Articles with tag: ambiguity

12/15/2021 _Perspective

(Re-)Negotiating Ambiguity’s (Added) Value(lessness)

1_Capacity and Openness are not the Same as Ambiguity. Refuse Ambiguity. [1]  (David J. Getsy) Abstract art is often considered ‘ambiguous’ due to its openness and capaciousness. Even though this sometimes sounds like a compliment, it is not. More often, it is used to avoid confronting the particularities and complexities proposed by an abstract form and others’ investments in it. The same intransigent form can and does mean differently for different viewers. To call this situation ‘ambiguous’ is to fall back into hopeless subjectivism and avoidance. Instead, let’s call this situation ‘competing’ to show how much it is in the viewer’s incomplete attempt to classify that differences emerge and that supposedly stable taxonomies unravel amidst contestations and divergences of reception. Nominations of ambiguity are nothing more than declarations of resignation. We call something ambiguous when we give up on it and when we avoid committing to learning about all that does not fit into our categories. Objects, people, texts, events, and acts are not themselves ambiguous. They are particular, inassimilable, unorthodox, unprecedented, or recalcitrant. To invoke ‘ambiguity’ is to flee from the confrontation with something that does not easily fall into one’s patterns of knowing. This act of exhausted reading disrespects the particularity of that which is before us and instead writes it off as being at fault — as being unknowable, indiscernible, and incompletely categorizable. ‘Ambiguity’ is safe to invoke, because it places blame for our own limitations elsewhere. It is a method of deflection and scapegoating. It enables us to throw up our hands and beat a hasty retreat from confronting how limited our categories and systems are. After all, what do we really mean when we say something or someone is ambiguous? We mean that we cannot read, cannot identify, and cannot classify. Instead, I want to uphold the particularity and inscrutability that the backhanded slur ‘ambiguous’ attempts to manage. I want to see that particularity as a challenge to systems of knowing. ‘Ambiguous’ as an invocation or description merely signals the limitations of the one who would deploy that term. This does not mean I want everything clear and in its place. Quite the opposite: I want to embrace the radical particularity that always exceeds and undermines taxonomies. This is a queer stance, for it denies the applicability or the neutrality of those taxonomies as adequate representations of the world’s complexity. Rather, they are artificial impositions…

How to Get Over “Ambiguity-Intolerant” Approaches to Social Theory?

A Feminist Critique of Adorno’s Theory of Knowledge as Social Theory

eginning from Adorno’s empirical research published as The Authoritarian Personality, I have tried to relate actual empirical studies with the concept of “ambiguity intolerance” viewed as fundamental for a certain kind of knowledge. I have shown how Adorno attempts to escape, on a methodological as well as on a theoretical level, different modes of the rigidity of thought. […]

(Repatriat)Able Bones

Tales of Ambiguity in the Repatriation Nexus

In the contemporary global context in which the effects of racism continue to ignite vigorous debates and social conflicts, any attempt to deal with issues that stretch back to racism’s historical roots acquires a heightened urgency and relevance.[1] Throughout the last few months, the Black Lives Matter movement that followed the death of George Floyd, brought to the fore debates on the colonial memorials in the cities of the Global North in a way perhaps more tensely laden than even before in the last few years.

A_Sociality as a Model Figure of Ambiguity

Being queerly social and cared for holds a promise of belonging. Belonging beyond heteronormativity and coercive normalcy. [1] Yet social relations, no matter how queer they are, are never devoid of indifference, unpredictability, aggression, conflict, or the risk and reality of violence. [2] It is illusory to hope for safe spaces, pure peacefulness or pleasure in bonding and care without aggression or messiness. [3] Therefore, I present queerness as lived ambiguity and […]