The Startling Ability of Culture to Bring Critical Inquiry to a Halt

Originally published in Chronicle of Higher Education, October 24, 1997
  • Patricia Nelson Limerick


Limerick agrees with the authors of the three previous selections that culture can be useful for explaining social life. But, like Elkins and Simeon, she urges us to be cautious with respect to cultural explanations that lack clear specification of the explanatory and dependent variables and the linkages between them. She underscores her brief argument with vivid contemporary examples, drawn primarily from the poststructuralist literature, in which she finds culture employed vaguely to serve any purpose authors require.


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© Lane Crothers and Charles Lockhart 2000

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  • Patricia Nelson Limerick

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