380MC Methodology: The Lure of the Marginal

  • The three temptations on how we approach this international research project: The local, the marginal and the cosmopolitan.
  • Considering this will enable us to position our mind set in a specific way of thinking about the research we will be carrying out: what exactly will we focus upon and why? Will these interests determine what is priority?
  • Each temptation is problematic, it is only a mere thought process in order to begin an objective thought process but not to be given into.
  • The Local:
  • What is the reason why we are studying and researching Serbia ?
  • What is at our disposal in Serbia such as museums but what can we uncover ourselves? Such as already we have been able to uncover not only a student who lives locally to Novistad but also an academic who has worked and research and lived in Belgrade : both will provide huge assets to our growing understanding of Belgrade and Yugoslavia countries.
  • The local will remain to be “a subject of sympathy” as their voices are ultimately de valued or ignored/ subordinated under regimes of (often) political power. This is the centre has pushed the local voice into the margin, the question of the local cannot be separated from the question of cultural translation itself.
  • The best way of thinking of contextualising these issues is to turn to Fritz Fanon have pointed out to the psychic mutilations and self mutilations of the local voice. (post colonial identity). Giving space to the local voice, we are drawn to the voices that have suffered. Colonial past of oppression. The notion that this voice of the oppressed once liberated in a post colonial space is not a liberated voice; it is common for the discourse of the oppressed to still talk in the register of the oppressor and to consider themselves in that voice.
  • Fanon identifies going to a post colonial country that has been under post colonial force and then to discuss the local and discover the people after the oppressor has been forcibly removed.
  • Temptation of the Marginal:
  • Post modern condition, strategies for resisting the master discourses, scientific and legitimated. Lyotard has framed the research for post modern conditions. Central to his proposition here, drawing upon the proposition of the post colonial spaces as interesting spaces for identity, is this strategy: resisting the master discourses.
  • This proposition that there are legitimate truths that govern and competently dominate our way that we think about the world eg the way in which we are taught about Serbia (historically we are not educated formally about Yugoslavia and certainly not in depth) but what we know about Serbia has been told for a reason what has been left out (and un mediated) is for a more specific reason.
  • These master discourses for Lyotard are hugely problematic so the focus should be on the marginal. Not his ‘story’ but we should look into the marginal for local knowledge and narratives in order to form grounding. These certain discourses, acc to Lyotard are occupied by the privileged. Colonial past is absent in educational history. The frame work for Lyotard is what he is putting forward in a variety of research methodologies in a variety of disciplines: focusing on the margins, the purpose and position of the researcher.
  • The issue of who will (and has been) targeted to be interviewed –
  • Marginality is avant-garde romance of researchers. How is it defined who is marginalised? Thus hugely problematic.
  • Baudrillard (1982) suggests the Beauborg Effect: implosion and deterrence. 
  • By focusing on the margin the centre can acknowledge and thus diffuse the marginal, we as researchers run the risk of acknowledging the marginal as a mere token, by labelling it we are simply conforming to a social construction. The margin is in some way an oppositional voice to the centre which has been presumed that there will be something different – why wouldn’t it be the same? These presumptions have become culturally and socially constructed.
  • Baeauborg Effect : a form of deterrence that re confirms the centre as the centre, not a form of resistance or movement elsewhere – Baudrillard suggests that this movement is not progressing but is debilitating and that the marginal is stuck in stagnation, therefore the argument remains in stationary until progressive position. To stagnate the margin.
  • Temptation of Cosmopolitanism:
  • Drawing upon the work of Hannerz (1990) who distinguishes the cosmopolitan from the tourist – a state of mind, an interest and toleration for otherness.
  • An interest and toleration of the other, Hannerz suggests that we live within a age of “one world culture. The issue with this is that it is slightly ambiguous. Hannerz suggests this one world culture is marked within a cosmopolitan space.
  • For example a cosmopolitan space: New York. 
  • Universalism sees all culture in one in a utopian assertion of equality. World culture (globalism) is not the same as one culture. The cosmopolitan space is the most attractive. This proposition that it is the most tempting of all that we start form a space where we believe that we are in some way part of the local and part of the marginal because we have already previously encountered it. The cosmopolitan could typically be “bag packer”. Who becomes more than a tourist because they have engulfed their selves into the culture and welcomed it by adapting to it by remaining their own culture.
  • Gibbon – the decline and fall of the Roman Empire.
  • A critique on writing history. Gibbon identifies the a “falsifier”, the tourist and a nationalist, they focus upon the post colonial. Sometimes things that are at the centre can be very difficult for these (people) to identify and to see. These things are not always made the most of.
  • Additional: Gillette – 
  • The inventor and pioneer of the safety razor (America) ‘King Camp’
  • The Human Drift (1894) Gillette contrasted this in order to describe his position and world view
  • Utopian Socialism : term by Marx and Engles in “The Comunist Manifesto” (1848) Gillette has been pigeonholed as a utopian socialist. The Razor  Represents the ideology of Gillette – progress and making life better for the citizens and the people the drive, easier. Architecture and inter connected, contextualised by modernity of looking to the future – this is how the razor has been designed. Integrated for productivity and for speed.

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The Human Drift
The Human Drift
  • Futurism- 
  • Originally found in Italy at the turn of the 20th C. Which is completely connected to the work of Gillete – a social, political and artistic movement.
  • The cityscape replaces the landscape as a space for artistic movement, design and invention. Each subsequent generation is expected to build their own city rather than inheriting the architecture of the past. Futurism suggests machine culture and efficiency, that everything should be progressing and now stagnate. Rejected the romanticism of the past.
  • Future led directly to Fascism (Italy).
  • Russolo (1911) ‘The Revolt’ – Fascism is a mass movement of the bourgeoisie that serves the interests of imperialism and monopolies. Though in order to enlist the support of the masses it must disguise itself with radical and socialist demagogy.
  • The effects and influence becomes progressive in a style that becomes represented in art but can also be seen in an alternative way – workers become abstract. Faceless with no identity and no individualistic tendencies. The worker is glorified as an ideal machine. The worker itself becomes a machine. But can it really be viewed as that? Similar, in a way, to Hasinoff (2012) research suggesting sexting as a media production and how we become more dominate upon having a ‘faceless’ identity online. Projecting ourselves, perhaps, in a misunderstood way.
  • This proposition of futurism and utopian socialism linking into Fascism can be seen how it places through the space within a city – through architecture and the way in which individuals engage socially. Aesthetic within the future. As researchers we must approach what the ideology is behind this.
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380MC Methodology: The Lure of the Marginal

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