FOUST, Christine R. "Transgressing Subjects, Rhetorical Mediation, and the Multitude: Towards a Nietzschean Theory of Resistance in Neo-liberal Globalization".

NIETZSCHE, Friedrich Wilhelm (1844-1900)BibliographyEconomy. FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas)

Abstract

Global justice dissent—particularly the unorthodox rhetoric of self-identified anarchists and anarchic protestors—has occasioned scholars to question received interpretive protocols for reading social change. Specifically, I argue in this dissertation that contemporary social movement rhetoric invites a deeper engagement with theories of subjects and subjectivities. To augment rhetorical theory, I explore current post-structuralist and post-modern figures of resistant subjectivity, vis-à-vis the November, 2003, protests against the Free Trade Area of the Americas in Miami, Florida.

I first consider the value of hegemonic politics in explaining global justice organizing, which fails to exhibit traditional social movement characteristics: activists have coalesced into a movement by co-defining and embodying the principles of democracy, solidarity, and diversity against Neo-liberalism. However, I argue that the material-corporeal resistance of anarchy, including symbolic property damage and carnivalesque street protest, creates an irresolvable tension for hegemonic politics: anarchy constantly threatens to exceed hegemony’s sensible, functionalist rhetoric. As an interpretive lens, hegemonic politics may thus contain, obscure, or even erase anarchy.

I then explore a figure of resistance from Hardt and Negri’s Empire: a post-modern multitude, whose challenges to sovereignty do not commence through traditional mediations, articulations, or social movement identifications. While the multitude’s “immediate” resistance is heuristic in reading Miami’s embodied protest, I argue that the multitude’s absolute immanence—its pure power of possibility—is unsatisfying as a theory of rhetorical practice.

Finally, I develop a Nietzschean theory of resistance to read global justice anarchy in Miami and beyond. Nietzsche’s will-to-power and critique of modernity’s subject promote a non-dualistic understanding of the symbolic and the material when imagining social change. Nietzsche’s work inspires an alternative to “the subject”—a transgressing companion—that challenges the necessity of mediating rhetoric through social movement subjectivities, which, I argue, bypass the power of the body. A Nietzschean protocol underscores the importance of global justice anarchy: anarchy undermines the ascetic lifestyles of Neo-liberalism, and invents a new transgressing “subject” in the concrete presence. I conclude that Nietzschean thought advances rhetorical theory by radicalizing definitions of effects and ethics, and moving us toward a corporeal-aesthetic rhetorical invention.

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