4a.ikuscommentary.sanin_steiner_pichler (p)

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Unformatted text preview: Commentary
on
“Objective
Hermeneutic:
 Methodological
Reflections
on
Social
Structures
in
 Women´s
Lives”
(Petra
Steiner
&
Barbara
Pichler)
 DANIEL
SANIN
 
 
 
 In
 Steiner
 &
 Pichler’s
 (2009)
 article
 I
 identified
 three
 crucial
 concepts
 that
 I
 shall
 discuss:
 Education
 (‘adult
 education’),
 sex/gender
 (‘wo/men’)
 and
 socially
 sedimented
 structures
or
nodes
(‘time’).
In
my
comment
I
will
try
to
contextualize
these
three
terms
 and
clarify
their
interconnectivity.
 
 EDUCATION
 
 First
of
all,
in
Steiner
and
Pichler’s
article
education
appears
as
the
field
of
encounter
in
 which
the
subjects
of
the
present
inquiry
are
found.
Since
knowledge
of
the
individuals’
 motivations
is
crucial
for
the
understanding
of
human
actions,
the
consequent
question
 should
 be:
 Why
 are
 they
 there?
 We
 could
 assume
 that
 they
 seek
 formal
 qualifications,
 practical
 knowledge,
 professional
and
personal
 exchange
 with
others,
 maybe
 access
to
 professional
networks,
and
so
on.
Yet,
the
question
that
seems
most
important
to
me
is
 whether
 or
 not
 they
 are
 there
 because
 they
 have
 a
 genuine,
 personal
 interest
 or
 motivation,
or
because
they
have
to
or
need
to
be
there,
maybe
due
to
labour
demands
 or
other
necessities.
 
 Modern
 work
 life
 in
 western
 societies1
 demands
 quite
 a
 lot
 from
 individuals:
 a
 good
 basic
education,
constant
ongoing
education,
international
work
experience,
knowledge
 of
foreign
languages
and
so
on.
The
requirements,
however,
are
not
only
focused
on
the
 labour
world.
These
permeate
the
whole
life,
which
includes
the
imperative
of
having
a
 functioning
 social
 life,
 a
 slim
 and
 healthy
 body
 and
 so
 on
 (Ottomeyer,
 2004,
 pp.
 113;
 Hirr,
2002,
Chapter
VIII,
sec.
2).
 
 One
 such
 requirement
 is
 the
 so‐called
 ‘life‐long
 learning.’
 This
 means
 that
 one
 has
 to
 constantly
improve
one’s
labour
market
efficiency
through
continuous
education
in
the
 form
of
courses,
degrees,
workshops,
seminars
and
so
forth.
The
labour
market,
and
of
 course
 capitalism
 in
 general,
 set
 the
 basis
 for
 a
 fundamental
 competition
 between
 the
 individuals
 (Ottomeyer,
 2004,
pp.
60).
If
 you
want
to
 succeed
 or
 even
 just
survive
you
 always
have
 to
 be
 alert,
vigilant,
trained,
 and
 ready
 to
grasp
the
chance,
 in
spite
 of,
or
 even
especially
to
your
fellow
competitors’
disadvantage.
 
 Hence,
 education
 can
 be
 seen
 as
 a
 functional
 tool
 in
 capitalist
 society
 for
 shaping
 the
 human
 material—‘human
 resources’—as
 required
 (Hirr,
 2002;
 Gerlach,
 2000).
 In
 1
 Since
 it
 is
 not
 possible
 to
 speak
 for
 everyone
 on
 the
 planet
 (and
 not
 even
 for
 everyone
 in
 one
 city
 or
 district
or
house
etc.)
it
is
necessary
to
account
for
one’s
own
position,
not
only
in
the
sense
of
views
but
 also
regarding
the
geographical
and
social
position.
In
this
sense
I
cannot
start
a
universal
discourse
that
 accounts
for
all
societies
but
only
a
discourse
that
accounts
for
the
type
of
society
I
live
in.
But
even
this
is
 only
possible
when
myriads
of
differences
are—momentarily—neglected. Psychology
&
Society,
2009,
Vol.
2
(1),
55
‐
59 55
 education
 the
 anticipated
 and
desired
 outcome
 is
 already
 set
 in
 advance
 (Stern,
 2008,
 pp.
 9):
 One
 has
to
 ‘absorb’
the
 preset
content
and
 then
 ‘discard’
it
 at
 a
 certain
point
to
 certain
conditions
(this
could
be
called
a
 bulimic
form
of
‘learning’)
to
get
the
required
 and/or
 desired
 marks,
 degrees,
 etc.
 Holzkamp
 (1995,
 pp.
 190;
 see
 also
 Kaindl,
 2005)
 differentiates
between
expansive
and
 defensive
learning.
Expansive
learning
is
explained
 as
 a
 self‐induced
 and
 motivated
 process
 with
 the
 goal
 to
 expand
 the
 degree
 of
 disposability
over
my
living
conditions.
In
contrast,
defensive
learning
is
understood
as
 a
 process
 in
 which
 one
 has
 to
 ‘learn’
 something
 because
 otherwise
 one
 has
 to
 fear
 a
 curtailing
of
one’s
living
conditions
(Holzkamp,
1995,
p.
191).
 
 The
question
 to
 ask
 in
regard
to
 the
 topic
of
 adult
education
 is
 thus:
Does
one
have
 to
 take
 a
 certain
 course
 to
repel
 negative
 consequences
 or
 does
 one
 take
 a
 course
 out
of
 her/his
 own
 motivation
 with
 the
 goal
 of
 increasing
 independence,
 emancipation,
 and
 disposability
over
living
conditions?
 
 SEX/GENDER
 
 We
 live
 in
 a
 society
 that
 recognizes
 only
two
 sexes/genders—the
male
and
the
female
 (Herrmann,
2007,
pp.
 195;
Bourdieu,
2005).
For
those
 individuals
identified
 (and
 self‐ identified)
as
females,
the
challenges
of
modern
western
life
may
be
even
more
(Geissler
 &
Oechsle,
1994,
p.
146).
Usually—as
stated
in
Steiner
and
Pichler’s
article
as
well—they
 are
 in
 charge
 of
 family
 issues;
 organizational
 aspects
 and
 duties—on
 a
 practical
 and
 emotional
level—are
theirs
to
fulfil,
at
least
in
most
of
the
cases
(Haug,
1991).
 
 The
situation
for
individuals
who
do
not
fit
into
this
binary
gender
scheme
is
a
complex
 one
(Rauchfleisch,
2007),
and
it
is
not
targeted
in
Steiner
and
Pichler’s
text.
The
scope
of
 this
 commentary
 does
 not
 allow
 for
 a
 necessary
 discussion
 either.
 Nevertheless,
 mentioning
a
position
outside
of
the
fe/male
matrix
serves
to
question
the
matrix
itself.
 Since
 Steiner
 and
 Pichler
 cite
 Judith
 Butler
 and
 her
 concept
 of
 performativity
 (Butler,
 1993,
pp.
12)
it
seems
important
to
focus
on
the
binary
gender
scheme
as
a
fundamental
 (maybe
 the
 most
basic,
 Scholz,
2000;
Goffman,
 1994)
example
of
 a
socially
 structuring
 principle
(Goffman,
1994;
Bourdieu,
2005.).
Butler’s
concept
emphasizes
the
aspects
of
 constant
 production
 of
 gender
 and
 the
 possibilities
 of
 performing
 gender—especially
 beyond
 the
 fe/male
 boundaries.
 This
matrix
 is
 strictly
 dual,
 everyone
 that
does
 not
 fit
 into
 it
 must
be
 treated,
 operated,
 changed.
 It
is
 a
 system
 that
works
 with
 and
through
 the
principle
of
identity
and
identification
(for
a
critique
of
‘identity’
see
Sanin,
2002).
In
 order
 to
 identify
 someone
 or
 something
 you
 must
 have
 certain
 criteria
 that
 tell
 you
 whether
 or
 not
 the
 object
 to
 identify
 ‘belongs’
 to
 a
 certain
 category.
 In
 the
 case
 of
 gender,
 such
 markers
 are usually
 the
 external
 sexual
 organs,
 aesthetic
 elements
 (hair,
 make‐up,
clothes,
etc.),
and
behavioural
elements
(posture,
aggressive
 acting,
etc.).
 The
 object
 to
 define
 is
 screened
 regarding
 the
 various
 criteria
 and
 then
 an
 identifying
 decision
 is
 made.
 In
 a
 patriarchal
 system
 the
 outcome
 could
 be
 as
 follows
 (taken
 to
 extremes):
 man
 =
 good;
 woman
 =
 not
 so
 good;
 something
 in
 between,
 like
 a
 man
 behaving/dressing
like
a
woman,
a
woman
behaving/dressing
like
a
man,
etc.
=
bad;
not
 identifiable
=
very
bad.
 
 In
our
two‐gendered
world
we
all
have
to
somehow
deal
with
the
continuing
process
of
 ‘genderization,’
of
“doing
gender”
(West
&
Zimmermann,
1987).
My
question
now
is:
If
 we
 have
 to
 deal
 with
 this
 binary
 matrix,
 do
 we,
 at
 the
 same
 time,
 have
 to
 adopt
 its
 Psychology
&
Society,
2009,
Vol.
2
(1),
55
‐
59 56
 categories?
 Or,
 to
 put
 it
 differently:
 If
 we
 have
 to
 grapple
 with
 our
 identities
 as
 a
 wo/man,
 that
 we
 got
 assigned
 respectively
 to
 ourselves,
 do
 we
 have
 to
 do
 that
 prospectively?
 I
 have
 to
 deal
 with
 my
 socialization
 as
 a
 wo/man,
 but
 do
 I
 have
 to
 prospectively
project
myself
as
a
wo/man?
 
 As
should
be
clear
by
now,
the
western
binary
gender
matrix
is
a
dictatorial
one.
Those
 who
 do
 not
 fit
 into
 it
 have
 to
 change,
 be
 changed,
 rejected,
 and/or
 marginalized.
 Therefore,
 I
 propose
 to
 adopt
 a
 merely
 strategic
 attitude
 towards
 gender
 (which
 includes
 a
 process
 of
 un‐identification):
 If
 it
 is
 of
 personal
 advantage
 (for
 example
 getting
an
 adult
education
course
 funded
because
 I
‘am’
 a
woman),
 it
is
 appropriate
 to
 present
oneself
as
the
expected
one;
but
if
it
is
a
matter
of
general
discourse,
the
gender
 categories
should
not
be
taken
seriously.
They
should
be
seen
as
what
they
are:
a
human
 construct.
 
 TIME
 
 Steiner
 and
 Pichler
 identify
 ‘time’
 as
 a
 node
 within
 social
 structures
 (or
 better:
 social
 performances).
 In
 the
 daily
 life
 of
 the
 ‘examined’
 women
 time
 appears
 as
 a
 scarce
 resource
 “regularised
 by
 patriarchal
 structures”
 (ibid.).
 But
 ‘time’
 is
 more
 than
 a
 patriarchal
 structure
 for
 suppressing
 and/or
 controlling
 women.
 Elias
 (1988,
 p.
 145)
 defines
 the
 modern
 appearance
 of
 ‘time’
 with
 its
 watches,
 calendars,
 schedules,
 timetables
and
the
like
as
a
coercing
force.
Yet,
this
coercion
is
to
a
great
extent
already
 internalized;
 it
 became
 a
 ‘self‐coercion.’
We
have
become
 used
to
our
specific
 western
 time
management
since
kindergarten
or
even
earlier,
having
to
watch
our
parents
leave
 the
 house
 at
 certain
 hours
 etc.
 ‘Time’
 in
 this
 form
 follows
 the
 capitalist
 imperative
 of
 functionality
(Sennett,
2000,
pp.
72).2
 
 In
Steiner
and
Pichler’s
argument
the
relation
of
the
sexes
 appears
as
a
relatively
clear
 offender/victim
relation.
Patriarchal
structures
oppress
women
in
their
role
as
partners,
 mothers,
housewifes,
employees,
etc.
Since
the
authors
follow
an
emancipatory
impetus,
 it
appears
more
appropriate
toabandon
such
a
(apparently)
clear
distinguishing
model
 for
a
more
dynamic
one
(Haug,
1981,
pp.
244).
We
are
subjects
submitted
to
conditions
 of
 dominance
 but
 at
 the
 same
 time
 we
 live
 these
 conditions,
 we
 (re‐)produce
 these
 structures,
 these
 flows
 of
 dominance.
 It
 still
 remains
 important
 to
 address
 specific
 mechanisms
of
identification
linked
with
specific
forms
of
oppression
(you
are
a
woman,
 hence
 you’re
 worth
 less
 than
 a
 man,
 hence
 you
 have
 to
 do
 this
 and
 this
 etc.).
 Nevertheless,
 identifying
 subjects
 (momentarily)
 on
 these
 positions
 is
 quite
 different
 from
identifying
them
 as
 these
positions.
Assigning
the
permanent
position
‘victim’
to
a
 person
 is
not
 empowering,
although
it
 can
 help
momentarily
to
 make
 injustices
visible
 (for
the
person
itself
and
others
as
well).
 
 I
hope
I
could
contribute
some
useful
inputs
in
addressing
some
crucial
questions
to
the
 conditions
we
 live
 in
and
 to
some
of
 their
intersections,
 that
is
 the
performativity
and
 locality
 of
 (sexed/genderized)
 subjectivity,
 embedded
 in,
 permeated
 by,
 and
 (re‐ )producing
 capitalist
 living
 conditions,
 moving
 within
 prefixed
 ‘structures’
 and
 at
 the
 same
 time
 (re‐)constituting
 them.
 The
 knowledge
 of
 these
 structures,
 processes,
 and
 2
 Capitalism
is
not
to
be
understood
as
an
oppressive,
dominating
structure
that
‘lies’
on
people
but
as
a
 relation,
a
condition.
 Psychology
&
Society,
2009,
Vol.
2
(1),
55
‐
59 57
 conditions
is
a
necessary
prerequisite
for
the
“discovery
of
new
ways
of
living”
(Steiner
 &
Pichler,
2009).
 
 References3
 
 Bourdieu,
Pierre
(2005).
Die
männliche
Herrschaft.
Frankfurt/M.:
Suhrkamp.
(Orig.
La
 dominacion
masculine)
 Butler,
Judith
(1993).
Bodies
that
matter.
On
the
discursive
limits
of
‘sex.’
New
York:
 Routledge.
 Elias,
Norbert
(1988).
Über
die
Zeit.
Arbeiten
zur
Wissenssoziologie
II.
Frankfurt/M.:
 Suhrkamp.
(Orig.
An
Essay
on
Time)
 Geissler,
Birgit,
&
Oechsle,
Mechthild
(1994).
Lebensplanung
als
Konstruktion:
 Biographische
Dilemmata
und
Lebenslauf‐Entwürfe
junger
Frauen.
In
Ulrich
 Beck,
&
Elisabeth
Beck‐Gernsheim
(Eds.),
Riskante
Freiheiten.
Individualisierung
 in
modernen
Gesellschaften
(139‐167).
Frankfurt/M.:
Suhrkamp.
 Gerlach,
Thomas
(2000).
Denkgifte.
Psychologischer
Gehalt
neoliberaler
 Wirtschaftstheorie
und
gesellschaftspolitischer
Diskurse.
Retrieved
January
5,
 2008,
from
http://www.kritische‐psychologie.de/texte/tg2000a.html
 Goffman,
Erving
(1994).
Das
Arrangement
der
Geschlechter.
In
E.
Goffman
(Ed.),
 Interaktion
und
Geschlecht.
Frankfurt/M.:
Campus.
(Orig.
The
Arrangement
 Between
the
Sexes)
 Haug,
Frigga
(1981).
Frauen
–
Opfer
oder
Täter?
Retrieved
January
7,
2008,
from
 http://www.friggahaug.inkrit.de/documents/Opfer_oder_Tater_fuerFrigga.pdf
 Haug,
Frigga
(1991).
Sexualisierung
der
Körper.
Berlin:
Argument.
 Herrmann,
Steffen
Kitty
(2007).
Performing
the
gap.
Queere
Gestalten
und
 geschlechtliche
Aneignung.
In
A.
G.
Gender
Killer
(Eds.),
Das
gute
Leben.
 Perspektiven
auf
einen
besseren
Alltag
(195‐203).
Münster:
Unrast.
 Hirr,
Karolin
(2002).
Individualisierung
als
zweckoptimierte
Subjektivierungsform
in
 kapitalistischen
Herrschaftsverhältnissen.
Auswirkungen
auf
die
gegenwärtige
 Lebenspraxis
von
Jugendlichen.
Retrieved
January
1,
2008,
from
 http://reflex.at/~karolin.hirr/
 Holzkamp,
Klaus
(1995).
Lernen.
Subjektwissenschaftliche
Grundlegung.
Frankfurt/M.:
 Campus.
 Kaindl,
Christian
(2005).
Lernverhältnisse
im
Neoliberalismus.
Forum
Kritische
 Psychologie,
48,
26‐40.

 Ottomeyer,
Klaus
(2004).
Ökonomische
Zwänge
und
menschliche
Beziehungen.
Soziales
 Verhalten
im
Kapitalismus.
Münster:
Lit.
 Rauchfleisch,
Udo
(2007).
Transsexualität
–
Transidentität
–
Transdifferenz.
Psychologie
 &
Gesellschaftskritik,
31(2/3),
109‐125.
 Sanin,
Daniel
(2002).
Zur
Kritik
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Identitätsbegriffs.
Eine
Analyse
im
Spannungsfeld
von
 Subjektivität
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Retrieved
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1,
2008,
from
 http://reflex.at/~ikp.wien/identitaet/
 Scholz,
Roswitha
(2000).
Das
Geschlecht
des
Kapitalismus.
Feministische
Theorien
und
die
 postmoderne
Metamorphose
des
Patriarchats.
Bad
Honneff:
Hoerlemann.
 3 Contrary
to
APA
guidelines,
 the
references
include
the
 authors’
first
name
 in
order
to
make
women
in
 science
more
visible.
Due
to
androcentric
schemes
of
perception,
we
implicitly
tend
to
expect
men
behind
 names
which
are
not
explicitly
marked
as
female.
 Psychology
&
Society,
2009,
Vol.
2
(1),
55
‐
59 58
 Sennett,
Richard
(2000).
Der
flexible
Mensch.
Die
Kultur
des
neuen
Kapitalismus.
Berlin:
 Siedler.
(Orig.
The
Corrosion
of
Character)
 Steiner,
P.
&
Pichler,
B.
(2009).
Objective
hermeneutic:
methodological
reflections
on
 social
structures
in
women’s
lives.
Psychology
and
Society,
2
(1),
50‐54.
 Stern,
Bertrand
(2008.)
Was
ist
‚Bildungsfreiheit’?
Unerzogen,
3,
8‐13.
 West,
Candace
&,
Zimmerman,
Don
H.
(1987).
Doing
gender.
Gender
&
Society,
1(2),
125‐ 151.
 
 AUTHOR
BIOGRAPHY
 
 Daniel
 Sanin,
born
 1976
 in
 Italy,
lives
with
 his
family
 in
Vienna,
 Austria.
 He
 is
running
 the
 webpage
 on
 critical
 psychology
 www.kritischepsychologie.org
 and
 as
 wage
 labour
 he
is
doing
research,
design,
and
development
at
Vienna’s
Institute
for
drug
prevention.
 Email
ikp.wien@reflex.at
 
 Psychology
&
Society,
2009,
Vol.
2
(1),
55
‐
59 59
 ...
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