"Speaking For, Speaking With, and Shutting up: Models of solidarity and the pragmatics of truth-telling"Mark Lance (Georgetown University)
1600 Campus Road
Los Angeles 90041
When we make a claim – any claim – we do many things. I identify a range of “pragmatic functions” that accompany any act of asserting and show that these pragmatic functions can have substantive epistemological and political implications. I outline three models of solidarity engagement – that is, research, activism, organizing, material support, or other social engagement that aims for solidarity with an oppressed group that one is not a part of. Each model has advantages and each can be the right way to engage in solidarity in a particular context, but the first two have negative pragmatic effects that must be taken into account in all situations. As a result, it is worth considering ways to employ the third model – “shutting up” - while maintaining some of the advantages of the first two. I conclude with a case-study of a five-year research/pedagogy/activism project – the Truth Telling Project - which grew out of organizing in response to the murder of Mike Brown Jr in Ferguson, MO.
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