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Title: Resisting the reproduction of the proper subject of rights: Recognition, property relations, and the movement towards post- colonialism in Canada
Author: Bhandar, Brenna Harminder
ISNI:       0000 0001 3463 0877
Awarding Body: Birkbeck (University of London)
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2007
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The recognition of aboriginal rights under section 35 of the Canadian Constitution can be understood as a significant attempt to overcome the legacies of colonial settlement. However, in this thesis, I argue that the constitutional recognition of aboriginal rights fails to account for the centrality of private property relations to the formation of the rights-bearing legal subject who comes before the court. The outcome is the recognition of the proper aboriginal subject whose identity is defined on the basis of his or her cultural difference. The propertied and material dimension of rights claims are masked by a liberal form of rights that excises private property relations from the public realm of rights. I employ Hegel's theory of recognition, and importantly, critiques of his dialectic of recognition, to show how private property ownership is central to the formation and recognition of the subject. As I demonstrate through an analysis of nineteenth century colonial land legislation, the dynamic of appropriation that inheres in the dialectic of recognition finds its counterpart in the material realities of the colonial settler context, where Property relations were constitutive of the proper settler citizen-subject, and the Indian or native subject. Hegel's theory of recognition provides a framework through which to understand the relationship between appropriation, private property ownership and the recognition of the subject. However, it is here that a paradox emerges at the heart of Hegel's theory of recognition. Having diagnosed the problem of appropriation that inheres in the dialectic of recognition, with its manifold forms of material exclusion, the question that arises is whether there is scope within the dialectic of recognition for a different or alternate avenue of becoming. Is it inevitable that the subject of aboriginal rights will forever be confined to the "restricted economy" of being, which only ever produces a proper subject in conjunction with colonially inscribed private property relations? The answer to this question is a resounding 'no'. In the final chapter of the thesis, I explore elements of Hegel's dialectical thought that provide alternate avenues for the recognition of the subject, which do not inevitably fall prey to the fixed temporal and spatial economy of the proper subject
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available