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International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science (IJRISS) |Volume VI, Issue IX, September 2022|ISSN 2454-6186

Reception of Micropolitics in American Studies: Contexts and Concerns

Mohammad Raihan Sharif
Department of English, Jahangirnagar University, Bangladesh

IJRISS Call for paper

Abstract: The present paper critiques the recurring fetishization and glorification of micropolitics in social justice projects as they get theorized, received, and celebrated in academia, especially in American studies. Presenting the theoretical contexts of micropolitics, the paper critiques American studies scholars’ investment in those theoretical concepts that, in the name of evading manipulation, reinforces subservience for the weak and the oppressed.

Keywords: Micropolitics, American Studies, Power, Resistance

Isn’t it a contradiction that American Studies—within its interdisciplinary approaches—heavily invest in the intersectional analysis to conceptualize the link between power differentials and multiple vectors of differences—race, class, sex, gender, ability, etc.—but regarding resistance to oppression, it recommends identity politics and fragmented forms of resistance as the only viable option? This article emerges from an understanding that this, indeed, is a contradiction, which can be traced back to the institutionalized narratives of power and resistance within American Studies. By “institutionalization of narratives,” I refer to reification of the politics of difference theorized by poststructuralist thinkers: Derrida, Foucault and Deleuze, among others. Inspired by these thinkers, Scott and Certeau and, later, Bhabha theorize certain versions of micropolitics which also get reified by some American Studies Scholars within the logic of the poststructuralist politics of differences. The present article is an attempt to question this fossilization of viability.