KFP 112 – Martial Mythology 2

Part 2 of the informative series and book review of Paul Bowman.

You can go to Part 1 : When is Martial Arts Ever, Just Martial Arts

Continued from Part 1

To fully appreciate Bowman’s work here, it will be important to clarify the methodological differences between Anglo-American cultural studies and their German and French counterparts. As it is known in German, Kulturwissenschaften (and, similarly, disciplines like medieval and early modern history, social anthropology, economics, etc.) explicitly avoid making normative judgements about the subjects they research and attempt instead to analyze, understand, and describe from a neutral perspective (although whether neutrality is truly possible is itself a subject of debate).

Cultural studies, on the other hand, were from their outset designed as political projects; they do not simply want to understand the world, they want to change the world. Bowman is an exponent of the latter branch, and he will not shy away from coming to explicit conclusions and judgements that, for example, a Swiss researcher might leave implicit or simply keep to himself/herself. To Bowman, moreover, all mythology is on the verge of creating hierarchies of power, power that can and often will be abused and result in injustice. Consequently, he perceives the eradication of mythology as an act of liberation, especially when it comes to myths of authenticity, origin, and lineage.

Complete your Studies in Part 3

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