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Title: Thinking 'emancipation' after Marx : a conceptual analysis of emancipation between citizenship and revolution in Marx and Balibar
Author: Bromberg, Svenja
ISNI:       0000 0004 6347 5118
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths, University of London
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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In light of an increasing embrace of the notion of ‘emancipation’ by various theoretical and political perspectives in recent years, this thesis aims to scrutinise the philosophical connotations of the concept itself. It therefore returns to Karl Marx’s distinction between political and human emancipation, developed in his text ‘On the Jewish Question’, with the aim of excavating its theoretical stakes. The core argument of the first part is that Marx draws a line of demarcation between citizenship as the modern form of political, bourgeois emancipation realised by the American and French Revolutions, and human emancipation as necessitating a different kind of revolution that would allow for the constitution of a new type of social bond between the individual and the social. Marx’s formulation of the need for human emancipation is grounded in his critique of political emancipation, which he regards as failing to recognise the dialectical constitution of its social bond by both political and economic relations. The bourgeois social bond moreover makes ‘man’ exist as an individualised being who can only relate to his or her political existence and dependency on others in a mediated and abstract way. The second part turns to the post-Marxist critiques of ‘On the Jewish Question’, starting in the late 1970s with Claude Lefort, which coincide with a broader re-evaluation of the revolutionary legacy in France. It specifically interrogates Étienne Balibar’s alternative understanding of the form of emancipation achieved by the French Revolution under the name of ‘equaliberty’, with which he defends the struggle for citizenship as the unsurpassable horizon of a contemporary politics of emancipation. The aim is here to develop a deeper understanding of Balibar’s criticism of Marx’s dividing line, which allows the French thinker's contribution to 'thinking emancipation after Marx' to be disentangled from his decision to distance himself from the Marxian approach.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral