A New Historical Reading of the Subversion of the Patriarchal ‘Juridico-Discursive’ Power in Victorian Period: Elizabeth Robins, Suffrage Drama, and the Concept of 'New Women'

  • Esmaeil Najar Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  • Reza Kazemifar Kharazmi University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran
Keywords: ‘Juridico-Discursive’ Power,


In this research, we employ a socio-historical examination of the subversion of the ‘juridico-discursive’ power in the late Victorian period in order to examine the rise of the British Suffrage Movement and specifically ‘suffrage drama’. we demonstrate how ordinary women and women artists, here in case of Elizabeth Robins, moved against the patriarchal artistic hegemony. The term ‘artistic hegemony’ is utilized here as a parallel term for ‘cultural hegemony’. In Marxism, and specifically in Gramscian theories, cultural hegemony refers to the domination of socio-cultural norms imposed by ruling class (bourgeoisie) on a society.  These ideological norms are usually practiced through sets of diverse apparatuses commensurate with different social-class statutes. How this process (consciously or unconsciously, deliberately or accidently) occurred in the English Victorian society is not of concern in this study; however, we depict how marginalized groups, women in general, challenged the dominant overpowering apparatuses, whose power Michel Foucault believed to be ‘juridico-discursive’. We study how women, from the margins of the British society, challenged British ruling patriarchal foundations in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century and put an end to its negative up-to-down ‘juridico-discursive’ power. As one of the controlling apparatuses of the ruling class is always art and literature, we discuss how dramatic literature and theatre, specially through the concept of ‘suffrage drama’, as a ‘place of tolerance’ in a Foucauldian term, function as antitheses to the mainstream theatre in the setting of suffrage movement.


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Author Biographies

Esmaeil Najar, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA


  1. "By the Name of Nature but Against Nature: An Ecocritical Study of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness." Asian Journal of Humanities and Social Studies, Volume 1, Issue 3. August 2013.
  2. "James Joyce's Usage of Diction in Representation of Irish Society in Dubliners: The Analysis of 'The Sisters' and 'The Dead' in Historical Context." Journal of International Social Research, Fall 2012 issue.
  3. 3. "A Survey of Man's Alienation in Modern World: Existential Reading of Sam Shepard's Buried Child and True West." International Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, Vol. 2 No. 7; April 2012.
  4. 4. "The Role of Determinism in Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles." International Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, Vol. 3 No. 3; June 2015.


-          English Literature, Feminist Drama, Postcolonial Theory, Theatre History

Reza Kazemifar, Kharazmi University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


  1. An Ontological Vindication of Darl’s Existential Authenticity from a Heideggerian Point of View, IJALEL (ISC): ISSN 2200-3592 (Print), ISSN 2200-3452 (Online); 2014. (doi:10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.3n.1p.63): In this coauthored research, my professor (Dr Fazel Asadi Amjad) and I have tried to prove the authenticity of Faulkner’s main character, Darl, in his novel “As I Lay Dying” from a Heideggerian point of view.
  2. Reviewing the Epic Heroes of Iran and Ireland: Rostam and Cuchulainn from Birth to Filicide. (in peer-reviewing process, Kharazmi University Journal of Literary Studies): In this coauthored research, my professor (Dr Fazel Asadi Amjad) and I have tried to study the similarities between two well-known epic heroes of Iran and Ireland; the focus is on the plots and events of the works using textual analysis and comparison, as well as their historical similarities.
  3. An Introduction to Heidegger. (Booklet: being edited by a reviewer): This booklet provides young readers with an introduction to Martin Heidegger’s philosophy in a simple language.
  4. Translation of Freedom of Expression (UNESCO Pub.) (Book: being edited by a faculty member of Ilam University): The aim of this translation job was to provide Iranian students with a simple understanding of a complicated concept, the freedom of speech. The translation is being reviewed by Dr Reza Rezazadeh, assistant professor of philosophy at Ilam.


-          Modern American Theater, Feminism, Postcolonial Theory, English Romantic Period.


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How to Cite
Najar, E., & Kazemifar, R. (2016). A New Historical Reading of the Subversion of the Patriarchal ‘Juridico-Discursive’ Power in Victorian Period: Elizabeth Robins, Suffrage Drama, and the Concept of ’New Women’. K@ta, 18(2), 42-47. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.9744/kata.18.2.42-47