Monday, October 03, 2005

Class Notes: Burke & Bourdieu

If you want to read my somewhat cryptic notes for 8040 (last week and this week), click on the "Keep Reading" link below.

Notes for Monday, Sept. 26
Topic: Burke


Some general questions to keep in the back of our discussion:
—how does thinking with Burke give us new tools for thinking about/doing something with rhetoric and affect? What are the limits of this possibility?

—what do we do with the affect involved in reading Burke?

Reading Burke:
—reading Burke seems not unlike reading hypertext, so tagging seems to be useful
—Collin’s strategies for reading: take 10 minutes and try them out

Thinking with the tags:

(1) Identification: Though I’m interested in dissociation, there’s certainly a crucial association between Adam Smith and Kenneth Burke on this one. Having sympathy, which ultimately connects to selfish, individualistic interests. Dependence on imagination. Etc. [Begin here with Talena’s presentation on the Oravec article]

(2) Hierarchy: Endemic to bureaucracy. Bureaucracy isn’t exclusive to corporate/managed capitalism, but it certainly looms large in a way it didn’t before the late 19th century. By making hierarchy a universal term in human relations, is he revealing something about his own terministic screens?

(3) Addressed: Why is this so important to Burke? Is it simply because he wants to insist upon the relational nature of rhetoric, that it’s never “simply” talking to oneself, since talking to oneself is still an address to someone? His discussion in that section also could connect with Althusser on interpellation. How might it also undo Althusser? Or how might Althusser undo Burke?

(4) Perversion: Burke talks about one term being a perversion of another. What’s with that choice of words? I noticed it first when he refers to Oscar Wilde: p. 8

(5) Magic: Amy’s blog post

(6) analogue= this is this (extending into another realm: Burke says way of criticizing end by criticizing means) = metaphor; compares with ideology (analogue with digital? dispersion, many): but what about Burke’s own analogical method, borrowed from theology: God terms, Babel after the fall, logology, etc. How do they set up a terministic screen that could indeed limit the ends?

. . . .

Imagination: image–>idea?

Notes for Monday, Oct. 3
Topic: Burke and Bourdieu

✓ Secondary readings: Quandahl and Anderson
I’m particularly keen on looking closely at the secondary readings this week, both for what they argue and how they do it. Quandahl theorizes and then uses the theorizing to propose a pedagogical approach (one that is grounded in “synecdochic” thinking rather than in rote application); Anderson uses one theorist to extend Burke’s theory. We might look at what they’re doing as motivation to think about what we (and I am truly including myself here) might do, what kinds of things we might write.

(1) Because Anderson’s article (“Questioning the Motives of Habituated Action”) provides such a useful overview of both Burke’s pentad/dramatism and Bourdieu’s theory of practice, I’d like to begin today’s class with Kevin’s presentation.

tags from Anderson: practice
habitus (dispositions: see below)1

• Use Anderson to think through Burke’s pentad (or should it be a hexad?) and through Bourdieu’s theory of practice (“practical reason”).

(2) And then move to Talena’s presentation on Quandahl.
How might we put together some of Anderson’s readings of Bourdieu along with Quandahl’s initial observation about dominant pedagogical practices: “Trained by teachers and textbooks in thematics, students will insist that Romeo and Juliet is a play about star-crossed lovers who are fated to die,” and her assertion that “pedagogy has ignored the performative aspect of texts.”
• what is such training doing? What sorts of attitudes are being formed?
• what’s lost through such terministic screens? Gained?
• how could we describe what Quandahl is doing and what kind of practice she understands writing pedagogy to be?

And what use might we make of this bit on p. 118: “The synecdochic garment, for example, takes on the ‘spirit’–the emotional intensity, the perspective, the motive—of words attributed to its wearer”...? And how does this “garment” transfer to Anderson’s discussion of the British official’s garment? In Quandahl’s words: “What equals what?” and “What difference does the equation make?”

tags from Quandahl: spirit

In what other ways might you talk back to these two articles? Or what is left unsaid in each that you might want to further explore?

✓ Primary Readings: Burke (Intro and Ch. 1 of Grammar of Motives) & Bourdieu (“Is a Disinterested Act Possible” and “The Economy of Symbolic Goods” from Practical Reason)

My plan is that discussion of these texts will be woven into our discussion of the two secondary texts.

Some additional aspects of this Burke that we might take up:

• why “simplifying complexity”? What does that do? What motivates this action?
• what about “quality” as another avenue into emotion? (7, 16)

And of Bourdieu:

• if Bourdieu isn’t talking about language (at least not here so much), why are we reading him? What do we do with this idea of motivation as sub-linguistic?


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