File spoon-archives/seminar-13.archive/cyberfem_1998-2000/seminar-13.9901, message 2

Date: Thu, 7 Jan 1999 10:15:20 -0500 (EST)

I intend to open up a discussion regarding online interaction in
relation to the (im) possibility of a "common language for women in
integrated circuit" (Haraway 1994: 82), proposing that online networks for
interaction are epistemic digital (un)integrated circuits that may, within
limits, provide opportunities for certain westernized forms of resistance
and cyberfeminisms.  But what do I mean by "westernized forms of
resistance"?  At a very basic level, a westernized form of resistance
assumes that once a problem has been perceived/identified, an individual
has the "choice," the option of trying to fix the problem.  This notion is
so thoroughly inbedded in westernized social interaction, discourse and in
the knowledges produced within this western field of power/knowledge, that
even post-modern, post-structural theories as well as third-world and
black feminisms and even "subaltern studies" researchers are unable to be
"outside" of it.  Third-world feminists, black feminists and subaltern
studies scholars, however, have at least tried and continue to try, to
articulate this as a problem.  Some feminist struggles with mainstream
Science, Philosophy and knowledge production have also attempted to
articulate and confront this problem in various ways.  The non-unitary
nature of the agent as well as the non-unified functioning of power and
non-unitary character of politics (Guha, 1997, Nigel &Thrift 1996, Alarcon
& Grewal 1994, Visweswaran 1994, Foucault 1980) has been acknowledged,
however, westernized discourse (academic and everyday) has not been able
to extricate itself from the logic of the westernized subject and his/her
privileged way of thinking and functioning.  It would seem that entry into
global knowledge production in the current period requires us to hand over
un-appropiatable ways of thinking, reasoning and articulation at the
gateway to structures of capital, power and knowledge.  In a sense, then,
Spivak's much (mis)quoted statement of "The subaltern cannot speak!" would
seem to be true.  There is no doubt that people within "subaltern"
contexts do indeed finds ways to speak, the problem of agency and
articulation concerns issues related to making "them" heard within
hegemonic discursive/material spheres.  Since "speaking" can only be
recognized as such when the speaking is acknowledged as such, the
subaltern's not being heard is perhaps the equivalent of being unable to
speak.  My work makes no claims of solving this problem of agency and


Radhika Gajjala



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