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Qual II 2014--Week 5

Post-structuralism--strand 1
by

Jerry Rosiek

on 13 February 2016

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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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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
lgay
lesbian
queer
transgender
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
Check-In
Fair warning
Preliminary Definition of the Subject
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
Fair Warning:
This is a Prison Break
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?
Additional Discussion Questions for Hall Reading
According to Stuart Hall, how does Foucault us the concept of discourse? How is it related to a "constructionist theory of meaning"?
What does Hall mean when he says "truth is radically historicized" by Foucault?
What according to Hall is the relationship between power and knowledge in Foucault's wriings? How is this different than the more traditional notion that having knowledge gives me power over things?
According to Hall, how did Foucault change the position of "the subject" in western social analysis?
What are the implications of all this for the "work of representation"--in other words the work you will be doing when you write about the experience of others.?

Next Week
Applications of Foucault's theories: Considering different types of subject production
Precis due on McDermott Essay
Epistemology of the Closet
Dicena's Tacit Subjects
Guided Discussion of Readings
Generate some cultural binary oppositions that you see used, or use your self, frequently. Good-student/bad-student. Male/Female, etc.
Choose one and try to list some general characteristics of each side of the binary.
Which side of the binary is more often considered the privileged, higher-status, dominant, better, side? Does it depend on context? How so?
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.
Break.
What we call knowledge is one of these discourses.
Break
"...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
descnbe as an
insurrection of subjugated knowledges
."

Foucault, 1976
Power/Knowledge
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