During today’s crisis in Turkey, victimhood authorises oppression, oppressors see themselves as victims and the oppressed are not only the poor, but educated middle classes. Citizen and state are imbricated in the same political and discursive fields where people mobilise against one another, some moving up and others down, creating unexpected landscapes of victimisation and oppression that do not fit comfortably in literature that analyses ‘politics from below’. How do we conceptualise this in a way that respects people’s understanding of their coordinates in a complex landscape of power? This article interrogates some basic assumptions of this literature, including the impact of the observer’s position and the oppression/resistance framework, replacing it with a model of politics as a shared horizontal topography of action across a terrain of values.
Mapping the Topography of Oppression
A Critical Historiography of the Language of Medieval Women's Oppression
Paula M. Rieder
This article examines the development of language used to describe the oppression of medieval women—particularly the terms patriarchy and misogyny—and its connection with the women's movement of the late twentieth century. It argues that the broad application of the word misogyny by medieval historians to describe a wide spectrum of anti-feminine attitudes and the tendency to understand misogyny and patriarchy as coterminous are inaccurate and problematic. The article supports this position first with an analysis of medieval clerical texts that use the common medieval linkage of women with sex and pollution. The analysis suggests that the usage of this negative linkage is not always misogynistic. The article then analyzes three medieval sermon collections intended for preaching to lay audiences and suggests that the sermons, though androcentric or paternalistic and so in some sense patriarchal, are not misogynistic.
I will explore the relationship between female sexuality and the oppression of Native individuals in contemporary Canadian society. Through a close analytical reading of Tomson Highway’s play, Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing (referred to as
A Dialectic on Freedom
firmly in a masculine imaginary, as the expression of her existentialism includes Sartre’s language of freedom, transcendence and projects which, Le Dœuff goes on to argue, sit in tension with discussions of oppression. Sonia Kruks argues, however, that
A Sartrean Contribution to Resisting Racial Injustice
Justin I. Fugo
This paper develops an account of racism as rooted in social structural processes. Using Sartre, I attempt to give a general analysis of what I refer to as the “structures” of our social world, namely the practico-inert, serial collectives, and social groups. I then apply this analysis to expose and elucidate “racist structures,” specifically those that are oftentimes assumed to be ‘race neutral’. By highlighting structures of racial oppression and domination, I aim to justify: 1) the imperative of creating conditions free from oppression and domination, over the adherence to ‘ideal’ principles which perpetuate racial injustice; 2) the shared responsibility we have collectively to resist and transform social structural processes that continue to produce racial injustice.
Ronald E. Santoni
In this article, I maintain that (1) Sartre's views on violence are ambivalent and (2) Sartre sometimes justifies violence. More specifically, I attempt to establish the misreadings by Michael Fleming and Marguerite LaCaze (on whom Fleming relies) of both my writing and Sartre's in these regards. Each, by arguing that, for Sartre, violence is “sometimes acceptable” or “functionally necessary” or “understandable,” but not morally justifiable, is ignoring Sartre's tendency at times to skirt the issue of justifiability by employing “weasel words” that amount to justification. Both critics seem to forget that Sartre says that, on occasion, violence “could be called just” (qu'on pourrait appeler juste), especially in conditions of last resort defense against oppression, in which case violence, according to Sartre, can restore and regenerate the oppressed. Further, although I acknowledge Fleming's noteworthy emphasis on “structural violence,” I offer considerable counterevidence against his (and LaCaze's) claim that I ignore or slight Sartre's concern for it. I argue, on Sartrean grounds, against his (and Zizek's) claim that structural violence can be purely objective. Finally, I contend that in arguing that Sartre's views are not strictly ambivalent, Fleming, following LaCaze, makes the error of equating “consistency” with not being ambivalent.
Is Liberation without Freedom Possible?
, with the liberation of a people from an external dictator, anarchistic terrorism seems to belong to another order altogether, in which the conditions of intolerable oppression are exacerbated by the organizational incapacity of the oppressed to achieve
Pedro Alexis Tabensky
In Black Skin, White Masks Frantz Fanon discusses the neurotic condition that typifies the oppressed black subject, their 'psychoexistential complex'. He argues that this neurotic condition is closely related to another, the 'psychoexistential complex' of the white oppressor. Both of these complexes sustain and are sustained by social and economic injustice. But Fanon does not delve in detail into the nature of this second neurosis, for he was primarily interested in discussing this neurosis only insofar as it helps him understand the first. My aim in this paper is to provide an account of the white neurosis, and why it should be understood literally as a neurotic condition. Typical, white oppressors, not solely those who are militantly committed to oppressing others, are alienated from the world and from themselves, making their behaviour seem like that of soulless dolls, to use J.M. Coetzee's image from Age of Iron.
What ought beneficiaries of injustice to do with the privileges unjustly conferred upon them? This article examines how those who have been privileged as a consequence of injustice can best contribute to struggles for justice. In particular, I ask whether we ought to renounce privileges which have been unjustly conferred, or whether it may be better to use such privileges in ways that help bring about justice. The article engages in particular with feminist literature on the topic of privilege, building on arguments provided in this literature to argue that in many cases the best contribution the privileged can make to struggles for justice, is to use unjustly conferred privileges in a way that ultimately undermines the unjust systems and structures that conferred them. I tentatively outline some ways in which the privileged can develop the sensibilities which will allow them to use their privilege in this way.
Linda A. Bell
Jean-Paul Sartre’s Anti-Semite and Jew was published shortly after the end of the Nazi occupation of France. Written in France, by a Frenchman, it is about French anti-Semites and French Jews. While this may seem to restrict the application of what Sartre has to say, I felt from my first encounter with the book that his observations and analyses have enormous potential in helping us to understand sexism and even heterosexism as well as racism, including possibly different forms of anti-Semitism.