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Book: Constructing Data in Religious Studies

Chapter: 11. "The Thing itself Always Steals Away": Scholars and the Constitution of their Objects of Study

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.34176


Poststructuralists have long since argued that scholars constitute their objects of study, in part through the use of discourses that construct reality. Critics often argue that this sort of anti-realism entails a fundamental, dualist opposition between reality-as-it-appears-in-discourse and reality-in-itself. According to their critics, poststructuralists imagine themselves locked into a prison house of language, from which reality-in-itself is inaccessible. In this paper I argue that this critique grossly misrepresents poststructuralism, and that more careful attention to poststructuralist, anti-realist arguments is necessary before dismissing them.

Chapter Contributors

  • Craig Martin ( - cmartin) 'St. Thomas Aquinas College'