constrain meanings: they do not directly produce them' (p. 111). There are other determinants of knowledge, including animals and other objects. 'But these objects are radically mediated for us.' The meanings in a particular tradition are not merely bad science or ideology. They are 'that which can be known in a particular time and place, called Nature'. 'Meanings are applications; how meanings are constituted is the essence of politics.... Semiosis is politics by other means' (ibid.).
Throughout the book and most eloquently in the closing chapters she is contesting the very conceptions of Nature and the ways that they have been produced, the very ones that she has so wonderfully described in her analytic narratives of the history of patriarchal primatology. At bottom, you see, this is a work of feminist epistemology in practice, offered as an example of what it advocates. (Just how inclusively she thinks of 'sexual politics' is evident from a list of topics which fills page 351.) There are innumerable startling passages in the final chapters. For example, 'Jane Altmann's career and writing may serve as an allegory for feminist queries about gender and science, i.e., about relationships between positioning as a gendered social subject and the production of knowledge and the philosophy of science' (p. 305). Again: 'But category formation at all the powerful nodes in the apparatus of knowledge production can, perhaps, be thoroughly destabilized. If those unsettled conditions can be produced in a discursive field, like primatology, then fundamental change transformation in the generative field is just possible. Destabilizing the positions in a discursive field and disrupting categories for identification might be a more powerful feminist strategy than "speaking as a woman"' (p. 310).
She has no time for feminist readings of nature which are a mirror image of patriarchal ones: 'Feminist projects in science are distinctly not feminine science. Rather, what might be problematically named feminist science in local practices destabilizes meanings of both sex and gender and restructures the "science/gender system" as it maps the field of meanings ordered by the axes of nature/science and sex/gender. It is specifically the permanent tension between construction and deconstruction, identification moves and destabilization moves, that I see, not as uniquely femininst, but as inherent to feminism and to science. Both feminist and scientific discourses are critical projects built in order to destabilize and reimagine their methods and objects of knowledge in complex power fields. Addressed to each other, western and feminist scientific discourses warp each other's story fields and redraw possible positions for claiming to know something about the world, including gendered social space and sexed bodies' (p. 324).
She is determined not to suck nature up into ideology. Animals are really out there and have a certain refractoriness to our plots. Animals are not '"pre-discursive bodies" just waiting to validate or invalidate some discursive practice, nor are they blank screens waiting for people's cultural projections. The animals are active participants in the constitution of what may count as scientific knowledge. From the point of view of the biologist's purposes, the animals resist, enable, disrupt, engage, constrain, and display. They act and signify, and like all action and signification, theirs yield no unique, univocal, unconstructed "facts" waiting to be collected. The animals in behavioral biology are not transparent; they are dense. Like words, machines, equations, institutions, generic writings, people, and landscapes, the animals have specific kinds of solidity in the apparatus of bodily production' (pp. 310-11).
Just before the end of the book she puts her overall project very clearly and, in doing so, gives an apologia for some of the more trying and challenging aspects of her style: 'Throughout Primate Visions, I have read both popular and technical discourses on monkeys and apes "out of context". My hope has been that the always oblique and sometimes perverse focusing would facilitate revisionings of fundamental, persistent western narratives about difference, especially racial and sexual difference; about reproduction, especially in terms of the multiplicities of generators and offspring; and about survival, especially about survival imagined in the boundary conditions of both the origins and ends of history, as told within western traditions of that complex genre. Primate Visions is replete with representations of representations, deliberately mixing genres and contexts to play with scientific and popular accounts in ways that the "original" authors would rarely authorize. But Primate Visions is not innocent of the intent to have effects on the authorized primate texts in both mass cultural and scientific productions, in order to shift reading and writing practices in this fascinating and important cultural field of meanings for industrial and post-industrial people.
'Primate Visions does not work by prohibiting origin stories, or biological explanations of what some would insist must be exclusively cultural matters, or any other of the enabling devices among primate discourses' apparatuses of bodily production. I am not interested in policing the boundaries between nature and culture quite the opposite, I am edified by the traffic. Indeed, I have always preferred the prospect of pregnancy with the embryo of another species... Gender is kind, syntax, relation, genre; gender is not the transubstantiation of biological sexual difference. The argument in Primate Visions works by telling and retelling stories in the attempt to shift the webs of intertextuality and to facilitate perhaps new possibilities for the meanings of difference, reproduction, and survival for specifically located members of the primate order on both sides of the bio-political and cultural divide between human and animal' (p. 377).
The conclusion I draw from her work is this: If science is culture, and if culture is not to be ontologically and epistemologically privileged (in the way the 'science of ideas' was privileged by the French Ideologues), then the concept of ideology no longer has a privileged or scandalous conceptual space to occupy. It has no Other with which to be in contrast; it is passé, because positivist and objectivist notions of science, no matter how qualified and rehabilitated, are utterly discredited. There is no way to 'get out of the field'. There are only contested terrains, and it behoves us to get off the terrain of 'we caught you' critiques and to construct our own accounts, our own artefacts, our own natures and Nature.
After all this heartfelt and fulsome praise, I want to add two notes of severe regret on behalf of inner and outer reality. In the past she has been hostile to psychoanalysis. In a footnote to Primate Visions she seems to have moved nearer: 'Lurking just underneath the discussion of difference throughout this book has been feminism's relations to psychoanalytic theory, especially Lacanian versions. It is too late to force this potent monster up from the depths, breaking the surface tensions of my discussions of difference, to join the monkeys and apes in the upper stories of the primate text. Let the beast continue to inhabit the fluid regions that threaten to flood the primal scenes where "almost minds" communicate' (p. 431 n6). I find this coy and evasive and believe strongly that the psychoanalytic dimension including and especially the kinds of critiques of its appropriation by anthropologists and functionalist social scientists which she would be likely to mount is essential to the overall critical and reconstructive project to which her work is a central contribution. I would go further and say that the integration of the kind of critical understanding of nature and gender and other animals which she does so well, on the one hand, and critical approaches to psychoanalysis, on the other, is an urgent desideratum, a project to which I offer this book as a beginning. I fear that I may not have got much further than juxtaposing them, putting them between the covers of a single volume, as it were. If that is all I have done, as was said in the determined days of the 1960s, even in a march of ten thousand miles, one has to take the first step.
I also think that when, in work not reviewed in this essay, she turns to the positive project of reconstituting Nature and human nature (which she calls 'artifactualism'), a healthy dose of (especially Kleinian) psychoanalysis would add a cautionary note. There is more than an hint of voluntarism and idealism in her positive programme, and I am also left with a nagging sense that we may never emerge from the realm of discourse into more traditional politically and economically contested terrains, with their own stubborn refractorinesses. Remaining on the terrain of discourse tempts one to a sense that perhaps our good will and our serious and sustained studies might win the field of contested meanings. For all my admiration of her work, I sometimes feel seduced away from both the outer and the inner worlds and into a playful space, where it would not be right to remain for too long, lest I forget the long-term goals of changing ourselves and the world.
The inner world (not solely the immunological one which she does address with characteristic subtlety) has its own stubborn but not, one hopes, utterly unmodifiable 'second nature' (see above, ch. 3) The unconscious aspects of human nature, in its individual and collective manifestations, are not transparent any more than primates or modes of production are: they are dense, though not impenetrable, just as she rightly insists that the subtler ways of other primates are. The concept of second nature allows us to say that ways of being, thinking, behaving and organising economies are deeply sedimented and experienced as 'natural' as biological or 'first nature'. Nevertheless and however refractory they are, they are also potentially modifiable as a result of appropriate, patient struggle to gain insight and to change.
One last point. After I had drafted all of the above and decided to offer her work as central to my case for setting aside the science/ideology dichotomy, a new paper by her turned up in the post. It is entitled, with characteristic terminological cussedness, 'The Promises of Monsters: A Regenerative Politics for Inappropriate/d Others'. In a footnote in which she ruminates the categories of modernism, postmodernism and (what Bruno Latour wants to call) 'amodernism', she concludes that science studies can no longer remain immune to cultural studies. Indeed, the concluding sentence of her recent book of essays says, 'Science is culture' (Haraway, 1991, p. 230). In the new essay, she argues the case: 'Further, the addition of science studies to cultural studies does not leave the notions of culture, society, and politics untouched, far from it. In particular, we cannot make a critique of science and its constructions of nature based an ongoing belief in culture or society. In the form of social constructionism, that belief has grounded the major strategy of left, feminist, and anti-racist science radicals. To remain with that strategy, however, is to remain bedazzled by the ideology of enlightenment. It will not do to approach science as social or cultural construction, as if culture and society were transcendent categories, any more than nature or the object is. Outside the premises of enlightenment i.e., of the modern the binary pairs of culture and nature, science and society, the technical and the social all lose their constitutive, oppositional quality. Neither can explain the other' (Haraway, 1992a, p. 330).
I would, of course, add that the same is true of 'science and ideology'. Where we go from here is not to a particularly epistemologiclly safe project. I suppose it's rather prosaic: the task of telling the best stories we can. Her own ruminations also point to telling stories: 'When the pieties of belief in the modern are dismissed, both members of the binary pairs collapse into each other as into a black hole. But what happens to them in the black hole is, by definition, not visible from the shared terrain of modernity, modernism or postmodernism. It will take a superluminary SF journey into elsewhere to find the new interesting vantage points' (ibid.).
At a recent event at London's determinedly avant garde Institute of Contemporary Arts I overheard a young couple discussing the formation of a Donna Haraway reading group. I remember well how, in the 1970s, my contemporaries and I felt that we had to be in a reading group to sustain the morale and will power to read Marx's Grundrisse. It is a sign of the times that Primate Visions is the equivalently post- or a-modern challenge to the imagination and to solidarity in cultural politics.
(Place of publication is London unless otherwise specified.)
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