Eavesdropping with permission: the politics of listening for safer speaking spaces
University of Technology, Sydney
This paper explores the possibilities and limits of a politics of ‘listening’ as a strategy for a privileged white woman to contribute to antiracism in the face of dominant discourses of gendered protectionism. Reflecting on my own role as a co-convenor of a series of workshops aimed at intervening in discourses and policies of ‘protection’ directed at Indigenous and Muslim women, I suggest that ‘eavesdropping with permission’ may in some cases contribute to the negotiation of safer speaking spaces. In contrast to ‘dialogue’ aimed at empathy or understanding, ‘eavesdropping with permission’ involves the possibility of shifting risk and redistributing discomfort in order to unsettle the privileges of a centralized speaking position.
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© borderlands ejournal 2009