Subject-positions are constructed from discourses by subjects of a discourse, who subjectify themselves to a discourse to a position from which they can make the most sense of the discourse (Hall, 1997, p. 56). The other way around, "discourses also produces a place for the subject”, “from which they become meaningful and have effects" (ibid.). Subjects become the bearers of knowledge and power of discourses (ibid.), which means that they reproduce the discourse and carry it on. So discourses and their subject-positions are intimately related to each other and one could say that they make each other possible. Next to this, Hall (1997) says the following important thing about subject-positions: "Individuals may differ as to their social class, gendered, 'racial and ethnic characteristics (among other factors), but they will not be able to take meaning until they have identified with those positions which the discourse constructs, subjected themselves to its rules, and hence become the subjects of its power/knowledge" (ibid.). In essence, every individual could be a 'subject' of a discourse in Michel Foucaults sense of it, but the necessity remains that individuals have "to locate themselves (...) in the position from which the discourse makes most sense". In that sense one can only reach to understand the meaningful of a discourse by taking such a position (ibid.).
An example of a discourse which creates ideal subject-positions could be a big dance-party. The discourse of this party creates subjects who are enthusiastic and love to dance. To understand and function in this discourse there is a ideal subject-position. To be young, with a love for this specific sort of music and to dress to a special code. Outside this ideal position, this dance-party wouldn’t mean much to a subject.
Hall, S. (1997). Where is the subject?. In S. Hall (Ed.), Representation: cultural representations and signifying practices, 31-56. Milton Keynes: Open University.
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Janna völpel s3015041 edited already in october 2011 13:19, 8 May 2012 (CEST)
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