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ERIC Number: ED461099
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1995-Mar
Pages: 8
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Discourse at the Boundaries of Community.
Clark, Gregory
James Davison Hunter's solution to the dialectical impass of the culture wars is disappointing. He proposes that participants in the discourse grant openly both the "sacredness" of the positions held by the opposing others and the fallibility of their own: that they ground their interaction on a prior consent to compromise. That solution is unsatisfactory because it circumscribes discourse within boundaries that exclude participants who do not grant the consent required. A good way to reconceptualize collectivity and the relational project of discursive exchange that it maintains is to shift the metaphor used to locate it and ourselves within it. What if the discursive project of rhetorical exchange were seen as an enactment of a journey rather than a community, as a transitory and somewhat disorienting trip across space? Mary Louise Pratt, who has experimented with the conceptual possibilities of the traveler, has come up with concept of the contact zone, which she first articulated in contrast to the "safe house." By traditional definition, dialectic is the discourse of safe houses that have been called communities--homogeneous, sovereign units. People may need those communities, but they also need an alternative dialectic to be used to constitute an alternative collectivity in the shared spaces they increasingly must cross together, spaces that the boundaries of consensus and prior commitment to compromise do not and should not circumscribe. (Contains 12 references.) (TB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A