Staging Uncivility, Or, The Performative Politics of Radical Decolonial Iconoclasm
Keywords:Decolonisation, Iconoclasm, Colonialist Heritage, Performative Politics, Frantz Fanon, Jacques Rancière
In this article I reflect on the deployment of crass vandalism in contemporary decolonial and anti-racist struggles, as exemplified by the recent activist campaign against Belgium’s colonialist patrimony. Through a consideration of two internal, “enlightened” critiques of such vandalist activism, I argue that an irresolvable, recurrent conflict between two fundamental performative politics, based on the performance of civility and barbarity respectively, plays itself out here. In recourse to arguments by Benjamin, Žižek, Jameson and Fanon, I offer a redemptive critique of the second type of politics and examine the “paradoxical efficacy” of “staging barbarity” for decolonial, anti-racist purposes.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Matthias Pauwels
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