Class (as in our group of students and professor, smile) seemed more energetic last night than prevously. We’ve had good discussions all along, but last nght we got into some moments of…debate…(?)…I’m not sure how to characterize it. Lisa pushed me pretty hard, I guess she thinks I can take it. 😉 Lynn too cautioned about conflation – generalizing statements about one (socioeconomic) class to others. It’s definitely an area I need to work on – articulating (verbally) my intuitions about how things “go together” (articulate, smile) in a more precise manner. Lisa thought I was getting too abstract at one point; in my mind, I was trying to pinpoint how an embodied subject (me, or you, grin) might notice – capture? – themselves in a moment of acting out a particular class subjectivity, perpetuating the on-going formation of class in terms of the status quo.
I think it has to do with bracketing. The topic or foci of the class seems to shift between the macrosocial (“classes in formation”) and the microsocial (effects on classed subjects)…but the microsocial only in terms of the assigned text? Again, I’m just trying to work this out for myself (“out loud”, as is my wont, sigh – for good or ill!). (Perhaps it is my speech production that fails to adequately “bracket out” my own subjectivity?)
Our texts have been historical, yet the power of the writing (in my view), has been the way in which the authors have represented the “outcome” of the dynamical processes which they’re analyzing. So, Steedman writes in a way that enacts the subjectivity of her formative (!) years, and Bledstein taps the roots of present-day cynicism. Interesting, isn’t it, that the class (us, a group-as-a-whole) seemed to be affectively “hooked” by Bledstein and not by Kelley? No roots of the shiftless class among us? And the reactions to Newman played out, to a small degree, a parallel (if milder) form of distancing from the objects (who used to be subjects) of stigma.
Wild thought – is there a hidden transcript even in our academic discussion – as problematizing as it is? Maybe it’s not a transcript, per se. (I’m still working my mind around this concept.) A form of dialogic repression a la Billig?
I’ve also got the reading from Stephen’s class in mind (Ziarek, An Ethics of Dissensus), and its push to reconceptualize the subject from a unitary self (shall I say, a “professionally-oriented vertical subjectivity”? grin) to a multiply-identitied (!) being whose own locus or center of embodied action shifts among locations.
So, while our macrosocial focus in this course is to keep our eyes on a definition of class that includes the production of surplus value and note the mechanisms (? structures? features?) of class formation, and the notion that, as Linebaugh says “the working class occupies many different locations” (home, work, jail, etc.); the readings have powerfully connected everyday struggles (the microsocial) to these macrosocial formations. I suppose I’m getting into, or coming from (?) a notion of agency (maybe this is where I keep getting in trouble?)….because it seems to me the implications of our discussion about subversion and resistance were very much at the microsocial level.
Hmm. I’m also (lightbulb!) attending to our discoursiv production, which is, I think, the mid-level between the macro and micro. This is the cultural aspect of the formation(s) and enactment(s) of class, and it doesn’t seem out-of-bounds (to me!) to consider if, how, when we’re ‘guilty’ of doing this in the course’s discourse (co-constructed and mutually-performed by all of us). So, rather than “a projection of the dishonorable” onto others; I think I was…possibly?….or intending to be?… a bit closer to “home”.