Boo hiss. My dog parking paper got rejected by the cultural studies conference. Guess I won’t be going to Portland, Oregon.
For fun this vacation, I read Paul C. Rosenblatt’s Two in a Bed: The Social System of Couple Bed System (first chapter available as pdf file at that link). I think it’s a great project to explore what it means to sleep in bed as a couple and all the issues and comforts that arise from that behavior. As a work of social science based on interviews, though, it strikes me in the usual way — that the statements the author makes, though meant to be descriptive, come across as normative and also unimaginative. This is especially the case in Rosenblatt’s conscientious efforts to discuss gender difference and cultural meanings of gender. For example, when he discusses feelings of security in couples, he surmises that women like their men’s more muscular, strong bodies to protect them. While I don’t doubt his interviewees make these comments or suggest them, it seems rather pointless merely to repeat such statements without questioning the assumptions in them. I guess what gets me is that much of this kind of work isn’t trying to critique even if it is trying to theorize, and I don’t think it’s good to theorize without critiquing. This particular book also seemed to have a lot of typos. I must have a copy of the first printing.
PS I’ve been rejected from plenty of conferences, but each time it still is upsetting. Ugh. I should’ve checked my e-mail before getting a cupcake. Now I don’t really have a cupcake to look forward to as solace.