Academia as Cargo Cult
Ian C. Jarvie’s original research was on cargo cults—more specifically regarding the anthropologists who study cargo cults as themselves constituting a cargo cult. I reflect on the broader epistemological significance of this work, extending it to what I call ‘academic expressivism’, whereby contemporary identity politics is analysed as a cargo cult that relies on a superstitious attachment to sociological categories such as race, class, and gender. Special attention is given to the academic expressivist redeployment of Robert Nozick’s entitlement theory of justice as a vehicle for promoting identity politics.
- Feynman, Richard. 1985. Surely You’re Joking, Mr Feynman! New York: Norton.Google Scholar
- Forrester, Katrina. 2018. Reparations, History and the Origins of Global Justice. In Empire, Race and Global Justice, ed. D. Bell. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- ———. 1988. Social Epistemology. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
- ———. 2016. Beyond Car Park Sociology: Recovering the Roots of Public Sociology. https://www.thesociologicalreview.com/blog/beyond-car-park-sociology-recovering-the-roots-of-public-sociology.html (16 May).
- Harris, Marvin. 1968. The Rise of Anthropological Theory. New York: Thomas Crowell.Google Scholar
- Jarvie, Ian. 1963. Theories of Cargo Cults: A Critical Analysis. Oceania 34: 1–31, 108–136.Google Scholar
- ———. 1986. Thinking About Society: Theory and Practice. Dordrecht, NL: Kluwer.Google Scholar
- Naess, Arne. 1965. Science as Behavior. In Scientific Psychology, ed. B. Wolman and E. Nagel, 50–67. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
- Nozick, Robert. 1974. Anarchy, State and Utopia. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
- Said, Edward. 1978. Orientalism. New York: Random House.Google Scholar