Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Study as Complaining

The following quotation identifies what academics are doing when they engage in various disciplines that end in "studies." Note that the authors of this quotation are not the usual suspects. They come from the academy, not outside it.

These fields vary widely, though they have enough in common to be readily identifiable: they are usually entitled "critical X" or "X studies," where X is whatever they want to complain about, disrupt, and modify, in accordance with the postmodern knowledge and political principles. (Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay, Cynical Theories [Durham, North Carolina: Pitchstone Publishing, 2020], 180.)

This leads to an important observation that those involved in such "studies" fields are engaged in "an approach that otherwise very much resembles that of a support group that asserts itself as rigorous" (ibid., 179). I have sat through a number of those "support group" meetings. Fortunately, my current position allows me to avoid them.