AbstractsPhilosophy & Theology

The Impact of Essentiolist Representations on the Native American in a Postcolonial Context

by Nelly Minnsieux

Institution: Roskilde University
Year: 2014
Keywords: Native Americans, Postcolonialism, Stereotypes, Hegemony
Record ID: 1120136
Full text PDF: http://rudar.ruc.dk/handle/1800/14534


This project seeks to investigate the effect that essentialist representations have on Native Americans in a post-colonial setting. Native Americans have been excluded from American culture in many aspects. When we look closer at the representations, the same process of symbolic exclusion occurs. Therefore, we believe that there is a strong connection between representations and actual lived situations. Hegemony is relevant here, as it explains that relations between power struggles can contribute to explaining the domination of one group over another. Representations are embedded in power relations due to essentialist strategies such as stereotypes or myths. The three stereotypes which we analyzed were that of the romanticized Indian through the discourse of innocence, the myth of the ‘Vanishing Indian’ and ‘Authentic’ which are closely related, and lastly, the Villain. These are able to symbolically exclude the subordinate group in their transparency as they are naturalized. Due to hegemony, the subordinate groups have no role in defining themselves and can define themselves only through the discourses the dominant group determines.