chapter  6
26 Pages

Postmodemism, "Realism," and the Politics of Identity: Cherrie Moraga and Chicana Feminism

In another context, we see a quite contrary treatment of the concept of "difference." Within the field of U.S. literary and cultural studies, the institutionalization of a discourse of postmodemism has spawned an approach to difference that ironically erases the distinctiveness and relationality of difference itself. Typically, postmodemist theorists either internalize difference so that the individual is herself seen as "fragmented" and "contradictory" (thus disregarding the distinctions that exist between different kinds of people), or they attempt to "subvert" difference by showing that "difference" is merely a discursive illusion (thus leaving no way to contend with the fact that people experience themselves as different from each other). In either case, postmodernists reinscribe, albeit unintentionally, a kind of universalizing sameness (we are all marginal now!) that their celebration of "difference" had tried so hard to avoid.