This essay troubles the call for plain speaking by addressing Walter Benjamin's (1989) words, “Nothing more subtle than the advice to be clear in order at least to appear true” (6). By “trouble, ” I mean to interrogate a commonsense meaning by revealing a constitutive moment of “originary disunity, ” what Derrida (1972) terms the “irreducible excess” of any concept within itself, its difference from itself, the “this that comes with so much difficulty to language” (172): deconstruction. Within the context of this essay, then, to trouble is to mobi-lize the forces of deconstruction in order to unsettle the presumed innocence of transparent theories of language that assume a mirroring relationship between the word and the world. To ground my remarks, I turn to reviews of my book Getting Smart, on feminist research and pedagogy (Lather 1991) and to the efforts of my coresearcher, Chris Smithies, and myself to write a multivoiced text that speaks to a broad audience about the experiences of women living with HIV/AIDS (Lather and Smithies 1997).
Using the example of Getting Smart, Gaby Weiner writes of the politics of language of feminist poststructuralism and Marxist feminism as:
highly complex and “difficult, ” utilizing terminology such as discourse, subjectivity, power-knowledge, drawn from mainstream postmodernist and poststructuralist writing. In my view, McWilliam (1993) is rightly critical of what she terms PMT (postmodernist tension) of such writers as Lather who on the one hand, argue for openness and self-reflexivity, yet in using highly complicated writing styles, seem implicitly to deny that possibility to their