Becomings or fixity?
Intersectional challenges to reductive power relations
Keywords:Social Acceleration, Intersectional eugenics, Becomings, Fixing inequalities
This paper examines the notion of acceleration as simultaneously dynamic and fast moving but underpinned by legacies from an earlier age that inform their development and the ways in which they inflect social life. It shows how sites of dynamic social acceleration can shift and change its focus over time, while (implicitly) maintaining the same logic of unequal power relations. In order to produce social justice and equality, it is, therefore, necessary to understand the logic and ideologies that underpin social relations and technological developments. The paper starts by illustrating the ways in which social acceleration is both longstanding and constitute ideologies of their time. It then considers the thinking of the UK psychologist Francis Galton, the cousin of Charles Darwin, and the legacy of his work. The third section presents the theoretical resources on which the paper draws. The paper then considers three examples of measurements that reproduce unequal power relations by fixing inequalities in their assumptions, even though they exemplify social acceleration. The three examples are parenting styles, unconscious bias and algorithms. The final main part of the paper considers possibilities for change by briefly historicising statistics and considering how they can be rethought. It also briefly discusses insider resistance to ideological fixity that reproduces and amplifies social inequalities of, for example, racialisation, gender and social class.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Ann Phoenix
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