Tragic Displacements in the Pursuit of a Sign: Analyzing the Discourse Produced on “Tragedy” as a Subject of Knowledge
Emad A. Alqadumi
Abstract: This essay seeks to shed light on the process of producing knowledge on a sign in language called “tragedy.” It attempts to illustrate how the knowledge produced on “tragedy” is nothing but a tragic redeployment of disparate material. Like any other sign in language, including words such as “scholar,” “critic,” “academy,” “university,” and even “knowledge,” the “word” tragedy can mean whatever a community wants it to mean; it can be defined and redefined interminably. As this essay demonstrates, the narrative produced on “tragedy” under the guise of knowledge is mainly based on a sterile process of displacing formerly produced narratives, knowledge, from one cultural boundary to another. The process of displacement occurs at the level of word, paragraph, book, institution, and so on. Given this fact, the pursuit of the meaning of “tragedy” becomes ceaseless, inaccessible, and perilous, as the process may involve economic exploitation and ideological subjection. Because the totality of the existing process of displacement is not visible for the class of critics, professors, scholars, or thinkers, this essay regards them as a class of displaced monks conducting their rituals of displacing narratives on “tragedy” in the modern monasteries conservatively referred to as universities.
Keywords: tragedy, discourse analysis, literature, language
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Published in 2018