finitude’s clamor: notes on a communautarian literacy

## diane davis ### college composition and communication, 2001

rhetoric has this myth of the self-contained, self-necessary subject. “the construct of the self-directed student, who stands at the center of their own thoughts”

critical and feminist pedagogies call to “identify” to whom they write and speak within the networks of gender, class, and power”, encourage self-consciousness about who they are and can be in the social world. (still about the self, tho)

the myth of self-presence, there is a certain will-to-immanence, purity

Sharing (that is: community) takes place not among similarly positioned subjecthoods-subjects share no/thing as subjects-but (only) at the extreme and exposed limit of subjectivity, where (a finite) being irrepressibly exceeds itSelf. > give up on yourSelf to meet others

the clamor of social communication. a community that cannot be produced but exposed.

the doxa is that the cartesian split forces us to appreciate the world subjectively, starting from “I” and looking at all things through social norms/frames of reference/signs/mental categories/etc.

for both expressivists (I constitute reality) and cognitivists (I represent reality) and social constructionists (the community shapes me according to the world), the starting point is to get in touch with the inner self. they all presume we exist first a singular beings, not as always-already-with-others

Kent hypothesizes: “thoughts and mental states derive from the external world of communicative interaction” (Paralogic Rhetoric)

“without the other, we can have no thoughts, no language, no cognizance of meaning, no awareness that we possess something we call mental states” (still Kent) > meaning is made in a community of “communicative interaction”

Davidson: triangulation: contributing to knowledge of her own mind, knowledge of other minds, and knowledge of a shared world

meaning is a function of communicative interaction, which requires “on-the-spot interpretations”

it’s related to the idea of the voice in politics (the illusion of the singular, the always-in-relation)

re: these kinds of papers: paying attention, to the small, to the detail, to the insignifiant, to that which is overlooked/looked down upon by dominant frames of understanding, is politically important.

there is always pre-writing. and so writing is the beginning of dying (cixous), because the writer encounters her finitude (exposed, ruptured, etc.)

interpretation takes a back seat to exposition

“i hear in it that the other speaks”, which leads to excessive hospitality, humble receptivity

writing “to the point” promotes the “western tradition of assertion and support” (somewhat agree: perhaps those traditions have more to do with the switch to writing? linear, logical)