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[Xmca-l] Re: poverty/class
Zizek is now a visiting professor at a university within spitting
distance of our campus (students in the front rows of his classes are
warned to bring umbrellas). I think that Zizek's speaking style is
that of an agitator; he is making the same point that Adorno made when
he said that to acknowledge bankruptcy doesn't actually pay any bills.
But the agitator goes to far when he implies that the acknowledgement
of bankruptcy is just a form of goyischer guilt, a substitute for
doing the right thing in the first place.
First of all, cynicism is historically a harbinger of ideological
collapse, and great ideological collapses never come about without
profound material causes and very striking ideological consequences.
You had to have cynicism about the medieval romance before you could
have the Don Quixote. Secondly, to the extent that Zizek is right
about cynicism he is simply stating the obvious truth that an ideology
never goes away simply because it has lost its raison d'etre but only
when something else comes along to replace it. How does being cynical
about cynicism help us displace it? When was despair ever dispelled by
anything but hope?
When I lived in Wuhan I would sometimes try to get on a bus because it
was far less crowded than the ones that were about to leave. Whenever
I did this, I would be told gravely by people who had had the idea
first, that the bus was not going anywhere. Of course, I took this
with a block of salt; if the bus was not going anywhere, what were
they doing on it? I soon learned that what I was observing was not
despair or even cynicism, but an elaborate form of covert optimism:
positioning predictions in such a way that it is in your interest to
be proven wrong.
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
On 26 March 2014 13:42, Greg Thompson <email@example.com> wrote:
> David, your earlier comment about Bernstein seems to suggest that one thing
> that we can do is to "pull back the curtain of ideology", so to speak. That
> is, to demonstrate the problematic nature of the notion that the deficit
> lies within the individual and instead to shine a light on the system
> within which a deficit is made into a deficit (Mcdermott and Varenne come
> to mind here as having done exemplary work of this sort). That seems to me
> to be a useful direction to push things. And one that I would think Mike
> would be in support of.
> And yet, the cynic in me hears Slavoj Zizek whispering in my ear (okay,
> SHOUTING, and with a fair degree of spittle - Zizek never whispers!) that
> revealing ideologies in this way has done little to change the way people
> engage with those ideologies. The only difference is that people now
> ironically engage with the ideologies that have been revealed as such. But
> those ideologies maintain all the force that they have ever had.
> But I don't like to be cynical.
> On Tue, Mar 25, 2014 at 6:11 PM, David Kellogg <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
>> Thanks for the article.The ideas are not completely new to me; even
>> the link with the great anthropological tradition in linguistics of
>> Sapir, Whorf and Boas that joins you to Halliday is something I have
>> heard you articulate many times. But they are presented more
>> forcefully than ever, and the tie to Bruner is quite new (I had always
>> thought of Bruner as a wartime social behaviorist, centrally
>> responsible for the distortions of the "scaffolding" reading of
>> Labov is also in that great tradition. I have enormous respect for
>> him, not least because, like you and quite unlike me, he is STILL
>> doing important work in the inner cities, teaching kids to read and
>> write. His work on the grammar of AAVE seems like a waystage between
>> Hymes on the one hand and Heath on the other. But like so many of that
>> great tradition in linguistics, his strength is empirical strength and
>> not theoretical strength.
>> Take his famous paper on narrative structure: these are categories
>> which emerge from and are largely confined to the data. His reading of
>> Bernstein hopelessly shallow; he just cannot take on board the whole
>> argument about the strong and weak ways of framing knowledge, and as a
>> result he ends up with a caricature rather than a fair understanding.
>> (Ruqaiya Hasan notes, correctly, that Labov barely bothers to cite
>> Yes, I too have trouble with what you call the extreme forms of
>> Bernstein's theory (although I note that for the most part they are
>> not really Bernstein's). By the time children are in middle school,
>> they don't really talk like their parents any more; they talk like
>> each other. But I am willing to accept that by the time they get to
>> middle school, it may be too late; language development consists of
>> many roads not taken (how way leads on way!).
>> My wife complains that the Korean system (and of course the Chinese
>> system too) is unforgiving; the child takes the college entrance
>> examination at the end of high school and the child's fate is sealed.
>> This is not strictly true (she herself took the exam four times and
>> eventually got in). But even if it were true, that would make it a
>> system that is rather less unforgiving than the American one.
>> David Kellogg
>> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
>> On 25 March 2014 10:06, mike cole <email@example.com> wrote:
>> > David--
>> > I want strongly to agree with you and Michael that
>> > we all know that privileged genres privilege the
>> > privileged, but the question is what to do about it
>> > That is, the rich get richer aka the "Mathew effect" - to s/he who has be
>> > given."
>> > I am still considering with the notion that "childism" equals
>> > Just as pushing the bernsteinian codes to extremes is now well understood
>> > to be a mistake, so is the mistake of underestimating the significant
>> > culturally mediated, socially organized, development of the psychological
>> > capacities of young children.
>> > How that defeats the Mathew effect remains the issue.
>> > One thing we can do is to try to avoid encouraging it when fooling
>> > ourselves into thinking that we are defeating it.
>> > See attached
>> > mike
>> > On Mon, Mar 24, 2014 at 3:47 PM, David Kellogg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>> >> Michael and Anna:
>> >> Halliday points out that there really isn't any necessary connection
>> >> between, say, preformism and the idea that the child "learns by
>> >> setting up hypothetical rules of grammar and matching them against
>> >> what he hears", nor is there some kind of logical link between
>> >> empiricism and "associationist, stimulus response" models of the
>> >> learning process (2004: 29). We can easiliy imagine preformist models
>> >> that don't depend on the freestanding autonomous child as little
>> >> scientist, and we can also imagine empiricist models that don't
>> >> involve associationist psychology. Similarly, I think that although
>> >> historically there was a very strong and long lasting marriage between
>> >> behaviorism in learning theory and structuralism in language theory in
>> >> language teaching which lasted most of the twentieth century, the fact
>> >> that we now have two very different communicative language teaching
>> >> methods (a British version which jettisons structuralism but keeps
>> >> behaviorism in a social-behaviorist form and an American one which
>> >> jettisons behaviorism but keeps structuralism in a Chomskyan one)
>> >> there isn't any necessary link between the theory of language and the
>> >> theory of learning.
>> >> Greg asked me to comment on what I thought the ramifications of
>> >> "childism' were for language research AND for teaching. That seems to
>> >> me to be two different topics, although of course they are related. So
>> >> what I said was that Halliday considered "childism" to be a kind of
>> >> preformism. I think that's right. On the separate topic of teaching, I
>> >> thought that "childism" sometimes demands that children exercise free
>> >> will where no free will is yet possible, and I thought the anecdote
>> >> about Summerhill was a pretty good illustration of that. Actually, the
>> >> link that Ana posted pretty much confirms that view; you can certainly
>> >> see that the gentleman in question is in fact white, British, and a
>> >> native speaker of the English language.
>> >> Let me attempt a very brief reply to the point that Michael raises,
>> >> namely that we all know that privileged genres privilege the
>> >> privileged, but the question is what to do about it. First of all, I
>> >> think that doing something about it requires recognizing that "it"
>> >> exists. We don't do that if we consider that saying that Berstein has
>> >> a "deficit" model of language proficiency constitutes a refutation of
>> >> Bernstein. In fact, what Bernstein is saying is preciselyt hat
>> >> privileged genres privilege the privileged, and labeling this a
>> >> "deficit" model seems to me to be a way of implying that by
>> >> recognizing this reality Bernstein is somehow seeking to blame the
>> >> victim. That really doesn't follow at all, particularly if we reject
>> >> preformism; the "deficit" simply does not and cannot lie in the
>> >> learner him or herself. Secondly, I think that what Halliday would say
>> >> is that doing something about it requires us to get outside the
>> >> privileged genre and see it as a genre, not as a latent ability in the
>> >> child and still less as conterminous with or even a necessary
>> >> component of the linguistic environment. This seems empowering to me,
>> >> and not only to the underprivileged learner.
>> >> David Kellogg
>> >> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
>> >> -----------------------------------------
>> > cut off by mike cole. check xmca for the rest of the thread minus the
>> > trailing
> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> Assistant Professor
> Department of Anthropology
> 883 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
> Brigham Young University
> Provo, UT 84602