Economics Dictionary of Arguments

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Author Item Summary Meta data
Brocker I 713
History/Historiography/Narration/Spivak: Thesis: In the historiography of the entire colonial period up to the present, uprisings were repeatedly condemned as aimless and unorganized acts of violence and shifted into the criminal terrain. In the absence of any institutional confirmation, it was not possible for the subalterns (see Classes/Gramsci) to represent themselves or to assert their interests. The independence of the resistance fighters was presented as the sole success of the national elite. (1)
Solution/Spivak: a narrative of the "story from below", e.g. the project of the South Asian Subaltern Studies Group, see Guha (2).
Brocker I 714
SpivakVs: Spivak again criticizes the construction of a smooth, subversive and resistant subaltern subjectivity that does not exist in this form. Rather, this is still due to the view of a rather classical-Marxist approach. Spivak calls this tendency positivistic.
SpivakVsPositivism: Spivak denies the possibility of neither the production of subaltern consciousness or will as a positive presence from the colonial archives.
Problem: the trap consists in an attempt to carry out a Marxist analysis in such a way that the former class struggles are simply replaced by the uprisings of the subalterns. (3)
Problem: with this, the subalterns are again instrumentalized as insurgent agents of socio-political transformation within a bourgeois-humanist model.
Solution/Spivak: instead, this should be about a new focus that is interested in locating and inscribing the heterogeneous subject positions.


1. Vgl. G. Ch. Spivak, IN other Words. Essays in Cultural Politics, New York/London 1988 S. 245.
2. Ranajit Guha, Elementary Aspects of Peasant Insurgery in Colonial India, Delhi 1983.
3. Vgl. Ileana Rodriguez, “Reading Subalterns across Texts, Disciplines and Theories. From Representation to Recognition”, in: I. Rodriguez (Ed.), The Latin American Subaltern Studies Reader 2001, S. 5f.


Nikita Dhawan, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak “Can the subaltern speak?” in: Manfred Brocker (Hg.) Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt/M. 2018


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

PolSpiv I
Gayatri Ch. Spivak
Subaltern Studies. Deconstructing Historiography New York/Oxford 1988

Brocker I
Manfred Brocker
Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert Frankfurt/M. 2018


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