appropriating kuhn

William Ford Gibson

Again things are falling into place. Most of the day I spent with thinking about cultural appropriation, the literary genre cyberpunk, anthropology and the connections between all three ‘things’. Finally I wrote up appropriating cyberpunk hinted to today’s achievements of mine and went out to haunt the bookstores for a new copy of Appadurai’s “Modernity at large” because my own copy somehow got lost—give it back, you bastard, whoever you are to whom I lent it. The first three stores didn’t have it in stock, the fourth’s clerk slammed the door right into my face at 18:01h and meticulously locked it from well inside, not even throwing a glance at me. Somehow I can’t get rid of the feeling that he was the very man whom I lent my original copy … Anyway, the only thing left was to resort to ‘my’ Gentlemen Loser and have a beer. So I did and it gave me enough strength for returning to the office and try to do some more work. Immediately after having fired up the machines again I checked William Gibson’s blog, and hey presto … during the day I had thought about the need of anthropology to engage itself into current societal and political discourses, and that writers always had taken up pressing events. I had thought about the cyberpunk-writers’ apparent fondness of social sciences, anthropology in particular. And I had thought about cyberpunk being about cultural appropriation. To prove this I quoted Gibson’s 1989 sentence from his essay Rocket Radio: “The Street finds its own uses for things—uses the manufacturers never imagined.” [see ↵writing culture and cyberpunk] Just three days ago William Gibson commented on the current events in the Near East, associated them with Thomas S. Kuhn’s seminal book “The structure of scientific revolutions” (1962) [which is tremendously important for the social and cultural sciences, the anthropologies of knowledge and technology in particular] and concluded his blog-entry Hammer, meet wasp’s nest like this:

I’ve heard that Kuhn fiercely lamented the application of SSR [structure of scientific revolutions] to anything other than the structure of scientific revolutions, but that’s how it usually is, when the street finds its own uses for things.

Now, do the things fall into place, or what?