RE: text, context & space

Date: Wed Feb 16 2005 - 14:38:02 PST

JAY wrote:

"... that every word we make ours was someone else's before us, that we make
our own voices by mobilizing the voices and words of others, both specific
others and the generalized Other of the kinds of voices available in our
community (i.e. culture)."


It is quite tempting for me to see this interesting relational process of language production spatially--language as space is simultaneously both producing and produced.

Perhaps because, as I read, I just see 'voice' or 'word' as space--just as I compare the 'musical space' of Mozart with Bach, or the 'architectural space' of Wright with Le Corbusier.

Let me 're-read' by applying the proposed process to the text itself.

" ... that we make our own voices by mobilizing the voices and words of others" we produce new language space by using the already produced 'raw materials' by others. Just the same way we build our new house by mobilizing what already is available in our community--wood, metal, concrete, labor, etc.

Our capacity in producing new space of language ('mobilizing') gets its possibilities and limits form the process of the production itself--our capacity to capture ('make our own') and what is available out there to us (('voices [spaces] available in our community (i.e. culture)')).

Perhaps what I just did to this interesting text that Jay provided to this community is not very different from what an amoeba does to a piece of nutrient--make it its own by capturing it into its own space!

Lets go back to the text:

"... the notion of _contextualization_ as a process, as a meaning-making practice, by which we construe something to be a relevant context-of something else"

Does any production (of new space; language and physical), or 'contextualization,' involve a sort of destruction (mobilization or capturing) of the already existing (old) space? Based on what I just did, I would say yes.

Perhaps Jay would have already agreed by saying:

"I think it still makes sense to regard text and context as parts of a whole [both as interacting spaces as we mobilize them], and as made to be, construed as, or seen as constituting a whole [a plane of existence], rather than to dichotomize them, reify context [dead space], or take contexts to exist (relevantly for meaning-making) apart from our practices [our production of space] of contextualizing the focal "text"".

iraj imam

The Center for Applied Local Research 5200 Huntington Ave., Suite 200 Richmond, CA 94804 Telephone: (510) 558-7932 FAX: (510) 558-7940 e-mail: Web:

"The defence of free speech begins at the point when people say something you can't stand. If you can't defend their right to say it, then you don't believe in free speech." Salman Rushdie, 7/2/2005

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