Archive for place theory

Meander Here

Posted in tactics with tags , , , , , on June 28, 2010 by kevin kuswa

2010 Addendum.  Meander Here.

The potential for some good interlinear comments about debate is immense on the “Putting the Kritik in Debate” web site.  Big kudos to Odekirk for putting this together and posting a series of high quality debate videos.  His “Take Up..” plea should be taken up in earnest and on all levels.  Izak’s explanation of the kritik’s sporadic relationship to truth and its esotericism is also extremely insightful, especially when combined with Pointer’s pragmatism and sense of strategy.  Both of these scholars and their posts urge a greater attention to detail, a return to the lost art of debating the text, and deepening the conviction to work hard.  Care about debate if you debate.

So maybe thinking about debate as a four-part articulation of “machinic rhetoric” (coming out of an earlier Rhizomes article) is not as helpful as it seemed a few years ago.  The vocabulary still lends a hand to discussions about capitalism and our ethical stance to larger institutions, but it doesn’t provide a place to stand and occupy a position.

Debating is about arguing and advocating—competitive deliberation.  So even if the debate apparatus is machinic AND organic (which it tends to be), where do we stand and turn?  Standing on an organic machine or a machinic organism is not an image worth forcing.  We need a sense of place that is about the place itself, the “where.”  And, in debate, there is a second “where”—the place gestured to in the debate topic, sometimes explicitly as in this year’s high school topic.  What are these places mentioned in the topic?  Where are they?  Is it a form of policing these places to describe their stability and contribution to a “scenario” without offering something about the history, the people, the geography, the culture, the aspirations, and the contradictions there?  Can we educate ourselves about these places in some different ways?

If “place” is a crucial concept—a key trope for debate—and we are talking about the place of debate, the place of the debate, and the places being debated about, then what’s next?  How do we talk about “place” and debate about other “places” in specific ways?  Is speaking for others akin to describing certain places in certain ways?

Debate needs oil to keep the machine going but debate can expose fissures in the fossil fuel economy to help lead the way to viable transitions.  The balance of all of this matters to the places we inhabit.  This place will see more on place soon.