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Suspending Damage

Reading Notes from
Eve Tuck, "Suspending Damage: A Letter to Communities,"
Harvard Educational Review
79,3 (Fall 2009): 409-427

damage-centered research operates ... from a theory of change that establishes harm or injury in order to achieve reparation .... one of the major activities is to document pain or loss ....the danger ... is that it is a pathologizing approach in which the oppression singularly defines a community (p. 413).

This theory of change, testifying to damage so that persecutors will be forced to be accountable, is extremely popular in social science research .... it serves as a default theory of change .... In educational research this is especially true .... scores of studies portray schools and communities primarily as broken, emptied, or flattened ....  No Child Left Behind ... in its insistence on 100 percent proficiency for all students in all states ... is designed to document failure or deficit rather than to provide opportunities to redress exsiting inequities ... the laws' provisions ... ignore opportunity and skew heavily towards ... accountability (p. 414).

It is a powerful idea to think of all of us as litigators, putting the world on trail, but does it actually work?...are the wins worth the long-term costs of thinking of ourselves as damaged? (p. 415).

Researching for Desire
"... all those performances I did about getting bashed only provided knowledge of subjugation, serving almost as an advertisement for power: 'Don't let this hapen to you. Stay in the closet' .... I decided to write more about he gratifications of same-sex relationships, to depict intimacy and desire...."  One alternative to damage-centered research is ... to capture desire instead of damage .... desire-based research frameworks are concerned with understanding complexity, contradiction, and the self-determination of lived lives .... even when communties are broken and conquered, they are so much mroe than that--so much more that this incomplete story is an act of aggression" (p. 416).

Desire is about longing, about a present that is enriched by both the past and the future .... desire reaches for contrasting realities .... desire is ... informed seeking ... both the part of us that hankers for the desired and at the same time the part that learns to desire. It is closely tied to ... wisdom (pp. 417-418).

an argument for desire as an epistemological shift .... interrupts the binary of reproduction versus resistance ... a process of thirding .... that celebrates our survivance (p. 419, p. 422).


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