Swallow Hard: What Social Text Should Have Done


Abstract
As I understand it, the Sokal affair is about affirmative action for ideas. Should arguments felt to be under-represented in the culture-at-large be admitted into prestigious haunts like Social Text even if they don't meet the standard intellectual tests? Alan Sokal got tired of what he saw as an excess of affirmative action in the ideas purveyed by cultural studies. So he devised a test in the form of a hoax: Could an author who deliberately met no standards whatsoever make it into Social Text merely by parading past the judges their own sympathies, dressed up in a jargon they would recognize and citing these same judges as authoritative? The test came back positive. The issue, then, is what to make of the results.
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