oa Alternation - Community and narration in Emma Mashinini's Strikes have Followed me all my Life

Volume 7, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1023-1757



This paper investigates the construction of self in the autobiography of Emma Mashinini, Strikes Have Followed Me All My Life (1989). I draw on the insights generated by poststructuralism, which has problematised the relationship between language and the writing subject. For poststructuralists, 'language is not the expression of unique individuality; it constructs the individual's subjectivity in ways which are socially specific' (Weedon 1987:21). I will therefore read Mashinini's autobiography as a discursive construct in which the author uses narrative to organise her experiences, and, in the process, impose a pattern on her life which is dictated by the demands of storytelling.

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