What Difference Does It Make? Critical Theory and Public Discourse
Steven W Ramey [+]
University of Alabama
This essay discusses the dynamics involved in the fabrication of difference, including the selection of particular differences and similarities to organize the world into groups and the persistence of those organizing schemes, despite contradictory evidence, because they support the power and access of the dominant communities. Using the analysis of the 2016 United States Presidential primaries for the Democratic and Republican parties as data, this essay considers the influence of polling and analysis on the fabrication and naturalization of particular differences to create useful narratives as an example of these processes, dividing the data into differences presumed to be biological and differences presumed to be self-chosen. Building on the concept of Orientalism, the naturalization of such fabricated differences through fictionalized narratives reinforces the power and consequence of these assertions of difference, leading to a call for scholars and others to note who applies a particular label avoid to naturalizing particular points of difference.