An idea for a website for CRITICS

Celso Alvarez Cáccamo lxalvarz at UDC.ES
Tue Nov 16 20:07:56 UTC 2010

Dear all,

Carmen and Teun, I'm not sure your messages made it to the list, did they?
Carmen: Sorry about mixing institutions (Lancaster / Birmingham)
Johann: Thank you for sending that Call For Web Managers!

Now, Teun proposes (in the message I got) that people contribute short texts with brief explanations about key concepts and examples. Yes, it can be done in NetVibes, as the platform provides the structure in the form of simple web widgets (nothing fancy).

But, perhaps before that, and as a pilot Test Of Commitment By List Members ;-), I added a new section called Critical Positions. The idea would be (as the title indicates) a short testimonial about one's work in critical studies. The framing is:

"The critical study of discourse, language, and communication in society attempts to have an impact in changing social conditions and situations for the better. But, how specifically does or can this work?  Has this been so? What is your position and what has your experience been about this goal?

Please give your opinion. Please send us a Position text at EMAIL ADDRESS with a brief, summarizing title, your name (or project's name, if it's a collective position), institution or other information, webpage link if you have one, and a small photo if you'd like".

I used to be addicted to "home shopping" TV commercials, you know?, those where various smiling people endlessly give testimonials about how good or useful the product they bought is. These commercials are a fascinating genre. I think they define modern identity. The point is, of course, to show that if these people have purchased the right product (whatever it is doesn't matter: they've bought happiness), you can, too, as you are normal. Now I only collect their printed equivalent, those small mail-shopping catalogues that they give you in airplanes. Reading one lasts for the whole flight!  As a matter of fact, I've just realized that Netvibes has exactly the same design and layout: little boxes with pictures and snippets of information. Will the CRITICS Netvibes catalogue last in one's $1000 MacBook Air netbook for a whole intercontinental flight to the next Conference?

Please don't misread my off-the-wall skepticism! ;-) . We live in that era. So, would people like to send their Critical Positions and we may start the experiment?  Texts don't need to be heady, but colloquial, direct.  I've added a provisional layout at:

The idea, of course, is to open it to anyone in other fields, groups, networks, disciplines, etc. My email is lxalvarz at .

Now, in my experience with web pages etc., things only go ahead if there is commitment and complicity. That is, being a list member is usually a nicely passive role. But taking 30 minutes or 1 hour of your time to state your position, for example, would mean that the site might grow.

Since I am still a Ph.D. student (well, they gave me a diploma with those letters by mistake 20 years ago, but I can't return it now) who profits from learning from others (well, I also do CDA, but in my case it stands for a Constant Dilletante Attitude), I don't mind starting this and getting the ball rolling. Thank you. And, perhaps, later, we may start what Teun suggests, which is that series of mini-lessons. What do you think?


Celso Alvarez Cáccamo
lxalvaz at

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