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‘lil help from the audience / xmas in september

with 2 comments

Dammit. I haven’t had my books fully at hand in over nine months now. Long story, not very interesting, why that is. Google / Amazon book searches can help, but if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for you get locked out eventually.

Here’s what I’m trying to find. Somewhere in his four-volume Age of… history of the modern world, Eric Hobsbawm says something about, hmm, this is a bit complicated. He says something that the life patterns of period X (the end of the nineteenth century?) became sort of locked in due to the fact that so many of “our” ancestors moved to the city, started a whole new way of life. That the way people lived then became a sort of primal scene that everything else is permanently referring to. So silly little things like the way we celebrate holidays like Christmas, how we think about all sorts of daily life issues, are in a sense permanently indexed to this moment of arrival, when we left the fields behind for the cities once and for all.

I happen to think this is very astute and correct. I just can’t remember what volume it is in or what keywords to use to search for it. I keep trying Christmas, but it’s not working so far.

Ring a bell?

Can you tell I’m writing an introductory lecture for a course? That time of year again, I’m afraid….

Written by adswithoutproducts

September 8, 2008 at 2:27 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. perhaps “invented tradition” is one of the keywords you’re looking for (as in, H’s The Invention of Tradition)? though, having not read it, I can’t speak to whether it talks about the move towards city life as this moment that is perpetually indexed…


    September 8, 2008 at 2:53 pm

  2. wow that’s perfect. I’ve never seen that stuff of his. I must be thinking of some little morsel of this argument that he wedged into one of the Age books….

    nice call dave.

    if anyone knows offhand the cite in the Age books, that’d help too for expediency’s sake….


    September 8, 2008 at 3:24 pm

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