The cover of the latest issue of NASPA's Leadership Exchange caught my attention. It was a simple black background with the words "DISCOURSE or DISRUPTION" boldy and colorfully across it (pictured below). Given the temporal context of student activism across the U.S., I rightfully assumed this title was in reference to an article in the issue about campus protests. However, the false binary that the title suggested got under my skin, so I quickly went to the article inside. That binary and a particular suggestion that the authors shared about educating student activists about "time, place, and manner" pushed me towards a short twitter rant.
The rant went as follows:
- PSA: "Time, manner, & place" parameters ARE modes of suppression. Disruption is NOT mutually exclusive from or opposite to discourse.
- Disruption is a form of discourse, and student activists are disrupting normative, institutionalized discourse.
- The "time, place, & manner" of institutionalized, normative discourse is all the time, everywhere, and however it pleases.
- Thus disruption is a necessary discursive mode of operation. To be heard, seen, validated. To be noticed. And for the normative to be named.
- I'm so over #highered folks that position disruption as opposing discourse, dialogue, etc.
- Often folks come to disruption precisely cause they haven't been a part of ongoing discourse/dialogues or not heard/tokenized when present.
- So if you're concerned about disruption, then alter the conditions of discourse, rather than police it further.
- Stop managing student activists and mask managing them as "supporting" them.
- No social change has come about WITHOUT disruption.
- Thus when you place "time, place, manner" parameters on disruption, you're placing "time, place, manner" on social change.
I would be interested to hear people's thoughts and reactions to this rant and to "time, manner, and place" conversation. This conversation is far more complex than Twitter might allow - or at least my limited discursive abilities on Twitter - so be in conversation with me. What are you thinking? Feeling? What of your experiences does this conversation get to or remind you of?
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It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society - Jiddu Krishnamurti
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