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Strategic Essentialism



Strategic essentialism is a strategy by which differences (within a group) are temporarily downplayed and unity assumed for the sake of achieving political goals. In political practice, its usage in opposing and fighting against gender oppression, is recommended, be it for judicial or social rights; but so is opposing and fighting against theories and discourses that imprison groups within unifying categories, which necessarily must be narrowing.
Strategic Essentialism
Oslo and Akershus University College, Norway
In postcolonial and feminist studies strate-
concept in connection with both feminism
and minority representation. e same holds
for essentialism; or as Fuss (1990) claims, we
need to speak about “essentialisms.” At some
introduced the phrase (Spivak 1988, 1996),
has been regarded as being representative
of “ird World Women,” as if this was an
easily apprehensible category, or as if billions
of women share an essence of sorts. is
way of grouping together people from vast
areas with a diversity of experiences, still
oen occurs in public sphere representations.
Modern history, not least with its patriarchal
and colonialist discourses, is full of related
Essentialism is the assumption that groups,
categories, or classes of objects have one
or several dening features exclusive to all
ths, and Tin 1998). Essentialist studies
of race or gender have promoted binaries
of superiority or inferiority, of the colonial
subject or women as inferior, and such dis-
courses were vital for the perseverance of
patriarchal and colonial hegemony. is
theroleofsubaltern to its subjects, whose
identity became their dierence. Essentialism
simplies and reduces human identity, which
is more justly seen as multifaceted (see, for
example, Maalouf 2000). Assuming a certain
“nature” of one group of human beings, be
it through ethnication, culturalization, or
sexism, is strongly related to essentialism.
e Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Gender and Sexuality Studies, First Edition. Edited by Nancy A. Naples.
© 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Published 2016 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
DOI: 10.1002/9781118663219.wbegss554
Categorization of women in general as
Simone de Beauvoir has also eloquently docu-
mented as the “second sex” entails granting
more diversity to the “rst sex” while at
least to a degree depriving the members of
the other” sex of their individualities and
abilities to transcend their assigned places in
society, and she recommends radical strate-
gies for overcoming this otherness. On the
other hand, throughout history, women’s
organizations have at times emphasized a
female essence, such as, for example, nur-
turing and caring abilities while demanding
parental leave or specic work protection,
in their struggle for human rights and rep-
resentation. us, a struggle for equal rights
and to escape the other” position, may at
times conict with demands for special rights
for women in need. In addition, minorities
within the “women” category (lesbians, trans-
sexuals, ethnic and religious minorities) may
feel estranged by majority discourses and
Gayatri Spivak discusses the experiences of
the Subaltern Studies Group, whose aim it is
to rewrite the history of India with a perspec-
tive from below (subaltern), deconstructing
the imperial version. She reads their work as
“a strategic use of positivist essentialism in a
scrupulously visible political interest (Spivak
1996, 214). She compares the application
of strategic essentialism to deconstruction,
arguing that although she uses deconstruc-
tion, it does not make her a deconstructivist.
A reasonable interpretation is that strategic
here can be read as pragmatic,sinceSpivak
sees this essentialism as having little to do
with theory, it rather denes a certain politi-
cal practice: “I think we have to choose again
strategically, not universal discourse, but
essentialist discourse In fact I must say I
am an essentialist from time to time” (Grosz
1984). An illustrative example is that we
may imagine ghting for more visibility for
women artists in concrete cultural-political
situations, but simultaneously be ercely
opposed to notions such as “women litera-
ture,” girl bands,” and so on. ese examples
clearly demonstrate the dilemmas inherent
in promoting certain group rights, although
oen justied and necessary.
Spivak, while stating that she is at times
an essentialist, warns against the application
of the concept, as other theorists also do,
since strategic essentialism may encourage
the survival of frozen identities and deepen
dierences. In the same interview with Grosz,
Spivak urges the “need to take a stand against
the discourses of essentialism but strategi-
cally we cannot. Even as we talk about feminist
practice, or privileging practice over theory,
we are universalizing not only generalizing
but universalizing.” She recommends being
“vigilant about our own practice and use it as
counterproductive gesture of repudiating it”
(Grosz 1984).
Strategic essentialism may thus be seen as a
political strategy whereby dierences (within
a group) are temporarily downplayed and
ical goals. In political practice, its usage in
opposing and ghting against gender oppres-
sion is recommended, be it for judicial or
social rights; but so is opposing and ghting
against theories and discourses that imprison
groups within unifying categories, which
are by necessity narrowing. Strategic essen-
tialism may help bringing down oppressive
structures and diminish suering, but should
not be allowed to aect world views and
encourage reductive views against the human
dignity. us “the ideal that we may have
to ‘take the risk of essence’ in order to have
any political purchase remains an impor-
tant theme in feminist theory and politics”
(Phillips 2010). On the other hand strategic
essentialism is theoretically unviable.
Essentialism may be used to subjugate or
liberate, but strategic essentialism ought to be
seen as a temporary political strategy and not
as a universalizing theory or as a universal
way of conducting political struggle.
SEE ALSO: Essentialism; Feminism,
Postcolonial; Gender Analysis
n. 1998. Key Concepts in Post-Colonial Studies.
London: Routledge.
Fuss, Diana. 1990. Essentially Speaking: Feminism,
Nature & Dierence. London: Routledge.
Grosz, Elizabeth. 1984. “Criticism, Feminism and
e Institution” [intervie w with Gayatri Spivak].
esis Eleven, 10(11): 184.
Maalouf, Amin. 2000. On Identity. London: Harvill
Phillips, Anne. 2010. “What’s Wrong with Essen-
tialism?” Distinktion: Scandinavian Journal of
Social eory, 11(1): 47–60.
Spivak, Gayatri. 1988. “Can the Subaltern Speak?”
In Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture,
edited by Larry Grossberg and Cary Nelson,
66111. Houndmills: Macmillan.
Spivak, Gayatri. 1996. Subaltern Studies: Decon-
structing Historiography?” In e Spivak
MacLean, 203– 237. London: Routledge.
... Let us here briefly explain and discuss the concept of 'strategic essentialism' that underpins as epistemological principle our QCA. First, we can situate it in the fields of postcolonial, subaltern, feminist and queer studies, and specifically in subfields regarding the representation of minorities (Chandler & Munday, 2020;Eide, 2016). We consider it as: ...
... The (own) group identity is thereby temporarily essentialized, in-group differences are temporarily deemphasized and unity is emphasized, to achieve certain political goals and emancipation. 76 As such, (often internally highly diverse) minority groups (e.g., regarding certain sociodemographic variables) can obtain a stronger voice and/or position in debates and/or social conflicts (e.g., about representation, obtaining equal or special rights,…) in the public sphere (Chandler & Munday, 2020;Eide, 2010Eide, , 2016Pande, 2017). ...
... Although this pragmatic strategy is thus to some extent useful, strategic essentialism is a disputed concept and a potentially harmful practice, as it essentializes, standardizes and simplifies the identity of (minority) groups. While 'an increasing public awareness of the risks and strategies involved may help to minimize the risk and maximize the results' (Eide, 2010, p. 76), it can nonetheless lead to fixed identities and deeper differences (Eide, 2016), benefit more powerful population groups (e.g., politicians, academics, journalists) and/or become a requirement as part of media conventions and routines (cf. news logics, supra, Chapter 2) -instead of an own conscious, nuanced choice that takes both risks and opportunities into account (Eide, 2010). ...
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Although forced migration has always occurred throughout history, it has increased significantly recently. The largest increase took place between 2012 and 2015 and was largely driven by conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Central African and East African countries (the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [UNHCR], 2021). Worldwide, forcibly displaced people are, however, nowadays confronted with hostility, xenophobia and the increasing popularity of extreme right-wing political parties (Frelick, 2007; Freedman, 2015). Furthermore, in recent decades, several states have tightened their asylum policies and/or become more reluctant to cooperate with refugee organizations (Johnson, 2011; Freedman, 2015). Since 2015, the theme of forced migration has been ubiquitous in (often polarized, overlapping and interacting) public, media and political debates (Hellman & Lerkkanen, 2019). Within such contexts, UNHCR, which is mandated to lead and coordinate refugee protection worldwide (Jones, 2013), and other international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) play key roles as providers of assistance and/or protection to forcibly displaced people (Betts et al., 2012). However, through public communication, they also try to inform, raise awareness and set news media, public, political and donor agendas. Therefore, they provide diverse communication content to news media and increasingly communicate directly with citizens via social media and websites (Atkin & Rice, 2013). Hence, these organizations can significantly influence how the general public perceives forcibly displaced people and related displacement crises (Chouliaraki, 2012a) and consequently can have broader policy and societal consequences. Nevertheless, few studies have examined how they attempt to influence public, media and political agendas, and even less studies have analysed the underlying reasons behind the use of their discursive strategies. While most research has analysed the news-making activities of humanitarian organizations, and broader changing journalism-NGO relationships in evolving news and humanitarian ecologies (e.g., Ongenaert & Joye, 2016; Powers, 2018; Van Leuven & Joye, 2014), fewer studies specifically investigated refugee organizations. Second, most research centres on agenda-setting (e.g., McCombs & Valenzuela, 2021) and, to lesser extents, stakeholders’ efforts to influence about which subjects news media, citizens or other stakeholders should think (cf. first-level agenda-building) (Kim & Kiousis, 2012). However, to our knowledge, only a few studies, have thoroughly explored refugee organizations’ second-level agenda-building strategies which attempt to influence how stakeholders perceive certain subjects (Kim & Kiousis, 2012). Further, they mainly textually focus on one organization, media genre, year, and/or crisis, lacking essential explanatory comparative, production, and/or societal perspectives. Therefore, adopting a mixed-methods research design, this research project analysed refugee organizations’ public communication strategies from multiple perspectives. More specifically, we examined various relevant international refugee organizations’ public communication strategies regarding the recent Syrian and Central African crises. Hence, the central research objective of this project is to investigate the conceptual, textual, production and societal dimensions and their interactions involved in international refugee organizations’ public communication strategies. This overarching objective is operationalized through three more specific, interrelated sub-objectives, corresponding to three components and adopting a source-to-end product perspective. First, we examined the conceptual dimension of international refugee organizations’ public communication strategies (component 1). How can the public communication of international refugee organizations be conceptualized? For this purpose, we conducted an extensive literature review. Second, we studied the textual dimension of international refugee organizations’ public communication strategies (component 2). Which discursive strategies do international refugee organizations mainly use (cf. how, who, what)? Acknowledging current trends and gaps within the literature, this sub-objective can be further divided into three more specific objectives: 1. How are forcibly displaced people mainly (not) represented and discussed in international refugee organizations’ public communication? In other words, which representation and argumentation strategies do the international refugee organizations use? For this purpose, we conducted two empirical studies. First, acknowledging potential organizational differences, we applied a comparative-synchronic (Carvalho, 2008) critical discourse analysis (CDA) according to Fairclough’s (1992, 1995) CDA model on the international press releases (N=122) of UNHCR and two INGOs, de ‘Danish Refugee Council’ (DRC) and de ‘International Rescue Committee’ regarding the Syrian crisis (2014-2015). Additionally, we conducted semi-structured expert interviews (N=6) with press and regional officers at these organizations to yield additional empirical material about the underlying production and societal contexts. Second, recognizing potential media genre and crisis differences, we applied a comparative-synchronic multimodal critical discourse analysis (MCDA) (Machin & Mayr, 2012), again following Fairclough’s (1992, 1995) CDA model, on UNHCR’s international press releases (N=28), news stories (N=233), and related photos (N=462) and videos (N=50) of the key year 2015. 2. Who is mainly (not) represented and given a voice in international refugee organizations’ public communication? 3. What is mainly (not) represented and discussed in international refugee organizations’ public communication? Which key characteristics (e.g., organizations, crises, media genres, years) and themes do international refugee organizations represent? To meet these specific objectives and acknowledging organizational, media, crisis and temporal differences, we applied a comparative, longitudinal, intersectional quantitative content analysis (Neuendorf, 2017; Riffe et al., 2019) on the press releases and news stories (N=1244) about the recent Syrian and Central African crises (2015-2018) of UNHCR, and two INGOs, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE). Third, we focused on the production and societal dimensions (component 3). Central to the corresponding component are the production, political, economic and socio-cultural contexts, forces and motivations behind the public communication strategies. How do the underlying production, political, economic and socio-cultural contexts, forces and motivations explain the discursive strategies of international refugee organizations (cf. why)? Likewise, this sub-objective can be further divided into three more specific objectives that correspond with the specific textual objectives: 1. How can we explain how forcibly displaced people are mainly (not) represented and discussed in international refugee organizations’ public communication? 2. How can we explain who is mainly (not) represented and given a voice in international refugee organizations’ public communication? 3. How can we explain what is mainly (not) represented and discussed in international refugee organizations’ public communication? Therefore, we conducted a three-week office ethnography at NRC’s main press and communication department, semi-structured expert interviews with press and communication officers of NRC (N=10), and a document analysis of the key communication policy documents of NRC. We thereby focused each time on the production and societal contexts of NRC’s public communication regarding the recent Syrian and Central African crises. In general, we found diverse, often mixed results that nuance, extend and sometimes contradict the existing literature on the public communication of refugee organizations and, more generally, humanitarian communication, and frequently interact with and explain each other. For reasons of relevance, focus and space, we discuss below interactions between different dimensions, as evidenced within one or more studies. The literature review indicated that in recent decades the social and scientific relevance of research on strategic and non-profit communication in general and on refugee organizations’ public communication particularly have increased. Nevertheless, these fields remain underdeveloped and are mostly text-focused, while the production and reception dimensions are barely explored. Remarkably, however, little or no research has been conducted from an organizational communication perspective, although this study demonstrates that the subject can be adequately embedded in and examined from the fields of strategic, non-profit and public communication. Specifically, our dissertation highlights the relevance of the holistic Communicative Constitution of Organizations (CCO) perspective. This perspective argues that communication is not just an activity that occurs within or between organizations, but forms the constitutive process of organization (Putnam & Nicotera, 2010). Further, strongly influenced by the understandings of Oliveira (2017), Atkin and Rice (2013), and Macnamara (2016), we define refugee organizations’ public communication as the practice of organized and systematic symbolic social action (diversified communication disseminated through a variety of channels and activities) within the public sphere to reach set goals, co-create the refugee organization, perform civic relations and fulfil its mission by groups of people that pursue the (perceived) common good for forced migration. Finally, our conceptual study argues that future research can benefit by adopting multi-perspective, practice-oriented, multi-methodological, comparative and/or interdisciplinary approaches to which we respond in our empirical studies. Regarding the ‘how’ and related ‘why’ dimensions, the critical discourse analysis shows that the observed organisations to varying extents dehumanize forcibly displaced people and subordinate them to the ‘Western Self’ and national state interests in their press releases. Acknowledging organizational and media genre differences, these power inequalities can be explained by the use of various discursive strategies, as well as the broader production and social contexts. The findings demonstrate that forcibly displaced people are often portrayed as a homogenous and suffering collective, confirming the dominance of the regime of pity’s traditional ‘negative’ representational strategies (Bettini, 2013; Chouliaraki, 2012a; Johnson, 2011). However, unlike existing fragmented research, this analysis also found evidence of the use of other discursive strategies and explored the production process and the social context. The aforementioned depersonalising humanitarian discourse can be considered to be the product of the specific features of the press releases. The importance of news media attention and commercial reasons are other explanatory factors. In addition, the study found articulations of a simultaneously existing post-humanitarian discourse. The interviews revealed that the humanitarian sector has evolved from a non-economic to a market-oriented sphere within which private choice and self-expression are central. One can relate this post-humanitarian discourse to the regime of irony and consider it as an expression of neoliberalism (Chouliaraki, 2012a). While post-humanitarian discourses respond to the needs for personal development and self-expression, the oft-deployed cross-issue persuasion strategy responds to state interests and reflects political realism (Grieco, 1999). Both strategies are self-directed and reduce forcibly displaced people principally to secondary figures. Similarly, the comparative-synchronic multimodal critical discourse analysis reveals that UNHCR primarily represents forcibly displaced people in its press releases and, to lesser extents, in its news as generic, anonymized, passive, victimized, deprived, and/or voiceless masses, reproducing humanitarian saviour logics and hierarchies of deservingness. However, stories, photos, and videos frequently combine these representations with portrayals of empowered individual doers, speakers, and/or thinkers. Both representation strategies can be partially explained by news logics such as genre characteristics, news media conventions, and representations, and by respectively political and private sector discourses and agenda-building opportunities, and related organizational goals, as the expert interviews show. Furthermore, we identified several argumentation methods, particularly in textual communication genres. UNHCR mainly attempts to stimulate pity-based solidarity but also voices various neoliberal post-humanitarian (mainly Western) Self-oriented solidarity discourses. Refining cross-issue persuasion, we discovered that UNHCR links protection to states’ (perceived) interests in various issue areas but also in various principles and values, and propose the more appropriate concept of ‘cross-interest persuasion’. Rather than just to other (perceived) important issue areas, refugee organizations link contributions to protection to the interests of states in general. Moreover, the term emphasizes the political realist nature of the pragmatic argumentation strategy. Finally, we consider these discursive strategies as reflections and reproductions of, and responses to dominant migration management paradigms and the increasingly neoliberalized and political realist international refugee regime. Concerning the textual ‘who’, ‘what’ and connected ‘why’ dimensions, the comparative, longitudinal and intersectional quantitative content analysis shows a mixed picture of what and who are (not) represented, involving interorganizational commonalities and differences. First, regarding ‘what’, the refugee organizations predominantly communicated in 2015 and 2016 about forcibly displaced people involved in the Syrian crisis, because of intertwined organizational, societal and/or financial reasons and mainstream media logics. More specifically, it is far more difficult for international refugee organizations to obtain media attention for the Central African crisis than the Syrian crisis, because of various factors such as the nature, magnitude, implications, mediatization and comprehensibility of the conflicts, and geographic and cultural proximity. As there is more media attention on Syria, international refugee organizations generally obtain also more resources specifically intended for the Syrian crisis, including for press and communication efforts. This leads on its turn to even more attention for this crisis, creating a ‘Vicious Neglected Crisis Circle (VNCC) effect’. Organizational factors generally reinforce this effect, while security and political factors in the case of communication about Syria limit it. Regarding ‘who’, we observed that primarily forcibly displaced people and refugee organizations obtain voices in het public communication about the investigated forcibly displaced people, refining earlier studies. Additionally, examining several (largely unexplored) sociodemographics, this study finds that individualized forcibly displaced people are represented in significantly unbalanced manners (e.g., mainly along age, geographical location, legal status, current country and continent, nationality, life stance, sexual orientation, family situation, marital status and former and current profession). This can be explained by a myriad of pragmatic, humanitarian, societal, organizational, ethical/personal, practical, security, political and/or narrative reasons. Shaped by production and societal contexts, humanitarian communication reproduces and reflects quantitative mediated hierarchies of suffering, both between (cf. what) and within (who) crises. In general, we can conclude that various pragmatic and contextual factors explain ‘how’, ‘who’ and ‘what’ are represented. Finally, we argue that well-balanced humanitarian communication is essential for societal and strategic reasons (e.g., negative long-term implications of imbalanced humanitarian imagery and sensational public communication, branding opportunities as reliable, accountable ‘authorised knowers’).
... Essentialism is a tool that reduces instead cuts down human identity, which is viewed as multifaceted. (Eide, 2016). ...
... Essentialism is used in two ways, either to subjugate or to liberate people. In contrast, strategic essentialism is not a universal notion or a way of carrying out a political purpose but rather a temporary political stratagem to achieve a specific goal (Eide, 2016). In the novel, it is only Bakha who can sense wrong and right. ...
... Strategic essentialism aims to take up the subaltern class issue and de-contextualize the essentialized identity of the individual. In feminist and postcolonial studies, it has been a much-debated concept concerning minority representation and feminism (Eide, 2016). Spivak focuses that it is vital to handle the idea gingerly to refrain from both dominating or altering the voice of the subaltern class. ...
The term strategic essentialism, coined by Spivak, is generally understood as “a political strategy whereby differences (within Group) are temporarily downplayed, and unity assumed for the sake of achieving political goals.” On the other hand, essentialism focuses that everything in this world has an intrinsic and immutable essence of its own. The adaption of a particular “nature” of one group of people by way of sexism, culturalization, and ethnification is strongly linked to the idea of essentialism. Mulk Raj Anand’s Bakha is dictated as an outcast by the institutionalized hierarchy of caste practice. He is essentialized as an untouchable by attributing to him the characteristic of dirt and filth. However, unlike other untouchables, Bakha can apprehend the difference between the cultured and uncultured, dirt and cleanliness. Via an analysis of Anand’s “Untouchable,” the present article aims to bring to the forefront the horrid destruction of the individual self that stems from misrepresentations of personality. Through strategic essentialism, it unravels Bakha’s contrasting nature as opposed to his pariah class, defied by his remarkable inner character and etiquette. The term condemns the essentialist categories of human existence. It has been applied to decontextualize and deconstruct the inaccurately essentialized identity of Bakha, which has made him a part of the group he does not actually belong to.
... Ross concentrates esp. on Shihābaddīn al-Marjānī (also Shiһabetdin Baһavetdin uly Mәrҗani, Shigabutdin Mardzhani, 1818-1889), Husayn Faydkhānov (also Hөsәen Fәezhanov or Husain Faizhanov 1828-1866). 3 "Strategic essentialism" is taken in this case from Ann LauraStoler (2004), while the term was first proposed by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak(Eide 2016). ...
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The history of imperial science has been a growing topic over recent decades. Overviews of the imperial history of science have rarely included the Russian, Habsburg, and German empires. The history of Central and Eastern Europe has embraced empire as an analytical and critical category only recently, having previously pursued national historiographies and romanticised versions of imperial pasts. This article highlights several key narratives of imperial sciences in Central and Eastern Europe that have appeared over the past twenty years, especially in anglophone literature. Interdependence between national and imperial institutions and biographies, the history of nature as an interplay of scales, and finally, the histories of imagining a path between imperialism and nationalism, demonstrate how the history of imperial science can become an important part of the discussion of Central European history from a global perspective, as well as how the history of science can be factored into the general history of this region. Finally, I argue that the imperial history of science can play an important role in re-thinking the post/decolonial history of Central and Eastern Europe, an issue that, since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, has become the centre of intellectual attention.
... Spivak (1988) asserts that strategic essentialism can empower individuals and groups to organize and attend to inequity. Spivak and others (e.g., Eide, 2016) warn, however, that essentialism can indeed marginalize identities and lived experiences of individuals and groups and render them invisible. Professor Deguchi was transparent about this tension. ...
The Khoisan were decimated, dispossessed and assimilated into the mixed-race “Coloured” group during colonialism and apartheid, spawning the notion of their supposed extinction. However, Cape Town, where colonial history runs deepest, became the epicentre of “Khoisan revivalism” after apartheid. Khoisan revivalists reject Coloured identity and campaign for cultural development, historical justice and indigenous rights. Many also claim land and traditional leadership titles. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork among Khoisan revivalists, my PhD dissertation scrutinises Khoisan revivalism’s origins, appeal and political aspirations. It focuses on the various ways that historical events, figures and practices inform diverse articulations of indigeneity. Khoisan revivalists are primarily seeking a relatable connection with the past and select sources, mediums and content accordingly. Moreover, in simultaneously replicating, disregarding and appropriating colonial representations, they produce a “subversive authenticity”. While empowering to many, Khoisan revivalism has also emboldened some to mobilise a racialised identity politics based on prior occupancy, which today extends beyond the movement.
In this collaborative autoethnographic piece, we present voices through critical incident technique replaying the same event at an academic conference, all seeking to understand how and why the disruption of voice occurs and what to do to counter it. We contextualize these experiences in the ideal of "sustainability of qualitative inquiry" through a feminist reflexive process, problematizing the potential for critical qualitative inquiry. We question how ownership of power, knowledge, education and voice within academic spaces can be embodied by women and other underrepresented groups. In the end, we provide a set of three potential solutions for conference committees and individuals to critically self-reflect upon to create more social justice in qualitative research spaces. Such considerations are particularly important in times of social distancing, where considerations for inclusivity for all are imperative. 50 free prints available:
Inspired by the call to question (critical) assumptions underpinning frameworks for “seeing” (Lather, 1993) and ground criticality in alternative forms of knowing (Pennycook, 2018), this paper examines critical frameworks for approaching identity, experience and (in)equity in “English” language teaching (ELT), with a focus on critical attention to Japan. Transdisciplinary scholarship, social movements and other voices have detailed how the narrative of “homogeneous Japan” has given shape to notions of Selfhood-Otherness, resulting in the erasing of Japan’s history as a site of movement, change, diversity and hybridity, and marginalization of many therein. The author notes that the scope of dominant, critical approaches to identity, experience and (in)equity in Japan and globalized ELT -problematizing essentialized and idealized “nativeness” in English- does not afford conceptual space for attention to how the negotiation of being, belonging and becoming in ELT is situated in broader negotiations of identity and community membership. The author contends that this issue is linked to tensions within criticality pertaining to the imposition of essentializing frameworks for seeing upon individuals and communities around the globe. The author then discusses potential broader implications for theorization, inquiry and practice in ELT in and beyond Japan.
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The Brokpa community of India is the most celebrated tribal population of the country. This population is not only a major attraction of Ladakh, but also their villages are must visit destination of this country for foreign travellers. The reason of this interest is Brokpas ‘Aryan’ identity and the status of ‘pure’ attached to them. This identity or essence of Brokpa was created strategically and is more of a cultural identity than racial. Even there is no genetical evidence of their Indo-European descent. This article will discuss about the construction of Aryan identity of Brokpa from outside and inside the community, and this identity is affecting the population.
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Resisting a single-axis framework and adopting intersectionality in gendered security research and practice ensures that more inclusive and holistic security, and thus sustainable peace, is achieved in post-conflict societies. Yet, the way in which intersectionality is used in research and policy-making determines different outcomes that either take us further away or closer to that goal. The aim of this study is to explore how gender intersects with other systems of oppression to create experiences of gendered (in)security in Rwandan communities. My research suggests that the failure to cultivate a thorough understanding of intersectionality in gender security practice results in gender-based violence (GBV), gender discrimination and gender hierarchies, all of which threaten the sustainability of peace in the post-conflict era. The key objective of my study is to critically evaluate the value of analysing the inner workings of intersectionality for the Rwandan context, gendered security research and practice, and Women, Peace and Security (WPS) work. The inner workings of intersectionality refer to the modes, dynamics, contestations and strategies that surround the concept. I use three logics to explore the inner workings of intersectionality. These are the logics of domination, addition, and interdependence. The logics are used in combination to cultivate a holistic understanding of intersectionality. I use a deconstructive discourse analysis to reveal how the different logics, and indeed the inner workings themselves, are (re)produced and the effects that the logics have, and have had, on gendered security in Rwanda. My conceptual exploration of the inner workings of intersectionality draws from examples in colonial, post- colonial and post-genocide Rwanda. I use a multi-level analysis, focussing on the everyday experiences of marginalised women, whose social location lies at the intersection of multiple systems of oppression, while also paying attention to larger structural power differentials that are filtered through the global economy and global security. My study shows that there is a link between the utilisation of intersectionality according to the logics and gendered (in)security. Rwanda is a useful case study for the analysis of intersectionality because the history of Hutu/Tutsi political violence lends itself to an intersectional analysis. In addition, despite Rwanda’s robust gender equality and gender security policy and legal frameworks, gendered iii insecurities, such as persistently high rates of GBV, continue to threaten the sustainability of peace in the post-genocide era. My analysis reveals how intersections have generated complex experiences of violence in Rwanda’s past; how the misappropriation of intersectional thinking can lead to the creation of gendered (in)security silences, which allows gender discrimination to thrive and threaten peace in the contemporary moment; and how positive intersections can be cultivated through community forums for generating positive peace and gender justice at a local level.
This chapter summarizes how the book has examined several examples in this repertoire and archive of Chineseness in Chile, particularly in the twenty-first century, that question essentialist, stereotypical, and racist ideas about Chineseness as the Chilean “Other.” These examples approach and expose Chineseness as a speculative space and signifier that is in continuous construction and negotiation. We discuss unique challenges that the ethnic Chinese face in seeking recognition and inclusion in Chile, and call for a postmigrant perspective in the current processes of rethinking the country’s history and reimagining the nation.
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This paper identifies and discusses four distinct meanings of essentialism. The first is the attribution of certain characteristics to everyone subsumed within a particular category: the ‘(all) women are caring and empathetic’, ‘(all) Africans have rhythm’, ‘(all) Asians are community oriented’ syndrome. The second is the attribution of those characteristics to the category, in ways that naturalise or reify what may be socially created or constructed. The third is the invocation of a collectivity as either the subject or object of political action (‘the working class’, ‘women’, ‘Third World women’), in a move that seems to presume a homogenised and unified group. The fourth is the policing of this collective category, the treatment of its supposedly shared characteristics as the defining ones that cannot be questioned or modified without undermining an individual's claim to belong to that group. Focusing on these four variants enables us to see that the issue is sometimes one of degree rather than a categorical embargo.
“Criticism, Feminism and The Institution” [interview with Gayatri Spivak]
  • Elizabeth Grosz
In Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture
  • Gayatri Spivak
Spivak, Gayatri. 1988. "Can the Subaltern Speak?" In Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, edited by Larry Grossberg and Cary Nelson, 66-111. Houndmills: Macmillan.
Criticism, Feminism and The Institution
  • Elizabeth Grosz
Grosz, Elizabeth. 1984. "Criticism, Feminism and The Institution" [interview with Gayatri Spivak].