Blogging the Theoretical

Entries Tagged as 'Group Three'

November 6th, 2011 · No Comments

However, not everyone is truly recognized; equally should I say. Based on the structural arrangements of society some peoples lives are deemed as valuable while others are considered essentially worthless. The dominant group in society creates and enforces ideologies so that they could maintain power . However, the dominant group is dependent upon the “Other” to be recognized and with this acknowledgment is how they continue to have their power. The person(s) that hold the power are the keepers of oppression. Dependent upon the society that you live in the levels of oppression are different as well as the oppressors and the oppresses. Even if the recognition isn’t equal everyone is recognized otherwise no one could be called an “other”.

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Butler quote 2 Group Three

November 5th, 2011 · 5 Comments

As a result, the “I” that I am finds itself at once constituted by norms and dependent on them but also endeavors to live in ways that maintain a critical and transformative relation to them. This is not easy, because the “I” becomes, to a certain extent unknowable, threatened with unviability, with becoming undone altogether, when it no longer incorporates the norm in such a way that makes this “I” fully recognizable. There is a certain departure from the human that takes place in order to start the process of remaking the human (Butler 2004, 3-4).

Tags: Emily · Group Three · Jillian · Maddy · Star · Uncategorized · Violet

Butler Quote Group Three

November 2nd, 2011 · 5 Comments

Bodies still must be apprehended as given over. Part of understanding the oppression of lives is precisely to understand that there is no way to argue away this condition of primary vulnerability of being given over to the touch of the other, even if, or precisely when, there is no other there, and no support for our lives. To counter oppression requires that one understand that lives are supported and maintained differentially, that there are radically different ways in which human physical vulnerability is distributed across the globe.  Certain lives will be highly protected, and the abrogation of their claims to sanctity will be sufficient to mobilize the forces of war. And other lives will not find such fast and furious support and will not even qualify as “grievable” (Butler 2004, 24).

Tags: Emily · Group Three · Jillian · Maddy · Star · Violet

power by mohanty FINAL

October 17th, 2011 · No Comments

In Chandra Mohanty’s piece, Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity she discusses the theme of power and how it is critical for us to move away from the old definition of power that forces us into a binary mindset of powerless versus powerful. She suggests we do this by stopping the categorization women as a homogenous group, crossing borders to experience new cultures and obtain new perspectives on feminism as well as understanding the innovative concept of “relations of ruling” proposed by Dorothy Smith. Mohanty also illustrates how the images of Third World Women are sustained by First World discourse. In addition, Mohanty discusses how power operates through capitalism and in turn creates a system of inequality, which not only affects the ideology of the Third World Woman, but also the education system which perpetuates these hegemonic ideas.

Mohanty explains how the major issue with the definition of power is that it cements struggles into binary structures, “processing power versus being powerless”. (39) She goes on to elaborates that since women are seen as powerless groups, their shift into power in terms of feminism discourse, would be dismantling all men and taking over. This would make men powerless and women powerful, but women as a group aren’t all powerful or all powerless. It is critical to acknowledge that “women are not a homogenous group or category (“the oppressed”), even though this is a common assumption in the Western World.” (39) Mohanty also describes the six ways that Third World women are viewed as powerless figures from the viewpoint of Western eyes: victims of male violence, dependent on their husbands, victims of colonial marriage process, obedient wife, or hardworking mother. (24-29) These images of powerless women are sustained by the way Western societies perpetuate theses hegemonic ideas, which set into motion a colonial discourse that uses power to maintain these lasting First/Third World connections. Mohanty believes that border crossing is necessary to change people’s perspectives on Third World women and that by decentering yourself you will become more humble and thus have a better understanding of feminism as a world issue. Also by crossing borders, it will shift the power away from the existing binary structures of examination because you will have more worldly knowledge.

In addition to border crossing, Mohanty highlights Dorothy Smith’s concept of relations of ruling, which is “a concept that grasps power, organization, direction and regulation as more pervasively structured that can be expressed in traditional concepts provided by the discourses of power.” (56) Mohanty thinks that this concept is progressive as it focuses on various intersections of power and highlights the fluid process of ruling not the concrete expression of it. This concept is in the step in the right direction that will move society away from the binary examination of gender, class and race.

In Chapter 6, Mohanty begins to discuss how power operates through capitalism, which in turn produces a system of inequality in the social and work sphere. She describes how patriarchal ideologies, which put women against men inside the home as well as outside of it, interject the images and ideas of the Third World women onto them. This makes it critical for us to rethink the way we see the working class as well as opening our minds to cross-national analysis to better understand the Third World woman. (141) Mohanty lays out three examples of women in the workforce in various parts of the world. The first example is in Narspur, India and it shows how these lacemakers are seen as doing a “leisure time activity” although their work is long hours and grueling meticulous labor. These women cannot be seen as workers because it goes against the hegemonic ideology of men as the breadwinners and women as housewives. (150) In the second example, Mohanty describes the factory worker women in the Silicon Valley and since they are immigrants who are married, their work is seen as not as important as their husbands. These women take on second jobs to better their families’ lives and their bosses put down their efforts and give them part time jobs. The women view their work as upward steps in social mobility. (154) These examples highlight the idea that “women have common interests as worker, not just transforming their work lives and environments, but in redefining home spaces so that homework is recognized as work to earn a living rather than as leisure or supplemental activity.” (168)

In the next chapter, Mohanty discusses how the obsession with making profit affects the universities and diversity, which used to be an institution that allowed discussion, debate and open thought. The privatization in today’s society shifts education away from open discussions and free though because universities are now controlled by whatever corporation is giving them money. With this being said, the companies that donate, or control, these higher education institutions are run by the dominant hegemonic group. This leads to the suppression of diversity, as well as feminist thought. Before globalization and privatization, higher education institutions critiqued these forms of power.

Mohanty, Chandra T. Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity. Durham: Duke UP, 2003. Print.

 

 

Tags: Chandra Mohanty · Group Three · Maddy

Feminism without Borders Repost

October 12th, 2011 · No Comments

Feminism without Borders Repost by Star-Quana Jackson

 

This blog post will talk about how aspects of our everyday life are impacted especially by gender and racial ideologies. We have come to learn that there isn’t one singular form of feminism, and in this blog I will discuss feminism through the lenses of Chandra Mohanty. Mohanty’s vision of feminism includes; the importance of location (how where we are from or reside shapes our understanding of the world) and border crossing; the fact that there is no singular experience of being woman (third world or otherwise). Mohanty also emphasizes capitalism as the common theme feminists should focus on and she critiques of the changing nature of higher education.

Gender and race is even more crucial when you are from a third country living in the United States. You are an alien, a foreigner, an immigrant and will always be one no matter how long you reside here. Questions always seem to arise as to when you are “going home”.  Mohanty then argues can anyone particularly third world women even have a home and if so, where is it? Where do they belong? Is home where you were born, or is home where you reside? “Home, community, and identity all fit somewhere between the histories of and experiences we inherit and the political choices we make through alliances, solidarities and friendships” (Feminism without Borders136). Mohanty argues that where you are and who you are (genealogy and location) play a vital role in what people think of you as. She fought this very battle herself and still does today. Dependent upon where she lived in the United States she was associated with being Black, Native, and even Latina From her experiences, Mohanty learns that knowledge is not just what is produced in an education setting but that learning is also experiential.  Arising from her experiences also came the understanding of the structure of the United States. She argues that the formations of genealogies are necessary, but fluid and through the formation of your own genealogy we produce knowledge on ourselves and others. Race plays an important role in how one is perceived in society and most importantly the “power” that one could achieve (attain) in his or her life time.

Chandra Mohanty would argue that the economic system that we live in today called capitalism is to blame for the many false ideologies that came about and that we still live in today. Capitalism is all about money and the constant accumulation of wealth. Cheaper labor plus racism equals the “Other” (formed from ideologies) which equals profit. Why do you think woman get stuck doing the worst jobs? Why are there woman they work 18 hours or more in a factory. Not because their hands are smaller and better fit to use the machines. It is because of these so called gender ideologies that are in place and because women are taught at an early age to be subordinate to men. Most women have a fear of men and that is why it is ideal to have women working in those factories or in domesticated jobs because the men know these women are too afraid to stand up for themselves or to revolt. Do you not find it strange that only men are the supervisors of these factories?  Due to the fact that an ideology of gendered labor exists for third world women it has often times worked to exclude the definition of what they are doing as labor and thus make it harder to organize. Work is defined within a hetero-normative, patriarchal structure and women’s work is given a feminine value which allows it to be degraded by a system that locates power and agency within the masculine realm (Feminism without Borders).

Due to the capitalist economy; the material, cultural, and political effects of the processes of domination and exploitation that sustain what is called the new world order are devastating for the vast majority of people in the world most especially for impoverished and Third World women (Feminism without Borders 146). Women’s labor has always been central to the development, consolidation, and reproduction in the U.S. and elsewhere and women of different races, ethnicities, and social classes have profoundly different but interconnected experiences of work in the economic development from 19th century economic and social practices (Feminism without Borders 147). Third World women need to be valued as not only workers but as individuals so they can make demands and receive monetary compensation which would then support their independence and legitimize their role within the work space. The world has been divided into two groups in the capitalist economy and that is consumers and producers. The values, power and meanings attached to being either a consumer or a producer/worker vary enormously on where and who we happen to be in an unequal global system.  In order for any of this to change we need to have self-empowerment and understanding of the struggles not only of the individual self but of women as a collective (whole). There needs to be a crossing of borders; engagement in a particular society not practical assumption of what is taking place through the lenses of a Western world woman or man.

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Mohanty & Knowledge (Final) by Emily

October 12th, 2011 · No Comments

The conceptualization of knowledge is constantly brought up in Chandra Mohanty’s Feminism Without Borders. Historically, our higher education system has reiterated who is considered powerful in our society, while also relying on the knowledge we are raised around to influence our educational experience. The development of the current higher education system has led to individual spaces for women to be able to express their knowledge in an area called “the academy”. Mohanty focuses on this particular academy and its teachings, the Western world and its idea of the Third World Woman, and what needs to be done to decolonize this theory and create an appropriate form of knowledge.

This academy revolves around the idea that “for knowledge, the very act of knowing, is related to the power of self-definition” (Mohanty 195) and focuses specifically on women’s studies, black studies, and ethnic studies. These particular fields provide “a space for historically silenced peoples to construct knowledge” (Mohanty 195). Due to political movements, society has been able to dissect the typical form of education and reformed the way that knowledge is created and learned. However, it is important to take into consideration that there is a substantial threat against these particular programs because “the values and ideologies underlying the corporate, entrepreneurial university directly contradict the values and vision of a democratic, public university” (Mohanty 174). As schools suffer from budget cuts, they begin to cut these programs that aren’t seen as important or necessary to education and the creation of knowledge.

An important concept to understand is Mohanty’s idea of border crossing and the fact that these changes across systems do not just exist within the United States, but across the world. Mohanty discusses her experiences in the US along with India by saying she believes that “meanings of the “personal” are not static, but that they change through experience, and with knowledge” (Mohanty 191). These experiences exist in the theory of understanding each other’s differences and building to make them influence our knowledge in a positive way, through history, location, and context. These three aspects combine to create Mohanty’s theory of knowledge, which results as a combination from reflexive and situated knowers. Although this racial knowledge may only come to us subconsciously, it continues a vicious cycle of opinions based on race, class, gender, nation, sexuality, and colonialism. By dissecting the view of “whiteness” (Mohanty 191), society can analyze power, equality, and justice in developed countries such as the United States and across the world in India.

Feminist knowledge plays an important role in education and the workplace. The idea of the Third World Woman has become rather problematic because of the recurring image it portrays in feminist education. Women are denied their individuality and classified as a single unit, but education “need[s] to be attentive to borders while learning to transcend them” (Mohanty 2). The lace making industry in Narsapur, India is a perfect example where women are exploited through the labor market while men live off the products that they produce. Mohanty concludes that “women internalized the ideologies that defined them as nonworkers” (Mohanty 151) in a society where they viewed their work as a housewives’ responsibility rather than labor.

Mohanty discusses the popular discourse as the intersection between power and knowledge. In terms of Feminism Without Borders, this discourse is the validation of other systems and their existence. It exists based on how it constitutes our identity in our daily lives, the collective action we take to change it, and its pedagogical teachings throughout society. This discourse can be changed through women and their development of knowledge turning into activism. If women are able to individually conceptualize the controlling images of society, their role in the higher education system, and how they affect our knowledge, then they can create policies, ideas, and development. Whether using examples from India or the United States, and whether discussing the image of Third World Women or feminists today, these changes are necessary and imminent for society and its knowledge.

 

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

Tags: Emily · Group Three · Uncategorized

Mohanty- Gender- Final

October 12th, 2011 · No Comments

Mohanty’s book, Feminism Without Borders, examines the role of Third World women in the world and within feminist efforts. One of her largest critiques of how Third World women are conceptualized is that they are often placed together, based on their gender, as women without the acknowledgement of their different situations and histories. Mohanty stresses the distinction between the two different conceptualizations of the female gender – Woman and women. A Woman is the conceptualized notion of how the female gender should be and is produced by hegemonic discourse; women are historical subjects that reflect women in different locations with different histories. Thinking of Third World women as a universal group defined as Woman is very problematic for Mohanty. One of the groups that she is questioning is Western Feminists and the fact that they conceptualize the Western female gender much differently than the Third World female gender, and seem to group all Third World women together universally because it seems as though white privilege is what provides individualism. Mohanty does believe that change is possible but only when differences are acknowledged and explored so that there can be solidarity without universalism.

For Mohanty one of the largest critiques of Western Feminism and travesties for Third World women is that Western Feminists blur the line between the idea of Woman that is produced by hegemonic discourse and women as unique historical subjects. All different third world women become grouped together and thought of as one Third World Woman. They are defined by society’s conceptualization of a gender without looking at any of their differences or uniqueness. Third World women as a group are then characterized universally as powerless victims. “This is because descriptive gender differences are transformed into the division between men and women. Women are constituted as a group via dependency relationships vis-à-vis men, who are implicitly held responsible for those relationships.” (25) In this light there is a monolithic notion of sexual difference and the world is transformed into victims and oppressors – There is little room for individual histories. Western Feminists use this grouping of women as a category of analysis and try to make universal claims about male dominance because of their assumed “sameness” of oppression. They incorrectly analyze Third World Women and claim that they are all; victims of male violence, universally dependent, playing specific roles in familial structures, oppressed by religion and development, and that married women are victims of the colonial process. Even without knowing much about the topic and lacking research it seems absurd to me to believe that all women in the Third World are oppressed in all these ways. There must be differences based on individual locations and histories, and that is exactly Mohanty’s critique.

For Mohanty gender is important on two fronts. Firstly, she is critical of the reality that Third World women are grouped as one based purely on their gender without examining any of their uniqueness and secondly, it is important to note that for Monhanty there is a large difference between the conceptualization of Woman in the third world vs. the Woman in the Western world. Western Feminists discourse gains power from the systemizational oppression of Third World women. Mohanty believes that change will occur only when we start to acknowledge the different realities women from around the world and stop trying to group them together and study them universally. The focus should then be on real shared oppressions like how labor roles are defined and Third World women are exploited within these roles. This will lead to solidarity in the cause without the troubles caused by using only one conceptualization of the female gender for Third World women.

 

-Violet Batcha

 

Tags: Group Three · Uncategorized · Violet

Feminism in Mohanty

October 9th, 2011 · 2 Comments

This blog post will talk about how aspects of our everyday life are impacted especially by gender and racial ideologies. Mohanty would argue this to be true particularly in higher education (colleges and universities), and in the work place. She would argue that gender and race is even more crucial when you are from a third country living in the United States. You are an alien, a foreigner, an immigrant and will always be one no matter how long you reside here. Questions always seem to arise as to when you are “going home”.  Mohanty then argues can anyone particularly third world women even have a home and if so, where is it? Where do they belong? Is home where you were born, or is home where you reside? Mohanty argues that where you are and who you are (genealogy and location) play a vital role in what people think of you as. She fought this very battle herself and still does today. Dependent upon where she lived in the United States she was associated with being Black, Native, and even Latina. Race plays an important role in how you are perceived in society and most importantly the “power” that one could achieve (attain).

When you are a “visitor” from another country especially a woman, everyone thinks of you as a “student”, no matter how many grey hairs you have in your head, or how many wrinkles you have on your face. Mohanty would argue no matter the degree (law or even doctoral) that women would still be less than. Women no matter what the race was still couldn’t even compare to the elite white man. The white man still is the man with all the power who set the standards for those who are “beneath him”. The third world woman is just another socially constructed image just as the pure woman and the whore. Mohanty says for in the context of First/Third world balance of power, feminist analyses that perpetrate and sustain the hegemony of the idea of the superiority of the West produce 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, etc. In the film ten you saw some of these images reproduced except for the main character that didn’t fit into any of those categories. She was strong and independent, and didn’t need a main to complete her but wanted companionship instead.

 

Mohanty would argue just as Hill Collins has and would say that knowledge isn’t always produced in a formal, educational institution. There are sometimes obstacles in the way such as slavery for the blacks that prevented members associated with that race from receiving a formal and becoming literate. Mohanty would also argue that knowledge is formed through experience which also agrees with Hill Collins arguments. However, Mohanty would disagree with Hill Collins in the fact that no two woman experience life in the same way. Sure, they may have similar obstacles that they face, but they ways in which they face these obstacles, how they even came about, and how they choose to overcome those obstacles are very different.

Chandra Mohanty would argue that the economic system that we live in today called capitalism is to blame for the many false ideologies that came about and that we still live in today. Capitalism is all about money and the constant accumulation of wealth. Cheaper labor plus racism equals the “Other” (formed from ideologies) which equals profit. Why do you think woman get stuck doing the worst jobs? Why are there woman they work 18 hours or more in a factory. Not because their hands are smaller and better fit to use the machines. It is because of these so called gender ideologies that are in place and because women are taught at an early age to be subordinate to men. Most women have a fear of men and that is why it is ideal to have women working in those factories or in domesticated jobs because the men know these women are too afraid to stand up for themselves or to revolt. Do you not find it strange that only men are the supervisors of these factories?

Tags: Chandra Mohanty · Group Three · Star

Mohanty & Knowledge

October 7th, 2011 · 1 Comment

The conceptualization of knowledge is constantly brought up in Chandra Mohanty’s Feminism Without Borders. Historically, our higher education system has reiterated who is considered powerful in our society, while also relying on the knowledge we are raised around to influence our educational experience. The development of the current higher education system has led to individual spaces for women to be able to express their knowledge in an area called “the academy”.

This academy revolves around the idea that “for knowledge, the very act of knowing, is related to the power of self-definition” (195) and focuses specifically on women’s studies, black studies, and ethnic studies. Mohanty argues that as a result of the Reagan-Bush era, these particular studies are marginalized due to the reformulation of race and gender as individual characteristics and attitudes. However, these particular fields provide “a space for historically silenced peoples to construct knowledge” (195) and due to political movements, society has been able to dissect the typical form of education and reformed the way that knowledge is created and learned.

These changes across systems do not just exist within the United States, but across the world. Mohanty discusses her experiences in the US along with India by saying she believes that “meanings of the “personal” are not static, but that they change through experience, and with knowledge” (191). These experiences exist in the theory of understanding each other’s differences and building to make them influence our knowledge in a positive way. Although this racial knowledge may only come to us subconsciously, it continues a vicious cycle of opinions based on race, class, gender, nation, sexuality, and colonialism. By dissecting the view of “whiteness” (191), society can analyze power, equality, and justice in developed countries such as the United States and across the world in India.

Mohanty discusses the popular discourse as the intersection between power and knowledge. In terms of Feminism Without Borders, this discourse is the validation of other systems and their existence. It exists based on how it constitutes our identity in our daily lives, the collective action we take to change it, and its pedagogical teachings throughout society. This discourse can be changed through women and their development of knowledge turning into activism. If women are able to individually conceptualize the controlling images of society, their role in the higher education system, and how they affect our knowledge, then they can create policies, ideas, and development. Whether using examples from India or the United States, and whether discussing the image of Third World Women or feminists today, these changes are necessary and imminent for society and its knowledge.

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

– Emily Marvin

Tags: Emily · Group Three

Jillian- Mohanty Soltuion

October 5th, 2011 · 1 Comment

Jillian Shults

Blog Rough Draft 2

In the book Feminism Without Borders written by Chandra Mohanty, she analyzes the image of the Third World Women that has been created and is constantly reinforced by Western feminist. The solution for Mohanty is she believes that we need to step outside of the Western view and look to feminist who are and are apart of the Third World. “This is turns calls for assuming the responsibility for the politics of voice as it is institutionalized in the academy’s “liberal” response to the very way questions feminism and other oppositional discourses have raised” (Mohanty, pp 197).

The way in which Third World women are represented is by the capital Women and that becomes highly problematic when talking about the everyday women. The capital Women is a created universal logic that has been reproduced and relies on the construction of the ideas of the West; this ideology says that all Third World women are the same. As we read in Feminism Without Borders, Mohanty says that in order to redefine the image of the Third World women feminist need to look across borders and through the perception of others. “Uncovering and reclaiming subjugated knowledges is one way to lay claim to alternative histories” (Mohanty, pp 196).

Another issue that was addressed in Feminism Without Borders was the Third World women workers. Mohanty states, “The common interests of homeworkers are acknowledged in terms of their daily lives as workers and as women – there is no artificial separation of the “worker” and the “homemaker” or the “housewife” in this context” (Mohanty, pp 165).  The Third World women are not looked at as having an additional occupation outside the home; the additional work that they do is viewed as supplementary and apart of the everyday chores. Mohanty says that feminist need to focus on common interest of the Third World women in order to being redefining their identity as women and as women workers. “The transition to identifying common needs and desires of the Third World women workers, which leads potentially to the construction of the identity of Third World workers, is what remains a challenge” (Mohanty, pp167).

When feminist look across borders for scholarship and don’t just rely on already constructed identities about Third World women, they can begin to reconstruct the identity of the Third World women. “The only way to get a little measure of power over your own life is to do it collectively, with the support of others who share your needs” (Mohanty, pp 168). Mohanty is saying that this is the time for Third World women to stand up for themselves and being to redefine their own identities.

 

Tags: Group Three · Jillian