Postcolonial feminism, the politics of identification, and the liberal bargain

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The article focuses on the complex positioning of people from disempowered backgrounds with respect to liberalism and liberal dividends. The author offers the term liberal bargain, paraphrasing Deniz Kandiyoti's "patriarchal bargain" and Cynthia Cockburn's "ethnic bargain," and dwells on the interconnections between the three. The liberal bargain indicates the particular consciousness and symbolic whitening that "colorized" (i.e., excluded/oppressed) people tend to adopt when they attempt to cash in on the liberal promise. Within the discourse of postcolonial feminism, the concept is intended to promote the discussion of power differentials among women, through refining the analytically dissatisfactory color metaphors habitually used to address issues of hegemony and ethnocentrism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)680-700
Number of pages21
JournalGender and Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2005


  • Ethnicity
  • Liberal bargain
  • Liberal epistemology
  • Patriarchy
  • Postcolonial feminism
  • Whiteness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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