• Breaking the [Honour] Code

Golding, Sue, 1999, Journal Article, Breaking the [Honour] Code Parallax, 5 (4). pp. 26-37. ISSN 1353-4645

Abstract or Description:

Asked as Guest Editor for the penultimate issue of parallax at the close of the century, Golding presented a question to 15 contributors: what holds together the social when the information age takes root? Curiously the answer came back as a kind of Code -- though not just 'any' code, but that of a Code inundated with a kind of ethicality one might call: honour. Taken from the Preface: This prissy little headmaster, this concept ‘honour’: so much the stuffings of soiled reputations or deeply-awaited recognitions. One might think nostalgically of a chivalry long ago past, or of the earnestly given ‘promise’ around the keeping of one’s word, action, deed. Whatever else it seemed to be, it seemed highly unlikely that it was anything less than a moral indictment, plea, command, say, to ‘work hard’ (puritan version), have ‘good manners’, to love, obey and respect (God, family, good government), remain neat and tidy, keep the nose clean. (True, it seemed often to maintain strange little affairs with murder, cruelty, love, the military, pageantry, and uniforms, but that seemed ‘another matter’, a perhaps not-so-secret common sense ‘other story’, the underbelly of all things honourable). In some respects (certainly one of the reasons I chose to look more carefully at this creature), the very concept of honour, apart from seeming ‘outdated’ and disowned by all but the most tenaciously reactionary peoples; appeared, unlike it’s more well-received cousin, ‘virtue’, somehow not as interesting, in fact mediocre, and for many: the very mutation of ‘un-freedom’ itself. There was also the sub-problem that ‘honour’, for those worried about not seeming ‘wild’ enough, bespoke a certain tendency towards claustrophobia, ‘getting old’, or most uncharitable: boring. Indeed, many of the authors in this volume, when érst approached to explore with me this hidebound beauty, were slightly horriéed at the very thought that honour was being brought into the picture at all – rather like the resurgence of Nightmare on Elm Street, sequel 125: just when one thinks the bloody thing is dead and gone, chopped, drawn and quartered, it comes back to life, more devilish than ever, wreaking havoc, revenge or just plain mischief. So, part of the question became: could something as entrenched and time stilted as is ‘honour’, be ripped from its enlightenment (or earlier) moorings and be carried into a ‘different age’, the so-called information age, without all the attendant baggage.

Official URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/tpar20/5/4?nav=tocL...
Subjects: Other > Historical and Philosophical studies > V500 Philosophy
Creative Arts and Design > W100 Fine Art
School or Centre: School of Arts & Humanities
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2017 17:49
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2018 15:48
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/3021
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