Perspectives | Dissertation - Proof of Concept Presentation


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  1. Hi Mike,

    I think 'political correctness' is a bit of unhelpful term really. What you're really talking about is the tension between freedom of speech and identity politics - 'political correctness' is a caricature of the debate and is a bit tabloid. What I mean by this is that your dissertation will need to interrogate the term itself and seek to characterise it as a term used to caricature a more complex debate. There's a sense from your proposal that you personally think that political correctness 'has gone mad' - and really the first thing you need to do is shake off your certainty and be prepared to engage with the discussion as objectively as possible.

    You'll recognise already how much this subject aligns with the ideas associated with poststructuralism (therefore postmodernism). The whole issue of 'political correctness' hinges on the idea that language isn't transparent or neutral, but cultured and coded - hence its ability to offend and impact upon people. This standpoint derives from 'incredulity for meta narratives' (and authorities) - that idea that the world we live in is structured out of the ideologies of the privileged and the empowered. Whether you like it or not - this topic is going to return you to Derrida, Judith Butler, postcolonialism etc... because these viewpoints have generated the context for identity politics and identify politics vs freedom of speech is THE heart of this debate. You don't have to agree, but you have to be able to present those ideas as the context for the debate you're having. I think you need to avoid naivety, Mike - you also need to look at Populism - because populist leaders (Trump/Farage for example) attack political correctness as one of their strategies. I can't help thinking that South Park might be a better/more complex case-study for your chapter three because that show seeks to offend everyone...

    Just to restate: your dissertation can't be a 'political correctness is bad' rant or polemic - your job here is to listen to both sides and tease out the complexities, the contradictions, and the ambiguities. You're not writing an opinion piece or a newspaper column - your tone and balance is really important here.