Science is not fun

Opinions personals de membres del CEHIC i alumnes de postgrau

Archive for Novembre, 2012

Nov 28 2012

Evolutionary Catalanism? What do scientists have to say about politics?

Posted in General |

Already in the summer of 2011 Catalan archaeologist Eudal Carbonell published (with Cinta S. Bellmunt) Catalanisme evolutiu. The title sounds a bit weird, does it not? Evolutionary Catalanism? One may read this slim book as an “internal” dialogue between a Catalanist searching for political arguments and scientist firmly believing in reason and techno-scientific progress. Carbonell clearly rejects any kind of biologistic reasoning. There is no “natural” essence of a Catalan people. National identity needs to be thought in a way that allows for the integration of immigrants and so on. „Tot som catalans, si volem ser-ho.“ Due to his anti-essentialist position he struggles hard to identify what maybe specific to Catalonia and the Catalan people. The language of course, and the history, Franco’s oppression. Carbonell mentions all these things. Yet he is much more of a leftist than a Catalan nationalist adding his particular flavor of science and technology as the key to progress and social justice. What he calls the “socialization of knowledge”.

This idea is of course by no means a new idea but can mutatis mutandis be traced back well into the nineteenth century. It is typical for many “progressive” and left-wing scientists and science popularizers. Myth, prejudice and dogma need to be overcome and replaced by scientific knowledge.

His belief in scientific progress and its blessings for society still startles me. Ambivalent or outright negative consequences of “scientific progress” such as pollution, the destruction of the environment and so on are mostly absent in his writings.

To return to politics. „El meu catalanisme no és nacionalista, ni independentista“. Carbonell’s key term instead is “interdependència”. Yet again the book remains vague when it comes to concrete political concepts. He writes sentences such as: “Catalunya s’ha de transformar en un equip humà, en un col.lectiu intel.lectual conscient.“ Hard to disagree with. After this Sunday’s election it seems clear that Catalanism indeed still has to “evolutionize”.

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