Nikolaos Paramythiotis “A first step towards understanding social co-existence”

I chose Spivak’s passage entitled “The post-colonial critic”, because it addresses the issue of what it means to be represented, with which I had never troubled myself in the past. When I first read the text, I thought Spivak’s main argument was that people tend to expect certain behaviors from individuals because of their characteristics (or “identities”), creating stereotypes. I found peculiar that Spivak chose to argue for the existence of this notion, as it is something self-explanatory. However, after the text was discussed in class and my second and third reading of it, I figured out that I had misinterpreted Spivak’s argument to a very large degree. What she says is not just that we tend to group people according to their identities, but also every person carrying an identity is often thought to represent all the individuals with that specific identity. And this claim is used by Spivak to support her greater argument, that we should always keep in mind that every individual’s personality is completely different, and not just the sum of their identities. On Thursday, we addressed the issue of how societies are formed, according to John Locke’s theory of the “social contract”. And with every society being a number of people in constant interaction with each other, I believe that understanding how a person’s identity influences the way we perceive them is key to understand how a society functions.

Leave a Reply