Northup, Solomon. Twelve Years a slave (New York: Penguin Books, 2012). (461)

Scott, James C. “Domination, Acting, and Fantasy.” In

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Scott, James C. “Domination, Acting, and Fantasy.” In The Paths to Domination, edited by Carolyn Nordstrom and Joann Martin, 55-84. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992. (29)
Academic interpretations of relations between dominant and subordinate populations are topics of discussion which remain present throughout the dialogue of the social sciences and, as James Scott explores in his piece “Domination, Acting, and Fantasy”, are necessary in dissecting the power conflicts within and between the groups at hand. Within his work Scott works with concepts of power dynamics, the role of “acting” on both sides of the power structure, and the relationship between the public transcript and the hidden transcript. The detail of “acting” as taken upon by the role of the subordinate as well as the dominant is one of importance as, though each player implements the action equally, it is done so in a diverse and unique way to the players themselves. As Scott explains, those in power create an act in which they use their role in furthering their rank of authority, but also to peer behind the “mask” of the subordinate.213 This, perhaps obviously, reinforces a hidden transcript for each group as all parties involved then understand the societally necessary role and actions which they must embrace for mere survival. In further illustration of this, Scott implements various retellings of slave narratives which show that the understanding of the hidden narrative being broken and the “folk hero” mentality which follows for these individuals, even though they often pay for this violation with their lives.214 Ultimately, Scott’s dissection of the roles of subordinates and dominants work in unique ways to further highlight the intricacies of power systems within the independent systems of society.

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