Subalternity, Neoliberal Seductions, and Freedom: Decolonizing the Global Market of Social Change

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decolonization, postcolonial studies, subaltern studies, social change communication, neoliberalism

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In this essay, working through our journeys as academic-activists collaborating with subaltern communities in the global South on social change processes, we perform autoethnographically a politics of decolonizing the neoliberal reproduction of social change in postcolonial spaces. Through our conversation, we interrogate the White/Brown privileges of race, caste, class, and gender that remain erased in much postcolonial theorizing of culture and social change. Our autoethnographic dialogue, on one hand, interrupts the seduction of neoliberal tropes in communication for social change and, on the other hand, decolonizes autoethnography as a practice for (re)producing privileged identities within the imperial sites of primarily U.S.-based academic institutions. Through the interrogation of our own caste, class, and gender positions within postcolonial social change collaborations that erase spaces for subaltern articulation, we seek to decolonize the postcolonial privileges that are created, circulated, and promoted in the multicultural Anglo-Saxon/Asian university. Our conversations amid the impossibilities of co-creation in subaltern spaces suggest strategies of decolonizing the production of postcolonial knowledge, offering radical frames that fundamentally redefine the interpretations, practices, and politics of communication and social change in postcolonial contexts.

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Cultural Studies ↔ Critical Methodologies, v. 18, issue 1, p. 80-93