Re: Problematizing

In a message dated 12/6/03 10:45:31 PM Eastern Standard Time,
ali_m_rizvi@xxxxxxxxxxx writes:
> One of the characteristics of 'thinking' in the Foucualdian sense is
> 'detachment', 'distancing' [not just bracketing in the epistemological sense
> but distancing in the ontological sense] from the 'given'. Thinking in this
> sense may pave the way to think and act (and be) 'otherwise'.

Very well said. In addition, there is a phenomenological dimension to this.
Problemitisation is not only a question of language or distance. It's a
question of feeling about things or experience them in a different way.

This means a shift in the purpose and meaning of scholarly work: It's not
simply a question of writing about things, but attempting to alter consciousness.
To alter consciousness means not only that persons begin to think about
things in a new way, but that they begin to experience things in a new way. That
which has seemed to be "normal" can begin to feel strange. This would be a way
to begin to alter destructive institutions.

Apparently at one time in Western history many persons believed in witches,
and killed them for their imagined crimes. Now, we don't believe in witches any
more and it seems strange that persons once did. At a certain moment in
history, the idea of witches must have begun to appear "problematic," and change
gradually occurred.

Now, we believe in things like "atomic bombs."

> "Problems' occur within the given field, within discourse. Problematisation
> on the other hand is the way of 'distancing' from the very field and
> discourse. Problematisation is more radical and fundamental than
> 'problemising'.

To really know anything, therefore, one must begin to go beyond a discourse
or discipline, since each discourse defines and therefore limits what can be

This is the problem with academia. Dialogues take place within clearly
defined boundaries where everyone within that boundary assumes that what their group
knows is "truth." Whereas persons outside of the boundary of that discipline
have know idea of what they are talking about.

There are thinkers that are "world famous" with particular disciplines.
Persons within that discourse believe that this thinker has many answers. Yet this
same great thinker is entirely unknown within another discipline.


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