To what extent do you examine your particular struggles within a larger societal framework?
Entering my first semester of PhD study, I’m rethinking the basics of sociological analysis, rereading some Pitts-Taylor, Kalifia and Deleuze and talking with others about historic moments happening in our time and, as usual, some identity politics.
Aside from the usual notion that our identity exists only when held up to mirrors (other people), those of us existing in the third-wave, post-modern circle often discuss both locatedness and non-locatedness of certain bodies, sexualities and genders. However, escaping the usual circularity between object and subject is only a dream for the privileged. To get out of the context of body being linked to nature through, for example, human-technology hybrids is something applicable to very few and even those who do ‘push the envelope’ through new radical body modification or through rethinking sex and gender must do so within existing patterns of power.
More ‘down-to-earth’ – wise, many of us face struggles on a daily basis that others would like to convince us are all about our individual destiny, fight, what have you. The more clear it becomes that societal patterns make a difference, the more likely those in power are to push the individualized approach – example: obesity is about what’s wrong with you, not about stratification of food access or access to exersise + healthcare.
So, when you consider your personal problems/struggles, do you generally think about how your particular set of identities (your race, class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, ability, mental health, age, etc.) fits into a larger structure and whether you’re riding out a particular era?