Dictionary of Arguments

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Author Item Summary Meta data
Brocker I 711
Emancipation/Postcolonialism/Spivak: Spivak warns against a nostalgic representation of the subalterns as resistance subjects with clear intentions. It doesn't make sense to her "to romanticize individual heroes on the side of oppression." (1) See History/Spivak, Classes/Gramsci.
Brocker I 721
Spivak thesis: the subaltern resistance has always been tortured by the hegemonic systems of political representation (see Representation/Spivak). In this respect, the statement means that the subalterns cannot speak, even if they try, they are not heard. (2) This in no way means that the subaltern woman has no political power whatsoever. It is not about the speechlessness of the subalterns, but about the hegemonic structure of hearing.
VsSpivak: with her text she again stabilizes the stereotype of the silent and passive non-western subject. (3)(4)


1.G. Ch. Spivak, „Three Women’s Texts and a Critique of Imperialism“ in: Critical Inquiry 12/1, 1985, S. 253 (Übersetz. v. N. Dhawan).
2. G. Ch. Spivak, The Spivak Reader. Selected Works of G. Ch. Spivak, hg. V. Donna Landry/Gerald Maclean, New York/London, 1996, S. 292.
3. Bruce Robbins, “The East is a Career. Edward Said and the Logics of Professionalism”, in: Michael Sprinker (Ed.) Edward Said. A Critical Reader, Malden/Oxford 1992, S. 50.
4. Benita Parry, Postcolonial Studies. A Materialist Critique, London/New York 2004, S. 23.


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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