Fabricating Difference - Steven W Ramey

Fabricating Difference - Steven W Ramey

What Difference Does It Make? Critical Theory and Public Discourse

Fabricating Difference - Steven W Ramey

Steven W Ramey [+-]
University of Alabama
Steven W. Ramey is a Professor in Religious Studies at the University of Alabama, where he also directs the Asian Studies Program. His specialty is in contemporary issues surrounding identifications in India, which he addresses in his book Hindu, Sufi, or Sikh (Palgrave 2008), where he analyzes specifically the practices and contested definitions of communities identified as Sindhi Hindus. He has extended this analysis to reflect on issues in the academic and public discourse surrounding the category religion and issues of identifications in the United States and other contexts.

Description

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.

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Citation

Ramey, Steven. What Difference Does It Make? Critical Theory and Public Discourse. Fabricating Difference. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 135-164 Jul 2017. ISBN 9781781794876. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=30320. Date accessed: 23 Sep 2017 doi: 10.1558/equinox.30320. Jul 2017

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