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Unformatted text preview: nd of poststructural analysis, not just poverty. Academic relations are of two kinds: internal and external. Internal relations refer to questions of epistemology—of how we know what we know which is the subject of this entire paper. External academic relations refer to academic discourses that are produced at other sites in the nexus: technical, social, cultural, political, ecological, and academic. In the case of poverty, examples of academic discourse are neo‐liberal economics, supply side economics, uneven development, and sociology of welfare. Such discourses are not conducted under rules of free inquiry; they are constructed out of, and constrained by, the very material circumstances that they study. The symmetry in the wheel‐like diagram of the nexus (Figure 11) should not be misconstrued as a proposal that each node is equal, however, I am also not proposing that all is subjective and there is no way to prioritize a node. All nodes are not equally important for a given outcome, but the relative ranking of relations is a matter to be decided on a case‐by‐case basis. In any event, the nexus of relations shown in Figure 11 is not a model of the economic reality of poverty; it is a discursive device constructed to enable a conversation about poverty.8 Words such as “culture,” “economy,” and “nature” are part of our routine living vocabulary, and they have served us well. But helpful as they are, they do not refer to internally coherent, bounded, distinct systems; they, too, are discursive conventions. The intent of saying so is not to reduce these terms to linguistic idealism. The intent is to say that discourse and matter are bound in ways that defy easy dissection, they overdetermine each other, social categories are of necessity, abstractions, and each node of the nexus is the site of both discursive and non‐ discursive practices. It is this sense that Foucault (1980:78‐108) tries to capture in the couplet “discourse/practice”; this is also the sense that I wish to communicate through the use of the term “discursive materialism.” 7 In my previous work on povert...
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This document was uploaded on 01/24/2014.

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