Christy: Agency, Structure And Subject Positions

Chancer. Lynn and Watkins Beverely Xaveria, Gender, Race and Class: An Overview, Blackwell Publishing Limited, 2006

Gender issues are widespread over the enitre arenas of dvelopement. Especially women  still do occupy subordinated position even in a progressive political environment  and therefore it has become important to think whether certain  changes brought for revisiting and rethinking the agency and social strucural realities  are worth  applauding and are capable of negogiating the  prevailing gendered assymetries.

  • Scholars have pointed out that internalisation of oppression is stronger and deeply embedded in their consciousness because of cultural construction of feminity and subjectivity.
  • Limited capacity of agency also prevents women from questioning gendered codings that are entrenched in traditional gender dichotomies were home and domestic life are considered to be the domains for the preservation of Indian values. Agency is not only the foundational theme of women struggle for equality because agency exist in a form of relativity. For instance patriarchal srtuctures vary in their articulation and it is less vulnerable to tranformation according to the changing times.
  • Little access to social and symbolic resources, less participation in power relations also prevents women from overcoming ideological and structutal barriers which include patriarchy, religion etc. Women are complicit in their own oppression and as they align even if partially with the existing dominant structures.
  • Most questions on women agency are rooted in the homogenous and monlithic perspective of western scholarship.  Subaltern voices of resisitance seems to be the voices of postcolonial compulsion. They speak within the social constraints and the sunjugating discourses.Women are made resistant by defenition thereby categorizing their expereinces and ideologies under the term of ‘other’.
  • However for the creation of an autonomous agency we also need to liberate men various constructs and social impositions. They are always considered as ptimary bread earners, custodians of societal valueas and machismo.
  • Unconventional spaces and codes are to be loosened to bridge the gender gaps and disparities in the community.



We need to see other implications other than patriarchy and tradition that had adverse impact on the social roles of  women. The coalition between globalization ,religious  fundamentalism  and nationalism has a very specific and troubling implications for women especially . As Mohanty in her essay  Under  Western Eyes Revisited says ,poor women and girls are hit by the degradation of environmental conditions, wars, famines, privitization of services, increasing surveillance, incarceration in prison and so on. Corporate capitalism which is a result of globalization has also colonized men’s lives around the world. These factors also plays a significant role in restructuring the agency and subject positions in the society.

The essay does not clearly suggest how liberation of men  from gender prescribed roles   is possible. Also the essay does not mention  about how subverted identities(transgender, queer etc) can also be accomodated into the srtuggle for revsioning agency, structure and subject positions in the society. The essay also do not questions other aspects like compulsory heterosexuality.  The essay do not formulate any solutions to deal with the complexities and naunces to achieve a feminist solidarity.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s