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Qual II 2014--Week 5

Post-structuralism--strand 1
by

Jerry Rosiek

on 2 May 2018

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Transcript of Qual II 2014--Week 5

Qualitative Research Methodology II:
Resistance and Reflexiveness in Research (Re)presentations
WEEK 2
Gots and Needs
Two directions to reflexivity
Introduction to Post-structuralism I: Construction of the Subject
Act of
(Re)presentation
Construction of
the Object
Construction of
the Subject
Frames what counts as real and significant about experience.
shapes our reception and response
reinforces or forces modification of our representations
world responds, resists, & exceeds our attention
Presumes a certain kind of knowing subject that can receive the representation
Representations offered to a broader community
subject shaped by adopting habit of receiving representation
subject generates and repeats representations from available semiotic resources
Subject
Object
Knowledge
Methodology was the method of refining our knowledge claims so that they more accurately matched the object of study
Introduction to Post-Structuralism I:
The Construction of the Subject
Signifier
Signified
arbitrary relationship
Signifier
Signifier
Signifier
Signifier
Word
Object
word
word
word
word
word
poetic origin
Signifier
Each signifier supplements the previous.

Stability of meaning is provided by linguistic structure, not by the relationship of word and object
structure
structure
Signified
Foucault's Semiotics
Discourse
Object of Study
Signifier
Signifier
Signifier
Signifier
Signifier
structure
Signifier
Foucualt, however, is not interested in a deep structure, as much as he is using Levi-Strauss's notion of cultural structures to destabilize the way we have naturalized the cultural contsructs we currently live in.
Foucault applied structuralism to the operation of "disciplinary" discourses--medicine, mental health, criminology, the humanities, etc. He used his methods of geneaology to highlight the arbitrary way our communities have shifted from one discursive construction of an object of study to another (e.g. from madness to mental health).
Foucault's Panopticon
Foucault was primarilly interested in how different disciplinary discourses produced different subjectivities. Je used the metaphor of a prison design known as the panopticon to describe the functioning of modern society.
Signifier
Signifier
Signifier
Signifier
Signifier
structure
Signifier
discursive
rules
discursive rules
Juxtaposition
not synthesis
Prisoners and citizens in a panoptic system end up internalizing the "gaze" of thpse surveilling them. Not because they agree, but because they must to function and survive. The habituation shapes their subjectivity whether or not they oppose it. They are "subjected", made into subjects.
A few modern binaries that coercively organize our society
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Abled/Disabled
Male/Female
White/Non-White
Professional/Unprofessional
Hetero/Homosexual
Cisgender/Transgender
Rational/Irrational
Good credit/bad credit
Intelligent/Unintelligent
Down-for-the-cause/sell-out
Member of the faith/heathen
Mind as the mirror of nature.
-Richard Rorty
Signifiers
Signifiers
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lighter skin color
standard English*
body type
clothing
expressed values
individualistic
rationality
wealth
higher education religious affiliation
repression
Racially Coded Colonization
darker skin color
non-standard English*
body type
clothing
expressed values
collectivist/communal
irrationality
poverty
lack of education religious affiliation
anger
sensuous
analytic/logical/theoretical
creative in the
conceptual arts
practical
creative in the practical arts
PAN OPTIC GAZE
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Counter Hegemony
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lighter skin color
standard English*
body type
clothing
expressed values
individualistic/selfish
analytic/logical/theoretical
creative in the conceptual arts
darker skin color
non-standard English*
body type
clothing
expressed values
collectivist/communal
practical
creative in the practical arts
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PAN OPTIC GAZE
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Patriarchy
Professional
Discourses

Heteronormativity
White
Supremacy

Anti-racism
Queer Politics
Credit Rating
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Panoptic discourses are multiple, overlapping,
and generate fragmented subjectivites.

Of course "discourses" are an abstraction. In practice, we exert the gazes on each other.
Notice that the primary function of the binary is to exert control on those identifying with the positive side of the binary. This is how Foucault's notion of power differs from his predecessors.
For the discourse to function their must be some who are designated in the negative side, but the majority of the population will feel they have some access to the power up category.
For the discourse to serve its disciplinary function, the signifiers marking someone on the positive side must be difficult or impossible to completely obtain.
Anti-foundational--rejects the idea that there is a single reality out there that can guarantee the veracity of the discourse within which our knowledge and subjectivities are formed.

Intersectional--permits for a recognition and analysis of multiple overlapping discursive influences that contradict and reinforce one another, fragment and overdetermine our subjectivities.

Challenges authority of hegemonic discourses. Calls for a politics of coalition based on contingent knowledge claims.

Locates power not in individuals, or even instituions, but in the way discourses enable and constrain the formation of human subjects.

Ideology
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Ideology
Discourse
MARXISM
POSTSTRUCTURALISM:
Subjectivity
False Consciousness
False Consciousness
Reality
of Class
Oppression
Knowledge of Reality is Distorted
Attention is Deflected
Discourse
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Subjectivity
Reality
is a Relation We Form Within Experience
"Reality" is a Signifier Deployed to Focus Attention
Attention is Shaped and Focused
Objects of
Inquiry are Discursively Constructed
Reality 1
Reality 3
Reality 2
Knowledge
Constitutes Both
Subjects and
Objects
Ideological Analysis
Key characteristics of
post-structuralism

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Structuralism's Most basic
structure of cultural meaning:
Binary Oppositions
Male
Female
M
F
gay
lesbian
queer
transgender
transexual
intersex
asexual
Borderland Studies:
Experiences located in this liminal
space require an ironic sensibility about cultural norms that naturalize the binaries. Persons living within these zones thus have more conscious knowledge and insight into the actual practice and structure of things like gender, sexuality, racial identity, etc.
Erased or marginalized:
marked as "taboo"
or as "sacred knowledge".
Anzaldua's essay "La Conciencia de la Mestiza: Towards a New Consciousness" transforms this empirical insight into an political-epistemic claim. In this way her essay illustrates Spivak's point in the opening quote. Anzaldua describes the knowledge that is found in the borderlands as simultaneously a way of knowing, a "new consciousness", and a form of politics.

"...the will to explain [is] a symptom of the desire to have a self and a world. In other words, on the general level, the possibility of explanation carries the presupposition of an explainable (even if not fully) universe and an explaining (even if imperfectly) subject. These presuppositions assure our being. ...every explanation must secure and assure a certain kind of being-in-the world, which might as well be called our politics. . . . "
Gayatri Spivak, 1979
Explanation and Culture: Marginalia,
Preliminary definition of a subject:

a subject is a being that has subjective experiences, subjective consciousness or a relationship with another entity.
second form of subjection
first form of subjection
Acknowledgment
Check-In
Marxist Consciousness and Postructuralist Subjectivity
Interactive Lecture on Post-structuralism and the Construction of the Subject--Picking the Locks on the Cultural Prisons of our Minds
Discuss Panoptic Gazes
Discuss Readings
Intro Next Week's Readings
Gots and Needs
What kinds of social judgements do you feel subject to in your daily life?
When do you feel them most acutely?
Are there multiple gazes that you contend with?
Do they require contradictory performances?
Is there a "real" you?
Next Week
Applications of Foucault's theories: Considering different types of subject production
Butler's Imitation and Gender Insubordination
Sedgewick's Epistemology of the Closet
Dicena's Tacit Subjects
Rosiek's Visibility (in LGBTQ Politics)
For each term create a two column list, with one side listed "good" and the other "bad". Good-student, Bad-student. Good Partner, Bad Partner. Good oregonian, Bad Oregonian.
Try to list some general characteristics most folk would ascribe to each side of the binary.
Binary Oppositions
How do you think people started using words? Why did they pick one word over another or objects? Why are the meanings of words relatively stable? Why do they stick to to their objects?
The Word
(la parole)
The Word
(la parole)
The Word
(la parole)
The Word
(la parole)
The Word
(la parole)
The Word
(la parole)
The Word
(la parole)
Poetic Origin
(onomatopoeia)
historical inquiry
(diachronic)
structural inquiry
(synchronic)
The Word
(la parole)
The Word
(la parole)
The Word
(la parole)
The Word
(la parole)
The Word
(la parole)
The Word
(la parole)
The Word
(la parole)
The Word
(la parole)
The Word
(la parole)
The Word
(la parole)
The Word
(la parole)
The Word
(la parole)
The Word
(la parole)
The Word
(la parole)
The Word
(la parole)
The Word
(la parole)
The Word
(la parole)
The Word
(la parole)
The Word
(la parole)
The Word
(la parole)
The Word
(la parole)
rules or structure of a language
rules or structure of a language
rules or structure of a language
rules or structure of a language
Universal Structure
of Language
A Cultural
Practice
A Cultural
Practice
rules or structure of a culture
A Cultural
Practice
A Cultural
Practice
A Cultural
Practice
A Cultural
Practice
A Cultural
Practice
A Cultural
Practice
A Cultural
Practice
rules or structure of a culture
A Cultural
Practice
A Cultural
Practice
A Cultural
Practice
A Cultural
Practice
A Cultural
Practice
A Cultural
Practice
A Cultural
Practice
rules or structure of a culture
A Cultural
Practice
A Cultural
Practice
A Cultural
Practice
A Cultural
Practice
A Cultural
Practice
A Cultural
Practice
A Cultural
Practice
rules or structure of a culture
A Cultural
Practice
A Cultural
Practice
A Cultural
Practice
A Cultural
Practice
A Cultural
Practice
Universal Structure
of Culture
Functional Origin
Ehtnographic inquiry plus historical speculation
(diachronic)
structural inquiry
(synchronic)
Verbs, nouns, verb tense,
sentence structure
Binary Oppositions,
Kinship Systems,
Totems
Linguistic Structuralism
Cultural Structuralism
Break.
Break.
Check-In
Pick three words that many people around you would think is true about you:

I am a _____________.

I know we all know these identity categories are social constructions. I am not asking you to commit to reifying the identity. I am Keep it simple. Examples: Student, Scientist, Parent, Man, Oregonian, Lesbian, Musician, Partner, Teacher, Dog Owner, Immigrant, smart person, etc.
Marxism
Marxism sees ideology as obscuring our consciousness. It retains a conception of rationality and science as something--properly enacted--that is outside of culture. Critique is about removing obstructions to the operation of rationality.

Poststructuralism takes the critical project deeper. It questions the innocence of rationality itself. In so doing it historicizes not just the content of our consciousness, but the substance of consciousness. The word it uses for this more radically contingent consciousness is subjectivity or the subject.
A detour into linguistics.
Claude
Levi-Strauss
Readings
Ball
Stephen Ball

" Discourse is structured by assumptions within which any speaker must operate in order to be heard as meaningful. Thus the concept of discourse emphasizes the social processes that produce meaning."
Chosen by Bobbie Bonilla

"Discourses constrain the possibilities of thought." p. 2
"Educational institutions control the access of individuals to various kinds of discourse." p. 3
"'To change something in the minds of people - that's the role of the intellectual.'" (Martin et al. 1988:10) p. 2
Chosen by Darien Combs

"Through the creation of remedial and advanced groups, and the separation of the educationally subnormal or those with special education needs, abilities are stigmatized and normalized.
"These dividing practices are critically interconnected with the formation, and increasingly sophisticated elaboration, of the educational sciences: educational psychology, pedagogics, the sociology of education, cognitive and developmental psychology. these are the arenas in which 'truth games' are played out." p4

Chosen by Becky Crowe

" But education works not only to render its students as subjects of power, it also constitutes them, or some of them, as powerful subjects. The effects of power are both negative and positive" (pg. 5).

This quote demonstrates the way that Foucault dismisses the idea of a simple bureaucratic notion of power and instead conceives of something more akin to webs, wherein students experience power exerted on and by themselves.
Chosen by Niki Derosia


"My role - and that is too emphatic a word - is to show people that they are much freer than they feel, that people accept as truth, as evidence, some themes which have been built up at a certain moment during history, and that this so-called evidence can be criticized and destroyed. To change something in the minds of people - that's the role of an intellectual." (p. 1)
Chosen by Misael Gutierrez

"In the process of schooling the student is compiled and constructed both in passive processes of objectification, and in an active, self-forming subjectification, the latter involving processes of self-understanding mediated by an external authority figure- for our purposes, most commonly the teacher. For example, this is apparent in the increasing use of profiling and records of achievement in schools" (p. 4).

Chosen by Allie Ivey

"Discourse is about what is said and thought, but also about who can speak, when, and with what authority. Discourses embody meaning and social relationships, they constitute both subjectivity and power relationships. Discourses are 'practices that systematically form the objects of which they speak.... Discourses are not about objects; they do not identify objects, they constitute them and in the practice of doing so conceal their own invention'" (p. 2. second paragraph)
Chosen by McKensie Meline and Max Skorodinsky

"Discourses constrain the possibilities of thought. They order and combine words in particular ways and exclude or displace other combinations. However, in so far as discourses are constituted by exclusions as well as inclusions, by what cannot as well as what can be said, they stand in antagonistic relation-ship to other discourses, other possibilities of meaning, other claims, rights, and positions" (p. 2).
"The world is perceived differently within different discourses. Discourse is structured by assumptions within which any speaker must operate in order to be heard as meaningful. Thus the concept of discourse emphasizes the social processes that produce meaning" (p. 3).
Chosen by Kyle Reardon

"Hitherto, we have tended to think that power operates in a direct and brutally repressive fashion, dispensing with polite things like culture and knowledge. Foucault argued that not only is knowledge always a form of power, but power is implicated in the questions and whether and in what circumstances knowledge is to be applied or not. This question of the application and effectiveness of power/knowledge was more important, he thought, than the question of truth." (p. 76)
Jerry, can you speak more about this statement? In particular, on how knowledge is applied or not.

Chosen by Misael Gutierrez

"Knowledge does not operate in a void. It is put to work, through certain technologies and strategies of application, in specific situations, historical concepts, and institutional regimes. To study punishment, you must study how the combination of discourse and power- power/knowledge- has produced a certain conception of crime and the criminal, has had certain real effects both for the criminal and for the punisher, and how these have been set into practice in certain historically specific prison regimes" (p. 76).

Chosen by Allie Ivey

"It is discourse, the not the subjects who speak it, which produces knowledge. Subjects may produce particular texts, but they are operating within the limits of the episteme, the discursive formation, the regime of truth, of a particular period and culture. Indeed, this is one of Foucault's radical propositions: the 'subject' is produced within discourse. This subject of discourse cannot be outside of discourse, because it must be subjected to discourse. It must submit to its rules and conventions, to its dispositions of power/knowledge."

Chosen by Max Skorodinsky

To study punishment, you must study how the combination of discourse and power- power/knowledge- has produced a certain conception of crime and the criminal, has had certain real effects both for criminal and for the punisher and how these have been set into practice in certain historically specific regimes".
Chosen by Bobbie Bonilla

"Knowledge linked to power, not only assumes the authority of 'the truth' but has the power to make itself true. All knowledge, once applied in the real world, has real effects, and in that sense at least, 'becomes true'. Knowledge, once used to regulate the conduct of others, entail constraint, regulation and the disciplining of practices. Thus, there is no power relation without the correlative constitution of a field of knowledge, nor any knowledge that does no presuppose and constitute at the same time, power relations".
Chosen by Tracey Blue
“It is not inevitable that all individuals in a particular period will become the subjects of a particular discourse in this sense, and thus the bearers of its power/knowledge. But for them – us – to do so, they – we – must locate themselves/ourselves in the position from which the discourse makes most sense, and thus become its ‘subjects’ by ‘subjecting’ ourselves to its meanings, power and regulation. All discourses, then, construct subject-positions, from which alone they make sense.” Stuart Hall p. 80
Chosen by Darien Combs

"For Foucault, however, power does not function in the form of a chain- it circulates. It is never monopolized by one centre. It is deployed and exercised through a net-like organization" (p. 77).

Chosen by Niki Derosia

"The major critique levelled against his work is that he tends to absorb too much into the "discourse", and this has the effect of encouraging his followers to neglect the influence of the material, economic, and structural factors in the operation of power/knowledge." (p. 78)

Chosen by Mckensie Meline

“The idea that 'discourse produces the objects of knowledge' and that nothing which is meaningful exists outside discourse, is at first sight a disconcerting proposition, which seems to run right against the grain of common-sense thinking. It is worth spending a moment to explore this idea further. Is Foucault saying – as some of his critics have charged – that nothing exists outside of discourse? In fact, Foucault does not deny that things can have real, material existence in the world. What he does argue is that ‘nothing has any meaning outside of discourse."

Chosen by Kevin Donley and Alex Pratt
"It is this configuration that, from the nineteenth century onward, changes entirely; the theory of representation disappears as the universal foundation of all possible orders; language as the spontaneous tabula, the primary grid of things, as an indispensable link between representation and things, is eclipsed in its turn; a profound historicity penetrates into the heart of things, isolates and defines them in their own coherence, imposes upon them the forms of order implied by the continuity of time; the analysis of exchange and money gives way to the study of production, that of the organism takes precedence over the search for taxonomic characteristics, and, above all, language loses its privileged position and becomes, it its turn, a historical form coherent with the density of its own past" (p. 345).
Chosen by Kyle Reardon

Foucualt excerpts
"If we have any objection against Marxism, it lies in the fact that it could effectively be a science. In more detailed terms, I would say that even before we can know the extent to which something such as Marxism or psychoanalysis can be compared to a scientific practice in its everyday functioning, its rules of construction, its working concepts, that even before we can pose the question of a formal and structural analogy between Marxist or psychoanalytic discourse, it is surely necessary to question ourselves about our aspirations to the kind of power that is presumed to accompany such a science".
Chosen by Tracey Blue
What types of knowledge do you want to disqualify in the very instant of your demand: 'Is it a science?' Which speaking, discoursing subjects - which subjects of experience and knowledge - do you then want to 'diminish' when you say: 'I who conduct this discourse am conducting a scientific discourse, and I am a scientist?' p348
Becky Crowe

"What I mean by that phrase is this: it is a fact that we have repeatedly enountered, at least at a superficial level, in the course of most recent times, an entire thematic to the effect that it is not theory by life that matters, not knowledge but reality, not books by money etc.; but it also seems to me that over and above, and arising out of this thematic, there is something else to which we are witness, and which we might describe as an insurrection of subjugated knoweldges." (p. 346)
Chosen by Misael Gutierrez
Foucault
Hall
Daza
The idea that good teachers and teaching practices "will solve most problems associated with the lack of formal education (poverty, productivity, morality and many more social ills)" is common sense. Likewise, it is common sense (for some) that achievement gaps are not the result of societal stratification and gross socioeconomic inequities perpetuated over time (and reflected in school policy, curriculum, best practice, and actors) but are the problems of (deficient) individuals - bad teachers, failing schools, and bad teacher preparation programs. The logic of achievement itself is rarely questioned or addressed.p 612
Chosen by Becky Crowe and Misael Gutierrez

"Neoliberal scientism systematically neutralizes the capacity to critique it by managing and deligitimizing resistance. Without a critique of neoliberal scientism and the capacity to expose its technocratic neutrality as ideological, questioning best-practice-what-works-life-in-the-fast-lane-thinking does not make sense: What kind of parent or educator or public school wants kids to be left behind in the slow lane? Who does not want what works for his or her kid or student? What state or districts would join a race to the bottom? (p. 63).

Chosen by Niki De rosia

Worlding works at keeping the micro detached from the macro so that ideas, thinking, decisions, and actions will continue to seem like common sense and, logically, will focus on the micro instead of questioning its worlding. This supports the idea that teachers deliver content rather than coproduce knowledge with students. pg. 613
Supports the idea that teaching is simply content delivery (technical view)
Chosen by Erin Wennerstrom

"To take one example, Derrick Bell explains how rewiring the rhetoric of equality as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Brown versus the Board of Education failed to address white supremacy. This is also why, for another example, the privatization of schooling is reframed as democratic or expanding access. Worlding is a successful and largely unrecognizable form of spin" (pps. 614-615).
This quote connects to Omi and Winant's theory of racial formation with regards to the rearticulation of race.
Chosen by Allie Ivey

"Likewise, Frederick Erickson states that 'trying to get everybody to adopt ‘best practices’ ... just doesn’t tell us what we need to know as educators. Best practices, as specific behaviors, don’t travel intact across the hall in one school building, let alone across the country'" (p. 605).

I think that there are other solutions to this problem than that which she proposes in this article.

"This is why U.S. higher education (not the ideological bastion of radicalism it is often worlded to be), and of course teacher education (the bastard stepchild of the academy), are often in lock-step with this guise that ‘schools should be apolitical institutions, implementing scientifically verified ‘best practices’ which will be assessed through standardized testing'" (p. 616).

I have some thoughts on best practices, many of which run counter to how she frames them in this article. I feel conflicted, as I resonate with some of what she describes, but overall I find her analysis difficult to digest.

Chosen by Kyle Reardon
Full transcript