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Entries Tagged as 'Maddy'

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).

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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).

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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.

 

 

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Power (Mohanty) by Madeleine Lavelle

October 5th, 2011 · 1 Comment

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.

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.

Tags: Chandra Mohanty · Group Three · Maddy

Power by Maddy Lavelle

September 23rd, 2011 · No Comments

In Patricia Hill Collins’ piece, Black Feminist Thought she discusses the role of power in relation to Black feminism in today’s world. In Chapter 12 she introduces two approaches to power, the dialectical approach and the individual approach. Collins also presents the four domains of power that any matrix of domination is organized with, and how these approaches and domains influence Black feminism of today’s’ society.

The first approach to power is the dialectical approach links oppression and activism together, when groups that have more power than others use their power to oppress institutions with less power than them. The change that results from this approach comes from people’s ability and freedom to do so. (292) The dialectical approach emphasizes the significance of knowledge in developing self-defined, group-based standpoints that, in turn, can foster the type of group solidarity necessary for resisting oppressions.” (293) The other approach Hill Collins’ describes is the individual approach. This approach is an “intangible entity that circulates within a particular matrix of domination and to which individuals stand in varying relationships.” (292) This emphasizes how individuals’ subjectivity influences their actions within various matrixes of domination. As each Black woman changes her ideas and viewpoints, the shape of power also changes with her. Over time the “individual self-definitions and behaviors shift in tandem with a changed consciousness concerning everyday lived experiences” which exemplifies the individual approach. (293) Together these two approaches work to help create a well-rounded sense of Black women’s identities.

The first domain of power is structural; it involves how social institutions are organized overtime to subordinate Black women. For example, the schools and education system, housing and media have worked as structural institutions to belittle Black women and keep them at a disadvantage. “These overlapping social institutions have relied on multiple forms of segregation by race, class, and gender to produce these unjust results.” (295) These structural institutions have worked to oppress Black women and prevent social change. Hill Collins uses the example of life post World War II, and how African American women got jobs and obtained positions that they otherwise would not have been able to. On the flip side, the organizations and companies who hired these women sought out new ways to suppress them. (299)

The second domain is disciplinary, which means when laws force schools, industries, hospitals and banks to stop discriminating against Black women, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the organizations will follow through. “The disciplinary domain of power has increased in importance with the growing significance of bureaucracy as a mode of modern social organization.” (299) This has resulted in bureaucracy controlling the race, and gender of these organizations to prevent social change that they feel is unacceptable. So, even though laws may order institutions to stop discriminating, the buercratics of those industries will find ways around it so they can continue their mission.

The hegemonic domain of power is the third domain Collins’ touches upon, and she explains that the “hegemonic” ideology of the dominant class is what is important and is what is put forth as the “right thing.”  This being said, the hegemonic ideology is consistent with white males, and looks to oppress anyone or anything this is unlike them. This belief system makes it impossible for Black women to rise above and move up socially.

The final domain of power Collins’ puts forth is the interpersonal domain. This domain shows that intersecting oppressions has victimized African-American women and that by portraying them as passive victims creates the idea that they can’t rise above their current situation. But on the other hand, painting them as strong women shows people that they can handle what is being thrown their way, which results in others continuing to oppress them.

In conclusion, the two approaches that Collins’ highlights, the dialectical and the individual, show her audience how Black women organize their consciousness and different views of their empowerment as Black females. Also, the four domains of power each matrix of domination is organized with are seen as interconnected categories. These approaches and domains show the complexity of Black feminine power and how over time it can shift and transform into a new entity depending on the society and culture that influences the matrixes of domination

Tags: Group Three · Maddy