95 Theses on Politics, Culture, and Method / Edition 1

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When Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the church door at Wittenberg, he offered a challenge to the dominant establishment of which he was a member. In this provocative book, political scientist Anne Norton proposes 95 theses that launch a brilliant, witty polemic against the reigning orthodoxies in her own field. Rejecting the antiquated and stultifying models encountered in textbooks and in courses on methodology and championed by the self-appointed gatekeepers of a narrow and parochial political science, Norton opens the gates to new practices, new principles, new questions, more methods, and more demanding ethical and scientific criteria. Practice, she argues, has outstripped old models and conventional standards. Drawing on the most daring and rigorous work in structuralism, poststructuralism, postcolonialism, cultural studies, literary theory, institutional analysis, and the philosophy of science, she offers practical advice for students of politics, culture, and method."A wise, tough, savvy, iconoclastic attack on the social science establishment. 95 Theses is a strong, daring, and important book. Everyone in the social sciences ought to read it."-James Morone, author of Hellfire Nation: The Politics of Sin in American History

Author Biography: Anne Norton is Alfred Cass term professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania. Her books include Blood Rites of the Poststructuralists: Word, Flesh, and Revolution and Republic of Signs: Liberal Theory and American Popular Culture.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300100112
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 8.32 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Culture is a matrix 1
2 Culture is not a variable 2
3 Politics is in culture 7
4 Culture is political 9
5 Culture is in language 12
6 Language is political 13
7 There is no neutral language 15
8 We are in language 16
9 Authority is political and literary 17
10 Culture can be considered as a text 22
11 Literary devices have direct counterparts in political strategies 23
12 Culture constitutes the body and makes it readable 26
13 Gender, race, and sexuality are cultural constructs 27
14 Commodities serve as semiotic lexicons 31
15 The natural is a cultural category 33
16 Culture is an observable concept 34
17 Culture is made in practice 36
18 Culture, as practice, is continually changing 37
19 The formal is always accompanied by an informal counterpart, the structural by the antistructural and the unstructured 39
20 Change comes from the liminal 41
21 All cultures are syncretic 42
22 All cultures are exceptional. No culture is exceptional 44
23 Culture is wild and various 45
24 Subjects have multiple identities 47
25 Identities are performed 49
26 Identities have multiple expressions 51
27 Every identity is in reference to a collective 52
28 Identity and community are coeval 54
29 Identity and alienation are coeval 55
30 Every political institution calls for identities 55
31 Identities make interests. Interests make identities 57
32 There are no "interests." There are "interests of" and "interests as." 58
33 Every identity is partial 59
34 Community entails alienation 60
35 Belonging may be expressed as affirmation or rebellion 61
36 Each institution calls for its own resistance 62
37 There is no culture without resistance 63
38 There is no culture without internal critique 65
39 Meaning is made out of difference 65
40 Power is productive 67
41 Opposition is productive 68
42 Lack impels. Lack is productive 69
43 Power comes from the absence of power 70
44 The most effective domination is internal 71
45 The most effective rule is invisible and appears as inevitable 73
46 Domination is through and of the senses 74
47 Prohibitions produce institutions and resistances. Prohibitions interpellate identities 76
48 Ruling structures constrain the rulers as well as the ruled, the advantaged as well as the disadvantaged 77
49 That which is overcome, remains 78
50 Nothing runs ahead of its time. Many things run ahead of their time 79
51 Facts do not speak for themselves 80
52 Facts are made 80
53 Facts are artifacts of the methods that produce them 81
54 There are no neutral methods 82
55 There are no neutral scientists 83
56 Work speaks simultaneously of its ostensible object and of its author and context 84
57 There are no general laws 86
58 There is no evidence. Evidence is always of and for something 87
59 Nothing is noncontributory 88
60 That which is omitted, absent, and silent is as important as that which is committed, present, and conspicuous 89
61 Description entails analysis 90
62 No account can be comprehensive 91
63 Representation alters the represented 93
64 Quantification is distortion 95
65 Formality obscures more than it clarifies 98
66 Every method has an evaluative hierarchy 98
67 Every method has an aesthetic 99
68 Parsimony is an aesthetic criterion 101
69 The form in which something is expressed determines its meaning. The signifier constitutes the meaning of the sign 102
70 Surfaces are as meaningful as that which lies beneath them 103
71 Name constitute. Categories constitute 104
72 All categories are subject to an interior articulation and to an articulation of their relations with others. No category is internally homogenous, or independent 106
73 Correlation does not establish causality 107
74 Accurate prediction is not proof of correct reasoning 107
75 Replication is not proof 108
76 Repetitions alter what they repeat 109
77 Falsifiability does not establish validity. Falsifiability is not a necessary attribute of a theory, nor an index of superiority 110
78 Subjective satisfaction is not an index of the truth or the merit of a theory 111
79 Systems of knowledge are systems of power 113
80 Truth is a cultural category. Truth is in culture 115
81 Experience confers only a limited understanding 116
82 Lies and errors are meaningful 117
83 Time is an attribute of the observer, not of the observed 119
84 A statement of a causal relation is not a theory. Theory does not require causality 122
85 Schemes of causality are narrative fictions driven by illusory personifications 123
86 Culture has dimensions in time and space 126
87 Cultures have tempi 127
88 If one can ask where, then one can also ask when. If one can ask when, one can ask where 129
89 What comes before may have come after 129
90 The past is accessible only in and as the present 131
91 The designation of origins is a political act 133
92 There is no incorruptible discourse. There is no perfect method 134
93 The ideal appears in the material 135
94 The abstract appears in the particular 136
95 Theory cannot exhaust the particular 137
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