Legibility, Illegibility, Anti-Legibility

suspended

Well-known member
Goffman has a concept he calls "dramatic realization"

The basic idea is that certain parts of your job or life that you work or excel at don't naturally "come through." The effort, or your abilities, are somewhat hidden. And so people do this work of dramatic realization where they work to make visible these qualities or hidden facts. Maybe work you do for employer, they don't see, and so you off-handedly mention "oh yeah I was up late last night fixing bugs in the login flow" around him so he knows.

But this can be really problematic at a systematic level, because people get rewarded for what their employes or customers can see, and this legibility distortion field really messes with incentives, leads really important load-bearing but invisible work to get defunded, while high-visibility stuff gets outsized support.

e.g. Goffman quotes a study by Edith Lentz on the differences in visible work for surgical vs. medical nursing staff:
The things which a nurse does for post-operative patients on the surgical floor are frequently of recognizable importance, even to patients who are strangers to hospital activities. For example, the patient sees his nurse changing bandages, swinging orthopedic frames into place, and can realize that these are purposeful activities.
Medical nursing... The physician's diagnosis must rest upon careful observation of symptoms over time where the surgeon's are in larger part dependent on visible things. The lack of visibility creates problems on the medical nurse. A patient will see his nurse stop at the next bed and chat for a moment or two with the patient there. He doesn't know that she is observing the shallowness of the breathing and color and tone of the skin. He thinks she is just visiting.
 

HMGovt

Bamber Clatscoigne
Three cheers for anarchism by Scott is good. I didn't finish the art of not being governed, but I got the gist of what Zomia means. Seeing like a state is on my list.
 

WashYourHands

Cat Malogen
Goffman has a concept he calls "dramatic realization"

The basic idea is that certain parts of your job or life that you work or excel at don't naturally "come through." The effort, or your abilities, are somewhat hidden. And so people do this work of dramatic realization where they work to make visible these qualities or hidden facts. Maybe work you do for employer, they don't see, and so you off-handedly mention "oh yeah I was up late last night fixing bugs in the login flow" around him so he knows.

But this can be really problematic at a systematic level, because people get rewarded for what their employes or customers can see, and this legibility distortion field really messes with incentives, leads really important load-bearing but invisible work to get defunded, while high-visibility stuff gets outsized support.

e.g. Goffman quotes a study by Edith Lentz on the differences in visible work for surgical vs. medical nursing staff:

disagree in that such quotes are highly generalised takes on nursing realms, Foucault did it with madness and civilisation

you could go further and say agency becomes illegible in certain large institutions or bureaucracies, how do you even recover it? too knackered to move further on this tonight
 

luka

Well-known member
i see no one worked out what this thread is about thought ive been gone 13 hours
 

suspended

Well-known member
i see no one worked out what this thread is about thought ive been gone 13 hours
Opacity, transparency, being open, being vulnerable, being predictable, being unpredictable. Donkeyspace, the metagame, darkness, light, vision, blindness, order, entropy, information, surveillance, control.
 

linebaugh

Well-known member
Does anyone enjoy anything that they dont find legible? Luka might lie and say he does but we all know thats not true
 

linebaugh

Well-known member
I dont know exactly where the lines of enjoyment-emotion-understanding are drawn but I dont think they can be completely seperated
 

suspended

Well-known member
Great question

I think some people like things that are just barely inside their horizon of your comprehension, like you can just sorta understand what it's gesturing at, but the whole thing is cloaked in mystery and obscurantism or esotericism, you sorta feel like you're getting access to some divine secrets that others are unable to access
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
index.php


Let's keep it simple we can talk about the image, this image only, there's so much here @linebaugh @luka @thirdform @woops @Leo @craner @IdleRich @version @snav @toko @nomadologist
That image isn't visible to me... or is that the point?
 

toko

Well-known member
Personally speaking, illegibility often sparks an intellectual curiosity. I wanted to make Heidegger legible, I wanted to understand what those words meant. It also, however, I think serves as a kind of gatekeeping function--theories, art, media are often artificially made illegible to exclude. Its, I think a central problem of social sciences today, it may be inadvertent but most text is totally indecipherable to the general public... see here
 

Attachments

  • Screen Shot 2021-12-03 at 7.35.17 PM.png
    Screen Shot 2021-12-03 at 7.35.17 PM.png
    345.3 KB · Views: 3

Clinamenic

θερμοδυναμικός καπιταλιστής
Gatekeeping, and what about advancing the material of their profession, perpetually generating new subject matter to warrant ongoing research? I general I think this practice is often warranted, but, like you said, can also be artificial. Graham Harman said pretentiousness is an "occupational hazard" for philosophers.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Goffman has a concept he calls "dramatic realization"

The basic idea is that certain parts of your job or life that you work or excel at don't naturally "come through." The effort, or your abilities, are somewhat hidden. And so people do this work of dramatic realization where they work to make visible these qualities or hidden facts. Maybe work you do for employer, they don't see, and so you off-handedly mention "oh yeah I was up late last night fixing bugs in the login flow" around him so he knows.

But this can be really problematic at a systematic level, because people get rewarded for what their employes or customers can see, and this legibility distortion field really messes with incentives, leads really important load-bearing but invisible work to get defunded, while high-visibility stuff gets outsized support.
Like in football when a player is fouled but it doesn't trip him so he makes a meal of it and throws himself down to get the freekick he was entitled to anywsy
 

shakahislop

Well-known member
Three cheers for anarchism by Scott is good. I didn't finish the art of not being governed, but I got the gist of what Zomia means. Seeing like a state is on my list.
the idea of just re-naming a whole bit of the world which isn't anything to do with currently existing countries, or countries which have ever existed, is an absolute masterstroke. i keep trying to do it with other parts of the world but it never catches on. i've been referring to southern england as Greater Didcot for a while now.
 
Top