In various forms, I have heard the following concern expressed: does being a part of a system take away the possibility of bringing a substantial critique?
- Can one gain the needed perspective to level a valid critique on the program as a whole if one is a participant?
- Is it possible to escape ones location and particular constructs to the degree that a valid attempt might be made at a critique of the enterprise one is socialized in?
I believe that it is.
I draw my inspiration for analogy from the cancer cell. A cancer is comprised of the same biological material as the body that gives rise to it. They share the same biological makeup and DNA. The difference is that the cancer cell is participating in a different narrative than the other cells that make up its host body. This narrative in turn directs the cancerous cells to behave differently from the organism that houses it and behave in such a way that undermines that body to the point of threatening its very existence.
Aware critiques are in this same way cancerous to their host organism. Though it is comprised of the same genetic material and from the same biological makeup, it operates in such a way to undermine the dominant project and subvert the enterprise altogether. Aware critiques are housed within systemic frameworks and are inherently (genetically) of the same substance.
I argue that location determines the resulting direction of critique. Aware critiques may originate from the center and provided a valid critique.
Admittedly, it is not sufficient on its own but it remains credible none the less. I actually think that it may carry more weight in most scenarios than a critique that comes from the outside and non-invested, as they may be dismissed as mere criticism or complaint.