A Diffractive Analysis of Documentary Film No existimos: Making Visible the Invisible with an Eccentric Technology of Gender
Keywords:technology of gender; eccentric subjects; diffraction apparatus; feminist documentary cinema; representations of gender-based violence
Reading through one another insights raised by Teresa de Lauretis (1987; 1990), Donna Haraway (1988; 1992), Annette Kuhn (1994) and Karen Barad (2007), this article approaches feminist documentary cinema as diffraction apparatus and eccentric technology of gender. The article is divided into four sections. The first section follows Kuhn’s and de Lauretis’s definitions of cinema as technology of gender and of the subject of feminism as eccentric. We bring these ideas together with Barad’s and Haraway’s proposal of diffraction as an optical metaphor for the production of knowledges. In the second section we elaborate on what the application of a diffractive methodology to the analysis of documentary cinema would entail. We do so by putting forward three methodological tools: emotionality (Ahmed 2014), materiality (Olivieri, 2012), and performativity (Bruzzi, 2000; Butler, 1990, 1993, 2015; Barad, 2007). In the third section we apply this to the discussion of Spanish documentary No Existimos (Solano, 2014). We conclude by summarising how the diffractive and eccentric paradigms can contribute to a better understanding of the possibilities of feminist documentary cinema for co-creating and re-making the world.
Anzaldúa, G. (1987 ). Borderlands. La frontera. The new mestiza. 3rd ed. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books.
Austin, J. L. (1962 ). How to Do Things with Words. 2nd ed. J.O. Urmson, & M. Sbisà (Eds.). Cambridge and Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
Barad, K. (2007). Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. Durham and London: Duke University Press. https://doi.org/10.1215/9780822388128
Belia, V. (2015). “You can read your way out of this”. A diffractive reading of
Alison Bechdel’s Are You My Mother? with Virginia Woolf and Adrienne Rich. Utrecht: Universiteit Utrecht. Master Thesis.
Bruzzi, S. (2000). New Documentary: A Critical Introduction. London and New York: Routledge.
Butler, J. (1990). Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York and London: Routledge.
Butler, J. (1993). Gender is Burning: Questions of Appropriation and Subversion. In Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex” (pp. 121-140). London and New York: Routledge.
Butler, J. (2015). Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly. Cambridge, Massachusetts and London: Harvard University Press. https://doi.org/10.4159/9780674495548
de Lauretis, T. (1987a). The Technology of Gender. In T. de Lauretis (Ed.),
Technologies of Gender. Essays on Theory, Film, and Fiction (pp. 1-30). Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-349-19737-8
de Lauretis, T. (1987b). Rethinking Women’s Cinema. Aesthetics and Feminist Theory. In T. de Lauretis (Ed.), Technologies of Gender. Essays on Theory, Film, and Fiction (pp. 127-148). Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-349-19737-8_8
de Lauretis, T. (1990). Eccentric Subjects: Feminist Theory and Historical Consciousness. Feminist Studies, 16(1), 115-150. https://doi.org/10.2307/3177959
Fox, N. J., & Alldred P. (2015). New Materialist Social Inquiry: Designs, Methods and the Research-Assemblage. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 18(4), 399-414. https://doi.org/10.1080/13645579.2014.921458
Haraway, D. (1988). Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective. Feminist Studies, 14(3), 575-599. https://doi.org/10.2307/3178066
Haraway, D. (1992 ). The Promises of Monsters: A Regenerative Politics for Inappropriate/d Others. In D. Haraway (Ed.), The Haraway Reader (pp. 63-124). New York and London: Routledge.
Haraway, D. (1997). Modest_Witness@Second_Millenium. FemaleMan©_ Meets_OncoMouseTM Feminism and Technoscience. New York and London: Routledge.
Hemmings, C. (2011). Why Stories Matter. The Political Grammar of Feminist Theory. Durham and London: Duke University Press. https://doi.org/10.1215/9780822393702
Hongisto, I. (2015). Soul of the Documentary. Framing, Expression, Ethics. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. https://doi.org/10.1515/9789048525294
Kuhn, A. (1994). Women’s Pictures. Feminism and Cinema. 2nd ed. London: Verso.
Livingston, J. (1991). Paris is Burning. USA.
Lukic, J., & Sánchez Espinosa A. (2011). Feminist Approaches to Close Reading. In R. Buikema et al. (Eds.), Theories and Methodologies in Postgraduate Feminist Research. Researching Differently (pp. 85-160). London: Routledge.
Minh-ha, T. T. (1986). Introduction. She, the Inappropriate/d Other. Discourse. Journal for Theoretical Studies in Media and Culture, 8(4), 3-9.
Minh-ha, T. T. (1997). Not You/Like You: Post-Colonial Women and the Interlocking Questions of Identity and Difference. In A. McClintok, A. Mufti & E. Shohat (Eds.), Dangerous Liaisons. Gender, Nation and Postcolonial Perspectives (415-419). Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press.
Minh-ha, T. T. (2005). The Digital Film Event. New York: Routledge.
Olivieri, D. (2012). Haunted by Reality. Toward a Feminist Study of Documentary Film: Indexicality, Vision and the Artifice. Utrecht: Universiteit Utrecht. PhD Thesis.
Smelik, A. (2010). Mediating Memories. The Ethics of Post-9/11 Spectatorship. Arcadia Band, 45, 307-325. https://doi.org/10.1515/arca.2010.018
Solano, A. (Director) and Herrera, B. (Producer) (2014). No existimos [Documentary film]. Spain: Movies for Festivals.
Waugh, T. (1984; 2011): Why Documentary Filmmakers Keep Trying to Change the World, or Why People Changing the World Keep Making Documentaries. In T. Waugh (Ed.), The Right to Play Oneself: Looking Back on Documentary Film (pp. 1-18). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. https://doi.org/10.5749/minnesota/9780816645862.003.0001
How to Cite
Sociología y tecnociencia is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).
The journal allows the authors to retain publishing rights. Authors may reprint their articles in other media without having to request authorization, provided they indicate that the article was originally published in Sociología y Tecnociencia.