Radical Philosophy: Discourse, Power and Desire
• How does post-structuralism contribute to feminist thought?
Much of Western political theory is based on Enlightenment ideas about reason, and in particular on a paradigm of the autonomous, rational individual derived from liberalism. However, a number of contemporary thinkers in the Continental tradition have challenged these preconceptions, showing that we also have to take account of certain external, and often ‘irrational’ forces – such as language, the unconscious, ideology and power relations – that often shape our perception of the world and our place in it, therefore influencing the way we do politics.
This module examines some of these alternative approaches to the political, exploring themes such as discourse, power, subjectivity, desire, resistance – as well as contemporary approaches to radical politics today.
While largely a theoretical module, it also deals with concrete questions and issues such as the role of language in the construction of political and gender identities, how power functions in society, and how people resist domination.
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