Monday, October 8, 2007

chaotic community?

Ang’s discussion of chaos in “In the realm of uncertainty” makes me think further about the categories often used to discuss fandom and their usefulness in understanding imagined networks. Ang argues that “infinite, contradictory, dispersed and dynamic everyday practices will always be in excess of any constructed totality, no matter how ‘accurate’” (I somehow lost my page numbers in my copy…the section is “beyond order and meaning”). But Ang’s continuing fixation on chaos seems to ignore or at least elide questions of communities. Ang says the question to ask is “why isn’t there more heterogeneity,” but it seems to me that one (too) obvious answer is the desire for community. Maybe I’m reading too simplistically here, but doesn’t Ang’s article call for a move away from an analysis that might lead us to look at gendered implications of reading and response, as Terranova does, because such examinations of identity would focus too strongly on fixed categories, as he suggests the TV companies are doing in their search for ratings. Ang says that it is “within these limits that ‘resistance’ to the dominant takes place”, but this resistance for Ang seems to be all about the “constant transformation of identities,” even as this is what consumer capitalism depends upon.

On second thought, though, as I am writing this I feel I am reducing Ang’ complex ideas to the same trap that Curran fell into in his misreading. So maybe I just would like us to discuss under what premises and terms we are able to have (I think necessary) conversations about difference and community within the realm of uncertainty.

No comments: