question of what it means to speak for an-other. I explore that question in relation to philosophers like Linda Alcoff, Iris Marion Young, and Gayatri Spivak, and. ; revised and reprinted in Who Can Speak? Authority and Critical Identity edited by Judith Roof and Robyn Wiegman, University of Illinois Press, ; and . The Problem of Speaking for Others. Author(s): Linda Alcoff. Source: Cultural Critique, No. 20 (Winter, ), pp. Published by: University of.

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For examples of anthropologist’s concern with this issue see Writing Culture: The unspoken premise here is simply that a speaker’s location is epistemically salient. If I should not speak for others, should I restrict myself to following their lead uncritically?

In particular, is it ever valid to speak for others who are unlike me or who are less privileged than me? The dominant modernist view alcpff been that truth represents a relationship of correspondence between a proposition and an extra-discursive reality. He lectures instead on architecture. Fog, the effect of a U. This question has come up for speqking repeatedly in my own research on feminist magazines like BUST and Bitch.

The meaning of any discursive event will be shifting and plural, fragmented and even inconsistent.

Linda Bell – unknown. In the next section I shall consider some of the principal responses offered to the problem of speaking for others.

That is, they will obtain for a very specific location and cannot be taken as universal. Thus, her argument does not fall into a self-referential incoherence. It is not always the case that when others unlike me speak for me I have ended up worse off, or that when we speak for others they end up worse off.

Thus, the question of whether location bears simply on what is taken to be true or what is really true, and whether such a distinction can be upheld, involves the very difficult problem of the meaning of truth. To the extent that this context bears on meaning, and meaning is in some sense the object of truth, we cannot make an epistemic evaluation of the claim without simultaneously assessing the politics of the situation.


What is at stake in rejecting or validating speaking for others as a discursive practice?

Added to PP index Total downloads 10, of 2, Recent downloads 6 months 31 13, of 2, How can I increase my downloads? Cameron’s intentions were never in question, but the effects of her writing were argued to be harmful to the needs of Native authors because it is Cameron rather than they who will be listened to and whose books will be bought by readers interested in Native women.

The source of a claim or discursive practice in suspect motives or maneuvers or in privileged social locations, I have argued, though it is always relevant, cannot be sufficient to repudiate it. I don’t have answers to any of the questions that you’ve raised, but I really love these spaces for dwelling with the complexities of the ethics of self- representation.

On the Problem of Speaking for Others – Hook & Eye

Science Logic and Mathematics. But first I need to explain further my problek of the problem. This is simply what less-privileged persons have always had to do for ourselves when reading the history of philosophy, literature, etc.

If one’s immediate impulse is to teach rather than listen to a less-privileged speaker, one should resist that impulse long enough to interrogate it carefully.

Urbana, Chicago, and Springfield: This view works only up to a point. Two elements within these rituals will deserve our attention: The point is not that for some speakers the danger of speaking for others does not arise, but that in some cases certain political effects can be garnered in no other way.

The complexity and multiplicity of group identifications could result in “communities” composed of single individuals. Not only what is emphasized, noticed, and how it is understood will be affected by the location of both speaker and hearer, but the truth-value or epistemic status will also be affected.

Thus, how what is said gets heard depends on who says it, and who says it will affect the style and language in which it is stated. Spaces in which it may seem as if it is impossible to engage in dialogic encounters need to be transformed in order to do so, such as classrooms, hospitals, workplaces, welfare agencies, universities, institutions for international development and aid, and governments.


Jason Wyckoff – – Philosophical Quarterly 65 The content of the claim, or its meaning, emerges in interaction between words and hearers within a very specific historical situation.

While the “Charge of Reductionism” response has been popular among academic theorists, what I call the “Retreat” response has been popular among some sections of the U. First of all, it can be limiting to make it necessary for people to belong to certain groups in order to permit them to speak; secondly, I think it is dangerous to demand a coherence between academic and personal life; third, self-identification can be dangerous for some people so ‘outing’ others or ourselves can have serious consequences.

On the Problem of Speaking for Others

In other words, some persons are accorded discursive authority because they are respected leaders or because they are teachers in a classroom and know more about the material at hand. The need for an interrogation of one’s location exists with every discursive event by any speaker, but given the lopsidedness of current “dialogues” it seems especially important to push for this among the privileged, who sometimes seem to want to study everybody’s social and cultural construction but their own.

Spezking may seem an odd way to begin discussing how to speak for, but the point is that ths impetus to always be the speaker and to speak in all situations must be seen for what it is: The claim here that “truth is connected to politics” follows necessarily from Premise 1.

But as Maria Lugones and others have forcefully argued, such an act serves no good end when it is used as a disclaimer against one’s ignorance or errors and is othees without critical interrogation of the bearing of cor an autobiography on what is about to be said.