Blogging the Theoretical

Entries Tagged as 'Group One'

Butler Quote 2 Group One

November 5th, 2011 · 5 Comments

And so when we speak about my sexuality or my gender, as we do (and as we must) we mean something complicated by it. Neither of these is precisely a possession, but both are to be understood as modes of being possessed, ways of being for another, or indeed by virtue of another (Butler 2004, 19).

Tags: Abby · Group One · Jenae · Jennifer M · Monica · Rich

Butler quote for Group One

November 2nd, 2011 · 3 Comments

If gender is a norm, it is not the same as a model that individuals seek to approximate. On the contrary, it is a form of social power that produces the intelligble field of subjects and an apparatus by which the gender binary is instituted. As a norm that appears independent of the practices that it governs, its ideality is the reinstituted effect of those very practices. This suggests not only that the relation between practices and the idealizations under which they work is contingent, but that the very idealization can be brought into question and crisis, potentially undergoing deidealization and divestiture (Butler 2004, 48).

Tags: Abby · Group One · Jenae · Jennifer M · Monica · Rich

Mohanty: Gender in Third World Countries (Final)

October 15th, 2011 · No Comments

Mohanty: Gender in Third World Countries

Chandra Mohanty’s “Feminism without Borders,” makes the argument on how Western scholars and feminists fail to properly examine the “third world women” and critiques the many issues faced between U.S and Third World customs.  Mohanty challenges the idea of “women as a category of analysis” (Mohanty 22). Mohanty indicates, “…in any given piece of feminist analysis, women are characterized as a singular group on the basis of shared oppression. What binds women together is the sociological notion of the sameness of their oppression” (Mohanty 23). She argues that Third World women are theorized and categorized by gender. She furthers her argument by indicating that there is no singular or monolithic conception of gender, that there is no one type of “Third World Woman” or “First World Woman”. She adds on by saying, “This results in an assumption of women as an always ready constituted group, one that has been labeled powerless, exploited, sexually harassed, and so on…” (Mohanty 23). Mohanty clearly depicts the assumptions that many Western scholars and feminist make in regards of the third world women that all “women’s” life experiences are the same. However, every woman is shaped differently based on their unique experiences and that is what Mohanty is emphasizing.  Woman’s experience should be defined by the location, history and circumstances of her life. Mohanty addresses that the distinction of gendered experience has been ignored in Western Feminist writing on development which have produced a Third World Woman that is passive and in need of rescue from First World women. According to Mohanty,

“…As a Third World feminist teacher and activist for whom the psychic economy of “home” and of “work” has always been the space of contradiction and struggle; and as a woman whose middle-class struggles for self-definition and autonomy outside the definitions of daughter, wife, and mother mark an intellectual and political genealogy that has led me to this particular analysis of Third World women’s work” (Mohanty 141).

This quote clearly depicts the struggle that the ideology of “women’s work” and the fact that it has been a reoccurring theme that women are faced with makes the resistance to labor exploitation more difficult. Mohanty discusses her interpretation of theory and the importance of individual experiences. She says, “…Theory is a deepening of the political, not a moving away from it: a distillation of experience, and an intensification of the personal” (Mohanty 191). Mohanty emphasizes that people should never stray away from having knowledge of understanding based on the political historical content of one’s country, specifically in third world countries. She argues that western feminist and scholars have this preconceived notion that all “third world women” have a similar problem when it comes to gender equality based on an economic dilemma. What they fail to realize is that it is more than just the economy, it is political problem. Mohanty addresses the fact that among the women of the third world their history of the political makes them more than just objects.

Mohanty, Chandra. Feminism without Boarders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity. North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2003. Print.

 

Tags: Group One · Jennifer M

The Solution- Mohany Final ahvang08

October 12th, 2011 · No Comments

In order to understand Chandra Mohanty’s goal for feminism you must be able to understand her vision. In the opening chapter she explains the two projects that need to be addressed by feminist: “the internal critique of hegemonic Western feminisms and the formulation of autonomous feminist concerns and strategies that are geographically, historically, and culturally grounded (Mohanty, 17).” By this she means the distinction between Western feminism and Third World feminism needs to be blurred. She discusses further that the deconstruction and dismantling of this Western feminist notion will help to solidify feminism as a whole.  The second project she mentions is the formulation of autonomous feminist concerns and strategies, which basically means that there isn’t one solution to solve oppression of women everywhere, that each problem should be addressed independently and in context of who the people are.  However, Mohanty does emphasize the importance of transnational feminist solidarity, because if Western feminist feel superior to Third World women it just continues the oppression cycle and capitalist domination. “The hegemony of the idea of the superiority of the West produces a corresponding set of universal images of the Third World woman, images such as the veiled woman, the powerful mother, the chaste virgin, the obedient wife and so on (Mohanty, 41). This can be tied back with Collins theory of the matrix of domination. The oppressor typically constructs these ideas of the oppressed that continuously reinstate power over them. The idea of colonial superiority of Third World countries is instilled historically, universally and culturally into our society and the only way to breakdown these notions is to create a sense of solidarity between the First and Third Worlds.

The world has turned in to a capitalist economy, establishing producer and consumer discourses that continuously oppress those who are unable to fall into either or. The producer commonly recognized as the Third World and the consumers are the people of the West. But it  is the exploitation of the Third World workers that creates the issue of domination. In our contemporary economy women’s work is formed by domesticity, femininity and race (Mohanty, 158).  Mohanty explains that women’s work has always been central to the development, consolidation and reproduction of capitalism in the United States and elsewhere (Mohanty, 146). It is women workers who do the brunt of labor that no one else wants to do; it’s the agriculture, and the factory work in both large and small scale manufacturing industries that they are typically involved in. It is the work of these women that create the capitalist producer and consumer discourses. Women who work in these jobs are made to believe that they have to work with lower pay, less job security, and poor working conditions. Mohanty explains that what needs to change within racialized capitalist patriarchies are the very concept of work/labor, as well as the naturalization of heterosexual masculinity in the definition of “the worker (148).”

By addressing the issues in Third World women’s work, feminist will be able to breakdown the capitalist ideology that continues to oppress women. Mohanty believes the solution for resolving the oppression of Third World women is the ability to mobilize, organize, and solidify transnationally (140). A quote by Irma, a worker in the Silicon Valley, really resonates with Mohanty’s focus and that is, “Tell them it may take time the people think they don’t have, but they have to organize!…Because the only way to get a little measure of power over your own life is to do it collectively, with the support of other people who share your needs (139).” However, one cannot go and push for Western Feminist thinking in an area that isn’t dealing with the same issues. Feminist should strive to decolonize the educational system, to demystify the ideology of the masculinized worker, and to have an active, oppositional, and collective voice that comes as a result of one’s location (Mohanty, 216).  It is important to individualize the issues, but come together to support one another as a whole. She explains the greatest challenge feminist face is the task to recognize and undoing the ways in which we colonize and objectify our different histories and cultures, thus colluding with hegemonic processes of domination and rule (125).

 

Chandra Talpade Mohanty (2004) Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Tags: Abby · Chandra Mohanty · Group One

Power in Feminism Without Borders (Revised)

October 12th, 2011 · No Comments

Feminism without Borders addresses various issues regarding representation of woman in the third world through its analysis of academic discourse.  The author Mohanty argues against the way in which feminist scholar’s reproduce the binary perspective of women in the third world “as a homogeneous ‘powerless’ group often located as implicit victims of particular socioeconomic systems”(Mohanty 23) set opposite the empowered west. She posits that this perspective is too narrow and fraught with harmful assumptions, and in this quote the words “particular socioeconomic systems” speak to her true discussion of power.  She addresses resistance and power in terms respectively of her politics of solidarity and in her words “the processes of capitalist domination”(Mohanty 139).  It is built around collective resistance tempered by a respect of the differences of positionality between women of the world as well as the recognition of global capitalism as one of the primary forces of oppression in the world today specifically in labor and higher education.

 

Implicitly drawing on Marxist conceptualizations of social politics Mohanty asks, “How does global capitalism, in search of ever-increasing profits, utilize gender and racialized ideologies in crafting forms of women’s work?”(Mohanty 141).  She explains how the idea of “women’s work” represents many women’s labor as not labor exploiting their production.  One of her examples of a proper analysis of oppression of women’s labor in the third world is Maria Mie’s study of lace worker’s in India in which their role as housewives and perception of their lace making as “women’s work” despite the goods produced being sold in the global market prevents them from organizing against their unfair conditions.  Mohanty notes that Mie’s analysis shows the specific positionality of one type of oppression within the greater overarching hegemony of global capitalism. (Mohanty 32)  This perfectly illustrates Mohanty’s discussion of power in labor politics, in which the acknowledgement of the intricacies and multimodal deployment of oppression against a whole variety of women workers is situated within the framework of a greater oppression in the form of the “processes of capitalist domination.”  As an alternative to this she suggests her own politics in solidarity.  As global capitalism utilizes gendered and racialized ideologies in a sort of politics of difference whereby the diversity of positionalities is used to exploit peoples around the world, Mohanty’s politics of solidarity work to deprive oppressive forces of their main ammunition through “the recognition of common interests as the basis for relationships among diverse communities.”(Mohanty 7) In doing so she hopes to recognizes individual positionality without losing collective strength for resistance.

 

Mohanty is very concerned with the rise of capitalism and its effects on the way in which this affects the way in which societies treat individuals.  She writes about how in the framework of global capitalism the “consumer” has been placed in the position of citizen (Mohanty 141).  She takes this idea a step further with her conceptualization of “relations of rule” which she applies as “multiple intersections of structures of power” with an emphasis on “the process or form of ruling, not the frozen embodiment of it.”(Mohanty 56) This conceptualization allows for a deeper more structural analysis of the way in which power is deployed which looks not at simply worker-owner or oppressed-oppressor dichotomies but instead at how power are entrenched and hegemonic. Looking through this lens at higher education and its increased privatization, Mohanty makes the point that if the source of knowledge is becoming more and more built around private enterprise it further reinforces the hegemony of capitalism.  Additionally the view of the academy as a place for free idea exchange allows for this reinforcement to occur virtually unnoticed.  This reinforcement and obscuration is one of the structural relations of rule that serve to perpetuate oppression. Thus Mohanty’s conceptualization of power is best summarized as specific cultural and societal oppression recognized both within its individual global positionality as well as within overarching capitalist domination. This is recognized as being reproduced through institutional sources of knowledge shielded from criticism by dominant representations of academic purpose which are apart of various relations of rule perpetuating oppression through structural means.

 

Mohanty, Chandra. Feminism without Boarders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity. North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2003. Print.

 

Tags: Group One · Rich

Mohanty and Knowledge (Final)

October 12th, 2011 · No Comments

By Jenae Nicoletta

In Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity, Chandra Talpade Mohanty conceptualizes knowledge as the practical application of a theory, which in turn allows knowledge to germinate social change (195). She considers theory to be “a deepening of the political, not moving away from it: a distillation of experience, and an intensification of the personal” (Mohanty 191). Therefore, she also places a great importance on the power of self-definition in relation to knowledge. Mohanty locates her own “intellectual and political genealogy” in order to illustrate this point (192). She compares and contrasts the meanings of being a feminist and racialized both in India and in the U.S. She attempts to understand her changing labels and self-identifications as well as new questions and contradictions that she discovers along her journey (Mohanty 190). She argues that this definition allows us to better understand differences, which will in turn facilitate the construction of solidarities across divisions and diversity.

Mohanty emphasizes the importance of analyzing the “commoditization” of knowledge within U.S. academies (171). She argues that knowledge is being capitalized into “commercial property” (Mohanty 173). Therefore, it is important to understand the structures that create and maintain power, especially because they are not always obviously visible. In addition, universities have become more entrepreneurial and corporate. She believes that the values and ideologies associated with entrepreneurial, corporate universities conflict with the values of a democratic, public university (Mohanty 174). Attention has shifted from educators to products of education (Mohanty 178) and feminist educators are being denied tenure due to the “’political’ or unconventional nature of their work” (Mohanty 175). However, Mohanty also argues that the restructuring of universities does not mean the total loss of a space to engage in alternative knowledge production processes. After all, Mohanty states, “what I hope and struggle for, I garner as my knowledge, create it as the place from where I seek to know” (123).  We must continue to understand, challenge and unmask the political structuring of the university.

Mohanty asserts the importance of attempting to investigate questions of race and gender in regard to the ways in which they are being “commodified” in the U.S. (Mohanty 215). She argues that feminist learning environments compel us to “identify and challenge the politics of knowledge that naturalizes global capitalism” (Mohanty 171). Some of the places she believes this is trying to be done are in women’s studies, black studies, and ethnic studies fields. Mohanty describes knowledge production in these areas as being shaped by “difference that attempts to resist incorporation and appropriation by providing a space for historically silenced peoples to construct knowledge” (195). Since these fields place an importance on self-definition, experience is authorized in order to look closely at the ways in which individuals are politicized based on race, gender, class, and sexualities (Mohanty 202). This allows students to become active in knowledge production rather than being mere observers. Mohanty argues for people of color as well as “progressive white people” to create oppositional knowledge rather than “accommodative” knowledge (217).

In addition, the main argument in this book is for the decolonization of theory in order to practice solidarity. Mohanty attempts to expose the issues that occur when Western feminists assume that all Third World women can be similarly stereotyped. Therefore, Mohanty describes ways in which Third World women produce knowledge through an understanding of self-identity. Writing is one important site for the production of knowledge because compels these women to “rethink, remember, and utilize” their lived experience as a foundation of knowledge (Mohanty 78). Within the last thirty years, publishing houses have printed autobiographies or “life-story-oriented texts” written by Third World feminists (Mohanty 78). However, storytelling, oral history, fictional texts, and poetry are other important sites that allow for alternative knowledge production. These sites create a shared feminist political consciousness because they allow these women to speak from within a collective rather than for a group (Mohanty 81).

To summarize, Mohanty is arguing against speaking for a group. Mohanty adds that Western feminists problematically construct Third World women “as a homogeneous ‘powerless’ group often located as implicit victims of particular socioeconomic systems” (23). To move away from speaking for a group, she suggests we learn to understand how our identities are defined considering our geographic locations, histories, and genealogies. Analysis must be contextual. We cannot construct “monolithic images” of Third World women (Mohanty 37). It is also important to analyze who is producing knowledge about Third World women and from what location they are doing so (Mohanty 45). Mohanty suggests that through the understanding of self-identity and the understanding of gender and race, there are ways to make connections and ask better questions rather than attempting to provide an absolute history and theory of Third World women.

 

Works Cited

Mohanty, Chandra Talapade. Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity. Durham: Duke University Press, 2003. Print.

 

Tags: Chandra Mohanty · Group One · Jenae

Feminism

October 9th, 2011 · 4 Comments

Feminsm Chandra Talapade Mohanty Chandra Talapade Mohanty presents that we need to remove discourses presenting “third world” women workers as victims, and empower them with a sense of agency that legitimizes the vital role they play in local and global economies. The language of “progress” and “development” are assumed to “naturally” accompany the triumphal rise of global capitalism. We need new world order and by assuming that these discourses automatically go along with change in society will not crate opportunity and change. Chandra Talapade Mohanty argues for a socialist future that will deconstruct notions of “otherness” as defined by a norm that perpetuates the inequalities of a capitalist system. Mobilization, organization, and a feminist consciousness that supports Transnationality . “The only way to get a little measure of power over your own life is to do it collectively, with the support of other people who share your needs.”( Mohanty, 168). Allow women power over their own lives. Agency is the result of self definition. Commonality can provide a way of “reading” and understanding the world though the lenses of class, race, and gender inequalities. This will foster a transnational feminist movement that moves away from universality of experience and toward an acknowledgement of history, agency, and commonality ( but commonality as a medium for solidarity). Also, to value women workers as individuals, so that they can make demands and receive monetary compensation. This will support their independence and legitimize their role within workspaces.

Monica

Tags: Group One · Monica

Power in Feminism without Borders

October 7th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Feminism without Borders addresses various issues regarding representation of woman in the third world through its analysis of academic discourse.  The author Mohanty argues against the way in which feminist scholar’s reproduce the binary perspective of women in the third world “as a homogeneous ‘powerless’ group often located as implicit victims of particular socioeconomic systems”(Mohanty 23) set opposite the empowered west. She posits that this perspective is too narrow and fraught with harmful assumptions, and in this quote the words “particular socioeconomic systems” speak to her true discussion of power.  She addresses resistance and power in terms respectively of her politics of solidarity and in her words “the processes of capitalist domination”(Mohanty 139).  It is built around collective resistance tempered by a respect of the differences of positionality between women of the world as well as the recognition of global capitalism as one of the primary forces of oppression in the world today specifically in labor and higher education.

 

Implicitly drawing on Marxist conceptualizations of social politics Mohanty asks, “How does global capitalism, in search of ever-increasing profits, utilize gender and racialized ideologies in crafting forms of women’s work?”(Mohanty 141).  She explains how the idea of “women’s work” represents many women’s labor as not labor exploiting their production.  One of her examples of a proper analysis of oppression of women’s labor in the third world is Maria Mie’s study of lace worker’s in India in which their role as housewives and perception of their lace making as “women’s work” despite the goods produced being sold in the global market prevents them from organizing against their unfair conditions.  Mohanty notes that Mie’s analysis shows the specific positionality of one type of oppression within the greater overarching hegemony of global capitalism. (Mohanty 32)  This perfectly illustrates Mohanty’s discussion of power in labor politics, which the acknowledgement of the intricacies and multimodal deployment of oppression against a whole variety of women worker’s within the framework of a greater oppression in the form of the “processes of capitalist domination.”

 

Mohanty is very concerned with the rise of capitalism and its effects on the way in which this affects the way in which societies treat individuals.  She writes about how in the framework of global capitalism the “consumer” has been placed in the position of citizen (Mohanty 141).  This is particularly concerning in terms of higher education and its increased privatization.  Mohanty makes the point that if the source of knowledge is becoming more and more built around private enterprise it further reinforces the hegemony of capitalism.  Additionally the view of the academy as a place for free idea exchange allows for this reinforcement to occur virtually unnoticed.  Thus Mohanty’s conceptualization of power is best summarized as specific cultural and society oppression recognized both within its individual global positionality as well as within overarching capitalist domination which is recognized as being reproduced through the institutional sources of knowledge shielded from criticism by dominant representations of academic purpose.

 

Mohanty, Chandra. Feminism without Boarders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity. North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2003. Print.

 

 

Tags: Group One · Rich

Mohanty:Gender in Third World Countries

October 7th, 2011 · 3 Comments

Mohanty: Gender in Third World Countries

Chandra Mohanty’s “Feminism without Boarders,” makes the argument on how Western scholars and feminists fail to properly examine the “third world women” and critiques the many issues faced between U.S and Third World customs.  Mohanty discusses her interpretation of theory and the importance of individual experiences. She says, “…Theory is a deepening of the political, not a moving away from it: a distillation of experience, and an intensification of the personal” (Mohanty 191). Mohanty emphasizes that people should never stray away from having a knowledge of understanding based on the political historical content of one’s country, specifically in third world countries. She argues that western feminist and scholars have this preconceived notion that all “third world women” have a similar problem when it comes to gender equality based on an economic dilemma. What they fail to realize is that it is more than just the economy, it is political problem.

To further her theory, Mohanty challenges the idea of “women as a category of analysis” or “All sisters in struggle”. Mohanty indicates, “…in any given piece of feminist analysis, women are characterized as a singular group on the basis of shared oppression. What binds women together is the sociological notion of the sameness of their oppression” (Mohanty 23). She argues that Third World women are theorized and categorized as a whole based on gender. She adds on by saying, “This results in an assumption of women as an always ready constituted group, one that has been labeled powerless, exploited, sexually harassed, and so on…” (Mohanty 23). Mohanty clearly depicts the assumptions that many Western scholars and feminist make in regards of the third world women that all “women’s” life experiences are the same. However, every woman is shaped differently based on their unique experiences and that is what Mohanty is emphasizing. Mohanty addresses the fact that among the women of the third world their history of  the political makes them more than just objects.

Mohanty, Chandra. Feminism without Boarders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity. North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2003. Print.

 

 

 

Tags: Group One · Jennifer M

Mohanty and Knowledge (Draft)

October 7th, 2011 · 2 Comments

By Jenae Nicoletta

In Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity, Chandra Talpade Mohanty conceptualizes knowledge as the practical application of a theory, which in turn allows knowledge to germinate social change (195). She considers theory to be “a deepening of the political, not moving away from it: a distillation of experience, and an intensification of the personal” (Mohanty 191). Therefore, she also places a great importance on the power of self-definition in relation to knowledge. Mohanty locates her own “intellectual and political genealogy” in order to illustrate this point (192). She compares and contrasts the meanings of being a feminist and racialized both in India and in the U.S. She attempts to understand her changing labels and self-identifications as well as new questions and contradictions that she discovers along her journey (Mohanty 190). She argues that this definition allows us to better understand differences, which will in turn facilitate the construction of solidarities across divisions and diversity.

Mohanty asserts the importance of attempting to investigate questions of race and gender in regard to the ways in which they are being “commodified” in the U.S. (Mohanty 215). One of the places she believes this is trying to be done is in women’s studies, black studies, and ethnic studies fields. Mohanty describes knowledge production in these areas as being shaped by “difference that attempts to resist incorporation and appropriation by providing a space for historically silenced peoples to construct knowledge” (195). Since these fields place an importance on self-definition, experience is authorized in order to look closely at the ways in which individuals are politicized based on race, gender, class, and sexualities (Mohanty 202). This allows students to become active in knowledge production rather than being mere observers. Mohanty argues for people of color as well as “progressive white people” to create oppositional knowledge rather than “accommodative” knowledge (217).

In addition, the main argument in this book is for the decolonization of theory in order to practice solidarity. Mohanty attempts to expose the issues that occur when Western feminists assume that all Third World women can be similarly stereotyped. Therefore, Mohanty describes ways in which Third World women produce knowledge through an understanding of self-identity. Writing is one important site for the production of knowledge because compels these women to “rethink, remember, and utilize” their lived experience as a foundation of knowledge (Mohanty 78). Within the last thirty years, publishing houses have printed autobiographies or “life-story-oriented texts” written by Third World feminists (Mohanty 78). However, storytelling, oral history, fictional texts, and poetry are other important sites that allow for alternative knowledge production. These sites create a shared feminist political consciousness because they allow these women to speak from within a collective rather than for a group (Mohanty 81).

To summerize, Mohanty is arguing against speaking for a group. Therefore, she believes we must understand how our identities are defined considering our geographic locations, histories, and genealogies. Analysis must be contextual. We cannot construct “monolithic images” of Third World women (Mohanty 37). It is also important to analyze who is producing knowledge about Third World women and from what location they are doing so (Mohanty 45). Mohanty suggests that through the understanding of self-identity and the understanding of gender and race, there are ways to make connections and ask better questions rather than attempting to provide an absolute history and theory of Third World women.

 

Works Cited

Mohanty, Chandra Talapade. Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity. Durham: Duke University Press, 2003. Print.

 

Tags: Chandra Mohanty · Group One · Jenae