Scholarship refers to the
concerns reliance on text
Scholars generate knowledge from the act of reading texts, articulated as critical analysis, and refined by dialectic.
For contemporary scholars, just about anything in the world is a text: Anything that can be read or analyzed is a text
Scholars are concerned with texts and with dialectic—the process of reasoning correctly—to generate, test, and defend the knowledge they generate. Rather than looking outward for evidence from which to make knowledge, scholars look inward to the power of critical interpretation, logic and rational thinking.
The knowledge scholars generate is often about the meaning of texts, derived from the act of reading, articulated as critical analysis, and refined by dialectic. For example,
- Historians argue about the best ways to interpret a body of texts.
- Critics argue about which theory provides the most worthwhile reading of the canon—that is, a privileged set of texts.
- Philosophers argue about a philosopher’s ideas or about a body of texts that advocate a particular philosophical position.
Because scholars use the term text in very broad ways. For scholars, anything that can be read or analyzed is a text, including movies, stock tickers, maps, etc. Thus, Scholars address topics that emerge from their everyday experiences as a member of a culture.
It’s is commonplace for scholars to read a text from a particular theoretical perspective, such as Capitalism, Marxism, Psychoanalysis, Behaviorism, Deconstruction, Modernism, Postmodernism.
Whatever texts they are focused on discussing, Scholars rely on dialectic: they seek knowledge via the deliberate confrontation of opposing viewpoints. This emphasis on dialectic is sometimes referred to as the ceaseless debate, a cycle of interpretation and reinterpretation. Unlike the methodologies informed by Positivism, scholars lack a way to prove or disprove their positions. Ultimately, scholars are more concerned with participating in the great debate, the scholarly exchange of ideas, as opposed to presuming that truth will one day be found so the debate will need to come to an end. Scholars make meaning by discussing texts and by applying theories to create new readings of texts.