Re-storying political theory: Indigenous resurgence, idle no more and colonial apprehension




Aguirre Turner, Kelly Anne Patricia

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This dissertation considers the ethical and methodological challenges that the transformative movements of Indigenous resurgence present to political theory scholarship’s ways of telling, giving accounts of and accounting for, Indigenous politics. It takes experiences of the grassroots mobilizations of Idle No More in the winter of 2012-13, deemed a flashpoint political event and perceivable as an appearance of resurgence in Canada’s settler-dominated public spaces, as impetus to confront these challenges. It describes the discursive and epistemological reorientations advocated by Indigenous theorists and activists on resurgence, away from external recognition and toward regeneration of traditional and decolonial lifeways and intellectual systems. This involves refusals of demands for the disclosure and intelligibility of Indigenous knowledges, practices and stories in these refigurative processes. It suggests these reorientations highlight and also disrupt a pervasive colonial drive to classificatory apprehensions of Indigenous peoples that deny their inherent rights and powers of self-determination and attempt their capture and reformation into governable subjects; meeting structural exigencies of settler-colonial dispossession and domination. It argues that addressing how political theory scholarship might capitulate to and reproduce this colonial apprehensiveness is a necessary critical project, but more so is articulating substantively how it might instead model resurgence’s reorientations. Resources to describe, analytically link and recount political action in these ways, balancing imperatives to theorize and tell with its risks and uncertainties, can be found in Indigenous storytelling principles, whose patterns can be aligned with certain sublimated threads in Euro-Western thought. This dissertation engages and begins to contribute to both endeavors.



Indigenous Politics, Political Theory, Storytelling, Methodology, Scholarship Ethics