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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But first I need to explain further my framing of the problem.

On the Problem of Speaking for Others

The source of a claim or discursive practice in suspect motives or maneuvers or in privileged social locations, I have wpeaking, though it is always relevant, cannot be sufficient to repudiate it. Still, we can know some of the effects our speech generates: Although we cannot maintain a neutral voice, according to the first premise we may at least all claim the right and legitimacy to speak. Jason Wyckoff – – Philosophical Quarterly 65 Donald Bouchard and Sherry Simon Ithaca: But this development should problek be taken as an absolute dis-authorization of all practices of speaking for.

When we sit down to write, or get up speakinv speak, we experience ourselves as making choices. This last bit is inspired by some people I know who are in the fields of social work and psychology who do research on sex workers and the sex trade industry.

Linda Martin Alcoff, The problem of speaking for others – PhilPapers

According to Spivak, Speakijg and Deleuze’s self-abnegation serves only to conceal the actual authorizing power of the retreating intellectuals, who in their very retreat help to consolidate a particular conception of experience as transparent and self-knowing.

Others have been taught the opposite and will speak haltingly, with apologies, if they speak at all. After the elections in Panama are overturned by Manuel Noriega, U.


Often the possibility of dialogue is left unexplored or inadequately pursued by more privileged persons. When meaning is plural and deferred, we can never hope to know the totality of effects.

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

I can find out, for example, that the people I spoke for are angry that I did so or appreciative. It comes up in research, teaching, and activist contexts. It has long been noted that existing communication technologies have the potential to produce these kinds of interaction even though research and development teams have not found it advantageous under capitalism to do so.

Given that truth is connected to politics, these political differences between locations will produce epistemic differences as well. Links Contact Blog Online Writing. Edited by Milton K.

Since no embodied speaker can produce more than a partial account, and since the process of producing meaning is necessarily collective, everyone’s account within a specified community needs to be encouraged. 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.

Singing in the Fire: Aldoff the case of Anne Cameron, if the effects of her books are truly disempowering for Native women, they are counterproductive to Cameron’s own stated intentions, and she should indeed “move over.

The problem of speaking for others is a social one, the options available to us are socially constructed, and the practices we engage in cannot be understood as simply the results of autonomous individual choice. This seems to be a running theme in what are sometimes called “minority discourses” these days: Some have come forward as former workers, but I wonder what impact that has on their careers and on their conceptualizations of their spaces as safe.

Anthropology’s Interlocutors” Critical Inquiry To say that location bears on meaning and truth is not the same as speakong that location determines meaning and truth. And they would be right that acknowledging the effect of location on meaning and even on whether something is taken as true within a particular discursive context does not entail that the “actual” truth of the claim is contingent upon its context.


The Problem of Speaking For Others

On one view, the author of a text is its “owner” and “originator” credited with creating its ideas and with being their authoritative interpreter.

Lina I acknowledge that the listener’s social location will affect the meaning of my words, I can more effectively generate the meaning I intend. Speakers may seek to regain control here by taking into account the a,coff of their speech, but they can never know everything about this context, and with written and electronic communication it is becoming dor difficult to know anything at all about the context of reception. Cornell University Press, 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.

The dominant modernist view has been that truth represents a relationship of correspondence between a proposition and an extra-discursive reality. Simple unanalyzed disclaimers do not improve on this familiar situation and may speakiny make it worse to the extent that by offering such information the speaker may feel otheds more authorized to speak and be accorded more authority by his peers.

He lectures instead on architecture. In some cases, the motivation is perhaps not so much to avoid criticism as to avoid errors, and the person believes that the only way to avoid errors is to avoid all speaking for others.