Skip to main content

Home    Aim    Team       

The fragmented revolution? Struggles against domination and the defence of the lifeworld



The fragmented revolution? Struggles against domination and the defence of the lifeworld


14 June 2021


Around the world, a wave of civic protests is again alerting us to various kinds of injustices. Societal transformation is firmly on the agenda, from revolts in the Middle East, Occupy Wall Street, Women Marches, BLM, subnational movements, refusal of the refugee camp, to the concerns with ecological disaster, or Big Tech. These protests express discontent with the ways in which economic and statist forces have impacted negatively on people’s lifeworlds. The very diversity of the discontentment, in respect of its sources, objectives and ideologies, makes it daring to assemble it under one concept. It seems moot to draw on the concept of revolution for reflecting on what is happening; then again, we might hesitate to swiftly reject it. Revolution is the word par excellence to capture and reference a utopian energy about to set societies in motion, to suggest the possibility of founding – hence of expressing freedom – by the people. On the other hand, it seems ill-suited to 21st-century times, being associated with the large uprooting of systems from the 18th-century Atlantic revolutions to the early 20th-century Russian Revolution, or, less central to western political philosophy, the Chinese and Iranian ones. It moreover suggests the grand pathos and bloody tracks of these famous upheavals – not the best way to envision the constituent power of citizens. Can the landmark distinctions given us by Marx or Arendt – between bourgeois and communist, or political and social revolutions – still help in guiding our reflections? A vast body of literature posits a tight bond between revolution and law, marrying the concept of revolution to “legal revolution”. As an alternative, can we conceptualise revolution beyond the appeal to law that sets off the Benjaminian vicious cycle of violence, and use it for grasping action directed towards the decolonisation of the lifeworld?

(Edited abstract)

Type specialization


Data sets


Bibliographic Citation

Number Of Pages - Duration



BY-NC-SA Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

Position: 5623 (11 views)