Difference between Foucault, Derrida and Said

November 17, 2008

“And yet, the geographical and cultural parameters for Said’s poststructuralist ‘demonstration’ are, as I have been arguing, radically different from those deployed by Foucault and Derrida in their revisionist critique of Western epistemology and cultural hegemony. For while these poststructuralist luminaries challenge the conceptual boundaries of the West from within Western culture, they are, as Homi Bhabha writes, notoriously and self-consciously ethnocentric in their refusal to push these boundaries ‘to the colonial periphery; to that limit where the west must face a peculiarly displaced and decentred image of itself “in double duty bound”, at once a civilizing mission and a violent subjugating force’ (Bhabha, 1986, p.148).”

(Ghandi, Leela, 1998:72)


Ghandi, Leela, 1998. Postcolonial theory: a critical introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 



Re-membering the Colonial Past

October 19, 2008

In his comments on Frants Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks, the postcolonial critic, Homi Bhabha, announces that memory is the necessary and sometimes hazardous bridge between colonialism and the question of cultural identity. Remembering, he writes, ‘is never a quiet act of introspection or retrospection. It is a painful re-membering, a putting together of the dismembered past to make sense of the trauma of the present’ (Bhabha, 1994, p.63).

(Ghandi, 1998:9)


– Bhabha, 1994. The location of culture. London: Routledge.


Ghandi, L. 1998. Postcolonial theory: a critical introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Barthes and Intertextuality in Place-Making

September 7, 2008

“Barthes claims that he coud not have written about a truly fictive place because he does not possess sufficient agency independent of the structure of language to create anything strictly original. He is left to choose among the elements of a place that already exists from which to produce his imagined geography. […] Barthes’ descriptions… as he claims, in truth, they do not represent the reality… Instead these selected images represent the difference which Barthes desires from his engagement with the non-western cultural system; they are the favoured aspects of a plethora of signification whihc produces the place/idea…” (Sharp, 2000:330)

Sharp, J., 2000. Towards a critical analysis of fictive geographies. Area, 32(3):327-334.

On (Assumptions/Limits of) Normal Biopolitical Body

August 29, 2008

“The various techniques of power/knowledge assume individuals to be normal also in the sense that they can be normalized. To be normalizeable, a person must fulfill a very particular biopolitical condition. Techniques of biopower and governmentality presuppose that individuals will be susceptible to the inducements and deterents of various sorts that authorities use to try to shape behaviour.” (Hannah, 2006:629)

Hannah, M., 2006. Torture and the ticking bomb: the war on terrorism as a geographical imagination of power/knowledge. Annals of the association of American geographers, 96(3):622-640.

On Terrorism and Threat

August 29, 2008

“It is this world of compulsory freedom, a vast, differentiated, and complicated regulatory and self-regulatory life of modern populations composed of disciplinary institutions, social statistics, welfare and public health legislation, insurance technologies, self help schemes, neoliberal responsibilization programs, as well as the material infrastructures for all of these, that is threatened by terrorism.” (Hannah, 2006:628)

Hannah, M., 2006. Torture and the ticking bomb: the war on terrorism as a geographical imagination of power/knowledge. Annals of the association of American geographers, 96(3):622-640.

Cultural Differences & Violence

August 27, 2008

“The emphasis on cultural differences – the attempt to hod the Other at a distance while claiming toc ross the interpretive divide – produces a diagram in which violence has its origins in ‘their’ space… while the impulse to understand is confined to our ‘space’, which is constructed as open, unitary and generous” (Gregory, 2008:37)

Gregory, D., 2008. The rush to the intimate: counterinsurgency and the cultural turn in late modern war. Available from: http://web.mac.com/derekgregory/iWeb/Site/The%20cultural%20turn%20and%20late%20modern%20war.html/. [27 Aug 2008].

On Body Politics and Liveable Life

August 26, 2008

“Bodies undo us because their significance exceeds our reach; their meaning derives from the norms of gender and sexuality, norms that get (re)articulated in culture, in society, in politics. Butler’s politics centres on the operation of norms, not because she ignores bodies, but precisely because she recognises the role that norms must play in any body politics […] And the struggle to be conceived as persons – that is, the struggle to make possible a liveable life – cannot take the body for granted. While such a politics will grant that the body is ‘ours’ (i.e. that one has rights to it), this politics must insist that the body also proves to be ‘not ours’. And such a politics must focus attention on how those norms that make life liveable in some bodies and unliveable in others.” (Chambers & Carver, 2008:71-72)

Chambers, S., A.; Carver, T., 2008. Judith Butler and political theory: troubling politics. London: Routledge.