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True love stories : the tropical production and authorization of meaning Aoki, Douglas Sadao 1992

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TRUE LOVE STORIESTHE TROPICAL PRODUCTION AND AUTHORIZATION OF MEANINGbyDOUGLAS SADAO AOKIB.Sc., The University of Alberta, 1976A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF ARTSinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIESDepartment Of Anthropology And SociologyWe accept this thesis as conformingTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAJune 1992© Douglas Sadao Aoki, 1992to the required standardIn presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study . I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission .(Signature)Department of	 Anthropology and SociologyThe University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate	 26 April 1993DE-6 (2/88)11ABSTRACTThe reason that modern love is not postmodern is that it insists on beingpsychological . The reason that sociology treats of love so poorly is that it insists on notbeing poststructuralist . This project inverts this double steadfastness, in order tosociologize love as a production of its own tropes, and move from feelings to discoursewithout leaving feelings behind. Love's emotional body is not denied by apoststructuralist sociology, but poststructuralist theory recognizes that both the body andsociology are radically textualized . This realization puts into doubt canonical notions offeeling and fact, truth and validity, lucidity and experience, reality and representation.What emerges is literally academic literature : true love stories. As Hannah Arendt writes,"We who for the most part are neither poets nor historians are . . . [nonetheless] preparingthe way for `poetry ' , . . . [as if] we are . . . constantly expecting it to erupt in some humanbeing."The poetics of love manifest in flights of metaphors . Then the discourse of love isdistinguished by how those metaphors infloresce its meanings . If love is constitutedthrough its tropes, any definition of it cannot but fail . This is not a descent into romanticnonsense, but a shift to a different sense of love . Love becomes open to all thepolymorphous movement and play of the poststructuralist sign . Yet modern love is thetropical discourse that denies its tropicality, for modern love is love that claims that it isreal. The credibility of this fiction can only be maintained through a puissant regime oftruth, one which aligns love with a narrow rhetoric of Nature and mystery : "Love is justthat way"; "Love explains itself," "Love is love ." If such homey platitudes are readcarefully enough, they betray themselves as devices of brutal, constitutive closure . Theimperative of a poststructuralist sociology of love is to deprive the modernistconsciousness of such conceptual orthopaedics, in order to force it to open itself to lesscomforting but more compelling fictions .Table of ContentsAbstract	 iiTable of Contents	 iiiList of Figures	 ivAcknowledgments 	 vPrologues :	 11: Caveat Lector	 12: Singing Extempore Upon a Plainsong 	 13: (Post) Modern Love	 3Chapter One : Love's Body	 8Chapter Two : The Point Is to Make Us Bold, Agile, Subtle, Intelligent 	 162.1 : Love as Sociology : Discourse, Reading, Clarity	 162.2 : The Regimes of Truth and Disciplinary Boundaries 	 322.3 : Specularity and the Transparency of the Text 	 352.4: The Blurring of Genres 	 472.5: As If We Expect Poetry to Erupt in Some Human Being 	 52Chapter Three: The Trope: Love Is a Flight of Metaphors 	 62Chapter Four : The Discipline of Love : Theorizing Meaning and Politics	 744.1 : There Is No Such Thing as Just Communication	 744.2: Politics and Parole : The Insertion of Real Words into the Body of Love 	 854.3 : Reading Context into Being Through the Tropes of Love 	 954 .4: The Subjective Experience and Seductive Explanations of Love 	 1184 .5 : Seeking Love in the Gaps of Discourse 	 127Epilogue: Mapping the Map	 132Postscripts	 136Works Cited	 137ivList of Figures:Figure 1 : What do the feelings of love mean?	 13Figure 2 : Ideal communication	 49VAcknowledgmentsSurely Walter Benjamin's contention that what people need most is good counselwas never more true than for a bemused graduate student struggling to write true lovestories. I was thrice-blessed with the discerning counsel of my committee, Ken Stoddart,Elvi Whittaker, and Aruna Srivastava . I owe much to my colleagues, Ann Travers, MaryDes Chene, and Catherine Milsum, for the generosity of their reading and affirmationwhen that generosity was badly needed; to my parents, Ted and June Aoki, for theiradvice and support; and to my friend David Jardine, for his sometimes pointed criticismand always cherished friendship . My heartfelt thanks goes to all of them, but ultimatelythis manuscript must be dedicated to Kirsten Sigerson, who always knew more about lovethan I did .1Prologue (1):Caveat LectorI could do much worse than begin with Erving Goffman:I ask that these papers be taken for what they merely are : exercises, trials,tryouts, a means of displaying possibilities, not establishing fact. Thisasking may be a lot, for the papers are proclamatory in style, as muchdistended by formulary optimism as most other endeavors in this field.Forms of TalkPrologue (2):Singing Extempore Upon a PlainsongOnce upon a time, descants were always sung . They were free-running sopranocounterpoint to the tenor melodies : "Twenty doctors expound one text twenty ways, aschildren make descant upon plainsong" (William Tyndale) .' Hence the title of thisprologue, which comes from a 1597 text by Thomas Morley . The meaning of descantsoon changed, and kept on changing. As a result, "this is a puzzling term because of itsapplication at different periods to somewhat different things ; most musical works ofreference leave difficulties in the mind of the careful reader . . . ." By 1667, ChristopherSimpson, in his Compendium of Practical Musick, was writing of "The Form of FigurateDescant . . . what else Art and Fancy can exhibit ; which as different Flowers and Figuresdo set forth and adorn the Composition ." Thus the meaning of descant had widened toencompass both the composition of counterpoint and the music itself, with a notableemphasis on figuration . Subsequently, it became even less specific, to simply denote asong or melody . Yet the word also narrowed, at least in one dimension, to mean theupper, treble, or soprano voice in part-music (thus descant clef ), while simultaneouslybroadening to include the instrumental voice (thus descant recorder, descant viol, andPlainsong is the "ritual melody of the Western Christian Church" (Scholes 1970, 813).Unless otherwise noted, all citations in this paragraph are from Scholes 1970, p 288 .2even descant sackbut) . Today, descant has not only retained all these variations played onit through its history, it has also become the mimicry of itself—that is, it also means anunextemporized imitation of the effect of descant (fauxbourdon or Faburden) (Scholes1970, 290).Yet this is not the final word on descant, not by far . Though descant arose in song,early on—at least as early as the sixteenth century—it was spoken outside music properas a term of rhetoric, without losing the musical traces of its etymology. This traditioncontinues today. Thus, in what the Second Edition of The Oxford English Dictionarycalls transferred usage, descant has come to mean "a variation from what is customary"and a shift of descant, "a shift in argumentative position—a change of `tune .' Thismeaning of variation slides through "varied comment" to "observation" and "criticism."Again, the meanings broaden: a descant is also and more generally a "disquisition,dissertation, or discourse," or, as an infinitive, to descant is to discourse or to make adisquisition or dissertation (all these definitions are from the Second Edition of TheOxford English Dictionary).So if I claim that this thesis is a descant, which of these meanings should be readinto it? The answer is all of them, in one form or another . True Love Stories slants andloops repeatedly through variation, figuration, composition, observation, criticism,discourse, imitation, art fancy, and more. If the technical definitions of part-song arenowhere explicitly invoked, counterpoint and voice nonetheless furnish pretty tropes forthe leitmotifs of polysemy and articulation which run through this text. More importantly,the significance and the signifying of descant cannot be restricted to, or totalized by,definition or taxonomy . Meaning is contingent upon histories which are narrated bothoutside of and intersecting with etymology. Thus, if descant is read as discourse, TrueLove Stories is an unsubtle invocation of Roland Barthes' Fragments d'un discoursamoureux; the derivation of descant from the Old French deschant prefigures thederivation of this text from contemporary French theory ; the specific connotation of3discourse keys multiple connotations of Derrida, Foucault, Deleuze, Spivak, and otherpoststructuralists ; the specific connotation of descant's figuration foreshadows True LoveStories' obsession with tropes ; and on and on. Indeed, it is this very complex,fragmented, indeterminate, and reticulated form of meaning of descant, more than anyparticular content of meaning, which prefigures how this text will theorize and practicemeaning in general . All of this will become both more elaborate and more muddy as thisthesis warbles and shifts its tune, which leads to something which is simultaneouslyanother caveat and another tease: the term descant is obviously obscure, or, to be moregenerous, most likely unfamiliar, and it was deliberately chosen for that reason . Whatfollows is a text that aspires, in relatively good faith, to leave difficulties in the mind ofthe careful reader.Prologue (3):(Post) Modern LoveNever gonna fall for modern loveDavid Bowie, "Modern Love"It is fashionable in the academy to regard romantic love as modern love—in other(very un-Bowiesque) words, as a creation of the particular historical and social conditionsof the eighteenth and nineteenth century West (Gillis 1988, 87 ; Stone 1988, 19) . This is aprofoundly sociological sensibility. However, while sociologists are fond of writing aboutlove once removed, that is, about its institutionalization as marriage and family(Hale 1990, 325-353; Lundy and Warme 1986, 249-267 ; Bernard 1982 ; Bellah et al.1985, 85-112), they avoid engaging it directly . 2 Instead, they default love qua love to2 CD-ROM sociofile indexes 10,203 papers under marriage or family that were published insociological journals between January 1974 and April 1992 inclusive . Only 109 papers are indexed underlove (not including 33 which are also indexed under marriage or family) . 21 of these are social psychology4philosophers, physiologists, poets, and especially psychologists, and thereby betray theirexegetical prejudices . 3 Despite lip-service to the discourse of the social production oflove, sociologists work within an alternative and essentialist discourse, one whichassumes love is individual, natural, innate, and somebody else's business (in the terms ofHenny Youngman, "Take this business of loveplease") . Hence, for noted sociologistArlie Russell Hochschild, "[e]motion . . . is a biologically given sense" (1983, 219) . Thisis a profoundly psychological sensibility . Since the orthodox sociology of love, everconscious of its disciplinary mandate of group process, is practiced at or above theanalytical level of marriage and relationships, it is thoroughly contingent on suchessentialist presuppositions . Resistance to Hochschild's biology of emotion wouldtherefore have radical ramifications for the discipline . Such resistance has already begun.Sociological concern with emotion is relatively recent ; a decade ago, Ann Oakleycould justifiably observe that "a sociology of feelings and emotions does not exist"(1981, 40) . It was not until 1987 that the first thematic sessions on the sociology ofemotions were convened by the American Sociological Association (Kemper 1990a, 4).This was just one year after the publication of the notable interdisciplinary anthology TheSocial Construction of Emotion, edited by Rom Harre . Constructivist theory (Harr-61986a; Bedford 1986 ; Stearns 1988; Sommers 1988 ; Abu-Lughod and Lutz 1990 ; Denzin1990) was and still is pioneering in its serious consideration of the socioculturalarticles; omitting these leaves 88 . So there were more than 115 times as many sociological journalpublications in this time period on marriage and the family as there were on love . CD-ROM PsychLITindexes 521 papers under love that were published in psychological journals between January 1974 andDecember 1991 inclusive . Adding 21 social psychology papers yields a total of 542 . So psychology paperson love outnumbered sociology papers by a ratio of nearly seven to one.2 Feminist criticism is more incisive and politically cognizant than dominant sociology—it analyzesfamily and marriage in terms of patriarchy, misogyny, homophobia and capitalism (to give a very narrowand eclectic set of examples, Rubin 1976 ; Luxton 1980 ; Thorne and Yalom 1982; Pogrebin 1983;Ehrenreich 1983; Sprey 1988 ; Eichler 1988 ; Yllo and Bograd 1988 ; Okin 1989) .5construction of emotion . Through this paradigm love exceeds its psychological confinesand opens up to a broad array of academic inquiry : linguistics (Lakoff and Johnson 1980;Kovecses 1986, 1988, 1990), literary criticism (Cottom 1989) ; history (Gillis 1988;Sommers 1988), anthropology (Lutz 1990 ; Abu-Lughod 1990), and even sociology(Cancian 1987 ; Clark 1990; Denzin 1990 ; Seidman 1991) . However, constructivism'suncomfortable turn towards functionalism (Hochschild 1983, 1990 ; Harre 1986a; Armon-Jones 1986a, 1986b; Coulter 1986; Sommers 1988; Collins 1990; Hammond 1990)reveals that much of it is milder revisionism than the name suggests . Thus, Hochschild's"biological sense" is read within the emergent sociology of emotion as exemplaryconstructivism (Sommers 1988, 24 ; Stearns 1988, 20; Kemper 1990a, 3-4), even as itappropriates the Freudian "signal function" to trope emotion as both bodily sense andSocial Darwinism : "Like other senses	 hearing, touch, and smell—[emotion] is a meansby which we know about our relation to the world, and it is therefore crucial for thesurvival of human beings in group life" (Hochschild 1983, 221) . This brand ofconstructivism is obviously still strongly committed to the natural imperative . Much moreradical and provocative work is underway, but almost all of it is being done outside thedisciplinary boundaries of sociology . Consider the anthropology of Catherine A . Lutz andLila Abu-Lughod, who pursue a poststructuralist practice that I would like to translateinto sociological terms:Emotions are one of those taken-for-granted objects of both specializedknowledge and everyday discourse now becoming part of the domain ofanthropological inquiry . Although still primarily the preserve ofphilosophy and psychology within the academic disciplines, emotions arealso ordinary concerns of a popular . . . cultural discourse whoserelationship to such professional discourses is complex and only partiallycharted. Tied to tropes of interiority and granted ultimate facticity bybeing located in the natural body, emotions stubbornly retain their place,even in all but the most recent anthropological [and sociological]discussions, as the aspect of human experience least subject to control,least constructed or learned (hence most universal), least public, andtherefore least amenable to sociocultural analysis.(Abu-Lughod and Lutz 1990, 1)6Abu-Lughod and Lutz are considering emotions in general, but in this thesis I have anarrower ambition : to contest the conventional, psychologized status of the particularemotion of love. My point of departure is to elaborate on their suggestion that this statusis a discursive one, by taking discourse in the Foucaultian sense of a body of "practicesthat systematically form the objects of which they speak" (Foucault 1972, 49) . Thispronouncement of linguistic productivity breaks sharply with the modernistpreoccupation with language as communicative action—expressive of ideas and emotionslocated and originating in individuals (Cook 1987, 63) . Because meaning is constructedas referentiality in modernist social scientific and popular (common-sensical) discourses,the modernist meaning of an emotion like love is secured by the transcendental signifiedsof interiority and facticity, as noted by Abu-Lughod and Lutz . Hence the conviction,shared by both these forms of discourse, that the relation of language to love and otheremotions is the naming of internal states (Hochschild 1983, 223 ; Scherer 1988, 241;Shaver et al . 1988, 81). In this way, the semantics of love are warranted by truth, and loveitself is established as an autonomous quale (Sarbin 1986, 84 ; Armon-Jones 1986a, 44).Given that the modernist ontology of love is thus radically contingent on these particulardiscursive assumptions, its epistemology—as well as what in love often displacesepistemology—is susceptible to the scrupulous analyses of meaning initiated bystructuralists (Noth 1990, 92-103) and greatly extended by poststructuralists . Hence thecrucial relevance of Foucault, with his contention that "truth is the unacknowledgedfiction of a successful discourse" (Cook 1987, 62) ; Lyotard, with his definition ofpostmodernity as the "incredulity towards metanarratives" such as truth (1984, xxiv) ; andDerrida, with his recognition of the infinite deferral of meaning (differance) (1982). Ifpostmodern love has become incredulous of its own metanarratives, so that its truths cannow be acknowledged as infinitely differed fictions, then the success of those truths mustbe seen to turn on discursive, rather than veridical means . Then the discursive maneuversof love are no more sacrosanct than those of any other assemblages of text, and the terms7of love are fair game for a poststructuralist analytic just as much as those of any otherregime of signs. And if, therefore, it is no longer sufficient to romantically aver thatmusic be the food of love, we must nonetheless still play on, but we must play on wordswith much more care : "Words are tricky things . . . they're much more tricky than violins"(Ondaatje 1992, 37) . A sociology that would seriously engage with love is thereforedriven to become different from what sociology is and has been ; it is driven to reflexivelytransform itself in poststructuralist fashion, in order to articulate love at all."About love you can say anything, but you don't know what to say . Love exists,and that's about it . You love your mother, God, a woman, little birds and flowers : theterm, become the leitmotif of our deeply sentimental culture, is the most stronglyemotional one in our language, but also the most diffuse, vague, and unintelligible."(Baudrillard 1990, 99) If the term love is indeed a leitmotif of our culture—our society—it is intriguing that sociology, which styles itself as the serious analysis of society (Lundyand Warme 1986, 8; Hale 1990, 2), has all but ignored it . To translate Roland Barthes'observation about photography into this text's concern with love, sociology suspiciouslycircumvents love when it reduces it to the "disincarnated and disaffected socius whichscience is concerned with" (1981, 74) . A clue to the nature of this evasion is Baudrillard'sreference to love as a "term ." In other words, he is—and I am—talking about words,language, discourse, writing : the terms of the poststructuralist project . Thepoststructuralist proposition is that the lacunae of the domains of sociology are nothappenstances ; they are consequences of the methods and theories (and tropes) thediscipline has heretofore authorized (Game 1991, 4) . Suppressed in one or more of theselacunae, love requires the approaches of an unauthorized sociology, and this text is anattempt to partially address that need . About love, Baudrillard says, I can say anything . . .8Chapter One:Love's BodyThe characteristic poststructuralist shift to discourse does not deny extradiscursivereality, as some critics of poststructuralism maintain. Instead, it simply recognizes thatmeaning in general is crucially and inescapably (although not totally) a matter ofdiscourse . What is denied is therefore not the existence of the `real' world, but rather itssovereignty with respect to generalized language (the regimes of signs) ; what is denied isthe foundational assumption that the world is the absolute anchor and guarantor ofmeaning—the transcendental signified—of what we say and write, of what we think andfeel . Extradiscursive reality is therefore not so much discarded as decentered.Symmetrically, considering love as discursive does not deny the bodily affects oflove, but rather displaces their referential primacy with respect to their own discourse.This strategy is willfully perverse, working against the grain of the idees revues d'amourin order to reveal and press upon the necessary limits of that received wisdom . Moreimportantly, the strategy is to not just transform or penetrate those limits, but to inverttheir very form. Thus, the ineffability of love is commonly seen as betraying theinadequacy of language before the profundity of the human heart, as the failure oflanguage before its own referential limitations—this is "I can't tell you how much I loveyou" as "I don't have the words to tell you how much I love you ." My poststructuralistsuggestion is that the feelings which are misrecognized as love are instead the physicalsymptoms of their own selective suppression of discourse . To exploit Michelle Rosaldo'slovely phrase, love is the "silence discerned" in discourse itself (1984, 147), rather thansomething out there in the world, or in here in the soul, towards which that silenceindeterminately gestures. Felt passion, then, is the effect, the production, of thisdiscursive lack rather than its source—this is "I can't tell you how much I love you" as"Love means never having to say what love is ." Love is thus the hysterical symptom, inthe Freudian sense, of its own discourse .9It is this radicalization of the relation of love to discourse that will be pursued atlength in this thesis . For now, this proposition is merely put forward to prepare theground for a brief examination of its implications for the relation of love to the body. Therhetorical orthodoxy that will be unsurprisingly resisted here is the conflation of thepsychological, the bodily, and the natural . The force of this convergence drives evenconstructivist considerations of emotion. Thus, Claire Armon-Jones, although heendorses constructivism, nonetheless spurns its "strong thesis," which claims that"emotion is an irreducibly sociocultural product," in favor of its "weaker thesis," "whichconcedes to the naturalist the existence of a limited range of natural emotion responses"(1986a, 37-8), such as those held in common with non-sentient animals. Such aconcession of a "physiological substrate to emotions" (Kemper 1990a) is a tactic whichreassuringly accommodates the emotional body to its enculturation, but this reconciliationis a treacherous one, for the same gesture simultaneously refortifies a psychologicalkernel against sociological and linguistic encroachment . The trouble is that Armon-Jones'casual reinvocation of the "natural" collapses the critical difference between embodimentand naturalness (Abu-Lughod and Lutz 1990, 12) . As Foucault has trenchantly observed,the body is a favored site for discursive discipline, so it is therefore neither constant norpristine, but protean and well-traversed . "We believe . . . that the body obeys the exclusivelaws of physiology and that it escapes the influence of history, but this . . . is false. Thebody is molded by a great many distinct regimes ; it is broken down by the rhythms ofwork, rest, and holidays ; it is poisoned by food or values, through eating habits or morallaws ; it constructs resistances" (Foucault 1977d, 153) . The body cannot escape itspenetration and production by social discourse . It is infused by the circumstances andhistory it walks through . The body may be born of nature, but the manifest body is anunnatural effect—the anabolic hyperbole of Arnold Schwarzeneggar and the plastic-surgical excesses of Cher are only exaggerated American instances of the general case.The body is material—that is indisputable . But it does not follow that the body is10therefore exterior to discourse ; the logic of that particular entailment is radicallycontingent on the ideological fantasy that language is something separate from the world,and it is at the fundamental level of that fantasy that a poststructuralist reconsideration ofthe body works its resistance . The body is material because it materializes discourse . Thebody is unnatural because it is subject to both natural and unnatural overdetermination.Even the naturalness of being born is itself moot . Consider the dissemination ofintensive technologies of fertility and maieutics . Or consider that beyond or prior to theintimidating and dehumanizing machinery of modern medicine the birthing process hasbecome deeply technical, insofar as it is a matter of massive intervention, not only byobstetricians and midwives, but also by clergy and lawyers and patriarchs in general benton preserving the succession . Nor does intervention need be deliberate in order to beunnatural : is the birth of a crack baby ever a `natural birth,' whatever the circumstancesof its delivery? Natural childbirth is an oxymoron, and not just because of the recentindiscretions of Western medicine or the recent ravages of Western capitalism . Now,obviously, these few examples do not a rigorous or complete analysis of birth make. Still,these examples suggest that all of us, as creatures borne of history, are all creatures borninto a discursive order which precedes us. In this sense, one fact that makes us human isthat we are never born alone. Given that our reproduction is so deeply production, thehuman nature of our human birth is that it is denaturing . In this way, it is preciselybecause test-tube babies and surrogate mothers are specific deviations from the naturalorder that they are striking metaphors for the general unnaturalness of being born.However, birth is nonetheless natural. Or more accurately, birth is also natural . Itdoes follow the laws of physiology . The critical point is the distinction made by Foucault:those laws do not exclude other determinations . The body escapes neither its natural norits unnatural production, and that double negation pertains in particular to the body in itsorigin. Birth cannot be removed from discourse, and it cannot be totalized by nature.Birth is not hors-text. It is in this sense that the unnaturalness of the biological origin of11the body is a counter-trope to the conventions which place the analytical origin of thebody in nature . Nature does not determine birth, and Nature does not determine the body` in the last instance' . The body is never a substrate, because even at its most fundamental,constitutive level the body already bears the traces of discourse . It is never tabula rasa ; itnever was, and there is no immaculate origin to ground any conviction of naturalness . AsHelene Cixous puts it, "the body [is] . . . `always ciphered .' Anatomy, incapable ofcommanding structures, is always already in language" (Wing 1991, vii) . Theconsequences of such a displacement of the origin will be pursued below . For now, thesalient point is that the body, and therefore the bodily affects of love, are ineluctablydiscursive, their materiality or reality notwithstanding.At the everyday level, the external conformation of the body, its techniques andpostures, collectively the "body hexis" (Bourdieu 1977, 90), are learned and read ascultural texts (Abu-Lughod and Lutz 1990, 12) . The surface reading of the body is asynecdoche for its holistic exteriority ; the plasticity of posture is thus a synecdoche forthe mutability of the body in toto . "The body is the inscribed surface of events (traced bylanguage and dissolved in ideas)" (Foucault 1977d, 148), and of events traced by love anddissolved in passions . Reading these signs requires care and diligence and good fortune,but mostly it simply requires the acknowledgment that the body must indeed be read:"Written on the body is a secret code only visible in certain lights ; the accumulations of alifetime gather there" (Winterson 1992, 72) . Troping the body as palimpsest, despite itsreinscription of the bodily substrate, inverts the essentialist reduction of love to bodilyfeeling, and consequently denies the appropriation of love by human nature.Just as embodiment and nature are irreducible to each other, so too are theexperience and meaning of embodied feeling) Whether feeling originates within or1 For example: "I certainly find no feeling, or class of feelings, that marks off indignation fromannoyance, and enables me to distinguish them from one another . The distinction is of a different sort fromthis" (Bedford 1986, 16) . The distinction is in meaning .12without the body, whether it is constructed as rational or irrational, its meaning getsproduced in discourse, as Calvin and Hobbes well know (see Figure 1) . "Theachievement of a workable, well-ordered, clearly articulated emotional life in man [sic] isnot a simple matter of ingenious instrumental control, a kind of clever hydraulicengineering of affect . Rather, it is a matter of giving specific, explicit, determinate formto the general, diffuse, ongoing flow of bodily sensation; of imposing upon the continualshifts in sentience to which we are inherently subject a recognizable, meaningful order, sothat we may not only feel but know what we feel and act accordingly" (Geertz 1973d,81). Emotion, cognition, meaning, language, and the body are thus brought together . Ofthe terms that emotion subsumes in contemporary discourse, love fits this analysisparticularly well, since falling in love is "perhaps the best example of the acquisition of anew emotion experienced by most adults" (Averill 1986, 115, emphasis added) . "It is thecontinuity of thought that systematizes our emotional reactions into attitudes with distinctfeeling tones, and sets a certain scope for the individual's passions . In other words : byvirtue of our thought and imagination we have not only feelings, but a life of feeling"(Langer 1953, 372, emphasis in original).Thus feeling cannot be extracted or decontextualized from discourse, as a quale.Feeling is lived through thought and imagination . Then feeling, felt through the body, islike belief and philosophy and logic, in that it is susceptible to cultural (discursive)formation. "The development, maintenance, and dissolution of `moods,' `attitudes,'`sentiments,' and so on—which are `feelings' in the sense of states or conditions, notsensations or motives	 constitute no more a basically private activity in human beingsthan does directive 'thinking' . . . . A child counts on his [sic] fingers before he counts `inhis head;' he feels love on his skin before he feels it `in his heart. ' Not only ideas, butemotions too, are cultural artifacts in man" (Geertz 1973d, 81, emphasis added) . The shiftfrom the signification of love, by touching the body, to feeling it, in the figurative heart,13NEY,CALVIN! Az. WE NEARA SIAUGHTERNOI E, OR DIDYo' FORGET 1 NR DEZOOPANT ?'MP DEAD, SOS1E!YOU'RE SJ UGLY, I HEARYOUR MOM PUTS A. BPGOVER YOUR NERD AFORESNE KISSES YOU C~'ADNIGIIT .'!---T=NIS CAIADENSAT10N SI40R[S1IA£.CIRCUITS TD 'CWR BRAIN,AND IOU GET ALL WOOZY .7.Akg41WE1L _ . SAY 111E OB3EC3 OFYOUR AF ECTION WALKS BY_.~oo\MEDICALLYSPEAKING .NF ,11K IIAI:MED113 ME ONCE . BUTI FIGURED ITWAS CAOTIE'S!'Figure 1 : What do the feelings of love mean?	(Watterson 1987, 46)14is the discursive production of the embodied trope . Discourse is therefore material work;discourse is real . In this way, the analytically distinct terms discourse and love arematerially concatenated . "Meaning proliferates, and . . . meaning is weighted with thetabooed affections of the body" (Lecercle 1985, 66).Even the term body is not as straightforward as it might first appear . As far backas the time of the Stoics "the word `body' was used in the broadest sense, as applying toany formed content" (Deleuze and Guattari 1987, 86) . A psychic body or a political bodyor a textual body is still a body even if it is incorporeal—a body without a body . It istherefore not incoherent to regard the language of love as itself somatic . The slidebetween feeling love on the skin and feeling it in the heart is only accomplished becausethe carnal body and the cultural body coincide . To attempt to locatefeelings/emotions/love exclusively in one or the other becomes nonsensical with thiscoincidence.Finally, while the question of whether the ultimate source of love is in either thenatural body or language may be in the last instance undecidable, it may also beunimportant . In both strong and weaker constructivism—indeed, in any discourse—loveis intensely mediated by discourse, so intensely that the pursuit of the origin becomessuspect . That desire for the origin "is an attempt to capture the exact essence of things,their purest possibilities, and their carefully protected identities . . . . This search assumesthe existence of immobile forms that precede the external world of accident andsuccession. This search is directed to `that which was already there,' the image of aprimordial truth . . . . However, . . . there is `something altogether different' behind things:not a timeless and essential secret, but the secret that they have no essence or that theiressence was fabricated in a piecemeal fashion from alien forms ." (Foucault 1977d, 142)Foucault is writing here of a historical, rather than organic, origin, but the logic sustainsfor the body. His project of genealogy provides a historical trope : he works back from thepresent to explore conditions of emergence, rather than searching for a pure, distant15origin, the "primordial truth ." Analogously, this text pursues the discursive conditions ofthe emergence of love, rather than attempting to isolate its terminal origin. There is aserendipity to Foucault on this point . Substitute `love' for `history' and he turns almost(patho)poetic : love "is the concrete body of a development, with its moments of intensity,its lapses, its extended periods of feverish agitation, its fainting spells ; and only ametaphysician would seek its soul in the distant ideality of the origin" (1977d, 145).Love's body is therefore fruitfully sought in discourse .16Chapter TwoThe Point Is to Make Us Bold, Agile, Subtle, IntelligentIt is in fact a part of the function of education to help us to escape, notfrom our own time—for we are bound by that but from the intellectualand emotional limitations of our time .T. S . EliotWhat a vapid idea, the book as the image of the world.Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus2.1 : Love as Sociology: Discourse, Reading, ClarityTo seek the meanings of love through its tropes is to move from feelings todiscourse, without leaving feelings behind . Yet to make this simple recognition is indeedto make a decisive turn . "Whence a new view of I-love-you . Not as a symptom but as anaction . . . . What I want, deliriously, is to obtain the word" (Barthes 1978, 152-53,emphasis in original) . To desire the word is to disrupt convention and to make aparadigmatic shift from the psychological to the sociological . This shift is really a set ofmultiple shifts: First, it is a move away from interiority even as interiority isdeconstructed, a displacement of essence by "positionality," as Toril Moi (1988, 166)puts it . l Second, it is a relocation of truth from an independent, extradiscursive world to adiscursive "social location" (Rabinow 1986, 256) . Third, it is a replacement andrefiguring of the traditional sociological terms/concepts of culture and ideology bysocially penetrated discourse (Abu-Lughod and Lutz 1990, 9; Cottom 1989, 49-102;Foucault 1977a, 60) . Fourth, it is a tactical move from understanding language as aninstrumental usage by the modern, sovereign, individuated subject (that is, language asemployed by him as a tool), to understanding language as a social production of bothmeaning and subjectivity (that is, language as simultaneously forming and dividing himTo make a free and crude paraphrase of Moi, meaning is less an essence (a quality of an object) thanit is a relation of the divers discursive/social positions inhabited by the subject constructing the meaningand the positions in language attributed to the object .17and her and it) . Through these reorientations one paradigmatic shift maps onto another:the move from the psychology of love to the sociology of love is isomorphic to the movefrom modernism to poststructuralism . However, these four dislocations are not presentedto comprehensively define poststructuralism . No definition will be attempted here at all,because such an effort would be futile and self-defeating . The heterogeneity ofpoststructuralism so frustrates the unification of its texts and its theorizing that even therubric they are gathered under is uncertain, variable, elusive, and disputed : what is readby some as poststructuralist is read by others as structuralist ; what is read by some aspoststructuralist is read by others as postmodern ; what is one woman's postmodernism isanother's modernism; what is one man's critical theory is another's resistance to theory;what some associate with Foucault are archaeology and genealogy, but what othersassociate with Foucaultian is new historicism (Dreyfus 1982; Culler 1982 ; de Man 1986;Jencks 1989 ; Salusinszky 1987 ; Thomas 1991 ; Veeser 1989) . The attempt to nameinevitably fails, and that failure is exemplary . The terms of poststructuralism will notcooperate ; they will not stand still, remain constant, mark their boundaries, taxonomize,or coherently integrate . Instead, they pulse with refractory meanings ; they are themultiple, variably inflected, syncretic turns of language upon itself . This reflexivitydeliberately and unconcernedly unmoors the legitimating anchorage of reference . Thereis, therefore, no Archimedean point to give authority to naming-that is, there is no extra-discursive position which the `competent' reader might assume or take up in order todetermine what meaning is true, or even best. This absence of foundation generates afoundational trope : a chiasmus, in the New Historicist sense.In classic rhetoric, chiasmus is the device of syntactic inversion of identical ornearly identical groups of words (Dupriez 1991, 95) . For instance, "the text is historical;and history is textual ." This particular chiasmus, regarded as a New Historicist motto,extrapolates the classical and technical definition into the critical and poststructuralisttrope of placing two practices into reflexive relation with each other (Thomas 1991, 9 ;18Montrose 1989). Thus, in the very same way, in the very same rhetorical fashion, themeaning of poststructuralism chiasmatically tropes poststructuralist meaning theelusiveness, multiplicity, connotativity, and incoherence of the names ofpoststructuralism together constitute a metaphor for the poststructuralist understanding ofmeaning as elusive, multiple, connotative, and incoherent . Symmetrically, naming tropesmodernist meaning—the relation of name (word) and named (object/subject) ishomologous to the modernist isomorphism2 of sign and referent . But unlikepoststructuralist meaning, there is no chiasmatic relation in naming, because the latterprivileges the real world, generating a unidirectional, nonreflexive relation, anchored bythe referent. In contrast, the fluid and reflexive multiplicity of poststructuralism exceedsand undermines attempts to name it, just as it defies attempts to systematize and firmlylocate it . These divers difficulties arise from an assiduity of recursion : poststructuralismkeeps turning and returning its gaze upon itself The indeterminacy of meaning, itsdeferral, its differance, its corruption, its fluidity, its obscurity, and especially itsmotivation, are all as critically germane to the analytical apparatus as they are to theobjects of analysis . Through this reflexivity, poststructuralist uncertainty attends onpoststructuralist strategies themselves . Thus, this chapter will not chase after chimerae ofdefinitions for poststructuralism . Nonetheless, this chapter still freely deploys the termspoststructuralism and poststructuralist. This seeming paradox incarnates the heart of theheuristic in this text : an incomplete, openly partial and insufficient discourse working tocome to terms with itself.2 Isomorphism is a systematized one-to-one (functional, in the mathematical sense) mapping from onedomain to another—here from language to the real world—in which each element from one domainoperates in a parallel fashion—has parallel relations to other elements of its own domain—to the element inthe other domain with which it is associated . In other words, not only does each sign correspond to aspecific extradiscursive object, in a functional relation, the regime of signs (language) as a wholeconstitutes a parallel `world' to the world .19The first task for this less-than-total and never-totalizing discourse, a task that willbe returned to again and again, is to demonstrate that love is a felicitous entry (althoughan infelicitous speech-act) for poststructuralism into sociology . Despite the manifestlysociological concern of this text with the social production, maintenance, denial,legitimation and illegitimation of the social relations of love, its sociological nature isoften obscured . This occurs not only because the traditional deferral of love topsychology has an enormous conceptual inertia, but also because the poststructuralistanalytic has a disconcertingly foreign (mostly postmodern French, often called`Continental') accent when spoken against dominant (mainstream `English' that is,Anglo-American-Canadian- . . .) sociological discourses . 3 This disturbing unfamiliarity isonly exacerbated by the notorious density and opacity of French poststructuralist writing."Textual onanism" is what one of my disgruntled colleagues calls it.Poststructuralist theorizing is vulnerable to the charge of obfuscation, but thecriticism that it is unnecessarily difficult becomes vulnerable itself when voiced byacademics, whose own texts are often regarded as inaccessible outside of the academy.Conventionally, the accessibility of a text is determined by judging some of its immanentcharacteristics against a standard which conflates good writing with clear writing . Incontrast, poststructuralism reads accessibility as a socially and historically situated—andtherefore bounded—interplay between the text, the situation of reading, and authority.Poststructuralism recognizes and reads a refractory subtext in any judgment onaccessibility, one which continually asks, "Who or what decides the criteria of thisjudgment? What legitimates this authority?" Or, to be more concrete, "What is too3 To quote Game, "In speaking of the discipline of sociology I am well aware of the problemsassociated with typifications, particularly the danger of producing a unity, the very thing that I wouldundo" (1991, 21) . Dominant discourses may be heterogeneous 	 although Giddens is striving to put a stopto that (Game 1991, 21)—and while I am confident I will be faulted for many sins, I doubt that one of themwill be arraying continental thought against that Anglo-American- . . . polyglot .20difficult to read? Glas? Ecrits? The Phenomenology of the Spirit? Being and Time?Finnegan's Wake? The difference between "this text is inaccessible" and "I do notunderstand this text" should not be facilely elided . Inaccessibility, or obscurity, as a faultof the text, and obscurity as a predicament of the reading circumstances and the readingsubject, are distinct, though sometimes overlapping, constructions . The slippage betweenthe two is evidence of an ironic academic hubris . The density of poststructuralist texts isoften used to accuse poststructuralist theorists of intellectual arrogance, but the chargeitself is presumptuous. Some critics think they can demolish all Continental writing bythe obvious exercise of judgment, by condemning it as self-aggrandizing literaryintricacy. Yet, in making that very condemnation, the same critics are aggrandizingthemselves, by their implicit conviction that they have moved beyond the sophomoricattraction of superficial complexity to an appreciation of the genius of simplicity in`straightforward' prose.Some critics think that "they can demolish the entire French critical effort by theobvious exercise of common sense" (Salusinszky 1987, 105), but academics, andespecially sociologists, should recognize that common sense is a heterogeneous socialproduction maintained by relations of authority . Poststructuralism extends that socialcontingency to obviousness . I extend it to methods of reading and standards of goodwriting, and to the homology of the naturalization of knowledges of love to thenaturalization of common sense.Some critics think that they can demolish a poststructuralist reading of love by theobvious exercise of common sense and personal experience, but as common sense,personal experience, and obviousness are radically contingent on convention, history, andpower, none of them can prove an absolute, or even firm, ground for the determination ofwhat good writing or competent reading is . As love travels from a psychological to asociological paradigm, neither common sense nor nature nor personal experience canprove an absolute ground for knowledges of love . The meanings of all terms are open to21interrogation and movement . The convergence of love and discourse is simply this : ratherthan being an interior and psychological object or relation, love is precisely that form ofdiscourse which enables itself to be (mis)read as an interior and psychological object orrelation . The poststructuralist question, then, is not one of the truth of love, but one of thenecessities and consequences of the authorization of that truth/misrecognition . Thepoststructuralist task, then, is one of scrupulously rereading the signs of love.Derrida is the obvious example of poststructuralist reading, being the mostinfamous synecdoche for Continental writing . While his project, or rather, fragments of it,have infiltrated broadly across the humanities and the social sciences—witness theproliferation of sometimes bizarre employments of the term deconstruction—its impacthas varied widely and significantly across that range . Derrida has a huge presence inliterary criticism, a significant presence in philosophy, and a lesser but notable presencein anthropology, but he is virtually absent from sociology . Among other things, hisabsence manifests the presence in the discipline of the valorization of clarity.The criticism that Derrida is unnecessarily difficult is often phrased as somethinglike, "he could have said the same thing much more clearly ." This claim is only possibleif there is a `thing' that the text `says' ; that is, it can be sustained only if a definitivereading can be made, only if a closure of reading can be effected . This authoritativereading is in turn contingent on the transformation of a text into a vessel of signs with aparticular content, and the arrogation of that well-defined content as the meaning . 4However, fixing the meaning of Derridean texts is not only very un-Derridean in itsreiteration of the classical (modernist?) separation of meaning and text, it is also difficultto maintain, given the range of varied and often incoherent readings of those texts . More4 This criticism also presumes the validity of communication, which is itself critiqued in Chapter Fouras obscurant of the politics of meaning .22importantly, to accuse any text of being "unnecessarily difficult" is to open the possibilityof a text being necessarily difficult:Derrida is very difficult to read, but not because of any willful or perversedesire to antagonize the reader or to be deliberately obscure . It is, rather,that Derrida's philosophical position, like his method of analysis,systematically undermines the presumption of a stable interpretive contextto which a reader may habitually appeal for the determination of meaning.For just this reason, Derrida's difficult prose cannot be dismissed as anincidental irritation, nor can it be deflected by the reactionary charge that itis in some way decadent or irrational . It is, rather, a radical challenge toprevailing notions of "meaning" or "rationality" that can be ignored onlyat the cost of demonstrating that the prevailing notions prevail by force ofrepression—a point Derrida frequently underscores.(Adams and Searle 1986, 79)The difficult text makes the reader work in distinctive and potentially productiveways, by pressing its writing as a form upon her awareness, rather than trying to effaceitself as the conveyance of content . Clear writing is writing that succeeds in vanishing, atleast to the reader who discerns it as clear, so that what the text `means' becomes obviousand unequivocal . That success is its own failure . Lucidity is an alias for the pluralauthority of the closure of meaning.First, to read a text as clear writing is to presume that its meaning has been whollyseized. This is the presumption of mastery over the text ; this is the satisfaction ofcontrolling meaning ; this is the victory over other possible readings ; this is the refusal bythe apodictical reading to countenance contesting meanings . This is : Seizure . Mastery.Control . Victory. Refusal. Through these terms, the protocols of the production of clarityby the reader can be recognized and analyzed as protocols of power : the politics ofmeaning and the authority of the extant conventions of reading.Second, this exercise of power is justified by the modernist appeal to the authorityof the author . Justified, here, in at least three senses : rationalized (given logicalsubstantiation, according to a particular regime of truth), legitimated (given decisiveforce, by a particular regime of power), valorized (made fair and just, by a particularregime of ethics) . In other words, the protocols of power are given the guise of seemingly23neutral procedures of reading. Conventional resistance to the difficult text may thus beread as irritation at how the difficult text frustrates the conventional exercise of power . Toextrapolate these politics of reading into wider social/discursive relations, any reductionof discourse to a single meaning—the claim to truth by another name can be analyzedas the resort to power . To proclaim truth is an eminently political act.Third, the ideological cleavage of textuality and meaning can be understood asnecessary to the preservation of the purity of meaning from the pernicious, obfuscatingcorruption of writing and rhetoric . This is the fundamental Derridean argument about theprofound Western metaphysical denigration of writing in its privileging of speech(Derrida 1976; Norris 1982, 1987).Derrida's intervention into Western philosophy and criticism can be conned as therecognition of the operation of the politics of clarity . Not only have his texts had forcejust as they were written, but his writing has worked against readers being able to feelassured that they have accomplished the meaning of any of those texts . The critical shiftbeginning here, in this text, with Derrida, is a move from the ideal text as an immaculateconveyance of meaning to the given text as necessarily working upon and within theworld . At stake is the meaning of meaning . The play (of the text) is the thing ; meaning isineluctable from textuality (which includes the rhetorical, stylistic, tropical, structural,connotative, syntactic, grammatical, aesthetic, and concrete characteristics of the text).Then meaning is not passive but active; not content but situated production ; notapodictical but contested . The issues of meaning, play, textuality, contestation andpolitics will be developed in Chapter Four, which examines language andcommunication, but for now the point is that they coalesce around the lucidity andobscurity of the text.The immanent textuality of meaning means that substance is not separable fromstyle. "Every style embodies an epistemological decision, an interpretation of how andwhat we perceive" (Sontag 1966, 35) . Every style is a certain enabling of articulation, so24each one embodies a certain embrace of the world . Clarity, as read as a particular stylesituated within particular conventions, rather than a universalizable quality of a text,shows itself as a specific literary device . Clarity, as the absence of tropes, is itself a trope.If tropicality—style--and textuality are inseparable from the production of meaning, thenwhen we write in different ways, we must write different things	 or more to the point,we cannot write the same thing in different ways, and neither can Derrida . Culler (1982)and Norris (1982, 1987) have written deconstruction primers, which are popular anduseful in large part because they are more accessible than the primary texts whichprovoked them. Yet neither Culler nor Norris are Derrida writ simple ; neither is atranslation of Derrida's "concepts" into clear English . Culler and Norris give insightful,productive, valuable readings and commentaries, which necessarily generate differentmeanings than the difficult texts of Derrida themselves . More crucially, Culler and Norriscould not have written about deconstruction in their own ways if Derrida had not writtenit into existence first, in his own way.This digression is not meant to champion Derrida, but merely to serve notice thatthis text strives to intensively reflect upon the operations of reading and writing (notexcluding its own) as it proceeds, rather than attempting to read texts and the social worldfor some essential or intended content . This text therefore approaches sociology as apractice of reading and writing . From this orientation, the necessary lesson to be gainedfrom reading Derrida is that any text moves between different modes of obscuration andclarification, because both are productions of reading . "Those who complain that Derridawrites in a deliberately difficult way might do well to read the plain English of . ..humanists and see if it does not turn on them, when it is read carefully, as much asDerrida's writing does" (Cottom 1989, 66) . This suggests a radical imperative of goodreading : one should keep reading any text until it turns, because it is only when the textpasses from the lucidity of a single, unquestioned, objective, neutral meaning, to theobscurity of multiple, unstable, incoherent readings that the face of the politics of25meaning, in the Foucaultian sense (Foucault 1977a), shows itself . These politics are theoperations of regimes of truth, the discursive apparatuses which make certain statementsand texts function as true in particular circumstances, especially through the familiar andseductive attitudes, assumptions, omissions, intertextualities, and selective contexts bywhich the reader reads and is constituted . These politics, therefore, are about the authorityof meaning: what and who have the power to produce, determine, regulate, repress,articulate, reproduce, and reject meanings, and how that determination gets done.Through the politics of meaning, reading and writing manifest the verysociological concerns of power and its distribution . But more than that, sociologicalwriting is itself reflexively a regime of truth . For example, Stoddart (1986) demonstrateshow sociological ethnography is a radically textual politics . So in a poststructuralistsociology and in a postmodern world, where meanings and contexts proliferate and getcontested, illumination does not disperse obscurity, but surfaces it . In other words, theproblem with clear writing is that it is obscure, in the sense that it obscures its ownpolitics . Likewise, some texts are more transparent because they are more obscure, in thatthe contestation of meaning makes their politics more evident and accessible—althoughno text can fully disclose its politics . I am not valorizing obscure writing in general, for Iam not claiming that writing becomes good just by being obscure . Nor am I maintainingthat all obscure texts articulate their regimes of truth . No writer emulates Derrida simplyby obfuscating. Rather than championing obscurity, what I am doing is resisting theuncritical valorization of lucidity . I have been accused of canonizing obscurity, but Imaintain that I am doing the precisely the opposite: I am undermining the conventionallyunchallenged authority of canonical reading . In parallel fashion, this text is not awholesale indictment of clear writing; I am not claiming that clear writing is necessarilybad. Rather, I am merely proposing that clear writing has certain limits which arecustomarily obscured by its popular valorization . To read until "the text turns" is to workagainst the willful and glorified obscuration perpetrated by clarity, by applying the26familiar strategy of "making the familiar strange" (ostranenie, to the Russian Formalists[Hyde 1987]) to reading.Now, clearly (?), if a text stymies reading, it works within a difficult, hermetic,problematic politics : it seriously limits both what work it can do, and who it can work for—at least directly . Thus Derrida and other Continental writers are often attacked forbeing useless because they are inaccessible . This uselessness, this political sin, is onlypartially ameliorated by how meaning ramifies and disperses through more accessiblerereadings and rewritings . By contrast, the clear text can work more widely andimmediately . Yet its ease of reading does not liberate that text from politics . Rather, thatease implicates it in a certain (Enlightenment) regime of truth . Clarity can be a wonderfulthing in writing; poststructuralism is merely careful about what that wonderful means,what it covers, and what it covers up . Both lucidity and obscurity empower and limit, butin the historical circumstances in which this text operates, that is, within the postmodernacademy, they are hardly on equal ground, and they should therefore not be addressed inbalanced fashion. Instead, the hegemony of lucidity calls for strategic resistance . Thisagonistic heuristic locates the point of departure for this text's examination of thereticulated linkage of the lucidity of writing, the transparency of representation, thecogency of argument, the standards of validity, the sociological regime of truth, theregnancy of vision, the valorization of communication, the separation of literature anddisciplinary literature, the reduction of language to communication, the closure ofmeaning, the modernist critique of poststructuralism . For now, lucidity is the limit in thetext that this text strives to transgress.On some occasions, striving is not the issue, because lucidity is impossible . WhenI read Derrida, the text slides constantly and multilaterally between the provocative andthe difficult and the incomprehensible, so I have considerable sympathy for thosefrustrated readers who lash out at his texts—yet I do not join them . Gayatri Spivak writesthat to be a poststructuralist is to "develop a mind set which allows one not to be nervous27about the fact that what one is saying is undermined by the way one says it, radically"(1990h, 20) . Spivak, of course, can be read several ways . In this context, I read her asbeing generous towards my own predicament with her teacher, Derrida . She allows me tokeep muddling through, so even though I am often confounded by his writing, myobtuseness does not prevent me from working with his texts, although it does giveconspicuous warning that my reading is always provisional and suspect . This is just aswell, because Derrida has proven to be unavoidable—I encounter him whatever analyticalroute I take, I bump into him whichever way I turn . 5 In this way, reading Derrida servesas a trope for a more general politics of meaning and inquiry . "No one can quite articulatethe space she herself inhabits" (Spivak 1990d, 68) . Like everyone, I proceed with partialtruths, acknowledged limitations, unacknowledged biases, but I proceed in the worldanyway, both personally and academically, because I cannot avoid engaging with politicsthat I am still struggling to understand . No transcendental or natural truth serves as aground for the practice of theory, just as no Archimedean point exists for naming it, sotheorizing must instead be done on unstable and shifting bases . This is what I must do,because this is all I, or anyone, can do.This necessary instability, contingency, and uncertainty is troped by a principaltenet of deconstruction : the meaning of all texts depends on subtexts which contradictthat meaning, a thesis that is appropriately both unprovable and irrefutable. This is a tasteof a milder proposition : language is never wholly transparent, and reading is never whollyinnocent. "There is no such thing as just reading . We never just read . Justice takes onmeaning in social life, in which meaning is always contested . Whatever else it is, reading5 Of course, other people go out of their way to avoid Derrida and other poststructuralists . Some critics,angry with the obscurity and difficulty of the texts, retreat to more comfortable theory in an attempt tosimply ignore French writing. Similarly, others like right-wing ideologue Alan Bloom hope thatpoststructuralism is just a fad that will fade away and allow a return to more sensible endeavors (Bloom1987, 379) . The irony is that both responses, being manifestly reactionary and exclusive, demonstrate thepoststructuralist politicization and partialness of discourse .28is always a political act, whether or not we recognize it as such" (Cottom 1989, 70,emphasis added) . If there is no such thing as just reading, then there is no such thing as aliteral reading. No meaning is simply manifest in the text . To resist lucid writing ismerely to recognize that meaning is contested and that reading is political . The immediaterelevance is that when this text is declared as being outside the proper ambit of sociology,the appearance of words like proper should be a sociological red flag, a conspicuoussignal that value- and theory-laden judgments are being rendered and being realized.When that recognition is made, the disciplinary reading of the foreignness of this textbecomes itself readable as partisan politics of modernist xenophobia, as the suspiciousinterrogation of the Other.The standard sociological approach to something new and unfamiliar is to try toturn it into something old and comfortable . Sociology "displays a tendency to turn theemotions into variables that can be measured and studied in first one and then anotherarea of sociological specialization (for example, organizations, stratification, smallgroups, racial and ethnic relations, the schools, work and occupations, the family)"(Denzin 1991, 108). Standard institutions like the family are continually instituted andreinstituted; they are the disciplinary Procrustean beds to which the social world is forcedto fit . Despite the discipline's scientific aspirations to neutrality, with its immaculateconnotations, such a standard analysis works by transforming its subject into somethingother and easier. 6 This transformation is parallel to the production of lucidity . A standardtactic of clarity is to turn the text into a reiteration of some other familiar text ; toparaphrase Culler (1982, 120), clarity is something of a quotation . Anticipating thediscussion to come on the production of meaning and the generation of context, dominantsociology—the sociology Denzin is referring to—makes sense of emotion by reading it6 Of course, such tactics are practiced in other disciplines as well ; I am not arguing that sociology issingular in this respect .29through prior generic sociological categories. "[Dominant sociology] moves the study oflived emotional experience off center stage and makes it part of the satellite system ofancillary theories that can be put to use in any substantive sociological area" (Denzin1991, 108) . Conventionally, sociology examines love by relocating it in the familiarinstitutions of family and marriage—and good and valuable work is done that way . I amnot denying that. Rather, I am proposing that this relocation is symptomatic of both thepower of such thinking and its limitations . The poststructuralist text, drawing upondeconstruction, is very much concerned with examining and pressuring such limits . Iflove is to be considered tropically, the necessary theoretical apparatus is not available indominant sociology, which forces this text to pass by the Procrustean methodological bedand move towards Denzin's unconventional notions : "Our project [of theorizing emotionis] one that interrogates human experience from inside. We must locate the human beingwithin language and within emotionality. We must enquire into what kind of genderedemotional being this late postmodern period is creating" (1991, 108) (being in Denzin isusefully read as both noun and verb) . If we do not, we risk reifying Abraham Kaplan's"principle of the drunkard's search" (1964, 11, emphasis in original):A woman comes across a drunk who is on his hands and knees under a streetlamp.She asks him if he is alright, and he tells her that he's looking for his keys . She then askshim, "Where did you lose them?" and he points to a dark alleyway fifty feet away . "Thenwhy are you looking over here?" she wants to know, and he says, "Because there's morelight here."The real problem is this : not only does sociology keep seeking the key to loveunder the streetlamp, it keeps finding it there.If we are to avoid this trap, and if we are to locate postmodern human beingwithin language, then we must address the remarkable insight of one crucial sentencefrom The Archaeology of Knowledge, whose trace is across the entire of this text : "Onecannot speak of anything at any time" (Foucault 1972, 44, emphasis added) . That is,30particular and manifold social and discursive conditions enable or disallow specificproductions of texts and other "objects of discourse" (Foucault 1972, 44) . There is nohistorical and social position, no discourse, no language, no science, no ecology of themind, no archaeology, no descant, no sociology, no poststructuralism which allows allrelevant statements to be made, all relevant knowledge to be spoken, all relevantquestions to be posed, all relevant observations to be made . This negative formulation ofFoucault has its corresponding positive version : all historical and social positions permit—bring into possibility—certain statements, knowledges, questions, observations.Objects of discourse are only made possible by the "positive conditions of a complexgroup of relations" (Foucault 1972, 45) . Every position allows and excludes articulations;poststructuralism merely keeps reminding us that the productivity and limitation ofmeaning are continually in force and in operation . This constitutes one entry ofpoststructuralism into sociology, for Foucault can be paraphrased as "all discourse isalways socially contingent ."Foucault is particularly apt to this text when he is brought together with Game,who suggests that any lacuna—like love—in the sociological domain is neither anaccident nor an oversight, but a consequence of historically contingent sociologicalpractices of sociology—specific theoretical models and specific orienting tropes (1991,4). Game's proposition is conjecture, and likely an unprovable one, but the implausiblealternative is to believe that love has been susceptible to dominant sociological analysis,but has been avoided for some other reason, such as love has been so uninteresting thatvery few sociologists have examined it, while concomitantly an endless stream ofsociologists have written about marriage and the family . A more convincing explanationthan this `love is boring' hypothesis is Game's proposition, reframed as `it is necessary toassume that love is psychological .' But the construction of love as psychological excludesits construction as profoundly political and social discourse .31A reconsideration of how sociology is written out is occurring here : if there is nosuch thing as just reading, there is no such thing as just sociological writing either . Justiceis disputed in writing as well . "The intellectual biases built into an academic disciplineare most clearly revealed by considering not what range of explanations it makesavailable for the phenomena falling within its domain but rather what questionspertaining to those phenomena cannot be raised within the theoretical framework itprovides" (Harris 1991, 153) . What theoretical constraints have worked against thesociological investigation of love? To put it more bluntly, what and who are beingdisciplined by the sociological discipline? Robert Scholes makes classical hermeneutics adisturbing trope for the academy: "[The classical] tradition of hermeneutic study has itsroots in biblical exegesis, so we should not be surprised to find that it tends to regard theauthor as God . Its most powerful appeal, I should think, comes to our sense that studentsare in fact not adequate readers, and hence are in need of a rigorous discipline in whichthere must be a standard for `right' and `wrong' readings" (1982, 8-9, emphasis added).Discipline and punish. This is a "law-and-order approach" (Scholes 1982, 8), whoseauthor-as-God trope suggests that the notion of discipline in the academy is not onlypolitical, but authoritarian . Then the defining characteristics of an academic discipline areanalyzable as deriving not only from internal logic, but also from the determinations ofauthority. The sociology that has heretofore only gingerly and distantly considered love istherefore susceptible to the opinion that Cottom holds of Derrida : "One might criticizethe topicality of Derrida's work : the audiences it does and does not address, the issues itdoes and does not raise, the constructions of society to which it does or does not lenditself" (1989, 65, emphasis in original) . What follows is a metatheoretical text about howthe regime of authority in dominant sociology operates to exclude love—a metatheorizingof the regimes of truth of sociology and love and the sociology of love.322 .2: The Regimes of Truth and Disciplinary Boundaries"You never tell me nothin' that's true .""Hell, it's all true," Francis said . "Every stinkin' damn thing you can thinkof is true ."William Kennedy, IronweedTruth is a thing of this world: it is produced only by virtue of forms ofconstraint . And it induces regular effects of power. Each society has itsregime of truth, its "general politics" of truth: That is, the types ofdiscourse which it accepts and makes function as true . . . . There is a battle"for the truth," or at least "around the truth"—it being understood . . . thatby truth I do not mean "the ensemble of truths that are to be discoveredand accepted," but rather "the ensemble of rules according to which thetrue and false are separated and specific effects of power attached to thetrue."Michel Foucault, "Truth and Power"The mission at hand is to identify and examine the battles for truth that are wagedin sociological regimes of truth . This is an analytical shift from the scientific practice ofsociology—which, by putting its attention and energy into meeting standards of validity,participates in and supports the modernist regime of truth, rather than critiquing it to asciosophical practice of sociology . Despite the poststructuralist suspicion oflogocentrism, this shift does not dismiss rationality as useless, or even deficient per se,but instead understands it differently . "[T]he fact that the best tools that we seem to haveare . . . tools of rational thinking, does not stop us from saying that they might besymptomatic rather than . . . the union ticket to truth" (Spivak 1990h, 33) . To readsociology as a regime of truth is to regard the best tools of sociological research as beingineluctable from politics, "from the micropolitics of interpersonal relationships, throughthe politics of research units, institutions and universities, to those of governmentdepartments and finally to the state" (Bell and Newby 1977 :10). To read sociology asboth a regime of truth and a practice of writing is to pursue the symptoms of what passesin sociology as clarity, accessibility, rationality, logic, argument, and validity.33A productive starting point for this pursuit of politics is the sociologicalpreoccupation with its own closure (Game 1991, 5-6), which has a pedigree traceable tothe origin of the discipline . Founding father Emile Durkheim knew that the identity ofsociology depended on the successful establishment of the boundary between it andpsychology. Sociology's long-standing and sometimes wistful aspiration to be a seriousscience is also a matter of its boundary, although this time the different one whichseparates the humanities and the social sciences C . P . Snow's two cultures (1959) . I donot want to overgeneralize here, because clearly sociology is neither unified norhomogeneous, and not all sociologists call themselves scientists (although even the non-scientists usually call themselves social scientists, a telling discrepancy) . Nonetheless, thediscipline is nearly uniformly touchy about its boundaries, particularly when its mandate,rarely clearly defined, is articulated as something like cultural criticism, which might asjustifiably be practiced in art history or literary criticism or some other universitydepartment which is decidedly and unconcernedly unscientific, at least in the parochialsocial-scientific gaze . Poststructuralism thus antagonizes sociologists when it pursues the"dispersion of disciplinary boundaries" (Game 1991, ix) . Anthony Giddens, oftenregarded within sociology as the preeminent sociologist of these times, callspoststructuralism a dead tradition of thought (1987, 73) because it cannot be contained byhis notion of the proper concerns of sociology: the macro analysis of the social and socialchange (Game 1991, 5-6 ; Giddens 1982, 66) . Durkheim, Snow, and Giddens are allproducing constitutive exclusions. To define a discipline by its boundaries is to define itby excluding what is on the other side ; it is therefore a political act . Giddens isrearticulating a well-established sociological hostility towards poststructuralistapproaches . Such antipathy stands in revealing contrast with the attitudes of (some)anthropologists, whose reliance on ethnography (and the long shadow of Levi-Strauss)has led inevitably to the serious consideration of the problematics of writing andrepresentation (Geertz 1973a; Geertz 1984 ; Geertz 1986 ; Clifford 1986a; Clifford 1986b ;34Crapanzano 1986; Rabinow 1986 ; Tyler 1986; Geertz 1988 ; Clifford 1988a; Game 1991,ix; Fernandez 1991 ; Friedrich 1991 ; Quinn 1991 ; Alverson 1991 ; Pesmen 1991) . It iswriting, reading, language, text, rhetoric, trope, metaphor, fiction, truth, and discoursewhich are the crucial terms, and the sociological animosity towards poststructuralismbetrays the unconscious realization that it is the handling of these words which sustains ordissolves the defining boundaries of sociology.Consider sociological writing by first considering aspects of writing moregenerally. "Language is like shot silk ; so much depends on the angle at which it is held,"observes John Fowles (1969, 358), a marvelous writer . The trouble is that his art is that ofthe novel, and as UBC sociologist Neil Guppy writes, "scholarly research writing is notliterature" (1991, 287). For Guppy, this is self-evident, but it is exactly the assumptionthat poststructuralism unpacks. Obviously, distinctions between literature and refereedjournal articles can be, and are, usefully made—although such distinctions are mucheasier to mention than define . The possibility or existence of difference is not beingdisputed. Instead, this text is interested in exploring why this particular difference ismaintained. A set of questions ensues: What work is accomplished by making andaccepting this distinction? What and whose utility does it serve? What politics is itimplicated in? What does it produce? What does it obscure? What are the consequencesfor sociological writing, reading, and inquiry? To paraphrase Spivak, what is sociologythat it has been, and continues to be, obliged to produce this difference? (Spivak 1990h,33)As a first response, "[w]hat one has to look at is how historically some thingshave been called literature, and others have not been" (Spivak 1990c, 47) . Thisdiscrimination is parochial to a particular epistemology . "The relationship betweenphilosophy and literature in the mainstream Anglo-American tradition could be describedas one of mutual suspicion : philosophers see their discipline as being about knowledgeand truth, and that of the litterateurs as being about feelings" (Mortley 1991, 2) . With35such philosophical underpinnings, dominant sociology locates love (feeling) outsideitself. But in other nationalities and other traditions, things and attitudes are muchdifferent. For the French philosopher and psychoanalyst Monique Schneider, there is noseparation between philosophy and literature (Schneider, in Mortley 1991, 25), and this ischaracteristic of the Gallic conception of the humanities (Mortley 1991, 1-3) . It istherefore no coincidence that this thesis, in its concern for love and language, turns toFrench theory . As Wing notes (and overstates), the French "have always liked the littleshiver of delight—the `frisson'—they feel when wrestling with ideas, whereas Americansseem happier smashing them" (1991, xi).As a second response, this peculiarly Anglo-American discrimination satisfies ayearning for a reassuring boundary between the humanities and the social sciences,between literature and disciplinary literature . This yearning can be read as thesociological desire to put fiction at a remove from truth . This desire is one which must beput to trial.2 .3 : Specularity and the Transparency of the TextThe nineteenth century dislike of Realism is the rage of Caliban seeing hisown face in a glass.The nineteenth century dislike of Romanticism is the rage of Caliban notseeing his own face in a glass .Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian GrayThe sociological regime of truth is surfaced in the discipline's identification withspecular tropes : Game writes of the "sociological mirror" which reflects the nature ofmodern society (1991, 20-36) ; the Canadian text I read in my introduction to sociologywas subtitled Window on the World (Lundy and Warme, 1986) ; Stoddart describes thesociological ethnographer's "theme of the invisible researcher" (1986) . Thus specular notonly implicates seeing, but also how that seeing is enabled through some device36(paradigm, methodology, research instrument) . The sociological mirror is a variation onthe Enlightenment metaphor for science : the fundamental and idealized desire to "clearaway false hindrances in order that the object [of research] can be seen in clear light"(Crowley 1990, 28, emphasis added) . The triumph of modernism is evidenced in howseeing itself has become a general metaphor for understanding . Even so, the speculartrope, like all tropes, ironically undermines its own articulation . The modern sociologicalmirror is metonymically haunted by such postmodern revenants as the neo-Freudianmirror stage of Lacan (1986), the "infinite mirror of writing" of Foucault (1977b), and thepost-Marxist "mirror of production" of Baudrillard (1975) . Specular sociology stolidlyignores these spectral disturbances in favor of a more earthly consciousness . I was taughtas a graduate student that sociology is the explanation of repeated patterns of groupbehavior . This is one variation on the specular topos : the transparent representation of thereal. Such a project has two requirements : there must be an autonomous social reality,and there must be instrumental access to transparent language . Sociology can thendistinguish itself from mere storytelling by claiming a privileged relation to the materialtruth. From this standpoint, "texts and language are somehow less real than social realitywhich remains as an extra-discursive context" (Game 1991, 4), so text and language areseparated from reality . Language, for sociology, reinscribes specularity : "languagereflecting society" (Cameron 1990, 89), which is modernist referentiality by anothername .A cautionary note : what I call specular sociology is not a straw man, though it is atrope of a certain kind. Under the rubric of specularity, I am including a system of alliedassumptions, convictions, and attitudes ; a disciplined epistemology, ontology, andmethodology . These are all connected, and some or all of them are implicit wheneverclear writing, or plain English, or tight argument, or transparent representation, orstandards of validity, or the generalizability of theory, or claims to truth, or simply thereally real, is invoked, and therefore the critique that follows applies whenever those37concepts and terms are deployed. However, I am not claiming that sociologists are sounperceptive or willfully ignorant that they have overlooked all of the issues I amaddressing here . Nor am I claiming that those issues have never been engaged, or thatthose problems have never been dealt with (although I do not believe that they have beendealt with effectively) . Nor am I claiming that excellent and important sociological workhas not been done in very un-poststructuralist ways . Instead, I am making theuncontroversial proposition that the specular constituents listed above have been andcontinue to be generally valorized in sociology. It is the hegemony of that approbationthat I want to struggle against, and I proceed by examining the implications ofspecularity.Poststructuralism threatens specularity when it recognizes the reality of fictions,by taking Foucault seriously and acknowledging truth as a produced fiction of successfuldiscourse (see Prologue 3, p 6) . This acknowledgment denies both representationalpresuppositions by merging them : language and reality are suffused with each other, andthe autonomy of either becomes unsupportable . It is this mutuality and interpenetrationthat is productively read in Derrida's (in)famous dictum: "il n 'y a pas de hors-texte."[There is nothing outside of the text] (1976, 158, emphasis in original) . In other words,the popular interpretation of this phrase—as the denial of the existence of extra-discursivereality—is an unjust reading, for it turns a positive critique into a negative one . Realexperience is not being rejected by the turn to discourse ; rather, reality, as far as weencounter it, is being recognized as something truly experienced. "The notoriousDerridean aphorism . . . may be invoked to abet an escape from the determinate necessitiesof history, a self-abandonment to the indeterminate pleasures of the text ; however it mayalso be construed as an insistence upon the ideological force of discourse in general andof those discourses in particular which reduce the work of discourse to the mere reflectionof an ontologically prior, essential or empirical reality" (Montrose 1989, 16) . Thussomething old as something new : the "social construction of reality" (Berger and38Luckmann 1967) is a venerable sociological phrase now "mediated," to use Hegel's termvia Zizek (1991, 48), by the discursive politics of poststructuralism. If language and theworld are not separable, then the Derridean critique of language translates the meaningsof the sociological world . If there are no transcendental signifieds, then there are no factsin themselves, `social' or otherwise, Durkheim not withstanding . If clarity is a literarydevice, then transparent representation is a historically situated and politicizedconvention, and not the revelation or explanation of reality . If the textual imperative is toread the text until it turns, then the sociological imperative is to read the world until itadmits plural meanings, instead of reading it until it closes on truth. If the sociologicalinquiry into the human world is to emulate the scientific inquiry into the natural world,then the poststructuralist caution is that the postmodern trope for and from nature is theHeraclitian one: you cannot step into the same river twice . ? If poststructuralist inquiry isto penetrate the limits of love's modem conceptualization, limits enunciated in terms ofbehavior and psychology, it must indeed examine those terms, and how they reveal the"prudishness of behaviourist psychology, with its coy, euphemistic, circumlocutoryavoidance of any language which smacks of the human" (Eagleton 1983, 122).With this reorientation, mystification transforms from being an ideologicaltransgression to being either meaningless or inevitable or both : "In the original dance ofthe seven veils, one comes at last to a direct perception of reality, with no veil, no code,between us and what we see . Semiotic [and poststructuralist] studies must caution us onthis point. The veils are not removed but displaced by others that seem transparent onlyfor a time" (Scholes 1982, 141) . Transparency is then neither an ideal nor a virtue, but amasquerade, a particularly insidious opacity . It is the denial of the ubiquity of the code of7 This gives a disturbing meaning to the scientific valorization of repeatability . Also, T. M. Robinsonpoints out that the Heraclitian authorship of the river analogy is highly disputed—which is very appropriatein this context . Robinson's translation of the key fragment is, "As they step into the same rivers, differentand (still) different waters flow upon them" (Heraclitus 1987, 17) . This version has poststructuralistresonances too, albeit different ones from the more familiar expression.39seeing (and writing and reading) . Troping understanding with seeing has efficientlyobscured how seeing and transparency are rhetorically systematized . We do judge a bookby its cover.Or do we? What are the various operational metaphors for the understandinghere? Scholes refigures the original dance of the veils by replacing Salome, posing as theEnlightenment ecdysiast—who in the end bares the truth—with the perpetual tease—whonever fulfills the hints of promises she makes to bare all . Appropriately, this shuffle doesnot close the matter. The stripping away of layers is open to less problematically sexistand sexualized tropes. Perhaps the sociological world is not Salome but an onion, whollyconstituted of layers. Then the rational method that would take away all layers—all veils—would leave nothing at all . Or perhaps the impulse to strip away obscuring layers isakin to seeking the real artichoke by divesting it of its leaves, and by doing so finding theheart of the matter (Shweder 1991, 32) (that is, don't judge a book by its cover). Strippingaway veils may be reread as a systematic throwing away, encouraged by the generallyunexamined conviction that what is worthwhile—what is on the target agenda—remainsin the heart of the artichoke . Poststructuralism is characteristically interested inexamining what has been left out; it is concerned with identifying the limits of acceptednarratives (Spivak 1990h, 19) . Thus Foucault gives up the quest for truth (the heart), inorder to carefully examine the means by which truth is produced (the stripping away ofsurface layers) . Given such a priority for the process of truth, obscurity and transparencycan be read as productions by codes which determine what may be, or must be, discardedin the production of sense.Discarding is better described as exclusion. What must be excluded for truth to beproclaimed? Truth, with its absolutist connotations, summons universality and normality.The universal aspects of human nature discovered by anthropology andother human sciences are always produced through the exclusion of"sports," "monstrosities," or other deviants . These aspects are universalonly within the modern discourse of culture . . . .40The normal is involved in signifying practices (such as those that definethe human sciences in relation to the natural sciences ; the formalseparation of knowledge from nationality, race, class, and religion ; thestatistical view of humanity ; and modem political forms) in which thereappears a binding relation between rhetorical and historical realities.(Cottom 1989, 82, emphasis in original)The invocation of the normal is always political repression through exclusion . "Metaphoris never innocent . It orients research and fixes results" (Derrida, in Cottom 1989, 63) . Atrope orienting science is one of theory as generalization, applicable broadly across thenormal population. Such theorizing must exclude its exceptions . A trope orientingpoststructuralist studies is one of the margin and the excluded. This trope orients not onlyresearch and results, but also attitudes towards language . "If language viewed from anyperspective (style, theme, plot, and so on) appears unequivocally coherent and transparentto meaning, this appearance simply represents the surface of unconsciousness in theidentification through which we are reading the text in question" (Cottom 1991, 88).As Cottom notes with respect to Derrida, the reading of transparency can itself beread as insufficiently close reading . Consider the exemplary academic text that presentsas transparent, and yet is compelled to label its own beginning, "Introduction," and itsown ending, "Conclusion ." 8 Transparency, as far as it does exist, is as much (or more) aproduction by the appropriately indoctrinated reader as it is a production by the author.The obvious is only obvious to those whose vision and understanding have beenstructured in specific ways, under specific circumstances . Transparency is therefore adiscursively inscribed practice of writing and cognition that obscures its own politics—the operations, assumptions, prejudices, blindnesses, beliefs, orientations, andmisunderstandings that are necessary for anything to be taken as true . To speak oftransparency is to speak of the transparent representation of the real, to portray8 There is the old story of the scientist who so completely organized his research that every chemicaland reagent bottle and equipment shelf and cabinet in his laboratory was accurately labeled . One day, acolleague visited the lab and found that the old piano that was in the anteroom bore a small label on whichwas neatly lettered piano .41realistically . Realism, as a function of transparency, is therefore a particular discursiveproduction . "Realism, Barthes tells us, has nothing to do with reality ; it is simply a textthat is readable because it is composed entirely of what is already known" (Scholes 1982,12). The rejection of transparency entails a methodological caveat: "If, in language, oursituation is one in which there is no escape from the mechanisms of power, then it isbetter that we be aware of our situation" (Taylor 1991, 25)—as far as that is possible, inany case . Poststructuralist boundlessness applies not only to the variance ofinterpretations, but also the range of interpretive influences which are at play . Finiteinterpreters can never gain complete awareness of the infinite incarnations of power . Tothe extent that we credit the unconscious with having influence in reading, writing,criticism, love, and the world, "awareness of our situation" will remain partial . Despitesuch limits, there is still a pragmatic lesson . At the minimum we should be aware that ourtexts do not escape power, even if we are not fully aware of all the ways that this is so.The problem with specularity is that it necessarily makes itself unaware of its politics inorder to maintain faith in its specularity. This compulsory ignorance is structured into thecorresponding regime of truth, and its signal apparatuses . The discursive practices ofpolitics "cannot be comprehended within the human sciences because their recognitionwould disrupt the apparatus of rationality on which the ideologies of these disciplinesdepend. This apparatus includes elements such as the neutral observer, freedom ofdiscussion, and the distinction between discourse and force . No matter how scientific thediscourse of culture becomes, then, the definition of culture must remain political, and infact most profoundly political in the attempt to give it the character of scientificregularity" (Cottom 1991, 85) . The provision of the neutral observer is merely the firstinstance noted here of the production of subjectivity in discourse as it converges with theauthority of that discourse . The neutral observer is science incarnate . It is also a deceit."No one has ever devised a method for detaching the scholar from the circumstances oflife, from the fact of his involvement (conscious or unconscious) with a class, a set of42beliefs, a social position, or from the mere activity of being a member of a society . . ..[P]olitical society in Gramsci's sense reaches into such realms of civil society as theacademy and saturates them with significance of direct concern to it" (Said 1979, 10) . Toimagine oneself in the place of the Other is not the same as being in that place—imagination does not liberate the self from its circumstances, verstehen notwithstanding.The rhetorical construction belies itself: such imagining is truly imaginary . The subject ofthe Other is imagined into existence through the race, gender, class, and other categoriesthe observer produces, but she is untotalizable by any possible set of categories . Thesubject is constructed; the subject escapes . Reality, including the reality of the subject, isalways narrated (Spivak 1990h, 19), so an observer cannot elude diegesis bymethodological circumspection.The political specificity of the position from which the world is narrated makesethnocentrism inescapable in the same way . "Now, ethnology—like any science—comesabout within the element of discourse . And it is primarily a European science employingtraditional concepts, however much it may struggle against them. Consequently, whetherhe wants to or not and this does not depend on a decision on his part—the ethnologistaccepts into his discourse the premises of ethnocentricism at the very moment when hedenounces them . This necessity is irreducible; it is not a historical contingency" (Derrida1986, 86) . "As [Stanley] Diamond puts it, in one of his better moments, `[Cultural]relativism is the bad faith of the conqueror, who has become secure enough to become atourist"' (Cottom 1989, 82) . We are inescapably ethnocentric because we are historicaland discursive . Given the impossibility of escaping ethnocentrism, the putatively non-ethnocentric text which is the professionally valorized text is immediately and deeplysuspect for presenting itself that way . "Any enterprise which claims to be non-ideologicaland value-neutral, but which in fact remains covertly ideological and value-laden, is themore dangerous for this deceptive subtlety" (Joseph and Taylor 1991, 2) . Thus, theserious problem with transparency is that it presents itself as the language of truth . The43serious problem with specularity is that it denies its politics . Its advocate becomesCasanova: "I have always loved truth so passionately that I have often resorted to lying asa way of introducing it into minds which were ignorant of its charms" (Source unknown).Since truth purports to ground in an extralinguistic reality, its operationalization inlanguage is denotation—the fixing of meaning through the naming of a referent . Thentransparency is made dubious by the Barthesian recognition of its immanent politics:"denotation has come to be associated with closure of meaning, and hence withcensorship and political repression" (Scholes 1982, 143) . Denotation, or naming, is thennot truth, but a particular and politicized system of truth, for, as Barthes notes, "there areno such things as denotations, there are only connotations, and . . . we call the last one, theconnotation we rest upon, the `denotation' (Scholes 1982, 144) . Denotation isarrogation. Foregrounding of a particular connotation makes it perceptible, butconcomitantly it renders others obscure (Cameron 1990, 81). The sociologicallypoststructuralist interest is in the tendentious election and suppression of certainconnotations, and how those operations manifest the politics of a regime of truth . Thus,tropes are so politically charged because they are so highly connotative, and the discourseof love such an apt entry for a poststructuralist sociology because it is so highly tropical.The problematics of transparency suggest a move towards fiction and away fromspecular truths, traversing the once solid line between `scholarly' and `artistic' literatures,as the issue of representation gets more troublesome . The use of fiction "may raiseempiricist hackles . But the word as commonly used in recent textual theory has lost itsconnotation of falsehood, of something merely opposed to truth . It suggests the partialityof cultural and historical truths, the ways they are systematic and exclusive" (Clifford1986a, 6) . The anthropologists, once again, were here long before the sociologists . Nearlytwenty years ago, Clifford Geertz wrote, "anthropological writings are themselvesinterpretations, and second and third order ones to boot . (By definition, only a `native'makes first order ones : it's his [sic] culture.) They are, thus, fictions ; fictions in the sense44they are `something made,' `something fashioned'—the original meaning of fictio	 notthat they are false, unfactual, or merely `as if thought experiments" (1973b, 15, emphasisin original) . The irony is that the radical fictionality of sociological accounts is the naturalprogeny of two traditional sociological concerns : reflexivity and the avoidance ofethnocentrism.As indicated above, both of these concepts are troubling, but for the moment,consider the implications of the conventional embrace of both . First, sociology has longclaimed that among its virtues is a reflexivity that is singular within the academy ; amongthe social phenomena it takes as its rightful domain is the phenomenon of sociologyitself. Second, sociology has long disdained ethnocentrism, the imposition of thesociologist's own knowledge and value systems on those of the Other—the Self passingjudgment on the Other . A conventional disciplinary response to the problem ofethnocentrism is the endorsement of cultural relativism, which, by dissolving anyabsolute standard, approaches the recognition of partial truths as fictions . When these twotraditions are put together, when the domain becomes the discipline and Other and theSelf are made to coincide, sociology, by its own demands, should regard itself as asystem of fictions, susceptible to the same analysis conventionally brought to bear onexternal domains the profession investigates . In this light, Goffman's (1959)dramaturgical troping of social life is acute, but his `frontstage/backstage' dichotomy istruncated . The whole sociological analysis is a frontstage for the ethnomethodologicaldramatic; the discipline inevitably turns Shakespearean in a most traditional aspect, as itperforms its play within a play (within a play within a play within . . . ). The analysis ofsocial life is always more social life to be analyzed . The series is infinitely chiasmatic andrecursive; there is no ground in the end. In this way Derrida reappears on stage, formeaning is infinitely deferred . Sociology's hoary saw about the discipline beinglegitimately part of its own domain ends up denying the transcendental signified, so thatevery interpretation is an interpretation of an interpretation . Sociology, in seeking truth,45ends up proliferating fictions : texts upon texts, narratives of narratives . This inevitablerecursion characterizes the poststructuralist approach, as noted by Spivak : "I think if onecan lump Derrida and Lyotard together . . . I think what they are noticing is that we cannotbut narrate" (1990h, 19) There is nothing outside of the text . Returning to anthropology(or at least the history of anthropology) once again, Clifford's comment on ethnographyapplies to all sociological accounts : "The maker (but why only one?) of ethnographictexts cannot avoid expressive tropes, figures, and allegories that select and imposemeaning as they translate it . In this view, more Nietzschean than realist or hermeneutic,all constructed truths are made possible by powerful `lies' of exclusion and rhetoric . Eventhe best ethnographic texts	 serious, true fictions 	 are systems, or economies, of truth"(1986a, 7) . The division between literature and sociology does not disappear, but theboundary does become vague and permeable . "The issue is . . . one of a questioning of therules and closures that provide the basis of claims to the status of truth or science" (Game1991, 4). In its desire for the ground of representation, specular sociology in its heartcraves to be science, even if some styles of sociology talk of renouncing it . "The troublehere is that the exact sciences are content to speak in terms of truth" (Lecercle 1990, 36).A poststructuralist sociology cannot be so easily satisfied . Instead, it seeks, in Scholes'terms (1982, 35), to exceed the necessary, in the realization that there is not a single,systematic, totalizing explanation of patterns of behavior to be discovered, but manyincoherent and provisional tales and meanings to be told . This is not a fall into utterrelativism or subjectivism, in which any tale or meaning will do, but an awareness that itis the sensible, reasonable, seductive and satisfying explanation that we must besuspicious of, because that is precisely the explanation which has the power, in the mostexplicitly political sense, to enforce not only its explicit narratives and concepts andstructures, but also its implicit assumptions and prejudices and exclusions (which may beunnoticeable because they are identical with our own, and therefore naturalized and madereasonable) . An explanation satisfies by obscuring its own fictionality, in order to offer46mere truth. An explanation satisfies by making the operations of the world clear, up to acertain point . Past that point, things get opaque.To resist satisfying explanations is to make the natural suspect . "It is a tenet ofsemiotic studies . . . that much of what we take to be natural is in fact cultural . Part of thecritical enterprise of this discipline is a continual process of defamiliarization : theexposing of conventions, the discovering of codes that have become so ingrained that wedo not notice them but believe ourselves to behold through their transparency the realitself " (Scholes 1982, 127). To seek out these ingrained codes is to understand that weare all historical creatures, and therefore to reject any truth that transcends our historicalcircumstances . It is this rejection of transcendence which problematizes the psychologicalmeaning of love, for psychology is grounded in the assumption of a fundamental"psychic unity of humankind ." "General psychology assumes that its subject matter is acentral (abstract and transcendent = deep or interior or hidden) processing mechanisminherent (fixed and universal) in human beings, which enables them to think (classify,infer, remember, imagine) experience (emote, feel, desire, need, self-reflect), act (strive,prefer, choose, evaluate), and learn . The aim of general psychology is to describe thatcentral inherent processing mechanism of mental life ." (Shweder 1991, 77)The shift from the psychological to the discursive, and therefore sociological, is ashift to an understanding that we, as readers, writers, sociologists, theorists, humans, arelikewise under the sway of the particular circumstances that situate both us and what forus passes as truth . This resists the untrammeled relativism that is too often read intopoststructuralism . We cannot say anything at anytime . Derridean free play is restrained."Whereas the free play of readings may in theory be infinite, there are, at any historicalmoment, a limited range of canonical and emergent allegories available to the competentreader (the reader whose interpretations will be deemed plausible by a specificcommunity) . These structures of meaning are historically bounded and coercive . There is,in practice, no `free play' (Clifford 1986b, 110). In the texts and readings of the47sociological world, there is neither truth nor solipsism, but instead Foucault's regimes oftruth, Clifford's economies of truth (1986a), Rabinow's social location of truth (1986),Said's systems of truths (1978) . These regimes, economies, locations, and systems are thelegitimate and necessary subjects for a poststructuralist sociology.2.4 : The Blurring of GenresThe approach taken here imperils the integrity of disciplinary boundaries otherthan the one between sociology and literature . The same postmodern recourse todiscourse that makes love suitable for sociology also makes it suitable for linguistics andnarratology and poetry and political science and history and semiotics and philosophyand psychoanalysis . As a consequence, this text appears a little like a lot of these, but notmuch like any one of them in particular . It is a teratological monster—or perhaps merelya mongrel—more than a little strange to proper sociology. Perhaps I can blame Foucaultfor this muddle	 after all, he can defend himself much better than I can, even if he isdead. The edifying problem with Foucault is not merely that he was not a sociologist, butthat it is impossible to decide exactly what he was . He slid arrantly across disciplinarycategories, which prompts Geertz to ask, "What [was] Foucault—historian, philosopher,political theorist?" (1986, 515, emphasis in original) Geertz calls such muddling the"blurring of genres ." But he also calls it the "refiguration of social thought" (1986, 514),which hints at approbation : "Freed from having to become taxonomically upstanding,because nobody else is, individuals thinking of themselves as social (or behavioral orhuman or cultural) scientists have become free to shape their work in terms of itsnecessities rather than received ideas" (Geertz 1986, 515). In postmodern jargon, this isbricolage—the assemblage of a pastiche of dissimilar materials which are useful and athand. For the postmodernist, the dissolution of boundaries does not make a crisis ofidentity, but a fortuitous necessity . Fortuitous, because the transgressive sweep of the48terms allows the use of the sophisticated analytics of disciplines for whom the text hashistorically been regarded as much more central than it has in sociology. A necessity,because "the central ideas in contemporary French theory—those of reading, writing andtext—defy disciplinary appropriation" (Game 1991, ix) . The text is manifest in sociology;it is present here just as it is present in a multitude of other disciplines and other worlds . Itcan be neither wished away nor owned by self-styled science.Just as Geertz noted for anthropology, sociology does not deal directly with socialphenomena, but with second and higher order accounts of them. Sociological accountsare therefore highly textualized; minimally, they are stories of stories, and thereforedeeply implicated in the tropical productions which characterize narratives . "Literaryprocedures pervade any work of cultural representation . . . . Literary processes—metaphor,figuration, narrative—affect the ways cultural phenomena are registered" (Clifford 1986a,4) . Contra Guppy, scholarly research writing is literature, and cannot escape being so . Toelaborate on Edward Said's distinction (1978, 21), if what Guppy calls literature is"openly imaginative text," then scholarly research writing can be understood, not as non-literature, not as unimaginative text, but as covertly imaginative text . The distinctionbetween literature and disciplinary literature is discursively produced . Literal language isno guarantor of truth, if only because literal language is merely language that obscures itstropicality . The difference between literature and disciplinary literature is not one of thepresence or absence of literary procedures, for those are always present, but one ofwhether or not that presence is acknowledged or disavowed, explicitly or implicitly . Theclaim by specular texts that they represent reality transparently can only be sustained bydisguising the literary processes that, as Clifford notes, infest them . Close reading willbetray that literariness ; it will expose "the pretense that literal truth is artless" (Shweder1991, 11), which is why Cottom can write that close reading of straightforward texts willcause them to turn . To consider scholarly research writing as literature is therefore aheuristic move, since, to quote Hartman quoting de Man, "literature is not afraid of the49fallacy of unmediated expression—it doesn't pretend that it can get beyond that and inthat sense it may be less naive than philosophy" (Salusinszky 1987, 85)—or sociology.Transparency turns out to be not the intimate relation with reality, but the maintenance ofwhat Benjamin calls "a natural distance from reality" (1989b, 233).Despite the inevitable pervasiveness of tropes that makes transparent language—zero degree writing—impossible, specular sociology still longs to make languageinvisible . Like the ethnographic methodology of the observer in the field, it seeks toefface itself. Its ideal is what John Locke called "telementation"—what Saussure depictedin his famous talking heads diagram in A First Course in General Linguistics, in which aconcept in the mind of subject A is immaculately reproduced in the mind of subject Bthrough the instrumental use of transparent language (see Figure 2) . This is idealizedFigure 2 : Ideal communication	(Saussure 1966, 11)communication: the medium disappears . This is another modernist motivation fordistinguishing literature from disciplinary literature, for "[t]he formal qualities ofliterature are the result of a process that multiplies or complicates the normal features ofhuman communication " (Scholes 1982, 35) . Despite the problematics of suchcomplications, and the scientific desire to be rid of them, the productivity of language—its production, regulation, and inflection of meaning through rhetorical practices-willnot be effaced.50"Both learned and imaginative writing are never free, but are limited in theirimagery, assumptions and intentions" (Said 1979, 201-202) . The problem withspecularity is that it is a narrative which, in order to maintain faith in its revelation oftruth, is necessarily unconscious of its own narrativity (and therefore of its own narrativepolitics and limitations) : "As you proceed along the narrative, the narrative takes on itsown impetus as it were, so that one begins to see reality as non-narrated" (Spivak 1990h,19) . All realities are stories. Truth is the unacknowledged fiction of a successfuldiscourse . This has been addressed in sociology by Van Maanen (1988) and Atkinson(1990), though not as incisively as by anthropological historian Clifford (1986a, 1986b,1988b, 1988c) and anthropologists like Crapanzano (1986), Tyler (1986), and Rabinow(1986). However, the simple fact that (some) sociology is acknowledging the fictivenessof the discipline is quite a separate matter from general acceptance . Disciplinaryboundaries are, to use Clifford's phrase, "partial truths" (1986a) . Taken-for-grantedacademic parochialism seems suspiciously like a strategy of political exclusion, anattempt to hold onto territory that becomes untenable when the ground itself is seen to bemoving (Clifford 1986a, 22,24) . Poststructuralism is minatory to orthodox sociology notjust because of its heretical theory, but because its irreverent practice destabilizes thevision of the domain of the discipline . If sociology wants to speak of its rightful `domain'and `field', it is legitimate to probe further into the real estate trope and question how thediscipline claims ownership of its property.The trope of property pervades the sociological identity. As Game points out, thediscipline's idea of interdisciplinarity is "taking insights from other areas in order toproduce a better or more complete sociology" (1991, 4)—in other words,interdisciplinarity is colonization and appropriation which maintains and even strengthensthe discipline's boundaries, instead of transgressing them . When the real estate metaphoris rejected, the relevant question to be made of this text is not, "Is this written likesociology?", but rather the very pragmatic, "How should a sociology of fictional love be51written?" Inquiry no longer orients to received ideas, but to the Geertzian necessities ofthe work. Thus, a sociological research project into postmodern love is inescapably afiction about fiction. It is the writing out of love stories . What Clifford and Geertz andother writers have unintentionally imposed on this project is the imperative to writesociological metafiction—fiction that conscientiously and explicitly acknowledges that itis indeed fiction . 9The sociological rejection of literature, once the scientific aspirations and rhetoricare displaced, is a very curious one, even at the level of what the discipline is concernedwith, and quite aside from poststructuralist concerns with writing and the text. "Literaturetakes as its subject all of human experience, and particularly the ordering, interpreting,and articulating of experience . . . . Because of its exploration of the limits of intelligibility,literature invites or provokes theoretical discussions that draw in or draw upon the mostgeneral questions of rationality, of self-reflexivity, and of signification" (Culler 1982, 10-11). This seems to me as good a definition of the mission of sociology as any I have read.Yet, just as it was noted that both literature and sociological literature are politicallyinfested, this seeming valorization of literature must also be resisted . Literature is nomore sacred than science; literature is penetrated by sociology just as sociology ispenetrated by literature . As Frye says, we need to "account for the fact that so many greatwriters have been ideological fat-heads : Yeats, Pound, Lawrence—you name them"(Salusinszky 1987, 33) . I have privileged literature as a tactic of resisting dominantsociology, but this is an unstable and invertible hierarchy . Literature, no less than truth, isno absolute ground . The deconstructive moment here is a gentle apocalypse:The old values are no longer transmitted, no longer circulate, no longerimpress ; literature is desacralized, institutions are impotent to defend andimpose it as the implicit model of the human . It is not, if you will thatliterature is destroyed; rather it is no longer protected : so this is the9 Significantly, metafiction is identified with poetry, puns, and tropes : "the secret life of words"(Lecercle 1990, 56) .52moment to go there. Literary semiology is, as it were, that journey thatlands us in a country free by default ; angels and dragons are no longerthere to defend it . Our gaze can fall, not without perversity, upon certainold and lovely things, whose signified is abstract, out of date . It is amoment at once decadent and prophetic, a moment of gentle apocalypse, ahistorical moment of the greatest possible pleasure.(Barthes 1982b, 475-6, emphasis in original)2.5 : As If We Expect Poetry to Erupt in Some Human BeingCrossing into literature means taking storytelling, and therefore tropes, seriously."Stories are told or written, not found . And as for the notion of a `true' story, this isvirtually a contradiction in terms. All stories are fictions . Which means, of course, thatthey can be `true' only in a metaphorical sense and in the sense in which a figure ofspeech can be true. Is this true enough?" (White 1989, 27, emphasis in original) . This textwould fail its own demands if it merely considered itself to be about discourse, since it isutterly immersed in the same discursive issues of love it addresses as an object ofresearch. The collapse of the ground of truth is a general one—no Archimedean pointremains here either . The ends of inquiry change, in more than one sense . The imperativeof metafiction provides the start.The metafiction being written out here is one of the regimes of truth of love. Thismay be articulated as a lexical displacement : "Once the social is thought in terms oftextual production the question becomes : `How does this particular social text mean?'Analysis is concerned with `the how' of meaning rather than `what is' questions thatdemand a meaning or signified" (Game 1991, 5, emphasis in original) . `How' questionsdisplace `what' questions . This text sets aside the dubious ambition of determining whatlove is, in order to investigate how the regimes of truth of love operate through tropes.Thus, although I began by disputing the grounds of the psychological definition of love, Inow recant : I am not really claiming that the definition is wrong . Neither am I admittingthat it is right . Truth value is not the point; the regime of truth is . This takes up theDerridean project: "Deconstruction is not exposure of error, it is a vigilance about the fact53that we are always obliged to produce truth" (Spivak: 1990c) . Thus, here the psychologyof love is not so much being damned, but being read as a sociological and discursiveproduction . It is the regnancy of that specific psychologized truth that is both resisted andprobed here; as it is only one story among possible alternatives, what is interesting is whyand how it is currently one of singular consequence . The sociology of the matter is in thepresuppositions and ramifications of the circulation of that particular story, and thesuppression of others . The politics of the matter fall out of this move to polysemy."Taking up a methodology of multiplicity in specific cultural or social analyses is onemeans of writing in a more open way than is allowed for by the rules of academic(specifically social science) discourse" (Game 1991, 191) . The openness of texts is theprincipal new criterion that Game proposes to replace representational validity, and whichcan be added to metafictionality. In the absence of truth, transparency, and determinatemeaning, validity loses its significance, if not its relevance altogether. Openness is atheme that plays throughout Game's own text, a theme that she adopts from Barthes . Shecalls for `seductive' sociological texts, ones that invite further writings and rewritings.The rhizomatous or `nomad' thought of Deleuze and Guattari is variation of openness."Nomad space is `smooth,' or open-ended. One can rise up at any point and move to anyother. Its mode of distribution is the nomos: arraying oneself in an open space (hold thestreet), as opposed to the logos of entrenching oneself in a closed space (hold the fort)"(Massumi 1987, xiii) . In the move from the seizure of unified truth to the play of multiplereadings, the lucid is displaced by the ludic . However, as noted above, the multiplicity oftexts is not a fall into utter relativism, and poststructuralist critique is not just thelegitimation of saying anything . On one hand, one cannot speak of anything at any time.On the other, part of the poststructuralist critical enterprise is to make possible otherreadings, in the constant awareness that such an enterprise, strive as it might, cannot getutterly outside the very same historical bounds of meaning that unify and limit extanttexts . Clifford writes that what is real is always analyzable as a "restrictive and expressive54set of social codes" (1986, 10) . Likewise, what is valorized as emancipatory, includingthe ambitions of this text, is always analyzable as set of constraints . Even emancipationdoes not suffice as the new transcendental signified, though it has become the ironic anddisturbingly uncritical resurrection of a motherhood issue for the academic left . In beingskeptical of that move, I am not playing the apologist for the status quo . Rather, I aminsisting on the need to examine how any strategy which emancipates also restricts—it isno more sufficient to cry "emancipation" than it is to crow "free enterprise ." If nothingelse, the poststructuralist attention to language must make us more sensitive to andcritical of all slogans, however inevitable they may be . By being more critical, writingand reading can indeed become more mobile, if never `free' . "There is no text that is notan occasion of power, which is manifested according to distinctions, categories,relationships, procedures, and forms that require a political interpretation, since anyformal systematization of them would repress the differences at play in their articulation.However, this is not to say there is no point to formal analysis . It is only to say that anysignifying form . . . is as mobile and as open to change as we are able to make it thoughthe critical analysis of rhetorical authority ." (Cottom 1991, 40, emphasis added)The rhetorical authority of specular sociology derives from using seeing as a tropefor understanding . Its politics are foregrounded by seeing visualism	 the hegemony ofvision—as a variation on transparency of representation and clarity of writing . "Narrativeis the specific form taken by written history to counter the permanence of vision" (Said1979, 240) . The critique of visualism is not a new one, at least in anthropology andliterary criticism (Clifford 1986a, 11-12 ; Crapanzano 1986, 57 ; Geoffrey Hartman, inSalusinszky 1987, 83) . `Looking at' operationalizes objectifying (in both senses) a givenfiction of reality . "Once cultures are no longer prefigured visually—as objects, theaters,texts—it becomes possible to think of a cultural poetics that is an interplay of voices, ofpositioned utterances . In a discursive rather than a visual paradigm, the dominantmetaphors for ethnography shift away from the observing eye and towards expressive55speech (and gesture)" (Clifford 1986a, 12) . "Vision is insufficient . . . . The domination ofreality by vision is no more than a will to power, a will to truth and interpretation, and notan objective condition of history. Narrative, in short, introduces an opposing point ofview, perspective, consciousness to the unitary web of vision ; it violates the sereneApollonian fictions asserted by vision" (Said 1979, 240) . It is no coincidence thattransparency is an ocular metaphor. The trope of seeing as understanding is asconstraining as it is productive. Visualism, and therefore specularity, is an imperialregime of truth . Now, I am not urging that the tyranny of the eye be replaced by thetyranny of the ear of the listener or the tyranny of the voice of the storyteller(replacements that in present circumstances are not likely to soon occur, in any case).Instead, the attention to voice and discourse is a tactical resistance to the dominance ofvisualism (Hartman, in Salusinszky 1987, 83). Totalizing and totalitarian politics of anykind is what poststructuralist openness and mobility resist.As a result, no specific protocols of love will emerge from my work, because notruths of love are sought. As it works to open the world, my work will pass no standardsof validity—insofar as validity is measured against either a posited truth orrepresentations of a posited real world—because I seek to continuously undermine truth,and problematize real worlds and their transparent representations . If the imperative ofreading is to read until the text turns, the corresponding imperative of research is toinquire until the representation—the truth, the narrative, the system of validity itself—turns. Hence, this text will not even argue for one method of thinking . In a recent seminarsomeone told me that I should have told him how to think, but that most frightening oftotalitarian missions is just what I want to disavow. I do not want to tell anyone how tothink (although I cannot avoid such telling as I tell my own stories) ; I do not want to offertruths that I do not possess (although I cannot avoid own provisional truths andbeliefs—to claim there is no truth is obviously to proclaim a truth) .56These negative desires do not make me a nihilist, though I join the select companyof Nietzsche and Derrida when I get accused of being one . Neither do they make me acynic, though I have been accused of heartlessly seeking to mire lovers in a hopelessstate, taking away their long-cherished grounds for love without providing them positivereplacement for what has been lost . I read myself as offering a choice : On one hand,people can maintain that they know or can know truths of love . Those people have noneed of me, and I genuinely hope they fare well with their truths . They already possessthe programs of love that I can never achieve . My general impression, though, is thatthose programs have fallen short of universal success, inasmuch as the world does notseem to me to be replete with happy lovers . On the other hand, people can feel that theirtruths of love have failed them . I cannot provide a program for them ; I cannot write outguidelines; I cannot give them anything sound and reliable; I cannot give them themodernist solutions that they crave . All of these alternatives are aliases for the nowabsent truth . What I can do is best written by someone else's trope (love is alwayssomething of a quotation; we are continually writing someone else's tropes into our ownstories). So the words of Hannah Arendt: "We who for the most part are neither poets norhistorians are . . . [nonetheless] preparing the way for `poetry', . . . [as if] we are . ..constantly expecting it to erupt in some human being" (1968, 21) . This is one of myfavorite texts about love . It is even more beautiful and more appropriate than it seems atfirst sight, because it is also more deceitful . I have framed this text as a discourse on love,but that was not what Arendt intended—or so I think: the passage is embedded in anessay on Lessing and totalitarianism. I have framed this text as a quotation of Arendt, butthe ellipses and bracketed insertions testify that I have rewritten her . I have attributed thewords to Arendt, but even those words that I have not forced upon her are simultaneouslyhers and not hers, for the passage is a translation from German by second parties . So myquoting Arendt is both an appropriation of an already highly contaminated text and a57subversion to my own purpose. I turn this passage, already pulsing with tropes, into atrope for my text : at best, what I can do, is prepare the way for poetry.What does that mean, in less romanticized terms? It means a criticism of lovethrough writing and reading. It means an explication of the power of the texts of everydaylife, enabling people to analyze and criticize both that power and their own productions ofmeaning. These are defensible, realistic aspirations for a poststructuralist sociology.Program is an unfortunate word, but if I have a program, it is "arming people with thepower to read, which I see as an absolutely fundamental necessity in order for them tomake their way in the present world" (J. Hillis Miller, in Salusinszky 1987, 217) . Thistext strives to demonstrate its assumption, namely that the linguistic and the socialpenetrate each other. "What a notion of textuality in general does is to see that what isdefined over against `The Text' as `fact' or `life' or even `practice' is to an extentworlded in a certain way so that practice can take place" (Spivak 1990a, 2).Or "preparing the way for poetry" may be read as the simultaneous pursuit ofenchantment and disenchantment. "Obviously literature has an enchanting effect;obviously there are many things in life that are enchanters, and life may be a process ofdisenchantments . What [one finds] is that there's no progress in that; that one falls fromone enchantment into another through a method which one thinks is going to disenchantone" (Hartman, in Salusinszky 1987, 84). This reads, appropriately, like a trope for loveitself The contention here is that this association is no accident. The discursiveformations of love make a chiasmus where the text becomes worldly and the worldtextual. The incoherence of enchantment/disenchantment is then readable as amanifestation of the incoherence of the accommodation of polysemic love to a modernsensibility which demands monosemy . As a first-pass suggestion, what is necessary is acriticism of the regimes of truth in which this incoherent cultural text works. In preparingthe way for poetry, love and discourse are like beer and TV . Scholes notes, in concludinga brief semiotic analysis of an American Budweiser commercial, "At a time when critics58such as William Bennett and E. D. Hirsch are bewailing our ignorance of culture, it isimportant to realize that many Americans [and Canadians and Japanese and . . . ] are notwithout culture; they simply have a different culture from that of Bennett and Hirsch.What they really lack, for the most part, is any way of analyzing and criticizing the powerof a text like the Budweiser commercial—not its power to sell beer, which is easilyresisted, especially once you have tasted better beer—but its power to sell America"(1989, 124-5).Or preparing the way for poetry is like Barbara Johnson speaking of a giftedteacher she had, "who used a text that you could hold in your hand to expand or exfoliatea set of questions" (Salusinszky 1987, 161) . 10Or preparing the way for poetry is like Susan Sontag eloquently limning theenormous project of Roland Barthes, by invoking Nietzsche : "All of Barthes's work is anexploration of the histrionic or ludic ; in many ingenious modes, a plea for savor, for afestive (rather than dogmatic or credulous) relation to ideas . For Barthes, as forNietzsche, the point is not to teach us something in particular . The point is to make usbold, agile, subtle, intelligent, detached. And to give pleasure" (1983, 432, emphasisadded) . Sontag links openness to disturbing pleasure, which is a second criterion Gametakes from Barthes. This disturbance is also the pleasure of the open text ; what isdisturbed is closure—truth framed as the fixing of meaning . Also disturbed is certainty,which is closely allied to closure, but distinguishable from it . To recognize openness is toacknowledge the partialness of all stories and explanations. This is a different form of thehoary saw about the getting of wisdom being the awareness of ignorance . "It is not, in thefinal analysis, what you don't know that can or cannot hurt you . It is what you don't know10 The gifted teacher was Paul de Man, and Johnson 's comments antedate the notorious posthumousrevelation of his Nazi sympathies (see Johnson 1990). This footnote is included deliberately to underminethe text . On the other hand, this is footnote, and not part of the body . Whether this is honest or dishonestpolitics is something I am in no position to decide .59you don't know that spins out and entangles `that perpetual error we call life' (Johnson1985, xii, emphasis in original) . Unsurprisingly, openness, pleasure, and disturbance areinterwoven. Thus, in a sociology of open works, the ludic displaces the specular."Implicit here is a reference to Freud's account of the pleasure principle as the breaker ofthe peace, for which we might read the comfortable coded of culture . Furthermore, thepleasure principle is associated with life and is constituted in deferral : a disturbingpleasure is that which never arrives, but moves us forward into infinity" (Game 1991,191) . Contra Giddens, poststructuralism is about life, and not death 	 at least the textualdeath of closure . To invert the more familiar metaphor in which writing stands in forliving, writing can be troped by material reality: "the zero degree of life is death"(Scholes 1982, 65)—a new cant to the somberness of objectivity . To resist this particularseriousness, this petit mort of another kind, with poststructuralism may appear bizarre.The poststructuralist discourse is so freighted that it may seem too laborious . But toomuch work and not enough play would make Jacques (Derrida) a dull boy, and the play(in all senses of the word) of language does indeed obtain . "Like a diaphanousnightgown, language both hides and reveals . There is no way of getting at the naked truth,even if it's wearing the Emperor's New Clothes, or the Empress's New Clothos ." Wefollow our Mother Tongue into her boudoir, anyway, hoping for a glimpse of somethingnever yet beheld—and come face to face with our own reflections in her most privatemirror, veiled meanings in a gossamer heap on the floor . And still there are enough wordsleft in the old girl's voice to sing us to sleep once again . `I've got you uncovered,' shesays" (Gordon 1989, xiv, emphasis in original).Thus, three provisional criteria are offered in place of modernist standards ofvalidity : Metafictionality . Openness . Disturbing pleasure . These criteria can be read asimbricated, or they can be read as different aspects of the same poststructuralist heuristic,1 1 Clotho is one of the three Fates . She carries the spindle and spins the thread of life .60namely the reflexive or recursive turn of discourse (Hayles 1990, 35) . For the reader who,as a social scientist, is looking for the virtues of the lucid writing, tight argument,satisfying explanations of repeated patterns of group behavior—in other words, all theemblems of specularity and the modernist heuristic—the orientation of this thesis to thesecriteria will brand it a hopeless failure . Good. In this poststructuralist gaze, this failure issuccess, for those modernist virtues are the very presumptions which are being contestedhere .There is a central tradition of philosophy [which has been adopted bydominant sociology], to which both the critical approach of Descartes andKant, and the systematic one of Aristotle and Hegel belong . It is based onthree assumptions : the power of truth, the foundational role of myth (e .g.the Cave), and the juridical contract between reason and language.Imperium, muthos, logos : the model of philosophy is Truth, Justice andLaw . . . . It is governed by two universal concepts—Totality (as thefoundation of Being) and the Subject . But there is another tradition,subordinate but persistent ; that of antinomian thought (outside the maintradition, and beyond the control of the subject) : its heroes arephilosophers like Nietzsche or Kierkegaard, or poets like Artaud andKleist ; its form is not argumentative and logical, but aphoristic ; its maincharacteristic is not muthos or logos, but pathos—personal involvement,the experience of suffering ; not so much a foundation as a foundering . Forthem there is no Totality, and there is no Subject to grasp it, only acollection of fragments, particles, and flows of desire . And since there isno logos, there is no control over language. (Lecercle 1985, 163)Frye writes, "I read so many articles which are arguments, which don't seem toget anywhere in particular, but which are sufficiently coordinated to be publishable asarguments" (Salusinszky 1987, 37) . A very loose kind of extended argument driftsthroughout this text, but it is a poor one as arguments go . An argument is supposed tohave a point, a conclusion, a closure, a destination, an end, and none of these modernismsare prominent here. To adopt the Spivakian "mind set" of not being dismayed bycontinuously undermining one's own work is to eschew such closures and terminations.This text will not close; "it is always in the middle, between things, interbeing,intermezzo" (Deleuze and Guattari 1987, 25) . Yet, I submit that it is better to be on theway somewhere (even if I never get there) than to polish the argument, for any argumenttightens up only by closing up, and that is surely the wrong direction.61Once argument is decentered, what is left? Recalling Arendt and preparing theway for poetry, "what's left is to make the next poem possible" (Harold Bloom, inSalusinszky 1987, 60) . A certain obstinacy is necessary . "Keeping emotionality centerstage means that we do not subvert our project by turning emotions into variables . Nor dowe ask how a focus on the emotions can fill out, or better inform traditionally establishedareas of sociological study . Our project should be emotionality : how emotionality, as aprocess, is lived, experienced and given meaning by interacting individuals" (Denzin1990, 109, emphasis added)."What begins [here] as clarification ends as nonsense, producing categories soexclusive or inclusive that they bring all attempts at systematic thinking about [love andmeaning] into disrepute. [But] muddling along, in . . . theory as in life, is often morehumane and even more efficient than the alternatives offered by political, ethical, oresthetic systems" (Scholes 1982, 17) . Muddling along and being more humane is a moreappealing aspiration than meeting disciplinary standards of validity . Muddling along andbeing more humane is a better practice than reducing people's humanity to behaviour, orlove to truth .62Chapter ThreeThe Trope : Love Is A Flight of MetaphorsThe language of love is impossible, inadequate, immediately allusivewhen one would like it to be most straightforward ; it is a flight ofmetaphors—it is literature .Julia Kristeva, Tales of LoveThe identification of love with poetics is maintained by popular and professionaldiscourses alike . Even psychologists, those most scientific of social scientists, concedethe ascendance of literature when they write of love . Zick Rubin, in his preface to a 1988survey of the state of research in the psychology of love, admits that "psychologists arenot about to displace poets or novelists as society's preeminent observers of love" (1988,xi). Rubin himself is observing that love marks the limit of the regime of psychologicaltruth—which is not so much to say that psychology is wrong, but that it is insufficient.This limit manifests in the difficulties and preeminence of literary language . Theconvergence of Rubin to Kristeva locates the crux of the matter, for Kristeva recognizesthat the metaphorical language of love is impossible, inadequate and allusive—anythingbut straightforward. Resurfacing are the familiar issues of clarity and opacity, scientificdiscourse and literature, regimes of truth, and the integrity of disciplinary boundaries.Now the relevance of Chapter Two's discourse on discourse to the sociology of lovebecomes—to use an infelicitous phrase—clearer. Love is the critical site where thesediscursive problematics cannot be evaded or ignored—as they can be in politicaleconomy, where Marxist critics show no deference to poets, or in the theory of new socialmovements, where sociologists show no deference to novelists . I am not implying thatthere are sectors of writing, thinking, or theorizing which escape the Derridean critique ofmeaning in general, for that critique encompasses the very nature of textuality . Rather, Iam claiming that love is the place where even the pretense of immunity cannot beexplicitly and straightforwardly sustained. Instead, modernist discourses, when63confronted by love, resort to obscurant tactics such as disingenuous concessions to poetryand literature, or, as will be discussed below, superficial avowals of the ineffability,impenetrability, and mystery of love . Love is therefore a place where modernistdiscourses conceal their own insufficiencies, a site of strategic vulnerability in themodernist regime of truth. It is therefore an apt location for poststructuralist sociologicalanalytic to attempt entry.The discursive problematics of love condense around its constitutive tropes,which resist accommodation to referential meaning . Here is the first hint as to why love istroubling, in different ways, to the discourses of psychology, sociology, and everydaylife : it disrupts the fundamental operations of meaning which structure, define and sustainthose modernist discourses . "Love comes on the scene like the fire which breaks out onthe stage of the theatre : it's an interruption" (Schneider, in Mortley 1991, 33) . The tropesof love comprise a rhetoric of disruption.In its most immediate sense, a trope is any rhetorical figure or literary device,including the familiar—such as metaphor, synecdoche, and alliteration—and the lessfamiliar—such as anamnesis, chiasmus, and elision . Dupriez (1991) identifies some 4000tropes, which attests to the breadth of their range and differentiation . The key recognitionis that tropes are indeed rhetorical ; they are the moments of language turning upon itself,rather than of language referencing the extralinguistic world . The recursiveness of tropesnecessarily distances them from modernist meaning : "Quintilian first introduced thedefinition of the figure (and trope) as `a departure from the simple and straightforwardmethod of expression"' (NSth 1990, 341) . The trope, while being at least as ancient asLatin, is nonetheless a fitting realization of poststructuralist meaning, in whichpurportedly explicit, closed, isomorphic reference accedes to loose, variable, andpolymorphous semantic play . It was no coincidence that Chapter Two opened by tropingpoststructuralist meaning with the trope, and by troping modernist meaning with thename. The trope is the polysemous turn of language ; the trope is the inflorescence of64meaning s . Inflorescence, as a biological and botanical trope for the poststructuralistproduction of meaning (tropes upon tropes, wheels within wheels), invokes the happyconnotation of the rhizomatous formations of Deleuze and Guattari . "A rhizome assubterranean stem is absolutely different from roots and radicles . Bulbs and tubers arerhizomes . Plants with roots or radicles may be rhizomorphic in other respects altogether:the question is whether plant life in its specificity is not entirely rhizomatic . Even someanimals are, in their pack form . Rats are rhizomes. Burrows are too, in all of theirfunctions of shelter, supply, movement, evasion and breakout . The rhizome itself assumesvery diverse forms, from ramified surface extensions in all directions to concretion intobulbs and tubers . When rats swarm over each other ." (Deleuze and Guattari 1987, 6-7)Inflorescence may seem a mawkishly over-romantic image next to that of swarming rats,but this very excess is circumstantially apt, given that the signifying operations of locallove excuse (and sometimes are identical with) the most excessively flowery language.More importantly, it is precisely the severe incongruity of blossoms and vermin thatmakes the pair inflorescence :rhizomatousness so analytically useful . Thesecharacterizations of tropes are, of course, themselves tropes . Tropical analysis necessarilyturns upon itself. Then the difference between the connotations of these tropes itselftropes the range and difference of tropical meaning proliferating under the sign of love.Thus, inflorescence images the poststructuralist production of meaning ; rhizomatousnessimages the poststructuralist relations of meaning . "The rules are no longer explicit andclear cut; meaning is no longer obtained by definition and composition through projectionrules: the winding paths of allusion, echo, private play on words and figures of speechmust be tentatively explored ; they never yield more than fragments of meaning, which itis almost impossible to assemble into a coherent whole, a totality" (Lecercle 1985, 67).1 Holderin writes that language is "the flower of the mouth" (Lecercle 1990, 113) .65The tropical inflorescence and rhizomatousness of meaning is more easilydemonstrated by narrowing the focus to one specific trope, the metaphor, and then linkingmetaphor to its subsuming term . The relation between trope and metaphor has fluctuatedacross theory and history, since, typical of the rhetoric of rhetoric, both terms haveseveral meanings (Lecercle 1990, 59) . Sometimes metaphor is taken as one of twoanalytical axes of tropes, independent of metonymy—Jakobson's schema (Evans 1986,144); sometimes it is distinguished from metonymy, synecdoche and irony—Ramus andVico's schema (Whalley and Martin 1986, 140) ; sometimes it is counted among manyother figures (Noth 1990, 128) ; sometimes metaphor is considered the prototypic trope.Classically, a metaphor fills a lexical lacuna (Ricoeur 1978b, 143) . The metaphor is thenecessary recourse of language in the failure of literalness . The excess of polysemicmetaphoricity succeeds where monosemic referentiality cannot, for monosemy is not somuch the clarity of language as the impoverishment of meaning . The recourse tometaphor is not merely a matter of moving into uncharted linguistic territory . For Lakoffand Johnson, love is "structured mostly in metaphorical terms . . . [because,] typical ofemotional concepts, . . . [love is] not clearly delineated in our experience in any directfashion" (1980, 85, emphasis added) . The trope of clarity/obscurity has come again, thistime as immanent to the nature and meaning of the trope itself Lakoff and Johnson aresuggesting that metaphors pervade the terrain of love because love is so notoriously hardto define . 2 Yet their proposition can be inverted chiasmatically : perhaps love is so hard todefine because it is metaphorical—or, more generally, tropical. What is primary andtherefore privileged is moot ; what is evident and crucial, even to psychologists of love, isthat love and tropes suffuse each other . The perpetual difficulty in defining love isintriguing and revealing, because love is not rare and alien, but immediate and familiar.2 Not that psychologists haven't claimed to have succeeded in defining love . For example, Shaver et al.1988 ; Sternberg 1988 .66Nonetheless, thousands of years of writing of love have not closed on a satisfyingdefinition. Love still eludes the rational systematics of language . It is described andinscribed tropically, in language's irrationality, in the plenitude of connotation andimprecision.The fortunate paradox is that this complication of meaning can be simultaneouslya simplification . In catachresis, in the failure of reference, a constellation of metaphoricalmeaning can nonetheless coalesce around a tangible and familiar vehicle . The metaphorcan materialize meaning, enabling what is indirect and elusive to be grasped through theseemingly concrete . For example: "Love is a spirit all compact of fire" (Shakespeare1988, 23) . Or an equally tangible fire metaphor : "Love is a burnt match skating in aurinal" (Hart Crane, in Winokur 1987, 75) . Put together, each metaphor mediates, and ismediated by, the other; put together, each meaning cannot escape the other's connotation.The materiality of some metaphors of love allows the meaning of love to be grasped, butthis does not mean that it has been seized . It has only been sampled. Concreteness is aseparate matter from closure, regardless of what referential notions of meaning presume,because references do not escape the influence of discourse when they are implicated inthe rhetorical operations of tropes . Moving from Shakespeare to Crane, the referent of fireremains fire, but the meaning of fire, and therefore its impact when it subsequentlyreenters the world as an image of love, shifts dramatically . Concreteness manifests thereal force of discourse in the world—its utility, in an approximate, unsatisfactory sense—rather than troping the control of discourse by the world.The metaphor is thus plurally productive : it concomitantly infloresces meaningand enables understanding . Consider the proliferation of meanings in the figure of simplefriendship in the local popular discourses of love . Friendship is the essence of love : "My67husband is my best friend ."3 Friendship is the essence of non-love : "Lori's in love withher, but Beth just wants to be friends ." Friendship is the romantic construction of identity:"she's my girlfriend ." Friendship is desexualized, Platonic love : "I love him as a friend ."Friendship is the valorized precursor of love: "We fell in love because we started off asfriends, which is the best way ." Friendship is the valorized residue of love : "But we canstill be friends." Friendship is the contestation of all these variations, when it is deployedin lesbian and gay discourses as a body of conventions for love that rejects marriage, as atactical response to how heterosexist marriage rejects the homosexual lover(Seidman 173) . Friendship and love display divers and incoherent relations of meaning.The entwined inflorescence and rhizomatousness of meaning constitute thedifficult power of metaphors, and of tropes in general . To characterize the tropemetaphorically, and once again blur genres, the trope has the sense of classical music'sleitmotif—a "theme song." In Wagnerian opera, "through a process of continualtransformation the leitmotifs trace the course of the drama, the changes in characters,their experiences and memories, their thoughts and hidden desires . As the leitmotifsaccumulate layer upon layer of meaning, they themselves become characters in thedrama, symbols of the relentless process of growth and decay that rules the destinies ofgods and heroes ." (Machlis 1970, 186-87, emphasis added) The imbrication of meaning,then, both materializes the leitmotif (makes it more concrete) and generalizes it as a sign(makes it more abstract) . Troping love as leitmotif is especially appropriate in localdiscourse, where love is often constructed as transcendental, or, in Richard Shweder'sterms, romantic : "To make contact with the really real, the inspired (=divinelike)imagination of human beings must be projected out to reality ; or, alternatively, the godsmust descend to earth" (Shweder 1991, 9).3 This was the most frequent response survey researchers Lauer and Lauer were given by both men andwomen when asked "What keeps a marriage going?" (Lundy and Warme 1986, 256)68Despite the materialization of love, through tropes of fire and gods and heroes, theinflorescence of meaning is problematic to any hermeneutic : "Love is a crucible ofcontradictions and misunderstandings—at the same time infinity of meaning andoccultation of meaning . . . . It is revealed as such in the wandering of metaphoricalconnotation. . . . Do we speak of the same thing when we speak of love? And of whichthing? The ordeal of love puts the univocity of language and its referential andcommunicative power to the test ." (Kristeva 1987, 2) These difficulties suggest thetransgressiveness of tropes . Insofar as they exceed standard language, and insofar as theyinvoke the literal falsehood of metaphors (love is not fire, even if it is ; love does not skatein a urinal, even if it feels like it does), tropes have the air of the illicit—the air ofKristeva's contradictions and misunderstandings. On the other hand, they aredomesticated outlaws ; they have the somewhat fusty legitimacy of more than twomillennia of academic attention. While tropes test and transgress the limits of language,insofar as they are recognized as figurative they are neither ungrammatical or illegal,although at certain times and in certain circles they have been extremely unpopular . 4Tropes cross some ill-defined boundary, but "how do you cross a frontier, if not by takingthe main road (the French aptly call them ` voies de communication') up to the warningsign, and then going across?" (Lecercle 1990, 60) . Lecercle holds that language has botha bright and a dark side, that meaning has both reference and inflorescence, and hebelieves that both sides are always present in any text or instance of discourse (1985, 71).This paraphrases the contention made in Chapter Two, namely that literary procedures—the dark aspects of language—pervade all writing. Those omnipresent literary proceduresare tropes by another name. Ostensibly licit, tropes are subversive, rather than rebellious;4 "All the art of rhetoric, besides order and clearness, all the artificial and figurative application ofwords eloquence hath invented, are for nothing else application of words eloquence hath invented, are fornothing else but to insinuate wrong ideas, move the passions, and thereby mislead the judgment, and soindeed are perfect cheats" (John Locke, Essay (bk. 3, chap . 10), cited in Cohen (1978, 2) . Emphasisadded) .69they commit their transgressions, but they do so by beginning within the conventions oflanguage.The production of force in the world by tropes can be scanned as apoststructuralist strategy of analysis . Love can be read through the discursive operationsof the specific trope of pathopoeia . This is a staple figure in both literary criticism andpopular reading, one whose orthodox meaning is emotionally evocative language—in theliterature of love, the poetics of romance. With the poststructuralist displacement oflinguistic referentiality by discursive productivity, pathopoeia exceeds its conventionalglamour to realize its etymology : the literal translation from ancient Greek is the "makingof feeling" (Cuddon 1982, 493) . Wedding this transfiguration of pathopoeia to JamesClifford's (1986a, 16) concern with ongoing cultural poesis, I call this thesis an inquiryinto the pathopoesis of popular discourse—how discourse makes love.Pathopoeia, as a matter of poetics, is sometimes cast as mere ornamentation . Thisdoes not mean pathopoeia is necessarily superficial . Consider ornamentation a matter ofstyle and Sontag becomes apropos : "Every style embodies an epistemological decision,an interpretation of how and what we perceive" (1966, 35) . This is the raison d'etre ofclassical pathopoeia . Consider that there are more and less meaningful ways of saying, "Ilove you," as Cyrano proved to Christian below Roxane's balcony (Rostand 1981, 100-114). Or consider the grammar of "I love you" in English and the stylistic subtleties oftranslation, as Julian Barnes describes:`I love you' . . . . These are grand words ; we must make sure we deservethem. Listen to them again: `I love you.' Subject, verb, object: theunadorned, impregnable sentence . The subject is a short word, implyingthe self-effacement of the lover. The verb is longer but unambiguous, ademonstrative moment as the tongue flicks anxiously away from the palateto release the vowel . The object, like the subject, has no consonants, and isattained by pushing the lips forward as if for a kiss . `I love you.' Howserious, how weighted, how freighted it sounds.I imagine a phonic conspiracy between the world's languages . They makea conference decision that the phrase must always sound like something tobe earned, to be striven for, to be worthy of. Ich liebe dich : a late-night,cigarette-voiced whisper, with that happy rhyme of subject and object .70Je t'aime : a different procedure, with the subject and object being got outof the way first, so that the long vowel of adoration can be savoured to thefull . (The grammar is also one of reassurance : with the object positionedsecond, the beloved isn't suddenly going to turn out to be someonedifferent.) Ya tebya lyublyu : the object once more in consoling secondposition, but this time—despite the hinting rhyme of subject and objectan implication of difficulty, obstacles to be overcome . Ti amo: it soundsperhaps a bit too much like an aperatif, but is full of structural convictionwith subject and verb, the doer and the deed, enclosed in the same word.(1989, 227-228)Barnes is usefully read as an inter-linguistic trope of intra-linguistic differentiation, for, asDeleuze and Guattari point out, "style is a language within a language, competing withother languages that are the same language" (Lecercle 1990, 186). Cyrano is famous forbeing eloquent, but that eloquence varies across his verse, blank verse, and prosetranslations : the same, but different (Rostand 1972, 1981, 1990, 1991) . Style works uponmeaning it produces, inflects, excludes, elides . Ornamentation is more serious than theadornment of the plain-spoken.Even beyond ornamentation, the pathopoetic tropicality of love is hardly a novelconception. Echoing Rubin, Lakoff and Johnson, and Kristeva, Theodore Sarbin (1986,84) holds that emotion itself is a metaphor . Baudrillard is more wildly postmodern: "Itmay even that . . . love is only the diffuse metaphor of the fall of beings into individualismand the compensatory invention of a universal energy that would incline these beings toeach other . By what providential effect, by what miracle of will, by what stroke of theatrewould beings have been destined to love one another, by what crazy imagination couldone conceive that `I love you,' that people love each other, that we love each other?"(1990, 100) . All of this reads like traditional pathopoeia . But the tropes of love exceedpoetics, for they are abundant and familiar even in mundane discourse. In a list that doesnot attempt to be exhaustive, Lakoff and Johnson give forty-three examples (such as "Icould feel the electricity between us," "There were sparks," "The marriage is dead," "I'mcrazy about her," "The magic is gone," "She pursued him relentlessly") of specificinstances of general metaphors like "Love is a physical force" and "Love is war ." (1980,34, emphasis in original) Zoltan Kovecses identifies roughly 300 English71"conventionalized expressions about love" (1990, 43) : metaphors, metonymies, idioms,cliches, sayings, proverbs, collocations and others which are in widespread usage . Headds there are also "creative, novel, unconventional or non-standardized expressions . ..[such as those] used by a good poet when he or she writes about love" (1990, 43).Perhaps the most obvious and widely dispersed figure of love, in poetry and mundanediscourse, is the sign of the heart, the dominant incarnation of the medical/pathologicaltrope (and its seductive connotations of the natural body) . 5The tropicality of love may be nearly banal, but the recourse to tropes for analysisis a perilous turn . Since Aristotle's Rhetoric, literally thousands of treatises on the natureof metaphor have been put forward, and, even more daunting, "no end of this scholarlytradition is in sight." (Noth 1990, 129) As a result, given my sociological aspirationsoutside this imposing tradition 6 and my realistically modest aspirations for fluency withinit, this thesis will necessarily work with a partial and eclectic understanding of metaphor,which will in turn necessarily constrain contingent analysis . In characteristicpoststructuralist fashion, the texts of metaphor cannot be mastered . This discourse ofinquiry must remain incomplete . Yet such partialness does not obviate the productivity oftheorizing metaphor . Instead, it surfaces the limitations inherent in any production ofmeaning.One thing that this text is capable of doing is drawing on the theorizing of howmetaphors—and tropes in general—problematize meaning and truth (in quintessentiallypoststructuralist fashion), and how their deployment within a discourse reflexivelyconstitutes that discourse . "As that which lies outside the literal, normal, proper, or5 Anticipating the discussion to come of the implication of tropes in the politics of meaning, I offerLutz's (1990, 72) acute observation that the medical figuration of emotion is necessary to the appropriationof authority in knowledges of emotion by the medical and quasi-medical professions like psychology andpsychiatry.6 Although the subtext permeating this paper is that sociology is itself inescapably tropical .72systematic, metaphor serves as the topic through which each system defines itself:metaphor is not simply false, but that which marks the limits of the distinctions betweentrue and false, or meaningful and deviant" (Whalley and Martin 1986, 140) . Metaphor istherefore the boundary of theory, and more : "The starting point of a theory is generallythe choice of the relevant metaphors, in terms of it will proceed to construct its object"(Lecercle 1990, 18). Thus, unpacking the tropes of love is a means of identifying andanalyzing the regimes of truth of love, of finding where they begin and end.The metaphor of love is the moment in which being and textuality at onceconverge and diverge. Thus, Kristeva, who in the above citation may seem to be writingconventionally of pathopoeia, goes on to observe the troping of the word and the body inlove: "As intersection of corporeal passion and idealization, love is undisputably [sic] theprivileged experience for the blossoming of metaphor (abstract for concrete, concrete forabstract) as well as incarnation (the spirit becoming flesh, the word-flesh)" (1987, 95).Love and its tropes are distinguished by their carnality—their relationships to sex, desireand the body—sometimes immediate and sometimes distanced, sometimes overwhelmingand sometimes subtle, sometimes valorized and sometimes despised . This carnality isitself a metaphor for how metaphor embodies love ; witness the figure of "making love .""Love is an intermingling of bodies that can be represented by a heart with an arrowthrough it, by a union of souls, etc ., but the declaration `I love you' expresses anoncorporeal attribute of bodies, the lover's as well as that of the loved one" (Deleuzeand Guattari 1987, 81).The invocation of sexuality, and the passage beyond it, mark the intimatemateriality of some tropes of love . "The very expression `figure of speech' implies that inmetaphor, as in the other tropes or turns, discourse assumes the nature of a body bydisplaying forms and traits which usually characterized the human face, man's [sic]`figure' ; it is as though the tropes gave to discourse a quasi-bodily externalization. Byproviding a kind of figurability to the message, the tropes make discourse appear"73(Ricouer 1978b, 142) . This is the figuring of "love's body" (Brown 1966) . Concomitantwith its production of meaning, metaphor produces presence—it is ontogenetic. Thesepowers of making conduce in pathopoesis . It is the ability of tropes to "make discourseappear" that makes them strategic in the discursive production of social relations ; in thesetropical operations, rhetoric exceeds rhetoric to encounter the traditional mandates ofsociology. Betsy Wing writes that "voice has its rhythms, but it is hard to know andformulate what they are" (1991, ix) . Surely tropes can be read as precisely these rhythmsof voice and literature . Then, "the rhythms of voice are connected to a body ; they share inbut are not the same as the universal tickings of this body. If voice stops, there is silenceto listen to and the silence participates somehow in the same rhythm and the sameintimate meaning . Connected to histories, cultures, and particular lives, voices, silences,and their meanings can never be quite the same universally, but they seem to invite us toinhabit some common place ." (Wing 1991, ix-x, emphasis added) In love, sociologydefers psychology, but psychology defers to literature . By its own logic, sociology mustengage love through its discourses .74Chapter FourThe Discipline of Love: Theorizing Meaning and PoliticsLove appears as the rhetorical site, the form and forum of words, at whichcommunity is instituted or, conversely, is seen as being without anyfounding authority .Daniel Cottom, Text & CultureThe politics of dancing,The politics of feeling good.Re-Flex, "The Politics of Dancing"4 .1 : There Is No Such Thing as Just CommunicationBakhtin is the beginning: "Language is not a neutral medium that passes freelyand easily into the private property of the speaker's intentions ; it is populated-overpopulated—with the intentions of others" (1981, 294) . But any beginning is alwaysalready a point of departure, so I can take Bakhtin's declaration (of a fact of language)and immediately turn it into a suggestion (for a direction of inquiry) . The line of flight,just begun, has veered. Facts require proof, so they move us to look behind them;suggestions summon speculation, so they turn us round to peer ahead . We have made thepoststructuralist turn, which eschews the totalizing, absolutist assumptions of proof toembrace the simultaneously ludic, ungrounded and linguistic . This assertion is too easilysaid, and I do not expect that its saying will convince any dismayed modernist expectingtight argument . I could take the hoary dodge of asserting that the proof of the inevitabilityof politics in language is outside of the scope of this text which it surely is--or I couldchallenge the doubtful to prove or even demonstrate the contrary, a task which promisesto be as daunting as the positive case . Instead, I beg indulgence, like a child at play . Forplay's the thing ; the game's afoot—the language game : "Interpretation, `literarycriticism,' is not the detached statement of a knowledge objectively gained . It is thedesperation of a bet, an ungrounded doing things with words : `I bet this is a lyric poem,'75or `I bet this is an elegy,' or `I bet this is a parable,' followed by the exegesis that is theconsequence of the bet" (Miller 1985, 26) . I am suspicious of the term "interpretation" inany circumstances, with its implicit construction and separation of actively interpretingsubject and passively interpreted object, but "the thing that [poststructuralist strategiesgive] us [is] an awareness that what we are obliged to do, and must do scrupulously, inthe long run is not OK" (Spivak 1990c, 45) . Or, to invert, the inadequacy and failure ofcertain concepts or terms need not keep us from employing them productively . Hereinterpretation, for all its troubling aspects, usefully relates this nascent languagegamespersonship to my larger purpose, which might be written as an "interpretation oflove," or better, as an "interpretation of the interpretations of love ." More specifically, mygame crosses Miller with Clifford, with the latter's suggestion that what is real is alwaysanalyzable as a "restrictive and expressive set of social codes" (1986, 10) . Then I cantranslate Bakhtin into "I bet that language is always analyzable as a set of politicalpractices," and what follows is not a proof, but an exegesis that is the consequence of thatbet.Here, political means subject to relations of motivation and power—and conflict.More concretely, politics invokes the "general politics" of meaning addressed byFoucault's through his regimes of truth . Bakhtin's overpopulation of language issymmetrical to the poststructuralist overdetermination of meaning . The epistemologicalshift is a discursive one . Modernist meaning, construed as the stable isomorphism of signto referent, is displaced by the unstable, complex, motivated, contested production ofmeaning within and without the sign . Moving outward from the micro-scope of the signto the macro-practice of discourse in the `real' world, this latter poststructuralist viewexplicitly resists the modernist framing of language as communication, and implicitlycontests the claims to neutrality and objectivity in sociological or any other texts . Withregards to the discourse of love, it may seem to be merely stating the obvious to describethe language of love as "overpopulated with intentions," but more than the undisguised76presence of desire is being addressed here . What Bakhtin makes suspect is thefundamental modernist conceit of communication as the transfer of information, whetherbetween lovers loving or sociologists writing and reading . Communication as information"implies a transmission charged with making a pass, from one subject to another, theidentity of a signified object, of a meaning or of a concept rightfully separable from theprocess of passage and from the signifying operation . Communication presupposessubjects (whose identity and presence are constituted before the signifying operation) andobjects (signified concepts, a thought meaning that the passage of communication willhave neither to constitute, nor, by all rights, to transform) . A communicates B to C"(Derrida 1981, 23, emphasis in original) . Recall Saussure's diagram . Communication isread here, first and foremost, as a term, a lexical object, a psychology buzzwordentrenched in and across the relations of love, their everyday discourses, and theirprofessional meta-discourses . Within these relations and discourses, communication isread and valorized as essential, both to love itself, and to talking and writing about it . Theirony is that such valorization reiterates master propagandist Stalin, who half a centuryago authored a political pamphlet championing language as the neutral instrument ofcommunication (Lecercle 1990, 48) . 1 In resisting the idealization of communication, I amnot claiming that communication is either never possible or always totalitarian . After all,one purpose of this text—but only one among several—is to communicate . Nonetheless, Iam giving warning that communication is never merely communication . It maysometimes be precise—it may carry a great deal of information 	 but it is alwaysinaccurate—it can never be wholly reduced to that information . Informationconventionally denotes literal meaning, but since literalness is another name fortransparency, it is undermined by the same critique made of the latter . Literalness is not1 The irony is multiple here : a member of the Soviet academy wrote the pamphlet under Stalin's name(Lecercle 1990, 206) . Authorship loses its simple identity ; communication loses its ground of simplespeaking (or writing) subject .77an attribute of the communicated text (it is not a quality of a quale), but a socialproduction only made possible by the repression of the proliferation of meaning, and theexclusion of polysemy . "The use of language for purposes of communication implies acertain restraint, a capacity to discern and differentiate, that is, not to say things, an abilityto stop when one's meaning has been expressed" (Lecercle 1985, 34).`Literal' (from literalis, from litera, a letter) therefore equates exactness with theabsence of tropicality. A literal reading is a tactic of claiming superficiality as a virtue, inorder to disclaim politics . This disavowal of politics is therefore itself a consummatelypolitical maneuver, whereby the terms communication, information, literal meaning andtransparency align with each other in a rhetorical, or, more accurately, an interlexicalregime of truth . There is no such thing as just communication . Just as Foucault insists onthe mutuality of knowledge and power, this text insists on the mutuality ofcommunication and power . It is the presence of these politics that made the reduction oflanguage to communication misleading . The danger of the convention of`communication' is rhetorical . In a slippage of terms, the critical social processesimmanent to language get elided, as the meaning of communication is reduced to theexchange of information . When these politics are recognized, discursive operationsappear more as productions than any sort of transfers . But what are these politics? Whatare their material forms? Foucault gives one reply, recognizing the problematics ofcommunication's production of subjectivity:We should suspend the typical questions : how does a free subjectpenetrate the density of things and endow them with meaning ; how does itaccomplish its design by animating the rules of discourse from within?Rather, we should ask : under what conditions and through what forms canan entity like the subject appear in the order of discourse ; what positiondoes it occupy; what functions does it exhibit; and what rules does itfollow in each type of discourse? In short, the subject (and its substitutes)must be stripped of its creative role and analysed as a complex andvariable function of discourse . (1977c, 137-138)In other words, Foucault is foregrounding for analysis exactly what communication takesfor granted: the specific production and circumstances of subjectivity .78Spivak gives another view of the politics of communication, recognizing theproblematics of the open neutrality of dialogue:Talking about elite theory, let me suggest that that is the kind of positionJurgen Habermas articulates: a neutral communication situation of freedialogue. Well, it is not a situation that ever comes into being—there is nosuch thing. The desire for neutrality and dialogue, even as it should not berepressed, must always mark its own failure. To see how desire articulatesitself, one must read the text in which that desire is expressed . The idea ofneutral dialogue is an idea which denies history, denies structure, deniesthe positioning of subjects . I would try to look how, in fact, the demandfor a dialogue is articulated . (1990c, 72)Spivak is acute in reading the idealization of communication as "the demand fordialogue," and this text will take up her suggestion for probing this demand, in adiscussion of context . For now, the recognition that communication is highly motivatedand overdetermined permits its de-sanctification, and once communication's comforting,obscuring aura of neutrality is dispersed, other rhetorical operations are made apparent.Baudrillard writes of a different politics of communication when he tropes it withan unexpected convergence: the encounter exercises of the Californian human potentialmovement and the Teflon frying pan:[1980s America] is a culture which sets up specialized institutes so thatpeople's bodies can come together and touch, and, at the same time,invents pans in which the water does not touch the bottom of the pan,which is made of a substance so homogeneous, dry, and artificial that not asingle drop sticks to it, just like those bodies intertwined in `feeling' andtherapeutic love, which do not touch cven for a moment . This is calledinterface or interaction . It has replaced face-to-face contact and action . It isalso called communication, because these things really do communicate:the miracle is that the pan bottom communicates its heat to the waterwithout touching it, in a sort of remote boiling process, in the same way asone body communicates its fluid, its erotic potential, to another withoutthat other ever being seduced or even disturbed, by a sort of molecularcapillary action . The code of separation has worked so well that they haveeven managed to separate the water from the pan and to make the pantransmit its heat as a message, or to make one body transmit its desire tothe other as a message, as a fluid to be decoded . This is called informationand it has wormed its way into everything, like a phobic, maniacalleitmotiv, which affects sexual relations as well as kitchen implements.(1988, 32-33, emphasis in original)This text suggests a more radical text, namely, that the frying pan metaphor forcommunication without touching is just as acute for ordinary romantic (non-therapeutic?)79love as it is for artificial therapeutic love. The "code of separation" that Baudrillardidentifies is very accessible, because it is already present in widely dispersed andvalorized metaphors for communication, in which the operations of telecommunicationtechnologies like the telephone and the telegraph stand in for the fundamental operationsof language—recall the Saussurean diagram of Locke's telementation (tele : at a distance).The acceptance of these metaphors is so complete that their ironies disappear, which isperhaps as good a measure as any of the success of the construction of understandingthrough rhetoric. In particular, the instantiation of distance in these tropes is obscured, sothat they may be unselfconsciously deployed in texts in which communication intimatescloseness—intimates intimacy . Yet the very act of speaking of communication installsseparation and distance, as it inserts the between between the subjects who arecommunicating (even more fundamentally, as Derrida noted, it is through this separationthat a particular subjectivity is generated and maintained: communicating subjects aretwo, divided, individually unified, independent subjects who use the device of languageinstrumentally). Hence the closeness of communication depends upon distance . Thefamiliar telephone monopoly marketing jingle, "reach out and touch someone," attemptsto make closeness and touching the same, but they are manifestly different . The fryingpan is best at communicating heat when it is very close to, but does not touch, what it isheating. Distance is the counter-trope, already present in communication . What happensin that distance, and what are the implications and demands of this necessary separation?Or, to use the deconstructionist vernacular, what happens in that gap? This place—thisspace—is where the transparency of language and the lucidity of the text converge, for itis precisely language that is conventionally held to discursively bridge that gap—in acertain way.Consider the conventional difference between language as instrument andlanguage as art . Communication is idealized as a pure use of language, uncontaminatedby the figurative ambiguity of the language of literature, because Baudrillard's maniacal80worm of information has utterly infested contemporary attitudes towards language(clarity, simplicity, directness, transparency, efficiency, accessibility, unambiguousness,generalizability are different aspects of the worm) . However, just as any culturalrepresentation partakes of literary procedures, any language use deploys literary devices."`Literariness' . . . might be given other names : rhetorical effects, places where figurativelanguage interferes with straightforward grammatical meanings—and that effect of`literariness' is everywhere . It is a feature of language in general . . . . [It is] a universalfeature of language" (J . Hillis Miller, in Salusinszky 1987, 229, emphasis in original).Literalness can be troped as decreasing distance, and literariness as increasing it, in thatfiguration—'rhetorical flourish' puts straightforward meaning (truth) at a remove,contaminating communication . This trope complicates the telecommunications trope, byshowing that communication has a multiple rhetorical relation to distance : distance isnecessary, but should be figuratively minimized . To converge the two figures, purity incommunication, in its opposition to distance, invokes immediacy . But if literariness is auniversal feature of language, and if literariness takes the name of contamination, then nocommunication can be pure . Yet, as Said comments, "a great deal of unnecessary effortgoes into defining what is purely literary . I don't understand the need constantly to dothat. It's like saying that something is American, and the opposite to it is un-American:that whole field seems to me quite boring . What is interesting is the degree to which it'smixed with other things, not its purity" (Salusinszky 1987, 138) . Communication isalways tainted, and it is precisely that impurity which is interesting about it (although, todispute Said in the letter, if not in spirit, the discursive constitution of politically chargedbinary textual oppositions like American/un-American is critically important) . Said'spoint of view goes against the convention of recuperating contamination by belittling it asinevitable imperfection in an imperfect world . What is necessary is to closely examine themeans by which this belittling takes place, and to consider its motivations . This necessitymotivates the recurrence of the trope of contamination in this analysis, although its81association with communication at first appears strange . That relation becomes moreaccessible by embedding the trope once more in a telecommunication discourse.One criterion of any telecommunication modality is its signal-to-noise ratio,where the signal is the information to be transmitted, and noise comprises all otherperceptible phenomena in the received transmission. The purity of the signal iscontaminated and corrupted by noise, so the higher the signal-to-noise, the better thecommunication . 2 This criterion maps onto the classical hermeneutic mission ofrecovering authorial intent in a text, or, equivalently, the valorization of clarity as the easeof that recovery. Signal may thus be paraphrased as information that is intended ordesired, and noise as information that is unintended or undesired . Then(tele)communication can be judged by how well these kinds of information aredistinguished, how well the desired kind can be retained (reproduced), and how well theundesired kind can be filtered out or excluded . Put this way, signal and noise can be readas defined not by intrinsic qualities, but by how they are perceived, understood, judged,engaged, accepted, and rejected—in other words, how those attributes are attributed.Signal and noise are categories produced by the convergence of convention and intention,both of which change according to the context that is brought into being . Radio static isnoise in a broadcast, when listeners are desperately seeking Madonna, but it is signal inradio telescopy, when astronomers are painstakingly seeking long-band stellar emissions.The meanings of noise and contamination are themselves produced in situ.The relation of signal to communication can also be approached through SlavojZizek's analysis of content and form:Michael Mann's Manhunter is a movie about a police detective famous forhis ability to enter intuitively, through his "sixth sense," the mind ofperverse, sadistic murderers . His task is to detect a particularly cruel massmurderer who slaughtered a series of quiet, provincial families. The2 Hayles (1990) discusses in much more sophisticated terms the relation of entropy, information, noise,communication, and disorder through her convergence of chaos theory and literary criticism .82detective reruns again and again super-8 home movies shot by each of theslaughtered families in order to arrive at the trait unaire, the featurecommon to all of them that attracted the murderer and thus directed hischoice. But all his efforts are in vain as long as he looks for this commonfeature on the level of content, i .e ., in the families themselves . . . . The onlything common to all the slaughtered families is . . . the home moviesthemselves, i .e ., the murderer had to have had access to their privatemovies, there is no other link connecting them . Because the movies areprivate, the only possible link between them is the laboratory where theywere developed. A quick check confirms that all the movies weredeveloped by the same laboratory, and the murderer is soon identified asone of the workers in the lab . Where lies the theoretical interest of thisdenouement? The detective searches for a common feature that will enablehim to get at the murderer in the content of the home movies, thusoverlooking the form itself, i .e., the crucial fact that he is all the timeviewing a series of home movies . The decisive turn takes place when hebecomes aware that through the very screening of the home movies, he isalready identified with the murderer, that his obsessive gaze, surveyingevery detail of the scenery, coincides with the gaze of the murderer . Theidentification is on the level of the gaze, not on the level of content.(1991, 107-8, emphasis in original)This is a concrete indictment of visualism : the obsessive attention to what-is-seen blocksawareness of both the problematics and the power of the process of seeing . The detective,a highly trained and gifted observer, is so good at seeing that for too long he does not seehimself seeing . He sees too clearly, and the clearer his vision, the more the crucial formdisappears, the more his attention fastens on various pieces of content, and the more falseconjectures he comes up with . It is always possible to construct some diegesis from anyfragmented or selected content . Meaning is always producible; one can alwaysmake—produce—sense. It is only when all content is bracketed, so that the invisibilizedform reemerges, that the detective recognizes that the form is the critical content.This analysis is also an indictment of communication, and the communicativemodel of language, insofar as the valorization of signal scans as the fixation with contentand the simultaneous neglect of form. Symmetrically, the clarity and obviousness ofcontent obscures how it is the conformity to a specific form which makes it clear andobvious. Love, as content, obscures how it is formed by and conforms to a particulartropical rhizome . Truth, as a content, obscures how it is formed by and conforms to thedominant regime of truth . The poststructuralist shift, from the Enlightenment search for83truth to the Foucaultian inquiry into regimes of truth, can be read as the decentering (butnot the annihilation) of content by form.Insofar as love is presented as depending on communication, love is contaminatedwith the familiar issues of transparency, textuality, reading, writing, discourse, andmeaning. This convergence of love and language is contaminated with politics, but in apeculiar way. One consequence of the reduction of communication to informationtransfer is that communication associates with cognition, and dissociates from affect.Emotion connotes bias, while information connotes fact . So communication, like neutralscientific language, aligns with the absence of emotion, which slants or obscuresinformation content. The cool neutrality of rationality ; the hot commitment of passion.What results is a proliferating set of binary oppositions : clarity versus obscuration,content versus form, centrality versus supplement, signal versus noise, coolness versusheat, science versus literature, neutrality versus political motivation, objectivity versusbias, distance versus immediacy, rationality versus irrationality, fact versus feeling,cognition versus affect, sobriety versus passion, purity versus contamination . Thedistance between these oppositions can be bridged only in limited and specific ways.Communication about emotions is discursively unproblematic, as long as it is done incomfortably distanced logical and scientific terms, which is the sociological tacticdescribed above, and the scientific tactic of psychology . Distance then constitutes areassuring cordon sanitaire.What is curious about love is that its intimate association with communicationconflicts with this binary opposition, and the relation between the two must therefore bedifferently constituted . Honesty and truth, which are deployed generally in discourses oncommunication, take on specific inflections when applied to and by love . As will bediscussed below, the alignments just described are troped biomedically in local discourseby the differences between the head and the heart . Yet with respect to love,communication maintains its purity by inverting the usual hierarchy, to constitute an84emotional discourse which is contaminated, instead of purified, when it isintellectualized . Honesty in local love speaks as, "tell me what you feel, not what youthink." Truth is now feeling. The heart speaks for itself, and though the mediation of themind is obviously necessary, the figure is one of the heart speaking directly : the trueheart . Hence the valorization, begun in the sixties and generally maintained through to thenineties, of the story of the sensitive (New Age) male who is in touch with his feelings,and who, as one woman told me, has gained access to the "emotional vocabulary" thatwomen have always had at their disposal.Love, in its identification with communication, is therefore organized around twopoles which are irreducible to each other . Any compromise between them would be readas contamination from either viewpoint, so both poles must be maintained . "The questionthen is, how romance fights against itself " (Hartman, in Salusinszky 1987, 85) . Theregime of truth of love is charged with the tension of this contradiction, which is whylove is an apt location to examine the work of socially embedded language . The languageof love, cast in this manner, speaks in difference, immediacy, sensation, figuration—thepoststructuralist vocabulary. In this way, the dichotomy of love in communication can beread as less contradictory than constitutive . To reinvoke Cottom and make the text turn,consider the trope of a dynamo, which is a system in which a current arcs between twoopposed magnetic poles (Hayles 1990, 68 ; Cox 1980) . Any assimilation of one pole intothe other would make the dynamo fail . The gap must be maintained for the dynamo towork. The discursive identity of postmodern love comes into being in, and is sustainedby, the arc firing in the space between differentiated poles, in the incoherence of thecarnal trope . "Voice, as the `immediate figure of the senses,' has been shown, by Derrida,to be caught up in the displacements, mediations and dffferance which are features of`writing in general"' (Salusinszky 1987, 83) .854 .2: Politics and Parole : The Insertion of Real Words into the Body of LoveResisting the conventional characterization of language as being centrally aboutcommunication, Deleuze and Guattari (1987, 76,523) write of language as manifestlypolemical, as the imperative of propaganda . Their fundamental term is mot d'ordre—'slogan', or `order-word'—which foregrounds the power relations that thecommunication conception of language obscures . I use Deleuze and Guattari tactically,because their approach so effectively surfaces desire and politics in discourse . I use theirtheory to examine authority through "strategic formation [of discourse], which is a wayof analyzing the relationship between texts and the way in which groups of texts, types oftexts, even textual genres, acquire mass, density, and referential power among themselvesand thereafter in the culture at large" (Said 1979, 20) . Strategic here reiterates Game'scharacterization of the poststructuralist displacement of what questions of meaning byhow questions . "The things to look at are style, figures of speech, setting, narrativedevices, historical and social circumstances" (Said 1979, 21) . These attributes of the textare the signs by which we may pursue the authority of the text, that is, textual politics.This is the analytical site where Said meets Deleuze and Guattari. How does love,through discourse, acquire mass, density, and referential power?As a necessary preparation for Deleuze and Guattari, let me take a brief semioticdetour. The implication of tropes in the politics of language is surfaced when the formerare considered as signs. Thus, the Barthesian semiotics of love : "The lover is the naturalsemiologist in the pure state! He spends his time reading signs	 he does nothing else"(1991c, 303). Tropes are not the only signs of love, but they are easily read as signs . I . A.Richards theorized the metaphor as consisting of a tenor, the "purport, or general drift ofthought regarding the subject of the metaphor," and a vehicle, "that which serves to carryor embody the tenor" (Friedman 1986, 278) . There is a striking parallel between thissystem and the sign as signifier and signified, although I am leery of being overly86structuralist about tropes, 3 and of allowing metaphor to constitute the boundary of alltropes. But such formalism is not necessary to the purpose at hand ; the trope still qualifiesas a sign in the broadest sense of a "natural or conventional semiotic entity consisting of asign vehicle connected with meaning" (Noth 1990, 79, emphasis in original) . As a sign,the trope converges with intention, polysemy and agonistics . "We all use the samelanguage but . . . we have different interests—and interests must here be taken to meanpolitical and power-related interests which intersect in the sign. The meaning of the signin thrown open—the sign becomes `polysemic' rather than `univocal'—and although it istrue to say that the dominant power group at any given time will dominate the intertextualproduction of meaning, this is not to suggest that the opposition has been reduced to totalsilence. The power struggle intersects in the sign" (Moi 1988, 158, emphasis in original).Then as far as love remains critical to social groups, in whatever form that criticalitytakes, the meanings of the signs of love will be locations of dispute. Tropes "are notmerely arbitrary signs, but living powers" (Crowley 1991, 43), reflexively situating,situated in, and situated by social life . Cixous tropes this chiasmatically : "poeticallypolitical, politically poetic" (Conley 1984, 139) . The tropical inflorescence of meaning isa "pulsation, the movement which animates the word" (Monique Schneider, in Mortley1991, 37). The productivity of the sign reiterates the productivity of language—how thelatter constructs, rather than merely reflects, social relations such as those which appeal tothe name of love (Moi 1988, 158) . Likewise, the struggle for the meaning of the signreiterates the Foucaultian linkage of knowledge and power in discursive formations(Foucault 1977a, 73-75 ; 1977d; 1980, 92-102).3 Scholes notes that modern structuralists and poststructuralists alike have muddied the distinctionbetween the signifier and the signified : " [Witness] the inconsistent translations of signifiant and signifie inS/Z. It is safe to say that neither term has any precise meaning at present which perhaps justifies thesemiological position on the matter" (1982, 148) .87In this thesis, the relation of tropes to extant knowledges of love is radicallyinformed by Said's ideas on the relation of rhetoric to Orientalism:Its objective discoveries—the work of innumerable devoted scholars whoedited texts and translated them, codified grammars, wrote dictionaries,reconstructed dead epochs, produced positivistically verifiable learning—are and always have been conditioned by the fact that its truths, like anytruths delivered by language, are embodied in language, and what is thetruth of language, Nietzsche once said, buta mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, andanthropomorphisms—in short, a sum of human relations,which have been enhanced, transposed, and embellishedpoetically and rhetorically, and which after long use seemfirm, canonical, and obligatory to a people : truths areillusions about which one has forgotten that this is whatthey are . 4(1978, 203 .)Three notes: First, Foucault turns out to be paraphrasing Nietzsche when he writes oftruth as unrecognized fiction—which is no surprise. Second, Said's description ofOrientalists is a disturbingly accurate characterization of sociologists. Third, while Said isas useful as he is eloquent, knowledges of love are significantly different fromOrientalism, in that the latter is characterized by deferral to expertise, while the formerare much more ambivalent with respect to the authority of the expert.Out of this stew of Bakhtin, Barthes, Moi, Deleuze and Guattari, Said, Nietzsche,Foucault, and others still to come, can be distilled a pivotal proposition:It is because the meanings of love are produced tropically, and because tropesare so highly contingent on the linguistic practices which situate them, and becauselanguage is profoundly and inescapably political, that the meanings of love are highlypoliticized.This understanding dissolves the distance installed by modernism betweenlanguage and social relations, an imaginary distance which reiterates the distance implicitin the communication paradigm of language. The sociological conviction that the4 The Nietzsche citation is from "On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense" (1968, 46-7) .88meanings of the word may be treated as different from the meanings of the worldmotivates the sociological suspicion of a social analytic which centers on language . Thissuspicion is justified, for poststructuralism does pose a multiple threat to specularsociology when it assaults the communication paradigm of language the latter takes forgranted. Lecercle lists the four postulates of that communicative understanding oflanguage, as presented by Deleuze and Guattari:(1) The function of language is to inform and communicate.(2) Language is an abstract machine, which admits no `extrinsicfactor'.(3) Language is a homogeneous system.(4) The object the linguist studies is the standard version of thelanguage, not dialectal variations or individual style.For Deleuze and Guattari, the interest of these axioms is that they providea good picture of what language is not, and therefore, a contrario suggestwhat language is . (Lecercle 1990, 43)"Language is both material and social" (Lecercle 1990, 52), and love is both social andlinguistic . Following Deleuze and Guattari, this text recognizes that material and socialcharacter by asserting "the primacy of parole over langue" (Lecercle 1990, 48), therebyinvoking and denying Saussurean formalism . Langue is systematically structuredlanguage, ordered by grammatical, syntactic, semantic rules, and standardized bydictionaries, pedagogy, handbooks of style . It presents itself as "a self-contained wholeand a principle of classification" (Saussure 1966, 9), but that "self-containment" issuspect, as it is an arrogation of authority . The self-regulating semiotics of langue denieswhat Spivak calls the worlding of language. Worlding can be read through parole, whichis language-in-use, language-as-spoken, utterly immersed in and permeated by the flux ofusage and speaking, in what Deleuze and Guattari (1987) call pragmatics . This is not aretreat to referentiality . The relation of parole to the world is not one of the formernaming the latter, but one of mutual embeddedness . Sometimes the poststructuralistdiscourse on discourse is mistaken for a reversion to Hegelian idealism (another take on89"there is nothing outside of the text"), but such an interpretation ignores the continualpoststructuralist effort to circumstantially and socially embody the text. Il n'y a pas dehors-texte is a chiasmus: the text is worlded and the world is textualized. Deleuze andGuattari's emphasis on parole is an extrapolation of this trope to language in general . Inother words, parole is language that is utterly and ironically sociological (and, inversely,the world is worked through by its language):Deleuze and Guattari stress not only the non-autonomy of language, butalso its materiality . Language is caught both in the bodies of its utterersand in the society that they form . . . . It is no longer a case of a symbolicarticulation of language and the unconscious which nevertheless turnedout to be an essential aspect of the reality of langue, . . . but a case of a realinsertion of words within bodies . Words not only do things; they arethings. Language cannot be a simple representation of the world [asspecular sociology must maintain]; it is also an intervention within it, to beanalysed in terms of positions, advance and retreat, territorial markings,and deterritorialization. We are moving here from the body of theindividual to the body politic. The non-autonomy of language opens up tothe social . Language is an institution with a vengeance . It suffers the fateof all institutions : it is a locus for the exercise of power, and a target forrebellious attacks .(Lecercle 1990, 47-48, emphasis in original)The irony is that a move from the individual to the body politic, this opening up tothe social, is a thoroughly conventional sociological interest . Language is a regulatedsocial institution (Cameron 1990, 88), just as love is . "The world and language are notdistinct orders of being but belong to the same ontological order" (Crowley 1990, 30).Recalling Abu-Lughod and Lutz, love is one of the last bastions of essentialism, of theprofoundly interior self. The convergence of language and the world, including theinternal psychological world, is an assault on that supposedly final essentialism : "Of allthe approaches to man, psychology is the most unprovable, the most marked by its time.This is because, in fact, knowledge of the profound self is illusory: there are only differentways of articulating it" (Barthes 1964, 171) . The self is made intelligible to the self, andothers, included experts on the self, in language . The psychological is linguistic ; thelinguistic is social . Love is ineluctable from its articulations . The construction of love asinterior is the resort to Nature by another name, but "the most natural remark about the90world depends on cultural codes . As Pascal put it, `if custom is a second nature, as itmanifestly is in these cultures that would pass as natural, then perhaps Nature is only asecond custom.' (Culler 1983, 41). To acknowledge the tropicality of love is to removeit from the interior and natural and resituate it in the uneasy, ongoing interpenetration ofculture and language . "Verbal discourse is a social phenomenon social throughout itsentire range and in each and every of its factors, from the sound image to the furthestreaches of abstract meaning" (Bakhtin 1981, 259) . Language, like love, once it isexplicitly acknowledged as social by sociologists, gets implicitly treated as somethingelse again. Whenever—whenever—language is regarded as clear, neutral communication,its social nature, laden with Bakhtinian politics, is effaced . With that recognition, theaccepted sociological analysis of love appears as misprision, or at least sleight-of-hand,where the focus on the social institutions of marriage and family directs attention awayfrom the social institution of language, even as language is flaunted before our eyes . Thistext refocuses	 changes the depth of field—on the social institution of love in language,or more accurately, in parole, as opposed to langue . This is the parole of love. Iflanguage is a social institution, parole is something else again : "language-using is asocial practice in its own right" (Cameron 1990, 90, emphasis added) . The distinction iscrucial . Parole, as the protean, socialized, politicized, practice of language, continuallyexceeds langue. Parole will not be contained in any semiotic order ; it exceeds thestructuration of langue just as love exceeds the structuration of rationality, within localdiscourse . Parole is like Spivak's notion of writing : "The best model for it is somethingwoven but beyond control" (1990a, 2) . Parole is an open work itself, the language of thetropical inflorescence of meaning, the language of rhythm and pulsation (Schneider, inMortley 1991, 37) . This is the break between the rhizomatous poststructuralist theory ofDeleuze and Guattari and the structuralist linguistics of Chomsky:The linguistic tree on the Chomsky model still begins at a point S andproceeds by dichotomy. On the contrary, not every trait in a rhizome isnecessarily linked to a linguistic feature : semiotic chains of every nature91are connected to very diverse modes of coding (biological, political,economic, etc .) that bring into play not only different regimes of signs butalso states of things of differing status . Collective assemblages ofenunciation function directly within machinic assemblages ; it is not[possible] 5 to make a radical break between regimes of signs and theirobjects . . . . A rhizome ceaselessly establishes connections betweensemiotic chains, organizations of power, and circumstances relative to thearts, sciences, and social struggles.(Deleuze and Guattari 1987, 7, emphasis in original)It is because the discourse of love has the rhizomatous nature of parole that love is fluidlyexcessive.In order to elaborate, a first consideration of the subject is necessary . "Socialagents are not free agents, but this does not mean we have to go back to the notion thatthey are sociolinguistic automata . Rather, we should ask ourselves such questions as`what determines "the expressive resources available" in particular languages or toparticular groups of speakers? Who or what produces "the conventions which apply totheir use"? How—that is to say, through what actual, concrete practices—is this done?'(Cameron 1990, 88, emphasis in original) These questions echo those that Foucault putsforward with respect to discourse and the subject (1977c, 138). My own text may be readas an inquiry into what determines the expressive resources available to lovers—with theproviso that its understanding of language is something much more than either anexpression or a resource.Language is used by people, but language also uses—and makes—people . "Eachperson represents one locus where a given language takes shape in a particular way"(Schleiermacher 1988, 75) . Parole is heterogeneous, in the same place where langue ishomogeneous (Saussure 1966, 15). Nonetheless, the determination of expressiveresources is notable for how it sometimes operates in an institutional vacuum . Withregard to the discourse of love, "though it is spoken by millions of people, diffused in our5 Massumi's translation has "impossible" here. This is in error ; the original is: "Les agencementscollectifs d'enonciation fonctionnent en effet directement dans les agencements machiniques, et 1'on nepeut pas etablir de coupure radicale entre les regimes de signes et leurs objets" (Deleuze and Guattari1980, 13) .92popular romances and television programmes as well as in serious literature, there is noinstitution that explores, maintains, modifies, judges, repeats and otherwise assumesresponsibility for this discourse" (Culler 1983, 108) . Yet language is partiallyinstitutionalized; language, or rather an aspect of language, is itself the institution.Langue, as opposed to parole, is, in Deleuze and Guattari's terms, the "abstract machineof language[,] . . . a synchronic set of constants" (1987, 90, emphasis in original)—aformal system . Langue, then, as a systematization, is an imaginary construction imposedupon parole, a discursive attempt to fix discourse (or a text the most obviousmanifestation being the dictionary), at least for a moment . Langue, then, is the overteffort to control parole; it is the instantiation of politics, which, by simultaneouslyclaiming authority, autonomy and neutrality, denies that very politics . Langue "stabilizesaround a parish, a bishopric, a capital" (Deleuze and Guattari 1987, 7) ; around auniversity, a discipline, a department; around an engagement ring, a marriage ceremony,Valentine's Day. Hence, a different inflection to mots d'ordre : langue is both a sloganand an order, the repression that Barthes recognized in the closure of connotation (parole)to denotation (langue) . This effort, according to poststructuralists, always fails, andalways continues to attempt to succeed . So it is not language that is a social institution,but langue, as distinguished from the social practice of parole. "If the externalpragmatics of nonlinguistic factors must be taken into consideration, it is becauselinguistics itself is inseparable from an internal pragmatics involving its own factors . . ..The interpenetration of language and the social field and political problems lies at thedeepest level of the abstract machine [of language], not at the surface" (Deleuze andGuattari 1987, 91, emphasis in original).Langue is not something used in various ways by different groups and differentpeoples; these are not "idiolectal or dialectal variations within the same langue" (Lecercle1990, 48) . Meaning is produced in the active variation of the language itself, as parole."Style, not langue, becomes the focus of attention" (Lecercle, 49), because style is now93understood as not a matter of inflection, but of identity . Hence the relevance to the trope,which produces meaning through the installation of style in parole, and therebyinsinuates into langue . To say "I'm falling in love" is to deploy a trope that has forgottenits tropicality ; according to The Oxford English Dictionary the earliest known recordeduse of the phrase was in the fifteenth century "So ferre I-fallyng into lufis dance," whichis at once more figurative and more specific than the current usage . Teresa de Lauretiswrites, "language . . . is more than a game . . . . Language and metaphors are alwaysembedded in practices, in real life, where meaning ultimately resides" (1984, 3) . Herstatement is open to different readings, but here it is read as asserting that real life is alsoembedded in language and metaphors . There is no privileged term.But, in the world, The Oxford English Dictionary indeed has privilege. Itestablishes and maintains a standard English and a standard for English . Then theopposition of the polyphony of parole versus a unitary dictionary standard of langue isanother instance of the politics of language . "The standard version of English is thedialect of cultured, white, European, heterosexual, urban, adult males . This reads like theconverse of a list of the victims of comedians' jokes : women, peasants, wogs of alldescription, trade unionists, lunatics. It is almost the same list, which means that themajor dialect is the embodiment and its adoption the practice—of relations of power"(Lecercle 1990, 50) . Standard, after all, has more than one sense, and its normative cantsignifies its exercise of power: "But who owns English? Whose norms do the editors ofthe OED cite, and why should they apply to my behaviour, or his, or hers?" (Taylor 1990,25). Who owns the discourse of love?Consider Kovecses's myriad "conventionalized expressions," that is, "linguisticexpressions that are commonly used by and are familiar to most, if not all, nativespeakers of English" (1990, 43) . Conventionalization, in its univocity, is not the sign ofthe consensus of culture, but the mark of success of the exercise of power—whether thispower presents as fact (biology), verity (philosophy and immutable truth), instinct94(human nature), knowledge (certification by expertise 6), or common-sense (culturaltruths). As language is acknowledged as a social institution, its conventions arerecognizable as social objects themselves . The inquiry into the politics of the language oflove therefore echoes Barthes' description of semiology as the "`undoing' of linguistics"(Culler 1983, 71) . It is "the labour that collects the impurity of language, the waste oflinguistics, the immediate corruption of any message : nothing less than the desires, fears,expressions, intimidations, advances, blandishments, protests, excuses, aggressions andmelodies of which active language is made" (Barthes 1982b : 470-471) . To read Barthesat a suitably different angle, all of these constituents of active language are metonymiesfor love—and for politics.As these terms suggest, the production of meaning is neither a systematicfunctionalism nor a congenial negotiation. It is not irenic . "The world of speech anddesires has known invasions, struggles, plundering, disguises, ploys" (Foucault 1977d,139). Love, through its tropes, appears in at least two fields of violence . "On the onehand, writing does entail a certain generalized system of violence . On the other hand,there exist structures of violence in the world which cannot be reduced to just theviolence of writing . [Derrida] said . . . that there is a constant negotiation between thesetwo structures of violence, and whatever you call theoretical, you have to be aware thatyou're negotiating in one way or another" (Spivak 1990c, 36) . Recalling Foucault'sdefinition of regimes of truth, politics makes certain discourses function as true . Thestratagems and misadventures of speech and desires (parole and love) coincide, but this isno coincidence. "What we know from experience of love and lust, charity and hate,pleasure and pain, we bring to bear upon . . . fictional events—invariably, because we seekto make every text our own" (Scholes 1982, 32) . The lover seeks to possess the text oflove, just as, in local discourse and in the local world, s/he seeks to possess the body of6 I take the notion of the modernist deferral to expertise from Roy Turner .95the other—to know the other . The intentions that Bakhtin warned of turn out to be ones ofappropriation. Local discourses of love are characterized by how terms like possessionand fidelity and jealousy are accommodated to valorized articulations of giving andselflessness.4.3 : Reading Context into Being Through the Tropes of LoveThough love is held to be natural, it is implicated in a weave of terms (`text', fromtextus : that which is woven) —language, meaning, desire, authority, truth, intention,transcendence, contingency, power—that are linked through the plural, shifting, andintimate political relations of tropes . Thus, "we believe that feelings are immutable, butevery sentiment, particularly the noblest and most disinterested, has a history" (Foucault1977d, 153) . Cottom provides a useful amplification to this text, although he is notspecifically referring to it : "History, here, is not a term that simply substitutes for culture,. . . thereby correcting the analysis performed ineptly under the name of culture . Historysignifies the absence of transcendent authority under any name : idealism, pragmatism,community or culture, text, or whatever . It signifies the political constitution of allmeaning: the materiality of all rhetoric and the rhetoricity of all signifying practices ."(1989, 85, emphasis in original) Spivak wants to turn history from a "master word"(1990i, 157) into a catachresis—in her terms "a metaphor without an adequate literalreferent" (1990i, 154) . History itself appears not as some real context, but as a trope . Puttogether, Foucault, Cottom, and Spivak deconstruct not only essentialist doctrines ofemotion, but also those constructivist alternatives which merely replace biology byculture as the transcendental authority.Cottom does for culture what Foucault does for the subject : he reveals that thecoherence, unity, and closure of culture are operations of power in discourse, whichrestrict, produce, exclude and shape—in short, discipline	 meaning. This power does not96impose itself externally and in a hierarchical fashion on the understanding of alreadyindividuated and unified subjects, but instead infests the active productions of discourseand subjectivity. Its authority, therefore, need not always show itself as authoritarian,although the shadow of authoritarianism often looms vaguely behind the appearances ofthings. Instead, "what makes power hold good, what makes it accepted, is simply the factthat it doesn't only weigh on us as a force that says no, but that it traverses and producesthings, it induces pleasure, forms knowledge, produces discourse . It needs to beconsidered as a productive network which runs through the whole social body, muchmore than as a negative instance whose function is repression" (Foucault 1977a, 61,emphasis added) . In its simultaneous formation of knowledge and production ofdiscourse, this power is the operative aspect of a regimes of truth. In its induction ofpleasure, this power is easily discerned in regimes of love. This reticulated, productivepower is troped by Deleuze and Guattari (1987) with the randomized, pervasive rhizome.Thus, the production of the subjectivity of the lover does not necessarily proceed by force—although sometimes it does : the discourse of love is full of demands and expectationsand disappointments and outrages ("If you loved me, you would. . . "). Outside of theviolence too common to the relations of love (which are usually and strangely analyzed asseparate from love itself), the power of love manifests less as overt force, than as culture.It is through rhizomatous dispersion that the power of the discourses of love—and culture—are maintained."Despite all the differences in the use of this word, culture, the discourse ofculture is powerfully institutionalized across the disciplines within the contemporarysocial sciences and humanities and so acts on our lives, whether or not we assent to it.Insofar as texts are constituted and interpreted within this discourse, it is against thisdiscourse that we must struggle if we are not satisfied with the ways textuality, reading,and writing have been institutionalized ." (Cottom 1989, 86, emphasis in original) I amcounted among the unsatisfied. This text can be read as working through this97dissatisfaction to examine the politics of the meanings of love . Then this text mustgrapple with the word culture, not only because it must address the underdevelopedsociological proposition that love is a cultural production, but also because the orientationof the sociological enterprise to culture is the archetypal way in which the textuality ofthe discipline has been institutionalized . "Culture is a linguistic creation, not a field ofstudy or work to which language is applied after the fact" (Cottom 1989, 85, emphasisadded). What sociologists and other social scientists conventionally do not choose torecognize is that "the delineation of culture in any sense can proceed only by way ofrhetorical figures, relations, and procedures, such as drawing the ethnographic boundary,establishing contextual rules to evaluate information within and across cultures, anddefining deviancy . This rhetoric has meaning only to those who have subscribed to acertain discourse" (Cottom 1989, 85), to those who accept and participate in a certainregime of truth . The meaning of culture proceeds through a tropical discourse, whichsummons and comforts its sociological congregation . Those unsatisfied with itsinstitutionalization are thus heretics. In the name of the heresy of decentered culture, thistext substitutes trope forjoke in Cottom:Culture . . . is not and never can be entirely present : independent, universal,innocent, neutral, transcendent, or anything of that sort. It is rather theimaginary law that has to exist, that is read into being, so a [trope] canhave meaning. . . . [I]t is the imaginary power of authority contested withinand between different readings, within and between different signifyingpractices of all sorts. Its definition is not decided by analytic insight or bynarrative discovery but rather by the struggle over justice, the contest overmeaning that is social life . (1989, 28, emphasis added)In this passage and the ones to follow, another substitution could be made : love forculture . This replacement is motivated not by any equivalence between the twoterms/concepts, but because love, like culture, can be productively read as discourse . Togive this discursive construction of culture a deconstructive turn of circularity andreflexivity, "culture is . . . something that is the effect of the production of culturalexplanations, and cultural explanations are produced because a certain culture needs to be98fabricated, a monolithic explanation of a group needs to be fabricated . [This is not tosuggest] that there is nothing like culture . [This is to suggest] that when it is taken as anagent and given a certain descriptive power describing groups generally outlined bynation state outlines, a certain politics of discursive production is going on there ."(Spivak 1990f, 123)Culture must not be mistaken, as it and history often are, as a context forinterpretation, in the conventional sense of context . Culture is not some hermeneutichorizon, information which provides the indices for understanding . The appeal to contextis too innocuous and necessary to the logocentric mind—and heart . Context is not given,but chosen, or at least received, whether consciously or unconsciously . The simple appealto context is the reinscription of grounding in the extradiscursive world . "[Derrida] arguesthat every sign, `linguistic or nonlinguistic, spoken or written (in the usual sense of thisopposition), as a small or large unity, can be cited, put between quotation marks ; therebyit can break with every given context and engender infinitely new contexts in anabsolutely nonsaturable fashion"' (Cottom 1989, 64, second emphasis added) . Context isalways implicated in the production of meaning, but context cannot be the absoluteground for interpretation because it is always partial . "Total context is unmasterable, bothin principle and in practice . Meaning is context-bound, but context is boundless" (Culler1982, 123, emphasis added) . In this way, Derrida and the nonsaturability of meaning isreconciled with Foucault (one cannot say anything at anytime) and Clifford (in practice,there is no free play of meaning) . An infinite number of meanings is not the same as allpossible meanings . Context must be mobilized for the production of meaning becausepure communication is impossible, in the sense that authorial intent alone cannot sufficeto produce the meaning of any text . However, "accounts of context never provide fulldeterminations of meaning" (Culler 1982, 128) . Culler identifies two general ways inwhich context is boundless. First, "any given context is open to further description"(1982, 123) . "This structural openness of context is essential to all disciplines"99(1982, 124), including the most systematic, empirical and positivistic of sciences, whichare continuously seeking new evidence that will re-context current knowledge . Second,„any attempt to codify context can always be grafted onto the context it sought todescribe, yielding a new context which escapes the previous formulation . Attempts todescribe limits always make possible a displacement of those limits, so thatWittgenstein's suggestion that one cannot say `bububu' and mean `if it does not rain Ishall go out for a walk,' has, paradoxically, made it possible to do just that” (1982, 124).This second kind of openness has radical consequences for human sciences which wouldcodify human behavior as if that codification, and the dissemination of that codification,will not affect the self-same behavior. Some experimental psychology routinely excludespsychologists and psychology students from participating in their research, becauseinformed subjects could recognize what was happening and affect the results. Suchpsychology is only the psychology of those who can be kept ignorant of psychology.(Bakan 1967 ; Gergen 1973)More than the openness of context is expressed in Cottom's idea of culture as readinto being. The sign or the trope engenders—generates—its context . In this regard,Cottom may be read through Scholes and Culler. Scholes distinguishes text from diegesis(recit from diegesis), where the former means the words and the latter means both "what[those words] encourage us to create as a fiction" (1982, 112) and the process by whichthat fiction is created. If, siding with Clifford and Geertz, sociological texts are regardedas fictions much like literary texts, then diegesis is the politicized production of meaningby another (narrative) name . "One of the primary qualities of . . . texts we understand asfiction is that they generate a diegetic order that has an astonishing independence from itstext" (Scholes 1982, 112). This independence emphasizes how diegesis is the activeconstruction of a story from a text. "Words never speak their own meaning" (Scholes1982, 112) . Words cannot speak their own meaning, for what they construct in a text is afluid syntagm of gaps or holes which must be diegetically filled or bridged by the100plenitude of context in order that the text can mean. "A text, as opposed to [the NewCritical construction of] a work, is open, incomplete, insufficient" (Scholes 1982, 15).And fluid: the holes are not fixed, but desultory. A text is a semiconductor, viewed as themovement of absence, of positive holes . ? Context makes the text intelligible bycompleting it, but since context is boundless, there is no absolute, unitary context whichmay absolutely fill the text, for the context exceeds and spills over the text . Every and anycontext is chosen—though perhaps unconsciously, though perhaps not by ourselves forourselves . It is selected from a surfeit of contexts, and so it is invoked by necessarilyexcluding others. "Life itself, with all its quotidian contingency, provides the richestpossible field for interpretation . Art [or diegesis] reduces this field—drastically. And thatis why we value it" (Scholes 1982, 59) . But valuing or needing a narrative to exist doesnot make that narrative true or real in any absolute sense. "The impulse to narrate, . . . theimpulse to think of origins and ends . . . [must be acknowledged as] a need rather than theway to truth" (Spivak 1990h, 21) . The trouble with conventional cultural diegetics is thatas they effect closure, they efface their narrativity and arrogate extradiscursive truth.Scholes regards diegesis as the production of fictions, but Kermode distinguishes fictionfrom myth: "Fictions can degenerate into myths whenever they are not consciously heldto be fictive . In this sense anti-Semitism is a degenerate fiction, a myth : and Lear is afiction . . . . Fictions are for finding things out, and they change as the needs of sense-making change. Myths are the agents of stability, fictions the agents of change . Mythscall for absolute, fictions for conditional assent" (1967, 39, emphasis added) . So Kermodeis opposing the Fryean transcendence of myth with the contextual contingency of fiction.When a particular context is read into being, connotations close to denotation. Tosay context is selected is perhaps too irenic, for the production of context is necessarily7 In the physics of semiconducting materials, which are the bases for transistors, the flow of electriccurrent is sometimes conceptualized as the flow of the absence of electrons—positive holes .101similar to the production of meaning : contested . "When we look at the word `culture' weshould see it as the site of a struggle, a problem, a discursive production, an effectstructure rather than a cause" (Spivak 1990f, 123) . Any process of diegetics, therefore, ingenerating a particular story by reading a particular context into being, enforces closureof meaning (Scholes 1982, 114) . Context, through diegetics, is the incarnation ofrepressive and productive politics.To read the context of culture as an imaginary law and a discursive production isto read context as more text (contextere : "to weave together"). Context is thendistinguished, not by its belonging to an extradiscursive world, but by its being the textread as reference . This relationship does not exist prior to reading, but gets produced inthe production of meaning. Context is "the very conditions of textual production anddissemination" (Fox-Genovese 1989, 217) . Diegesis is then the political specification ofwhat intertextuality is allowed—what texts are permitted to constitute (read into being as)culture for the purpose of reading the recit. To understand that this intertextual operationalways takes place is to recognize that it is impossible to read anything out of context,except by applying the conventions of politicized regimes of truth . When it is said thatsomething is `read out of context,' what is meant is that an inappropriate set of texts hasbeen selected as context. The word inappropriate betrays the surfacing of the politics ofmeaning. What are the standards of inappropriateness, and who decides them? Some`real' meaning must be arrogated, some `truth' must be appealed to . A transcendentalsignified must stand as judge, and obscure the politics of meaning.The politics of context become more emphatic when it is recognized that thecontext of a text includes the interpreter . To paraphrase Clifford (1986b), interpretersconstantly construct themselves through what they study, and readers constantly constructthemselves through what they read . "Vocabularies are crossing circles and loops . We aredefined by the lines we choose to cross or to be confined by," writes A . S. Byatt inPossession: A Romance (1990, 431) . Thus, the object of interpretation (the trope of love)102and the interpreter (the sociologist or the psychologist or the writer or the lover or . . . )and the context of interpretation (the worlds of the interpreter and the worlds of the text)all work and are worked upon in the production of meaning . The words interpreter andinterpretation seem inappropriate because of this mutual influence, inasmuch as theyconnote an active subject and a passive object. Contextual understanding is too passive aview; interpretation turns not on simple background, but on the active struggle of politicsimmanent in language operations themselves . These politics are submerged by thecommitment to linguistic paradigms like communication, but they surface in occasionaland marginal events. Thus Culler notes, "When anyone proposes an example of ameaningless sentence, listeners can usually image a context in which it would in fact havemeaning; by placing a frame around it, they can make it signify" (1982, 122, emphasisadded). Listeners, and readers, can take any text and make it mean something. Lovers cantoo, to such an extent that the necessity of context becomes moot.He is in love: he creates meaning, always and everywhere, out of nothing,and it is meaning which thrills him: he is in the crucible of meaning. Everycontact, for the love, raises the question of an answer : the skin is asked toreply.(A squeeze of the hand—enormous documentation	 a tiny gesture withinthe palm, a knee which doesn't move away, an arm extended, as if quitenaturally, along the back of a sofa and against which the other's headgradually comes to rest—this is the paradisiac realm of subtle andclandestine signs : a kind of festival not of the sense but of meaning.)(Barthes 1978, 67)Different texts (especially subtexts within the same text) collide to contestmeaning in the intersection of discourses. Intertextuality displaces the more familiarindexicality.If beyond the construction of meaning by a subject is the construction ofsubjectivity, beyond that is the construction of the process of production of meaningitself. And if these sounds merely like double-talk, consider Levi-Strauss's much moreelegant formulation : "things ordinarily thought about become things for thinking with"(Alverson 1991, 100, emphasis in original). Here are resonances of Althusser's reading of103ideology, although no real conditions of existence exist to be distinguished frommystification (1980, 241) . Instead, culture is the necessary and imaginary law . HenceAbu-Lughod and Lutz's observation that poststructuralism displaces both culture andideology by discourse (1990, 9), motivated by the infestation of the discourse of cultureby disciplinary relations of power. Rather than being context, Cottom's imaginary law ofculture is the reinscription of Lecercle's imaginary construct of longue, and its impositiontherefore points to the same issues of the politics of the unitary versus the divers.Discourse, therefore, is not yet another substitution of transcendental terms ; it is not asimple replacement for culture. Discourse is not the true ground of supersession, butinstead its absence . "Culture understood as discourse is not an authority but a will topower. It is an appeal to understanding rather than the ground to which one appeals forunderstandings. It is a contested social desire rather than a coherent frame to theproduction of ideologies" (Cottom 1989, 86) . The discourse of culture is the "lack ofinterpretive authority" in politics (Cottom 1989, 86, emphasis in original). The complicityof tropes in such politics is their complicity in narratives, fictions of truth, constructed indiscourses of love . "If you put a lover in a `love story,' you thereby reconcile him withsociety. Why? Because telling stories is one of the activities coded by society, one of thegreat social constraints. Society tames the lover through the love story" (Barthes 1991b,302, emphasis in original).4 .3 : Absolutely Modern LoveCottom tells an instructive anecdote of the familiar essentialization of love : "Thepuzzle [is] that the students I teach generally have a much more difficult time in trying toput [love] into question than they have in dealing with God or State. Even though most ofthe students in the school where I currently teach are politically conservative and morethan nominally religious, most are able to regard political and religious beliefs as104historical constructions (at least for the purposes of the classroom) with an ease thatvanishes when I ask them to consider how, why, and what people desire" (1989, 126). 8This despite the potent and immanent politics of the terms of love : "`I love you' . . . hasneither meaning nor subject nor addressee outside of circumstances that not only give itcredibility but make it a veritable assemblage, a power marker, even in the case of anunhappy love (it is still by a will to power that one obeys)" (Deleuze and Guattari 1987,82). For Cottom's students (who, as participants in the mainstream academy, may besafely presumed to be no especial mystics or romantics 9) love achieves a truth andallegiance exceeding what the nation, or even God, can claim. In my own observations,this same absoluteness of love is often articulated in local popular discourse, embedded invery '90s kind of talk about `what's real'. Love is The Law, which produces its own self-satisfied hermeneuts. This Law is transcendental, which means it is not only anti-historical, but also immanent—convergent of interiority and facticity, as Lutz and Abu-Lughod would say . Thus this Law is the Law of Nature . This Law curiously convergesthe categorical and the subjective, because the immanence of love disperses privilege : theauthority to speak, which is the authority of knowledge . "Love is such an individualthing," I have been told, over and over, so any lover becomes the expert, but love is alsotranscendental, sacred, and mysterious, so every lover becomes the hierarch. This8 As Richard Cavell points out (private correspondence), Cottom's anecdote does not generalize overall populations . Some politicized gays in the 1970s, for instance, did in fact critique love . Indeed, theyrejected love as bourgeois and oppressive, and the pre-AIDS gay promiscuity was one materialization ofthat rejection. This kind of counter-example is to be expected; the hegemony of any local discourse of love,like the heterosexist one, in no way implies a homogeneity across all local discourses . Given thiscorrective, Cottom is, however, made even more acute with respect to his larger argument that discursiveproductions and maneuvers are themselves politically contested . In Cavell's counter-example, subjectsmarginalized by the heterosexist discourse of romance resist that discourse by doing exactly what Cottom'sstudents cannot do if they are to maintain their own integrity within that discourse—as is explored below inthe discussion of the necessity of mystery.9 To be even nominally consistent, this presumption should be read as being exclusionary, since,presumably (?) mystics and romantics could be tenacious enough to resist academic domestication. It isthen more telling of my own cynicism to hold that this is most unlikely .105dispersion of authority, which appears discursively as both good liberal respect for othersand simple common sense, performs the plural, overlapping political work ofempowering the speaker's own voice, establishing the speaker's independence, andeliminating the need for any further justification. A specific subjectivity for the lover isthus constructed in terms of speaking, agency, and legitimation . These are thoroughlydiscursive terms ; this is a thoroughly discursive regime of truth . The dispersion of thisproduction of love, the lover, and the knowledges and authorities of love manifests therhizomatous power which constitutes culture, as discussed above.The relativization of love gives it absolute immunity . "Every episode of languagerefers to the `sensation of truth' the amorous subject experiences in thinking of his love,either because he believes he is the only one to see the loved object `in truth,' or becausehe defines the speciality of his own requirement as a truth concerning which he cannotyield" (Barthes 1978, 229, emphasis added) . Milan Kundera traces such necessary truthback to the slogan by Rimbaud in A Season in Hell: "Il faut etre absolument moderne"[One must be absolutely modern] (Rimbaud 1961, 88 ; Kundera 1991, 137) . "To beabsolutely modern means never to question the content of modernity and to serve it asone serves the absolute, that is, without hesitation" (Kundera 1991, 138, emphasis inoriginal) . The passionate transcendence of modern love is intriguing in the postmodernlight of its flagrant rhetoricity . Love is suffused with its tropical history ; rather than beingabsolute, it is utterly conventional . Love celebrates its singularity, even as it waxespassionate over its universality, but it is as iterative as it is common . "`I love you' isalways something of a quotation, as many lovers have attested" (Culler 1982, 120) . "Weare always taking the names of dead or past characters and applying them to others"(Harold Bloom, in Salusinszky 1987, 56). From this perspective, the more the discourseof love strains to maintain its naturalness, the more it manifests its artificiality; the moreit reiterates its psychological interiority, the more it demonstrates its social contingency.The manifest concreteness of nature appears a deceit . First, "language is a process in106which sheer existence is given form, the abstraction through which the subjectapprehends the concrete world, which gives form to the concrete world" (Lecercle 1985,37). The concrete is made concrete through the particular abstraction of language, and soexperience in general is symmetrical with the experience of reading . "What we mean by`concrete' is `description according to our normal modes of perception .' The codes offiction are tied to our perceptual system as well as to our language" (Scholes 1982, 25).Perceivers, like readers, are traversed by codes . If "leaving the reader `free' to interpret isan impossibility" (Scholes 1982, 14), so is leaving the subject `free' to perceive . The faithin such freedom grounds much of the discourse of love . Absolutely modern love,therefore, demands a pervasive and puissant apparatus to maintain its difficult truth.Considerations of the mechanics, or better, fluidics, of this apparatus may begained by a slightly different reading of Cottom's anecdote : his students are refusing tothink about love . Then their deeply felt truth is a flight from knowledge to mystery . Theyare less vigorous versions of William Proxmire, a U .S . Senator: "I believe that 200million Americans want to leave some things in life a mystery, . . . and right at the top ofthe list of the things we don't want to know is why a man falls in love with a woman andvice-versa"10 (Rubin 1988, x). Or perhaps this is slightly wrong; perhaps it is notknowledge that the students are fleeing—after all, they do lay claim to their ownknowledge- but epistemology. In their own minds, truth does exist, but it is secured bynon-rational means: feeling, instinct, divine inspiration, the wisdom of the body, commonsense, and personal experience. A suspiciously satisfying simplicity ensues . "Students inliterature classes, questioned about [Great Expectations and] the way Pip describes hisfeelings—`I loved her simply because I found her irresistible'—have assured me that`love is just that way sometimes . . . it isn't logical.' These students, of course, were10 I suspect that higher on the list of things Senator Proxmire doesn't want to know is why a man fallsin love with a man, or a woman with a woman, or a man with a boy . The attempt to exclude certainknowledges is couched in other exclusions—the politics of rhetoric in another form .107unknowingly repeating the wisdom of innumerable professors of literature. . . . [There is]the assumption that love, in a sense, explains itself that love is love" (Cottom 1989, 115,emphasis added). Love explains itself; love is love : the ultimate closure . As a very bright,very analytical man told me, "Some things just are . Some things cannot be explained ."Love makes sense, though that sense obtains in the necessary absence of logic. I have metthe students of Cottom; they are everywhere . They mark themselves by their declarationsagainst the ` over-intellectualizing' of love . They embrace the carnal, biomedical tropewhich divides and separates the heart from the head, love from thought, and the irrationalfrom the rational . 11 This division, is, to use Michael Taussig's description, the "tiredgame of emotion versus thought, body versus mind" (1992b, 147), but that very banalitytestifies to its pervasiveness and predominance . This structure of binary oppositions ishomologous to the ubiquitous Cartesian dualism of modernism . By aligning with thecarnal trope, the truth of love attains both naturalness and irrefragability . Again, a criticaldiscursive slippage : rational is opposed simultaneously to both emotional and irrational,which permits the collapse of each of the latter into the other . The pertinent question is,why does local discourse converge the two? What does this convergence accomplish?And what does this convergence obscure?"Love is love" is a way of saying love is a quale, and therefore essentiallyindependent of discourse. One man told me, "You can't be too analytical about love," adelightfully and effortlessly ambiguous declaration . For the moment, I read it as meaning„ you shouldn 't be too analytical about love .” Then love has a very circumscribedsusceptibility to thinking. In Said's terms, this trope produces the dispersion of privilege(of authority) by constricting the vocabulary of such a privilege (1978, 44) : passion, notcognition; nature, not theory; feeling, not discourse . The relation of the lover to love11 This trope associates with the alignment identified above: communication, information, centrality,signal, cool, science, neutrality, fact, cognition, sobriety, purity, as distinguished from obscuration,supplement, noise, heat, literature, bias, feeling, affect, passion, contamination .108parallels that of the sociologist to writing : both subjects are committed to denying that theobjects they are dealing with are theory-laden. In other words, modern love is likespecularity: its object is taken as being transparent to proper understanding . Just as thetransparent representation of the real world demands language that will not contaminateexternally grounded meanings with the productions of language itself, the pure love of theheart rejects the contamination of the intellectual head . "Tell me what you feel, don't tellme what you think." The knowledge of love depends on the absence or suspension ofthought and the clarity of the heart (or the stomach and intestines—"I just have this gutfeeling . . .") . In The Wizard of Oz, the Scarecrow and the Tin Man are on distinct andseparate quests : seeking the brain and seeking the heart . On the other hand, idiomaticEnglish itself undermines this cinematic trope . As A. S. Byatt acutely observes, the wordheady is both astonishing and revelatory, "suggesting both acute sensuous alertness andits opposite, the pleasure of the brain as opposed to the viscera though each isimplicated in the other, as we know very well, with both, when they are working" (1990,471)—which is ultimately one lesson of The Wizard of Oz anyway, inasmuch as theScarecrow and the Tin Man end up finding their desires in the same place . 12 Moreover,this purported transparency of the heart entails an immediate paradox, for the veryexistence of love is simultaneously constructed as dependent on its opacity andineffability.Anthony Burgess has translated Edmond Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac threetimes, most recently in his celebrated English subtitling of Jean-Paul Rappeneau's 1990film starring Gerard Depardieu. While preparing an adaptation in 1971 for a production atthe Tyrone Guthrie Theatre in Minnesota, he and Michael Langham, the artistic director,agreed that some radical changes to Rostand's text were necessary, given the social12 It remains moot as to what and where that place is, exactly . Is it in the Emerald City (and thereforeutterly illusory)? Or within the Tin Man and the Scarecrow themselves, always already? Or in thecomforting rhetoric of the real/sham Wizard?109distance between 1897 and 1971, between Paris and Minneapolis, and between Frenchand English . Those distances separated different audiences, who necessarily read Cyranodifferently because they read the relations of love and language differently (and becausethey are read by love and language differently):Of all the characters in the play, the least satisfactory to a modern audienceappeared to be Roxane (whose name was degallicized to Roxana) . Sheloves Christian, and yet she rebuffs him because he cannot woo her inwitty and poetic language . This must seem very improbable in an age thatfinds a virtue in sincere inarticulacy, and I was told to find an excuse forthis near-pathological dismissal of a good wordless soldier whose beauty,on her own admission, fills Roxane's heart with ravishment . (Burgess1991, vi).The spirit of Burgess's problem resonates in a very familiar text of love, one whichconfesses its own failure : "I don't have the words to say how I feel ." Despite thedisavowal, this text is a specific discursive device, a trope which forms and is formed bylocal contemporary circumstances . It valorizes the depth and sincerity of felt passion bypositioning it outside discourse, in the posited real heart. The structure of the statement is,"I say how I much love you by saying I can't say how much I love you ." So theemotional vocabulary which the sometimes celebrated New Age man has finally acquiredis critically contingent on wordlessness : "sincere inarticulacy ." The truth of the heart istransparent through the specific opacity of ineffability . While this truth is presented asmore true for being of a piece with the natural heart, Burgess's experience testifies to itssocial/discursive production. What spoke truly to the fin-de-siecle French appeared asmerely neurotic to 1970s Americans (with their propensity for locating attitudes in thepsyche). The necessity of eloquence was the alien Roxane, replaced by sincereinarticulacy's exoteric Roxana.Yet Cyrano's eloquence is not lost on contemporary audiences—I spoke with1990s Vancouver women (and men) who were moved to tears by Cyrano (or Rostand orBurgess or Rappeneau or Depardieu—who exactly was speaking in the film?) Cyrano, ifnot exactly great art, is undoubtedly great pathopoesis . Yet the viewers I spoke with110disclosed a curious ambiguity. They wept for the sake of tragedy and they wereenraptured by the eloquence of doomed love—but they watched and heard from afar, forthey believed that eloquence as unfortunately but irremediably anachronistic . To them,Cyrano was a costume drama; it was a period piece . Real life, of course, is nothing likereel life, so outside of the movie theater they and their friends and peers fell in love with"good wordless soldiers," because poetics—even the grandiloquent poetics of Cyrano—were, in their words, "too much to expect ." Unlike both Roxane, who spurns the besottedChristian when he tries to play the poet of love and fails miserably, and, in at leastBurgess's mind, 1897 Parisians, these women and men were and are moved enough bythe simple "I love you," or "I love you more than words can say." For even those whowistfully wished their lovers were "a little more romantic," these simple words were trueenough.This observation is not normative ; I am not judging 1990s Canadians as theinferiors of 1897 Parisians . Instead, I am presenting the contemporary reading of Cyranoto illustrate just one way in which love is worked through by discourse—the ennoblementof inarticulacy . This valorization of inarticulacy as the true, mute voice of love is closelyallied to the valorization of mystery as the fitting epistemological condition of love.There is a contemporary slide from the superficial suppression of language to theobscurity of knowledge, and further through to the materiality of passion. The unthoughtaligns in a discursive trine : on one side with the unsaid—that which is located outside ofdiscourse ; on the other, with the emotional—that which located outside of the mind.These treble elements collapse into each other, to form one element of a familiar binaryopposition: ineffable feelings as the contrary of thinking . This is a specific variation ofthe rational :irrational pair, which produces the alignment of love and irrationality.The irrational, as that which is outside rational understanding, has another guise inthe doxa of love: mystery. "The mystery of what a couple is, exactly, is almost the onlytrue mystery left to us, and when we have come to the end of it there will be no more111need for literature—or for love, for that matter" (Mavis Gallant, cited in Barnes (1990,226), emphasis in original) . Mystery is a favored word in love . With this conviction inmystery, knowledge at least knowledge of any depth 	 destroys . We love, or we arepermitted to love, only to the extent that we do not understand what we are doing . Or,alternatively, mystery is the satisfying explanation for love . Love is understood, or moreaccurately, satisfies the standards for understanding, by being mysterious . Given suchnecessity, mystery then disciplines by force of threat . Such intransigence is a manifesto ofpower easily made manifest.One of the difficulties of doing field work in this project was that people tookoffense at my theorizing of love with a vehemence that sometimes amounted to moraloutrage . This work was work that was not supposed to be done, for even the leastcontroversial heterosexual love is love that dares not speak more than its name. Theviolence of response was a measure of the breadth and depth of the offense, for more thanjust love was at stake here, necessarily . Given my fundamental contention, namely thatlove and language and culture (or history, or politics, or context) are inextricable fromeach other, the writing I do works against the received wisdom of that consecrated trinity."Writing ceaselessly posits meaning ceaselessly to evaporate it, carrying out a systematicexemption of meaning. In precisely this way literature (it would be better from now on tosay writing), by refusing to assign a `secret', an ultimate meaning, to the text (and to theworld as text), liberates what may be called an anti-theological activity, an activity that istruly revolutionary since to refuse to fix meaning is, in the end, to refuse God and hishypostases—reason, science, law" (Barthes 1977, 147, emphasis in original). Theimperative here is to disturb, to look "closely at the text (so closely, perhaps, as to alarmits protectors)" (Scholes 1989, 6) . The protectors of love are, of course, its guarantors ofmeaning, its experts, its subjects—which means, in the doxa, everyone.Alvin Gouldner defines rationality as "the capacity to make problematic what hadhitherto been treated as given ; to bring to reflection what before had only been used; to112transform resource into topic; to examine critically the life we lead. This view ofrationality situates it in the capacity to think about our thinking . Rationality as reflexivityabout our groundings premises an ability to speak about our speech and the factors thatground it" (1976, 49, emphasis in original) . Rationality is a troublesome term here, giventhe Barthesian repudiation of reason, as well as that most rational of pursuits, science.Nonetheless, this text appropriates and extends Gouldner, in order to gaze upon itself andunderstand one critical aspect of its own theorizing as the refractory capacity to thinkabout our thinking and our feeling—or at least about our thinking and our love—and tospeak about our speaking . With this deliberately and strategically offensive attitude inplace, the mystery of love beckons as an invitation. Having moved away from theparticular rationality of scientific modernism, that beckoning is not accepted as theimpulse to frame and solve a problem, but neither is that beckoning rejected in thearrogant surety that the mystery of love is impenetrable and inviolable . Mysteries, afterall, are stories meant to be read.The mystery of love is presented as both an article of faith and a foundationalprecept, but it is arguably more a feint . First, it is too conveniently utilitarian : mystifyinglove is a facile tactic of preserving it by disallowing its interrogation . Note how thealignment works : the valorization of sincere inarticulacy ; the prohibition of interrogation;the removal of love from analysis . Second, the mystery of love is a guise forhomogeneity: in accepting that we cannot know why love is the way it is, we also acceptthat love actually is what we say it is . And third, while the necessary mystery of love isembraced, and even totemized, at the same time lovers do profess to know love.Mystery and transcendence are not the only ways of reading of the knowledges oflove, of course . They are merely the bounded dictates of locally invoked context, andcontext is boundless . Thus Barthes suggests a third context for reading : "Discourse onlove though I may for years at a time, I cannot hope to seize the concept of it except `bythe tail' : by flashes, formulas, surprises of expression, scattered through the great stream113of the Image-repertoire ; I am in love's wrong place, which is its dazzling place : `Thedarkest place, according to a Chinese proverb, is always underneath the lamp"' (Barthes1978, 59, emphasis in original) . Mystery turns playful with Barthes here, which isunsurprising for the overtly ludic theorist . Mystery still obtains, in that systematic,totalizing knowledge is still impossible, but tenebrific mystery nonetheless gives outtantalizing hints and clues, seductive flashes and surprises . "If it is any point requiringreflection . . . we shall examine it to better purpose in the dark" (Poe 1986, 303) . Andmystery, according to Barthes, is most potent in the most dazzling place of love, which isthe place of being in love . Resisting the trope of the authority of personal experience,Barthes claims that the closer one is to love, the deeper is one's blindness to it which isitself paraphrases that most conventional of love's mysteries : love is blind. Or love issciophilous.Barthes is problematic, however, in how he distinguishes discourse from concept."Discourse on love though I may . . ." can be paraphrased as "No matter how much Iread/write/listen/speak of love . . .", but what is decisive is a matter not of quantity, but ofkind. The difficulty here is not that there is insufficient discourse, but that the discourseitself is insufficient . More content will not remedy a lack that is structured by form. Thecontention here is that the dominant modernist discourse of love, insofar as it is produced,and regulated by communication, longue, clarity, referentiality, and allied concepts oflanguage, must maintain the integrity of these blind spots in order to maintain its ownintegrity. This is how the politics of the "demand for dialogue" are suspect : theimperative to communicate, to keep talking in the same way, is a strategy by which theimmanent limits and productions of the very form of communication are kept off theagenda. Recalling the crucial `areas of blindness' that Scholes identified in every text andreconstructing the visual metaphor in terms of the spoken and the unspoken, love andlove concepts can be understood as silences . "What we call `real feelings' or the innerself are simply silences discerned, given our analytical discourse, silences that do not114necessarily help us to grasp the ways that culture shapes and is shaped by humanexperience" (Rosaldo 1984, 147, emphasis in original) . These silences are not silenceswhich can be broken by better communication, for it is communication itself whichproduces them by communicating . The more we speak, the more profound theRosaldoesque silence . This suggests the strategy of moving to, or producing, a different,more helpful analytical discourse—and thereby shifting the context of meaning. In such adiscourse, "feelings are not substances to be discovered in our blood but social practicesorganized by stories that we both enact and tell . They are structured by our forms ofunderstanding" (Rosaldo 1984, 143, emphasis added). In such a discourse, the silences oflove are readable as the (non)content of a particular language form.Silence presents polymorphously across local discourses. Thus, Burgess identifiesthe valorization of "sincere inarticulacy" and "good wordless soldiers." These literalsilences get reiterated in the silencing of explanation : "love is love," "some things justare," "love is just that way sometimes ." This congeries of silences is symmetrical withthe sociological lacunae about love . But the most telling silence is one explicitly writtenout by science . To make a tendentious paraphrase of Rubin's admission of the limits ofpsychology, poets and novelists can say things about love that scientists cannot, which isanother way of saying that these silences of love are different manifestations or non-contents of the same form of communicative language. Rubin's admission of the limits ofpsychological discourse is the clue, because he is making the same distinction betweenscholarly research writing and literature that Guppy makes, and conceding the power ofliterary writing . If love is radically contingent on the unsystematic, prolific, elusiveproduction of meaning immanent to tropes, then language use that continually insists onits own literalness must be stymied, and respond with silences. Rubin is close to themark, but necessarily off it : it is not the absence of literary procedures that limits thepsychology of love, for tropes permeate all writing, but rather the absence of theiracknowledgment . The great peril of this conviction in language-as-communication,115whether incarnated in psychology, sociology, or everyday life, is in its correspondingconviction that those silences are (specular) reflections of the real world, rather thanproductions of the implicated form of discourse . Thus a different inflection to truth as theunacknowledged fictions of a successful discourse : love is the unacknowledged fiction ofthe dominant communicative form of discourse.One tactic for surfacing the fictionality of love discourses is to read differentstories across different (cultural) discourses . "Dr. Audrey Richards, an anthropologistwho lived among the Bemba of Northern Rhodesia in the 1930s, once related to a groupof them an English folk-fable about a young prince who climbed glass mountains,crossed chasms, and fought dragons, all to obtain the hand of a maiden he loved . TheBemba were plainly bewildered, but remained silent . Finally, an old chief spoke up,voicing the feelings of all present in the simplest of questions : `Why not take anothergirl?' he asked." (Branden 1981, 12) This is a clear clash of conventions . These are verydifferent attitudes of love. And yet . . . consider another tale, told to me by a VancouverWASP woman, an articulate, ambitious nurse in her early thirties . This woman, reflectingcheerfully upon her own romantic history, said that she drew her inspiration for herpersonal philosophy of love from the movie My American Cousin . At the end of that film,the protagonist, a teenage girl's first love leaves her broken-hearted . She is consoled byher mother, who tells her, "Men are like buses . If one leaves, another one will be alongshortly ." This is advice that would sit ill with Western romantics thrilled by Richards'folk tale, but it is advice the Bemba would understand . (Or would they? The change ingender is not an inconsiderable shift ; so much of the heterosexist Western tradition oflove is structured around such asymmetries .)These tales point to a set of critical provisional propositions . The first is ratherboring : love is heterogeneous not only inter-culturally, but intra-culturally . Of course,post-Cottom, the cultural of intra-cultural and cross-cultural is suspect, which leads tothe second proposition : love is constituted through plural tropes which are irreducible to116each other. Plurality is not identical to subjectivity or relativism, though it may overlapthem. The meaning of love in the nurse's tale departs from the meaning in the tale of theBemba, but the former is not simply individual or idiosyncratic, but a reinscription of avery public cinematic discourse. Finally, the regimes of truth of love operate to impose animaginary and necessary (and evanescent) unity of culture, maintained by variousstrategies, of which mystery is preeminent.The nurse and the Bemba appear to end up in the same place, but the neatcircularity does not hold . The same nurse also told me that when one particular love affairof hers ended, she left Vancouver and to work in Saudi Arabia for a year—the`geographical cure' for heartbreak, as a different woman I talked to called it . This soundsmore like the English story that baffled the Bemba . Now, the breakup was not the onlyreason she left, but it was a significant factor. The woman went on to tell me howrelieved she was, when she arrived in Saudi Arabia and found that there were very fewsingle men in the small community of Westerners that she worked and lived in, so shedidn't have to deal with issues about dating . Is this a rebuttal of the men-as-buses trope?Moving twenty-thousand kilometers is a rather severe response to getting off a bus . Or isthis a reinterpretation? One of the good things about buses is that you don't have to geton, if you are not so inclined. Or is this another reinterpretation? One of things aboutbuses is that you do have to get on, eventually—it's just that any bus will take you to thesame place, so you can delay getting on for as long as you want . Or is this anotherreinterpretation? Buses can take you places	 but they may not take you where you wantto go. The polysemy of a tropical parole seductively and insidiously fosters such multiplerereading and multiple shifts of meaning.The nurse is confident that she knows what love means to her . Putative truthinvests putative authority her, just as it does in individuated subjects like Cottom'sstudents, enough so they can challenge their professor in the grossly unequal politics ofthe classroom, but that truth simultaneously and necessarily constrains them to know and117speak in specifically productive, restricting and excluding ways. Love is real for them—ithas force and consequences in their worlds—but, as Clifford notes, "what appears as`real' in history, the social sciences, the arts, even in common sense, is always analyzableas a restrictive and expressive set of social codes and conventions" (1986, 10) . The localcodes: Love is real—it is transparent to the universal, subjective human heart ; love is real—it is impermeable to analysis . Love is knowable ; love is inexplicable. This is, onceagain, the coincidence of power and knowledge.The politics of the tropes of love manifests in their participation in such regimesof truth and power—not so much hierarchies of domination, although these maysometimes be their "terminal forms" (Foucault 1980, 92) (such as straight love over gaylove, or monogamy over polygamy), but apparatuses of `individualized' techniques inwhich lovers and students cooperate in their own production and discipline . Theseregimes may be fruitfully opened up through the narratives of human experience—likeCottom's anecdote—in which they manifest. The crucial fiction here is revealed by "oneof feminism's most important recognitions : that one's desire may not be one's own"(Weed 1989b, xv) .1184.4 : The Subjective Experience and Seductive Explanations of LoveAs one instance of the operation of the regimes of truth of love, reconsider howthe doxa that knowledges of love are putatively derived from and authorized by personal(`real') experience—as if personal experience itself is not thoroughly contingent uponspecific conditions of circumstance, history, language, and subject production ; as ifpersonal experience, particularly in love, is not a consummately partial understanding(lovers being partial to each other) ; as if personal experience is experienced immediately,rather than through socially constructed understanding; as if personal experience isoriginal in itself, rather than a reinscription of idee revues . The valorization and necessityof personal experience constitutes the insertion of the person who experiences love—simultaneously the subject and the author of love's discourse—into discourse andknowledge. The situation of the lover with respect to the discourse of love is the"strategic location" of the lover (Said 1979, 20) . Love gains a special authority fromexperience . "What right do you have to say anything about love?" "Well, I was in loveonce." Once is enough; enough to lay claim to wisdom. If love is a transcendent essence,any sample of love is truth, and any personal experience is adduction.This reconsideration of personal experience is not to deny its `reality', or even todiscount its explanatory power . The concern here is not whether or not wisdom in love is`really' accessible from personal experience, but rather how personal experiencemaintains such authority in local discourses of love, when it does not have that authorityin other realms . The concern is with how this aspect of the regime of love operates.Consider a few takes on personal, or `real' experience:Take One : My real experience is that the sun rises in the east, crosses the sky overthe earth, and sets in the west . This is my sensory reality, a very human reality . Yet thatexperience conventionally gives way before the greater authority of the discourse ofscience, by which I know that the apparent motion of the sun is a production of therotation of the earth, where I am located . The discursivity of the authority of that119knowledge is emphasized by recognizing its historical circumscription : since I believescience, and not the Flat Earth Society, science is true enough, but it was not so long agothat science gave way before religious discourse, and the truth of the age was that the sunmoved around the earth . Moreover, the relation of experience and discourse here is aparticular one : scientific discourse maintains its authority, even though its meaning ofsunrise/sunset, when examined with care, rapidly becomes abstruse and abstract, a highlymathematical discourse of differential calculus and the mechanics of angular momentum,very much removed from usual experience and understanding. The local discourse ofsunrise/sunset is therefore very different from the local discourse of love, where theaccusation that the intellectualization of love abstracts it and removes it from people'sreal experience carries considerable argumentative force . To move from this simplephysical example to more sociological ones, I know people who articulate their realexperiences as "niggers are lazy," "East Indians smell bad," and "Jews are conspiring totake over the world ." Or, closer to home, I know a distinguished cancer researcher whosereal experience is that sociologists are idle, feckless, lazy, irrelevant, ill-read, obnoxious.Sociologists, I submit, are not prepared to simply concede the authority of any of these`real' personal experiences. The relation of real experience and discourse is that discoursecan critique real experience with authority. That critique need not be negative . A womanin her early forties told me that she had recently fallen in love for the first time in her life.She had had other lovers	 she had even been married before—but those experienceswere nothing like the one she was having now. She told me, "Now I know what all thesongs and stories are about." Discourse makes the experience of sunrise false ; discoursemakes experience of love real.Take Two : My real experience is that the earth rotates, creating the illusion of thesun's movement . Thus a different meaning to real from that in Take One : my convictionin my understanding of what is happening when the sun rises overrides the sensoryimpressions I have. The uneasy relation of truth and reality is starting to surface, and120disrupt their superficial coincidence . The rotation of the earth is real to me, although now,many years since I studied physics, the scientific evidence which supports that truth is ill-remembered and vague: something to do with the observed trajectories of planets andOccam's Razor. Similarly, the daily rotation of the earth is the real experience of manypeople have never studied physics, and never known any such evidence . Their realexperience is completely determined by scientific discourse and faith in that discourse . Inthe same way, many people's real experience of the world includes knowing that nothingcan go faster than the speed of light, that electrons exist, and that love is a psychological,individual matter, in the near total absence of knowledge of the justification for thoseknowledges (the first example, about the speed of light, is as widespread as it ismythical) . I am not criticizing those people for their ignorance, because the size andcomplexity of postmodern knowledges necessitate such ignorance . The texts of the worldare not masterable . All of us are compelled to take for granted, and on sheer trust, manythings which are crucial in our lives . One consequence of that necessity is that the relationof personal experience to discourse is that discourse constitutes real experience . We knowthe sun does not rise, because we have been told it does not.Take Three : My real experience is that I know that the earth rotates and the sundoes not rise, but I nonetheless use terms like sunrise and sunset unproblematically . Formany people, their daily existences, their work and play, are structured around the risingand setting of the sun. Newspapers and weathercasts list the times for sunrise and sunset.They do not say, "the time that the rotation of the planet carries our particular location onits surface into the area that is exposed to the sun's radiation is . . ." or even some morepractical contraction meaning the same thing . The discourse of sunrise/sunset persists forits own historical reasons and conventions, despite the acknowledged and contradictingauthority of science . "It's nice to talk like everybody else, to say the sun rises, wheneverybody knows it's only a manner of speaking" (Deleuze and Guattari 1987, 3) . Therelation of real experience and discourse is that real experience is organized by discourse121even when that discourse is held to be false (by another discourse), and this incoherenceis easily, repeatedly, and usefully practiced . On the other hand, just what is realexperience (the way we behave or the way the planet moves?) and what is discourse (theway we speak or the way science speaks?) here is moot . A corollary is that the utility anddispersion of a concept, meaning, or practice is a different from its truth, so that utilitycannot serve, by itself, as evidence for truth.Take Four : My real experience is that I know that the earth rotates, and the sundoes not rise or set, but the tropes of sunrise and sunset are so powerful (partially becausethey materially associate with my real experience, as sketched in Take One) that I use andappreciate their deployment in discourse and conceptualization : The Sun Also Rises, "thesun is setting on the British Empire," "It is the east, and Juliet is the sun!", "My mistress'eyes are nothing like the sun ." These tropes form, inflect and transform the experiencingof reality, because `objective' falsity forces the production of meaning to abandon itssuperficial literal pretensions, and proceed through highly connotative literary means . Apolyphony of new thoughts and new feelings is made possible. The relation of realexperience and discourse is that the peculiar discursive falsehoods of tropes have forceand beauty in real experience ; they construct reality . Yet unlike the scientific-discursiveconstruction of sunrise/sunset in Take Two, the tropical construction of reality is notstraightforward. Juliet's aspect like the sun is at once concretely material and elusivelydiscursive. Reading the trope produces meaning, but that meaning cannot be comfortablyclosed or limited, and it is through that poetics that the phrase can become a realintervention into the real experience of love for a reader . The literariness of the tropesucceeds the literalness of true and false . In Take Three, discourse has force in realexperience despite being false ; here discourse, through figurative language, has force inreal experience because it is false.These four takes are not presented as being comprehensive ; they are merely givento demonstrate how the authority of personal experience in the discourse of love can be122easily read as very peculiar. Yet the authority of experience is widely dispersed . A doctorI know is a radiation oncologist, a specialist in treating cancer with radiotherapy. Whenhe asked what I was studying and I told him "the sociology of romantic love," hisresponse was to ask me if I had a girlfriend . When I said, "No," he laughed and said,mocking me good-naturedly, "And you think you can figure out love?" Consider theparallel situation in his own context. He is an expert on cancer. He has never had cancer.Together, these statements are untroublesome to the point of being banal, but that isexactly the point. The different knowledges of medicine and love, situated in differentregimes of truth, are subject to different codes of authorization. If I were to attempt tojoke about the doctor's knowledge of cancer because he never experienced the diseasehimself, the joke would fail . It wouldn't work; it would be nonsensical. Yet his jokeabout my work succeeds (well, it isn't excruciatingly funny, but it succeeds more than thenon joke about cancer) because, like all jokes that do work, it is structured about a kernelof tacitly and generally accepted truth . 13 The particular posited truth in this joke is thatthe authority the right to speak of love derives in a large and sufficient way from thepersonal experience of love . To put it another way, love is real because it is experienced.Lovers are the guarantors of their own truths of love. Unexpectedly, love turns out to be athoroughly empirical enterprise, albeit an unscientific one, since the objective anddispassionate observer of positivism is replaced by "the witnessing `I' of subjectiveexperience" (Miller 1991, 14) . In this discourse, it is because I can say I have been in lovethat I can legitimately speak of love.To give an inverse illustration, if I had never been in love, if I had never beenloved, if I had never had a lover, if I were still a virgin in body and soul, and I was tostudy love as a purely academic exercise, I would be the object of popular derision, andpossibly pity (I mean, even more so than I am already). I would appear as a caricature of13 And because it does not reference cancer, which is distinctly unfunny in local discourse .123the dried-up academic, one trying to approach at a remove what is supposed to beexperienced immediately . Because I can say that I do indeed have my personalexperiences of love, I escape most such indignities, with some exceptions like theoncologist's joke. However, the achievement of legitimacy in discourse—and a limited,provisional authority—is purchased at the price of being structured as a peculiar subjectby it . Stories of my personal experience justify my texts, but at the very same time theyoperate as particular explanations for who I am and what I do. Hence, what I do notescape is having friends and colleagues and faculty read my research text as a workingout of some undeclared personal agenda of love—as a psychoanalytic displacement of an`unresolved' (to use the vernacular) past love. This reading by those who know memanifests several salient theoretical points.First, the author of the text cannot control the meanings that these readers generatefrom it . Authorial intent has lost its authority . A double movement is occurring here : theauthor is at the same time separated from and identified with the text. I speak, and I speakabout myself, but what I say about myself (what people take as significant meaning) isnot what I say . The trope of folk-psychology-as-interpretation is on the loose—as italways is in any popular discourse which addresses or implicates the speaking subject.My psyche, or rather, the reading of my psyche, is part of the context that is necessarilyread into being to make my text intelligible . This language game is contiguous with theclassical hermeneutic tradition . In 1828 Schleiermacher wrote that "the task [ofinterpretation] is to be formulated as follows : `To understand the text at first as well asand then even better than its author' . . . . Before the art of hermeneutics can be practiced,the interpreter must put himself both objectively and subjectively in the position of theauthor." (1977, 83) The superior understanding of the interpreter has significantimplications for the notion of explanation, as will be discussed below . For now, it isnoteworthy that readings like this one can carry such force that they maintain even in theface of explicit disavowal by the author. Indeed, that force can be so overwhelming that124such a denial can be recuperated to support what it denies . "We think he does protest toomuch . . ." is only one common tactic by which denial is read as confirmation . The textmay twist and turn as new pieces of text are added, but a certain desired meaning canmaintain against contradictory textual evidence by the reading into being of theappropriate context.Second, the same text can simultaneously work in several, and sometimesincoherent or contradictory, ways . In the same gesture, the text gives me authority (I canlegitimately speak of love) and takes it away (others will decide what I mean by what Isay) .Third, the text privileges personal experience in a very selective way . Theparticular story of a past love affair does not constitute all or even a major portion of therange of all love stories that my personal experience might produce, but that one story issufficient for many of its readers.Fourth, this sufficiency manifests the diegetical desire for closure of the story,through the production of context . Here, a small text with huge gaps is filled outdramatically and conclusively. The extrapolation of unresolved love resolves the story ofDoug and his text . Such resolution demonstrates the discursive operation of explanation."If you ask people `Why does so-and-so do that?' if you elicit a lot of explanations ofbehavior—you find that people go along and then they hit one of these explanations thatallows them to stop explaining" (Roy D'Andrade, in Shweder 1984,11-12) . In this context, the truth of such explanations is beside the point. The interestingthing is to examine how they work, and to consider D'Andrade's insightful, if circular,observation: explanations work when they allow the explainer to stop explaining . Beingconvincing or satisfying is not the same as being true or right (or helpful or productive orprovocative or liberating) . Alternatively, to be right, in the discourse of love, is to bemerely convincing . As Martin Meissner says, "Truth is what you can get away with,"which applies to both lovers whispering intimate conversation, and sociologists125publishing in refereed journals . In this discourse, however, the seductive and satisfyingexplanations are the ones that are most suspect, because they are the ones that obscure theomissions and gaps of the discourse most effectively, by the dint of stopping furtherexplanation . Love stories work in their own peculiar ways in the world. In this minorfable, they work to systematically produce closure . That is, in this discourse, they makesense by putting an end to inquiry . Nothing more need be said.The Monty Python troupe of the 1970s did a famous television sketch in whichEric Idle pestered a fellow pub patron with a seemingly endless series of sexual doubleentendres. Idle went on and on, for several minutes, and the other character graduallymoved from bafflement to irritation, until he finally exploded . His reaction was delayedfor several reasons. First, Idle's literal language was completely inoffensive, if oftenincoherent. Second, Idle's chatter was not only highly figurative, it was also veryelliptical—much of what was meant in the conversation was left unsaid. (Lots of nudge,nudge; wink, wink) . Everything crucial was happening in the subtext. Third, Idle's victimkept trying to recuperate the conversation as an appropriate one. This performance—which was much funnier than my stodgy description suggests	 manifested severallanguage operations discussed here : diegesis, the production of meaning, the productionof context. Yet, reconsidering the sketch analytically, what is especially striking is noneof these, but rather how Idle chanted "Say no more! Say no more!" each time he turnedone of his companion's utterly bland and innocent remarks into a double-entendre--theusually implicit work of diegetical closure and the production of meaning through thesuppression of discourse made explicit.To continue with the original example of explanations produced about my ownwork, I went back to several people who articulated variations on the ` displacement-of-unresolved-love' story, and told them how I read the production of this explanation . Theirresponses were uniform: the explanations were not undermined, but reinforced . Theywere very supportive of my work—after all, they were my friends—and told me that my126motivation was irrelevant, and that they were sure that I could still do good, importantwork, regardless of why I was doing it. In other words, their response neatly andunproblematically incorporated my statement into their diegesis, and made the wholeexplanation signify as a genuine solidarity.The validity or invalidity of their explanation is not the concern of this text . If theexistence and significance of the unconscious is accepted, that explanation could well betrue (whatever `true' means), despite my conscious dissatisfaction with it . The interesthere, however, is not in the truth value of explanation, but elsewhere, in how thisexplanation is very seductive and satisfying to local inhabitants of my world—how itmakes sense to them; how it produces sense. Further, while such explanations areobviously not limited to the domain of love, this domain seems especially susceptible tothem. The discursive points of vulnerability, and not the grand themes, are those pointsthat merit the most scrutiny. Love is susceptible to seductive explanations because loveimbricates its tropes with subjectivity and social/discursive situation . "One needs to bevigilant against simple notions of identity which overlap neatly with language orlocation" (Spivak 1990c, 38) . When I studied physics, I never had any peculiarity of mypast read into my interest in electromagnetic wave theory. Physics, like medicine,operates in a different register of truth than love . The willingness to engage in suchdiegetical explanations is another manifestation of the dispersed authority in theknowledges of love . What is appearing is the trope of the everyday, universal expert inthe regimes of love.However, what is permissible, and perhaps necessary, in local discourses of lovecannot be so easily accepted in this analytical discourse . Seductive explanations areundermined, not so much because undermining is an intent of analysis, but becauseundermining is inescapable . The poststructuralist is less seeking to undermine, thanattempting to observe and work with undermining that is happening already . In that spirit,the explanation of explanations, as just more text, is equally susceptible to the same127skepticism. Indeed, I have been accused of practicing folk psychology myself by the actof identifying it in my friends' explanations, although I maintain I am just analyzingdiscourse . This disagreement may just confirm theory—discourse and the (sociallyconstructed) psyche are imbricated, and not separated.4.5 Seeking Love in the Gaps of DiscourseThe explanatory character of diegesis converges with the literariness of narrativeto justify the orientation to rhetorical devices in the social meanings of love . Generalnarrative concepts can be implicitly addressed through the narrower focus on tropes.Stories can be examined for their narrative coherence—the way the story "hangstogether," the way it structurally maintains its validity (Hobbs 1978, 5) . This is a literal"making sense" (Mishler 1986, 89)—in other words, production and closure of meaningthrough diegesis . Tropes work not only by and of themselves, but also by how theydiegetically organize and cohere stories, and thereby participate in more global meanings.Standards of coherence, of the logic of the story, are regimes of (fictional) truth byanother name . Thus tropes mediate the meaning and authority of narratives through theirreinscription of socially dispersed regimes of truth . Here literature and social practicecoincide, here fiction meets Foucault.The political analysis of tropes may begin by problematizing Levi-Strauss and hisfigure of social life as a game (and is not the troping of love as a game so familiar as to bea cliche itself?) . "When Levi-Strauss describes man as a player at a card game who `mustaccept the cards' he is given and who must follow `systems' of interpretation, `rules ofthe game of rules of tactics', we might ignore the issue of cultural law and instead readthis passage as an instance of the mythological habit of thought, by which all humanbeings (we might argue) develop figures of speech to give a seeming order to theircosmos" (Cottom 1989, 91). (The universality (?) of tropes working to produce128coherence .) But what is necessary is to analyze "how Levi-Strauss . . . allows forcomplexity and variation in the game and yet does not recognize that we are not allinterchangeable players . . . that some people may be players while others are cards andstill others are rules, limits, wagers . . . that a situation in which there is `a connectionbetween the male and the consumer and the female and the thing consumed' cannot bedescribed adequately as a game" (Cottom 1989, 92) . What is necessary is to pursue andpressure the trope into admitting its assumptions, limits, elisions and exclusions ; that is,into admitting its politics of meaning. "[W]hat [the poststructuralists] are about is askingover and over again, What is it that is left out? Can we know what is left out? We mustknow the limits of the narratives" (Spivak 1990h, 19) . Such exclusionary politics ofmeaning both evince regimes of truth, and belie the scientific faith in the adequacy oftransparent communication . "Every text has `areas of blindness' that are in some waycrucial to its interpretation. The text cannot say all it means, because its meanings areenabled by its silence on some crucial point" (Scholes 1982, 13) . The trope manifests insuch gaps, through its excessiveness (saying what cannot be literally said) andtransgressiveness (violating nominal order) . If the trope situates the struggle for meaning,the point is to illuminate that struggle in the disjunctions and interstices where discoursefails . Coherent, rational discourse contains and hides subversive discourses that at certaincritical places continuously threaten to break out and disrupt order . Read this way, thesesystems seem less regimes of truth than "conceptual orthopedics" (Cixous 1986, 313),apparatuses which prop up a vulnerable discursive body . This recalls the intrinsicillicitness of tropes . Catherine Belsey writes, "Ideology obscures the real conditions ofexistence by presenting partial truths . It is a set of omissions, gaps rather than lies,appearing to provide answers to questions which in reality it evades, and masquerading ascoherence in the interests of the social relations generated by and necessary to thereproduction of the existing mode of production ." (1980, 58) Belsey must be amended orextended, slightly : the presentation of partial truths is an inescapable aspect of writing or129speaking, rather than evidence of bad faith . It is not the partiality of truths, but satisfyingexplanations that deny such partiality which must be put to trial . The necessary strategy isto seek out the omissions and gaps, the "weak points" that Foucault's general projectideally seeks out (Foucault 1988, 124) . They are the manifestation of what Michele LeDoueff, after Lacan, calls the Imaginary . She unsurprisingly invokes tropes tocharacterize those weak points:[The Imaginary] is a rhetorical term which refers to the use of figures orimagery in philosophical and other texts . [Le Doueff] sees it as a kind of`thinking-in-images', the use of narrative, pictorial or analogical structureswithin knowledges. In this sense, the imaginary is symptomatic of an(intellectual and political) elision: it marks those places withinphilosophical texts where the discourse is unable to admit its foundingassumptions and must cover them over. It signals thus a point of criticalvulnerability within texts and arguments, a site for what remains otherwiseunspeakable and yet necessary for a text to function .(Grosz 1989, xviii-xix)In local discourses of love, these points of critical vulnerability are marked in multipleand different politicized means : by simple, brutal, totalizing closure : "love is love ;" byarrogating individual, totalizing authority through the dispersion of expertise ; by calling it`subjective' and thereby ignoring the production of subjectivity ; by denying access tounderstanding : "love is mystery ;" by denying access to reason : "love is irrational;" bydenying access to analysis: "love cannot be explained ;" by denying access to inquiry:"love is something we don't want to know too much about ;" by denying access to voice:"love is sincere inarticulacy ;" by being satisfied with the truth.Kristeva's version of weak points, in her psychoanalytically informed semiotics,identifies them as those places where the meanings that escape the symbolic order ofdiscourse (langue) may be recovered and articulated (which neatly articulates the work ofthis text) . These sites are especially associated with the discourses of emotion, whichcorrelates with her Lacanian psychoanalytic theory . For Lacan, the real is the real ofdesire, of murder, rape, incest, parricide, suicide . "Our common every day reality, thereality of the social universe in which we assume our usual roles of kind-hearted, decent130people, turns out to be an illusion that rests on certain `repression,' on overlooking thereal of our desire . This social reality is then nothing but a fragile, symbolic cobweb thatcan at any moment be torn aside by an intrusion of the real" (Zizek 1991, 17).Then the Kristevan discursive points of vulnerability are those sites where the realthreatens to intrude upon this seemingly stable but fragile reality.The semiotic chora is the site of those meanings and modes ofsignification which cannot be reduced to the symbolic order and whichexceed rational conscious subjectivity. It is an effect of the entry of theindividual as subject into the symbolic order and the repression which thisinvolves. It is a site of what Kristeva calls negativity, a process of semioticgeneration which constantly challenges and seeks to transform theapparently unitary subject of the symbolic order . It is manifest in symbolicdiscourse in such aspects of language as rhythm and intonation and is at itsstrongest in non-rational [emotional] discourses which threaten theorganization of the symbolic order and the stability of its meanings, suchas poetry, art and religion . In these discourses it demonstrates thetemporary and unstable nature of thetic subjectivity 14 and it is a site for thearticulation of the subject in process . . . . Because the subject is the crucialsite of the fixing of meaning, subjectivity is also a site of potentialrevolution . (Weedon 1987, 88-9)The discourses of love, as non-rational and tropical parole, are particularly open todisruption, and their instability must be continuously patched over. The methodologicalconsequence is that the operations of discourse are productively sought in those gaps orinterstices . I wrote above of the dominant sociological discourse, and by implication, of adominant discourse of love . Although I worked very hard to make these convincing,neither characterization is quite right (Spivak again : I am obliged to do this work, and doit as scrupulously as I can, but regardless of the result, in the long run, that work is notOK) . These characterizations are insufficient, for the existence of weak points or criticalsites suggests that these dominant discourses already contain their own nemeses . Thecorresponding poststructuralist suggestion is that it is precisely this immanent paradox14"In Kristeva's work the unitary subject of rational discourse is termed the thetic subject and is aneffect of the linguistic structure of the symbolic order . The term `thetic' refers to the assumption in rationaldiscourse of a unified, transcendent, self-present subject which is fixed in a subject-object relationship ofwhich it is the guarantee and which itself guarantees meaning" (Weedon 1987, 88, emphasis in original) .131which necessitates the construction and exercise of regimes of truth, and thus of thepolitics of love, because the struggle for truth is already engaged as soon as any discourseof love is articulated or assumed. If the meanings of love are constituted as in situdiscursive/social productions, and not definitions or references, then they are notinherently fixed or stable . Despite their characteristic presentation as natural,commonsensical, reasonable, or simply true, the meanings of love do not justifythemselves . Such knowledges are substantiated by authority.It is in discourse that power and knowledge are joined together . And forthis very reason, we must conceive discourse as a series of discontinuoussegments whose tactical function is neither uniform nor stable . To be moreprecise, we must not imagine a world of discourse divided betweenaccepted discourse and excluded discourse, or between the dominantdiscourse and the dominated one ; but as a multiplicity of discursiveelements that can come into play in various strategies . . ..We must make allowance for the complex and unstable process wherebydiscourse can be both an instrument of power and an effect of power, butalso a hindrance, a stumbling-block, a point of resistance and a startingpoint for an opposing strategy . (Foucault 1980, 100-101)Recalling that this section's discussion began with Levi-Strauss's trope of card playing, ifthere is a game of love to be joined here, it is the game of truth and power in discourse,including this discourse on the discourse of love . The game continues ; it never closes.Bets, whether those of Levi-Strauss, Cottom, or Miller, are still being wagered, still beingwon and lost. The regimes of truth of love continue to struggle with their diversediscourses, and continue to sporadically fail . The poststructuralist position is that allregimes do so, including its own. For the positivist, this is spinning one's wheels ; for thepoststructuralist, this is both productive and unavoidable . Wheels within wheels.William Carlos Williams once said "he did not think a poem should click like abox" (Scholes 1982, 51) . If love can be troped as a box, then my effort can be troped asfighting against all the discursive attempts to make it click. I am just trying to open uplove instead .132Epilogue:Mapping the MapWhen I began this research project, I thought my endpoint would be an accuraterepresentation of the discourse of love in 1991 middle-class Vancouver . Inspired directlyby the suggestion of Aruna Srivastava, my strategy was to seek out and examine thetropes of that discourse . I proposed to hold multiple interviews with each of about fifteendivers informants, and then to do a close reading of the transcripts generated, in order toextract an authoritative, objective account of how tropes structured the local discourse oflove . Then I could say, "Here is the way that people speak of love ; here is the way thatthey feel and think it."Of course, this is not how things turned out.The more I proceeded along the project—the more I thought about what I wasdoing—the more troubled I became . My predicament surfaced early on; it was evenstructured into my thesis proposal, in a profound incoherence between theory andmethod. In the proposal, chapters on the trope, poststructuralist approaches to writing,and the politics of language were followed by a long one on interviewing methodology.The trouble was that the latter, when read through the former, scanned as page after pageof what Stoddart calls "textual strategies"—tropes which "structure a textual account sothat it achieves its effect as knowledge of `others' (1986, 103) . That discussion onmethodology manifested the proposal's attempt to satisfy disciplinary standards ofvalidity, so that the consequent text could successfully make a claim to truth before anreadership of sociologists . That discussion, however, had already been preempted bywhat preceded it in the text, namely the discussion of theory which recognizeddisciplinary standards of validity as politicized regimes of truth . As a result, the chapteron method danced frantically and abysmally between fictional realities and true stories.Its rhetorical convolutions, and the preposterous length of the proposal as a whole, were133graphic evidence that this was a text that was straining to cover its own inadequacies.Such an effort could not be sustained . The project had to shift, and it did.But what did it shift to? This place in a thesis, this location at its end, isconventionally the place for the writer to concisely answer such a question, to say wherethe research ended up, to make conclusions, to summarize the enterprise . Yet all these areguises for the global closure of meaning, which must be regarded very suspiciously bythis now-shifted project . Having learned a hard lesson about the perils of practicing whatI do not preach, I fervently wish to avoid such a neat, dangerous, and ultimatelyimpossible closure.As an alternative, I could appeal to certain academic conventions for closingwithout closing . Conclusions are the discursive sites where theses (and professionalpapers) often categorize themselves as `exploratory', and where authors routinely admitthat their texts raise more questions than they answer. Both of these tactics bring the textto a close by opening up prospects for further research ; both of these tactics so familiarthat they veer dangerously close to cliche . Beyond banalization, there is another and moreserious problem with these tactics, one which is illustrated by a parallel ethnographictactic . John Van Maanen observes that in recent sociological ethnographies, what he calls`realist' texts—ones which "push most firmly for the authenticity of the culturalrepresentations conveyed by the text" (1988, 45)—are often accompanied by what hecalls `confessional' texts--ones which explicitly admit the flaws and problems of thefieldwork which generated the realist representation (Van Maanen 1988, 73-100) . Yet"fieldwork confessions nearly always end up supporting whatever realist writing theauthor may have done and displayed elsewhere . . . . The linguistic footwork required isconsiderable, but it often boils down to the simple assertion that even though there areflaws and problems in one's work, when all is said and done it still remains adequate ."(Van Maanen 1988, 78-9) The considerable linguistic footwork of these confessionalsrecalls the textual convolutions of the methods chapter of my proposal, and is similarly134motivated. In other words, the seeming openness or undermining suggested byconfessionals—and by the exploratory projects, and by the raising of more questions thanthe giving of answers—is disingenuous . Confessional ethnographic texts and other tacticsare textual strategies which, despite their self-deprecating and open presentations, work totighten, rather than loosen, the closure of meaning in texts . They appear in conclusionsspecifically to abet concluding . Such conventional tactics are obviously inadequate here.Or, to make another reading, they are pointless . Ending this text with a VanMaanenesque confessional would be superfluous, inasmuch as the entire text qualifies asa more serious confessional tale . Or, to make another reading, the confessional, in thepostmodernist guise of the provisionality and contingency of meaning, is a majorleitmotif in this work, a figure—a trope—whose signature plays throughout the text . Or,to make another reading, this trope of contingency plays recursively across both theanalysis and the analyzed. The confessions throughout this discourse on love signifyunconfessed parallels in local discourses oflove, so that postmodern love resonates withthe same fictionality as poststructuralist inquiry . This text has sought to map thediscursive terrain of love, but the contours it limns turn out to be figurations of still otherdiscursive maps. This recursion can distress the social scientist and the lover alike : onelevel of mapping denies the grounding of the analysis of love ; the other level denies thegrounding of love itself Yet,Why does it disturb us that the map be included in the map and thethousand and one nights in the book of the Thousand and One Nights?Why does it disturb us that Don Quixote be a reader of the Quixote andHamlet a spectator of Hamlet? I believe I have found the reason: theseinversions suggest that if the characters of a fictional work can be readersor spectators, we, its readers or spectators, can be fictitious . In 1833,Carlyle observed that the history of the universe is a sacred book that allmen write and read and try to understand, and in which they are alsowritten. (Borges 1964b, 196).Sociologists get uncomfortable when the word fiction intrudes upon their work—itsounds too unlike truth . Lovers get uncomfortable when the word fiction intrudes upontheir love—it sounds too much like lies . A sociology of love which locates and works in135this doubly shunned fictional space must therefore expect to draw fire, for anyone "whoventures into no-man's-land brandishing cigarettes and singing carols must expect to beshot at" (Kermode 1983, 7).The title of this thesis is an implicit questioning of the production andauthorization of the meanings of love . My textual response, in its brandishing of burningfictions and singing of poststructuralist descants, must draw the same modernist fire thatbrought down Saul Bellow's eponynmous hero Moses Herzog : "I said to her, if a tear wasan intellectual thing how much more intellectual pure love was . It needed no cognitiveadditives . But she only looked puzzled. It was this sort of talk by which I lost her" (1976,77). This text is the sort of writing which many would say loses not only the reader, butalso the author and the truth of love . "This [charge,] of course, raises a specter over thepresent manuscript, one which I neither endorse nor seek to discredit, and that is thepossibility that the . . . disturbing story unfolded . . . in [these] pages . . . is now and alwayswas intended to be nothing less serious than a work of fiction" (Martin 1990, 183). Nolocontendre . This text is a serious love story . It is "a limited intervention, with no aspirationto be comprehensive or to cover the territory . It sheds a strong, partial light" (Clifford21) .In that shifting light, I finish with no truths, but merely words—the same wordswith which A Thousand Plateaus begins . The best that I could hope for is that this text beapproached as Massumi suggests Deleuze and Guattari should be:The question is not: is it true? But: does it work? What new thoughts doesit make it possible to think? What new emotions does it make it possible tofeel? What new sensations and perceptions does it open in the body?The answer for some readers, perhaps most, will be "none ." If thathappens, it's not your tune . No problem. But you would have been betteroff buying a record. (1987, xv)136PostscriptsTo be in love is to create a religion whose god is fallible.(Paul Valery, in Maurois 1964, xiv).I could not know yet that my caresses, my reverence, and—when I moved—my newfound exactitude of care, made me a lover. But I knew thateverything I did was futile, that I could not really mend : only I made thegestures of the healer all the same, defiantly. I felt my own bones ageagainst the hardness of the floor, and, breathing for us both, . . . I tasted myown mystery. In that dark way, among my vanquished gods, I began mywork in the world .(Whittier 1989, 279)137Works CitedAbu-Lughod, Lila . 1990. Shifting politics in Bedouin Love Poetry . Language and thepolitics of emotion . Eds. Catherine A. Lutz and Lila Abu-Lughod. Cambridge:Cambridge Univ . 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