Re: tangentially...


Thanks for your thoughtful response.

>Alex, I agree with the following:>

>>All truths, all paradigms, all ideologies leave something out, of course;
>>isn't that what deconstruction - influenced by Foucault - has taught us to
>>be aware of?
>Then you go on to say:
>>But what was/is the next step?
>You pause, and state:
>>For a while a lot of important
>>feminist and race theory made important criticisms and proposed alternate
>>paradigms and truths toward which we might build.
>You ask:
>>Have they been realized?
>>To what degree? How have this alternative truths become generally accepted
>>truths and incorporated into institutions and dominating discourses?

You said:

>My comment: I agree that "All truths, all paradigms, all ideologies leave
>something out", but I fail to see how it leads to this last paragraph.
>Nevertheless, it is a brilliant statement. It leads me to think about
>critique towards reason. If reason and logic has been so pervasive in
>society, since the enlightenment, why hasn't mankind achieved more than
>what is around us today?

First, re: your question: "why hasn't mankind achieved more than what is
around today?" I believe that reason and logic are pervasive, but their
simple existance doesn't necessarily mean that people are using them to work
towards constructive, just, important - however you want to define them -
goals. In part it this problem of directing reason and logic toward the
right goals, but I also believe that logic and reason are only two aspects
of the universal experience upon which humans may draw. Spirtual,
emotional, corporeal and creative ways of working (each with a different
character) also need to be drawn upon and some brought into, or next to, the
cerebral, rational sphere. I believe it is most difficult for humans to be
able to (or perhaps, want to; perhaps, we are "taught" this?; perhaps it is
genetic? who knows) ride the waves of many different ways of being, to draw
on them, and use them concomittantly in some sort of a "harmonious" fashion.

Clarifying what I wrote earlier:

I think that my logic was that: a)All (dominant) paradigms leave out
alternative discourses. We could follow the simple logic: If I define
something as A, by definition I (implictly) define it as not B. I.e., In
order to identify what something is, articulate a concept or even an object,
a border or limit must be drawn. That's what I think I'm trying to get at
with "leaving something out." Also, dominating discourses shape, construct
and control alternative discouses and concepts, e.g., like homosexuality,
Foucault might say; or, the "creation of race;" i.e. they "create" an Other
(Huh, but I feel that: Because of the inherent need to distinguish and
differentiate in order to understand - as well as to compare similarities,
of course - it is impossible to NOT have distinctions of ethnicity, sex,
gender, race, etc. What is important is the way those differences are used
and the meanings they are given - although I would argue that meanings are
derived, in part, or understood through observed patterns of relating,
behavior, thinking, etc. too - this gets back to the point I was making
about Foucault... the "creation" of alternative "other" discourses - their
meaning, etc.) So, to get back, if dominant discourses leave something out,
then feminism, et. al. 1) point this out, 2) and then try to take the way
dominant discourses "use" Other discourses, and the feminsism, et. al.
infuse them with a different power, postive meaning, etc. My question was
based on the logic that if dominant discourses leave something out, and if
Other, alternative discourses want to retake and redeploy there meanings,
and have done so throughout history - the gay pride movement a good example
- to what degree have these attempts at change been successful? I believe
significant gains have been made for different groups who have been denied
rights, equal treatment and comparable access to power, but I would contend
there is still work to do. So, that's how I get to:

Have they (changes) been realized?
>>To what degree? How have this alternative truths become generally accepted
>>truths and incorporated into institutions and dominating discourses?

>Alex, you ending remark is:
>>What I think Foucault has left us are tools for understanding, analyzing and
>>critiquing but has he left us tools for articulating and implementing a
>>better world? My priorities are A - how do create a world that resembles A?
>>What ways might we "use" Foucault's (and other theorists') analysis of
>>social power ultimately to create (not just criticized; or first crticize,
>>then create). When I think about a lot of classic theory, it was about
>>imagining new, better socities; modern theory is more critical, less
>>constructive; and postmodern theory (it seems to me) is extremely critical
>>and not that much at all constructive.
>There are of course many level to these questions. One is the "theme" of
>the role of science in society. If you ask in what ways F might aid the
>construction of a better society, you might be influence by the idea that
>universities and science reports should be designed to one way or another
>help and support society, which is not a bad idea. However, in what way
>this "aid" is coming, is open for debate. If F is "extremely critical" and
>"not that much at all constructive", maybe that is his contribution? If it
>makes someone think about his or her own contribution to new, better

Good. So F. is critical and, yes, this is useful. Who then is the next
theorist who will articulate a constructive approach rather than a
deconstructive one (or who is doing so at the momment)? Perhaps such a
question may be appropriate not for this disussion list, but some other one.

Tack sa myzket.


>Kent Lofgren
>University of Umea
>Pedagogiska Institutionen
>S-901 87 Umea
>Tel: 46 + (0)90 - 786 64 32 (office)
>Fax: 46 + (0)90 - 786 66 93


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