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CHAPTER 2 | Theoretical Framework

2.3 The Formatting Potential of Glitter

2.3.3 My New Material/Discursive Concept of Glitter

overlook the (potentially dimmer) past, present, and alternative future times that inevitably linger, lying concealed within them. However, such (potentially dimmer) past, present, and alternative future times are not necessarily meant to disturb these glitterier futures, we may simply fail to notice that they are there able to do so. Therefore, theories on time and temporality underline that glitter should be sprinkled with caution, its being a substance and communication we cannot simply control or figure out.

2.3.3 My New Material/Discursive Concept of Glitter | Inspired by the

might unnoticeably counter the organising or governing intentions behind sprinkling glitter. This is not to say that countering dangers will necessarily be hiding in the dark shadows of glitter, even though this thesis will focus on such dangers. The dark shadows could also hide productive matters, understood as something that could bring us new, helpful insights. In that way, the danger of glitter would be a result of glitter making one overlook important knowledge that could move us forward.4 However, no matter the reading of danger as either troubling or productive hidden matters, I use theories on light and colour to turn glitter into a concept and conceptual lens that can help one to understand glitter’s organising and governing of social behaviour, as well as to detect the many potential dangers of using glitter to organise and govern social behaviour.

In developing my new material/discursive concept of glitter, I have been further inspired by Coleman’s work on glitter as something that similarly produces time, arguing that glitter indeed produces the positive gendered future times Coleman (2020) refers to, but also that glitter does more than that. As such, future times cannot exist isolated from past and present times, for they will always diffractively exist in and through future times, whereas glittery futures are also always (potentially dimmer) past, present, and alternative future times, which might affectively organise and govern other and different social behaviour than glittery future times will. Accordingly, I add new theory to the time and temporality dimension of glitter to illustrate how glitter has an unruly, uncontrollable, and unpredictable character – one already underlined by its sticky and stubborn quality. I add these theories to nuance the organising and governing effects of glitter, and to show that glitter is not just an innocent joy-maker that organises and

4 My language editor, Susan Ryan, reminded me of the geode – a stone that looks rather grey, murky, and unappealing on the outside, but when broken open reveals a mountain landscape of intriguing, purple glitter. This excellent example provokes theories on not only how glitter hides dark dangers, but also how such ‘dangers’ might also hide glitter. In some ‘upside-down-way’ it might thus make sense to search for glitter in the dark shadows, maybe even in the dark shadows of glitter. However, I will leave this thought for further development of the glitter

governs what we intend it to, as it also organises and governs what we do not intend it to. This makes glitter an unreliable instrument for organising and governing specific social behaviour, and when sprinkling glitter, one should thus be careful to avoid some of the dangers to which Pete Doherty’s opening quote alludes.

In developing my new material/discursive concept of glitter, I turn glitter into a concept encapsulating a range of ambivalent tensions, arguing that glitter is both materiality/discourse; affect/cognition; light/darkness; sight/blindness;

knowledge/ignorance; and past/present/future. These multiple tensions can make the concept seem messy and of little relevance to empirical research. However, the concept is not strictly intended to be directly applied to empirical data, but rather points to the importance of always searching in the dark shadows of what shimmers and shines. This new material/discursive concept of glitter is meant to remind one that, behind alluring glittery worlds other and different worlds may lie lurking in the dim darkness. Moreover, that these worlds are concealed does not forestall their having organising and governing effects and therefore operating to trouble any attempt to organise and govern.

In the following chapter, I apply my new material/discursive concept of glitter to demonstrate exactly how gendered educational STEM policy sprinkles material as well as discursive glitter on STEM. As such, this chapter should help to show how glitter can be seen as both materiality and discourse and thus as both glittery surfaces and positive affective sense-makings. In the Discussion, I will then use this concept to discuss the shadows, darkness, and dangers of glittery STEM, as well as more directly apply the many ambivalent tensions defined and described above to the findings of the thesis’ three articles. However, I would first like to briefly address the possible consequences of moving away from thinking of glitter as communicating materiality and of thus giving it an extra discursive aspect. In

moving glitter away from feminised materiality, I could be asked whether I am taking gender out of glitter, whether I am working with an actual glitter concept or something with less gendered connotations? My answer would be that, since I still work with glitter as communicating materiality – and indeed the feminised materiality that Coleman (2020, 2019) describes – gender still plays a role in my new concept of glitter. I would further argue that because my focus remains on materiality, and not solely on such immateriality as shimmer, sparkle, shine, or gleam, I still operate with a concept of glitter. Nevertheless, in conceptualising glitter as being both materiality and immaterial communication, I do arguably

‘queer’ glitter. So, by moving glitter away from feminised materiality and towards discourse, which might allure and attract boys as much as girls, I potentially create a different form of gendered concept. However, I do not take gender out of glitter, instead bringing a new understanding of gender to glitter while also arguably adding a further tension – gendered/non-gendered – to my already multifaceted material/discursive glitter concept. As such, I underline the concept’s broader relevance in a mainstream OMS context, because by queering glitter, I turn it into a concept truly relevant to the study of glitter’s use in organising and governing not only the specific gendered social behaviour of girls but also all kinds of other social and political behaviour.5 I return to this argument in the Discussion, where I discuss some of the future research in OMS that the new material/discursive glitter concept prompts.

5 It could indeed be argued that material glitter is also queer and something that appeals to both women and men. For example, football players like Beckham and Ronaldo, who – although being defined as classic examples of the metrosexual man – are admired by boys and men around the globe, have been seen wearing glittery diamond earrings and Rolex watches (https://www.gettyimages.dk/photos/ronaldo-earrings). Moreover, glittery ‘bling bling’ has become a symbol of status in many Black, male hip-hop