Thursday, January 11, 2018

CULTUREPLACES SALON: A SYNOPSIS





DRAFT


Rather than try to tackle complex national and international issues and institutions that affect the entire U.S. , we concentrate on place based trends and academic research that more directly reflect our everyday experiences in our own neighborhoods, workplaces, and other closer connections.

We seek to grapple with ideas that stem from and have immediate implications for our personal ties and intellectual enjoyment.  We deal with those grassroots issues not to influence public policy or resolve differences but to gain an understanding of the way of the world in order to sort out the chaos and thereby increase our pleasure.

We start from the premise that changing the body politic at the state and national level is becoming increasingly difficult for citizens of the 21st century in the way that the power structure was able to do at the start of the 20th century, when American Progressivism was imbued with a strong reformist optimism.  “I propose that we lead” declared Edward Adams in the paper delivered at the organizational dinner of the Commonwealth Club of California in 1907. That determination has long since been replaced by anger or apathy, cynicism or irony. Were it not otherwise, the Commonwealth Club would still be engaged in “public service” i.e. attempting through their long standing “Study Sections” to help shape California laws and regulations. Now only specialists attached to policy institutes and politicians’ offices can comprehend such complicated issues, not to mention offsetting the power of money.

We put aside debates over broad public policy matters such as “the media”, health care, diplomacy, climate change, and immigration policies that require a level of expertise that defeats all but most determined policy wonk.  Or they happen in our everyday interactions but devolve into heated declarations.

That said, however, certain patterns of behavior associated with racial, gender, and employment relations, for instance, which have various impacts affecting human activity around the world including strong influence over our own daily lives. These human tendencies, we believe, can best be examined as they are manifested in particular contexts which we call CulturePlaces.