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?
It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society - Jiddu Krishnamurti
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