In José Rabasa’s essay entitled “Beyond Representation? The Impossibility of the Local (Notes on Subaltern Studies in Light of a Rebellion in Tepoztlán, Morelos),” the author explores the paradoxical relationship between “global” and “local” mentalities. Following this, he compares how much of the thinking that derives from assuming that aspects of “local” events are independent of (or able to be ideologically represented independent of) globalized environment is similar to the effective modern conception of the subaltern. “The local,” he writes, “like the subaltern, is an elusive concept that becomes meaningful only as a relational term” (Rabasa 194). He also emphasizes the significance of “changes in the structures of feeling” (Rabasa 194) of people and groups who undertake representations of other people, groups, or events, and points out that this is actually a transparent process once some research is done. Using both local and global societal representations of the events surrounding the situation in Tepoztlán as a case study for his subaltern metaphor, the author seems to suggest that the process by which “Local and regional identities… [that] have evolved in Tepoztlán… as points of contention for bending the humdrum of globalism” (Rabasa 194) is actually a global one itself. While this makes for a compelling argument, I do find it interesting that Rabasa essentially uses a representation of a representation to demonstrate the futility of certain types of representation.
Rabasa, José. “Beyond Representation? The Impossibility of the Local (Notes on Subaltern Studies in Light of a Rebellion in Tepoztlán, Morelos).” The Latin American Subaltern Studies Reader. Ed. Ileana Rodríguez. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2001. Print.