Against the Manufacture of Washing Machines: Maoist Materialist Dialectics, Poststructuralist Feminism and the Liberation from Metaphysics
AdvisorPeterson, V. Spike
Committee ChairPeterson, V. Spike
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation attempts to contribute to the literature on the transformation of gender relations and patriarchy by creating a discursive nexus between two seemingly incompatible paradigms: materialist dialectics as interpreted by Mao Tsetung and poststructuralist feminism. Despite the important differences between the two traditions, it argues that they have important ontological similarities. This creates the potential for a fecund cross-fertilization, a potential which has been largely unrecognized by scholars. This dissertation argues that Mao's ontology of ceaseless transformation arising from universal and concrete contradictions provides an essential foundation for any progressive praxis of social transformation. It examines aspects of how the maoist approach to materialist dialectics was put into practice in revolutionary China, along with a summary of some of the recent contributions to this paradigm by Bob Avakian. It examines the historical experience of transforming patriarchal relations and ideas under Mao and argues that, though there were real shortcomings, the historical experience of revolutionary China remains an essential foundation and contribution to transforming patriarchal gender relations and identities. Focusing on the writings of Judith Butler, it discusses the contributions of poststructuralist feminist, particularly its thorough critique of essentialism and the deconstruction of the categories and conceptual foundations of feminism. Butler's emphasis on the cultural production of gender and sex, along with the need to destabilize the regulatory functions and frameworks which police them, are invaluable in developing the ability of maoist materialist dialectics to transform gender relations. The dissertation includes a discussion of sexuality, violence and democracy as way of pointing towards a thoroughly materialist and dialectical method and approach which can move beyond the anchors of metaphysics while embracing thinking from a wide spectrum, including Queer theory. The dissertation concludes with a brief discussion on how such abstract theoretical concerns are relevant to current political realities.
Degree ProgramPolitical Science