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Alpha (Osorno)

On-line version ISSN 0718-2201


DONOSO-MALUF, Francisco. Speaking truth to power: The intellectual and his/her dilemmas in Edward Said’s critical approach. Alpha [online]. 2017, n.45, pp.291-306. ISSN 0718-2201.

This work analyzes the critical foundations of that quasi-rule posed by Edward Said to intellectuals through the famous motto “speaking truth to power”, that is, of publicly interpellating to power -political, economic, religious, military- whenever its exercise may involve injustice, inconsistency or underhanded manipulation. So, according to our interpretation of Said’s work, we identify five dilemmas the intellectual should resolve in order to be able to speak truth to power: a worldliness orientation versus an otherworldliness one, a prophetic role versus a priestly one, universalist freedom versus organic compromise, a substantive rationality versus an instrumental one, and courage versus fear. Involvements of these dilemmas are discussed according to the challenges and opportunities posed by current societies -in particular, the Latin American ones- to the intellectual’s role.

Keywords : intellectuals; power; dilemmas; Edward Said.

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