n the most recent edition (38.3) of American Ethnologist, which I’m just getting around to reading, I see this very interesting notion of the state as a metonym for the self.
It is worth considering the subjectivity that informs an understanding of one’s actions as heroic. I believe it is best described by what Gayatri Spivak (2004) calls the ability to “metonymize” the self, to imagine the self in an active relationship with the state, the opposite of subalternity.
The topic at hand is elite Israeli commandos who turn against the state and its “fragile” project of hegemony. I’m not so convinced about this argument towards fragility, but I am deeply interested in the idea of an “identification” with the state that could be compared to metonymy. For me, the question is whether or not social workers can square the relative “rightness” of the state’s distributional practices with their own participation in the economy at large.
Unfortunately, the underlying Spivak text is actually a public lecture, the fate of which I don’t know…
Update: here is the link to the talk. Speaking very much off the cuff Spivak comments on the metonymizing of her self as “the part by which I am connected to that abstract whole so I can claim it.” Start viewing around 28 minutes in to the presentation.