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phalangingle in theoryishotcrew

Can I just substitute an interpretive dance in place of a list?

Although I am generally of the opinion that I would never be a member of a club that would have someone like me as a member, I decided to give this a try.

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  1. "Foucault" in "Dictionnaire des philosophes" 1984, - Maurice Florence


  1. Distinction - Bourdieu


  1. El Laberinto de la Soledad - Paz


  1. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life - Goffman


  1. Borderlands/La Frontera - Anzaldua


  1. The Interpretation of Cultures  - Geertz


  1. Aberrations in Black - Ferguson


  1. Ain't I a Woman  - bell hooks


  1. Giving an Account of Oneself - Butler


  1. Selections from the Prison Notebooks - Gramsci

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Thanks for the answer, but I'm not sure you answered the question that I asked. Or perhaps I wasn't precise enough about the question. When I asked how you'd respond to the people who hold this view, I meant how you would respond to them. That is, what would you say to them, to convince them that they are wrong?

What you've written does not seem likely to make much progress in that direction. You seem to accuse such people of laziness and/or incompetence, as you claim that they have not "demonstrated a critical grasp" of their targets. Responding in this way might rally the faithful to your own cause, and maybe (with more evidence, presently lacking) persuade an impartial spectator. But those who disagree with you - even those who are genuinely open-minded - are likely to see this as empty gesticulation (which would only confirm their views!).

So, please, try again. What would you say to these people to show them that they are mistaken? Surely the intellectual value of these studies is not about "established institutions" or allowing universities to "market themselves as multicultural"? What do these studies contribute to intellectual inquiry, in a way that potentially hostile people ought to recognize?
I took 'passing intellectual fad' as a prediction so I pointed to some of the institutional factors in why I think these studies would not simply fall by the wayside while more established disciplines reabsorb their resources.

You are right that I didn't make a convincing case for the intellectual merit of these studies. So here goes,

These studies emerge from critiques and splits with established disciplines. Distance between these studies and established disciplines often requires translations of methodology, theory, and taken for granted concepts between them. The critiques of established disciplines by these studies are an opportunity for established disciplines to revise concepts and practices in response to critical readings. These studies undercut the possibility of changing mainstream criticism if they continue to rely on caricatures of established disciplines. Both critics of these new programs and scholars of these studies have much to gain from dialogue. Both the hooks and the Ferguson are important to many of the studies I named in my previous post.

Ferguson and hooks both critically read the 1965 report, the Negro Family: A Case for National Action. Daniel Patrick Moynihan prepared the report. A wave of criticism focused on how the Moynihan report repeated a culture of poverty thesis that blames the victim for reproducing a "tangle of pathologies." Since the 1980s, a range of social scientists have reconsidered the Moynihan report. A recent collection of articles in the Annuals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences reevaluates the legacy of the Moynihan report. Most of the articles cast the Moynihan report as a solid piece of social science that, far from blaming the victim, analyzed the social context of the break down of the black family. The work of women of color feminists is absent from all but one of the articles.

In Ain't I a Woman, hooks critiques the figure of the black matriarch, the powerful black women capable of castrating men. This figure supports the narrative of the emasculation thesis. The emasculation thesis attributes the problems faced by black families to the low status of black males in society (the result of the effects of slavery, Jim Crow racism, economic and residential segregation). Not only does this thesis narrate the history of African Americans through the experience of men, it also ignores the particular problems faced by African American women. Ferguson points to the Moynihan report as exemplary of a heteronormative liberal discourse. The status of black women in society is examined through an analysis of black men. The normative horizon of this discourse posits black women as heterosexual subjects in need of a male supporter. In the post civil rights era these policy goals fail to account for the reality of a post-industrial society with a rise in low income service labor, positions often filled by low income women of color.

Some of the articles in the Annuls set situate the Moynihan report in a social context of the black power movement. The black power movement rejected the figure of the castrated black male, The movement also contained normative investments in heteropatriarchy. The normative grammar of liberation took the form of a renew of heteropatriarchy as regulating the ideal family form. Whereas the Annuls collection gives an account of the black power movement's opposition to the Moynihan report, Ferguson discerns a connection between the two. They are both part of a discourse on black sexuality.

The accounts of the social scientists are not opposed to the works of hooks and Ferguson. The theoretical approaches of the articles in the Annuls collection lacked a strong analytics of discourse. If they would have engaged in the works of hooks and Ferguson they would be forced to reconsider their method, rhetoric, and commonly held assumptions.

This becomes a question of consideration more than understanding. In my previous reply I threw out a quick response about critic's ability to grasp the theories of this scholarship. Instead of lack of ability, it seems that examples like the reconsideration of the Moynihan report reveal a lack of consideration by mainstream disciplines. If mainstream disciplines engaged in dialogue with these studies they could both contribute to the scholarship and seriously reconsider established methods, theories, and worldviews. If these studies are viewed as 'intellectual fads' or as marginal movements then there is little incentive for scholars in the mainstream of their disciplines to engage them.

This scholarship covers a range of traditional disciplines and is building its own body of work and shared theoretical perspectives. While postcolonialism, discourse and cultural theory, feminism, critical race theory, and diaspora studies have all had some impact on mainstream disciplines, the various emerging studies engage more significantly with these intellectual movements.
I'm not sure I understand the example. (I'm also turned off by the jargon. How is "normative horizon" related to "normative grammar", and why should anyone ever use either term?) The Moynihan report was supposed to be a descriptive study of the actual condition of America in the mid-1960s. Some the things you mention here were probably true at that time: most African American women probably were heterosexual, and dependent upon men. (The same, of course, would have been true of most white women at that time.) If you want to understand a large-scale social phenomenon, it makes sense to look at what is true of most of your subjects. It's not clear to me, then, what the point of hook's critique is supposed to be.

I also can't follow the bit about the black power movement. This seems like a tangent from the Moynihan Report.

Anyway, even granting that these are important critiques of the dominant paradigms underlying social science, what keeps this critiques from originating within those disciplines? Why, for instance, couldn't a sociologist have pointed out that the Moynihan report lacked attention to women performing low-wage service labor?

A separate issue: I'm a bit deterred by your not answering certain questions above, especially the difficult and/or unorthodox questions. For instance, see ceciliaj's question directly above mine. This group values a certain amount of informality, and questions like those are a good test of your fit.