Emerton, Robert Henry (2017) How can a study of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests inform understandings of fidelity and change in Alain Badiou’s philosophy? Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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Abstract

This thesis asks what the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests (‘Tiananmen’) can tell us about Alain Badiou’s philosophy of fidelity and its relationship to change, drawing on the concepts of immanence, rupture and conflict. The thesis consists of: analysis of the broad philosophical system of which fidelity and change are an integral element, so as to highlight the key philosophical stakes; analysis of how Maoism and the Cultural Revolution connect to Tiananmen, which highlights problems relating to periodisation and nomination in Badiou’s understanding of fidelity; examination of how broader interpretive grids in the contemporary era can maintain the ‘state of the situation’ or a dominant ‘worlding’ – demonstrated through analysis of framings of the Tiananmen protests in English-language news media and academia; and a discussion of grass-roots worker activism in 1989 and subsequent years, through which it is argued that Badiou’s increased emphasis on the evental ‘encounter’ and immanent change in his later texts provides the best recourse in locating the emergence of novelty – the central lesson being the ability of the Chinese workers to maintain a mode of anti-state politics within the state on account of its localised and ad-hoc nature. The thesis finds that the success of fidelity as a concept for locating novel change hinges upon investigation of evental encounters within the state, and that tying investigation of fidelity to ahistorical and universal referents hinders such an endeavour.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Politics, Philosophy, International Relations and Environment
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2017 11:29
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2017 11:29
URI: http://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/3781

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