Bodies in the System

Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism, November 2013 Volume 17 Issue 3.


Vaval, 2013 (c) TK.

As we consider the points of articulation between and among scales of analysis, Michel Rolph Trouillot’s theorization of how small places matter in the world, and further—of how seemingly marginal people might be central to our understanding of systems of power—remains an urgent project. In Peasants and Capital (1988) he examines three units--the village, the world, and the nation-- that offer us one way to connect these people and places to global concerns. In this essay I suggest that Trouillot's intervention might be productively extended if we take seriously the body and its constituent parts as a fourth unit of analysis. Drawing from recent work in feminist science studies and from my own fieldwork on sexual politics in Martinique, I ask how the body might function as an important scalar intertext in our ongoing efforts to demonstrate the centrality of the Caribbean to contemporary debates about power, politics, and the postcolonial.