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On love as an (im)properly political concept

On love as an (im)properly political concept
On love as an (im)properly political concept
Love has been theorized as a way to rebuild fractured communities, and a potential way to overcome differences on the political Left. However, might it be dangerous to invest so much potential in the power of love? In this paper, I reflect upon Michael Hardt’s work on the necessity of love for politics. Hardt emphasizes the radical and transformative potential of love, seeing it as a collective and generative force. Yet, I argue that Hardt’s reading of love, tied to a Spinozist theorization of joy, provides a limited understanding of the affective dimensions of love. Instead, I propose that we need to think about the ambivalence and incoherence of love: how love can be both joyful and painful, enduring and transient, expansive and territorial, revolutionary and conservative. That is, to consider how love, even in its seemingly most benevolent and unconditional form, can still be a source of exclusion, violence, and domination. Ultimately, I seek to challenge this fantasy of coherence and togetherness, asking if there is still space for the aspects of politics that are not joyful, that do not feel like love, that anger us, disappoint us, and that make us desire distance rather than togetherness
feminism, politics, affect, commons, identity, multitude
0263-7758
57-71
Wilkinson, Eleanor
b4e83f65-1c06-4c86-b70c-4cd307d2738a
Wilkinson, Eleanor
b4e83f65-1c06-4c86-b70c-4cd307d2738a

Wilkinson, Eleanor (2016) On love as an (im)properly political concept. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 35 (1), 57-71. (doi:10.1177/0263775816658887).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Love has been theorized as a way to rebuild fractured communities, and a potential way to overcome differences on the political Left. However, might it be dangerous to invest so much potential in the power of love? In this paper, I reflect upon Michael Hardt’s work on the necessity of love for politics. Hardt emphasizes the radical and transformative potential of love, seeing it as a collective and generative force. Yet, I argue that Hardt’s reading of love, tied to a Spinozist theorization of joy, provides a limited understanding of the affective dimensions of love. Instead, I propose that we need to think about the ambivalence and incoherence of love: how love can be both joyful and painful, enduring and transient, expansive and territorial, revolutionary and conservative. That is, to consider how love, even in its seemingly most benevolent and unconditional form, can still be a source of exclusion, violence, and domination. Ultimately, I seek to challenge this fantasy of coherence and togetherness, asking if there is still space for the aspects of politics that are not joyful, that do not feel like love, that anger us, disappoint us, and that make us desire distance rather than togetherness

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Accepted/In Press date: 9 June 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 19 August 2016
Keywords: feminism, politics, affect, commons, identity, multitude
Organisations: Population, Health & Wellbeing (PHeW)

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 397869
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/397869
ISSN: 0263-7758
PURE UUID: 7bcce595-d9b7-44ac-a43c-783438ea3dee

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Date deposited: 08 Jul 2016 08:54
Last modified: 09 Dec 2019 19:33

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