more memories of panelling...

Yes, I'm going to milk BNC for all it's worth. Actually saves on having to think up stuff to write on.

So, the "Critical Scholarship" panel:

CoolSecurityGuy waves glasses around and is told off by a woman who is trying to read the speakers' lips. She also has a notetaker, who has set himself up right at the back of the room, thus being unable to hear most of what the panellists and the audience are saying. Since most of these critical scholars are all about space and division thereof, why didn't anyone think to move this kid up to the front before the session started? Sometimes, I wonder about academics and their instinct for practical things.

CoolSecurityGuy automatically becomes ISA 2007 Person of the Convention (for me, not for all of yous) when he quotes the same few lines that I included in my diss proposal. It's all about language and materiality and about not being able to separate out one from the other. I'm strongly tempted to stand up and cheer but restrain myself since a TUWSNBN professor is sitting next to me and it'd be unseemly.

ActivistScholar quotes Marx (eeek). Really. Then she says how all human actions occur with and through words. In true Leftist Academic fashion, we hear a lot about how much of the world's poverty is created by Americans. That may well be true but what has that go to do with critical scholarship? She calls for a "human ontology". But, doesn't "being human" mean different things, depending on where you are? Isn't that a useful process to research? As usual, I remain silent.

Not so a gentleman in the audience who comments that the failure of IR folks to prescribe policies is shocking to him. He goes on, at great length, about his own students who "can't read English" and berates the "critical scholarship panel" for not being responsible enough to provide guidance. Or some such. He also quotes Michael Jackson. People fidget as they are not quite sure how to respond.

But, before that, ActivistScholar says "I wanna change the world" and "practice discourse ethics". I'm really not sure what either of those two things are about. But, I'm habitually confused so that's nothing new.

Then, North&SouthScholar claims she is "totally intimidated" by technology and talks about "statecraft". For some reason, that sounds like spacecraft to me and I'm off in my own world, (re)imagining spacecrafts and alien landings. In the meantime, TUWSNBN Prof has detailed a list of security studies people for a "Cool-arsed security project" (or, CASP, for short). I rather like CASP. We're on the cusp of CASP?

By now, N&SScholar urges us not to be implicated in the project of statecraft. I realise, rather depressingly, that I am already implicated in it since I am doing state-making and terrorism. RandomBloke walks in, walks around to where the panellists are, looks bewildered and leaves. It breaks the flow of the intense self-reflection a bit and provides much needed space for thinking how this whole "don't be implicated in statecraft" business might be worked out when most of us are funded by (various) states. Hmm.

N&SScholar is now telling us to "write like poetry". If I wanted to write a poem about terrorism and death, I'd read others who have done it much better and leave it at that. But, then, that's me. Depressingly practical.

Somehow there is the sense that talk is priviledged and "being there" (in the physical sense) counts more than looking at text. This is also not good news for the Priya Dissertation Project, which looks at a lot of text (visual and written and suchlike but still...text. I'd, of course, argue the whole world is textual but apparently N&SScholar disagrees. This is too bad since N&SScholar is one of my favourite IR peeps).

But, she says, "Go there, hang out, get a feel for what's happening, suck it into your psyche". This is just so wrong. My psyche revolts or would if it knew what it was being told to do.

PostieSecurityScholar is on next. She calls for more emphasis on methodology and talks of what a methodology of reading and research design should look like. Shows off her own book, tells people where to get it and suchlike. Love this self-promotion. Maybe in a couple of years, I can do it too.

She stands up and waves her arms about a lot.

Says methodologies have theoretical implications. Well, of course they do.

Finally, it's BeardedStudentType turn to speak. He claims that PostieSecurityScholar's book is "an ideal gift for that special someone". Not many people laugh. I think it's pretty amusing, especially as humour is lacking in this panel so far.

Discourses of legitimation differ according to context.
Mixes up "axis of evil" with "coalition of the willing"--> Freudian slip?

Illuminiate conditions of dominance--marginalised voices (apparently) provide possibility of doing so. For "non repressive deliberation". No idea why this is any better from "repressive deliberation".

But, he doesn't talk for too long.


There's the one I previously mentioned--the RamblingCommenter. The one about "not doing theory" and having people who don't speak English. My students don't write English. What has that got to do with anything?

Someone says we should start with practice and "can't we bring methodology in afterwards?". I hear WeberMan going on the warpath somewhere and wonder this person is not automatically whisked off to some sort of Methodology Training Camp. She isn't though and goes on for a while while trying to make this point that practice should take precedence.

There's some talk of "policy relevance". Also mention of "I don't do empirical work, I do theory". Not quite sure how that applies. We then get to "Gender, sex and death in World Politics".

The "Masters' House" metaphor is dragged out again. It's then flogged a fair number of times. Where does this come from? Is the Masters' House similar to His Master's Voice? The one with the dog? We used to have loads of those records.

CoolSecurityGuy makes a joke. It's lost by the time the sound reaches where I am sitting (at the back, as always). He says the policy community is not much worried about methods and rigour. Can't talk about Foucault and Derrida to them--different audiences. (Why does such a simple thing not get said (and practiced) often enough?). CoolSecurityGuy is cool.

RamblingCommenter berates panellists as "IR elites". He says "you are the Masters". [Btw, yous did read that the Master will be back this season, right?]. Get image of that Master and miss part of his monologue. Something about "the masses are not here" and repetition of "you are the elite". He's obviously not been a poverty-striken postgraduate student in the Capital of the Free World. Or, even working in IR for too long if he thinks that lot are the elite.

Asks for an emancipatory spirit. I'm really not sure why this is a necessity. Who(m?) are we freeing? Do they want to be free? Do we care?

ActivistScholar identities with RamblingCommenter by saying they are both "activists" and that "we cry, we sing, we dance". I'm not sure what she's on about and reckon we've definitely been attending different BNC's. My BNC has a lot of formal modelling and conflict resolution--no crying or dancing, mate. I shall save yous from having to read about the panels I went to, especially those about the beauties of game theory, as one of the Terrorism folks called it.

There's more repetition of having to "go there" (where?) to get new perceptions. Yes, I'm well aware I'm screwed since I'm not really going anywhere.

Spivak is quoted. Someone makes the point that "we can't do everything. We are only human".

Only human. If yous made it this far, I should warn yous there's (okay, only one) more to come in the next post.


At 3/07/2007 9:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

seriously. and these are supposed to be "our people" who do security studies, and this panel was more insufferable than the regular "hard core" security panel that had the stark conclusion that politics matter in the offense-defense balance. oooooooh.

seriously. need some more cool-arsed security stuff.


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