Rearticulating the Political Subject in the work of Judith Butler

Student thesis: Master's Thesis

Abstract

The dissertation attempts to reconceptualise the political subject beyond traditional ideas of propriety and self-possession which have hitherto dominated it. Butler’s concept of precarity is distinguished from any sense of an inaugural loss per Butler characterisation of dispossession in its primary valence. This conception of precarity is thus analysed for its potential to provide such a departure and thus rearticulate relations of property with regards to the subject. In rearticulating relations of propriety, it is hoped to move beyond any rational conception of the subject for politics. The act of foreclosure, sexual difference as incommensurability and dispossession as loss are addressed in their relation to the concept of precarity. This research will attempt to move beyond accounts which attribute Butler’s post structuralist view to a game of languages which does not occasion any ‘real’ political change (Zizek, 1989; Buter et al, 2000). Furthermore it will also attempt to tackle Zirelli’s (2008) argument that any account of the political subject must move beyond a scepticism which paralyses political action by securing a sovereign conception of the subject. Consequently the attempt is towards a conception of subject which cannot be reduced nor subsumed by an instrumental mean-ends view of politics.
Date of Award1 Dec 2019
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorMark Devenney (Supervisor)

Keywords

  • Judith Butler
  • subjectivity
  • politics
  • philosophy
  • psychoanalysis
  • foreclosure
  • sexual difference
  • dispossession

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