Murray on gender, race and identity theories (and II)

            1.-The process of taking apart followed curious paths. For instance, this strange transformation, specially developed by Judith Butler:

            -Starting point: there were two different sexes.

            -After, they suggested that there were two different genders.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† -Gender was not real, but merely a ‚Äúsocial construct‚ÄĚ.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† -So, ‚Äúgender itself is nothing more than a ‚Äúreiterated social performance‚ÄĚ.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† But that only was the first part. The second step was, in Peggy Mcintosh words, ‚Äúraise our daily consciousness‚ÄĚ on the nature of privileges (for instance, White Privilege) and, finally, redistribute these powers.


¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 2.- The last relevant author is, in fact, a couple: Ernesto Laclau (who died in 2014) and Chantal Mouffe. According to them, the ‚Äúclass struggle‚ÄĚ is not enough to deal with the new political subjects that have clearly anti-capitalist character: women, national, racial and sexual minorities, anti-nuclear and anti-institutional movements, etc. They are obscure about how to find a way through those movements and their contradictions. But ‚Äúone thing they are clear about is the utility for the socialist struggle of ‚Äúnew social movements‚ÄĚ such as the women‚Äôs movement‚ÄĚ. So, ‚Äúis needed to bring all these movements under one umbrella: the umbrella of the socialist struggle‚ÄĚ.

            In conclusion, they want organise in a more complex way the fight against capitalist, sexist, patriarchal and racist society. Certainly, working class has shown itself to be flabby and a bit lazy in the final fight:

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ‚ÄúLaclau and Mouffe were explicitly setting out to try to find, or create, a new class of ‚Äúexploited person‚ÄĚ. The working classes may have been exploited but they had been unable to recognize the fact, had let down their theoreticians and had generally failed to follow the path of progress that had been laid out for them. For Laclau and Mouffe this progress was obvious, winding through the Second International, the Leninist breach, the Cominterm, Antonio Gramsci, Palmiro Togliatti and the complexities of Eurocommunism. But not everyone had followed them on that. In any case the disappointing workers could now be, if not replaced, then at least added to‚ÄĚ.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† These new groups cover a wide range of conflicts: feminism; ethnic, national and sexual minorities; ecology; the anti-nuclear movement; social struggles in countries on the capitalist periphery‚ĶBut they give a new energy ‚Äútowards more free, democratic and egalitarian societies‚ÄĚ.

            With all these ideas, it’s easy to see a lot of contradictions and mistakes. We are going to examine them.


¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 3.-Murray ¬†begins with his priceless irony: ‚ÄúMarxists have always rushed towards contradiction‚ÄĚ. Remind the popular sentence: let‚Äôs ride the contradictions. Some of them are very uncomfortable. For instance, he recalls that feminist studies consider that victims of sexual abuse should be believed. However, when the accused is a colleague in the movement, the orientation changes (this is the famous case of Avital Ronell in 2017).

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† That would be, perhaps, a forgivable fault. Humans are unfair. But the problem is deeper when Murray notes that ‚Äúthe purpose of large sections of academia had ceased to be the exploration, discovery or dissemination of truth‚ÄĚ. In conclusion:

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ‚ÄúThe purpose had instead become the creation, nurture and propagandization of a particular, and peculiar, brand of politics. The purpose was not academia, but activism‚ÄĚ.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Of course, this knowledge was not science, ‚Äúnot even politics, but more like magic‚ÄĚ. In short: a masquerade.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† The three final pages (60-63) are spectacular. Murray pricks with his sword in the camouflage practiced by these authors. They are really obscure (I have suffered this!) and ‚Äútheir work is unreadable‚ÄĚ. You can roar with laughter thanks to funny examples from Judith Butler and others.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Murray adds that they need this simulation to hide something. Scholars also accompany their papers with a reiterative and circular bibliography. The result is an argot full of clich√©s and a repeated sanctuary of authorities. A lot of frauds have been able thanks to its disastrous language and scientific mistakes. You can have fun with some real examples: the study entitled ‚ÄúThe Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct‚ÄĚ (an academic paper written as a hoax and presented seriously and published in 2017), ‚ÄúHuman Reactions to Rape Culture and Queer Performativity at Urban Dog Parks in Portland, Oregon‚ÄĚ (published in a journal of ‚Äúfeminist geography‚ÄĚ), etc.

¬ŅCu√°l es el origen de la expresi√≥n ‚Äėarmarse una trifulca‚Äô?



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