Theoretical Issues in Listening to the Voice of Marginalized Others

Simmons (2011) writes of Gayatri Spivak's work on listening to marginalized voices: "Spivak is not claiming a privileged place for herself from which she can accurately represent the widows’ voices.  She readily admits that any solution she offers will be tinged by a colonial discourse—even for the most radical among us, “all speaking, even seemingly the most immediate, entails a distanced decipherment by another, which is, at best, an interception” (1999, 309).  As such, the subaltern’s voice remains something of a secret."   Thoughts?

Comments (1)

  • William Paul Simmons

    William Paul Simmons

    January 29, 2016 at 17:10 | #

    The decision to not have a narrator in the Bosnia Hotel was, arguably, a better decision for a few reasons. Documentaries featuring people outside of the Western world that have narrators can be problematic for a number of reasons, the main reason being that it portrays a kind of animalistic view of human beings. The people being filmed have no knowledge or say in what the narrator chooses to say, yet it is the narrator's words that the audience tends to remember the most. In turn the people being filmed are simply subjects to be observed and studied, instead of real people with lives, families, and thoughts. Although the film loses perhaps some background information for those who know nothing of the Bosnian War, it ultimately creates a much more powerful message when these people speak on their own behalf and talk about their experiences in their own words. - Ana Andrade

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