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Unformatted text preview: prior to, and which exists, independent of science; true, but that objection misconstrues the postmodern 1 The theoretical arguments in the paper were developed by the senior author from courses taught on the geography of poverty at Penn State. Raechel Bianchetti, a candidate for PhD in Geography at Penn State contributed to visualization of theory and graphics of the paper. 2 In this paper I use the terms “postmodern” and “poststructural” interchangeably. Strictly speaking postmodernism is an ontological claim that we have entered a new period of post‐industrial history where change, led by new communication technologies, occurs very rapidly. On the other hand poststructuralism is an epistemological claim about the mediating role of language, signs, and representation in the way we understand the world. Even though the two terms came into common usage at about the same time, poststructuralism can be used to examine any period of history, not just the postmodern. 1 claim about science.3 The dismissal of the postmodern claim surprises me because as I will show the proposition that science constructs the world is quite elementary, straight forward, and actually very easy to prove. Furthermore, and more relevant than a philosophical argument, the elementary first principles of poststructuralism are an incredibly powerful tool with which to engage social problems.. Having taught, researched, and written about poverty what I now know with great certainty is that the problem of poverty as we currently know it cannot be solved. Even though poverty is universally seen as an economic problem, it is not, and there is no economic solution for it (Yapa 2002). The poverty discourse, that is, the academic knowledge we have constructed about poverty, is deeply implicated in creating the problem, and so any engagement with the problem requires a prior unpacking of poverty knowledge. It is this insight that first interested me in postmodernism and poststructuralism. Although I will use poverty to illustrate certain arguments, the present paper is not about poverty. It is intended as a non...
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