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care-tags.org • View topic - THEORY

THEORY

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THEORY

Postby INNIT » Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:27 am

i've been wanting to make a dedicated T H E O RY thread for awhile now, where we can all ramble on about society and capitalism without clogging up other topics.

what is theory?

who knows, really. in the broadest sense, it's a way of critiquing society and culture using knowledges produced in the arts and sciences. this definition, however, is so broad as to be almost nebulous, so if anyone has a better way of defining "theory" or "Theory" or "critical theory" i very much encourage you to do so.

theory encompasses a multitude of very different and often contradictory schools of thought. to name a few: marxism, postmodernism/poststructuralism, feminism, black studies, critical race theory, indigenous studies, queer theory, trans theory, affect theory, new materialism, postcolonial theory, etc.* all of these fields, and the numerous others i haven't named, are up for discussion.

*note: none of these "fields" are stable categories: they all variously intersect and diverge. in other words, they all communicate with each other.

unfortunately, accessing theory usually means identifying a specific theoretical field that intrigues you and engaging with its texts directly. fortunately, we live in a time of interweb gadgets that liberate us from meat space and enable us to access a vast array of pdf texts for free. do you want to read butler's "gender troubles"? . that took me like 5 seconds to find, get on it people.

who does theory?

i would like to say everyone and anyone willing to put in the time. in reality, most theoretical writing is produced by academics within the humanities/social sciences. all of the above listed "fields" are contributed to by scholars writing within disciplines as diverse as philosophy, history, psychology, literature, sociology, political science, economics, physics, etc.

that said, i am a firm believer that it can be socialized beyond the academy, with a little work.

a note on jargon

in the interest of bringing people into the discussion, please socialize words that may be construed as jargon. the onus is on the poster to post something comprehensible (which i often fail to do myself)

so like, what do we talk about

i encourage everyone to use theory to discuss whatever it is that interests them, whether that be comic books, novels, films, fashion, theory itself, internet stuff, robot stuff, the iphone 4, whatever. ask questions, give answers, no one's an expert on this stuff and if i can fool academics into thinking that i am smart, so can you.

in conclusion

i'm just going to post a bunch of pictures of cool-looking theorists. good inspo also

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Re: THEORY

Postby YoungCanoeist » Thu Oct 11, 2018 2:06 am

theorist list too white

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Re: THEORY

Postby norman » Thu Oct 11, 2018 4:45 pm

this is all too smart for me but I'm interested in reading people's contributions
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Re: THEORY

Postby rjbman » Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:11 pm

not sure if this falls under the purpose of this but has anyone here read Non-places by Mark Auge? read it after hearing it mentioned in The Supermodern Wardrobe (great book)... it definitely felt a little academic for uninformed me, but the main point:

over time there's been a large rise in these supermodern transitional "non-places", essentially places that exist only as a way to get from point A to point B without providing anything of value, be that value civic involvement, casual socialization, etc. easy example: subways. is this bad? probably

anywas now that's sort of extending through changes in society, such as smartphones, that lead to less interactions between people with similar geographies. there's also a rise in these psuedopublic spaces that i think are loosely related: places that seem to be public, but are actually private and subject to different laws than say, a real public park.

rambling now so i'll cut it off here, but any thoughts? i think there can probably be two lines of thought tbh, smartphones and their effect on society could be a whole fucking forum on its own
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Re: THEORY

Postby wrong » Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:20 pm

Image


paulo freire
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Re: THEORY

Postby thephfactor » Fri Oct 12, 2018 2:58 am

my favorite theorists:

mom
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dad
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and the person reading this (love)
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Re: THEORY

Postby kickingthefly » Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:50 am

wait is it ok to rep judith now after avital ronell letter thing
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Re: THEORY

Postby Naka_ » Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:18 am

haven't had that much time for reading recently so I'm gonna try out audiobooks. First up is Anna Tsing's The Mushroom at the End of the World. I really enjoy theory that plays with form so I hope it's a good fit with the format.
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Re: THEORY

Postby eli7 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:34 pm

So what does everything think about the Sokal Hoax? If you're unfamiliar you can read a short opinion piece about it here:



I tend to steer clear of writing in a traditionally academic way (at least whats traditional in the humanities). Although I am a theory-head, I need things I write to be explicable in simple terms because you can really tangled up in jargon when you're formulating theoretical backgrounds for a practical project. I have undergrads that dabble in theory and what they write literally makes no sense and they can't explain their arguments because they depend on a set of vocabulary they've recently learned, not realizing that the words have meanings. Every semester when it comes to teaching about basic theories of time and temporality, I have to have a discussion about the inherent purpose of theory and jargon and why it's not just a convoluted or pleonastic way of saying something simple (even though it absolutely is that sometimes).

That being said, I love Reza Negarestani for how obtuse he can be. Some theory/philosophy I don't even try to read in a linear way, I just sort of look at the page and create word clouds in my mind because it would take me 1,000 years to get through one piece. I think it works sometimes, especially with Deleuze and Guatari but I'm sure most people don't see it this way and just read it and understand every nuance somehow. Not me though.

Here's a good chat between Susan Sontag and John Berger that I enjoy about how to tell a story(she was always criticized for how she densely she expressed herself):
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Re: THEORY

Postby INNIT » Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:20 am

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Re: THEORY

Postby eli7 » Tue Oct 16, 2018 12:58 pm

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Re: THEORY

Postby Naka_ » Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:21 pm

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Re: THEORY

Postby soko » Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:50 pm

had a party at mine and someone knocked over the hookah :cool:
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Re: THEORY

Postby JewTurk » Tue Oct 16, 2018 6:03 pm

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Re: THEORY

Postby INNIT » Tue Oct 16, 2018 6:17 pm

everyone has problematic aspects to them. all of the progressives of yesteryear are now being critiqued ad nauseam for the implicit violences contained within their works. D+G have been ripped apart by theorists within indigenous studies/postcolonial studies/black studies, foucault is a neoliberal, etc. the problem is that many of these authors' ideas have become fundamental to entire strains of thought and their theories have become the baseline assumptions that certain fields proceed from (queer theory w/o foucault? feminism w/o butler?). solutions to this always seem pretty binary: either throw away the author completely or continue to use them (while very tastefully mentioning their shortcomings).

a form of suspicious criticism and reading has taken over in recent years. here's felski on "the hermeneutics of suspicion" (http://journal.media-culture.org.au/ind ... e/view/431). there is a much longer version of this that you can read ("the limits of critique). i find suspicious critiques to be kind of boring, often obvious, and always necessary (though, not necessarily generative).

we'll all be dinosaurs one day, folks
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Re: THEORY

Postby thephfactor » Thu Oct 18, 2018 2:27 pm

The work of the theorist and the insights we can gain from it are always separate from that theorist as an individual. I think we can all agree that it's lame and corny, and stupid, when people attempt to interpret, say, a text, through the individuality of the author, so why would we do the same thing when there's a question about the author of a theoretical text's individual morals? Now, I'm often guilty of doing something similar in reverse, i.e. over-identifying with a theorist as an individual based on how much their theory has enriched my life (what were we doing by posting images of theorists in the thread?), and that's not necessarily excusable, but I think more understandable as a sort of defensive response against a culture that often doesn't seem to value the theoretical traditions these figures, for better or for worse, represent. People love to shit on Althusser for murdering his wife, and it's always a struggle for me because my default impulse is to come to his defense as an individual ("He was tortured by Nazis as a youth and struggled with mental illness throughout his life and was declared mentally irresponsible by the judges..."), when obviously the more reasonable response is to smile serenely at the vulgar person and murmer "ah yes, what a tragedy, good thing I'm not an individualist like you or that would really crush me." Something to keep in mind and work on.
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Re: THEORY

Postby 106-2 » Fri Oct 19, 2018 6:33 am

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Re: THEORY

Postby INNIT » Sat Oct 20, 2018 4:52 am

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Re: THEORY

Postby kickingthefly » Sun Oct 21, 2018 9:22 am

eli (or anyone else...) can you give an example of what you consider a 'good' theoretical take on a practical archaeology project? or just theory incorporated into an outline.
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Re: THEORY

Postby 106-2 » Sun Oct 21, 2018 1:02 pm



yeah I think its absolutely the case that authors have always been elevated to celebrity status, but for most of history (and obviously still today) there are clear structural reasons why that has occurred given the privilege someone has to have in order to establish themselves in academia. Surely with much more democratised means of communication/distributing information its not inconceivable that authors could lose their exceptional status without authorship being 'killed'? In the case of Greer/Butler/any other problematic author, whilst yeah clearly not all problematic aspects to them will be apparent in every text of theirs but I don't think that makes considering these faults any less important. Any recommendations for reading around this topic?

Also with the Butler thing, I don't think that her acknowledging that she fucked up really does anything to redeem her, given that she's still arguing that Ronell shouldn't be investigated, just imo.
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Re: THEORY

Postby UnwashedMolasses » Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:33 am

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Re: THEORY

Postby eli7 » Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:40 pm

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Re: THEORY

Postby INNIT » Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:14 pm

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Re: THEORY

Postby 106-2 » Tue Oct 23, 2018 7:52 am

sorry if i'm just being dumb but what is the difference between semiology and semiotics? from my understanding isn't semiotics just semiology in which the sign is one-removed from the phenomena itself, to acknowledge that the signified object is a not coherent/singular object? if semiotics is just a subsection of semiology, but (surely) no-one would still argue in favour of 'OG' semiology, why is the distinction still useful? (any recc's for babby's first semiology v semiotics would be much much appreciated)
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Re: THEORY

Postby eli7 » Tue Oct 23, 2018 10:25 am

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Re: THEORY

Postby kickingthefly » Wed Nov 14, 2018 6:05 am

not theory but made me think of this thread.
https://hyperallergic.com/470795/pseudo ... nt-aliens/

as some here know i work at a gallery in berlin and i'd love to do something exploring this kind of area- like archaeology as speculative future, and what its trying to suppress or deny. connected really to my own sense as a non white person of feeling distinctly 'other' in the city. a friend was telling me that there is no term or recognised collective sense of 'german blackness'. i suppose that despite the colonial background in africa there was no inherited sense of connection (why? did it exist before the war? ).
i havent looked into all this at all yet but stumbled on some original 1896 newspaper articles from a kind of 'worlds fair' expo thing in treptower park which among other mock african pastoral scenes featured 'authentic' hereros in full tribal costume as sort of Rousseau-esque noble savages, the tone is scandalised because there were apparently rumours of german women sneaking into the park to fuck them.
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Re: THEORY

Postby INNIT » Mon Dec 10, 2018 7:30 pm

assuming postmodernism has been on the wane for the past few decades, has anyone attempted to periodize w/e period we are currently in?

major shifts:
critiques of "late/multinational/post-industrial capitalism" replaced by critiques of "neoliberalism"
primacy of discourse/linguistics/language being challenged by a (re)turn to affect/affectivity (accompanied by a simultaneous return to the body/embodiment??)
a breakdown of canon in the realm of genre (what "counts" as a relevant cultural production is being severely reevaluated: things like comic books, song/rap lyrics, twitter essays, fan cultures, formulaic best-selling novels, tv infomercials and advertisements, etc. seem to dominate the attention of critics to the exclusion of what used to be considered "properly" literary novels, poems, "high-art" in general).
emergent forms that captivated the attention of postmoderns like photography and film are probably becoming less interesting, but what replaces them?
art has presumably changed though i cant identify these changes because i know nothing about contemporary art (what new waves in architecture/literature are sweeping the world?)

what is the new cultural dominant and what is its name, and also is anyone writing good stuff about this? hopefully it wont be called post-post-modernism; i want something that sounds cooler and also you cant just keep adding "post-" to things, we're better than that
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Re: THEORY

Postby 106-2 » Tue Dec 11, 2018 9:26 am



recently read 'Notes on Metamodernism' by Timotheus Vermeulen which I found pretty useful in terms of categorising the current condition - especially in explaining how we've seen a resurgence in people buying pretty straightforward narratives/solutions to issues (primarily with the continued success of Corbyn for labour, although I guess also w/ right wing populism)

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10. ... .v2i0.5677

and then when googling for a link found this, although ive literally not read a single article on the site so ymmv

http://www.metamodernism.com
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Re: THEORY

Postby bels » Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:45 am

Is it not just more postmodernism? deeply suspicious of anything that proclaims any kind of optimism but then I am Old and Cynical.
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Re: THEORY

Postby Sam » Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:21 pm

Has anybody read Cyclonopedia ? Was told to read it for an essay and im about half way through it and i just find it kind of dumb. I definitely do not know enough about D&G to fully "get" it but I know enough to have a vague understanding and i understand that it's written rhizomatically etc

I do think what is being written about is very interesting its just the how im stuck with i guess.

So just wondering what other peoples thoughts are if they've read it.
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