About Cognitive Dissidence

What’s the deal with this blog?

This blog is dedicated to examining the ways that nativism and othering casually work their ways into our lives by drawing subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) parameters around how we think about and understand immigrants and immigration.  Every now and then I post on something completely irrelevant, like my hi-larious hijinks through the world of PhD ambivalence.

Why does it matter?

It all comes down to the interrelated concepts of ideology and power and their implications for how we think about immigrants and immigration.  According to Gramsci, ideological frameworks (how we think about and understand the world) manufacture consent through the creation of hegemonic paradigms that structure the social world, thereby defining what is possible and what is not.  Ideology is particularly insidious because it happens in such a way that we do not even realize or recognize the imposition of boundaries on our thought processes. Correspondingly, power resides in the ability to influence our understanding of the world, to secure our compliance with taken-for-granted assumptions about how the world is and how the world works. Allow me to quote ad nauseam from Lukes:

The supreme and most insidious exercise of power [is] to prevent people, to whatever degree, from having grievances by shaping their perceptions, cognitions and preferences in such a way that they accept their role in the existing order of things, either because they can see or imagine no alternative to it, or because they see it as natural and unchangeable, or because they value it as divinely ordained and beneficial. (Excerpted from Power: A Radical View).

So: power manifests in ideology, which frames how we think about the world, even though we don’t realize it.  To confront power, we must make the invisibility of ideology visible.  That’s my devious plot in nutshell.

What happens next?

I don’t know. How about collective cognitive liberation?  Of course, this will be immediately followed by collective physical liberation, whereupon all human and nonhuman beings will live together in peace and harmony and all that crap.  Hooray.

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