Rough Theory

Theory In The Rough

The Goldie Locks Strategy

Okay, I’m reading too many blogs this morning… (I have to kill some time before a meeting…) But I wanted to pass along this quote, in which Omar Lizardo characterises a very common academic argumentative strategy almost too precisely for comfort:

The model of theoretical analysis is what one could call the “Goldie-Locks strategy.” This theory is too individualist; this theory is too collectivist; this theory is just right. This theory ignores agency; this theory ignores structure; this theory is just right; this theory ignores power; this theory reduces everything to power relations; this theory is just right…and so on, and so on.

There is a more rigorous argumentative approach that has a superficially similar structure, of course: one that involves demonstrating the common assumptions that underlie superficial oppositions – and then attempts to show how it’s possible to redefine the problem more productively, overcoming an argumentative impasse by displacing the debate onto a new terrain. But eclectic middle roadism is a different kind of beast…

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