File spoon-archives/seminar-13.archive/south-asian-women_1995-1996/seminar-13.nov95-mar96, message 79


Date: Thu, 1 Feb 1996 19:50:27 -0500 (EST)
To: seminar-13-AT-jefferson.village.Virginia.EDU


Talking of Himani Bannerji, here's something to
start with...


"`Identity' has recently become a common word in
our political vocabulary. Once a preserve of
Romantic poets and philosophers, this word has now
become a coin in many hands. Serving as an
adjective for diverse political projects ranging from
nationalism to liberal democracy, this word has put
the idea of `being' of subjectivity and experience in
the centre stage of politics. This has been mainly
done with the notion of representation, in both
political and cultural senses, speaking to distribution
of power and claims for political agency. Some have
considered this shift as a positive development in
politics, others as a distraction and a disaster. Most 
marxists, feminists or otherwise, have considered this to be a 
regressive, divisive and individualistic, in general a troublesome,
move. The use of related notions of difference and representation have 
fared only a little better. Thus working with notions of subjectivity,
experience, agency and representation have been mostly left to the 
post-modernists or post-structuralists, cultural theorists of all sorts - 
to make of them what they will . If the word "identity" can be used
as a code for an involvement with all thse issues then we can say that we 
have now arrived at the slogan of "identity or class" as two mutually 
exclusive forms of politics."

- Himani Bannerji "Thinking Through" (1995) - pubd by Women's Press, 
Ontario, Canada.

now, before (if) a debat begins i have a request :
 if we were to unpack this and make it jargon free how would we do it


Radhika


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