Blogging the Theoretical

Mohanty: The Solution

October 7, 2011 · 4 Comments

By Brooke Hessney

Chandra Talpade Mohanty poses a unique outlook on the oppression Third World women in her book, Feminism Without Boarders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity. It is evident that Third World women face adversity in all parts of the world but she sheds light on innovative strategies towards a common solution to the oppression of Third World women by, “…[generating new] ways to think about mobilization, organizing, and conscientization transnationally” (Mohanty 140). She argues that Third World women must make colonization and domination pedagogically transparent by learning the ways in which these ideologies function as modes towards practicing solidarity. Mohanty further examines these concepts through a lens of the working-class, targeting the exploitation of Third World women. Essentially, these ideologies operate under the notion of difference based on the hegemony of the dominant culture.

Mohanty respects difference among Third World women but encourages the understanding of commonalities as a basis of solidarity. She herself recognizes the challenges that Third world women face through her own experiences and urges an emancipatory discourse to be established. This will in turn evoke the mobilization of Third world women. According to Mohanty, mobilization can be achieved by, “emancipatory action on the basis of the reconceptualization of Third World women as agents rather than victims (143). Ultimately, Mohanty seeks the reformation and reclamation of the historical normative discourses surrounding Third World women as a means to promote autonomous thinking. By this she explains that, “Capitalist patriarchies and racialized, class/caste-specific hierarchies are a key part of the long history of domination and exploitation of women, but struggles against these practices and vibrant, creative, collective forms of mobilization and organizing have also always been a part of our histories” (Mohanty 147-148).

She indicates that hegemonic social ideologies serve as the basis for oppression of Third World women workers. Mohanty notes, “Patriarchal ideologies, which sometimes pit women against men within and outside the home, infuse the material realities of the lives of Third World women workers, making it imperative to conceptualize the way we think about working-class interests and strategies for organizing” (143). Thus, she encourages the deconstruction of the historically Westernized social institutions that strain the emancipation of Third World women within the work force by examining other marginalized women workers around the world that have been incorporated into the global economy. This is exemplified through her case studies on the women of Narsapur and Silicon Valley in which she states, “While in Narsapur, it is purdah and caste/class mobility that provides the necessary self-definition requires to anchor women’s work in the home as leisure activity, in Silicon valley, it is a specifically North American notion of individual ambition and entrepreneurship that provides the necessary ideological anchor for the Third World women” (155) Thus, these two instances demonstrate the contradictory position of women in the working-class in context to their social identity which further exhibits Mohanty’s resolution for mobilization, organization, and a transnational feminist perspective.

Overall, Mohanty’s conception of the solution incorporates the reclamation of mobilization, organization, and transnational feminism and is by no means a static endeavor. It is imperative to generate new ways of thinking of these ideologies in order for Third World women to collectively engage in reformation. She urges an emancipatory discourse to encourage change in the praxis of mobilization and organization among Third World women. Also, promoting transnational feminism recognized the intersectionality of race, gender, and sexuality in the context global of developing global capitalism. In turn, this advocates for the title of Mohanty’s novel that suggests feminism needs to occur transnationally as a means to decolonize historical theory by practicing solidarity.


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


Categories: Brooke · Group Two

4 responses so far ↓

  •   emseav09 // Oct 8th 2011 at 9:07 pm


    Great Job!

    I really enjoyed reading this post. You do a great job of grabbing the readers attention and drawing them in to want to continue to keep reading. Excellent use of textual evidence to support your interpretation of the solution. I enjoyed reading the quotes in which you used and think you did a great job expressing exactly how the quotes you used fit into what you were saying.

    – Erika

  •   jmrodr09 // Oct 9th 2011 at 7:40 pm


    Good job with raising important points. I like the fact that you point out the similarities between Mohanty and other women, which illustrates their relation through the various quotes you have presented. I think that its important that you pointed out Mohanty’s generalization towards new ways for women to think. This is a great way to represent the solution since you give various detailed examples of the process that leads to these new thinking methods.

  •   kaasel09 // Oct 9th 2011 at 9:07 pm

    This is a great post. You do an excellent job summarizing Mohanty’s “Solution.”
    Two things I noticed, which you could revisit as you make your revisions:

    1) “She argues that Third World women must make colonization and domination pedagogically transparent by learning the ways in which these ideologies function as modes towards practicing solidarity.” I think you can rework this quote to make your point clearer.

    2) It is interesting that you use the quote about women in the Silicon Valley because in this context she does seem to suggest that the American spirit of individualism and independence assures these women fairer treatment. I think this would be an interesting inconsistency to evaluate in greater detail.

    Hope they help!

  •   ogmcma08 // Oct 9th 2011 at 11:37 pm


    This is an awesome post! You definitely hit all the key points in Mohanty’s argument for change. I do think you could expand/tease out your discussion of the Silicon Valley/Narsapur workers, and maybe even bring in specifics as to how the two differ in positionality/context.

    Overall awesome, and you definitely have the right quotes to back up your argument!


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