The I in I-Schools should stand for Ideology not Information

27 10 2011

Someday I would like to write about information management, according to western logic, and how it transforms bodies, subjectivities according to its structure. This has been written by Foucault and sociologists of knowledge, I think, to some degree. They look at specific things, and don’t want to generalize. But things like schools as practicing western information management practices to shape the body into western subjects. We look specifically at the technologies, but how about the culture and values that inform usages of these technologies? The suppression of knowledges seen not as valuable, indigenous knowledge, for example. Generations taught to suppress that knowledge. Generations were taught that western ideology was truth, it began to organize their lives around this culture. It becomes the hallmark of cultural memory, such as the church. It also becomes sites of resistance, where people make meaning within these systems, appropriating figures and symbols given by these institutions, in order to have some sense of faith in times of change. To put one’s energy to the changing order. To participate in it, even if it is unjust. The corralling of bodies. Even native authority says it so. The complexity of this all. Resistance and complicity.

I feel like my mind is being programmed to think so simplistically in these systems thinking. It does reduce things in order to fit according to the logic of the technological affordances that allows information to flow in this networked, systemic way. It is that technological logic that is simplistic, because it is a particular way of knowing and living that can understand and connect to its understanding of reality. Not all realities know this. Or even allowed to know it. There is still the need for a pool of un-knowers so they can be those who build these systems without thinking. The building occurs at different levels of production–the production of stratified classes, the elite classes who use systems to transfer their assets faster than legal and political regulation can capture them; middle class professionals to be technical, managerial class to ensure these systems exist, the working classes to make sure offices are clean and orderly, the impoverished classes who are needed to scare people into fearing there is no other reality than material reality lest one becomes homeless on the street.   All of that stuff left out, when we are thinking so simplistically. Thinking at the level of what we have now. These platforms. These systems. These libraries, these standards, these practices, these institutions, these archives, these softwares. Already, these have left out so much.

I can’t go back to my anthropological class. My information studies professors tend to have an open mind about it, but they don’t let me own it. They always lead me back to what a white, old anthropologist said. An anthropologist they feel comfortable with. Not a postcolonial anthropologist, who began to question their own discipline as it participated in the colonization of ancestries. The questions I ask about these systems are what interests me. But teachers like Ghaznavi, are only interested in me getting these systems. I know I should get them. But, I have questions about the ethics of these systems. The questions of ethics are so strong that they challenge my ability to cognitively absorb what she means; to think innovatively and interestingly in what she is offering for us to think hard about.   Is it possible for me to desensitize myself to learning things that I don’t think is meaningful to emancipation of people? To desensitize myself is to fall amongst the most complicitous masses—and we wonder why the world doesn’t change. That pool of complicitous keeps being produced. I’m sorry, but I am interested in intervention.

So, I hope to fail. My heart breaks because of the work I think I contributed to this path. The dreams I built around it to become in the thread of D Turnbull, bringing in the traditions of A. Chatterji and R. Shapiro. But the two latter have been ousted from their positions, and I feel without a foundation in the academic realm. But it was a sign. They have trained me to not need foundations. But to have a sense of value within, because of history, because of memory, embedded within me, and triggered by everyday reality that does not hide the truth. The ideologies of professors and what they attempt to put in front of my face is just the realities they see, holding up systems they work for, preparing us to be able to meet those standards they are swimming up to their necks to survive in. To them, its make it or break it. That is not the reality I seek to live when the chance for survival means there is winning or losing. The ideology of capitalism creates a subconscious competitiveness, to be the best, even though the parameters of being so means trampling over others, becoming the crabs in the bucket, seeking a way out by grabbing down those numerical bodies. Such a poetic interpretation of metadata. They all want to climb of the buckets, the schools, to be out in the system of the state, working for these corporations and institutions that treat information people like shit. They don’t care about you until something goes wrong. What a dehumanized life. Dehumanized people teach dehumanized subjects.

I aim to fail from this, in order to find my heart in my life. To hold on to my heart when they say it isn’t good enough. Cast me away from your dungeon paradise.

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