Re: [OPE-L] Scare Quotes (note 'Scare Quotes')

From: Jerry Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Thu Dec 08 2005 - 09:02:37 EST


I see nothing wrong with Ruccio's  usage of quotation marks in the
excerpts below.  If you will read a few descriptions of  scare quotes
on the Net, you will see that their are appropriate and legitimate
usages.  From the wikipedia entry:

"In spite of their pejorative label, such quotes may be used
legitimately.  An author who uses quotation marks in such a manner
may do so in order to disclaim responsibility for the words, or
to emphasize that in the context a specialized or narrow or historical
sense is being suggested."

Ruccio is simply disclaiming responsibility for the words [law,
economy] below.

What is _more_ objectionable, imo, is the purposeful use
of an expression which has a pejorative implication  to dismiss
another's perspectives.  It seems to me to border on being an act of
the writing police to object, or even call attention to, whether an
author uses quotation marks in a context other than to identify a
direct quotation.   What you call scare quotes have been used by
most radical and Marxist writers of all perspectives -- most notably
Karl Marx (see e.g. the "Marginal Notes on Wagner"  which is
chock full of them).

Perhaps most objectionable to a writer calling attention to the usage
of 'scare quotes' (note 'scare quotes') by another writer, is that the
discussion often shifts from content to writing style.  This is generally
an unwanted consequence for the person who originally calls attention
to the scare quotes.  Isn't that just what happened now?  By
highlighting scare quotes you have encouraged me to write this post.

In solidarity, Jerry


"The specificity of Marx's concept of value ... instead of being an
expression of an underlying `law' [note scare quotes] of the division
of labor ... is now seen to be a way of focusing on the cultural and
political mechanisms whereby diverse communities are stripped of their
identities and needs in order to be molded into the subjects of a
single economic calculus."

"Thus, the ``economy'' [note scare quotes again] would emerge not as a
primitive foundation, an independent and singular underlying reality,
but as a forced attempt to create a closed space whose principle of
existence is based on negation of social specificity, heterogeneity,
and openness"

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