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Title: Race and subjectivity : a study of black women.
Author: Mama, Caroline Amina.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3617 772X
Awarding Body: Birkbeck (University of London)
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 1987
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The central aim of this research is to develop a method and theoreti cal approach to subj ectivity which avoids renroducing the race and get-ic' r - specific assumptions manifest in ortho& c psychology. Thc. iosophical underpinnings of acathnic psvology are criticdly examined for what they offer in theorisiAlg F.;lbjectivity. It is argued that contanxrary psychology assumes a pa.. ticular subj ect, the unitary rational individual, which is historically rooted in particular schools of Western çhiosoçhy. The consequences of psychological approaches to the subject, in terms of both the practices enplcyed and the knowledges produced are illustrated Iy the maimer in which psychology has produced racist knowledges about Black people, using the example of 'intelligence' testing. Black American psychology is critically examined as an attanpt to apply psychology without reproducing racist knowledge. It is argued that Black American endeavours have generally fallen short of providing any radical alternative bj. somewhat uncritically, failing to question basic assumptions and continuing to rely on traditional psychological research methods and procedures. The manner in which psychologists of colonialisn have anplcyed another paradign, psychoanalytic theory, in their study of colonial subjects is critically reviewed. I argue that Fanon' s work contains elanents of the necessary basis for developing a psychology more appropriate to Third World needs and contexts. Marxist theoretical work on ideology and consciousness is then discussed because, like psychoanalysis, it transcends some of orthodox psychology' s limitations. Althusser' s theory is discussed as one attanpt to synthesise aspects of Marxist theory and psychoanalysis in accounting for the constitution of the individual as an ideological subj ect, while Gramsci' s concept of heganory is discussed as a means of overcoming the problan of structuralisn on the one hand and culturalisn on the other. The rost-structuralist work of Foucault and recent developnents in linguistic and psychoanalytic theory are then introduced. In Part II, an alternative research paradign is introduced as nerging fran the principles derived in the course of the critiques developed in Part I. This involved using the practice of consciousness-raising as a research paradign. I have drawn on the anti-colonial and Pan Africanist discourses and philoso*iies that have anerged in the colonial and neocolonial epoch, through the work of African and Caribbean intellectuals, for analysis. Fran this basis I have developed a technique of discourse analysis which enables incorpration of collective history in the analysis of subj ectivity. I have applied this analysis to material fran consciousness-raising sessions with Black women of West African and Caribbean origin resident in London, drawing on various other sources of information (cultural events, films, poetry and fiction) in order to do this. Subjectivity is theorised as the rositions that individuals take up in discourses. I look particularly at the Black British rosition, and argue that contradiction plays a particular role in the production of subjectivity. Limitations of discourse analysis in theorising subjectivity are then discussed. Psychodynamic theory is then enplcjed to develop an understanding of some of the intrapsychic processes in subjectification. The ways in which social differences manifest in social relations and their role in the process of subjectification is also examined. Throughout, the role of sower is highlighted, using the cxncepts of hegemony and subjugation. The construction of subjectivity through difference is examined with particular reference to racialised subjectivity. Finally the extent to which the questions posed have been answered is reviewed and assessed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Occupational psychology; Colonialism