Molarization and singularization: social movements, transformation and hegemony.




Montgomery, Nicholas

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This thesis presents a critique of counterhegemony, arguing that imperatives of unity and coherence in social movement theory and practice tend to limit potentials for transformation. I use the 'new social movement theory' of Alberto Melucci and Alain Touraine in order to foreground the problem of intelligibility. Laclau and Mouffe’s conception of articulation is used to develop the problem of intelligibility, and helps to avoid reification. However, I argue that their concept of counterhegemony presents a blackmail where social movements either represent themselves in universal terms, or are cast as merely fragmented and particular. The Deleuzo-Guattarian concepts molarization and molecularization are used to argue that social movements that appear fragmented or vague may in fact be transformative in unexpected ways. The final chapter focuses on a recent guerilla garden at the University of Victoria, and I argue that it is significant in its capacity to foreground problems and suspend commonsense habits, without presenting a coherent and unified programme.



Deleuze, Guattari, Massumi, Laclau, activism, protest, singularity, molar, molecular, politics, politicization, counterhegemony, nonhegemonic, postanarchism, poststructuralism, articulation, political space, Magnusson, marxism, postmarxism, universality, particularity, University of Victoria (B.C), guerrilla garden, UVic