Download Knowledge goes pop: from conspiracy theory to gossip by Clare Birchall PDF

By Clare Birchall

A voice on overdue evening radio tells you quickly meals eating place injects its meals with medicines that make males impotent. A colleague asks when you imagine the FBI used to be in on 11th of September. An alien abductee on the web claims extra-terrestrials have planted a microchip in her physique. "Julia Roberts in Porn Scandal" shouts front web page of a gossip magazine. a religious healer claims he can treatment continual fatigue syndrome with the energizing energy of crystals . . . What do you think? wisdom is going Pop examines the preferred knowledges that saturate our daily adventure. We make this data after which it shapes the best way we see the area. How legitimate is it in comparison to professional wisdom and why does such (mis)information reason lots institutional nervousness? This booklet examines the diversity of information, from conspiracy thought to straightforward gossip, and its function and influence in our tradition.

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Equally, however, the commodification of popular knowledge and the effect of exporting it to new contexts should not be considered as a simple act of cultural imperialism or appropriation, but as a process of proliferation often secured by the self-replicating structure of popular knowledge itself. Gossips, for example, are never sated. The revelation of secrets (true or untrue) does not satisfy – the desire to reveal or receive simply gets deferred elsewhere, searching for new material in an endless exchange of signifiers parading as signifieds.

If I ignore the relationship between my own knowledge and the ones I am looking at here, I will not have understood either fully. There is no contradiction here. 10 Besides, the criteria by which academic projects are deemed ‘legitimate’ or not are far from stable. Enough expressions of frustration with theoretical ‘navel gazing’ instead of ‘real’ political action have been aired for me to believe that selfreflexivity could also be the opposite of a legitimating strategy for many within cultural studies and other disciplines.

And while in terms of content, popular knowledges can be moralism par excellence – gossip and conspiracy theory, after all, often contain expressions of moral outrage – in terms of form, as will become clear throughout this book, it disrupts the kind of political moralism Brown has described through an inherent undecidability. It is with similar concerns to my own that Gary Hall writes: It is noticeable that whereas so-called ‘legitimate’ discourses and forms of knowledge, those that either fall within or can at least be ascribed to recognized disciplines – literary studies, sociology, social policy, politics, economics, philosophy, history, communication and media studies, etc.

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