Voice and the Postmodern Condition
Hokowhitu, Brendan (2007) Voice and the Postmodern Condition. Junctures: The Journal for Thematic Dialogue, 9. pp. 7-13.
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“Subjectivity” and “voice” are inextricably tied. Indeed, as many of the contributors to this issue of Junctures: The Journal for Thematic Dialogue argue, voice is the expression of the subject. The modern Western conceptualisations of one’s voice, one’s voting rights, one’s right to communicate, one’s right to be heard, scream, laugh, burble, talk in one’s own language, one’s demand for self-determination, one’s right to be silent etc., describe products of the Enlightenment’s humanistic argument for individual freedom and expression. But is one’s right to an individual voice merely an illusion? Certainly Foucault’s “death of man” – where he claims that the humanist conception of “man” (as a self-contained rational agent) was the creation of a unique set of historical contingencies – would suggest accordingly that voice as “self-expression” of subjectivity is a mirage.1 Likewise, contributor Pat Hoffie’s thoughts on reality and representation in an “Age of Terror” problematises the notion of individual voice, especially in relation to the recently deceased Jean Baudrillard’s response to the events of 9/11 in Der Spiegel where he argued that globalisation has reduced everything into “a negotiable, quantifiable exchange value.”2
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