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Dates and Times

21 November 2023
19:00 - 20:00


Address: Online via Zoom


Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance


Moya Lloyd, University of Essex, United Kingdom

Embodying radical democracy: corporeal disidentification and sensate agency

21 November 2023
7:00 PM – 8:00 PM (AEDT)
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM (CET)
8:00 AM – 9:00 AM (GMT)


From Aristotle onwards, it has been assumed that (democratic) political action is principally grounded in speech and language (see, e.g., Arendt 1958; Rancière 1999). This ignores or downplays the significance of the bodily acts in which subaltern groups often engage that are not directly reducible to discourse, speech, or language: hunger strikes, lip sewing, self-immolation, kneeling or standing protests.

Starting from the idea that democratic subjects, selves, and identities are always in-process and, building on what I call disidentification as corporeal practice (Lloyd forthcoming), this talk will explore how embodied actions of the kinds listed both de- and re-constitute democratic identities, and, in so-doing, compel us to rethink how the democratic agency of the marginalized and excluded – subaltern agency – might be better understood. To do this the talk will focus on the performativity of the protesting body: how bodies are done and undone through democratic activity, how, in specific situations, flesh becomes a locus of radical democratic struggle, a site of radical democratic contestation, and the medium through which sensate democratic claims are made.

This seminar will be chaired by Lucy Parry.

About the speaker

Moya Lloyd is Professor of Political Theory in the Department of Government at the University of Essex. She has published widely in contemporary political theory, feminist and gender theory, and radical democracy. Her books include Beyond Identity Politics (2005), Judith Butler: from norms to politics (2007), and the edited volumes The Politics of Radical Democracy (with Adrian Little, 2009), and Butler and Ethics (2015). Her current work explores questions of identity, resistance, agency, and corporeal politics. She is presently the recipient of a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship for the project Rethinking Subaltern Agency.

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