Berlin, 2009

Berlin, 2009
We want more voices, thoughts and languages!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Languages of Resistance

Short Dissertation Abstract (2013):

Theory and practice are mutually dependent in the relation of thinking and living, which is the fabric of daily life. The current global administration of resources relies on isolating practice and critical thought from one another, disempowering both thinking and living in the process. Despite increasing doubt, languages help us wage nonviolent resistance against the global system of exploitation in the 21st century. These are languages of resistance: forging solidarity that subverts corporatist reality in a sustainable movement of nonviolence.

Languages of Resistance is an attempt not only to intervene in debates about the urgency of thinking in action among activists and academics, theorists and revolutionaries, laymen and professionals, but also to indicate that this intervention cannot be sufficient by itself: thereby it constitutes a call to act. What this doing, not limited to text, looks like is not a question of prescription. The call articulated here is concretely situated in various chapters: just outside Ivory tower doors, in occupied spaces, echoing different voices, inviting others who may be unrecognized at all by the spaces they and we need to live.  

Through a performative approach, Language of Resistance shows that global resistance requires nonviolent subversion of dichotomies, where languages, thought and action come together. “Teaching without Masters” opens a dialogue around the productive tension between Judith Butler’s performativity and Audre Lorde’s critique of the master’s tools, evoking the proliferation of a performative mode of teaching and learning to undermine intersecting modes of domination. “Nonviolence Now” traces the transformation of nonviolent movements between the 20th and 21st centuries, subverting the dichotomy of violence and nonviolence to strengthen resistance movements against cooptation. “Wooden Constellations” elaborates a performative method of undermining division without homogenization, where theory and practice are mutually dependent. “Undoing Gewalt” examines the current dangers and interconnections of violence in its various forms, from discursive to institutional and state violence. “Translation and the Hope of Language” addresses an approach to language guided out of itself by hope. “Doing Language” calls on active resistance and (cultural/political) translation to sustain a nonviolent movement against domination.

These concerns follow a reading of a controversial trajectory of nonviolence in the works of Judith Butler and their encounter with Walter Benjamin’s thinking. Productive historical tensions and concrete intersections are addressed in this emerging tradition.

(Original artwork by Elisa Santucci-Nitis)