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Power and resistance: Language mixing in three Chicano plays
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Swedish Language and Multilingualism, Centre for Research on Bilingualism.
Number of Authors: 1
2014 (English)In: International Journal of Bilingualism, ISSN 1367-0069, E-ISSN 1756-6878, Vol. 18, no 2, 118-133 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article offers insights into how multilingual resources such as language mixing can be used in theater to address power relations such as, for instance, domination, resistance and empowerment. Three plays by Chicana playwright Cherrie Moraga (Giving up the ghost, Heroes and saints, and Shadow of a man) will be used to illustrate language mixing in Chicano theater. Moraga's work has been selected since she is regarded as a representative of Chicano theater both by people within and by people outside the Chicano community. Chicano theater arose in the United States during the 1960s as an act of resistance. The aim was to empower Chicanos/Mexican Americans by informing them about their rights in the society in which they resided. Chicano theater has thus since its inception been linked to issues of power. Theoretically, this article builds upon philosopher Michel Foucault's view of power, which fits well with the study of Chicano theater since it acknowledges that power exists in all social relations and is negotiated in each relation and context. Foucault's view of power also asserts that power and resistance go hand in hand. This, then, can be translated to the Chicano context, where struggles take place on different levels in order to resist power. Chicano theater, also referred to by Moraga as theater of resistance is one such form of resistance. However, power is not merely resisted. It is also reproduced in a new form. Foucault's view of power and resistance and his emphasis on the productive functions of power allow for a possibility of empowerment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 18, no 2, 118-133 p.
Keyword [en]
Language mixing, code-switching, resistance, power, Chicano theater, symbolic domination, multilingualism
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-105237DOI: 10.1177/1367006912458392ISI: 000336223400003OAI: diva2:731673


Available from: 2014-07-02 Created: 2014-06-24 Last updated: 2015-02-26Bibliographically approved

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