6.30 pm, Tuesday 7th of February 2012

2011 may well be remembered as the year of resistance. The uprisings of the Arab Spring, the movement of indignados in Spain and Mexico, the Aganaktismenoi in Greece and the Occupy actions are all primarily movements of resistance. Even in the UK the term is acquiring political force. Resistance is on its way to becoming a word of power, emerging alongside the terms ‘revolution’ and ‘reform’ that Hegel saw defining the range of modern politics. Yet, while increasingly familiar, the significance and potential of the term are not fully recognized. The philosophical analysis of resistance during the past thirty years has been inconclusive – while recognizing its importance, attempts to make sense of what it is or does break off very quickly. In this lecture Professor Caygill traces these conceptual uncertainties, while defending the possibility of an affirmative resistance of life as an end in itself.

Howard Caygill is Professor of Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University. His many books includeWalter Benjamin: The Colour of Experience (London, Routledge, 1998) and Levinas and the Political (London, Routledge, 2002). Professor Caygill’s work touches on key themes in this seminar series, including reflections on resistance, on the pariah, on critique and on the possibility of justice.

Howard Caygill, Kingston University

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