I think you may be right, Stephen, that there is “no one else” reading at the moment, your critique that my writing is too blurry (“linguistic meanderings”) is well-taken and consonant with other recent feedback. However, its also, I think, in part constituted by the intersubjective condition of talking outloud to myself. I think that tends to occur on Reflexivity when there is a dearth of “audience” or at least when it seems to be so.
You’re also accurate, I think, in characterizing your discourse as an expression of “perhaps white / straight / male / educated” power. It is. I return to the thread on “separate knowing”. And a bit Habermasian at that. I appreciate much in your critique, of all that I have not made clear, and I twinge a bit that I’m such a slow learner in this regard, but the construction of meaning occurs between us, so if you feel “psychologized” its 50% your doing. If we’re having a moral disagreement (and I’m not sure we are, it was presented as an hypothesis), it has to do with acknowledging the presence of the psychological, of which “desire” may be our most tangible expression.
So here are two strands in the weft of our dialogue: is addressing the psychological or not a moral decision? And what of desire?
I think your push (and I use this term-for-talk deliberately) against psychologizing may be moral, as you are resisting attributions from me about the motivations or impulses of others (such as yourself). Yes, I agree this is problematic. Does that mean it shouldn’t be done? I’m not sure. I suspect most of us engage in this kind of other-analysis occasionally, at least. The only way I know to test it is to say something about it; keeping such speculations to oneself is much more subjective. Are you ideologically opposed to the popularity of psychologizing in contemporary culture? Fine – but regardless of the extent to which it is constructed, it is a facet of intersubjectivity, of human relations which isn’t going away. So, again I ask, in the spirit of clarity about the meaning we are co-constructing – is this a moral disagreement or merely a “push” for/against the kind of discourse we each wish to enact?
Desire as a point of specific critique is useful to me on two levels: it allows an opening to clarify my response to anonymous’ concern about being studied via contributions to Reflexivity and, as said above, illustrates the psychological in a more tangible way. Let’s take the latter first. You say I conceptualize desire as a form of lack, which I don’t dispute (at least not until I think on it more). But it does not follow that I necessarily then assume or expect others to meet/satisfy that desire, especially on the individual level. I think you may read in (psychologize?) assumptions about the target of desire – not that I’m opposed to personal satisfaction (!), but I am offering, in the terms I know, to participate in the construction/constitution of shared desire. I’ll own my 50% of linguistic production that sends us down that road, but why do you persist in highlighting it? You misinterpret me and my commitment to Reflexivity. I continue to pose it as the easiest, most practical option until such time as another venue is created. The intention to produce another site doesn’t have to disqualify continued participation here.
Reflexivity as an object of study. In truth, my intention here has been, reflexively, my own development as an academic. It is my consciousness, my epistemology that is the object represented by Reflexivity. To the extent that others do participate, more intersubjective data comes into view. I value that. But I’m not studying the department or people’s contributions here per se. I do consider the dynamics and discourses of the department quite often because that’s what I do, but to actually embark on a study requires permission and consent which I don’t have.
There is a history by which I’ve tried to wangle such permission! In Leda’s course on Social Impact of Technology I ran my first blog with consent. It’s remnants seem only to be the last series of posts I made. I’ve used blogs since in most of the classes I’ve taught, always emphasizing their public nature. I’m becoming more deliberate about what I think I may be able “to do” with them and making consent procedures more explicit. I *did* write a paper about the discourse in one thread of the Democracy, Rhetoric, and Performance class last fall, which was done without prior consent as I had no idea I would wind up doing that until after the semester was concluded. Should I have anticipated? Damn those weak telepathy skills! Did I misjudge the members of this group as to their willingness to have their collective (not individual!) discourse examined? I have received post-consent from half of them and haven’t yet pursued those who didn’t respond at all; I suppose I should get busy.
Meanwhile, there was also last year’s Mentoring Project. Which provided an opportunity to look at domestic-international (mostly) student relations within the department. Which utilized an extensive consent process.
Whether or not this history (memory) allays or increases concern about my intentions and integrity is yet to be co-constructed.