The politics of becoming: Disidentification as radical democratic practice

European Journal of Social Theory 24 (1):86-104 (2021)
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Current radical democratic politics is characterized by new participatory spaces for citizens’ engagement, which aim at facilitating the democratic ideals of freedom and equality. These spaces are, however, situated in the context of deep societal inequalities. Modes of discrimination are carried over into participatory interaction. The democratic subject is judged by its physically embodied appearance, which replicates external hierarchies and impedes the freedom of self-expression. To tackle this problem, this article seeks to identify ways to increase the freedom of the subject to explore its multiple self. Understanding the self as inherently fugitive, the article investigates participatory, deliberative and agonistic concepts of self-transformation. As all of them appear limited, it introduces a transformative perspective in democratic thought. Enriching the transformative perspective with queer and gender theory, the article generates the concept of a politics of becoming, which, through radical democratic practices of disidentification, advances the freedom of the subject to change.

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