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"Privilege-Checking," "Virtue-Signaling," and "Safe Spaces": What Happens When Cultural Politics is Privatized and the Body Replaces Argument

"Privilege-Checking," "Virtue-Signaling," and "Safe Spaces": What Happens When Cultural Politics... “PRIVILEGE-CHECKING,” “VIRTUE-SIGNALING,” AND “SAFE SPACES”: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN CULTURAL POLITICS IS PRIVATIZED AND THE BODY REPLACES ARGUMENT KENNETH J. SALTMAN In what follows I discuss three expressions about symbolic power and social privilege that have wide usage and popularity in online media culture and everyday speech but that are largely unused in scholarly academic discourse. Two of these expressions, “privilege checking” and “safe space,” can be found in campus projects sponsored by student groups and offi ces of institutional diversity and inclusion that aim to infl uence campus culture. The expression “virtue-signaling” refers to the act of expressing online outrage about injustice by a privileged person to other privileged people in order to elevate symbolic standing. Both online and on campus the terms “privilege checking” and “safe space” belie an effort to educate students and others into speech and behavioral practices that are intended to represent the symbolic interests of historically oppressed minorities. While class, racial, ethnic, gender, sexual, and other forms of historical privilege are all too real, destructive, and determining of life opportunities, I am questioning here how, since the 90’s, efforts to challenge privilege have moved away from public engagement and toward private and personal forms http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png symploke uni_neb

"Privilege-Checking," "Virtue-Signaling," and "Safe Spaces": What Happens When Cultural Politics is Privatized and the Body Replaces Argument

symploke , Volume 26 (1) – Nov 28, 2018

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 symploke.
ISSN
1534-0627

Abstract

“PRIVILEGE-CHECKING,” “VIRTUE-SIGNALING,” AND “SAFE SPACES”: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN CULTURAL POLITICS IS PRIVATIZED AND THE BODY REPLACES ARGUMENT KENNETH J. SALTMAN In what follows I discuss three expressions about symbolic power and social privilege that have wide usage and popularity in online media culture and everyday speech but that are largely unused in scholarly academic discourse. Two of these expressions, “privilege checking” and “safe space,” can be found in campus projects sponsored by student groups and offi ces of institutional diversity and inclusion that aim to infl uence campus culture. The expression “virtue-signaling” refers to the act of expressing online outrage about injustice by a privileged person to other privileged people in order to elevate symbolic standing. Both online and on campus the terms “privilege checking” and “safe space” belie an effort to educate students and others into speech and behavioral practices that are intended to represent the symbolic interests of historically oppressed minorities. While class, racial, ethnic, gender, sexual, and other forms of historical privilege are all too real, destructive, and determining of life opportunities, I am questioning here how, since the 90’s, efforts to challenge privilege have moved away from public engagement and toward private and personal forms

Journal

symplokeuni_neb

Published: Nov 28, 2018

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