Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Filing This One Away For Later

FLG has so many problems with this post on non-masculinist military that he doesn't quite know where to begin and doesn't have time to sort it all out right now. But he really wants to address it later.

BTW, again Sjoberg writes gobbledygook:
I don't entirely (yet) know the answer to your question [What would a de-masculinized military look like?], except to start with that it is the wrong question. Critique/deconstruction/ rethinking/reconstruction can't start with a small portion of the war system, but the whole thing... it is not just militaries, but militarism (and by extension militaristic culture) that would need to radically change operations in order to see any real "change" in the gendering of strategic cultures....There is no simple answer.

This is why deconstruction drives FLG so fucking nuts. Somebody asks a simple question, and the response is always nebulous mumbo jumbo abstracted and zoomed to the 200,000 foot level that renders any subsequent analysis almost invariably inactionable. Ultimately, it is an intellectual circle jerk that only professors could love and ends in meaninglessness and nothingness.

How about a simple "I don't know" instead?

5 comments:

J. Otto Pohl said...

I think a lot of academics are uninterested in transferring knowledge to ordinary people. Instead they are interested in showing off to other people very much like themselves. Hence you get academic journal articles read by a total of ten people. I hope for the sake of her students that she more clearly explains her ideas in class.

The Ancient said...

A thought experiment for Laura Sjoberg:

You are lying on the ground, gravely wounded, on a dark, noisy battlefield. It doesn't matter where that battlefield is -- it could be anywhere. You're probably about to die, all alone, in great pain. In the past ninety minutes, you've seen several close friends die. Yet you are, somehow, a soldier in a military that has been de-masculinized.

Question: Does it feel any different? Has a de-masculinized military performed its job any better? And what about those other women you see off in the distance -- killing the wounded and stripping their bodies? Did they find a better answer to this difficult question than you did?

Take all the time you need. Use both sides of the paper, if need be. Just don't object that a de-masculinized military wouldn't fight wars. Politicians start wars. Dictators start wars. (Pretending otherwise is a violation of the honor code, and may result in the revocation of one or more of your degrees.)

David said...

"Think like a wise man, but communicate in the language of the people"

--Yeats

Jeff said...

One of the more telling phrases in the excerpt you cite is "strategic cultures." It's a term I'd never heard before, but now that I've Googled it, I see that it's an academic sub-field with its own body of literature. (Although how it's distinct from "the roots of foreign policy" eludes me.)

This reference to "strategic cultures" says two things to me: First, it's meant as a signal to in-the-know readers that yes, the person writing this stuff is aware that such a field exists. She's flashing her Marriott card to show she's properly credentialed to chow down on pigs-in-blankets in the concierge lounge. Second, it's meant to intimidate readers who don't know the term into thinking they can't have an opinion unless they've mastered, or pretended to master, the latest literature in an impossibly vast field.

Someone who churns out this stuff can't simply say "I don't know" and leave it at that, because doing so would cede power. This sort of writing isn't meant to illuminate or instruct; it's meant to control, even monopolize, the terms of a debate.

Anonymous said...

Pfui on political science! For enlightenment, let's go to zoology! The great paradox of zoology is: there are so many more horses' hindquarters than there are forequarters... dave.s.

 
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