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Revolt as pure politics – and the subject

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2011
JournalThird Text
Journal number5
Volume25
Number of pages13
Pages539-551
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This article deals with revolt in terms of ‘pure politics’ in Alain Badiou's sense. Extending the link between revolt and politics to the question of the subject, it elaborates on subjectivation as an effect which polarises a historical situation and an extra-historical event. The four main ‘subject effects’ discussed are: superego, anxiety, courage and justice. Following this, the article argues that, since subjection is an embodied relation, one cannot liberate oneself from it only through intellectual reflection. Revolt against the modern law, which takes the form of superego, necessarily involves a moment of masochism, of counter-actualisation. Concepts of repetition and resurrection are central in this context. The article ends with a critical reflection on pure politics, emphasizing the role of economy vis-à-vis politics.