Irina Velicu
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The peasant way or the urban way? Why disidentification matters for emancipatory politics
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How do dualist identifications such as peasants vs. urbanites support or impede democratic egalitarian politics? On the one hand, the ´planetary urbanisation´ thesis as unidimensional epistemology risks producing a pernicious universal ideological position which depoliticises the range of diversity and difference external to, and/or within, urbanisation. The rural may not just be the peripheral that feeds the expansion of urbanisation but also the ´outside´ left to be ´conquered´ in the sense of proletarisation or a source of ´resilience´ for these populations. On the other hand, the radicality of the ´peasant way´ such as the global movement Via Campesina, lies not only in the processes in addressing human rights critically but also in moving agrarian politics beyond typical reformist demands in search for structural ´nurturing´ of alternatives to organise planetary food production and consumption. In this paper I engage with these tensions by starting from the premise that in order to allow for ambiguousness to play a role in egalitarian social struggles, we have to allow for political imagination to undo the terms of any consensual politics about dualisms. I am looking at the limits of existing classifications such as ´food sovereignty´ or ´peasant rights´ and illustrating a repetitive tendency to conflate politics with ontology. I propose a zooming-out of this tendency in order to observe that such rhetoric places the peasantry again and again in the same meritocratic logic of policy-police that is to blame for the reproduction of inequalities in the first place. I discuss the limits of the politics of rights as an open question about what Ranciére discussed as the limits of justice as recognition. I am exploring the possibility to reflect on the ´political´ futures as being less about specific subjects with a series of virtues (such as good eco-citizens) and more about events of subjectification, which implies processes of disidentification. Finally, I discuss how such disidentifications may allow re-opening the interpretative practices of new generations.

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