Monday, June 19, 2006

Why did you use that reason?

There was a great article in April 10th issue of the New Yorker. It was by Malcolm Gladwell (of Tipping Point fame) and it was about Columbia University scholar Charles Tilly’s book “Why?”.

It’s a fascinating article.

“Tilly sets out to make sense of our reasons for giving reasons. Tilly postulates that we rely on four general categories of reasons. "
1) Conventions –conventionally accepted explanations
2) Stories –what distinguishes a story is a very specific account of cause and effect
3) Codes –high-level conventions, formulas that invoke sometimes recondite procedural rules and categories
4) Technical accounts: stories informed by specialized knowledge and authority.

It has a nice analysis of the types of reasons that were given following Dick Cheney shooting Harry Whittingon in the face. What is interesting is that people don't always use the same types of reasons. It depends of our relation to the person we are talking to. "Reason -giving Telly says, reflects, establishes, repairs and negotiates relationships."


karmic_jay said...

Spocko, Thanks for stopping by. You can count me as your 15th reader ;-).
Yep you got that right. Mrs.J is the brains of the outfit and I am amazed at your memory and that you remember that.

I agree with you that time sucks. My wife questions my sanity in having as my home page on the browser. I always tell her, I have to know what the stupid media is running with at the moment.

The link to the video got cut, will look around at your place to find it. :)

4:34 PM  
Interrobang said...

That is an interesting article, and goes right to the heart of speech types and things I'm interested in. I really like Gladwell's work, in general. When I was in graduate school, he came in to a class of mine to give a guest lecture, so I've been sort of following his work ever since.

5:47 PM  

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