Interesting video. Very purposeful construction of a distinct binary between Western and indigenous ways of living and producing. I can certainly understand the want/need to strengthen the role of indigenous communities in determining their economic and social futures. But there is no recognition in this short piece that many indigenous communities (and the video seems to lump all of these groups into the same category and assumes they all have the same basic agenda) are, as Tsing tells us, so wrapped up in the global economy (and have been for quite awhile) that the viewpoints may not be so distinct.
And just to say, I'm basing my response almost strictly on the video. I did go to the group's website, but only took a very brief look.
I agree with Tiffany. The video seemed to have an overarching narrative by combing all indigenous vulture as one. After having read Tsing, I see how it misses how each community construct their agency. I feel by clumping all communities as one indigenous community are they not buying into the dominant narrative themselves?
I don't think so, there are political moments and issues that require what Spivak calls "strategic essentialisms" to make political gains and mobilize in service of the a whole--even if we know from Tsing and others there is no one whole. We learned from Tsing also about coming together on an issue without that solidarity meaning a romantic homogenous group. We can use large political categories like indigenous to move along political goals and make discursive interventions without at the same time reifying the heterogenous groups that all lay claim to the large signifier: indigenous.
Thank you Dr Christen for setting my trian of thoughts in the right direction. With your explanation now, I do see the strategic essentialisms in work.
Very insightful. I was thinking along the same vein as Tiffany and Somava for a moment, but then realized the potential this holds in simply deconstructing the dominant western economic model. And as Kim, and her favorite Spivak, remind us, this kind of political agency is necessary at times.
I just started my class on understanding the framework of neoliberalism so I look forward to (though cautiously) lecturing with aide from this video. Thanks for sharing and the critiques expressed.
I really like Kim's comment about strategic essentialism because the first thing I thought about when looking at this short clip is, who is the intended audience here because what we see going on throughout the film is a political message with a purposeful agenda, which is to show how neoliberalism is reproducing structural inequality and the maldistribution of resources. I learned about strategic essentialism reading a lot of chicano and Latino movements, who often times created political agendas that mobilized larger demands for the community as whole, this meant putting differences aside, a least momentarily, for a larger communal need. This video can be helpful in advancing awareness, representation and mobilization, always having in mind who your audience is and why using strategic essentialism is important to your objective or goal.
this blog is authored by the students and instructor of AMST 507