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Title: The plight of the political subject : at the crossroads of philosophy and history
Author: Emadian, B.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5371 3688
Awarding Body: University of Westminster
Current Institution: University of Westminster
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis explores and elaborates the notion of ‘collective political subject’ as a philosophical and historical category through a critical approach to the work of Alain Badiou and Ernesto Laclau, but also by way of an excursion into different treatments of this notion in continental philosophy. Through the choice of these two thinkers, this study aims to contribute to a line of thought that, rather than an abandonment of the notion of the subject, deems it necessary for emancipatory politics. It argues that, despite a prioritization of the individuated subject over the collective in the history of philosophy, the political work of these thinkers enable us to perceive of the subject as generic or universal and political, what we refer to as ‘the collective’ in this thesis. Politics in this context is intimately tied up with the modern category of the subject as the capacity for the‘active’ subversion of the principle of subjection and subordination. That is why the category of the subject is intrinsically implicated with the concepts of subversion/rupture, politics, and emancipation. The thesis subsequently stages an encounter between this redefined category (of the subject) and a historical experience that vividly brings to life the formation of the collective political subject. This historical instance is the Iranian Revolution (1979) as the greatest mass uprising of the second half of the 20th century. The Green Movement (2009) will be also observed in terms of a sequel of this Revolution as an unfinished project, reflecting the incessant push and pull between ‘the collective’ and an authoritarian State. This encounter between philosophy and history allows us to see what a long struggle for emancipation or fulfilment of democratic demands entails. The incentive for this thesis springs from an absence of any philosophical approaches to this Revolution and its consequences, a lack that not only surrenders the emancipatory potentials of this Revolution to the backwaters of history, but also jettisons the characteristics that make this revolution a desirable model for an engagement with the plight of the political subject.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available