emotional investments


What are the emotional (and other) investments (Boler, 1999) in maintaining humans as the unmarked norm (Kirby, 1994)? In maintaining a socially constructed mind/body, human/nature split? In claiming essentialism when encountering ontological difference?


Alison Jones (2008) takes up this last dilemma in her response to Lather's (2008) new book, Getting Lost. Jones states:

"Patti Lather (p. 9) is suspicious of what she calls the "mastery project" – but what if that project is taken up by the Others who have not yet had their own mastery project to be suspicious of?" (p. 10)

Speaking from her position as a white woman working with Maori in New Zealand, Jones expands:

I continue to be in love with uncertainty and complexity; but in my own work these days I cannot give that love free rein. I am excruciatingly conscious that epistemological and methodological calls to uncertainty assume a politics of  knowledge, or a politics of uncertainty, such that the privileged can afford to play with wonder and revel in getting lost, because nothing is seriously at stake for us (p. 11)....The middle classes, perhaps, can tolerate and even celebrate a "less comfortable social science" (p. 4). Many indigenous scholars who never did feel that comfort, desire a "more comfortable social science." (p. 10)

Perhaps for some that "more comfortable social science" is one where insights gained from trees, rocks, animals and other non-human persons can be acknowledged alongside human words in academic texts. Will it someday be possible to publish an article including references such as (Spruce Tree, personal communication, June, 2008) rather than simply writing (as is often done in anthropological accounts) about Others who acquire insights from intimate communication with (spirits of) plants? (for a few exceptions, see Buhner, 2004; Harpignies, 2007; Young & Goulet, 1994; see also, Barbara McClintock's biographies for intimations that she may have received insights directly from plants).