preface:
imagine otherwise
That life is complicated is a theoretical statement that guides
e√orts to treat race, class, and gender dynamics and consciousness
as more dense and delicate than those categorical terms often imply.
It is a theoretical statement that might guide a critique of privately
purchased rights, of various forms of blindness and sanctioned
denial; that might guide an attempt to drive a wedge into lives and
visions of freedom ruled by the nexus of market exchange. It is a
theoretical statement that invites us to see with portentous clarity
into the heart and soul of American life and culture, and to track events,
stories, anonymous and history-making actions to their density, to
the point where we might catch a glimpse of what Patricia Williams
calls the ‘‘vast networking of our society’’ and imagine otherwise.
You could say this is a folk theoretical statement. We need to know
where we live in order to imagine living elsewhere. We need to
imagine living elsewhere before we can live there.
—Avery Gordon, Ghostly Matters: Haunting and the Sociological
Imagination (1997)
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