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Nikki Slocum-Bradley Prepared for: Beyond Rationality Workshop Center for the Philosophy of Natural and Social Sciences LSE – 21 November 2009 United Nations.

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Presentation on theme: "Nikki Slocum-Bradley Prepared for: Beyond Rationality Workshop Center for the Philosophy of Natural and Social Sciences LSE – 21 November 2009 United Nations."— Presentation transcript:

1 Nikki Slocum-Bradley Prepared for: Beyond Rationality Workshop Center for the Philosophy of Natural and Social Sciences LSE – 21 November 2009 United Nations University - Comparative Regional Integration Studies UNU-CRIS Constructing (Ir-)Rationality: An Analytical Framework

2 Rationality & morality are closely linked. Both are inherent to meaning construction Examples from the Holocaust (Re-)Framing / defining / evoking a social paradigm How is meaning constructed? Are there universal features and/or components? Meaning Construction

3 Positioning Diamond: The building blocks of meaning Rights & Duties Social Forces Storylines Identities

4 Social Forces Social Forces of (discursive) acts: the significance of what an actor says or does. We use social forces to evoke the other elements of the Positioning Diamond.

5 Storylines Storylines are the narrative conventions that structure both how we give accounts of events as well as how we experience them (and not others) as adhering together in an episode. Entails what is going on (descriptive) and what is conceived as the goal of actions.

6 Identities Identities are meanings applied to persons or other narrated actors in specific contexts. They comprise 2 related aspects: A) the definition of the actor(s) B) the characteristics ascribed to the actor(s)

7 Rights & Duties Implicitly inherent to the evocation of specific identities, within the context of a given storyline, is the assignment of sets of rights and duties to the actors. These encompass formal rights and obligations and normative conventions.

8 Positioning Analysis: Holocaust Example I Storyline: ‘Dirty work’ I.D.s: Soldiers are fellow workers Rs&Ds: Workers have duty to do their fair share of the ‘dirty work’.  Killing Jews is helping with the dirty work, and thus fulfilling one’s duty.

9 Positioning Analysis: Holocaust Example II Storyline: Mercy killings I.D.s: Chilren are destitute, helpless. Soldiers are saviors. Rs&Ds: Soldiers’ duty to help children.  Killing children is putting them out of their misery, so the soldier fulfills his duty.

10 Criteria for a Rational Act For an action to be considered ‘rational’ it must be defined as an act that conforms with the evoked narrative conventions (coheres with SL), and conforms with the moral code evoked (consistent with the duties and rights assigned to the actor performing the act)

11 Repair Work She didn’t reply to your question because:

12 Repair Work She didn’t reply to your question because: …she didn’t hear you.

13 Repair Work She didn’t reply to your question because: …she didn’t hear you. …she doesn’t speak English.

14 Repair Work She didn’t reply to your question because: …she didn’t hear you. …she doesn’t speak English. …she didn’t want to admit that she doesn’t know the answer.

15 Repair Work She didn’t reply to your question because: …she didn’t hear you. …she doesn’t speak English. …she didn’t want to admit that she doesn’t know the answer. …she was late for another meeting.

16 Repair Work She didn’t reply to your question because: …she didn’t hear you. …she doesn’t speak English. …she didn’t want to admit that she doesn’t know the answer. …she was late for another meeting. …she is mean.

17 Repair Work She didn’t reply to your question because: …she didn’t hear you. …she doesn’t speak English. …she didn’t want to admit that she doesn’t know the answer. …she was late for another meeting. …she is mean. …she is crazy (irrational).

18 Levels of Discourse Level 1: Content – Who & what the narrator is talking about. (Can include Meadian ‘me’) Level 2: Narrator-Interlocutor – What the narrator & interlocutor are doing, their identities, rights & duties. (Meadian ‘I’) Level 3: Ideological – What are the relevant wider social issues & players?

19 Positioning Diamond Analytical Grid Positioning Diamond Elements Levels of Analysis Level 1 (Content) Level 2 (Narrator-Interlocutor) Level 3 (Ideological) Social Forces of Discursive Acts Storylines Identities Rights and Duties

20 Swiss Election Campaign Poster (SVP)

21 Positioning Analysis of SVP Campaign Poster Positioning Diamond Elements Levels of Analysis Level 1 (Content) Level 2 (Narrator-Interlocutor) Level 3 (Ideological) Social Forces of Discursive Acts Admonition & (R)ejection of foreigners Warning; Call to voteWarning; Call to action Storylines Swiss are ousting (criminal) foreigners SVP will secure Switzerland from foreign threats. Securing Switzerland (from foreigners) Identities Swiss: good Foreigners: bad, threats, criminals SVP: police, savior, cleaner Other political parties: lenient, permit insecurity Swiss: good Foreigners: bad, security threats Rights and Duties Swiss have R&D to remove foreigners from society. Swiss have duty to vote for SVP. Swiss have R & D to protect & secure Switzerland

22 Response to Election Campaign Poster (I)

23 Response to Election Campaign Poster (II)

24 Positioning Analysis of Reaction Posters Positioning Diamond Elements Levels of Analysis Level 1 (Content) Level 2 (Narrator-Interlocutor) Level 3 (Ideological) Social Forces of Discursive Acts Admonition & (r)ejection of SVP, racists Warning; Call to vote; Admonition of SVP Warning; Call to action Storylines Swiss are ousting racists, such as SVP Swiss people will secure Switzerland from racists & hate-mongering politicians. Securing Switwerlqnd (from racism & xenophobia) Identities Swiss: diverse, tolerant SVP, racists: bad, threat, nazis, hate- mongers Swiss: intolerant of racists & hate-mongerers SVP: nazis, hate-mongers Tolerant people; Racists, xenophobes Rights and Duties Swiss have R&D to remove racists from society. Swiss have duty to NOT vote for SVP. Swiss have R & D to protect & secure Switzerland

25 From Principle to Plan: The Analytical Process STEP 1: Establishing a Meaning System (Pos Diamond) A) A narrative context is evoked (‘storyline’); B) Certain identities are evoked within this context; C) Rights and duties are allocated to actors. A,B & C are evoked through discursive acts. STEP 2: Determine the appropriate/rational Act (based upon rights & duties assigned) STEP 3: Interpret specific actions as manifestations of the act. This includes evoking identities for the actors.

26 From Principle to Plan: Example I STEP 1: Establishing a Meaning System (Pos Diamond) A) Storyline: Securing Switzerland B) Identities: Swiss: good; Foreigners: bad, threats, criminals C) R&Ds: Swiss have duty to protect Switzerland STEP 2: Determine the appropriate/rational Act Rational act: Remove ‘foreigners’ from Switzerland STEP 3: Interpret specific actions as manifestations of the act. This includes evoking identities for the actors.

27 From Principle to Plan: Example I STEP 1: Establishing a Meaning System (Pos Diamond) A) Storyline: Securing Switzerland B) Identities: Swiss: good; Foreigners: bad, threats, criminals C) R&Ds: Swiss have duty to protect Switzerland STEP 2: Determine the appropriate/rational Act Rational act: Remove ‘foreigners’ from Switzerland STEP 3: Interpret specific actions as manifestations of the act. This includes evoking identities for the actors. Possible actions: Put ‘foreigners’ on a bus toward border;

28 From Principle to Plan: Example I STEP 1: Establishing a Meaning System (Pos Diamond) A) Storyline: Securing Switzerland B) Identities: Swiss: good; Foreigners: bad, threats, criminals C) R&Ds: Swiss have duty to protect Switzerland STEP 2: Determine the appropriate/rational Act Rational act: Remove ‘foreigners’ from Switzerland STEP 3: Interpret specific actions as manifestations of the act. This includes evoking identities for the actors. Possible actions: Put ‘foreigners’ on a bus toward border; Shoot ‘foreigners’ on sight.

29 From Principle to Plan: Example II STEP 1: Establishing a Meaning System (Pos Diamond) A) Storyline: Securing Switzerland B) Identities: Swiss: good; Foreigners: bad, threats, criminals C) R&Ds: Swiss have duty to protect Switzerland STEP 2: Determine the appropriate/rational Act Rational act: Restrict ‘foreigners’’ entry into Switzerland STEP 3: Interpret specific actions as manifestations of the act. This includes evoking identities for the actors.

30 From Principle to Plan: Example II STEP 1: Establishing a Meaning System (Pos Diamond) A) Storyline: Securing Switzerland B) Identities: Swiss: good; Foreigners: bad, threats, criminals C) R&Ds: Swiss have duty to protect Switzerland STEP 2: Determine the appropriate/rational Act Rational act: Restrict ‘foreigners’’ entry into Switzerland STEP 3: Interpret specific actions as manifestations of the act. This includes evoking identities for the actors. Possible actions: Refuse to issue visas.

31 From Principle to Plan: Example II STEP 1: Establishing a Meaning System (Pos Diamond) A) Storyline: Securing Switzerland B) Identities: Swiss: good; Foreigners: bad, threats, criminals C) R&Ds: Swiss have duty to protect Switzerland STEP 2: Determine the appropriate/rational Act Rational act: Restrict ‘foreigners’’ entry into Switzerland STEP 3: Interpret specific actions as manifestations of the act. This includes evoking identities for the actors. Possible actions: Refuse to issue visas. Put ‘foreigners’ crossing border illegally on a bus.

32 From Principle to Plan: Example II STEP 1: Establishing a Meaning System (Pos Diamond) A) Storyline: Securing Switzerland B) Identities: Swiss: good; Foreigners: bad, threats, criminals C) R&Ds: Swiss have duty to protect Switzerland STEP 2: Determine the appropriate/rational Act Rational act: Restrict ‘foreigners’’ entry into Switzerland STEP 3: Interpret specific actions as manifestations of the act. This includes evoking identities for the actors. Possible actions: Refuse to issue visas. Put ‘foreigners’ crossing border illegally on a bus. Shoot ‘foreigners’ crossing border illegally on sight.

33 Challenging Rationality The ‘rationality’ of this analytical process can be challenged at each interpretive step (and their parts). (We must secure Switzerland, but reforming the sheep is the solution. OR ‘Switzerland is secure enough.’) Some challenges will take the form of a normative/ethical challenge. (‘We could remove foreigners by bus or bullet, but the latter would be extreme.’) Other challenges can target the identities evoked. (‘We must oust the bad sheep, but not all foreigners are bad.’)

34 Example: Rwandan Genocide RTLM journalist: ‘If Hutus unite and understand that Tutsis should abandon their thirst for power forever, then clearly no foreigner will rule Rwanda. We are the ones who should rule, in full democracy. It is therefore clear that if one ethnic group in the country takes an uncompromising stand while it constitutes the minority, the majority cannot roam around asking for help saying that the minority ethnic group has attacked them. This would be utter foolishness. This is disgraceful in the eyes of the international community, which says that if an ethnic group rises against us, we should fight back and subjugate it, and if we lose, we should allow it to govern. It is then impossible for the Tutsi minority, which is 8%, to defeat the Hutus and to rule the country just because it is backed by Museveni.’ United Nations University - Comparative Regional Integration Studies UNU-CRIS

35 Example: Rwandan Genocide – Redressing an alleged transgression ‘They are hard to please, they are wicked… It is obvious that they were created to gulp our Rwandan blood and to kill. It is in their nature. It is thus a waste of time to continue pleading with them… Let them take up guns, we will do the same. Let the Inyenzi’s fate be sealed, as is already the case. …So, we have no other choice but to fight the Inyenzi-Inkotanyi and to exterminate them.’ (Valérie Bemeriki, RTLM Tape no 0035 (KT ), 20/06/1994) United Nations University - Comparative Regional Integration Studies UNU-CRIS

36 From Principle to Plan: Example from Rwanda STEP 1: Establishing a Meaning System (Pos Diamond) A) Storylines: ‘(Hutu) Majority Fights for Democracy’; ‘Attack on Rwandan National Sovereignty’ B) Identities: Hutus: Majority, Rwandan Tutsis: Minority, Foreigners C) R&Ds: Majority (Hutus): right to govern. Minority (Tutsis): Duty to submit to rule of the majority. Rwandans (Hutus): Right to sovereignty. Foreigners (Tutsis): Duty to respect sovereignty & not interfere. STEP 2: Determine the appropriate/rational Act STEP 3: Interpret specific actions as manifestations of the act.

37 From Principle to Plan: Example from Rwanda STEP 1: Establishing a Meaning System (Pos Diamond) A) Storylines: ‘(Hutu) Majority Fights for Democracy’; ‘Attack on Rwandan National Sovereignty’ B) Identities: Hutus: Majority, Rwandan Tutsis: Minority, Foreigners C) R&Ds: Majority (Hutus): right to govern. Minority (Tutsis): Duty to submit to rule of the majority. Rwandans (Hutus): Right to sovereignty. Foreigners (Tutsis): Duty to respect sovereignty & not interfere. STEP 2: Determine the appropriate/rational Act ‘Fight back’, ‘Subjugate’, ‘exterminate’ the cockroaches STEP 3: Interpret specific actions as manifestations of the act.

38 From Principle to Plan: Example from Rwanda STEP 1: Establishing a Meaning System (Pos Diamond) A) Storylines: ‘(Hutu) Majority Fights for Democracy’; ‘Attack on Rwandan National Sovereignty’ B) Identities: Hutus: Majority, Rwandan Tutsis: Minority, Foreigners C) R&Ds: Majority (Hutus): right to govern. Minority (Tutsis): Duty to submit to rule of the majority. Rwandans (Hutus): Right to sovereignty. Foreigners (Tutsis): Duty to respect sovereignty & not interfere. STEP 2: Determine the appropriate/rational Act ‘Fight back’, ‘Subjugate’, ‘exterminate’ the cockroaches STEP 3: Interpret specific actions as manifestations of the act. Kill Tutsis

39 United Nations University - Comparative Regional Integration Studies UNU-CRIS Contact Information Dr. Nikki Slocum - Bradley UNU-CRIS c/o Grootseminarie Potterierei 72, 2 nd floor B Bruges Tel Fax


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