Wednesday, July 30, 2008

When Literary "Theory" is Used for Science

Sovereignty and the UFO

Alexander Wendt & Raymond Duvall
Political Theory, August 2008, Pages 607-633

Modern sovereignty is anthropocentric, constituted and organized by reference to human beings alone. Although a metaphysical assumption, anthropocentrism is of immense practical import, enabling modern states to command loyalty and resources from their subjects in pursuit of political projects. It has limits, however, which are brought clearly into view by the authoritative taboo on taking UFOs seriously. UFOs have never been systematically investigated by science or the state, because it is assumed to be known that none are extraterrestrial. Yet in fact this is not known, which makes the UFO taboo puzzling given the ET possibility. Drawing on the work of Giorgio Agamben, Michel Foucault, and Jacques Derrida, the puzzle is explained by the functional imperatives of anthropocentric sovereignty, which cannot decide a UFO exception to anthropocentrism while preserving the ability to make such a decision. The UFO can be "known" only by not asking what it is.

Yeah. And "tenure" in political science can only be obtained by not asking anything about the actual world. "Drawing on the work..." of three literary theorists who think that the idea of planes flying is socially constructed? And this is supposed to tell us something about science.

Jesus on a stick. Gimme a break.

(nod to KL)

(UPDATE: This was edited to remove a crude ad hominem. I earlier said that Agamben, Foucault, and Derrida were "human dildoes." But, in fact, I only consider Derrida to be a human dildo. A vibrating one. I do apologize to the other two gentlemen, who were only muddled-headed, not full-fledged sex toys like Derrida.)


Anonymous said...

Mike -- this isn't very pluralistic of you. Don't you believe in methodological pluralism?

Anonymous said...

I wonder what Mike Gillespie would say if he saw your post. I doubt he would consider Foucault a "human dildo."

Mungowitz said...

I went and asked him.

He laughed.

If you want to know anything else there, Anon, just ask.

(It's....a.....BLOG. It doesn't take itself as seriously as you appear to take YOUR self, pumpkin)

Anonymous said...

Henry Farrell over at the Monkey Cage seems to think quite a bit more of the UFO piece than you do. Here's the link:

Anonymous said...

I disagree with your characterization. Human dildo could in fact be a compliment.

JorgXMcKie said...

Do any of this type of scholar ever publish work that suggests that the works of Derrida, Foucault, et al be subjected to rigorous scientific analysis? And if not, what is the reason?

Anonymous said...

I'm a human dildo. Hard, good looking, sexually satisfying, plastic, long hard and thick. And ladies, when you're done with me, just wash me up and put me away.

Ladies? Ladies? Ooh, uh, not you Ms. Winehouse.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mike --

How about putting up some paper/article abstracts by reseachers that you LIKE? Who is doing especially good work out there?

Anonymous said...

Anon, how about this one from 3 days ago? Friendship and Complex Interdependencies in Markets. I'm pretty sure Mike likes that one.

pdroach said...

Holy buckets---what kind of sh*! journal still publishes this kind of garbage? It's sooo 1985. And it was inane crap then, as everyone but the few hundred Branch Derridians could plainly see.

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