It’s the ‘…ologies’ wot dunnit

I’ve feel I’ve misused my time. It’s the ‘…ologies’ wot dunnit. I can’t find my epistemic position. I’ve gone round in circles – ending back where I began every time. I can’t get started with my data collection because I can’t position myself. As soon as I look at positivist/interpretivist paradigms I glaze over. Whichever approach I adopt there’ll be someone, somewhere telling me it’s wrong. I don’t have a problem with theoretically underpinning my research topic; it’s what lies underneath is missing. The broader definitions of social reality are getting me down.

I’m investigating the social relations between staff and technologies for teaching and learning. My rationale derives from theories supporting the social construction of technology and the potential for resistance against dominant ideologies which create inequality – in this case digital exclusion. Rather than dismiss the technology of the digital diploma mills, lets explore how usage can be more socially responsible and appropriate for an equitable higher education. I want to get critical but I’m not sure how to adopt critical theory without being Marxist and I can’t find a non-Marxist space which fits. As soon as I look at the Frankfurt School; Adorno, Horkheimer, Marcuse, Benjamin etc I don’t know where to begin. The literature is full of reinterpretations of their work. The School was predominantly white, western and male, located within a specific culture which has since moved on. They were products of their time. Like Freud.

Reading One Dimensional Man (Marcuse, 1964) Amusing Ourselves to Death (Postman, 1985) and the Culture of Narcissism (Lasch, 1969) I can see persuasive political, cultural and psychoanalytic theories – each manifest in the internet which postdates them – but still I can’t pin myself down. I like Butler, Foucault and Baudrillard too. As a writer, the calls for an alternative feminist language from Irigaray and Kristeva influenced me in the 1990’s as did discourse analysis. I’m critical of the social construction of inequality, be it through gender, race, disability, age, religion, but nothing exists in isolation does it? Everything connects as the postmodernists claimed it did. In a fragmented, bricolage sort of way. Where are the socially responsible alternatives to Marxism? Does every critique have its roots in  Highgate cemetery?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *