No Community is an Island, Every Intellectual is an Island: The Story of Bobby O'Malley

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This article explores a number of anthropological themes -- specifically suburbanism, the island nature of socio-cultural milieux, and intellectualism -- by way of a novel, The Story of Bobby O'Malley , which narrates the tale of an intellectual boy growing up in a Newfoundland suburb. Intellectuality may be described as a condition of neither leadership nor followership, but of displaying a certain disengagement. It is in this way that Edward Said distinguishes 'the intellectual' from 'the expert', the latter being concerned with giving answers to questions out to him by others while the former exiles himself from the domain of conventional questions as such, in order to pose his own. The intellectual condition, Rapport argues, tells of an interactional-cum-cognitive displacement, an eschewing of the conventions, the habiti, of expression and exchange. To put it differently, the intellectual may be said to make for his vantage-point upon everyday life a certain 'island-ness', an 'elsewhere': intending, in Philip Larkin's words (1990, p. 104), that 'elsewhere underwrites my existence'.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-235
JournalSocial Identities
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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