Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Legitimation or Validation?
I used to think that the main question was validation. In other words, reaching conclusions that are valid, justified, not just made up. Now I am thinking the main issue for the humanities is legitimation: the conferral of value on the humanistic enterprise itself, and on the objects of its study, from whatever particular ideological angle is in play. So much of what we do is an assumption of a position. Even very major theoretical interventions often account for little more than an effort to legitimate the study of something. Once that is done, then the validity follows almost direclty from that legitimation itself. It's like getting on a hill and claiming it as one's own with a particular buzzword. Nomad subjects, or intersticial identities, or crosstranspostnationlhybridizations. The superior terminology will be the one that resolves the indaquacies of the best of the previous conceptualizations in new language.
The problem is to legitimate in a way that doesn't simply replicate obvious state / corporate interests. The language, the generation of buzzwords, has a poetic function of creating a metaphor for whatever serves to unsettle any easy identification between that language and the elite group that happens to be proposing it.
You can tell I've been reading Latin American Cultural studies texts for theory class today. For example, José Rabasa:
"La noción de mundos múltiples no contradictorios nos permite pensar en sujetos que la vez sean mestizos, híbridos y nómadas, sin incurrir en la celebración de una síntesis cultural..."
[The notion of multiples worlds not in contradiction allows us to conceptualize subjects that are at once mestizo, hybrid, and nomad, withot falling into a celebration of cultural synthesis...]