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TFT Analysis: Post Katrina

November 2006 - Posts


  • I think that in a discussion of discursive positioning that the concept of abjection is highlighted, even if briefly. Abjection, as theorized by Julia Kristeva, is "'that which delineates the difference between a person and the external world, between the subject and object'" (Kristeva 1982, qtd. in "The Hillbilly Defense", Carol Mason, pg. 53). She further theorizes abjection, moving it from purely an individual's concern (expelled bodily wastes determining boundaries between a single body and the outside, the waste) to a societal concern, "'in which expelled bodies--that is, corpses--serve as a visible border that reminds us who is to be considered a subject and who an object in this world'" (Kristeva, qtd. in Carol Mason, pg. 53).


    We, societally, abject the different, the excess, the other; in shrugging off the abject, the waste, our society is allowed to continue, its myths to be perpetuated, its ideologies to remain intact.

    Posted Nov 29 2006, 08:32 PM by archive with no comments
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  • Framework

    Hello all!

    Before we dive right in, I'm going to use this first entry to describe the framework I am going to use for this project - this way we're all on the same page.

    In this discussion we will be analyzing the language used by our fabulous federal government, in public and political discourse, to discuss Hurricane Katrina victims. I am hoping to deconstruct this language, using Transnational Feminist Theories, in order to expose the material realities that have resulted from the discursive positioning of Hurricane Katrina victims. The discourse, which has been edited by the federal government through the media, has the potential to undercut local action to rebuild. I also intend to explore what forces, resulting from international relations, influenced the federal government's presentation of the region and people affected by Hurricane Katrina.


    Now for some background on why I think this topic is important...

    Hurricane Katrina made landfall on August 29, 2005; the resulting political response and media coverage opened a discourse about the region, the victims, and the government's handling of the disaster relief, and subsequent rebuilding efforts. By defining the terms and perspectives used in discourse, the government and media edited the framework of public discourse. By bringing a Transnational Feminist perspective to the discourse of Hurricane Katrina, the affected region and people, and the responses to the disaster the door will be opened for a more effective dialogue about the issues - a dialogue that includes those affected as subjects, rather than discursive objects - and allow the victims, communities, and local organizations supporting the rebuilding effort to request the assistance and support they need.

    What exactly am I hoping to achieve in this discussion?

    I am hoping to address certain key questions in this blog: What is (are) the government's motivation(s) for editing the discourse about the Hurricane Katrina aftermath? What was gained, or lost, for the United States' status on the international stage by editing the discourse of Hurricane Katrina in such a manner? What material realities for Hurricane Katrina victims have resulted from the discursive positioning of the affected people? How could we shift the discourse in order to affect positive change and support, rather than destabilize, local action to rebuild?

    Where am I going to look for this information?

    Since I want to look at the government's discussion of Hurricane Katrina, I am going to gather information straight from the horse's mouth (or another part of the horse's anatomy, depending on your feelings about our lovely federal governmental agencies); I will be looking at the press releases of the 109th Congress, the Federal Emergency Response Agency, and I will also pull from the news releases and speeches from the stellar White House and President George Bush, from August 2005 to August 2006. Employing Transnational Feminist theories, especially aspects highlighted by Chandra Mohanty, Carol Mason, Jill Vickers and Vanaja Dhruvarajan, will allow me to deconstruct the language used by the above listed arms of the federal government.

    A forewarning:

    This project is going to be a challenge in several ways, and I am hoping for the help of you beautiful readers to keep me in check! First, because I will be trying to deconstruct language and discourse, I am running the risk of endless analysis, and I doubt that any of us wants that! =) I am also challenged to take the risks that Transnational Feminism seems to routinely face: balancing between being too relativistic and too hegemonic in approaching theory and action. Nevertheless, I hope to press beyond these challenges and explore the potential establishment of paradigms based in communitarian ethic, inclusion of critical narrative and the deconstruction of binary logic, which will open avenues for further studies and action that will affect more positive change than studies that are based on the paradigms of dominant ideology.

    More to come soon (very soon, check the date... yeah)! 'Til then my friends, subvert the dominant paradigm!! Cheers!


    Posted Nov 28 2006, 10:54 PM by archive with no comments
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