ADHOCISM by Charles & Nathan Silver Jencks


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Those who perceive what Sartre was getting at when he talked of every day being a ""new production"" and an ""absolute event"" will quickly grasp the spirit, if not the immediate intent, of ""Adhocism,"" a Jencks coinage for a mode (not a system) of thinking and action which promotes ""purposeful creativity"" by combining diverse -- often radically diverse -- fragments of the known to produce something entirely different, possibly a new personal environment or a unique artistic creation or a better mousetrap or a political movement and so on and on. ""Everything can always be something else"" is the watchword. Actually the Sartre reference is a very good starting point for understanding what Jencks and Silver are up to here, for Adhocism is, like Existentialism, a procedural rather than a systematic philosophy, except that in the case of Adhocism there is a utilitarian, interdisciplinary, problem-solving orientation. And again like Existentialism, Adhocism is resolutely libertarian and pluralistic, resolutely anti-deterministic, anti-behavioristic, anti-elitist, anti-mechanistic. Jencks and Silver spend most of their energy discussing Adhocism at work, running the gamut from the arts to the technological and social sciences (Jencks, a London professor of architecture, first used the term in writings about the discipline; and Silver, author of the 1968 NBA-nominate Lost New York, often draws on city planner Jane Jacobs). This is a serious and an off-beat and a difficult book which will not be understood by those who are uptight and possibly will be read and widely admired by those who aren't.

Pub Date: Oct. 10th, 1972
Publisher: Doubleday