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Monday, September 07, 2009

Not a Conspiracy Theory

As everyone no doubt now knows the old debate on gender and blogging has re-emerged with many, perhaps most, claiming their liberal credentials. Just one point general point: the idea of conspiracy theory (see e.g. Mike Bird's blog but the following criticisms certainly apply to many). Now, several posts have openly talked about broader institutional problems in higher education or organised religion (lack of women represented in higher education etc) and that seems dead right and that is typically how ideological analyses of higher education and intellectual culture work (from gender to a variety of other issues relating to power - class, race and so on). Of course, there will always be the odd crazy (or possibly even decent) individual who'll have an influence on things but do people really need to be defending themselves against charges of being personally misongynist and so on? Instead, if people want to continue this debate, perhaps the following could be a guide: a) avoid the defence of how the given blogger is indiviudally not sexist; b) avoid the mildly angst-ridden liberal rhetoric; c) keep critiquing cultural and social trends which maintain gender roles and power structures and so on and so on and so on; d) look at how dominant power roles in groups influence general outputs, irrespective of how wonderfully liberal given person is, and, for the love of all things holy, e) avoid the impression that listing favourite women might just be little more than tokenism (Jim West was right to critique this sort of thing).

12 Comments:

Blogger Jim said...

yup

September 08, 2009

 
Anonymous Pat McCullough said...

A definition of tokenism: "The policy of making only a perfunctory effort or symbolic gesture toward the accomplishment of a goal, such as racial integration."

Perhaps some might use Mike's meme as a symbolic gesture, a minimal token tossed to the "lowly females" on the margins. That is not the sense, however, I get from most of the people who have participated in the meme, particularly the women.

I see no problem with recognizing women who are doing good things, particularly if you are also willing to discuss structural issues, etc.

I think we'll get further in our discussion if people stop hurling accusations around. Mike Kok was just trying to do something positive while so many people were busy yelling at one another.

September 08, 2009

 
Anonymous Mike Koke said...

Hey James, you make some good points. About e), I didn't mean for the meme to be taken as a mere token gesture. I honestly thought that, instead of just dismissing the problem or fighting with other bloggers or giving yet another analysis of the underlying issues, this was a way we could move forward and be more conscious about giving equal representation to both men and women scholars. So those were my intentions and it is my fault if I failed to communicate them clearly.

September 08, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat: indeed we might get further in our discussion if people stop hurling accusations around and so I'd add that I wasn't actually referring directly to Mike K's intention or anything like that (though certainly a fun dig at Mike Bird). I was - with tongue slightly in cheek - saying that listing favourite women could lead to tokenism (which it has) not that everyone or the intention was necessarily misguided. I'm more than happy to discuss perspective and individuals but just not in a tokenistic way. So is there any real disagreement here?

Mike K: just to re-stress, I wasn't firing at you and actually didn't have you in mind (just the resulting discussion). I couldn't resist, as I said, a dig at Bird but he's used to that by now. That's probably my fault for not being clearer.

Still, I like the idea I've offended a meme. I may not (yet) be able to offend on the grand scale of Jim West but it's a start.

James

September 08, 2009

 
Anonymous steph said...

Oh dear James - and we were enjoying that so much but you went and spoilt it!! I'll have to give you lessons on how to be really really nasty. ;-)

September 08, 2009

 
Anonymous Mike Koke said...

Thanks James for clearing that up. I agree with everything you write here about deconstructing the wider cultural and social trends that maintain gender roles and hierarchies. And I was probably too paranoid in assuming it was referring to me :)

September 08, 2009

 
Anonymous steph said...

It’s a very silly topic in my opinion. Bibliobloggers waste far too much time obsessing about themselves and their fame, far too much time on silly self indulgent memes, far too much time blithering on about the ‘ethics’ of blogging – who should blog, how they should blog, why they should blog and how everyone else perceives them and how everyone else should behave, and bitching about each other. Some spend far too much time self promoting, speaking of selves in third person and ranting on about what they had for breakfast and how many times they pray and read theology in the bath, far too much time posting videos of themselves, far too much time worrying about fitting in to the ‘in group’ and the feminist uproar is really quite pathetic. If it extended to the repression of women by publishers, rejection of academic postings on criteria of gender, that’s different, but I’ve yet to see evidence of that in this day and age. I am not a feminist – I am an independent and critical scholar I hope.

ha - my word verification is 'unded'. Pretty appropriate in this cyber world of zombies.

September 09, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

"I am an independent and critical scholar"

What is an independent scholar? Is Jim West one? Is Mark Goodacre one? Is James Crossley one? Is Steph Fisher one? How dependent on previous writers are all you folk? Whatever you have built, have you built a pack of cards? As a reader, looking at James' Why Christianity Happened, I would say he has. If you want to be truly independent in the field of biblical studies, then you have to start with no preconceptions. And be prepared to change your view along the way.

September 09, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If anything else, Geoff, your views on Christian origins and Jeffrey Gibson can certainly be called 'independent' and your mind is empty of preconceptions. And conceptions.

Geoff, have you ever changed your mind on whether Jeffrey Gibson is John the Baptist?

September 09, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

To take the tone lower, I have not changed my mind about Jeffrey Gibson (N T Wrong, the Bibliog Top 50, etc, etc, etc). Mark Goodacre seems to think we are lucky to have him. Creep! And I notice that Jim West isn't so ready to get into bed with him. Have you seen Gibson's new image?

September 09, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

Incidentally, Jeffrey Gibson can't be John the Baptist, because the latter never existed.

September 09, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeffrey-B-Gibson/640535669?_fb_noscript=1

September 09, 2009

 

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