Brokenhearted Theology, Contemp Culture, Global, Meaning, Ministry, Narrative, Ramblings

Clashing Narratives: Immigration

Paul Ricoeur, hermenut extraordinaire, argues that the world of the text has the ability to explode the world of the reader.  What I love about this kind of linguistic/philosophical theory is that it recognizes the fragility of our world.  Our world is more maleable and more vulnerable to change than we often give it credit for.

I’ve been thinking this week about narratives, about texts, and about stories – and about what happens when two narratives clash together.

Narrative #1:

SB 1070 declared the state’s policy is “attrition through enforcement” — an attempt to drive out illegal immigrants, who make up about 7% of the population here, through a series of criminal penalties. Even without the law, though, the state has used many tools against illegal immigrants.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was expected to demonstrate one of them later Thursday by launching one of his controversial “sweeps,” in which his deputies fan out through immigrant neighborhoods, stopping people for sometimes minor infractions and checking their immigration status.

(From the LA Times)

Narrative #2:

5 Boaz asked the overseer of his harvesters, “Who does that young woman belong to?”

6 The overseer replied, “She is the Moabite who came back from Moab with Naomi. 7 She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the harvesters.’ She came into the field and has remained here from morning till now, except for a short rest in the shelter.”

8 So Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here with the women who work for me. 9 Watch the field where the harvesters are working, and follow along after the women. I have told the men not to lay a hand on you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled.”

10 At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She asked him, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me—a foreigner?”

(Ruth 2:5-10, TNIV)

Do these narratives clash? …or, perhaps I should ask, how do these narratives clash?

Is Ricoeur right? …or, perhaps I should ask, what if Ricoeur is right?

What are the results of a collision like this?


4 thoughts on “Clashing Narratives: Immigration

  1. Maria, this is a section from Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences I was reading and talking about with D Carr. I haven’t read the whole thing, but hope to work through some more basic and foundational discussions of hermeneutics before jumping straight into more Ricoeur.


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