Alcoff’s widely-cited article titled, exactly: “The problem of speaking for others.” Alcoff’s essay is a review of the arguments that have been presented by. ; revised and reprinted in Who Can Speak? Authority and Critical Identity edited by Judith Roof and Robyn Wiegman, University of Illinois Press, ; and . The Problem of Speaking for Others. Author(s): Linda Alcoff. Source: Cultural Critique, No. 20 (Winter, ), pp. Published by: University of.

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Looking merely at the content of a set of claims without looking at their effects cannot produce an adequate or even meaningful evaluation of it, and this is partly because the notion of a content separate from effects does not hold up.

There are two premises implied by fog articulation of the problem, and unpacking these should advance our understanding of the issues involved. Our ability to assess the effects of a given discursive event is limited; our ability to predict these effects is even more difficult. Lee – – Hypatia 26 2: Linda Bell – unknown.

Linda Martin Alcoff, The problem of speaking for others – PhilPapers

But Spivak is also rhe of speaking for which engages in dangerous re-presentations. Edited by Linda L. George Marcus and Michael Fischer Chicago: Urbana, Chicago, and Springfield: In feminist magazines such as Sojournerit is common to find articles and letters in which the author states that she can only speak for herself.

Constructing hypotheses about the possible connections between our location and our words is one way to begin. I don’t have answers to any of the questions that you’ve raised, but I really love these spaces for dwelling with the tohers of the ethics of self- representation. Linda Nicholson New York, Routledge,p. So it might be argued that the retreat from speaking for others can be maintained without sacrificing political effectivity if it is restricted to particular discursive spaces.

I hope that this analysis will contribute toward rather than diminish the important discussion going on today about how to develop strategies for a more equitable, just distribution of the probem to speak and be heard. Intersectionality in Philosophy of Gender, Race, and Sexuality. In particular, is it ever valid to speak for others who are unlike me or who are less privileged than me? In post-structuralist terms, I am participating in the construction of their subject-positions rather than simply discovering their true selves.


Added to PP index Total downloads 10, of 2, Recent downloads 6 months 31 13, of 2, How can I increase my downloads? This effect occurs because the speaker is positioned as authoritative and empowered, as the knowledgeable subject, while the group in the Third World is reduced, merely because of the structure of the speaking practice, to an object and victim that must be championed from afar. Problek in which it may seem as if it is impossible to engage in dialogic encounters need to be transformed in order to do so, such as classrooms, hospitals, workplaces, welfare agencies, cor, institutions for international development and aid, and governments.

And they would be right that acknowledging the effect of location on meaning and even on whether something is taken as true within a particular discursive context does foe entail that the “actual” truth of the claim is contingent upon its context.

Feminist scholarship has a liberatory agenda which almost requires that women scholars speak on behalf of other women, and yet the dangers of speaking across differences of race, culture, sexuality, and power are becoming increasingly clear to all. For this reason, the sppeaking of privileged authors who speak on behalf of the oppressed is becoming increasingly criticized by members of those oppressed groups themselves.

Vostral and Kate Boyer.

The Problem of Speaking For Others

While the “Charge of Reductionism” response has been popular among academic theorists, what I call the “Retreat” response has been popular among some sections of the U.

Such a desire for mastery and immunity must be resisted. In the next section I shall consider some of the principal responses offered to the problem of speaking for others. Find it on Scholar. These associations tor an effect, an effect of producing distrust on the part of some Third World spealing, an effect of reinscribing semi-conscious imperialist attitudes on the part of some first world feminists.

When I “speak for myself” I am participating in the creation and reproduction of discourses through which my own and other selves are constituted. The complexity and multiplicity of group identifications could result in “communities” composed of single individuals.

On the Problem of Speaking for Others

In their paper Lugones and Spelman explore the way in which the “demand for the women’s voice” disempowered women of color by not attending to the differences in privilege within the category of women, resulting in a privileging of white women’s voices only.


That is, they will obtain for a very specific location and cannot be taken as universal. But a retreat from speaking for will not result in an increase in receptive listening in all cases; it may result merely in a retreat into a narcissistic yuppie lifestyle in which a privileged person takes no responsibility for her society whatsoever.

The source of a claim or discursive practice in suspect motives or maneuvers or in privileged social locations, I have argued, though it is always relevant, cannot be sufficient to repudiate it.

Those alcodf are not in a position of speaking at all cannot retreat from an action otjers do not employ.

For examples of anthropologist’s concern with this issue see Writing Culture: Moreover, making the decision for oneself whether or not to retreat is an extension or application of privilege, not an abdication of it. Thus, the problem with speaking for others exists in the very structure of discursive practice, irrespective of its content, and subverting the hierarchical rituals of speaking will always have some liberatory effects.

We certainly want to encourage a more receptive listening on the part of the discursively privileged and to discourage presumptuous and oppressive practices of speaking for. The remainder of this paper will try to contribute toward developing that possibility. It is the latter sources of authority that I am referring to by the term “privilege. I agree with her on this point but I would emphasize also that ignoring the subaltern’s or oppressed person’s speech is, as she herself notes, “to continue the imperialist project.

The Problem of Speaking for Others by Karen Lo on Prezi

This question is important, regardless of whether you claim membership in that community or not, but is particularly salient for identity groups that have seen their histories erased, distorted, or only partially represented within dominant culture. Speaknig second claim holds that not only is location epistemically salient, but certain privileged locations are discursively dangerous.

The unspoken premise here is simply that a speaker’s location is epistemically salient.

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