Visions of legacy: legacies of vision

Lewis, Gail (2011). Visions of legacy: legacies of vision. In: Davis, Kathy and Evans, Mary eds. Transatlantic Conversations. The Feminist Imagination - Europe and Beyond. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing Limited, pp. 167–181.



The invitation to contribute to this volume provides an opportunity to orientate myself in times that I increasingly feel to be without compass. By so describing these times I mean that for me they are times when I am more often stuck on the horns of ambiguity – not so much about how to judge or characterise a given political situation but more about how to think and behave strategically in order to address that political situation. It involves, I think, a question of what kinds of new political subjectivity and oppositional practices might be developed collectively in order to move to that next step – the step towards construct that must necessarily follow the deconstruction of opposition. At the same time, the ambiguity that seems to pervade my thinking (or perhaps it is more an ambiguity of feeling or political subjectivity) these days appears to be related to the question of generational inheritance. Even with this there is a double-ness: involving both what I and ‘my generation’ assumed as part of our political inheritance and what I and ‘my generation’ have bequeathed as inheritance. One thing is for sure: I have lost the certainty of youth! Even while one expression of my condition of ambiguity is that I am not entirely sure to which generation I belong. In part this is simply a condition of disavowal (i.e. a simultaneous knowing and not knowing, as you will see when I sketch out the moments of my formation). But it is also, I think, an expression of the fact that there are no clearly defined or definable lines of direction between biographical age and for example, formations of feminism, anti-racism, allegiances to queer politics, anti-globalisation or environmental activism, struggles for bodily autonomy, practises of intimate life.... one could go on. Of course the body, in its materiality, may say otherwise but the sense of self as a political subject seems to lack (refuse?) any simple or fixed temporal location or teleology.

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