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Bowman, Paul 2008. Alterdisciplinarity. Culture, Theory and Critique 49 (1) , pp. 93-110. 10.1080/14735780802024281

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This paper argues that central to the formation and orientation of politicised academic subjects is the notion of intervention. It examines the prevailing conceptions of intervention in the case of cultural studies, and argues that these prevailing notions of how academics and intellectuals can intervene politically rely on broadly Gramscian and post‐Marxist theories. However, it argues that the way these theories have been assumed has led to a rather under‐theorised faith in the political value of ‘critique’. It proposes that this under‐examined faith in the political power of critique is under‐theoretical, broadly metaphysical, subject‐centred and a regression from poststructuralist‐informed theories of the political. By revisiting the implications of post‐structuralist theories for academic work vis‐à‐vis intervention, the paper proposes that what is required is more thoroughgoing attention to the place and character of disciplinarity in the pragmatic mechanics of culture and society’s discourses and hegemonies. It argues that the conditions of possibility for intervention are indissociable from the institutional and disciplinary character of (post)modernity. In other words, it argues, the academic ‘condition’ is one of unavoidably heterogeneous language games in a web of disciplinary differences, and in the face of (the constitutive character of) disciplinarity and disciplinary difference, what has arisen is disciplinary enclaving, mutual unintelligibility and disarticulation. In this situation, it often appears that the only possible form of ethical and political intervention is ‘critique’ – either within one’s own discipline or ‘publicly’, journalistically. However, this paper argues that the interventional effectivity of any ‘critique’ is dubious at best. Instead it proposes a theory and practice of ‘alterdisciplinarity’. Grounded in post‐structuralism and deconstructive discourse theory, alterdisciplinary practice is that which seeks to alter other disciplinary discourses and their productions (knowledges) not by critiquing them but by intervening into the disciplinary spaces of their production and legitimation.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1473-5784
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 01:54

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