Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Mona Lilja, Constructive Resistance. Repetitions, Emotions, and Time, Rowman & Littlefield.

See review in Foucault Studies

This book examines constructive resistance practices that range from street protests to the use of photographic images, and displays their role in local and global political processes. By building on a rich selection of interview material and other empirical research, the book elaborates on different cases of constructive resistance, where close attention is paid to the productive qualities that are involved. It offers new perspectives on the undertakings of different epistemic battles that occur around current issues such as gender, nationalism, climate change, migration and the right to land, and explores personal narratives, artistic expressions and public statements that are utilized as means of resistance, and performed in order to negotiate different established truths.

More specifically, the book discusses the discursive struggles regarding migrant bodies, where artifacts that pertain to the hardship are presented in Swedish museums; the Preah Vihear temple conflict between Cambodia and Thailand; the border conflict in West Sahara; the self-making of (self-defined) women politicians in Cambodia; and climate activism communication. Through discussions on the importance of figurations, posters, narratives, photographs, artifacts and buildings in the establishing of contemporary discussions and world views, the book inquires how and why these representations are (re)imparted with meaning and the effect that this has.

The book does not only illustrate different forms of resistance, but also contributes theoretically to our understanding of repetitions, emotions and time, which are properties that must be embarked upon in order to capture the various dimension of resistance. Given that the type of constructive resistance that is expanded upon is about processes of significations, the time aspect—how alternative truths are repeated and thereby established over time—becomes crucial. And, resistance has a temporality of its own; for example, close authorities are instantly resisted here and now, while meaning-making resistance suffers from the inescapable time-lag of processes of signification. In all forms of resistance, emotions prevail as an important engine of political struggles and, as is displayed in this book, emotions are an important means of constructive resistance.

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