From where do I speak > 11/04/18

From where do I speak

From where do I speak? is a question that has been bugging me for quite some time. In an increasingly complex world, the answer is not simple. The parameters of present-day identity politics is reductive while not absent in the place from where I speak; I am Swedish, a woman, hetero, white, a PhD, mother, grandmother, single. According to my education, I am middle-class. According to my bank account I belong to the precariate. And I come from the working class. This is what is seen in the mirror, in the one-dimensionality of the mirror. But, there is more.

I remember back in the days when the I was considered a given, it was then controversial when Marxist analyses, feminist and queer theory, post-colonial and race theory started questioning that assumption. Today we no longer question the impact of class, gender, sexual preferences, ethnicity and so on and how these parameters play a part in the constitution of our identities. But, there is more. Not that I am above my historicity, the time and place where I have lived, where I live, my historical being in the world which is all part of my subjectivity, of the place from where I speak. Yet we all carry our individual histories, a palimpsest of layers upon layers of experience, of thoughts, of knowledge, and of encounters that constitute my subjectivity.

Identity is carefully elaborated by the ego, an imaginary construct that positions me vis-a-vis others in the social, in the symbolic, in the one-dimensionality of the mirror. Subjectivity is the palimpsest of the knowledge and experience the speaking body carries, it (dis)positions me. That’s when I feel like an anomaly, when the mirror the symbolic holds up to me does not reflect my subjectivity.

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