The Crisis of the Intellectual?

Maria Odette Carnivell
James Madison University, USA

Ladda ner artikelhttp://www.ep.liu.se/ecp_article/index.en.aspx?issue=025;article=018

Ingår i: Inter: A European Cultural Studies : Conference in Sweden 11-13 June 2007

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 25:18, s. 159-167

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Publicerad: 2007-11-27


ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


The intersection of politics and literature has a long-standing tradition in Latin America. Intellectuals in Latin America; particularly writers; have contributed to the political arena since the time of the Foundation of the Nation. As Angel Rama suggests; the might of the pen; wielded by the Spanish speaking letrados; is a well known fact in the political life of the Spanish American nations.

Although the role of these intellectuals as presidents; ambassadors; ministers and high profile politicians has not always been beneficial to their countries of birth; intellectuals in Latin America feel the need to actively participate in politics. In Europe and the United States; it would appear as if intellectuals feel more skeptical about their participation in public affairs; particularly when the posts imply a greater degree of public exposure. Are these differences historical; political; cultural; or is the apparent paucity of intellectuals-politicians due more to the intrinsic characteristics of the political field in Europe and the United States?

In this essay; I will explore the political connotations of the term intellectual and contrast it with the views of intellectuals in Europe; Latin America and the United States. I will attempt to explain similarities and differences in their conception of what an intellectual is; as well as give possible explanations for these sometimes diverging perspectives.


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