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Gayatri Spivak’s Contribution and Critics

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Part of the Postcolonial Studies in Education book series (PCSE)

Abstract

Spivak is a scholar who is notoriously very difficult to define (Ray 2009). She critiques imperialism from a feminist-deconstructivist standpoint using (and being critical of) Marxism to articulate a critique that makes explicit the connections between the cultural and economic dimensions of colonialism, imperialism, and globalization. She prefers to use the term “imperialism” rather than “colonialism” to point out that critics of colonial discourse often forget that colonialism is at work now, but in a different form. She is interested in examining “not just imperialism in the nineteenth-century sense, but as it was displaced into neo-colonialism and the international division of labor” (Spivak 1985, 7). As a result of this dimension of her work, she focuses on examinations of the representations of, and engagements with, the “Third World” subaltern, the positioning of migrants in the metropolis, and the role and place of education (both actual and potential) in relation to the encounter with the “subaltern.” In Spivak’s work, subalternity is defined as a space of difference where “discursive regimes locate/imprison the body or voice of the marginalized” (Schur 2002, 457). In Spivak’s words:

Everything that has limited or no access to the cultural imperialism is subaltern—a space of difference. Now who would say that’s just the oppressed? The working class is oppressed. It’s not subaltern. (Spivak 1992, cited in De Kock 1992, 35)

Keywords

  • Universal Declaration
  • International Division
  • Cultural Imperialism
  • Radical Alterity
  • Postcolonial Theory

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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  • DOI: 10.1057/9780230337794_4
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© 2011 Vanessa Andreotti

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Andreotti, V. (2011). Gayatri Spivak’s Contribution and Critics. In: Actionable Postcolonial Theory in Education. Postcolonial Studies in Education. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230337794_4

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