This post is for this commenter who in part wrote:
From what I can see you are doing phd on the most bogan of interests, you call that culture? Youâ€™re a fucking absolute moron. And I am GLAD you donâ€™t get any pussy. Fucking eat shit and die and I hope to christ you fucking die.
Obviously this person has not read Raymond Williams, but that is cool! I am the one doing a PhD in Cultural Studies. Indeed a large part of my thesis involves exploring this notion of ‘interest’, what I call ‘enthusiasm’.
The below is from my new introduction which I started writing the other day to fit with the dissertation reorganisation. It is beginning to feel like a very good decision!! Hopefully this shall explain where I am coming from in terms of ‘enthusiasm’ and it may explain to Fuck You Homo how I have my own anxieties about my PhD.
Within these discursive regimes [organised around ‘grunt’ and ‘performance’] are particular rules that are cultural but which determine the socio-technical relations of an enthusiasm as a structuration of affect. An obvious example is that amongst enthusiasts it is perceived to be fine to swap motors from another car of the same make, this happens all the time, but it is very bad to swap across different makes of engine and car. This is a fundamental â€˜ruleâ€™ of modified-car culture. The engine here is an expression of a complex of technology and identity. There is a lineage of identity across the ensemble of vehicles produced by a manufacturer. The globalisation of the automotive industry in Australia since the early 1980s has troubled many of these discursive rules. However it is clear that questions of identity in these lineages still overcode questions of technological capacity or performance. In the next chapter I shall outline how I am drawing on Foucaultâ€™s archival methodology to look at relations of enthusiasm compared to Foucaultâ€™s focus on relations of rationality. Instead of a â€˜truthâ€™ being at stake, it is a feeling that the relation is â€˜rightâ€™. To continue with the same example, it feels right that a Ford motor powers a Ford car, but if a Chev motor is fitted to the Ford then it is somehow â€˜wrongâ€™. Of course, there are various exceptions, for example the â€˜Hemiâ€™ motor (or basic design of the Hemi) has been used in drag racing for decades in many different vehicles. This is because the Hemi has achieved a certain singular status against which other technical designs are measured. It forms its own series or lineage of identity. The relation of the Ford and Chev motor is one amongst many including aesthetic, performance-based and cultural determinations. The relation is not one of rationality but of enthusiasm. It may be very smart to fit a Chev motor to a Ford car as the parts for Chev motors are generally cheaper in Australia. It would be â€˜truthfulâ€™ is the sense of fulfilling the general coordinates of the â€˜gruntâ€™ discourse of technological performance, but this doesnâ€™t make it â€˜rightâ€™. The multiplicity of these relations forms the organisational structuration of the enthusiasm. Similarly my feeling of being a traitor [to my enthusiasm] expressed above is in part because it muddies the relations of my enthusiasm. It feels â€˜wrongâ€™. It is not a question of rationality. I can rationally understand that this entire dissertation could be understood as a tribute to my enthusiasm that I once shared with others, but it is not about rationality, it is a question of enthusiasm. Doing a scholarly dissertation on modified-car culture feels wrong like putting a Chev motor in a Ford.