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Offering Theory

Reading in Sociography

John Mowitt

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Geisteswissenschaften, Kunst, Musik / 20. und 21. Jahrhundert

Beschreibung

A reading of Theory that in tracing when and where Theory arises in the event of reading proposes how Theory might best be handled in the context of higher education today. Arguing against those who propose to avoid Theory in the name of its putative obsolescence, this text sets out to challenge two aspects of this avoidance. On the one hand, Theory has been set aside in the name of identity politics, that is, the proposition that its intellectual pertinence has been overshadowed by a sense of political urgency construed as at odds with Theory. Theory itself has assumed an identity, a profile. On the other hand, implicit within the avoidance of Theory is a concept of “context” that calls for reflection. Resisting the tendency to treat context as either negligible or obvious, this text sets out to trace, in the when and where of Theory, the rudiments of a “sociographic” (think “historiographic”) account of context. In relation to it, the reading that is Theory can be usefully situated as part of a politics of higher education in the era of the global crisis of the university.

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