Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Race in search of a theory: Between the postcolonial and globalization
by Sahay, Amrohini, Ph.D., State University of New York at Stony Brook, 2008, 242; 3406707
Abstract (Summary)

'Race in Search of a Theory: Between the Postcolonial and Globalization' is a materialist mapping, analysis, and critique of theoretical and cultural representations of race, nation, and difference in the wake of the recent phase of the globalization of capital since the 1970s. It challenges the central assumptions of institutional "postcolonial" and globality theories, placing them in the historical context of neoliberalism, and, in doing so, puts forth a new model for cultural theory based on a relational analytics of labor and culture. The dominant cultural theory, from the writings of Spivak, Bhabha, Säid, and Gilroy, to those of Baudrillard, Butler, Laclau, Negri, Žižek, and others, has been informed by a culturalism through which the new relations of Empire have been represented as a "break" from the hierarchies of imperialism, and its economic contradictions represented, when not as the emergence of a liberating cultural "hybridity," then as a marker of a new plural social logic that defies class analysis. 'Race in Search of a Theory' contests this culturalism and argues that this emptying out of class from culture and from cultural analysis not only lacks explanatory effectivity, but commodifies "theory" as an extension of capitalist culture and its class politics. To make its argument, it investigates the cultural epistemologies of "hybridity," "spectral nationality," "the Black Atlantic," the "spiritual turn," and what it calls "pan-insidism" as they operate from "high theory" to "cultural studies" to the new global cultural aesthetics of food, film, and literary fictions, and shows the singular operation of "ideology" behind the diverse instances of transnational culture. But "ideology" is one of the most marginalized and necessary concepts of a materialist cultural analytics. Therefore one of the main tasks of 'Race in Search of a Theory' is to reopen the problematics of "reference" and offer a sustained argument for a "labor theory of signification" which goes beyond the ideological surfaces of culture to refer them to their "outside" in "surplus value." "Race," along with other social hierarchies, it argues, will "end" not by destabilizing or eliminating the concept, but by transforming the regime of exploitation of surplus value.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Livingston, Ira
School: State University of New York at Stony Brook
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 71/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Philosophy, Economics, British and Irish literature, Social structure
Keywords: Class, Globalization, Marxism, Nation, Postcolonial, Race
Publication Number: 3406707
ISBN: 9781109738704
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