Disembodied ideas

"They occasionally say that, in contrast with some social historians and sociologists of knowledge, their concern is with "disembodied knowledge," with knowledge itself rather than with its embodied production, maintenance, and reproduction.[6] Such locutions are standard, well institutionalized in a range of academic practices, and rarely contested. Yet, to tell the truth, I have never seen a "disembodied idea," nor, I suspect, have those who say they study such things. What I and they have seen is embodied people portraying their disembodiment and that of the knowledge they produce or the documentary records of such portrayals. These portrayals are the topic in which I am interested here. How are they done? With what cultural materials are they accomplished? To what ends? I start with a prejudice: it is that the portrayal of our culture's most highly esteemed knowers and forms of knowledge as disembodied has been one of the major resources we have had for displaying the truth, objectivity, and potency of knowledge.7 These stories, and the cultural practices they describe, constitute that portrayal. They are stories about the meager and the physiologically disciplined bodies of truth-lovers."

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