Characterizing heterogeneity

I am trying to improve chapter 6.

In the book I argue that there is a multicultural epistemological orientation and praxis that 1: provide a definition of moral/civic community that can include diverse newcomers and characterize new groups as worthy of inclusion 2: become reified in best practices, grammars and social locations taken as evidence of moral/civic correctness 3: continuously encounter “undisciplined” elements that must be erased or accounted for.

I spend the first 5 chapters laying out this system of multicultural recognition. In chapter 6 I give folks what anyone who has ever read my book has asked for, more information on the “undisciplined” voices – culturally problematic and surprising people, circumstances and perspectives. It’s a tough chapter to write, not because I don’t have lots of examples but because in my opinion these observations are completely heterogeneous and non-combinable, vectors of intent and experience coming from a million places and heading off in just as many directions. The only thing that they all share is the fact that they fall outside of and challenge multicultural epistemology and praxis and I don’t want my discussion of them taken as evidence of some larger regularities in the interests, motivations, and types of people challenging multicultural doctrine.

Therefore, in writing this chapter there is the pragmatic difficulty of writing in an organized fashion about an utterly disorganized mass of observations (although I’ve just at this moment realized that the structure of the account could mirror that of multicultural epistemology –  who says that blogging has no value). There is also the theoretical challenge of introducing so much messiness into what it already a pretty complicated argument. For example, of course class background influences the positioning and discourse folks use when it comes to talking about race and immigration but that does not mean I need to talk about multicultural hegemony. Of course folks know there is a “politically correct” way to manage diversity but that does not mean that attempts to be more effective managers of diversity are necessarily disingenuous or that, alternatively, subjectivity is irrelevant to my analysis. Of course some immigrant newcomers seek to be political actors outside of their immigrant group but that does not mean fostering the active political engagement of ethno-national groups is nothing more than “identity politics.” Arguments about class, agency, political mobilization… the text is agnostic on these things. This is not to say that I don’t think my book would be a good resource for people who want to think about how hegemony works (for example), just that I have absolutely no interest in getting roped into arguments about whether or not that is what is going on. If pressed on any of these subjects I would say that, of course they matter, but they are not the most original, interesting and informative perspectives to take on my project.

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