On the second page of Harris’ chapter on countering, I made an immediate connection to our class’s experience with the scholarly work of Giddens. In graduate school, Harris “did everything he could to rebut the views of a certain scholar”, he “seized upon every gap, contradiction, or misstep” he could (Harris 55). Much like our class trying to find what Giddens can possibly be talking about and how it relates to modernity or post modernity, Harris did the same. What he came to learn though, is rather than nitpicking on an author’s “moments of blindness”, we should “add to what can be said about a subject (Harris 55,56).
Regardless of complaints about Giddens’ rant about what is and isn’t modern about our society, we do good job of explaining what we think is right and wrong and look to further his points that we think are valid. A key point in Harris’ chapter on countering is to better understand an author’s writings is “arguing the other side” (Harris 57). Instead of bashing Giddens for explanations that don’t make sense, we should identify the point he is trying to make and formulate a better argument to better see his point of view. Even if we don’t believe in what he is trying to convey, we will comprehend his writing more and be able to understand specifically where his arguments fall short.
A specific part of Giddens’ argument that I found particularly confusing was his concept of money. Giddens claimed that “money does not exist”, but to any person, it clearly does exist both physically and fundamentally (Giddens 22). Maybe his point is that money only represents debts owed between people and its sole purpose is to eliminate those debts. Money, a key aspect of our transition from pre modernity to modernity, has not always been the way in which to pay debts. Before, bartering was used in place of money and even before that people lived off of what they produced and never owed debt to anyone. In this respect, money could be replaced anytime by a new innovation and it would be forgotten like it never existed. Money may not always be around, but debts will be. Debt and transactions are what exist in any stage of society and that it was makes money non-existent.