Note on a Repertoire for Seeing Cultures

Anthony Pym
Filología Anglogermànica, Universitat Rovira i Virgili
Table of contents

Thankfully accessible and biblically concise, Itamar Even-Zohar's notes on "The Making of Culture Repertoire and the Role of Transfer" (Target 9:2) invite reflection and response. Much of it is commendable. I particularly like, for instance, traces of a certain concern about the future ("the fate of societies and cultures", p. 355), which might yet draw us beyond timeless descriptivism or directionless deconstruction. Here, perhaps, there is something important to be found in the matter of cross-cultural movements. I am also quite happy with the general concept of repertoire ("the aggregate of options utilized by a group of people, and by the individual members of the group, for the organization of life", p. 355), which seems rather more tangible than the previous dehumanized talk of a system as "the assumed set of observables supposed to be governed by a network of relations" (Even-Zohar 1990a: 27). Now, at least, there are people with something to do (they make choices, perhaps as in a Hallidayan system) and with a reason for doing it (they have a life to organize, perhaps with practical sense, as in Bourdieu), although one could argue that such things were always so obvious that the polysystematizers never really had to mention them. Ditto, I suppose, for the language component and communication channels so rightly emphasized by José Lambert (in this issue). All of that seems implicit enough to get by as an attractively wider frame for translation studies; none of it really worries me.

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Even-Zohar, Itamar
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