Justice and the Politics of Difference 8.4分
读书笔记 (不是这本书里的)Gender as Seriality

Thinking about women as a social collective


......doubt on the project of conceptualizing women as a group, arguing that the search for the common characteristics of women or of women's oppression leads to normalizations and exclusions......pragmatic political reasons for insisting......

==> a dilemma for feminist theory !!!

We want and need to describe women as a group, yet it appears that we cannot do so without being normalizing and essentialist




The insistence on a subject for feminism obscures the social and discursive production of identities......the form of gender differentiation is always a binary opposition between the masculine and the feminine
The primary task for feminist theory and politics is critical: to formulate genealogies that show how a given category of practice is socially constructed. Feminist discourse and practice should become and remain open, its totality permanently deferred, accepting and affirming the flows and shifts in the contingent relations of social practices and institutions.


Do these arguments imply that it makes no sense and is morally wrong ever to talk about women as a group or, in fact, to talk about social groups at all?



Pragmatic theorization

we should take a more pragmatic orientation to our intellectual discourse......specific practical and political problems......driven by some problem that has ultimate practical importance and is not concerned to give an account of a whole

Why does it matter to conceptualize women as a group?

1). structure

to maintain a point of view outside of liberal individualism......structural and political ways to address and rectify the disadvantage

2). break divisions

Denial of the reality of a social collective termed women reinforces the privilege of those who benefit from keeping women divided

3). necessity

Feminist politics evaporates,that is, without some conception of women as a social collective.


Is there a way out of this dilemma?

Two failed strategies

1). gender identity as multiple rather than binary

......according to what race, class, religion, and the like she belongs to......a relational concept, not the naming of an essence
To find the gender-specific attributes of a woman's experience, Spelman suggests, one must restrict the comparison to men and women of the same race or class or nationality

-- three problems

gender can be cross-class/race/ethnicity..., essentializing class, race..., an infinite regress

2). women constitute a group only in the politicized context of feminist struggle

Diana Fuss......it is coalition politics which constructs the category of women (and men) in the first place
Nacie Caraway......unity and solidarity among women is a product of political discussion and struggle among people of diverse backgrounds, experiences, and interests who are diferently situated in matrices of power and privilege. The process of discussion and disagreement among feminists forges a common commitment to a politics against oppression that produces the identity "woman" as a coalition

-- two problems (my guess: sever the connection of the private and the public? normalizing power?)

a. the danger of normalization (privileges some norms or experiences over others)

Judith Butler......The question of solidarity should never be settled, and identities should shift and be deconstructed in a play of possibilities that exclude no one.

b. make feminist politics arbitrary

on the basis of what do they come together? What are the social conditions that have motivated the politics?......do feminist politics leave out women who do not identify as feminists?

===> the need for some conception of women as a group prior to the formation of self-conscious feminist politics




Sartre, Critique of Dialectical Reason--->Gender as seriality

1). Distinction between a group and a series

GROUP: a collection of persons who recognize themselves and one another as in a unified relation with one another......undertake a common project......explcit acknowledgement......self-consciously, mutually acknowledging collective with a self-conscious purpose

SERIES: less organized, unself-conscious collective unity, members are unified passively by the objects around which their actions are oriented or by the objectified results of the material effects of the action of the others

-- ppl waiting for a bus

they do not identify with one another, do not affirm themselves as engaged in a shared enterprise, or identify themselves with common experiences. The latent potential of this series to organize itself as a group will become manifest, however, if the bus fails to come
In seriality, a person not only experiences others but also himself or herself as an Other, that is, as an anonymous someone

【问题:这种contingency造成的common experience of late bus and being the Other不正是前面所述的seriality所没有的common experience吗?所以group和series的区别就在于intention和consciousness的程度,并不是本质上不同吗?】

-- the collective of radio listeners

constituted by their individual orientation toward objects......isolated, but nevertheless they are aware of being part of a series of radio listeners......


2). the series as a practico-inert reality

The series is structured by actions linked to practico-inert objects......Sartre calls the system of practico-inert objects and the material results of actions in relation to them that generate and are reproduced by serial collectives the milieu of action. The milieu is the already-there set of material things and collectivized habits against the background of which any particular action occurs.

-- counterfinalities

Serialized action within the milieu results in counterfinalities: the confluence of individual intentional actions to produce a result that is counter to some purposes and that no one intended

-- experienced constrains

Members of the series experience themselves as powerless to alter this material milieu, and they understand that the others in the series are equally constrained. ...... Objectives can be realized only through the mediation of already there things, practices, and structures.

-- a unity "in flight" (a blurry, shifting unity, an amorphous collective)

While serial membership delimits and constrains an individual's possible actions, it does not define the person's identity in the sense of forming his or her individual purposes, projects, and sense of self in relation to others

==> SUM

A series is a collective whose members are unifed passively by the relation their actions have to material objects and practico-inert histories...Self-conscious groups arise from and on the basis of serialized existence

【feminism的底色是不满和寻求改变,但是要接受和理解那些对feminism没有认同的人,那些对现状另有看法的人;而在feminism内部,是否应当偏向于feminism of difference而不是feminism of equality呢?最大的批评是,feminism of difference其实掩盖了女权的政治意涵,equality和difference两者之间应当有先后关系;女权主义者是否有义务“启蒙”和“动员”非女权主义的女性?】



Seriality and women

seriality designates a certain level of social existence and relations with others, the level of routine, habitual action, which is rule-bound and socially structured but serves as a prereflective background to action. Seriality is lived as medium or as milieu, where action is directed at particular ends that presuppose the series without taking them up self-consciously
Women are the individuals who are positioned as feminine by the activities surrounding those structures and objects

the practico-inert realities that construct gender

female bodies......a rule-bound body
The assumptions and practices of heterosexuality define the meaning of bodies--vaginas, clitorises, penises--not as mere physical objects but as practico-inert......heterosexuality as a set of material-ideological facts that constitute woman cross-culturally
A vast complex of other objects......Pronouns......Verbal and visual representations......A multitude of artifacts and social spaces......Clothes......Sexual division of labor......The offices, workstations, locker rooms, uniforms, and instruments of a partifular activity presuppose a certain sex. The language, gestures, and rituals of exclusion or inclusion of persons in activities reproduce the divisions by attracting people to or repelling people from those activities

serial anonymous facticity

......the level of gender as series is a background to rather than constitutive of personal or group identity......




【MY THOUGHT: is the problem of identity avoidable at all? 当我们思考强奸的问题时,必须考虑受害者的心理状况,the psychic life of power,譬如,为什么女人会幻想被强奸,为什么有些女人无法拒绝强奸犯,为什么被强奸的女人在心理上容易走上自我毁灭的路,为什么有些女人要强迫自己爱上强奸自己的人,当Young把女性当成一个seriality,这些practico-inert object的externality只片面地道出了女性性的真相,它延续了主体的内外之界分,这界分实际上是幻想,是necessary illusion,在她这里,人是人,人作为原型踏入了女性性的身份,但是在拉康那里,这些给practico-inert object赋予意义的语言,这些能指,正是subject赖以存在的背景,一个女人,在婴儿牙牙学语的时候,就已经在变成女人了,性别和主体是同时出现的,这些object和subject是不可分的

我认为,女人身份和无产阶级身份的根本区别,就在于无意识在其中的影响,Young的这篇文章很好地道出了两者的相似点,但这作为feminism的政治指导是不够的,她自己也说,feminist politics必然是偏颇的。用seriality的account来解决essentialism的问题,有可能根本忽略了feminism作为一种政治的特殊性,忽略了无意识在其中的地位,是将feminism作为普通政治,未反思/分析的政治来处理了,feminism是否不可能通过传统的抗争方式,即示威,革命等,而必须创造新的文化和政治范式,来达成自己的最终目的呢?

另外,Young的假设之一,是她所列出的practico-inert object,如female rule-bound body, pronoun, clothes, division of labor, verbal and visual representation,是已经知道的既有知识,她并没有说明这种知识是怎么产生的,应当指出的是,拉康说无意识是一种surprise,是一个gap,是主体混乱的展现,我的假设是,这种展现不是一个下意识的过程,而是无意识的呈现,无意识作为一种冲突告知主体语言中的问题、一种不合时宜的意识形态,一个不利于主体整全性的结构,通过主体的歇斯底里,通过他的症状来标志,这些标志在Young的理论中是沉默的

譬如,女性的非公民身份是如何成为一个不可接受的问题的,女性的独立是如何成为一种新范式的,身份地位的平等是如何成为一种政治正确的,这些都没有很好地回答,于是,rapeability成为首要问题,但是the embedded complexity of the desire for rape就是一个伪问题,一个次要问题,谁来界定这些practico-inert object的内核,这本身就是一个政治过程,我觉得许多女权的政纲,带着emotion的表述,譬如Friedman的The Feminine Mystique,讲家庭主妇的精神世界,正是这种practico-inert object透过无意识成为政治问题的揭示过程】

1. individuals

No individual woman's identity, then, will escape the markings of gender, but how gender marks her life is her own......Women need have nothing in common in their individual lives to be serialized as women

2. groups

Once groups form and take action, they either institutionalize themselves by establishing meetings, leaders, decision-making structures, methods of acquiring and expending resources, and so on, or they disperse back into seriality......Feminism is a particularly reflexive impulse of women grouping, women grouping as women in order to change or eliminate the structures that serialize them as women......a serial structure that conditions her own position and that she aims to politicize

3. subseries

there are also social and historical subseries......Feminist politics and theory refers to or gestures toward this serial reality......groupings of women will always be partial in relation to the series

4. feminist politics

......feminist politics must be coalition politics......We should maintain our humility by recognizing that partiality and by remaining open to inquiring about the facts of the series beyond us

《Justice and the Politics of Difference》的全部笔记 2篇
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