“This project [Mandy’s] represents a first-person inquiry into voice, power and gender. It is an exploration of how gender socialisation and conditioning, often unconsciously internalised, can weave powerful connections between our constructs of voice, power, gender and identity. This can have profound implications for how we behave within social systems, and how we knowingly and unknowingly perpetuate and sustain inequality within these systems. My intention is to illustrate how a first-person inquiry methodology can inform a deeper understanding of this interconnection between voice, power and gender, and how these constructs come to be sustained and reinforced within systems.”
“As my project will illustrate, using a variety of first-person action research methods has enabled me to “sense” into and question what I perceive to be a gendered experience of feeling voiceless. Rather than dismissing these sensations purely as personal quirks or character flaws, I have used this “starting point” experiential data to shed light on the connection between my subjective gendered experience as a woman, and the power structures inherent in the patriarchal systems I have participated in most of my life.” (Thatcher, 2016)
Language is the means whereby all the non-author gods in the world, who ever they may be and have been, are prevented from maintaining their own narratives and as such separated forever from any sense of internal power; it is the means by which the author-gods manage to convince all these others to unwittingly collude as we/they “perpetuate and sustain inequality within these systems”. (Thatcher, 2016)
MB sent me an excellent email to follow my response to his feedback for A5. In it he says, “Basically, the major dividing line around which the controversies and disputes of this subject area [polemical writing in this instance but regarding the way to approach analytical writing in general, I would suggest] are fought, continues to be the social (ethical, political) and aesthetic (creative, formal). Ethical implies a commitment to various causes and hence outcomes, where aesthetic implies commitment – or surrender – to an unknown. Ethical commitment has frequently to assess itself to ensure the outcome is the correct one – process that amounts to second-guessing the reader/spectator. The aesthetic just goes where it goes. So an ethical reading of an aesthetic object (or object presented aesthetically) will be a bumpy ride. It seems to me that the ethical approach avoids the bumps and potholes by pressing clusters of arguments into service to get where it wants to go – an understandable tactic given that separate arguments pushed to the limit generally run into doubt. An aesthetic approach loves doubt, uncertainty and risk because it is not committed to an outcome. Potholes are interesting diversions. [I would certainly prefer to head down an aesthetic approach as described by MB here but how does that fit with my aims?]
It seemed to me you were taking the cluster approach – though not simply for social, egalitarian reasons – and that you recognized this was more ‘you’. I simply wanted to show that, further down the line, as it were, it would be vulnerable in the face of more robust – because more singular – arguments. So, what the aesthetic and doggedly pursued arguments have in common is risk.” And I would also certainly prefer to make robust singular arguments that dispensed with the need for ethical ‘niceties’ for want of a better word. In the end, perhaps dispensing with self in writing and writing for the subject rather than as an expression of ego is perhaps the thing to aim for. It is certainly deeply confusing and perhaps will continue to be so for the time being.
There is much to think about going forward, about how I tackle the writing, and how each decision I make (and possibly rescind afterwards) relating to the way in which I write academically is fraught with political and social implications. Perhaps that is why I am so unsure about what to change, if anything, in A5 for assessment.