вторник, 10 июня 2008 г.

A Working Girl Can't Win

Prostitutes make good money, a new study argues — but not enough to offset the risks the job involves. The economist Steven D. Levitt and the sociologist Sudhir Alladi Venkatesh sent researchers into the streets of Chicago to record how much prostitutes earn and to assess the hazards they face. Analyzing Chicago Police Department data on prostitution arrests, the authors argue that paying for sex in some ways resembles paying for any other service on the open market. Almost half of prostitution-related arrests were made on just 0.3 percent of the 25,000 city blocks surveyed, and prostitution incidents tended to occur along major streets — suggesting that prostitutes, like other retailers, need to display their wares in concentrated and consistent locations where potential consumers congregate. As far as sales are concerned, the setup seems to work: the prostitutes surveyed over a two-year period averaged $27 an hour, or about $300 to $400 a week. Women reporting to a pimp fared even better. Although they had to hand over 25 percent of their earnings, they still made roughly 50 percent more than women without pimps. Compared with the wages these women could earn in retail sales, hairstyling, or babysitting (from $67 to $145 per week), prostitution looks like a much better deal. But the authors suggest that the dangers of the job outweigh the financial incentives. Not only did prostitutes engage in sexual acts without a condom 75 percent of the time, they also were the victims of abuse by clients or pimps once a month on average.

Biegel goes legal, says he's no dirty dog

On Steve Biegel's personal website, among the usual intellectual bricabrac of a midcareer creative-print and TV ads, a bio, a manifesto of sorts-you will find this schmaltzy bit of philosophizing: "First, we start as a little sediment sitting all by yourself. Then, one day, by the sheer force of nature, we are stuck to another individual for a period of time. … We become defined today, by who we were with, and where we were."

Strange that a meditation sparked by his 8-year-old son's geology homework now, in light of Mr. Biegel's explosive legal action that ascribes graphic sexual proclivities to a former employer, seems downright prescient.

The 45-year-old creative director, an ad veteran who's passed through a bunch of big New York ad agencies, receiving little outside recognition along the way, now finds himself "defined" by a series of utterly bizarre, erotically charged experiences he alleges he had in the company of Toyo Shigeta, who as chief executive of Dentsu Holdings runs the U.S. and Canadian operations of one of the adworld's biggest players. Mr. Biegel, who worked for Dentsu for three years, is alleging Mr. Shigeta subjected him to several experiences, all recounted in skin-crawling detail in a 21-page lawsuit filed in federal court. (The lawsuit can be downloaded at AdAge.com.) 'OUTRAGEOUS ALLEGATIONS'

Mr. Biegel claims his resistance to things such as going to a brothel with Mr. Shigeta led to his firing late last year, according to the papers. In shocking detail, those papers paint the Dentsu bigwig as nothing less than a hyper-libidinous rogue who demanded his subordinates take as much pleasure in lewd talk about outre sex acts, frolicking with prostitutes and photographing the crotches of women as he did.

The scandal has already rocked Dentsu, an Asian powerhouse that's had trouble snapping out of torpor in the U.S. Fresh off the acquisition of digital shop Attik, it's been trying to ramp up its growth efforts here and doesn't need this PR black eye. What's more, the scandal is sure to only deepen.

Dentsu dismissed Mr. Biegel's claims in a statement Oct. 31: "When Dentsu refused to yield to Mr. Biegel's unreasonable demands, he made outrageous allegations, which the company has refuted. He has now filed a claim to obtain money to which he is not entitled, for incidents he alleges took place over three years ago and which he never complained about while an employee of Dentsu."

Dentsu is all but certain to fire back at Mr. Biegel with its own lawsuit alleging that the former employee defamed the company when he informed a few Dentsu clients of his impending legal action. Such legal back-and-forth could get very icky very fast, and Mr. Biegel's lawyer, Andy Dwyer, said he's certain any countersuit would be merely about discrediting his client.

"It would just be about a desire to get back at Steve," he said.

A countersuit's impact on Mr. Biegel, regardless of its legal merits, will be another story, since it's clear this is not a battle of equals-or even near-equals. Consider this analogue from recent history: Julie Roehm's legal action against Wal-Mart ran out of steam when the retailer came back with a blistering attack of its own, packing all kinds of personal shrapnel into a legal bombshell and dropping it into her lap. When it exploded, even a larger-than-life, media-honed persona provided virtually no cover. Mr. Biegel, on the other hand, is little known outside the creative circles in which he ran at agencies such as Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, Ogilvy & Mather and Ammirati & Puris (now part of Lowe), where he started his career as the agency's first junior copywriter back in 1988.

In the years since then, Mr. Biegel toiled as a "middle-of-the-road" creative and a "bit of a workhorse, someone who just got the job done," as one former colleague put it. His profile on the social network LinkedIn boasts more-positive appraisals. In one, a former Ogilvy colleague named Jerouen Bours lauds Mr. Biegel as "the consummate writer in his field" and a "deep and thorough and sincere thinker."

That same profile page lists as his honors as an Effie, a Clio and a David Ogilvy Award. But as "biggest honor" he lists his duty as "coach of the Long Island Flag Football Rookie Division champions," noting parenthetically, "What's more rewarding than getting a ramshackle bunch of 8-year-old boys running in the same direction?" Mr. Biegel, a father of two, is married, according to the lawsuit, and lives in Woodbury, a town on New York's Long Island.

Since his outster from Dentsu, Mr. Biegel has been marketing himself as a freelancer, though it's unclear for what client, and earned a co-writing and production credit on a film about baseball made by his brother.

Whether Mr. Biegel will have the stomach for a protracted legal battle remains to be seen. In an e-mail to Ad Age sent after the story broke last Wednesday night, he acknowledged the David-and-Goliath situation in a plea to hear his side of the story. "Remember," he wrote, "I am challenging the largest entity in advertising. They have deep pockets and conference rooms full of lawyers, PR people and spinmeisters."

Since then, he has generally deferred to his attorney, Mr. Dwyer, an employment-law specialist who has tangled with corporate giants such as Tropicana in these kinds of disputes. But the cause's greatest medium is the 21-page lawsuit that puts the seedy, lascivious adventures of a powerful, globe-trotting ad executive in grand narrative form for all to see. At its center is a blow-by-blow description of a June 2004 evening when Mr. Biegel says he unwittingly found himself at Escade Caberet, a brothel in Prague. According to the lawsuit, Mr. Shigeta ordered him and another employee to an undisclosed location that turned out to be a house of prostitution. CROTCH SHOTS

Mr. Shigeta, the lawsuit says, encouraged his subordinates to pair up with prostitutes. When they resisted, he ordered them. "You-him, you-him," he said, matching each ad executive to one of Escade's ladies. Mr. Biegel and the woman assigned to him by Mr. Shigeta then repaired to one of brothel's private rooms where nothing happened, the suit says. He waited for a bit and then left.

The Escade episode wasn't the only time Mr. Shigeta displayed a lusty side, according to the lawsuit. "Apparently," it reads, "taking close-up crotch shots of women is a personal obsession of defendant Shigeta." As evidence, Mr. Biegel points to an October 2006 Canon commercial shoot, also in Prague, where he maintains Mr. Shigeta used a telephoto lens to capture spokeswoman Maria Sharapova's exposed panties as the tennis star draped her legs over the back of chair in a moment of repose. That photo, which was passed around digitally, is now attached to the lawsuit.

At other times, there was candid talk about sexual behavior being part of Japanese business traditions, as when Mr. Shigeta purportedly told Mr. Biegel that a customary way to seal a deal between two parties is for both to have sex simultaneously with the same woman. Where such an act is known-and that's mainly in pornographic circles-it's known as "double penetration," something Mr. Shigeta claimed to have done once in Mexico, per the lawsuit.

Mr. Biegel claims that, as a married father, this activity offended him and that, shortly after he complained about it to a supervisor, Mr. Shigeta's behavior turned chilly. Eventually Mr. Biegel and the supervisor were fired. There's also a side accusation that he was out of favor because he's Jewish, a claim that's skimpily supported by the fact adduced in the complaint that his replacement in the job was not Jewish.

Dentsu last week offered a contrasting version of Mr. Biegel's dismissal, saying it had nothing to do with any complaints he intended to lodge against Mr. Shigeta but was instead part of a management overhaul that saw Mr. Shigeta promoted to his current role. "The leadership at Dentsu was not thrilled with the work they were doing," a spokesman for the agency said.

Mr. Dwyer counters that his client's shortcomings were never spelled out to him and, upon his dismissal, he was informed the agency was moving in "a new direction."

Mr. Biegel himself is, rather quixotically, attempting to avoid any further attention. Citing fear of Dentsu backlash, he's declined interview requests. Late Friday afternoon, he responded to an emailed list of questions that Mr. Dwyer would handle all inquiries, explaining in one brief sentence: "This is difficult."

Spitzer Linked to Prostitution

Eliot Spitzer's political career teetered on the brink of collapse after the corruption-fighting politician once known as "Mr. Clean" was accused of paying for a four-hour romp with a high-priced call girl.

The scandal drew immediate calls for the Democrat to step down. At a March 10 news conference before about 100 reporters, a glassy-eyed Spitzer, his shell-shocked wife at his side, apologized to his family and the people of New York.

"I have disappointed and failed to live up to the standard I expected of myself," said the 48-year-old father of three teenage girls. "I must now dedicate some time to regain the trust of my family."

He did not discuss his political future and ignored shouted questions about whether he would resign. And he gave no details of what he was apologizing for.

Spitzer was caught on a federal wiretap arranging to meet in a Washington hotel room the night before Valentine's Day with a prostitute from a call-girl business known as the Emperors Club VIP, according to a law enforcement official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the investigation is still going on.

The governor has not been charged, and prosecutors would not comment on the case.

But an affidavit based on the wiretap told of a man identified as "Client 9" -- Spitzer, according to the law enforcement official -- paying $4,300 in cash, some of it credit for future trysts, some of it for sex with a "petite, pretty brunette, 5-feet-5 inches, and 105 pounds," named Kristen.

The scandal came 16 months after Spitzer stormed into the governor's office with a historic margin of victory, vowing to root out corruption in New York government in the same way that he took on Wall Street executives with a vengeance while state attorney general.

But his first year in office was marred by turmoil, and the latest scandal raised questions about whether he would make it through a second year.

"He has to step down. No one will stand with him," said Rep. Peter King, a Republican congressman from Long Island. "I never try to take advantage or gloat over a personal tragedy. However, this is different. This is a guy who is so self-righteous, and so unforgiving."

Democratic Assemblyman John McEneny said: "I don't think anyone remembers anything like this. The fact that the governor has a reputation as a reformer and there is a certain assumption as attorney general that you're Caesar's wife. It's a different element than if you were an accountant."

Democratic Lt. Gov. David Paterson would become New York's first black governor if Spitzer were to resign.

The allegations were outlined in papers filed in federal court in New York.

A defendant in the case, Temeka Rachelle Lewis, told a prostitute identified only as Kristen that she should take a train from New York to Washington for an encounter with Client 9 on the night of Feb. 13, according to a complaint. The defendant confirmed that the client would be "paying for everything -- train tickets, cab fare from the hotel and back, mini bar or room service, travel time, and hotel."

The prostitute met the client in Room 871 at about 10 p.m., according to the complaint. When discussing how the payments would be arranged, Client 9 told Lewis: "Yup, same as in the past, no question about it" -- suggesting Client 9 had done this before.

According to court papers, an Emperor's Club agent was told by the prostitute that her evening with Client 9 went well. The agent said she had been told that the client "would ask you to do things that you might not think were safe very basic things," according to the papers, but Kristen responded by saying: "I have a way of dealing with that I'd be, like, listen dude, you really want the sex?"

The prostitution ring arranged sex between wealthy men and more than 50 prostitutes in New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Miami, London and Paris, prosecutors said. Four people allegedly connected to the high-end ring were arrested last week.

The club's Web site displays photographs of scantily clad women with their faces hidden. It also shows hourly rates depending on whether the prostitutes were rated from one diamond to seven diamonds. The highest-ranked prostitutes cost $5,500 an hour, prosecutors said.

The four defendants charged in the case last week were charged with violating the federal Mann Act, a 1910 law that outlaws traveling across state lines for prostitution.

"I have acted in a way that violates my obligations to my family and violates my, or any, sense of right and wrong," Spitzer said at the news conference. "I apologize first and most importantly to my family. I apologize to the public, whom I promised better."

The scandal was bad news not only for Spitzer but for the entire Democratic party in New York. Spitzer went into 2008 intent on taking back the state Senate from the Republicans.

"Today's news that Eliot Spitzer was likely involved with a prostitution ring and his refusal to deny it leads to one inescapable conclusion: He has disgraced his office and the entire state of New York," said Assembly Republican leader James Tedisco. "He should resign his office immediately."

Spitzer clashed with Wall Street executives throughout his two terms as attorney general, launching several prosecutions that rocked major companies earlier this decade. Among other things, he uncovered crooked practices and self-dealing in the stock brokerage and insurance industries and in corporate boardrooms, and went after former New York Stock Exchange chairman Richard Grasso over his $187.5 million compensation package, which Spitzer called unreasonable and unlawful.

He became known as the "Sheriff of Wall Street." Time magazine named him "Crusader of the Year," and the tabloids proclaimed him "Eliot Ness." The square-jawed graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law was sometimes mentioned as a potential candidate for president.

But his term as governor has been fraught with problems, including an unpopular plan to grant driver's licenses to illegal immigrants and a plot by his aides to smear his main Republican nemesis.

Spitzer had been expected to testify to a state commission he had created to answer for his role in the scandal, in which his aides were accused of using the state police to compile travel records to embarrass Senate GOP leader Joseph Bruno.

His cases as attorney general included a few criminal prosecutions of prostitution rings and tourism involving prostitutes. In 2004, he took part in an investigation of an escort service in New York City that resulted in the arrest of 18 people on charges of promoting prostitution and related charges.

On Wives and Prostitutes

"Wives and whores are — if not exactly like Coke and Pepsi — something akin to champagne and beer. The same sort of thing." This latest expression of that naughtily provocative idea comes from a recent online edition of the business magazine Forbes, summarizing an article published by two female economists in a leading professional journal. Economists, of course, have a bias toward analyzing activities of all kinds as though they were just business deals: wives exchange sex for room, board, and other goodies.

There is, of course, a diametrically opposed view of what goes on within a married household, namely that everything done there — sex, housework, caregiving, the planning and funding of the family budget — is done for love alone. The household and the business world are strictly "separate spheres." Exchange, payment, and the cold rationality that dominates the business world should have no place in the household.

The Purchase of Intimacy, by Viviana A. Zelizer, a sociology professor at Princeton, maintains that neither of these views describes the situation correctly. Zelizer points out that household relations do inevitably involve economic transactions, so the "separate spheres" view is an incomplete account of what goes on there. Housewives don't ordinarily think of having sex with their husbands or performing housework as activities that they are paid for with access to their husbands' paychecks. But they certainly know that were the sex and housework to cease the household would most likely break up, and access to that money would also cease. There is, therefore, a sense in which an exchange is going on of sexual access and housework for money, or for what money buys.

Yet the view that intimate relations within a household are "nothing but" economic exchanges is not correct either. Marriage is in truth very different from prostitution, because it is a long-term relationship, because love or at least affection are frequently involved, because children are often being raised, and because the law says so. What goes on in a marriage is not well-described by the kind of analysis economists use when they attempt to explain behavior in the money economy. The claim by some economists that it can be described that way is merely an example of their foolishly imperialistic attitude toward the other social and behavioral sciences.

The nature of the economic exchanges in relations involving sex are usually kept inexplicit, which encourages a false "separate spheres" view. One reason for avoiding explicit acknowledgment of exchanges is precisely to shield the relationship from the deadly stigma of prostitution. Zelizer shows this in her discussion of relations between unmarried couples. At the beginning of the twentieth century, working-class young women earned very low wages and had to contribute to their families' incomes. They had nothing left over for clothes or entertainment, and could get these things only as "treats" from boyfriends. Sexual relations were fairly free among these couples. But they took great care to make sure that the "treats" were not in cash, and were timed so as not to appear to be a reward for a particular sexual act. These couples were thus distinguishing between their kind of relationship and the one a prostitute might have with a repeat client. Zelizer makes the general point that people in intimate relationships use the name given to the relationship, and the type and timing of payments, to distinguish their exchange transactions from other, inappropriate ones.

While some money-dealings among people in intimate relationships are necessary and therefore inevitable, some are best avoided. Doing business with a family member or a close friend carries the risk of souring a valuable relationship if the business does not go smoothly. As Shakespeare says, "[L]oan oft loses both itself and friend." Also best avoided is the intrusion of intimacy into certain business or professional relationships. Sex with your psychiatrist, gynecologist, divorce lawyer, or thesis adviser is generally not a good idea. Sexual liaisons with colleagues in the workplace may confer unfair advantage in the competition for advancement and create resentment — "She slept her way to the top." A workplace where sexual relations are common is fertile ground for sexual harassment.

Zelizer seems friendly to the contention that money wages ought to be paid for a wife's housework, remarking, "Feminists may well be right to claim that equal pay for housework and outside wage work would benefit women as much as equal wages within commercial firms would." Yet Zelizer of all people should understand that the housewife, while without a formal wage, is not without recompense. The Wages for Housework campaign is not endorsed by all who profess to be feminists and, in truth, makes little sense. The housewife's money wage would have to come from the husband or from the taxpayers. If it came from the husband, the money would have to finance pretty much the same purchases as it does in the absence of the wage. So it would have no economic effect on the wife's situation. If it came from the taxpayers, then single people and two-earner couples would be subsidizing the living standard of housewife-maintaining couples. Since the advance in women's status over the last fifty years has resulted mainly from the decline in the number of housewives, this is hardly a policy feminists should endorse. Equal pay in the workplace, on the other hand, is a vital goal still far from realization.

Many of the examples Zelizer gives of the way exchanges among intimates are interpreted are based on lawsuits, which occur when couples or households break up or change composition. When an engagement is broken, a court may be asked to decide who gets the diamond ring. Typically, the judge awards it to the man, even if it was he who broke off the engagement. The ring is viewed as a "conditional" gift, which can be revoked by the giver if the condition of the gift, namely the marriage, fails to take place.

Someone who has given an elderly person years of care may be left out of the latter's will, which has been redrawn to benefit some third person, perhaps newly arrived on the scene. Then a court may be asked to decide how much, if anything, should be awarded to the caregiver. If the caregiver was a family member, he or she is likely to get nothing, with the judge following a "separate spheres" theory that pay for caring labor within the family is inappropriate. But a non-family member is likely to get an award in such a case. Zelizer remarks that the theories used by judges in deciding such cases tend to lag behind social changes and may also have an anti-female bias.

One result of the "separate spheres" way of thinking, which is extremely harmful to the cause of women's equality, is the widespread belief that it is a bad thing to buy from strangers services a family member could do. It is taken for granted that the quality of purchased child care and elder care cannot be as good as that provided by family members, almost invariably female. If the quality is in fact lower, that may be the result of the bottom-tier pay the market sets for the people delivering this kind of care. The low pay offered may derive from the belief that anybody can do such work well enough. After all, any woman in the world is assumed to be qualified to provide good care for her child or parent.

Many economic transactions within households and between couples in the past were occasioned by the fact that most women had little or no direct access to money. Now that most unmarried women and a high proportion of wives hold jobs, and women's wages have risen relative to men's, there is less need for men to pass money or goods to women. Perhaps as a result, the big share of the housework still done by job-holding wives is increasingly felt to be unjust. The custom of males "treating" their girlfriends is still with us, but appears to be waning. The sexual revolution, which to some extent removed the stigma from sex for unmarried women, has increased the supply of sex available to men, and thus presumably lowered the "payment" needed to obtain it. One of those payments was the promise of marriage, and the decline in marriage that we have been witnessing may well be the result.

The book does not say what further exploration might be undertaken in these matters, and what, if any, policy changes ought to result from its insights. Except for the anecdotes, it is not an easy or pleasurable read. But The Purchase of Intimacy explores a sexy and interesting topic, and it is good to have these economic exchanges between couples brought to our attention.

"Housewives don't ordinarily think of having sex with their husbands or performing housework as activities that they are paid for with access to their husbands' paychecks. But they certainly know that were the sex and housework to cease the household would most likely break up, and access to that money would also cease."

среда, 4 июня 2008 г.

Jeux sans frontieres

I am no Francophobe, but when French law stories surface the attachment remains unopened. Nonetheless, with Paris now the capital of world rugby, it seemed the right time to find out what Parisian lawyers actually do (apart, obviously, from long lunches and liaisons dangereuses).

So I started with a little probing at Gide Loyrette Nouel and, I must admit, I got a bit of a shock. Suddenly a different, more exotic world opened out. I found myself in North Africa, where Gide seems to have cornered the markets from its offices in Algiers, Tunis and, above all, Casablanca. I imagined myself in the kasbah with Bogart. Then I was whisked away to Gide's meeting with BNP Paribas regarding the privatisation of Sahara Bank (apparently the first bank privatisation in Libya).

Yes, the frontiers are coming down. No wonder an Italian with a law degree from Scotland is opening in London to sell Spanish houses to rich Russians.

New drug law shutters Market Square barbershop

May 25--Some patrons of a Market Square barbershop went in for more than just a shave and a haircut, authorities say.

Allegheny County sheriff's deputies on Thursday padlocked the Success barbershop, which prosecutors claim was a drug nuisance.

The District Attorney's Office argued that more than 120 arrests for drug violations have occurred in and around Market Square and the shop. Common Pleas Judge Robert P. Horgos signed a preliminary injunction yesterday to close the business. A hearing to keep it closed is scheduled for Wednesday before Horgos.

District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. said the closure was the first in Allegheny County under the Drug Nuisance Law.

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Local leaders are trying to clean up Market Square and redevelop it as a Downtown hub. In January, Zappala's office used nuisance bar laws to force the closing of Mick McGuire's bar in Market Square over allegations of drug dealing in the bar.

"We've successfully closed the second drug-trafficking business in Market Square," Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said in a statement. "We've let criminals know that we are committed to the health of Pittsburgh's 89th neighborhood, Downtown."

According to prosecutors, the owners of Success, their employees and patrons are responsible for criminal violence, possession and drug trafficking of narcotics inside and around the barber shop.

Charles Fowlks, one of the shop owners, denied drug dealing had occurred there.

"They know I don't sell anything here," said Fowlks, 34. "Since the barbershop is black, and they're trying to re-do Market Square, they want us out."

In the complaint presented to Horgos, prosecutors said an informant bought marijuana from Fowlks inside the barbershop.

Police searched the shop May 14 and recovered 12 knotted plastic bags of crack cocaine and packaging material used for the sale of drugs, according to the complaint.

Fowlks was charged after the raid with possession of crack cocaine, drug paraphernalia and possession with intent to deliver, according to the complaint presented to Horgos yesterday.

"They came in and said they found crack cocaine. They didn't say where," Fowlks said. "A lot of people come in here."

Varick Benson, 35, of Point Breeze, who works at the business as a barber, said police burst into the shop last week when he was cutting hair and claimed they found drugs.

"I need this job to pay my bills," Benson said.

After the raid, police charged Benson with five charges of possession and possession with intent to deliver marijuana and cocaine, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Police said they found $1,298, a large bag of marijuana and a cell phone in his barber chair.

Newscraft nonsense

The federal newsmen's privilege statute pending before the Senate Judiciary Committee the Free Flow of Information Act of 2006 (FFIA) is nonsense on stilts.

In Branzburg v. Hayes (1972), the U.S. Supreme Court denied that the First Amendment crowned the press with a right to withhold confidential sources from grand juries. Writing for the majority, Justice Byron White doubted the press would be hobbled in its organized scrutiny or criticism of government if promises of confidentiality occasionally bowed to criminal justice. Time has vindicated White's skepticism.

Investigative journalism has flourished during the 34 years that have elapsed since Branzburg with no federal newsmen's privilege law. Stories exposing Watergate, Lancegate; Iran-Contra, the Anita Hill affidavit, Monicagate, warrantless domestic surveillance and data mining; and, secret CIA prisons and interrogation centers abroad are emblematic. In other words, ironclad promises of confidentiality are not the lifeblood of a free press.

Judith Miller, a New York Times reporter, spent months in jail for refusing to disclose sources of her knowledge that Valerie Plame was a CIA operative in the criminal investigation of Scooter Libby. Several other reporters have been ordered to reveal confidential sources in Wen Ho Lee's Privacy Act suit against federal officials. Yet neither precedent has occasioned a dwindling of confidential sources. Media stories pivoting on leaked confidential or sensitive information remain common.

It might be said a chilling effect on news reporting is self-evident if there is any possibility confidentiality will be broken. Sources would not seek confidentiality unless it was a material factor in their willingness to talk. But the syllogism is unpersuasive. In any given case, the probability a confidential source will be disclosed is microscopic. Government officials shy from coercion against the media to cultivate good will and avoid antagonism. The prospect of media retaliation with a disparaging Page One story or editorial concentrates their minds wonderfully.

Neither Carl Bernstein nor Robert Woodward was summoned to reveal the identity of "Deep Throat," i.e., Mark Felt. Neither Nina Tottenberg nor Timothy Phelps was ordered to disclose the congressional source for the Anita Hill affidavit. The New York Times reporters who disclosed President Bush's secret domestic surveillance program in contravention of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act have not been compelled to reveal their sources. Neither has The Washington Post's reporter who wrote about the CIA's secret prisons or interrogation centers abroad.

Sources are also generally driven to confide in the press for reasons that outweigh the possible embarrassment of disclosure. Take Scooter Libby's conversations with Judith Miller about Mrs. Plame and Iraq's suspected weapons of mass destruction. As Vice President Richard Cheney's chief of staff, his ambition to destroy the credibility of Mrs. Plame's husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, easily trumped worries that his identity would be revealed. Indeed, Mr. Libby ultimately agreed to release Miss Miller from honoring any promise or understanding of confidentiality. Presidential adviser Karl Rove similarly waived any putative right to confidentiality with the reporters with whom he spoke about Mrs. Plame.

If a newsmen's privilege threatened no harm, enacting FFIA would be innocuous. But as the proposed legislation acknowledges, every invocation of the privilege shortchanges the administration of criminal or civil justice. It denies relevant information to grand juries empowered to determine whether a crime has been committed, to petit juries deciding on guilt or innocence, and to civil juries deciding on defamation or invasion of privacy claims. The FFIA seeks to mitigate newsmen's privilege injustices with exceptions. But they are unworkable.

In criminal investigations or prosecutions, for instance, to overcome the privilege the government or the defendant must prove by clear and convincing evidence, among other things, that the information sought is "critical to the investigation or prosecution [or defense], particularly with respect to directly establishing guilt or innocence."

But what is persuasive to one juror is commonly trivial in the eyes of another. A prosecutor thus seeks to assemble the widest range of relevant and reliable evidence to convince all jurors beyond a reasonable doubt of the guilt of the accused. A defendant, on the other hand, values all relevant evidence that might undermine the prosecution's case in the mind of any juror. Indeed, FFIA is probably unconstitutional to the extent it denies the accused exculpatory evidence protected by newsmen's privilege.

Moreover, criticality pivots on what other evidence has been adduced. It could never be sensibly decided until both the prosecution and defense have ended their presentations. And even then, there would be no intellectually coherent standard for a judge to determine if the information sought satisfies FFIA's criticality benchmark for any juror other than the standard of relevance applicable to all evidence.

FFIA would slow justice from lead-footed to glacial with no concession to the shortness of life. Every invocation of newsmen's privilege in a criminal prosecution would engender sprawling auxiliary litigation a literal trial within a trial over whether alternative sources of the information sought had been exhausted; whether the information was peripheral, nonessential or would entail a large volume of unpublished material; whether the purpose of the information was to verify published information or its accuracy; and, whether the importance to society of convicting the defendant of the crime charged should defeat an assumed chilling effect on news reporting from exposing a confidential source.

In sum, a federal newsmen's privilege statute would be wrongheaded. Instead, the media should be directing its energies to confining the Espionage Act of 1917 to classified information that directly, immediately, and irreparably damages the national security of the United States. But that is next week's column.

Triumph and Troubles

Triumph and Troubles, the official biography of the Kilkenny hurler Charlie Carter, includes a heartwarming mother-in-law story. On the night of the 1999 All Ireland final, which the Cats lost to Cork, Carter was "as drunk as a monkey" and gave manager Brian Cody a "tongue-lashing" for taking him off during the game.

His mother-in-law Kathleen, who "felt very bad on my behalf", joined the fray and told Cody that if Carter hadn't been taken off, Kilkenny might have won. "Yes, a wonderful mother-in-law," purrs Carter. "They do exist."

We'll have to wait for Cody's memoirs to find out how he reacted to this double-whammy. And given the number of GAA books being published, we probably won't have to wait too long.

"The biggest challenge that I've faced in covering No Child Left Behind is making it understandable for readers," he said in an interview. "The potential for confusion is pretty great. ... At a recent meeting, it made me think of the federal tax code."

Threat to flush out source of law story

Cathy Grimes has become something of an expert on the No Child Left Behind Act. She keeps a copy of the hefty federal law at her desk — and has actually read it. THE president of the NSW Law Society is threatening to take unprecedented legal action to force journalists to reveal whether one of 22 governing council members leaked confidential information to them.

Law Society president John McIntyre has warned that unless the member involved identifies themself and resigns from the council, he will launch Supreme Court proceedings against three journalists.

Mr McIntyre wants a judge to compel the journalists to name their source so the society can decide if it can sue any council member for breaching confidentiality provisions.

The move has been triggered by disclosures in last Friday's legal affairs section of The Australian of a damaging split among council members over tort reform.

The split almost claimed the job of the society's chief executive, Mark Richardson, after some council members expressed concerns he was too close to the NSW Government.

Mr Richardson was the society's senior manager throughout the wave of tort reforms initiated by former premier Bob Carr that cut civil litigation and reduced damages payouts for personal injury cases.

The split came to light at an August 18 council meeting that was considering whether to renew Mr Richardson's contract.

While 10 council members backed Mr Richardson, another 10 -- including incoming president June McPhie -- voted not to renew his contract. One member abstained from the vote.

The deadlock was resolved when Mr McIntyre used his presidential vote to save Mr Richardson's job.

Mr McIntyre told the council meeting that he would resign as president if Mr Richardson lost his job.

Mr McIntyre has told council members he will instruct the society's solicitors to commence proceedings against this reporter if the member concerned did not identify themself by close of business yesterday.

He also proposed to commence similar proceedings against two reporters from Fairfax newspapers, who have spoken to the Law Society about the affair but have yet to publish it in their newspapers.

A Law Society spokeswoman said yesterday that no final decision had been taken on whether to start proceedings.

That would depend on whether the source of Friday's article could be identified.

If the source could not be identified, proceedings against this reporter would then be considered by the society's executive and the next meeting of its council.

The split in the Law Society's council coincides with growing moves within the legal profession to wind back tort reform.

The profession's peak national body, the Law Council of Australia, is co-ordinating a national campaign to ease restrictions on access to the courts and increase damages payouts.

The High Court will hand down its judgment tomorrow on a constitutional challenge to the NSW Government's advertising ban on personal injury lawyers.

No visitors allowed

Marita Peters never thought owning her own home would turn her son into a criminal. But, thanks to a strictly enforced public-housing law, that's exactly what happened.

The law, on the town's books since 1994, allows police and security guards to issue a trespass notice to anyone found on public-housing property who does not live there. The trespassers' names are put in a log. If they are found on the property more than once, they can be arrested. Intended to reduce crime, the law has effectively banned visitors.

Peters's teenage son, Jason Diggs, grew up in the Sagner housing complex in Frederick, Maryland. Eventually his mother bought a house across the street. When Diggs continued to visit his friends and family at Sagner or cut through the complex on his way to a nearby basketball court, he was arrested. Now he and his mother are plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit filed against Frederick's housing authority and the city's police department by Public Justice Center, a civil-rights group based in Baltimore.

"There are no written guidelines about the trespass policy," says Public Justice Center attorney Deborah Thompson. "It's extremely vague. No one has fair notice of how they could get arrested for this. If the cops think they don't have a right to be there, then they don't."

Kizzy Diggs, who has spent most of her twenty-one years in the John Hanson public-housing complex, says her uncle was arrested and jailed for trespassing while helping her to carry a mattress into her second-floor apartment. Diggs and her two-year-old daughter Andresia, whose father was arrested while trying to visit their apartment, are also plaintiffs in the Public Justice Center lawsuit.

"I think there's a big problem," says Diggs. "Just because I'm paying [rent] for this place doesn't mean you all have the right to stop my family members from visiting me."

Frederick officials declined to comment, but have been quoted in other publications saying the policy has significantly reduced crime in the housing projects, which have a history of drug deals and violence. "It's an issue of safety, from our point of view," says Steven Becker, an attorney representing the Frederick police. "We see the trespass policy as an effective tool in eliminating crime in public housing."

And what about residents' complaints of grandparents being kept from grandchildren? "If Grandma is coming by to sell drugs in public housing, I don't think it's a legitimate complaint," says Becker.

Its all from the family

Few things are as priceless as a family heirloom--something special and meaningful that is kept in the family, passed from one generation to the next, growing in value and significance.

ABWA has become an heirloom to many families nationwide. Grandmothers share the benefits of the Association with their daughters and granddaughters. Sisters grow closer as they support each other's personal and professional accomplishments. Aunts, nieces, cousins and in-laws bond as they attend chapter meetings, conferences and conventions together. THREE GENERATIONS

Michele Moir is an example of a member who has shared the Association with her daughter, Diane Walters, and granddaughter, Laura Walters.

Michele, a member of Palo Alto Charter Chapter and a budget officer at Stanford University in California, joined ABWA 22 years ago because she wanted to meet other businesswomen and learn new skills at the seminars and workshops. Through the years, she noticed that the Association was very progressive, changing to meet the needs of the members as more were college educated and reaching higher positions in their fields. She thought her daughter, a nurse, could benefit from membership, so she took her to National Convention, then recruited her.

"It enriches your family as well as your chapter because you then have something in common," says Diane, a member of El Sol Chapter in Tucson, Ariz. "Mothers are supposed to mentor their daughters and ABWA gives credence to that mentoring process."

Diane feels she would not have been recognized as one of the Top Ten Business Women of ABWA in 1994 if it hadn't been for her mother's support and encouragement. "She told me I was Top Ten material. You expect that from your mom, but because she has been a member for so long, I knew she understood what it meant." When Diane found out she received the honor, her mother was the first person she called.

The grandmother, mother and daughter have had unforgettable moments together in ABWA. At a spring conference in Monterey, Calif. in 1991, they got dressed up and were walking to dinner when a photographer stopped them and asked to take a picture. "This is the most impressive photo opportunity I've seen, three generations looking so much alike," Michele recalls the photographer saying.

Laura, who worked in talent management for comedians and as a personal assistant for actor Tim Allen in Los Angeles before working as a legal secretary in Tucson, says her mother and grandmother have "dragged" her to ABWA events since she was in high school.

"My mother and I are like the yin and yang because we do so much together. When I moved back to Arizona, there was no question whether I'd join her chapter. And it wasn't until I joined a chapter that I had a concept of what ABWA was really about, the networking, job contacts and seminars to hone your skills."

They were proud to have "three-and-a-half generations" attend National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. last year. And since Laura's daughter, Shelby Diane, now seven months old, hasn't missed a meeting yet, the family's convinced she'll be a fourth-generation member. GROWING A CHAPTER BY RECRUITING DAUGHTERS

Recruiting family members is a great way to grow a chapter. Just ask members of La Luz Chapter in Albuquerque, N.M., which recently celebrated its unique family ties--six groups of mothers and daughters or mothers and daughters-in-law.

"There's a time in your chapter's life when you need young people with new ideas. By bringing your daughters, it opens the door for them to invite their friends. Overall, that's refreshing," says Ursula Garduno, who recruited her daughter, Helene Metoyer, an attorney.

Ursula, a project manager for a software development company, says it's been a relief that her daughter and other members' daughters have jumped in and assumed leadership roles in the chapter. "It helps spread the responsibilities around and lets us (the older members) sit back in supportive roles."

Norma McDonald, an Xray technician, says she recruited her daughter-in-law, Regina Parks, because she thought support from other businesswomen and the educational opportunities available in ABWA would help Regina's career as a sales representative at a crafts store. She has been proud to watch Regina gain self-confidence and express her ideas while serving in chapter leadership positions. "It's been my pleasure to support her and watch her grow," Norma said.

Norma was sponsored by her mother, Hilda Boese, a 29-year member of Salt City Chapter in Hutchinson, Kan. Hilda, who retired from the appliance service and receiving departments at Sears, says she gained confidence and personal contacts through ABWA and especially enjoys awarding scholarships. She's glad her daughter and granddaughter have those same opportunities. The three generations are able to attend chapter meetings together from time to time, but the 84-year-old is hopeful they can attend the National Convention in Albuquerque together in 2001. WOMAN SPONSORS HER MOTHER AND DAUGHTER

Sheri Parrack, owner of Texas Motor Transportation Consultants in Houston, works closely every day with her daughter, Lisa Keith, a title examiner. It seemed only natural that she ask Lisa to join ABWA.

"My daughter has grown up with me in ABWA and has watched me participate on all levels and travel from coast to coast," says Sheri, member of UP Chapter in Houston. "When she attended local events with me, my ABWA friends became her friends. I'm proud she's a member."

Since joining ABWA 20 years ago, Sheri has belonged to three chapters; served in every committee and office, including four terms as president; was named one of the Top Ten Business Women of ABWA in 1992 and served on the National Board from 1994-96. Lisa says she became a national member and attends events with her mother to show support for her accomplishments. But she's gotten more out of membership than she expected.

"It has helped me make mature decisions and be confident as a woman in a male-dominated business," Lisa says. "I feel confident having role models that have achieved success in their business--I want to grow and achieve that too."

Sheri also sponsored her mother, Maxine Rosson of La Mesa, Texas, three years ago so she could receive ABWA publications and keep up-to-date on Association events and programs. "There isn't a chapter in my town, but I love reading about what's going on and what my daughter has accomplished," Maxine a retired accountant says. "It makes me happy that my daughter and granddaughter are so active. It's done so much for their careers and friendships." BIGGER THAN THE BRADY BUNCH

The Kettler family tree branches out with more than 160 years of combined membership. Olive Huchan recruited her nephew's wife, Maggie Kettler, who sponsored her cousin-in-law, Anna Kettler. Anna has two daughters, a daughter-in-law, a sister-in-law and a niece who are members. "The joke is, a Kettler always wins the door prize at our chapter meetings," says Anna, member of Alvin Daytimers and Alvin Area Achiever-Mimosa chapters in Alvin, Texas.

A technical editor for NASA contractors, Anna says she recruited many of her family members because, "I enjoy ABWA very much and wanted them to get into it. There are opportunities for friendship and learning business skills by attending conventions."

The Kettlers say they enjoy attending chapter meetings because it gives them an opportunity to see relatives more often. As many as possible will cram into a car to attend a Business Woman of the Year luncheon, spring conference or weekend event together. "We always have a good time," Anna says.

She expects the Kettlers to continue having a strong presence in ABWA. She plans to recruit her 13-year-old granddaughter when she's old enough to join. And Maggie plans to sponsor her daughter-in-law and granddaughter when their children start school.

Maggie, a retired cafeteria manager at Alvin Community College, said one reason so many family members have joined is the convenience--ABWA chapters understand working women don't have a lot of time to spend at meetings and will limit them to two hours. Plus, her family wanted to experience the camaraderie, networking, public speaking, leadership and educational opportunities she did.

"ABWA means so much to me. It helped me make friends and find support for my career, more so than in the work force because there's too much competition there. If you get a raise, ABWA members are proud of you," Maggie says. QUALITY TIME FOR SISTERS

Attending spring conferences and national conventions is bonding time for sisters Karen Hall, Janice Turnbull and Marilyn Lash, members of Tipacon Charter Chapter in Auburn Hills, Mich. They sing, tell stories and stop at antique shops, garage sales and discount stores along the way. But it wouldn't be a family trip without one of them pulling a prank on the others, as Marilyn did at the 1989 National Convention in Nashville, Tenn. In the elevator Marilyn met a national officer candidate and her husband dressed like a fish. Marilyn agreed to escort the man to his hotel room since he couldn't see out of the costume. But first, she took him to the room she was sharing with her sisters. She knocked on the door and hollered, "I went fishing and caught something. Look what I brought you." Her sisters opened the door and cracked up laughing.

On a more serious note, the sisters say they have grown personally and professionally in ABWA. And other family members have too, including their aunt, Helen Hamm, who recruited Marilyn; Karen's daughter, Sherri Karabelski, member of Tipacon Charter Chapter; and three of Janice's daughters, Laurie Dallape, Kelle Hruska and Andrea Davis, all national members. "We're an ABWA family," says Karen.

By serving three terms as chapter president, delivering speeches and presenting seminars, Marilyn proved to her bosses she could handle leadership roles and multiple projects. She also received support from fellow ABWA members through each phase of her life--as she changed careers, left the work force to raise her three sons, returned to the work force, earned a college degree and accepted her current position as a field surveyor and data entry coordinator for a research project.

"ABWA has broadened our horizons about what is available for women in the work force. It has also helped us build our self-confidence and be ourselves in front of others," Marilyn says.

Karen, a model turned sales representative, says ABWA has been "heaven sent" because it helped her in many areas: building self-confidence, learning business skills and making friends. But more importantly, she feels her family was fortunate to have the support of ABWA members during many tragedies: when her husband died, when her daughter Sherri was seriously injured in a car accident and when Sherri's son was born with Down's syndrome and a heart defect.

Sherri quit her job in advertising sales to care for her son, but Karen is confident that when the time comes, ABWA networking opportunities will help her daughter re-enter the work force. "It's such a part of my life, I can't imagine life without ABWA," Karen says.

Janice, a real estate broker, says she and her sisters, daughters and niece are busy women and live up to 45 miles apart, but their chapter meetings bring them together on a regular basis. They have much to gain and contribute to the Association. Janice, like Karen, has served as a District V vice president, and says she enjoys mentoring young businesswomen. "ABWA offers wholesome activities for women. Many need this exposure to develop their own skills," Janice says.

After being in ABWA for more than 20 years, all the members are like family, Karen says. "We become so close. We're invited to all the family functions, weddings and funerals. We're like sisters." FAMILY BONDING

Connie Feeney says the main reason she joined ABWA three years ago was to spend more time with her husband's grandmother, Velma Feeney, a member for 41 years of New Horizons Chapter in Kansas City, Mo. Connie especially enjoyed serving as program chair with Velma, who worked as a bank officer, founded Feeney Insurance Agency and owned and operated a Hallmark card store. "She's such a role model for the whole family because she's done so much in her life and is still going strong," Connie says.

Through ABWA, Velma says she gained leadership skills by serving as a national secretary-treasurer; business skills by attending chapter meetings, conferences and conventions; and clients and customers by networking. She also was active with the chamber of commerce and an insurance organization, but she felt ABWA gave her a greater diversity of opinions on business issues. Velma wanted her family to experience the same benefits of ABWA so she sponsored Connie as well as her daughter-in-law, Sandra Feeney of Olathe, Kan., who was a member for about a year. She's pleased Connie has remained an active member of New Horizons Chapter.

"Connie works in an investment firm and wants to become a good businesswoman," says Velma. "She wants to learn, become a leader in her field and grow. ABWA has many seminars to help with that." Connie is an asset to the chapter as well, Velma adds. "She's a leader by nature, so when things need to be done, she does it and does it well."

One day, Connie hopes to share the benefits of ABWA with her 1-year-old daughter, Addison. "ABWA is all encompassing," Connie says. "You make friends all over the country, do community service and improve your business skills. I'd love for my daughter to be a part of that. It would be a great experience for her."

In the field

There is high demand for stories in the classroom--both the traditional academic classroom and the one in which I teach human rights activists at an annual summer college. There, Aptheker's "respect for each other", acceptance of tolerance and ambiguity etc., frustrate me however, in the same way that Elizabeth Ellsworth felt frustrated by the fine sounding phrases of critical pedagogy in her influential article `Why doesn't this feel empowering?' (1989). Stories intended to serve as an opposition to patriarchal discourse have not always felt empowering. This is due, in large part, to two tendencies: our failure to recognise the multiple nature of subjectivity and hence the complex ways we construct meaning, and a failure to develop an ethical vision [1] based on our differences. In the effort to untangle how we are constructed we have sometimes failed to define what it is about the world that we want to change and why.

Ellsworth noted specifically that in mixed sex, mixed race classroom on racism, students enter with "investments of privilege and struggle already made in favour of some ethical and political positions concerning racism and against other positions" (Ellsworth, 1989, p. 301). The strategies of empowerment, dialogue and voice do not in fact work as neatly as they are supposed to because there is no unity among the oppressed and because our various histories are not left at the door when we enter a classroom to critically reflect. Her students were unable to `hear' each other. The operative mode was rationality and the stories of various groups had to be justified and explicated using the very tools that held these stories to be inadmissible. (Here the parallel to feminists working in law is obvious. The rules of the legal game structure the tale in such a way that only some parts of it can be told or what is told is unrecognisably transformed by the fancy scientific dress.) Going beyond Aptheker's unproblematic call for a tolerance of ambiguity, Ellsworth suggests that we respect the diversity of voices, of stories as it were, that we recognise that the voices are "valid--but not without response" (Ellsworth, 1989, p. 305). In other words, the stories must be critiqued and she has a number of concrete suggestions for doing so which I would like to address in order to look for a way out of a return to rationality or to an uncritical reliance on stories.

Ellsworth recommends that we work hard at building trust, hence the importance of building in opportunities for social interaction (we do this at the summer college by making the programme a residential programme); that we stress the need to learn about the realities of others without relying on them to inform us; that we name the inequalities in the classroom and devise ground rules for communication, (for this we used Uma Narayan's (1988) article `Working across differences'); that we consider strategies such as encouraging affinity groups between those who are most likely to share the same forms of oppression; and that we consciously offer such groups the time to coalesce so that individuals can speak from within groups. All of these recommended pedagogical practices come out of her central piece of advice which is that we critically examine what we share and don't share. We work from the basis that we all have only partial knowledge, that we come from different subject positions. Most important of all, no one is off the hook since we can all claim to stand as oppressor and oppressed in relation to someone else. These suggestions, which I do practice, do not save me from some of the `ethical dilemmas' that: arise frequently at the summer college, although perhaps I could have minimised their impact had I paid closer attention to the ground rules above.

Two incidents from the most recent summer college in human rights illustrate some of the difficulties with a critical use of story-telling. The summer college in human rights, held at the University of Ottawa but sponsored by the non-governmental Human Rights Research and Education Centre, brings together 60 human rights activists who work for social change within an organised group. Thus there are members of groups of women with disabilities, various anti-racist groups, the Assembly of First Nations, lawyers for human rights in South Africa, etc. Although it frequently happens that individuals from dominant groups work for organisations on behalf of the oppressed, the majority of students can fit, in one way or another, into the `disadvantaged groups'. The first incident illustrates the unreasonably high demand for story-telling from those in dominant positions. Here I take some responsibility. The curriculum is designed to encourage storytelling and the pedagogical practices emphasise the need to make a space for different voices and in fact to forge a politics of alliances based on this sharing of daily experiences. One participant in my group, a white disabled woman, frustrated by the silence of a black woman from South Africa when South Africa was being discussed, directly confronted her with a firm `Why don't you tell us your experiences?' Realising the harshness of what: was said, another participant, also disabled but male, repeated the request more gently. Instantly, the trust and sharing of the class, built over 5 days, dissolved in a puff of smoke. The black participant, thus confronted with a request to tell her story, defended her right to silence and then left the room in tears. In the chaos of what then ensued, it became clear that the sentence, e, so simply expressed by a white woman, innocently inviting a woman of colour to share her experiences of racism, recalled for every person of colour in the room (seven out of 20) that this was not in fact a safe learning environment. For me, the instructor and a woman of colour, I tried hard to retain my composure. Later, distressed to the point of tears by the `loss of control' in `my' classroom, and not consoled by the learning value of the event, I wondered how it was that I could have been so powerfully affected in spite of many years' experience of just this type of situation. I recall trying clumsily to explain to a colleague that we (people of colour) are always being asked to tell our stories for your (white people) benefit, which you can't hear because of the benefit you derive from hearing them. Suddenly, the world was still white after all and the pedagogy that insisted that the oppressed can come together to critically reflect and share stories seemed a sham.

Let me leave this story for a while and tell another that occurred in the same context but among all three classes of the summer college. This story illustrates for me the sheer difficulty of understanding across differences and the need for some ethical guidelines for listening. The session in question took place in August 1990. On the day that the Federal Government of Canada, at Quebec's request, decided to send in the army to try to end the stand off between Mohawks and the Quebec provincial police (Surete Quebec), the students of the summer college decided to abandon the curriculum and take action. This after all was the basis of the education for social change they had come to get. In the very heated discussions that followed as to the most appropriate actions to be taken, the only two Native participants (not, however, of the Mohawk nation) assumed a leadership role, again in keeping with the principles of the college that struggles for social change must be led by the groups in question. They both endorsed a march on Parliament Hill to protest armed intervention and made a passionate plea (in the form of stories of their lives as Native women) that we all accept this as the only course of action. As in Elizabeth Ellsworth's class, we, the non-Natives in the room then began to process the story we had heard. Some of us then required the two women to defend their position using the master's tools since we felt that the army was in fact an improvement over the Surete Quebec, a police force well-known for its racism. In fact, we argued, the Assembly of First Nations who represented Native groups, themselves agreed this was so although they deplored, as we did, armed intervention. The situation soon led to tears (from the Native women), recriminations (from some of the francophone participants who felt that sympathy for the Mohawks came easily for anglophones whose daily lives were not touched by the crisis as were the lives of francophone inhabitants of Quebec), sheer astonishment at the depth of' emotion we had observed, and to our general confusion and failure to find a way out of this ethical dilemma. In a different way, the situation was repeated when a native woman from an altogether different reserve (Akwasasne) came to speak against the Warrior societies of the Mohawks, while a Native leader later spoke in their defence. We had to employ the tools of rationality to choose between stories and to determine political action. The brilliant suggestion of Uma Narayan, that we grant epistemic privilege to the oppressed, falls apart when the subject positions are so confused. Unless we want to fall into the trap of demanding that the oppressed speak in a unified voice before we will believe them, we are still left with the difficult task of negotiating our way through our various ways of knowing and towards political action.

Both these incidents led me to reflect on classroom ethics, indeed on ethics in general, in mixed sex and mixed race groupings where there is a commitment to social change. First, I agree with Zuniga and Ellsworth: we do shy away from critical reflection of the practices of those on the `good' side. Ironically, our analytical and pedagogical tools seem to discourage internal critique by calling for respect for different voices with insufficient attention paid to the contexts of both the teller and the listener. Second, the risks taken in the course of critical reflection are never equally shared. This is almost a truism yet we have not been careful to devise a pedagogy that would accommodate it or a political practice that would not sacrifice diversity, again I think because the game of good guy/bad guy discourages it. What would a pedagogy that recognised the inequalities of risk-taking entail? We know more about what it would not entail, for instance Ellsworth's comments that acting as though the classroom is a safe place does not make it safe.

From feminists and practitioners of critical pedagogy alike has come the suggestion that caring is as important as critical pedagogy. For instance, Meth-child Hart warned of an overemphasis on cognitive processes (Hart, 1990, p. 135). We cannot absolutely know what is required in what instances. Is the best we can do to remain open and to care? There are, however, boundaries to our caring which have to be worked out when deciding how far we will commit ourselves to action. Furthermore, these boundaries are hard to discern across cultures and caring sometimes gets in the way. Lynet Uttal (1989), writing of her experience of the differences between Anglo-feminist groups and those of women of colour, notes that in Anglo-feminist groups, the emphasis on providing care and support leads to passive listening of diverse voices. There is seldom any heated discussion or disagreement; those who fail to fit in simply leave the group. She describes the "blank looks of supportive listening" and the absence of critical engagement with the ideas proposed (Uttal, 1989, p. 318).

Richard Brosio reminds us that our professions notwithstanding, education is not the leading route to social change (Brosio, 1990, p. 75). Perhaps we ought not to have the expectation that a pedagogy can be devised that will help us to transcend the dichotomies and the bind of partial knowledge. Iris Young wisely notes that "too often people in groups working for social change take mutual friendship to be a goal of the group. Such a desire for community often channels energy away from the political goals of the group" (Young, 1990, p. 235). I interpret this to mean that we often forget that community has to be struggled for, which I think Ellsworth very forcefully demonstrates by her critical analysis of her course on racism. What might assist us to promote that struggle?

If there is no automatic friendship, good will or community, where do we begin? The answer is of course already an axiom among us: we begin with critical thinking and critical pedagogy. But where critical pedagogy has traditionally begun is not far enough below the surface. We have to begin with how we know, giving this more attention than we have traditionally done. Epistemology, perhaps without using the word, has to enter into our pedagogy and our political categories. It is not an auspicious beginning to build on the feminist insight that women appear to know differently to men because the universalising tendency of the category `woman' has been every bit as destructive as the universal category `oppressed' has . in critical pedagogy.

Carolyn Steedman (1986) well illustrates the point that how we know what we know is central to our political practice because it helps us to locate the inconsistencies, the cracks we might then use to empower ourselves. Commenting on the fact that all women learn about patriarchy in the family, whether by the father's absence or presence, she remarks:

What is a distinction though, and one that offers some hope, is the difference between learning of this system from a father's display of its social basis, and learning of it from a relatively unimportant and powerless man (as in the case of her working-class father), who cannot present the case for patriarchy embodied in his own person. (Steedman, 1986, p. 79)

Our different subject positions, borne out in how we know, tell and hear stories, are ignored at our peril. Maria Lugones describes the dilemmas that confront her as a Chicana woman in an intellectual context that is predominantly white, when invited to tell her stories. White/Anglo women, she writes, "can see themselves as simply human or simply women. I can bring you to your senses con el tono de mi voz, with the sound of my--to you--alien voice." (Lugones, 1989, p. 49). This at any rate is the assumption behind story-telling. For the woman of colour, however, the situation is altogether more difficult:

So the central and painful questions for me in this encounter become questions of speech? En que' voz with which voice, anclada en que' lugar anchored in which place, para que y porque why and to what purpose, do I trust myself to you . . . o acaso juego un juego de cat and mouse for your entertainment. . . o por el mio? I ask these questions out loud because they need to be asked.

If we are sensitive to this difference which Lugones brilliantly demonstrates, and we heed Ellsworth's practical advice on this score, that is that we problematise what the limits of our knowing are, based on our different subject positions, I think we end up realising that story-telling serves various groups differently and that it should never be employed uncritically in mixed groups.

Trinh Minh-ha's work is a courageous attempt to delineate modes of storytelling, to explore the complex interplay between the subject positions of the tellers and the listeners. "There is more than one way to relate the story of specialness", she observes, and stories can perpetuate domination. For instance, specialness can serve the dominant groups as entertainment, as "that voice of difference likely to bring us what we can't have and to divert us from the monotony of sameness" (Trinh, 1989a, p. 88).

Eager not to disappoint, I try my best to offer my benefactors and benefactresses what they most anxiously yearn for: the possibility of a difference, yet a difference or otherwise that will not go so far as to question the foundations of their beings and makings. (p. 88)

As a listener, one can be drawn into such a process very easily. I have seen students literally feeding off the tears of stories from the Third World, basking in the sense of having visited another country so easily and feeling no compulsion to explore their own complicity in the oppression of others.

The problems of voice and identity are packed with internal dilemmas not only for the listeners but also the tellers of the tale. Often women of colour are asked to tell their stories while others will do the theorising and the writing up. Yet the chance to speak, to enter your reality on the record, as it were, is as irresistible as it is problematic. What kind of tale will I choose to tell, and in what voice? Trinh Minh-ha asks, "how do you inscribe difference without bursting into a series of euphoric narcissistic accounts of yourself and your own kind? Without indulging in a marketable romanticism or in a naive whining about your condition?" (Trinh, 1989a, p. 28). There are penalties for choosing the wrong voice at the wrong time, for telling an inappropriate tale. Far better, one might conclude, as the black woman from South Africa did, to keep silent. I found myself exploring, at the summer college, this right to silence and offer in this regard another of Trinh's observations: "Silence as a will not to say or a will to unsay and as a language of its own has barely been explored" (Trinh, 1989b, p. 373). As an educator, however, I find the idea of silence extremely unsettling, reminding me of my own compelling interest in encouraging the telling of stories.

In story-telling, then, while asking ourselves what we can know and not know is important, particularly in terms of listening to others and then deciding how to act in a particular situation, I think there is a more basic task at hand. This is the task of calling into question knowledge and being of both the teller and the listener, and struggling for ways to take this out of the realm of abstraction and into political action. "What we do toward the texts of the oppressed is very much dependent upon where we are", writes Gayatri Spivak (Spivak, 1990, p. 57), echoing a Quebecois proverb that `on pense ou on a les pieds'. Again I turn to Trinh Minh-ha who has illuminated for me most clearly why neither rationality nor emotional sharing will suffice. Trinh suggests we consider breaking the dichotomy mind/body, reason/emotion as is done in Asian martial arts for instance, by adding a third category, `instinctual immediacy', by which I think is meant subject position or point of departure. Here, instinct does not stand opposed to reason; it requires us to relate to the world with immediacy, to allow "each part of the body to become infused with c consciousness". Instinct requires us to reactivate the "radical calling into question in every undertaking, of everything that one takes for granted" (Trinh, 1989a, p. 40. Give up, in other words, the quest for knowledge, that is to definitively know, either through the heart or the mind. Instead, question one's point of departure at every turn so that strategies (such as replacing rationality with emotions) do not become end points in themselves (Trinh, 1989a, p. 43).

Trinh Minh-ha is optimistic about her proposal to engage in the ground clearing activity of radically calling into question:

The questions that arise continue to provoke answers, but none will dominate as long as the ground-clearing activity is at work. Can knowledge circulate without a position of mastery? Can it be conveyed without the exercise of power? No, because there is no end to understanding power relations which are rooted deep in the social nexus--not merely added to society nor easily locatable so that we can just radically do away with them. Yes, however, because in-between grounds always exist, and cracks and interstices are like gaps of fresh air that keep on being suppressed because they tend to render more visible the failures operating in every system. Perhaps mastery need not coincide with power (Trinh, 1989a, p. 41).

The mestiza consciousness described by Gloria Anzaldua in her book Borderlands/La Frontera (1987) requires ground-clearing activity. The future belongs to the mestizas, Anzaldua writes, "because the future depends on the breaking down of paradigms, it depends on the straddling of two or more cultures. By creating a new mythos--that is a change in the way we perceive reality, the way we see ourselves, and the ways we behave--la mestiza creates a new consciousness" (Anzaldua, 1987, p. 80). Anzaldua makes concrete the tolerance for ambiguity called for by Bettina Aptheker when she situates it in the radical calling into question of all our subject positions. The first step of the mestiza is to take inventory: to ask critically, "Just what did she inherit from her ancestors?" (p. 82).

Pedagogically, then, ground clearing activity is my suggestion for reshaping education for social change. In one way this is not any different from the axiom to continually critically reflect. What it refers to, however, is reflecting critically on how we hear, how we speak, to the choices we make about which voice to use, when, and, most important of all, developing pedagogical practices that enable us to pose these questions and use the various answers to guide those concrete moral choices we are constantly being called upon to make.

Concretely, I envision a more complex mapping of our differences than we have ever tried before. In the case of the summer college, for instance, it will mean that more space is cleared in the curriculum for exploration from our various subject positions. Colonisation from within and without will become a major theme and not just in terms of what colonisation means for Third World peoples but also how it constitutes the colonisers themselves. The project at hand is Spivak's "unlearning privilege" (Spivak, 1990, p. 30) so that "not only does one become able to listen to that other constituency, but one learns to speak in such a way that one will be taken seriously by that other constituency" (Spivak, 1990, p. 42). In the past, it seemed such an enormous task to enter into the classroom some of the realities of various oppressed groups that it did not seem possible to concentrate on how we are `processing' this information differently based on our respective subject positions. In effect, were I to redesign my pedagogical approach in the summer college, I would want to pay more attention to how we know rather than primarily to what we know. It seems simple enough but the complex ways of telling stories act as a reminder that the task is anything but simple.

In law, maintaining a similar vigilance about how we know what we know requires that we pay attention to "the interpretative structures we use to reconstruct events." (Crenshaw, 1992, p. 404). As feminists, for instance, we will need to devise alternatives for telling about the lives of women of colour that transcend the narrative about the white woman or the one about the black man. Since the stories of women of colour fit into neither, telling them will require attention to multiplicities, contradictions and relations of power embedded in interpretive structures.

To conclude, I endorse Trinh's passionate plea for a movement away from defining and boxing ourselves into one subject identity:

You and I are close, we intertwine; you may stand on the other side of the hill once in a while, but you may also be me, while remaining what you are and what I am not. The differences made between entities comprehended as absolute presences--hence the notion of pure origin and true self--are an outgrowth of a dualistic system of thought peculiar to the Occident... (Trinh, 1989a, p. 90)

Without absolutes, no true self, no pure origin, it becomes all the more imperative to pay attention to how our multiple identities are constructed and played out at any one time in any one context. The white disabled student might then have not asked for the stories of the black South African; she might have focused on critically examining her own need to hear those stories (to what end?) Similarly, we would not have been paralysed by guilt upon hearing Native women call for a particular form of action which did not meet our rational criteria. We might instead have asked what was affecting our comprehension of events (as indeed they might have asked themselves). In the same way, feminists who go to court might question their choice of narrative strategies before they go to court. More secure in our respective commitments to probing beneath the surface of what we know, to how we know, alliances might then be possible between white, heterosexual, able-bodied and middle-class women and women on the margins. In the court-room as in the classroom, ours "is a responsibility to trace the other in self' (Spivak, 1990, p. 47), a task that must become central to our practice.

In critical pedagogy

Law relies on a positivist conception of knowledge. That is, there is a straight line between the knower and the known. In law, judges and juries discover the truth from the array of information put before them. There is only one objective truth and it is empirically provable. Reason features prominently and emotion is ruthlessly banished. The rule of law is "the consistent application of prior stated rules", a process theoretically uninformed by politics or ethics (Massaro, 1989, p. 2099). Story-telling in law, then, is an intellectual movement that is "a rebellion against abstractions" (p. 2099). Its purpose is to interrogate the space between the knower and the thing known; its function is one of putting the context back into law. Scheppele (1989) writes of the conceptual scheme of the observer that stands between him or her and the event. Story-telling is a theoretical attention to narrative, to the nature and consequences of this conceptual scheme. Concretely, it is an interrogation of how courts come to convert information into fact, how judges, juries and lawyers come to `objectively' know the truth: "Those whose stories are believed have the power to create fact" (Scheppele, 1989, p. 2079).

Legal rules and conventions suppress the stories of outsider groups. The fiction of objectivity, for example, obscures that key players in the legal system have tended to share a conceptual scheme. Thus judges who do not see the harm of rape or of racist speech are considered to be simply interpreting what is before them. They are not seen to possess norms and values that derive directly from their social location and that are sustained by such practices as considering individuals outside of their social contexts. Stories of members of marginalised groups must therefore "reveal things about the world that we ought to know" (Delgado, 1990, p. 95). They are "a means of obtaining the knowledge we need to create a just legal structure" (Matsuda, 1989, p. 2326). Matsuda argues forcefully that those who have experienced discrimination speak with a special voice to which we should listen" (Matsuda, 1987, p. 324). Stories, in the context of law, bring feeling back and they tend to work from experiential understanding. (Massaro, 1989, p. 2105). How this happens in a court-room is clear from feminist jurisprudence.

Feminists working in law describe for the court's benefit the nature of women's oppression and then make an argument that policies and practices that perpetuate that oppression ought to be declared illegal. (In Canada, section 15, the equality rights section of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, is usually invoked in support.) The Women's legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), formed in 1985, is one of the major groups developing and making this argument in Canadian courts (Razack, 1991). The challenge has been to bring into the courtroom details about women's daily lives in a forum constructed to negate or silence such realities. For instance, Western law functions on the basis of liberalism where the individual is thought to be an autonomous, rational self, essentially unconnected to other selves and dedicated to pursuing his or her own interests. To present an individual in her community, and further, to describe that community as LEAF has done as "the disadvantaged, the disempowered, the marginalized" is to pose a fundamental challenge to legal discourse. The individual in her community is less empirically provable, and courts are inordinately fond of empirical proof.

Feminists working in law theorise on the nature of the challenge they pose to law's `truth'. Robin West, for instance, sees the process as one of telling women's stories. Thus feminism applied to law consists of flooding "the market with our own stories until we get one simple point across: men's narrative story and phenomenology is not women's story and phenomenology" (West, 1988, p. 70). An example of this kind of flooding is the defence mounted by the Federation of Women Teachers of Ontario when they found themselves in court defending their right to exist as a women-only teachers' union. The Federation argued that women were and are an oppressed group and that in this specific context, a mixed sex union would only perpetuate that oppression. The men teachers' federation who supported the challenge to the Federation's right to exist as an all-female institution maintained that women teachers are equal in every way to men teachers; a mixed sex union would serve all teachers best. Whereas the side arguing for a mixed union only felt obliged to point to the collective agreement as proof of equality between men and women, the Federation enlisted the aid of over 20 women, experts in women's history, women's studies, women's unions etc. to flood the court with information about the past and daily lives of women in general and women teachers in particular. For instance, Dale Spender was asked to testify on her research that men dominate in mixed sex groupings. Joy Parr, a Canadian historian, gave evidence that historically Canadian women have had to fight to protect their rights. Management studies testified that `the routines of inequality' blocked women's advancement. Principals, for instance, had to have training in curriculum studies, which one could only get after school, a time when most women shouldered family responsibilities. At times, the tale became highly subjective, as when Sylvia Cold, then president of the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women testified that she felt that the Federation had directly influenced the creation of women leaders. At other times, details about women came into the court-room in full scientific dress. Margrit Eichler, a sociology professor, quantified inequality for the court's benefit and then measured the Federation by 20 indices of inequality. Her conclusion: the Federation advanced women's interests.

For feminists working in law, story-telling has always been particularly seductive; women's stories have not been told. Until recently, there has been little concern with the difficulties that arise from an uncritical use of stories. There are two features of story-telling in law that bear mentioning. First, how are the stories going to be received? Can the Man hear it the way she means it? This is particularly evident in the court-room when the story has to do with violence against women, a story that heavily implicates men. A second problem is that one cannot be ambiguous or contradictory when playing this kind of game in a court of law, given the power of law's positivism. The stories are being told to make a particular point and they are being heard in a particular way. It will not be possible to squeeze all the realities of daily life into this framework; some realities are distorted to the point of their being unrecognisable. Canadian Native women in prisons, for instance, are currently wondering if their stories of oppression are `translatable' for the court's benefit.

Indeed, story-telling as a methodology in the context of law can lead very quickly into dichotomies and generalisations that make it difficult to describe the intersections of race, class, gender and disability. Is the search for facts, Carrie Menkel Meadow, a feminist lawyer asks, "a feminine search for context and the search for legal principles a masculine search for certainty and abstract rules?" (Menkel Meadow, ] 985, p. 49). Gender, uncontaminated by race, class, disability or sexual orientation is the prism through which daily life is viewed and differences among women fit awkwardly into the story. When gender is constructed in its pure form, i.e. uncontaminated by race or class or culture, Norma Alarcon has pointed out, the woman thus imagined names herself; her culture, race or class do not name her. Thus, ironically, she remains the old, autonomous liberal self, only female; another abstraction (Alarcon, 1990, p. 357).

Concerns about the "coercive power of stories" (Scheppele, 1989, p. 2077) and thus about how they are used and the uses to which they are put have troubled legal scholars working on race critiques of law. Toni Massaro, for instance, has reflected on the consequences of an unproblematic call for stories and context, identifying one important difficulty: in the end, law has to privilege one story over another. A judge has to choose and it is not so much his understanding that is required as certain actions. Furthermore, given the fact that most judges continue to come from dominant groups, they are unlikely to be able to empathise with marginalised groups. In any event, in the area of discrimination, for instance, Massaro points out, empathy is not the ultimate goal. It is not enough to try to find ways to communicate to the judge that discrimination is hurtful. It is equally necessary to convince him or her that an action is morally wrong and requires legal sanction. Massaro suggests that how we hear different stories is therefore dependent on the moral code with which we function (Massaro, 1989, 2127). While we experience many unpleasant things, only some are considered both morally reprehensible and `actionable' in law. Justice is all about drawing the boundaries between wrong and right.

Mari Matsuda's work on legal sanctions for racist speech provides a careful reflection on how we might evaluate the stories of victims from the basis of what we as a society consider to be morally wrong. Arguing that a "legal response to racist speech is a statement that victims of racism are valued members of our polity" (Matsuda, 1989, p. 2322), Matsuda grapples with the complexities of how we decide whose perspectives to take into account in determining the kinds of racist speech that require legal sanction. She notes, for instance, that the typical reaction of oppressed groups to an incident of racist propaganda is alarm and calls for redress whereas the typical reaction of dominant groups is denial and dismissal of the incident as a harmless prank (Matsuda, 1989, p. 2327). Denial of the impact of this form of racism helps to sustain the view that censorship of racist hate messages is a greater harm than the harm of the messages themselves. If we listened to the voices of those harmed by racist propaganda, however, basic principles would emerge that help us to assess the context in which racist speech occurs. Victims of racism make clear that racism must be fought on all levels and that their lives would be improved by an explicit legal condemnation of racist speech.

One immediate criticism of the position that we ought to listen to the voices of the oppressed in determining what is and is not just is, as Matsuda herself observes, the sorting out of who is oppressed and who is not. Anticipating such critics, Matsuda directs us to examine such social indicators as wealth, mobility, comfort, health, and survival which tell us which groups have status. She allows for the fact that oppressed groups participate in each other's oppression but claims that racist speech from a member of a historically subjugated group is not to be judged as harshly as racist speech from a member of a dominant group. The former's racism "is tied to the structural domination of another group" (Matsuda, 1989, p. 2362). A member of a historically subjugated group forfeits this privilege when she allies herself to the dominant group (Matsuda, 1989, p. 2364). Clearly, deciding which voices to privilege in law is enormously complicated and relies not only on our being able to thread our way through historical domination but also on the clarity of our moral vision. The alternatives, however, are to ignore the voices of marginalised groups or to accept them uncritically. This latter option would leave us with no way of evaluating the difference between zionism and generic white supremacy, to use Matsuda's example. We would have no guidelines for assessing the context in which stories originate. Story-telling in Critical Pedagogy

In traditional educational theory, the existing arrangement of society is taken as given and schools "are seen as the means of rationally distributing individuals in what is conceived as a basically just society" (Weller, 1988, p. 5). In contrast, (and like outsider jurisprudence), critical educational theory recognises, as Henry Giroux, has put it, that "ideology has to be conceived as both source and effect of social and institutional practices as they operate within a society that is characterised by relations of domination, a society in which men and women are basically unfree in both objective and subjective terms" (Giroux, cited in Weiler, 1988, p. 22). Thus a radical or critical pedagogy is one that resists the reproduction of the status quo by uncovering relations of domination and opening up spaces for voices suppressed in traditional education. How critical educators do so is once again through the methodology of story-telling. Individuals who develop critical thinking can challenge oppressive practices; the critical educator thus "takes as central the inner histories and experiences of the students themselves", seeking to foster critical reflection of everyday experience (Weller, 1988, pp. 22-23).

As in outsider jurisprudence, story-telling for social change in an educational setting is more complicated than the phrase would indicate. In her work on how the school covertly regulates the production of self-regulating, autonomous individuals, Valerie Walkerdine stresses that those who are most targeted in the school system, the poor, the working class and ethnic minorities, also resist and engage differently with the systems of domination in which they are enmeshed. As Walkerdine put it, "the constitution of subjectivity is not all of one piece without seams and ruptures" (Walkerdine, 1985, p. 204). The voices of the oppressed are not simply left out of the system. Rather, the school regulates what a child is and children of outsider groups (and all girls) respond in a number of contradictory ways. The critical educator has to understand how "particular children live those multiple positionings". For example, she writes:

How might a girl's [socially produced] docility in school produce both losses and gains? She might be denied in the status of `active learner' and yet at the same time be enabled to maintain another site of power, for example by taking the position of mother. Yet she must experience pain and anxiety if the contradiction between those positions is not recognized and understood as an effect of the pathologising process [i.e. where masculinity is the norm]. What, too, if that pathology operates in relation to different and contradictory assumptions of the normal? How then are the resultant splittings lived? (Walkerdine, 1988, pp. 228-229)

The double strategy which Walkerdine recommends, "one which recognises and examines the effects of normative models, whilst producing the possibility of other accounts and other sites of identification," (1985,p. 238) is an important reminder of the multiple and contradictory nature of subjectivity, hence of the complexities of working with the stories of outsiders to resist domination.

While critical educational theorists like Walkerdine begin here, popular education theorists and practitioners often fail to theorise multiple and contradictory subjectivities. Paolo Freire's (1970) pioneering work on the fostering of critical consciousness in oppressed groups continues to be applied relatively straightforwardly in North America, for instance, in ways that stop short of interrogating the category oppressed for the North American as opposed to the Latin American context in which Freire's work originated. In Freire's work, as Charles Paine writes, a pedagogy that is radical, whether in the popular education or in the academic classroom, "must help students transcend culturally imposed consciousness, allowing them to exit their circular, self-enclosed, and self-perpetuating `uncritical immersion in the status quo'" (Paine, 1989, p. 558). Popular education, grounded in this theoretical approach, writes one practitioner,

stresses dialogue, group learning, and valuing the participants' experience as the foundation for further learning and knowledge. The educator is considered a facilitator of a collective educational process, someone who is able to question critically different perceptions of reality and custom, and to contribute to the formulation of new knowledge that addresses the problems of poor communities and the actions those communities want to undertake (Magendzo, 1990, p. 50, emphasis added)

Ironically, popular educators have been slow to critically reflect on their own practices. Ricardo Zuniga (1988), in an article called La Gestion Amphibie laments the lack of critical reflection on the part of popular educators and attributes it to an us/them mentality. For instance, the funders (the state) are thought to be the bad guys, thus placing emphasis on the unity and internal solidarity of those who receive funding. It then becomes difficult to critically evaluate the project (other than in carefully constructed reports to the funding agency). Zuniga identifies the tendencies that exacerbate dichotomous thinking and make it difficult to deal with contradiction. The popular educator embodies contradiction, he argues: "he [sic] is responsible for training in a context where only self-training is acknowledged; he does not want to control and he is conscious of the distance between him and his `clients', `collaborators' or `students'. The problems with appropriate terminology well illustrate the contradictions" (Zuniga, 1988, p. 158). The only palliative, Zuniga argues, that is available for this anguish is the reassurance of being on the right side, the alternative to the status quo.

If you are on the good side, then you define yourself by reliance on `le savoir populaire', popular knowledge, and not `le savoir bourgeois'; a firm rejection of empiricism, positivism and science and a warm embrace of emotions, stories, narratives, nature, spontaneity (Zuniga, 1988, p. 162). Stories cannot really be critiqued in this framework; they are unproblematically conceived of as suppressed knowledge. There is an assumption that the living voices (and sometimes the written texts) of the oppressed express a truth that will win out. There is little room for questioning that voice or text as the transmitter of authentic `human' experience (Greene & Khan, 1985, p. 25). Here the authentic voice rests on a conception of the self as unitary and coherent. Language is seen as simply representing reality rather than constructing it. (Zuniga, however, is only objecting to the oppositional thinking and not to the view of language and voice as straightforwardly representational of reality. Thus, he ends up arguing for more rationality and less emotion.)

Feminists have long warned of the ultimate dangers of dichotomising. With poetic eloquence, Gloria Anzaldua writes:

But it is not enough to stand on the opposite river bank shouting questions, challenging patriarchal white conventions. A counterstance locks one into a duel of oppressor and oppressed; locked in mortal combat, like the cop and the criminal, both reduced to a common denominator of violence. The counterstance refutes the dominant culture's views and beliefs, and for this, it is proudly defiant. All reaction is limited by, and dependent on, what it is reacting against. Because the counterstance stems from a problem with authority--outer as well as inner--it's a step towards liberation from cultural domination. But it is not a way of life. At some point, on our way to new consciousness, we will have to leave the opposite bank, the split between the two mortal combatants somehow healed . . . (Anzaldua, 1987, p. 78).

To heal the split, we have to think about our way of life. "The massive uprooting of dualistic thinking" (p. 80) which Anzaldua and many other feminists have long called for requires new ways of knowing. Yet, the narratives or stories, of which Zuniga complains, are frequently advanced by feminists as the way to challenge patriarchal dichotomies, in spite of the fact that they are primarily described as everything patriarchal knowledge is not. Thus, Bettina Aptheker concludes her book Tapestries of Life with this suggestion:

The point is that more than one thing is true for us at the same time. A masculinist process, however, at least as it has been institutionalized in Western society, accentuates the combative, the oppositional, the either/ or dichotomies, the `right' and `wrong'. What I have been about throughout this book is showing that the dailiness of women's lives structures a different way of knowing and a different way of thinking. The process that comes from this way of knowing has to be at the centre of a woman's politics, and it has to be at the centre of a woman's scholarship. This is why I have been drawn to the poetry and to the stories: because they are layered, because more than one truth is represented, because there is ambiguity and paradox. When we work together in coalitions, or on the job, or in academic settings, or in the community, we have to allow for this ambiguity and paradox, respect each other, our cultures, our integrity, our dignity. (Aptheker, 1989, p. 254).

In critical educational and feminist theory, what are being sought, then, are ways to come to terms with the contradictions of everyday life, contradictions that reveal themselves in the stories of the oppressed and in which are located the seeds for critical consciousness. How does this project take shape in the classroom?