inspect it with your perfect ways until it burns your eyes

Foundational information for this particular IM transcript:

1. It always rains in Georgetown. Today, it was also pouring buckets everywhere else in the two-states-and-an-unrepresented-federal-district area.

2. Zizek is a central part of the paper under discussion.

3. It is made of portions of a dissertation in progress.

4. Overall, we’re not talking about the same magnitude of annoyance as, say, the last Culture Workshop. At least, I’m not. Perhaps other people were equally annoyed.

5. The first example the Author used for a metaphor was actually a simile.

6. Did I mention that it was raining? Rain being rain, whether you call it rain or not.

Right, then here goes.

We join our Culture Workshop already in progress. Weberman has just sidestepped a potential mishap by clarifying his terms. Sort of. Whatever he did, he got away with it, because I was preocupied with a smudge on my sleeve. It was a very big smudge.

WM: oops

E: you caught it, at least.

WM: true

[Insert the first of many mentions of Barry Buzan and his happy helpers.]

E: I'm assuming that's "systems theory" loosely defined.

WM: indeed
» IR "systems theory"
» = bad structural-functionalism

E: good, bc "dysfunctional" systems = BAD

WM: …unless you're Parsons

E: which no one is, except Parsons, who isn't publishing anymore.

WM: tell that to IR scholars

[FTMD asks so what. Author repeats his claims about the need for rehabilitation of the English School.]

E: okay, fine, this is why the English school has a problem. But that doesn't answer the "so what," really.

WM: no. I had this discussion with him earlier.

[FTMD gives up on “so what” and moves on to other things.]

E: "sympathetic disciplinary move" would be like "I'm grounding you, but I don't like it, and it's for your own good"?

WM: kind of…

[Representative Realist Policy Guy™ points out an analogy between cases v. theory and exercise machines. It’s a much better metaphor than it sounds. No, really.

FTMD runs away with the discussion for a while, in the face of rather glazed expressions around the table.]

» I am very tired
» hard to focus
» boy, we're all tired today

E: rain makes people tired.

WM: Someone Else said the same thing
» a few minutes ago

[Reference with slightly derogatory connotation is made to the existence of “people who like numbers.” Once it becomes clear that he means numbers, rather than Numb3rs, I find myself offended because I’ve been singled out as representing such a group of people.

WM is similarly offended, because he hasn’t been singled out, what with being a former math major and all.

Of course, this was in no way a disciplining move based on the participants in the discussion—five men and me. Don’t be silly, Loyal Reader. Such things do not happen in the realm of academic theory.]

E: do you think we'll get back to the idea of time and being--I want to talk about ser vs. estar in naming characteristics.
» the whole naming over time / change argument is only an issue in English

WM: yes, good point

E: well, no, that's not quite it. it's more that it's a completely different question

WM: but it's also a problem in German
» because there's only one verb to be

[Are notions of identity, community, and society teleological stages? Analytic stages? Rocket stages? Stages in the Round?]

E: gosh, it's like community and society identities are in a feedback loop

WM: or a dialectical relationship

E: either way, they're not stages of anything
» strike that--they're not temporal stages in a teleological sense. If that makes any sense.

WM: they're not sequential

[Rather jarring bit of conscription into the conversation, followed by a discussion of the possibility that maybe, in an ideal (in the normative sense, not the Weberian sense) world, it might be a good thought to acknowledge that this particular issue of naming has some linguistic context—see above, under “my Spanish sucks but here’s the thing…”]

WM: she shoots -- she scores! [Which is totally not true, by the way. But at least I was persistent in my claim. The more someone tries to tell me what I’ve said, the more I’m inclined to argue the point. I have no idea where I get that from.]

[There is a glancing mention of the perennial hard science truth vs. social science truth false dichotomy. Also, some talk of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

WM and FTMD begin to argue intensely. Again. Everyone else looks on. I stifle the urge to ask them not to fight in front of the children, because it makes us nervous. What’ll we do if they break up? We’ll have to go become statisticians.]

E: sts studies might be helpful, actually

[The Author states that he might need to add some case study “fluffiness” to the theoretical discussion. Cue eyebrow lift, skeptical squint, and rapid typing.]

E: yeah, no normative claim in the term fluffiness

WM: and no gendering there either

E: this is clearly my fault for wearing pink

WM: oh, obviously

E: I've gendered the discussion with my girliness

WM: well, look around -- it has to be your fault

E: my very identity is queering the manliness of this chapter

[This may be the point where the subtextual discussion began to intrude on the text of the conversation. Snickering while typing furiously does tend to do that.]

WM: that kind of dispensing that isn't, say, dispensing

[Reference is made to the fact that, as a grad student, there was more time and inclination to read long, complicated explications of theory without analytic grounding. Or something—to be honest, my eyes were starting to cross by this point.]

E: so now we've got gender and academic position. Nice hierarchy we've got going on.

WM: don't we always?

*end transcript*


At 11/17/2006 11:35 AM, Blogger Genealogy Spice said...

Aaah The Hierarchy again! My favorite line: "not temporal stages in a teleological sense" but it's interesting to note when it's used that way in the empirical (or "tangential) stuff we try to make sense of aka The Puzzle(s).

At 11/21/2006 12:28 PM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

Seriously, I was feeling really outnumbered in there. I hate being the representative girl, because I'm really bad at it.

Although the moment when WM made the same point I had stated two minutes earlier, and one of the other students rolled his eyes in sympathy with my plight (being ignored even though I was *trying* to participate) was amusing. As was being called on to talk, because only FTMD and WM were participating, when I was the only other person who had made any attempt to join in. And had just finished talking, actually.


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