ERIC Number: ED337768
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Reconsidering the Conference Ethos, or the "Hey, You There," of Subjectivity.
Wolff, Janice M.
In his novel "Small World," David Lodge lampoons the professional conference experience and satirizes the academic participants. One real-life conference-goer identifies herself with one of the main characters of the novel: she is a conference and professorial novitiate but a quick study. After attending a few conferences, she found herself flipping through the index to conference programs to choose who, instead of what, to listen to. To answer nagging questions about her own conference experience, she constructed fictional conversations between and among other conference participants from notes taken at the time. A part of the mystical, magical conference ethos (why a particular speaker's presence influences auditors) is unraveled by Louis Althusser's discussion of the dialectical interplay of subject and object and Ideological State Apparatuses. What conference-goers do, who they listen to, and who they read later have to do with the fact that they are always already subjects, and as such constantly practice the rituals of ideological recognition. But to suggest that the academic conference functions as an Ideological State Apparatus, when many consider conferences as an honest and enriching part of their professional lives, is to make the ritual problematic. To see the conference as the site of ideology is to keep the institution in question, to hold it up to scrutiny. (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Academic Community; Subjectivity
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (42nd, Boston, MA, March 21-23, 1991). Best available copy.