Poesis: The ambivalent creation of truth

Event Details

Poesis: The ambivalent creation of truth

Time: November 29, 2013 at 2pm to November 30, 2013 at 7pm
Location: Waterford Institute of Technology
Website or Map: http://www.wit.ie
Event Type: conference
Organized By: Tom Boland, John O'Brien
Latest Activity: Sep 4, 2013

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Event Description

Call for Papers: (Submission deadline 1st of November)

Waterford Institute of Technology 

Organised by the Department of Applied Arts, Waterford Institute of Technology, the Journal International Political Anthropology, and the School of Sociology & Philosophy, University College Cork

Conveners:                  Tom Boland (Sociology, WIT, tboland@wit.ie,) and                                    John O’ Brien, (Sociology, WIT, jfobrien@wit.ie,)

Poesis, from the Ancient Greek (ποίησις) means production or composition. This creativity is central and vital to humanity; from language, story and song through objects, homes and art to political and social institutions. To study society and culture separately is scarcely tenable: this conference concerns the centrality of meaning, narrative and even beauty to human life. Yet, in modernity poesis and culture are often relegated to being little more than entertainment or even frothy ideology which distorts ‘real’ social processes. Furthermore, for academics oriented to investigating, interpreting or even measuring social forces, how poesis creates truth is a matter of deep ambivalence.

There is nothing more poetic than the sense, or even the sensation, of moving through fiction towards the truth. As Nietzsche pointed out, all of our truths are fictions which we have ceased to recognise as creative poesis: the foundational concepts of philosophy, theology and all the modern disciplines emerge from stories. Inevitably, we live culturally within one fictional world or another, or even in many worlds that overlap in complex ways. Yet, we are ambivalent about this poesis: Whose fiction is it? Does fictional mean false, ideological and erroneous? And what might happen if the fiction starts to wear thin – will there be disenchantment, alienation or renewal?

The question of poesis and truth cannot be confined to the sepulchral realms of high art or the distracting froth of popular culture. Despite the dominance of technocratic discourse, the political world is animated by fictions, from universalising utopian visions to images of the nation. Ultimately politics is a contest over meaning. Similarly that thing which we sometimes call ‘economic reality’ is also a storied world, with confidence, booms and busts the material of our contemporary morality tale. The tale of technological world domination, the bildungsroman of entrepreneurial success, the Faustian pact of progress and the carnival world of the market are all fictions. And of course, culture is now an industry, so that tourism, advertising and education are sites of the production and consumption of poesis and truth.

We invite plenary and session papers on:

-          Poetry and truth, theory and meaning.

-          Society as a fictional world: in modernity and beyond.

-          Politics as the contested field of meaning.

-          Poesis and everyday life.

-          The marketplace for meaning and productive poesis.


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