It Ain't Necessarily So is a collaborative blog designed, run and written by social science research students from the University of Edinburgh. The articles it publishes concern a diverse range of topics and disciplines. "It Ain't Necessarily So" is the title of a song from the 1935 musical Porgy and Bess. It's a song about how the stories and ideas contained within the pages of the Bible might not be altogether true. It's a song about challenging accepted wisdom, considering possible alternatives, unpicking the narratives which help us understand the world we inhabit and our place within it. So it seemed appropriate to borrow the songs title, and all the meaning attached to it, for this collaborative blog.
These days society is significantly more secular, and the stories of the Bible no longer generally form part of accepted wisdom but, arguably, other narratives and ideas have taken its place and have come to form a new and powerful version of 'reality'. Take the borders which delineate states, which indicate where one country ends and another begins, which draw imaginary lines in the sand and in so doing create a complicated mess of meaning. Take the countries which these lines create and the national identities they develop and the languages they adopt. These things are all created and maintained by human beings. They don't exist in nature, they didn't precede people and, if we were all to simultaneously shuffle off this mortal coil, they would not continue to exist without us. They aren't necessarily so - they could be otherwise. Despite this we place infinite weight in them, we fight wars over them. We forbid others to cross from one human made entity into another: claim they lack the correct paperwork, the correct identity, that they were pushed forth into the world a handful of miles away and so do not have the 'right' to remain. We cannot conceive of a stateless person - everyone must belong to somewhere. This is just one example of an idea, a story, we commonly accept as truth but that we could - if we were so inclined - challenge.
Contributions to this blog will seek to do just that. They will seek to:
- interrogate, unpick and challenge the status quo;
- offer alternative points of view;
- embrace ambiguity and uncertainty;
- explore the ideas and stories we often accept as 'true', and seek to understand them better.
In so doing, it is hoped we will create a platform for discussion and knowledge exchange.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the blog articles are those of the attributed authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of the University of Edinburgh or the collaborative blog as a whole.