Contemporary Realities of Competition

Comparing the semantic uses of the word “competition” and the content and structure of three different written pieces. (“Why do we believe in competition? A historical-sociological view of competition as an institutionalized modern imaginary” by Tobias Werron, “Rhetoric and Competition” by Linda Hutcheon and “The Myths of Independence and Competition” by Mary Catherine Bateson.)

In the research paper “Why do we believe in competition? A historical-sociological view of competition as an institutionalized modern imaginary” by Tobias Werron a historical and sociological framework is used to analyze and understand competition as a social form that most people see as a “taken-for-granted part of our modern world” (Werron, 187) since most of us learn from an early age, especially those of us embedded in the western capitalist world,  that goods are scarce and we must compete for them since there is not enough for everyone. Even after making all these claims, Werron wisely points out that there is a deeper investigation necessary when it comes to understanding the presence of long term competition in modern institutions, and because of that he ends every section with open statements rather than definite answers. As salimsalimoff7648 cleverly said in his article, “ Competition has changed, and we need to understand it better.” Competition has in fact changed since Adam Smith came up with his concepts of early capitalism; and the author understands that more research has to be done for definite answers.

Hutcheon also talks about competition in her academic essay “Rhetoric and Competition”, but the competition she talks about is one that is more deeply engrained in academia, the wolfishness or agon type of competition; one that is not necessarily required, since knowledge is not a scarce good. Hutcheon points out that academia has turned into a hierarchy, creating an unhealthy and unnecessary competition among those who should be working together to build upon their knowledge instead of tearing each other down in the efforts to take their position.

Competition in “The Myths of Independence and Competition”  by Mary Catherine Bateson is described in a similar manner; the author says we should be using cooperation as the useful tool it is to grow and add upon our discoveries to aid the planet and the international community instead of using competition to destroy each other. She appeals a lot to the emotional side of the reader which is done somewhat in Hutcheon’s paper but not at all in Werron’s.

Composition wise, it is clear that Werron Werron is writing a research paper; the use of scientific jargon and of graphs to illustrate his point really highlight his formality. Because of the nature of a research paper, he can only make inferences using evidence he found within his research process, since personal anecdotes and the use of first or second person like Hutcheon or Bateson is inappropriate; he uses formal language since his audience is likely to be people in higher education. Hutcheon and Bateson are writing academic essays which are also geared toward the academic community. However an important distinction must be made since these types of written pieces are not strictly scientific or research based; essays and speeches allow for a more informal approach and the appropriate inclusion of opinions, which the two authors include in their works brilliantly.

All three articles deal with competition but each of them have their own nuances in their conceptions of competition. Hutcheon and Bateson have a more defined point they want to get across while Werron yearns for a deeper understanding of this somewhat esoteric understanding of competition and its role in our modern institutions and society.

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