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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Who is we?: Toward a theory of solidarity; toward a future of sustainability
by Clingan, Joan, Ph.D., Union Institute and University, 2008, 287; 3314400
Abstract (Summary)

The dissertation "Who is We?: Toward a Theory of Solidarity; Toward a Future of Sustainability" explicates solidarity theory; a critical theory that incorporates methods from both literary and cultural studies in an analysis centered around the following practices: contextualizing story and history; the deconstruction of cultural hegemony that is used to validate oppression and injustice as well as contrasting ideology/counterhegemonic text; and the practice of analyzing text or culture based on the principles and practices of border-crossing solidarity and the social aspects of sustainability. The dissertation frames solidarity theory in existing critical and literary theories and social thought that have influenced the development of solidarity theory as a theoretical perspective: Marxism, feminisms, queer theory, ethnic criticisms, and postcolonial and decolonizing theories. A significant commonality of existing theoretical (and analogous practical) work is the persevering conversation that challenges social and cultural injustices based on specific and constructed aspects of identity (racism, imperialism, sexism, heteronormativity, and so on). I put forward that border-bridging solidarity in both analytical and practical work will confirm that every aspect of identity is ideologically classed or ranked, thereby maintaining identifiable yet fabricated supremacies that privilege a particular and exceptional group. Solidarity theory relies on the following tenets: identity is a social construction; identity is classed by way of cultural hegemony; the concepts of classing, social hierarchy, and a social ladder are hegemonic; discrimination and oppression are based on identity and uphold a social structure that privileges the social exception; and seeking and building solidarity across identity boundaries can provide greater strength and broader context. Solidarity theory uses the following analytical methods: analyzes contextually; examines text through a lens of wide-ranging and border-bridging solidarity of the marginalized majority as a complement to focused identity-specific methods of analysis; seeks, analyzes, and deconstructs hegemonic ideology and counter-hegemonic thought; and considers the potential group, institution, or entity that drives the hegemonic discourse that upholds power differentials by privileging the exception and marginalizing the majority. The dissertation includes the application of the theory on a set of contemporary texts by Spokane/Coeur d'Alene writer, Sherman Alexie.

Keywords: Critical literary theory; social theory; multiethnic U.S. literature; solidarity; coalitions; anti-oppression; counter-hegemonic thought; and Indigenous/Native American Literature.

Indexing (document details)
School: Union Institute and University
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-A 69/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: American studies, American literature, Native Americans, Native studies
Keywords: Anti-oppression theory, Antioppression, Coalitions, Counter-hegemonic thought, Critical literary theory, Indigenous/Native American literature, Multiethnic U.S. literature, Multiethnic literature, Social theory, Solidarity, Solidarity and coalitions, Sustainability, United States
Publication Number: 3314400
ISBN: 978-0-549-63439-3
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