Monday, December 3, 2012
I was interested in how Tsing explored universals and generalizations as barriers but also instigators. She speaks to how simplifying or condensing multi-faceted, often politically influenced, conflicts can force their trajectory in irrational ways. This reminded me of both Terrenova and Berlant. Terrenova places emphasis on the shape of the network rather than the two nodes that the network is connecting. The friction Tsing talks about seems to be at the center of the interactions between two universals or simplified bodies, yet these interactions are not smooth communications. Tsing emphasizes how when objectives become more and more translatable, a way of shaping the network, they can often steer action from either side based on more accessible communications. In Terrenova's terms the message arrives to one node in translated form as it was shaped in the network to a warped understanding of the original meaning. Wasteful deforestation can occur in places with abundant and rare natural resources because the motivations for this deforestation can arrive to the owners of the land in the form of monetary gains and employment that can either act on a personal or imagined national level to allow/pursue deforestation. How do both nodes, sender and receiver, negotiate to a point of action though? Making the message clear to either side is key, but are the sides not often imbalanced and muddled by political motivation? There are obviously instances where the sender manipulates this translation in order to exploit the receiver or visa versa. Berlant argues that the motivation to achieve upward mobility is what is ultimately detriment to the subject. Because there exist motivations that are not possible through established political structures, there will always be avenues through which these motivations seemingly play out.