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bell hooks

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Jenny Ellis

on 28 October 2013

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Transcript of bell hooks

Postmodern Rhetoric:
Ideology of Domination
Marginality
For hooks, marginality offers great potential because people living on the margins are able to look "both from the outside in and from the inside out"--a sort of double vision which encapsulates both their own knowledge and the knowledge of the dominant culture.
hooks focuses on black women as her marginal rhetors because they "are rarely recognized as a group separate and distinct from black men or as a present part of the larger group 'women' in this culture."
Marginalized groups contribute to rhetorical theory through personal experience.
Acknowledging the perspectives from which rhetoric is produced is important in rhetorical theory, but hooks believes that these personal experiences and perspectives need not confine rhetors to particular identities.
Decolonization through Rhetoric
Colonization: the conquering of minds and habits of oppressed people so that they accept inferiority as a natural trait.
hooks's decolonization: "breaking with the ways our reality is defined and shaped by the dominant culture and asserting our understanding of that reality, of our own experience."
bell hooks
Critique
Critique involves critical thinking which contests dominant structures.
hooks focuses on representation in mass media like television and film for critique.
hooks also encourages the critique of the thoughts and actions of individuals through examination, reflection, exploration of beliefs, and the development of new understandings.
Feminism
hooks is critical of the feminist movement because it is a reformist movement, seeking to allow women to gain equal access to domains of white male privilege.
hooks believes that true feminism is the desire for everyone--both male and female--to be free from the constraints of sexism, and the aim of feminism should be to form an oppositional worldview and to establish a new social order.
According to hooks, feminism encompasses sex, race, and class oppression.
For hooks, the purpose of rhetoric is to do away with the ideology of domination that pervades Western culture--
white supremacist capitalist patriarchy
.
hooks believes this ideology of domination and subjugation is made up of interlocking structures of sexism, racism, class elitism, capitalism, and heterosexism.
These systems foster hatred, competition, alienation, elitism, and individualism rather than cooperation.
Because domination contains several different systems of inequality, hooks believes that any efforts made to free oppressed people must be on behalf of all who are oppressed and not just a particular group.
Because all people--the dominant and the subjugated--
hooks's Solution?
hooks believes that a culture of love is the proper replacement for the ideology of domination--a love that enables movement against dehumanization and allows individuals to let go of fear. hooks suggests that fear is the root of structures of domination because it promotes "the desire for separation, the desire not to be known."
"When we are taught that safety lies always with sameness, then difference, of any kind, will appear as a threat. When we choose to love, we choose to move against fear..." -hooks
within a culture of domination are socialized to embody its values and attitudes, all individuals are agents of domination, helping to perpetuate its systems.
Invention
Invention is envisioning and developing "new habits of being, different ways to live in the world."
hooks encourages marginalized individuals to produce and create nondominating cultural forms through enactment.
Enactment: the lived practice of interaction in a nondominating context so that one's life is a living example of one's politics.
"Feminist politics aims to end domination to free us to be who we are...Feminism is for everybody." -hooks
hooks proposes two primary ways in which marginalized rhetors can challenge and transform the ideology of domination--critique and invention.
Both critique and invention are necessary to subvert the dominant culture and to create a new social structure.
Enactment
hooks emphasizes the creation of aesthetic images in the effort to develop new representations of oppressed groups.
hooks believes that art is crucial to enactment because it provides a means for imagining new possibilities.
A nondominating worldview can be enacted through an accessible writing style because it allows ideas to be communicated and because it embodies an equality that challenges structures of domination.
For hooks, confession--the telling of one's personal experience--is another form of enactment because rhetors can give a voice to their experiences.
Finally, hooks suggests that formal education is a site for enactment because it has the potential to be a place for individuals to "unlearn the ideology of domination" and where decolonization can occur.
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