Categorisation is essential to the human condition. Identifying and labelling entities – physical and abstract – help us learn, organise, and make decisions. It is how we understand the world around us. Sometimes it is a matter of life or death (“These berries are poisonous and therefore should not be consumed.”) and other times it is for our own personal sense-making (“I like the colour blue more than I like the colour red.”)
Occasionally we do not have enough information to easily categorise entities into our recognised structures. In such instances, we collect the information we do have to determine which category it will fit into most appropriately, or in some instances, if it constitutes the creation of a new category.
Take, for example, a tomato. Is it a fruit or a vegetable? It has seeds, and this makes it fruitlike. But it is not consumed like other fruits; it is notably savoury where most fruits are sweet, and so it acts like a vegetable – but into which category should we sort it? (This particular example is interesting in that arguably, the tomato’s formal categorisation is not concurrent with its sociocultural categorisation.)
What happens, then, when entities defy our established categorisation system altogether?Continue reading “Circumventing Categorisation: How Traditional Knowledge Organisation Conflicts with the Fundamental Objective of Contemporary Gender and Sexual Identities”