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Chapter 1

SSH 205 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Binary Opposition, Krypto

Social Sciences and Humanities
Course Code
SSH 205
Scott Clark

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SSH 205: Chapter 1
A. Notice and Focus (Ranking)
“What do you notice?”
Always repeatedly answer that question
Cite actual details of the thing being observed rather than general observations
about it
Rank (order of importance) the various features of the subject you have noticed
Answer this: “What three details (specific features) are most interesting?
Third step is to say why the 3 things struck you as the most interesting
B. Five-Step Analysis
1. Locate exact repetitions –identical or nearly identical works or details
a. Ex: If the word “seems” repeats three times, write “seems x 3”. Also,
consider different forms of the word –“seemed, seem”
2. Locate repetition of the same kind of detail or word –strand: grouping of same
kind of words/details
a. Ex: “Polite, courteous, mannerly” or “accuse, defence, justice, witness” are
3. Locate details or words that form or suggest binary opposition –called binaries or
organizing contrasts
a. Ex: “Open/closed,” “Naïve/self-conscious,” and “Grey/brown”
4. Choose what you take to be the key repetitions, strands, and binaries and rank
them in some order of importance
5. Write up the three lists that you have composed and then write a focused
paragraph in which you explain your choice of on repetition or one strand or one
binary as significant
Looking for Pattern
Repetition is a sign of emphasis
Sometimes patterns of repetition are significant because they are part of a contrast
–basic opposition– around which subject matter is structured
oEx: Organizing contrasts are “nature/civilization,” “city/country,”
public/private,” “organic/inorganic,” and “voluntary/involuntary”
Binaries are useful because they are sites of uncertainty, of more than one point of
After the five-step analysis, look for anomalies –things that seem unusual or seem
not to fit
Anomaly (a, meaning “not,” and nom meaning “name”), something that cannot be
named –defined as deviation from the normal order
Also look for anomalous details –those that seem not to fit the pattern
Anomalies help us revise our stereotypical assumptions
We tend to only confirm our beliefs and ignore contradictory evidence
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