Discussion
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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References

Even-Zohar, Itamar
1981 “Translation Theory Today: A Call for Transfer Theory”. Poetics Today 2:4. 1–7.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
1990a “The ‘Literary System‘“. Poetics Today 11:1 [Special issue on Polysystem Studies]. 27–44.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
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1997 “The Making of Culture Repertoire and the Role of Transfer”. Target 9:2. 355–363.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Lambert, José
1998 ‘“Communication Societies’: Comments on Even-Zohar’s ‘Making of Culture Repertoire’”. Target 10:2. 353–356.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Pym, Anthony
1992 “The Relations between Translation and Material Text Transfer”. Target 4:2. 171–189.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar