Posted by: bradleyen | December 5, 2007

Alarcon: Naturalized framework

We discussed in class and amongst our readings Post structuralism, the analyzing of the structures of mechanisms. Norma Alarcon’s article analyzed the framework behind subject in her discussion of This Bridge Called My Back: Writings of Radical Women of Color.  Her analysis of subject is part of her bigger discussion of the exclusion of women of color from the discourse of feminist theory.  She explains that gender is a central concept in feminist thinking and (even Women’s Studies) because of the discourse, the set perimeters that contain thinking within its framework. 

Because of these Alarcon explains that standpoint epistemology is “flattened” because it “lose[s] sight of complex multiple ways in which the subject and object of possible experience are constituted” (409). Feminist standpoint epistemology adopted the model of subject but hasn’t questioned the framework that they were using. The subject of conciousness was naturalized, and there was no need to question. So what happens to those who don’t fit into Anglo-American feminism’s popular subject? For the multiple marginalized what does it mean to be a subject? 

According to Alarcon: “when women become subjects of knowledge, the so called objectivity of men is brought into question”(408), sustaining the binary oppositional thinking.  Refusing to recognize the identity of women is “much more complex than in a simple oppression to men”(408).  “Politics of unity” reinforces unified subjectivity by refusing to explore how identify is theorized.  Theorists refuse to include other categories of difference within subjectivity allowing for add-ons to exist; women of color, Lesbian Women. Alarcon suggests that subject needs to reconfigure to establish complexity of subjectivity. Her discussion of Bridge, is meant to show how the various writers within the text developed “a theory of subjectivity and culture that would demonstrate the considerable differences between them and Anglo- American women”. Its all about moving from a sameness of identity to a sameness of politics. hooks discussed in her writing this idea of feminism being a political consciousness rather than an identity. While identity is important, I think, moving away from a naturalized subjectivity will allow a movement away from a framework that only serves to perpetuate oppression rather than combate it. 

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