What Is It to Vote?

  • Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
Part of the Citizenship, Gender and Diversity book series (FEMCIT)


Unless women in the largest sector of the electorate in developing countries can provide real answers to the question “what is it to vote?” on their own in a generally democratic way, female suffrage is meaningless. The task of the feminist intellectual is to understand how this can be done. Although theoretically and politically incorrect, because it is liberal and bio-political—nonetheless, “other people’s children” is a slogan that travels from elite to subaltern in the electorate and should therefore be used. Since gendering is our first instrument of abstraction, the bio-political should be used strategically as a weapon for democratic emancipation. Humanities-style mind-changing work should supplement statistical calculations, as in the Human Development Index. It must be remembered that, globally, mind-changing work begins with the nurturing of the will to social justice among the children of the world, irrespective of race, class, and gender. Indeed, gendered citizenship must be perceived as also classed and racialized.


Social Justice Human Development Index Governance Data Imaginative Activism Intellectual Labor 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
    • 1
  1. 1.University Professor’s Office, MC4927Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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