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Occupolitics: Political Theory and Practice in the 21st Century

Lecturer: James Muldoon

Originally Taught: Evening School Semester 1 2012

This course aims to give a genealogy and analysis of the occupy movement and the new forms of social and political struggle that have emerged in recent years. Following the devastating effects of the Global Financial Crisis, the 2010s are emerging as the decade of the renewal of political radicalism on a global scale. Revolts in the Arab world that began in 2010 sparked an international wave of protests in Spain, Israel, the United States and across the globe. This course will analyse some of the concepts and ideas which stand behind these movements and examine the extent to which they have been realised in practice. The course will be situated within a broader philosophical reflection on the possibilities of politics today and will draw on contemporary political philosophers to make a connection between theory and practice. Philosophers that will be examined in this course include Schmitt, Arendt, Butler, Foucault, Ranciere, Agamben, Zizek and Dean. Aspects of the course will also focus specifically on the context of Occupy Melbourne, analysing the birth and development of a new form of political practice.  

Course Schedule: 
  • Week 1: What is an Occupation? (History of a Movement) 
  • Week 2: The End of Democracy 
  • Week 3: Arendt and Constituent Power 
  • Week 4: Foucault, Agamben, Zizek and Ranciere 
  • Week 5: The Future of Occupy

James Muldoon is one of the organisers of Occupy Melbourne and the litigant of the Occupy Melbourne Federal Court challenge against Melbourne City Council and Victoria Police.