Subjectivity: Theories of the Self from Freud to Haraway

By Nick Mansfield | Go to book overview
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Series introduction

THEORIES OF SUBJECTIVITY have been crucial to the Cultural Studies project: from Raymond Williams' theorising of lived experience in 'structures of feeling' to the focus on identities by Stuart Hall and his 'minimal selves'; from feminist approaches such as Elspeth Probyn towards the 'sexed self to the 'mimicry' of the colonial in Homi Bhabha's work. 1 And while Cultural Studies has produced its own theories of the subject, it has also been confronted by the 'death of the subject' ( Foucault); the rejection of the 'subject of feminism' ( Butler) or faced with the 'oriental other' (Said) who is never the subject of the West.Subjects have sought to enter culture through theory while others have exited. Indeed, it could be argued that Cultural Studies, even at its most political and deconstructive, is the intellectual field that has remained most concerned with theorising the subject.While contemporary discourses of medicine, media and the law have largely become postmodern, in the sense of strategic, global and effective, there is little left of the subject, or the question of the self, that is not also a disposable, reiteration of the same structures of power. Thus, the very idea of theorising the subject, of asking how the idea of a self has been thought and represented as this book does, can only

Raymond Williams Politics and Letters (Verso, London, 1979). Stuart Hall 'Minimal Selves' The Real Me: Postmodernism and the Question of Identity (ICA Documents, No. 6, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 1987). Elspeth Probyn Sexing the Self: Gendered Positions in Cultural Studies (Routledge, London and New York, 1993). Homi Bhabha The Location of Culture (Routledge, London and New York, 1994).


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