1. Choose an issue of interest to you from among reports of current events. Some examples from the past are:

VATICAN CITY (Associated Press) Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany, the Roman Catholic Church’s leading hard-liner, was elected pope Tuesday in the first conclave of the new millennium. He chose the name Benedict XVI and called himself “a simple, humble worker.”

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Friday defended the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy banning openly gay people from serving in the U.S. military amid a new push by critics in Congress to repeal it. I know there is some interest in the subject, as there is almost continuously. In the meantime, we try to implement the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy the best we can,” Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, the top U.S. military officer, told a meeting of the American Society of Newspaper Editors.
COLUMBIA, SC (NY Times) President Bush took his campaign to overhaul Social Security to the friendly territory of South Carolina on Monday, telling a joint session of the Legislature that he was open to a variety of ideas to fix the retirement program’s long-term solvency problems.

2. Respond to each of the following in roughly one to three paragraphs:

a. Events are typically described either by news reports or commentators. Retell the events using the “language game” associated with an alternative “collectivity” other than the one from which the original description arose. Gay rights activists, feminists, fundamentalist Christians, big business interests, labor unions members, law enforcement personnel, drug dealers, retired people, teens, mental health professionals, fashion designers, taxi drivers, waitpersons, etc. are all examples of acceptable collectivities. You are encouraged, but not required, to select a collectivity with which you are personally familiar. (Note: Individuals generally belong to a number of collectivities. A feminist might also be a police officer, a drug dealer, a business executive, a retired person, a mental health professional, a teen, or a taxi driver, for instance, and may well alternate among various associated language games in response to the relevant social circumstances.) Avoid using the ideological language games associated with the conventional conservatives versus liberals, right versus left, Republicans versus Democrats debate that prevails in our contemporary political climate.

b. Select approximately two to four binary oppositions that are implied in the text and, if applicable, describe what is “left out” and identify which term is privileged and which is marginalized. Identify any associated “collectivities” that may be privileged or marginalized in the various language games.

c. Deconstruct a portion of the text (from a sentence to a paragraph), that is, retell what is said in such as way as to bring out the ideas that are suppressed and/or hidden by the original text. Attach/insert the text being deconstructed. An example of a deconstructed text is below.

d. Use your imagination, be creative and, to the extent possible, have fun with this assignment.

to be printed or typed in an easily-readable 12 point font, Times Roman preferred, double spaced, with one inch margins all around. The completed paper, not including any outside text attached or inserted, should be roughly four to five pages in length.

Deconstruction and Binary Oppositions

Original Text

In recent years, there has been a call for the election of various constituencies of the corporation to the board. Corporations, of course, have many more stakeholders than shareholders and the case is made that if directors are expected to take into account the interests of the stakeholders when they are making decisions, then it is only common sense to have representatives of all stakeholders on the board. From this point of view, (a) board of a large public corporation should include women, minorities, consumer advocates . . . and that the guiding factor in putting together a board should be obtaining the maximum possible diversity of views. . . . When a board is made up of representatives of various stakeholders of the corporation, it operates quite differently from the traditional board. Indeed, it basically becomes a political institution with the members negotiating with each other to obtain a larger share of rewards for their constituents. Under such circumstances, the traditional activities of a board??”assessing management, preparing strategic plans, dealing with social and ethical issues??”in the hope of maximizing the value of the assets of the enterprise for all quickly becomes redundant.

Text Deconstructed drawing upon Theatrical Terminology

In modern times, there have been threats to the script we had written for our morality plays. We have always known that to control the commoners we needed to give them . . . hope for deliverance and redemption through wise repentance. . . Now these watchers want to select performers from their own body of supporters to play the parts on the stage. . . . They even want to set rules . . . Ridiculous! . . . those of us who are in on the secret really know that all those groups who are proposing changes cannot share with us the job of directing.

Some Binaries in the Original Text

Value for all/value for some

Source: Bradshaw, Patricia (1996). Women as constituent directors: Re-reading current texts using a feminist-postmodernist approach. In D. M. Boje, R. P. Gephardt, Jr, and T. J Thatchenkery (eds.) Postmodern management and organizational theory. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, pp. 109-115.

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