Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Starting out

So i'm starting a blog today.

my partner, jan, suggested it because i've just started a phd and i'm bursting with ideas and fragments of ideas and ... well ... jan's *not* doing my phd and i think i'll drive her nuts if i keep updating her with all my latest "very exciting, must tell someone right away" ideas.

not that being nuts is all that bad ... ok so it's not the greatest, but it gives me a perspective on life that i value. more about that later, no doubt.

So, I feel like i'm procrastinating way more than actually studying. i think it's ok. the problem is that i love gardening, and i run a small business, and i love listening to the radio (ABC listener, I am), and i have a dog and two chooks to play with, and today i found an injured rainbow lorikeet in my backyard and of course i had to take her to the vet (and play with her on the way, she was SO gorgeous).

But maybe i have nothing to worry about, cos i really am getting a lot of study done. Recently I've been reading about the Lebanese in Australia, multiculturalism, race and whiteness. So, what's my thesis about? (i don't hear anyone ask). OK, so I *think* it's about "defending the stigmatised: discoursive defenses of arab/muslims, queers and nutcases." I'm looking at the ways in which progressives talk about stigmatised difference. I use the term "progressives" very loosely because I'm looking at anyone who speaks in defence of stigmatised groups, including relatively conservative groups like "Beyond Blue." I believe that progressives are (ii) often actually constructing themselves, and (ii) misrepresenting the people they believe themselves to be defending, suppressing the diversity and radically differentness of these categories. One effect is the reaffirmation of normative pressures.

Um. Ok. So some concrete examples may make this all a bit clearer.
(i) within discussions around same-sex relationship recognition, i've heard so many queers refer to the idea that "we pay our taxes too" or "we're really very normal"
(ii) i've seen many statements by "muslim leaders" that affirm the commitment of muslim communities to "australian values" (whatever the hell they are)
(iii) discourses of rehabilitation, treatment, and even pathology of people with mental illnesses create an idea of some normality that we should all be aspiring to.

Um, anyway, i think that's enough for a first post. thanks for reading!

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