c y b o r g   m a n i f e s t o   2 . 0   ::   f i g u r a t i o n s
::   s u b a l t e r n

The term 'subaltern' originates from the theory of Antonio Gramsci to term the subordinated consciousness of non-elite social groups. Postcolonial and feminist theorists like Gayatri Spivak claim that the subaltern woman is always already spoken for, positioned or erased from various discourses. This makes the concept rather ineffective for thinking about social change in our mediated world, because it tends to determine the subaltern group and subaltern identity as a homogenous entity, whereas the new information technologies and the need to conceive of subversive agency in our postmodern society require that identity should be conceived of as being fragmented, making possible multiple alliances. In any case, how else can we let, to quote Spivak's words, "the subaltern speak?"

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