A Few Don'ts (And Dos) By A Cultural Phenomenologist

Steven Connor

Becoming (Un)accommodated

A critical language such as the one I am hoping to see more of would have to find a ways of becoming unaccommodated. This would mean trying to face out and profit from the enfeebling of metacritical expertise; one ought sometimes to be able not to be able to describe what one is doing, just as we could do with getting better at not being as good at what we do. This is hard to pull off, not just because we all nowadays, in all areas of life, start to feel uneasy if we do not know what we are doing and why; but also for the more particular reason that we have become so subjected and recruited as a profession (but like so many other professions) to the demands of prediction, to the reassurances of the plan, the policy, the abstract, the research proposal. We toil too long into the night at the forging of these future perfects, laying waste our powers in telling ourselves what we will have done in our new module, our proposed research, our putative conference paper, our forthcoming book, paying too readily the larger and larger tax exacted upon our time by the demand to abstract, simplify, justify and even evaluate our own work, all this rather than doing the work, or inventing new ways in which the work might work, or come to be done.

| Steve Connor | English and Humanities | Birkbeck College |