QotD: “In postmodernism, the personal, rather than being the political, becomes only and exclusively the personal”

Postmodernists take great pains to elaborate on every nuance of every social system that has been constructed. There is great emphasis on constructions arising from particular places in the social order – a white rich American man will ascribe to a worldview that confirms and legitimizes his position. This is nothing new – radical feminists had this insight years ago – social systems profoundly shape and determine people’s lives in ways that don’t seem readily apparent – even intimate and personal aspects of people’s lives such as gender roles, sexuality, even their sense of self.

Mantilla, K. 1999 “Let them eat text: the real politics of postmodernism”, off our backs, Vol.29, No.8, p.7

In postmodernism, the personal, rather than being the political, becomes only and exclusively the personal – any attempt to create bonds between oppressed individuals or to raise consciousness about how individual experiences are really reflective of larger social forces is reinterpreted as silencing other voices.

Mantilla, K. 1999 “Let them eat text: the real politics of postmodernism”, off our backs, Vol.29, No.8, p.7

By demonizing binarisms, the effect is to stifle clear articulate speech. People become so mired in trying to avoid choosing one thing over another that they are rendered incapable of sustaining a passionate conviction on any topic.

Mantilla, K. 1999 “Let them eat text: the real politics of postmodernism”, off our backs, Vol.29, No.8, p.7

Instead there is much attention to individual acts of transgression of conventional social norms as a way of highlighting that social norms are constructed and not natural or inevitable. This kind of rebellion in postmodernism is a very isolated activity – it consists of individuals taking it upon themselves to fight battles all alone. There is not an emphasis among postmodern theorists for building a critical mass of people united in a social movement which could begin to effect changes at the social level

Mantilla, K. 1999 “Let them eat text: the real politics of postmodernism”, off our backs, Vol.29, No.8, p.7

(All found at The Colour of Pomegranates)

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