"The Conceptual Practices of Power" - Dorothy Smith
2. Describe Smith's idea of the "bifurcated consciousness." Compare this to DuBois idea of "double consciousness"-- What are the similarities and differences in these concepts? What role does power play in both of these theorists' experiences?
According to Dorothy E. Smith, a bifurcation of consciousness refers to the separation between the world that you really face or experience and the dominant social view that you should accept. The concept of bifurcation of consciousness is the main aspect of Smith's theory. In her standpoint theory, women's view, situation and experience play important roles in Smith's examination and analysis of the theory. Smith highlights criticism about both external and internal pressure to adopt male-concentrated view which is a mainstream in the society and supports the governing conceptual mode. Based on Smith, women experience the split between their real world and dominant social discourse and culture. Thus, there is a dissonance between real experience and mainstream among women. That is why, a bifurcation of consciousness is resulted from the contradiction between dominant view and real world that women experience. Smith mentions that "Men have functioned as subjects in the mode of governing; women have been anchored in the local and particular phase of the bifurcated world" (321). Also, Smith adds that "It has been a condition of a man's being able to enter and become absorbed in the conceptual mode..." (321).
According to the class lecture, W.E.B. Du Bois explains the concept of double consciousness as looking at oneself through the eyes of others. First, there is a similarity between Smith and Du Bois, namely, both Smith and Du Bois points out the separation which is resulted from dominant view and mainstream in the society. Also, because of the separation, particular gender and race face contradiction between the real world and dominant social discourses or culture. However, there is a difference between them as well. Smith concerns about women, but Du Bois concerns about black people. Namely, they consider alienated and neglected object in a different way: women versus black people.
I think in Smith's theory, power provides dominant social discourse and constructs governing conceptual mode. To be specific, as I mentioned above, a bifurcation of consciousness is resulted from the power that makes the contradiction among women in society. Thus, women recognize the dominant culture, but in the same time, they also feel a bifurcation of consciousness that problematizes the established culture because their experiences are inconsistent. In Du Bois theory, in my opinion, power forces black people consider other's views more than their views. In other words, power which could be the dominant social discourse pressures black people to look themselves through another dominant group's point of view in both external and internal ways.