Anthropology, Linguistics and now, Economics?

I was definitely not expecting to head in this sort of direction. It made sense to understand literature through the eyes of a linguist, as language and text are directly related. Anthropology makes sense in this context as well as writing is derived from different people among many cultures. But economics deals with money and the economy. It removes us from the liberal arts field we’ve all decided to dwell in, forcing us once again to view literature in a brand new, perhaps more obscure way. Literature is compared to the economy and microeconomics exists as a close-reading analogy. The idea lies in zooming in or zooming out, seeing the big picture or only seeing one small aspect of it. In any field these opposing ideas have their pros and cons, but what makes literature truly comparable to the economy? The article suggests that these two ideas are not antithetical and that they both seek to share information about a given piece. Macroeconomics addressing anxieties in the text but suggesting that the text should not be taken apart – very anti post strucuralist… The text must be seen as a whole, stitched together for a bigger purpose. This is truly antithetical of what we’ve been learning. Instead of picking the text apart, we’re supposed to look at it with a wiser eye, thus seeing the big picture. Does this simplify things, are we off the hook? Is it acceptable not to take the text so seriously? Is it okay to understand using a “less deep” method?

3 thoughts on “Anthropology, Linguistics and now, Economics?”

  1. I think this relates to economics mostly in terms of the prefixes micro and macro. I feel like the rest is using economics as a way to illustrate the functioning of these modifiers. I think it is okay to study things this way, but one method should not be at the expense of the other. I think this was sufficiently addressed in the text, but as the macro continues to develop it will become more and more tempting to begin disregarding the “archaic” method of literary analysis. I wonder if there will come a time where our current method gets referred to as “old school” and something like the digital humanities becomes more of the standard. I keep thinking of our tendency to privilege one thing over another, like the working of binary oppositions and the priviledging of speech over writing we read about earlier. Will we be able to accept both into a well rounded method or will we start playing favorites once the technology starts picking up. Or maybe we should – maybe once the technology develops it will just be better than the method we know now. It might just be better and we would be fools to continue reading like the ancient civilizations when such a superior method is before us. If we can study 1000 books before we could have studied one isn’t it better? Is there value in the act or only the destination?

  2. “Instead of picking the text apart, we’re supposed to look at it with a wiser eye, thus seeing the big picture. Does this simplify things, are we off the hook? Is it acceptable not to take the text so seriously? Is it okay to understand using a ‘less deep’ method?”

    I feel as english majors we are so focused on finding the deepest interpretation we can in a text. Connecting with the author, or with the idea. But I don’t think the text needs to be picked apart to have an understanding. Close reading is obviously the best example of disecting a work. Using a “less deep” method could actually benefit us as the reader. Instead of focusing on one specific idea, we can give our attention to every aspect of the writing as a whole.

    Shannen Coleman

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