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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).

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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

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

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

Power and Black Feminist thought

September 16th, 2011 · 3 Comments

Power in Patricia Hill Collins Black Feminist Thought is summarized in chapter 12 “Towards a politics of empowerment” in which she explains that there are two main theoretical frameworks on power relation that Black feminist theory exists within. The first is one in which “groups with greater power oppress those with lesser amounts.” while the later is conceptualizing power as something that isn’t possessed but instead is “an intangible entity that circulates within a particular matrix of domination and to which individuals stand in varying relationships.” (Collins, 2009, p. 292) She argues that these perspectives should be viewed as complimentary much in the same way that Black feminist theory approaches oppression as dialectic.  Thus she breaks down the dialectical perspective of power into four intersecting domains of power: structural, interpersonal, disciplinary, and hegemonic.  Her discussion of power makes the point that power isn’t a unidirectional force rather it operates in many seemly contradictory ways.  Thus Collin’s power theory analyzes the different sources and avenues of power and how to they operate synergistically.

 

The structural domain of power is best conceptualized as the domain of social institutions.  These institutions historically utilized segregation to prevent women of color from employing their rights as citizens. In recent years, however, these institutions have utilized the rhetoric of color-blindness and its sibling gender-neutrality to delegitimize discussion of the wealth gap and make such disparities an individual’s problem rather than a social injustice. In this way, institutionalized racism and sexism belong to the structural domain of power.  The most interesting aspect of this power relation is the way that the power which institutionalized oppression holds is an “intangible entity,” yet it is utilizing the same discourse that dominant groups have used to justify oppressing other less powerful groups namely erasing themselves from the equation. Thus often it isn’t gender studies but women studies as why study men when they’re the norm.

 

The interpersonal domain of power operates in a similarly intricate way through social interactions.  In the interpersonal domain people utilize power in a “systematic, recurrent, and so familiar [way] that they often go unnoticed.”(Collins, 2009, p. 307)  Though people utilize power on an interpersonal level this power comes from many sources especially in modern times.  An excellent example of cross over is through institutionalized oppression’s interaction with colorblindness and gender-neutrality in which talk of discrimination can be dismissed as irrelevant.

 

The disciplinary domain of power operates through the organization of social institutions such as bureaucracy.  Institutions are ordered in such a way as to prevent deviation from the status quo, which in this case is one of inequality.  Collins calls the force which works to police black women “surveillance”(Collins, 2009, p. 299) and in doing so draws on the discourses of the interpersonal domain of power and the idea of the white male gaze.  The disciplinary also interacts with the structural to divide black feminist theory and black female activism ironically through the methods of resistance within the disciplinary domain.  For as black women attempt to gain positions of authority through the bureaucracy, Collins notes, “[a] different set of rules may be applied to them that distinguish[es] them from their counterparts” (Collins, 2009, p.301) thereby targeting their legitimacy among the black female activist community.

 

The hegemonic domain of power acts as a meta-domain operating to justify the use of power in the other domains and showing how they are all interrelated.  This domain operates utilizing “commonsense” ideas (Collins, 2009, p.302) much in the same way that absolutist monarchy drew on religious discourses to justify their right to rule.  These “commonsense” ideas are reproduced through various media and forums through controlling images, which shoehorn black women into one-dimensional roles all either aberrant or powerless.  Thus hegemony lies in-between the combinations of each of the domains justifying and allowing for traffic between. These four domains legitimize one another while acting in synergy to create a multifaceted system of oppression that is both widely accepted as the norm and deeply rooted in American society.

 

Collins, P. H. (2009) Black Feminist Thought. New York: Routledge Classics.

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Power

September 7th, 2011 · No Comments

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