30 Oct 2021 02:15 - 17 Jun 2023 08:29
Open in Logseq
    • By stance I mean a particular way in which a person approaches the world. A stance is more than a set of ideas, it's a way of holding yourself. It's a very general concept; there are some related terms that roughly match the abstraction it's trying to pick out: "role", "mindset", "style". But stance has an interesting built-in connection to physical embodiment. The realities of our material existence dictate that we have or are bodies, and those bodies have to assume some kind of stance in the ordinary moments of life, consciously or not. We can't not be in a stance. The terms "attitude" and "posture" also share this quality, a mental quality that with a metaphorical grounding in the body.
    • This idea of a stance is partly inspired by David Chapman aka Meaningness who defines a stance as "a simple, compelling pattern of thinking and feeling". One his important points is that stances trump systems, that is, people's deepest beliefs are best thought of not so much as systematic ideas, but instead as attitudes or patterns of attitudes. Chapman is talking about something fairly specific: "patterns of thinking and feeling about meaningness", where meaningness is his neologism for "problems of value, purpose, and selfhood". His stances are defined in terms of large-scale philosophical positions like nihilism and eternalism. (see stance/meaningness for my attempt to understand his concept of stance).
    • My take on stance is a bit different; whereas Chapman has a very precise and worked out theory of stances, my own is more haphazard and trying to encompass as larger domain. Partly because I'm not sure that in real life people really operate on the basis of such abstract philosophical ideas. Nihilism, eg, is a stance towards an abstracted everything, and most people aren't that abstract in their thinking. But they do take stances towards the circumstances of everyday life – that much is an obligatory part of existing. Under that definition, "stance" can include things like how you present yourself in business or personal contexts, how you approach work challenges, or structuring your free time.
    • This may not actually be that different from Chapman-stances. He's trying to describe their abstract underpinnings; I'm more interested in their particular manifestations. For example: professions or trades tend to have a characteristic stance. In medicine, doctors and nurses are supposed to be caring and compassionate as well as knowledgeable and efficient. More than in most fields, there is explicit acknowledgement of the importance of stance, and explicit training in how to achieve it.
    • Stances as I see them are not the product of this metaphysical operations of negation and affirmation, but just something people do on a day to day basis. Everybody cobbles together their own peculiar stance; it's an activity with deep embeddings in a social matrix and needs to be thought of as such.
    • Stance, like agency, is One of Those Big Topics that I find myself attracted to it because it is capable of encompassing so much, but it's difficult to write about something so general. The only hope is to collect various aspects and illustrations and facets, and try to organize them somewhat, and hope that the act of doing so will be useful at least to myself. That's my meta-stance!
    • Erving Goffman
      • Every person lives in a world of social encounters, involving him either in face-to-gace or mediated contact with other participants. In each of these contacts, he tends to act out what is sometimes called a line – that is, a pattern of verbal and nonverbal acts by which he expresses his view of the situation and through this his evaluation of the participants, especially himself. Regardless of whether a person intends to take a line, he will find that he has done so in effect.
        • From On Face-Work: An Analysis of the Ritual Elements in Social Interaction
    • Gender roles
      • Let's just state the obvious: genders are themselves stances, as well as roles and identities and more. They involve taking certain positions to the world. Or maybe they are basic elements of stance that other stances include as components (eigenstances).
      • More than most, gender performances are assumed for the sake of a certain presumed audience. I haven't talked much elsewhere about the audience for a stance, thinking that it's mainly a performance for oneself; that's almost part of the defining characteristic of a stance. But gender in particular is always done for the sake of the other gender, it's a 2-part dance, not a solo performance.
      • This is not to slight gay, queer, trans, or other variations on gender roles; those are obviously heavy with stance implications of their own. My point (which may be crushingly obvious), is that you can't get out of taking some stance even if you have new freedoms about what stances are allowed to you.
    • The Writer's Stance (Ong?)
    • Impro