Sandoval and Technology

By js, 27 January, 2010, No Comment

Dialogues between Paul Virilio and Chela Sandoval.

“This quest for subversion through situated and embodied utopian and imaginative rhetoric devices is then, in my opinion, exactly at work in Sandoval’s Methodology of the Oppressed. Her use of an imaginative and utopian discourse on new technologies and her conflation of the techniques-for-moving-energy of the oppressed with certain new technologies should therefore best be understood as originating from an attempt to re-appropriate these technologies and discourses for the female US third world subaltern. This puts a creative hybrid feminist/anti-racist subject at the centre of the technological debate. Similarly, she creates a situated utopian vision of love in a postmodern world, where she reclaims the traditionally hetero-romantic concept of love for anti-racist feminist purposes. Where Kendrick’s text still remained within the register of European subjectivities, and Deleuze and Guattari are not clear about what the re-centring on a non-Eurocentric subject might look like, Sandoval thus vitally rewrites and re-imagines in “New Sciences”, “US Third World Feminism” and in  Methodology both feminist history and the history of new technologies. She does this in order to validate US third world feminist knowledges, so as to make this feminism an integral part of (previously white, Western) hegemonic feminism and of discourses on globalisation and new technologies. This appropriation of (new) technologies invokes new subjectivities that are hybrid in superseding previous modernist and humanist dichotomies of first versus third world, human versus machine, real versus virtual, culture versus nature and male versus female. Interestingly, Sandoval creates this double de- and reconstructive move, in which we can again recognise many arguments of Haraway’s “A Manifesto for Cyborgs”, through partially taking on board Fredric Jameson’s analyses on the postmodern late-capitalist condition, but vigorously rejecting his modernist Eurocentric nostalgia. Her biggest objection to Jameson is indeed the “limits of [his] imaginary” (19) which result eventually in a “Jamesonian eulogy” that merely seeks to reinstall certain modern hegemonic conditions, similar to Virilio’s lament. In this case then, only a taking on board of the astute analyses of present-day connections, combined with a situated imaginative rejection of this subject of modernism from the point of view of the marginalised, can provide us with the tools to overcome the structural power relations under attack. Such a strategy of technology coincides with Deleuze and Guattari’s notion of technology as both conveying representational contents in line with its dominant choices and developments. It also contributes to, as they coin it, “new assemblages of enunciation” (Soft Subversions 133) through the desires of the oppressed.”


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