The politics of representation

Because I’m trying to clear some tabs, here’s a useful definition of representation I found and need to read more about:

As Gilles Deleuze […] has argued, the politics of representation which currently predominates is not interested in representing as the term is commonly understood; it is no process of ‘speaking on behalf of’, but rather one of silencing; one of crushing difference in favour of identities constructed by those in positions of power. In this instance, the diverse, plural and problematic identities of those marching have been collapsed into the creation of a majority which cannot speak for itself.

From Anarchists: ‘unemployable layabout scum’? at Ballots & Bullets

One of the difficult things about doing an interdisciplinary PhD is the amount of catchup in other areas you have to do. My background is in linguistics rather than history, politics or sociology. As such, it’s a joy to come across something like this – not only should it lead to a citable text for my thesis (gotta catch em all!), but it also shows that my thinking isn’t completely out of step with theorists in these different areas.

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5 Comments

  1. Pingback: How to erase identities and make everyone bad guys « mixosaurus

  2. I just want to know which book/article this quote of Gilles Deleuze is taken from “the politics of representation which currently predominates is not interested in representing as the term is commonly understood; it is no process of ‘speaking on behalf of’, but rather one of silencing; one of crushing difference in favour of identities constructed by those in positions of power. In this instance, the diverse, plural and problematic identities of those marching have been collapsed into the creation of a majority which cannot speak for itself”.

    • Hi, thanks for your question. The quote is taken from the blog post I linked to, but the concept itself is taken for the discussion of the rhizome versus linear structures in Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus. I discuss this in the context of diverse protester identities of my forthcoming book – let me know if you’d like me to send you the bits that go into detail on this,

      • Hi Kat. Thanks very much for the reply. I am interested to know a little about marginal identities. The quote by Deleuze struck me. I will read it and use it in a paper. Thanks again.

        • Lots of people have written about marginal identities – it would help if you were more specific about what you are interested in.

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