CUL 120: Week 2 Worksheet - Post-Structuralism I The Relevance of Post-Structuralism for our Everyday Lives

1. In the statement, it states that binary oppositions are “never neutral, but hierarchical”, in other words, in a binary opposition, one is always privileged over the other, and never will they be valued the same, thus, ‘hierarchical’. However, this concept of privilege will vary depending on culture and historical era of when it is used. 2. a) Privileged terms: Male, Reason, Objective, Nature, Youth. b) Male: I think being a male in society is privileged over being a woman. Although society and its people throughout the years have worked towards equality and fought for feminism in the past and still to this day, the underlying idea that men are dominant over women is still in existence. The western cultures belief in male superiority is still evident, as discriminatory acts such as sexism still exists in the world and also, within society, perhaps not intended, but certain roles such as leadership is seen as a ‘male role’ 3. a) i) In the text, Bush shows America and its people to be ‘pure’. He makes the democracy and freedom that America has to be more valued by claiming that their freedom and democracy is the reason why al Qaeda ‘hates’ them.

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our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other”. Also. the characterisations given of America by Bush such as freedom and peace is challenged as events of the war America is involved in and the USA Patriot Act contradict the view of freedom and peace that Bush illustrates. threatened to lose their purity. Everything he portrays about al Qaeda is in negative perspective and says things such as “they stand against us” and repeats the word “fight” against them which shows that they are to a degree. Bush also described America to be “peaceful”. He continually restates and makes clear the superiority of America. b) i) ii) Post 9/11. By stating that they are ‘terrorists’ is the most obvious reason behind this. specifically al Qaeda. our [America’s] freedom of speech. This restricts the citizens’ privacy and freedom. terrorists. This is because: the patriot act gave government agencies to monitor people and restrict actions that even slightly hinted an act of terrorism.Bush says that al Qaeda ‘hate’ their “freedom of religion. the wars that America has been involved in directly goes against the peaceful nature of America that Bush put forward. ii) George Bush constructs that. to be a threat to their purity. 2 .

vol 3. London iv) Thwaites. M 2002. ‘It’s all about the Fit: The Hand.c) ii) Cooley. pp 133.sagepub. 2010. i) Wise. Davis. Theory/Theatre: An Introduction.com/cgi/content/abstract/3/2/133> iii) Fortier.uk/film/2010/jul/robertrodriguez-predetors-machete> 3 . viewed 12 February. D 2010. the Mobile Screenic Device and Tactile Vision’. Routledge.co. <http://vcu. 2. <http://www. viewed 5 July 2010. 2nd edn. L & Mules W 1994. Journal of Visual Culture. HR 2004. ‘Robert Rodriguez unleashes his Predators at last’. Macmillan Education Australia.guardian. Tools for Cultural Studies: An Introduction. T. no. Taylor & Francis Group. South Yarra.

67-70. Fritscher.aspx> ‘USA PATRIOT Act’ 2010. Wikipedia. N & Schlunke. <http://en. viewed 7 August 2010.com/Soul/Self/Growth/USA_Patriot_Act_Pros_And_Con s.lifescript. Lifescript 5 November. Cultural Theory in Everyday Practice. <http://www.org/wiki/USA_PATRIOT_Act> 4 .wikipedia.Reference List Anderson. pp. viewed 7 August 2010. K 2008. L 2007. ‘USA Patriot Act: Pro’s and Con’s – Information about the Patriot Act Controversy’. South Melbourne. Oxford University Press.

meaning. She argues that both aspects of tattoos are based on assumptions made by an individual other than themselves. Foucault & Power/Knowledge 1. representing an idea or ‘story’ as it is seen rather than being read into to discover perhaps. prostitutes. a meaning behind it. sideshow ‘freaks’” (Sullivan 2008: 80) respectively. Sullivan arrives at the argument as she explores how people interpret tattoos and their meanings differently according to their own perceptions. Sullivan states that the positive and negative notions of tattooing are that tattoos can be a symbolic way people expresses themselves. gang members. 2. This argument relates to the post-structuralist theory of the differential nature of language as it 5 .CUL 120: Week 3 Worksheet – Post-Structuralism II Deconstructing Cultural Texts and Practices Part 1: Tattooing. Thus saying that tattoos “neither contain nor represent a fixed referential reality” and its meaning is “arbitrary and unstable”(Sullivan 2008: 84). She also says that both ideas share the fact that tattoos are often read as symbols. that there is never a universal interpretation of a tattoo as everyone has a different perspective according to factors that affect how they read the meaning behind any tattoo. criminals. giving an insight of the inward self and that they can also lead to people associating tattoos with the individual belonging to a “stigmatised group such as bikers. She looks at Grumet’s discussion that makes clear that there is difference between how a tattoo is read by others and what the tattoo means for the person wearing it.

reality and fantasy. 4. 3. or self. the other loses its meaning as it only bares meaning with the existence of the other to be opposed against. giving insight on their ‘true’ identity that they hold within their soul. knowledge and understandings come to interpret a particular tattoo. Fantasy acts as a ‘supplement’ to reality. thus giving it ‘meaning’. That is. Part 2: Derrida and Deconstructing War & Peace 5. by individuals. fantasy is what completes the meaning of reality. What is meant by the ‘logic of supplementarity’ is that within binary oppositions. The statement explains that Post-structuralist analysis is not about finding out what tattoos hold in meaning. The quote explains that the soul. one is a supplement of the other and without one. thus giving meaning to ‘reality’. For example. It is saying that the self is bound with the power/knowledge.supports the post-structuralist understanding that universal meaning or understanding of one thing does not exist. where reality is favoured over fantasy. rather than being separate to it. However. reveals a notion of ‘truth’ within systems of power/knowledge (the mind/brain). Such meaning being unique for each person. 6 . Sullivan uses interpretation of tattoos by saying that through one’s tattoo. their inner self can be read or understood. Fantasy allows insight to what reality is not. how individual perceptions. but is in fact interested in the way in which meaning is made out of the tattoo or how it is read.

putting peace over war and revealing that both war and peace are contingent of each other’s existence. However. Mansfield applies Derrida’s theory of deconstruction to the binary opposition war and peace by reversing the opposition.6. 8. While both parties were to an extent. 7. showing that war and peace extend beyond one another. at peace. and gives meaning to the existence of the people who have created the ‘enemy’. He says that “war and peace interpenetrate and overlap” and that no matter what. this ‘enemy’ that the public has created acts as a binary opposition. thus uniting. Therefore. The fact that people share the same ‘enemy’ creates a form of ‘friendship’. 7 . they were still involved in war through other means. where the US had signed a few treaties to limit arms productions with both china and the USSR. the US and the USSR aided opposite sides in the Arab-Israeli war. An example that bears out the idea that war and peace interpenetrate and overlap is the detente period in the cold war between 1969 1979. Schmitt explains that politics uses enmity to bring the public together. However while there was peace between the two ideologies of capitalism and communism in south-east Asia and Europe. which eased the tension and created supposed ‘peace’. war and peace will always hold a relationship with each other that remains. the existence of the group in which these people belong to is contingent to the existence of the ‘enemy’.

Mansfield says “deconstruction gets beyond the simple assumptions and unquestioning acceptances that political institutions often encourage us to adopt.9. However. It is often dealing with these…that the often ambiguous and difficult issues with which we are confronted can be properly addressed. People will lose the freedom of thought and discontinue to embrace the ability the human mind has to ‘question’. If such binary was to be left unchallenged. the generalisation that females are inferior to males and the stereotypes of women will be accepted as it is. For example. women challenged this idea and the existences of feminist parties have given women the freedom we have now. Leaving such binaries unchallenged will mean that we will accept meanings/definitions of everything as we are told they are to be. the binary of male/female.” (Mansfield 2008: 67) 8 .

The Supplement. N Mansfield. K 2008.pdf> 9 . pp. A n. South Melbourne. ‘No peace without war. ‘Tattooing: The bio-political inscription of bodies and selves’. no war without peace: Deconstructing war’..d. The Friend/Enemy distinction and its ethical implications: A critical analysis of Carl Schmitt’s Political Thought. N Sullivan.edu/oneill/derridaalice. viewed 8 August 2010. and Alice. Derrida. In Cultural Theory in Everyday Practice.htm> Racu.concordia. 78-86. K 2008. South Melbourne.Reference List Anderson. In Cultural Theory in Everyday Practice. <http://faculty. pp. Professor of English and Humanities.ca/~gnosis/vol_x_3/Racu. K n. N & Schlunke. O’Neill. N & Schlunke. <http://alcor.sunydutchess. viewed 8 August 2010. Anderson. Oxford University Press. Oxford University Press.d. Duchess Community College New York. 59-67.

The ability for the ‘I’ to doubt. therefore I am” by believing that the mind is the only means to be sure of anything and that it is separate from the body. Descartes concluded. 2. Therefore.e. Descartes arrives at the statement “I think. For example. 10 . we arrive at the truth that the only thing that cannot be doubted is the ability to doubt. therefore I am. a biological phenomena is derived from the mind/body split and has lead to biological determinism. women’s bodies are made to carry and give birth to children. to raise children and be what the western culture classifies as being a ‘housewife’). (i. “I think. The idea that the body is separate from the mind and is in fact. Subjectivity & Cultural Identity 1. Biological determinism is the belief that how a person lives and his/her abilities and functions are determined according to what their body is made to do.” This perpetuates a mind/body split as it supports the idea that the mind is of its own. that by doubting all knowledge that we have come to understand. apart from the body and it also lead to the idea that the body is something that does not affect how the mind is.CUL 120: Week 6 Worksheet – Embodiment I Bodies. therefore their role is set orientated around that.

to achieve acceptance. we watch our diet. that the mind and body are entwined. biological determinism. 11 . is then in risk of privileging ‘culture over biology’. the. On the other hand. fostering and perpetuating an opposition” as social construction. once again putting a higher value over the other. creating a binary opposition. values and tendencies are all what is inbuilt into our bodies through evolution. law and family. and also by individuals themselves through concepts of selfsurveillance and discipline. but rather. Anderson argues that “the social construction position is in danger of privileging culture over biology. is saying that our culture. The notion of Merleau-Ponty’s embodiment. as opposed to biology over culture in biological determinism. For example. morals. government. such as schools. 5. We are influenced not only by others but by ourselves to behave in a certain manner. in regards to the body. Biopower is a concept where it is believed that people’s lives are put into order and managed by both institutions. 4. the both the mind and body work together. in other words.3. deconstructs the mind/body split as the idea challenges the concept that the mind and body are free. in relation to the body is that the body is the result of various cultural impacts that is outside of the body. and therefore. What is meant by social constructionism. we are disciplining ourselves to keep the certain body figure that we think is desirable.

6. The ‘mind’ or the soul. does not suffer any loss due to an absence of a part of the body. The soul is apart from the body and simply remains the same. 12 . An example of how the mind/body split is reinforced in everyday practice is when people undergo surgery to remove a physical part of a body.

13 . N Anderson. 2-12.Reference List Anderson. N & Schlunke. pp. In Cultural Theory in Everyday Practice. South Melbourne. Oxford University Press. K 2008. ‘Bodies and embodiment’.