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Revisiting Spivak’s “Can the Subaltern Speak” through the lens of affect theory

Revisiting Spivak’s “Can the Subaltern Speak” through the lens of affect theory The purpose of this paper is to revisit Spivak’s seminal essay “Can the Subaltern Speak” and the perennial challenges of researchers to collect information about the Other, focusing on the recent developments in affect theory.Design/methodology/approachThe paper brings into the conversation the recent work on affect and sentimentality by Lauren Berlant with Spivak’s claims in the essay concerning the representation of the subaltern by scholars and researchers. The paper draws on Berlant’s work to trouble the liberal culture of “true feeling” as well as the liberal subject implied in Spivak’s essay as a subject who is “actively speaking.”FindingsRecent theoretical developments on the affect theory make an important intervention to the perennial methodological tensions about representation, ontology and epistemology – as raised by Spivak and others over the years – and inspire new ways of thinking with the tools of doing qualitative research.Originality/valueBringing into the conversation, the affect theory and Spivak’s iconic essay have important methodological implications for qualitative research. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Qualitative Research Journal Emerald Publishing

Revisiting Spivak’s “Can the Subaltern Speak” through the lens of affect theory

Qualitative Research Journal , Volume 18 (2): 13 – May 10, 2018

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1443-9883
DOI
10.1108/qrj-d-17-00048
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to revisit Spivak’s seminal essay “Can the Subaltern Speak” and the perennial challenges of researchers to collect information about the Other, focusing on the recent developments in affect theory.Design/methodology/approachThe paper brings into the conversation the recent work on affect and sentimentality by Lauren Berlant with Spivak’s claims in the essay concerning the representation of the subaltern by scholars and researchers. The paper draws on Berlant’s work to trouble the liberal culture of “true feeling” as well as the liberal subject implied in Spivak’s essay as a subject who is “actively speaking.”FindingsRecent theoretical developments on the affect theory make an important intervention to the perennial methodological tensions about representation, ontology and epistemology – as raised by Spivak and others over the years – and inspire new ways of thinking with the tools of doing qualitative research.Originality/valueBringing into the conversation, the affect theory and Spivak’s iconic essay have important methodological implications for qualitative research.

Journal

Qualitative Research JournalEmerald Publishing

Published: May 10, 2018

Keywords: Qualitative research; Representation; Voice; Affect theory; Sentimentality

References