Subaltern Struggles and the Politics of Place: Remapping Resistance in Zimbabwe's Eastern Highlands: Supplemental Material

This post builds on the research article “Subaltern Struggles and the Politics of Place: Remapping Resistance in Zimbabwe's Eastern Highlands,” which was published in the August 1998 issue of the Society’s peer-reviewed journal, Cultural Anthropology.

Questions for Classroom Discussion

1. Moore identifies a lack of attention to the politics of place in resistance studies. Why is this lack of attention problematic? Also, when space is referenced in such studies how is it characterized and why is this characterization inhibiting? What is Moore’s solution?

2. How does James Scott analyze resistance in Malaysia? How have feminists critiqued Scott’s analysis? Relate the feminist critique to Moore’s critique of Scott.

3. How are agrarian studies and subaltern studies related?

4. What strategy did the Tagwena chieftainship undertake to prevent the eviction of him and his followers in 1967-1972? How did the colonial officials counter this strategy? How is this strategy resurrected against the postcolonial state?

5. Is there an autonomous space of resistance?

Related Readings

Abu-Lughod, Lila

1990 "The Romance of Resistance." American Ethnologist 17:41-55.

Alonso, Ana Maria

1995 Thread of Blood: Colonialism, Revolution, and Gender on Mexico's Northern Frontier. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.

Comaroff, Jean

1985 Body of Power, Spirit of Resistance: The Culture and History of a South African People. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Foucault, Michel

1980 "The Question of Geography." In Power/Knowledge. Colin Gordon, ed. Pp.63-77. New York: Pantheon.

Gramsci, Antonio

1972 Selections from the Prison Notebooks. Quintin Hoare and Geoffrey Nowell-Smith, eds. New York: International Publishers.

Guha, Ranajit

1982 "On Some Aspects of the Historiography of Colonial India." In Subaltern Studies I. Ranajit Guha, ed. Pp. 1-8. Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Kondo, Dorinne

1990 Crafting Selves: Power, Gender, and Discourses of Identity in a Japanese Workplace. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Massey, Doreen

1984 Spatial Divisions of Labour. London: Macmillan.

1995 "Thinking Radical Democracy Spatially." Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 13(3):283-288.

Mitchell, Timothy

1990 "Everyday Metaphors of Power." Theory and Society 19:545-577.

Ortner, Sherry

1995 "Resistance and the Problem of Ethnographic Refusal." Comparative Studies in Society and History 37( 1): 173-193.

Scott, James

1976 The Moral Economy of the Peasant. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

1985 Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

1990 Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty

1996 "Subaltern Talk." In The Spivak Reader. Donna Landry and Gerald MacLean, eds. Pp. 287-308. New York: Routledge.

Editorial Overview

In his 1998 essay “Subaltern Struggles and the Politics of Place: Remapping Resistance in Zimbabwe's Eastern Highlands” Donald Moore "problematizes the predominant ways in which resistance, subalternity, and their presumed social spaces have been mapped" by exploring the use of place in Zimbabwe's Eastern Highlands as it transitions from colonial control to independence. Offering a brief history of this space, Moore examines how the Kaerezians’ use of and right to this space is influenced by British colonial powers and ranchers, the rise of African nationalism, and “tribal” chieftainship’s fight for recognition and authority. Through his ethnographic examples, Moore demonstrates how place is not passive, but rather is a fluid entity constantly made through historical, political, and cultural struggle. By arguing that "agency produces locality and identity through a complex cultural politics of place" he calls for more awareness to space and the politics of place.

Moore’s essay offers a succinct introduction to the South Asian Subaltern Studies collective. The essay explores the overlaps and disagreements on resistance as understood by Gramsci, Agrarian Studies, and Subaltern Studies. Through this comparison Moore identifies a lack of attention to the politics of place in studies of resistance and questions the idea of the “autonomous domain” of resistance. He also declares subalternity as “relational and dynamic, rather than absolute and essential.”