CRITICAL THEORY AND RADICAL POLITICS
SEMINAR SERIES 2017/18
Dr Matthijs van de Sande
(Radboud University, Nijmegen)
10.00 – 12.00: WEDNESDAY 7th of February, 2018
Grand Parade, G5, University of Brighton
Prefiguration and Performative Enactment:
Two ‘Anarchist’ Approaches to Contemporary Protest Movements
In the course of the past six or seven years, the ‘repertoire of contention’ that social movements have at their availability, has changed significantly. Square occupation movements such as Occupy, the Indignados, the Gezi Park protests, the ‘Umbrella Revolution’ in Hong Kong and, most recently, the French Nuit Debout movement, had a major influence on our understanding of protest and contestation – the act of assembling, for example, and the occupation of public space have come to define the very core of what protest is considered to be all about. These experiences not only had a significant bearing on activist practices but on political theory as well: many radical philosophers have used the emergence of these square occupation movements as an opportunity to rethink some aspects of their own theoretical framework. How do these movements urge us to reconsider our understanding of democracy and its relation to the state? How do they present us with a radically different way of establishing political change, and how, moreover, are we to appreciate their attempts to do so from a retrospective point of view? What does it mean, for such democratic movements, to be successful – or even to ‘win’? How do they challenge us to reconsider the relation between the means and ends of political action?
Mathijs van de Sande completed his PhD at Leuven in 2017. He now lectures Political Philosophy at the University of Radboud, Nijmegen. He has published work on contemporary forms of protest, on prefigurative politics and on contemporary Political Philosophy.