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Boyne, R. (2006) 'Classification.', Theory, culture & society., 23 (2-3). pp. 21-30.


First thoughts about classification inevitably turn to the simultaneously mundane and extraordinary ambition to capture the universe of all that there is and has been. This dream of the universal has two basic modes (and so the process begins!). First, I will follow the spirit of theos and logos as represented by the Platonic embrace of totality enshrined in Socrates’ scrupulous rejection of rhetorical dishonesty. Second, I will address the later part of the march to subjectivity as expressed by the mechanics of atomism and Cartesian reduction. Following this move from theology to ontology, from in other words the post-synthetic to the post-analytic, I will connect with the sociological destruction of such pretensions to absolute classificatory veracity – a necessary pre-requisite for the engagement of reflexivity and classification to be found in the work of Georges Perec.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Platonic classification, Cartesian classification, Sociology of classification, Perec.
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Publisher statement:The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Theory, culture & society, 23/2-3, 2006, © Theory, Culture & Society Ltd, 2006 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Theory, culture & society page: on SAGE Journals Online:
Record Created:15 Aug 2008
Last Modified:16 Aug 2011 09:38

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