An important feature of colonial discourse is its dependence on the concept of "fixity" in the ideological construction of otherness. Fixity,as the sign of cultural/historical/racial difference in teh discourse of colonialism, is a paradoxical mode of representation: it conotes rigidity and an unchanging order as well as disorder, degeneracy and daemonic repetition Isn't this a bit have-cake-eat-it-to? Colonialism, after all, is a function of capitalist wealth-extraction, and capitalism is all about the flow: all that is solid melts into air, the metamorphosing ideological frame adapts itself to anything that makes more money. All those more recent critiques of capitalism, from Eagleton et al, that see it as not having enough fixity aren't just about Eagleton's increasing small-c conservatism. I appreciate that Bhabha wants to critique the limitations of stereotyping, but elevating 'fixity' to a kind of boss-code of imperialism seems a step too far.
Thursday, 26 July 2012
Bhabha (The Location of Culture, 2004) sees the procrustean malignity of colonial oppression as an iteration of fixity: