Understand Postmodernism: A Teach Yourself Guide. Glenn Ward BA in fine art (painting), University of Plymouth, 1990; MA in Visual Culture, Bath Spa University, 1992; PhD in film studies, University of Sussex, 2011. p. 287
The notion of the subject has different meanings according to context. It sometimes refers to the individual person, conceived as a unified being with a private consciousness and a unique ‘self’ or identity. This model of the subject has been central to Western thought, and remains popular in everything from soap
operas and love songs to liberal political thought. Most thinkers in the field of postmodernism (or at least those with some sympathy towards it) question this view of the subject, arguing instead that we have no ‘essence’: we are ‘in process’ and we are defined through discourse [my emboldening]. The term ‘subjectivity’ can refer to the way the self is structured by specific social situations; watching a film, for example, might offer us a voyeuristic subjectivity (a film theorist might say it positions us as voyeuristic subjects). ‘Subject’ is often seen as a better word than self because it hints at the notion of being subject to something.
. How have we “no ‘essence’”?
- What does ‘in process’ mean?