Re: ethics and poststructuralism


I especially like the term "revaluation" in this context. I think it
captures a lot of the cultural, political, and ethical work done by

On Tue, 16 Jan 1996, Diane Davis wrote:

> I'm a rhetorician, so I'll take Erik's last line as a cue to jump in here,
> especially since these issues are interesting to me. I found myself doing a lot
> of nodding to you, Erik, as I read this post. Most of the criticism (and boy, do
> I mean negative) I get about my work is tied to its non-prescriptiveness. The
> argument is usually that I can't think materially, that my work is just about
> theory and never offers concrete "solutions."
> But I think what wants to be remembered here, with a grateful nod to Foucault and
> others, is that abstract notions have already carved up the world for us; they
> are already responsible for motivating and justifying some of the most
> frightening atrocities imaginable. Apartheid. Slavery. Rape.
> Genocide/Genus-cide/Gynocide. The category distinctions that enable such
> persecutions have been abstractly determined...already. And in that light, it
> seems "ethical" to shoot for re-valuation of those previously determined
> distinctions, for an/other "reasoning" that might perturb and pervert the system
> to such an extent that we find ourselves EX-scripted from its drama.
> Not to find some kind of utopia, not to usher in some great good place, but at
> least to perpetually point up the noise (the differend) that gets silenced by the
> booooooming proclomations of the hegemony. Avital Ronell, whose essay, "The Worst
> Neighborhoods of the Real," defends Foucault's work as both "ethical" and
> radical, has this to say in an interview with Andrea Juno:
> [to manage an EX-scription] one has to enter areas that are not covered
> by the insurance of "political correctness." One has to posit theories
> that appear unacceptable or problematic--it takes the courage of
> indecency to figure out why things have been so massively defeated.
> Diane Davis
> Asst. Prof. of Rhetoric and Composition
> Old Dominion University
> Norfolk, VA
> dddavis@xxxxxxxx

Erik D. Lindberg
Dept. of English and Comparative Lit.
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Milwaukee, WI 53211
email: edl@xxxxxxxxxxx


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