Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Beyond a Politics of Resentment by Rebecca Falk

The notion of resentment carries the flavor of the problem, which has both positive and negative sides. The knowledge that one has been harmed for another's benefit first comes as a moment in which awareness shifts. The knowledge potentially opens the field of one's attention. It would be impossible to abandon this moment, yet it is not a sufficient ground upon which to build complex human relations. It is not really a ground at all, but it is a step toward locating a new ground. That individuals or groups hold to this step as if it were a ground or a goal in itself, is not surprising. Is another way of proceeding visible? Social relations that have been thought to be positive ones are now seen to contain too many sacrifices on the part of some, while promoting the apparent interests of others. This is not an alternative to identity politics in the eyes of those who feel the imbalance. Finding our way out of this stalemate requires some ability to notice what goes into the positive aspects of social relations, even when the worst aspects of identity politics reign. Most who attempt to do this seek to reestablish the domination required for orderliness, instead of seeking clues that can be fruitful for a postmodern condition. The goal should be to allow the multiplicity of voices, or the cultivation of a variety of creative energies. How can the moment of resentment become a stepping stone to this goal within a better set of relations? How can we avoid the trap of undoing or unraveling every possibility, and still avoid the reestablishment of domination?more...


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