April 22, 2009

Tracing Subalterns

Gayatri's Spivak's tracing of the 'subaltern' in her work, left me oddly inspired by the imagery of teaching literature and philosophy to adivasi kids, as well as troubled by the landscapedness of the 'subaltern'. The 'subaltern' seems to exist is her supple other-worldly wisdoms and pragmatics, while Spivak travels back and forth between her friends in Columbia and back-of-beyond. What does one make of the inerasability of the heiroglyphics of 'subalternity' of the foreheads of such nameless pretty people, who mediate an outer world through Spivak? Is Spivak's project lost if the 'subaltern' drinks Coke or moves to Bombay to make it big in the movies, or to Thailand to become a prostitute. Spivak's powerful thoughts on the need to eject thought from its Western jacket and take it and map it wherever else one might want to, leaves room for contradiction in her own account of taking thought to the subaltern and absorbing their thoughts. While Western thought is set free of its Kantian capsule, the subaltern must necessarily remain contained in her landscape and culture and lifeworld in order for Spivak to make her argument.

If the subaltern desires direct intercourse with the sullied modern, then her pristine Other consciousness is no longer available for Spivak's argument. The subaltern must necessarily remain an adivasi, and not start a hair-dressing salon in Calcutta in order that her consciousness can be contrasted with European institutionalised knowledge in all its pristine-ness.

April 18, 2009

Habermas on Pink Symbols of Self

Women unite their public 'woman' voices on Facebook and virtual public spheres to bring down forces of patriarchy.Patriarchy takes the face of young goons with hockey sticks in urban Karnataka, that are anxious about the loss of masculine pride of their community. The Kannadiga. The Hindu. The wholesome. The organic. The authentic. The pristine. Which risks erosion when its women lose cultural authenticity. Young goons construct 'authentic' selves in their sticks and slogans.

Young women on Facebook. Construct selves too. In the typed word and uploaded image. Constituting 'privatised' pristine inner 'woman' selves, and then dauntlessly writing and fighting to protect their 'woman'nesses and underwear and autonomy in the public sphere. They affirm faith in a pink symbol of inner self as they write pink graffiti on virtual walls.

The patriarch inscribes his masculinity, community, authenticity on the firewalls of the internet. The autonomous women speak out the terms of their 'woman' selves inside the internet cocoon. A violent public forms at the fringes of the internet, while the liberal speaking 'woman' public expresses distress in the protected publicness of Facebook. They curiously fight in the same way, articulating their inner-nesses in the public domain. Becoming private by naming their private selves in the public.