Monday, October 22, 2007

The cost of borrowing: Autonomy and its intellectual debts

Alex critically examines the intellectual borrowings in two papers on autonomy (Cultural alternatives and autonomy / Alastair Pennycook in Benson and Voller 1997 book and a book chapter written by Naoko Aoki). In essence, he argued that we should be cautious in borrowing terms and theories from other academic disciplines so that our arguments will not be undermined by our indiscrete borrowings. In general, I think that our field does need to examine critically what we have borrowed from other fields. So Alex's paper serves a timely reminder. I also admire his courage in presenting his critique on two famous researchers' writings in this conference. and I am also sure that the researchers under his critical scrutiny have different views. I wonder such critique will be much more meaningfully presented in a colloqium or a form of debate, where the authors under scrutiny may respond and argue with the presenter. Such collegial discussions will certainly benefit the audience.