Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Reply to comment

rachelr's picture

Should productivity or accuracy be favored?

  Well categories can always be broken into subcategories, but I think, with respect to literature, that it would be difficult to further break down the categories just due to sheer quantity. By creating subcategories maybe categories and genres would not restrict and box in literature as much (because more information about different elements of the literature would be available), but all books are so different that overlap between subcategories might not be productive. But is the point to be productive? Or is the point to give a better representation of literature (or, if we are discussing the classification of people into categories and "labeling" them, people) and not to worry about whether or not it is productive?


The word 'category' stems from katēgorein to accuse, affirm (Merriam-Webster). I think that this is really interesting, because to accuse usually has a negative connotation and affirm a positive. And yet they are both a definition of the same word. But this is fitting because it seems like Paul, aybala50 and I all agree that categorizing, or "labeling," can be both positive and negative. When I think about what characteristics make a category what it is, I think of division and something that has more than one property. So because it has more than one property, it falls into more than one grouping, and hence where organization comes into play. My question is: should we forgo organization in an effort to not label and induce biases, or to over categorize so that there can still be organization, but more parts of the whole are represented?

Aybala50 asks, "Lets say, for example, that a man murders someone when he is young. Will he ever be able to escape the category of murderer?" I think that aybala50 is right- murderer is a multilayer category, and one that I think is very difficult, if not impossible, to overcome. Once the category of murderer is mentioned people will question how long it has been since the act occurred, why the person did it, whether or not they are still violent... I think that categories can be in flux, but most are so fixed in our mindsets that our biases make it impossible to overlook certain categories. 



The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
8 + 3 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.