Solidarity as Belonging-to and Dying-for Martyrdom, Hope, and Ethical Harmonies of the Flesh Open Access

Fayad, Sarah (Spring 2021)

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This dissertation is a phenomenology of solidarity: a relation I argue is central to any ethically sound, materially productive politics. Phenomenology as a method looks to experience itself, revealing its most elemental conditions of possibility. I uncover such a condition, perhaps invaluable to social philosophy (e.g. ethics, and political philosophy). I call this fundament of embodied experience ‘belonging-to.’ Belonging-to is the jarring truth that—counter to modern, liberal, intuitions—we are radically interdependent, mutually indebted. Using narratives offered by the captives who overthrew the Attica prison and Fanon's case studies--which provide first- person accounts of liberatory struggle--I argue that belonging-to is necessary for any viable conception of solidarity.

Solidarity is, therefore, an embodied relationship that demonstrates the possible scope of human intimacy and its power over that which illusorily divides us. I look to past-solidary movements, which through an intensity of interpersonal connectedness seek a better world for all who survive them. The work of solidarity is difficult, the ethics it entails make virtue scarce, and its relational character is one of deep, abiding, mutual sacrifice—it sheds light on the fundamental communality and selflessness that often silently shape our everyday conceptions of ethical behavior, while diverging from this everyday in its intensity, its acts, and its urgency. 

Table of Contents


Chapter I

§ I.      Phenomenology as Political Ground: Lives We Want to Live

§ II. The Ontogenesis of the Plural Subject: Embodied Porosity, Neonate Vulnerability, and Death

§ III. Belonging- to

III. b. Belonging-to On the Way to Solidarity

§ IV.    The Problem of Alterity: Phenomenology and Death

IV. b. Other Problems with Alterity

§ V. Conclusion: Belonging-To: What We Share in this Bond of Vitality

Chapter II

§ I. The Ontogenesis of the Subject as Flesh That Will Putrefy

§ II. Belonging-To: Hands, Dying

III. The Possibility of Being-Separated from One’s Body

§ IV. Love, Mourning: The Corpse

§ IV. b. Love, Mourning, The Corpse: And Radical Forms of Oppression

§ V. Ratcliffe and Fuchs: The Roots of Petrified Trees Extend Through Living Soil

§VI. The Living Place the Dead in the Depths of the Earth: Violence at the Origins of Worlds in Nancy and Agamben

§VII. Conclusion

Introduction to the Second Part (Chapters III and IV)

Chapter III, Part 1

A Wilderness with Walls: Attica Interviews

§ I. For Some, We Build a Wilderness: Exile of Those Who Nonetheless Belong

§II. A Wilderness with Walls

§ III: Sharing a Dying Body

§IV. The Solidary Body: A Body-Dispersed and Working

§V. Racist Amputation: Phantom Limbs Tingle With Life, Severed Limbs Decay

§V. Conclusion

Chapter III, Part 2

The Violence of Oppressors vs. the Violence of Liberators: Considering the Bloodless Alternative is a Necessary Heartbreak

Interlude: Considering the Present World

§I. Not Every Wound Comes from the Same Fall: Liberatory Violence is Different Than Banal Oppressive Violence and Mere Retribution


Chapter IV

Under Wild Skies: Analyses of Further Phenomenological Artifacts

(Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth Case Studies as Phenomenologies of Belonging-to)

A Word on Me Reading Fanon

Case No. 1—The murder by two thirteen-and-fourteen-year-old Algerians of their European Playmate

§ I. Devitalization Permission to Kill: Our Blood Will not Stick to Their Hands

§ II. If I Didn’t Die, How Can You Mourn Me?

§ III. Conclusion: Killing our friends? Is Allyship possible?

Case No. 2—Paranoid delusions and suicidal behavior disguised as “terrorist act” in a young twenty-two-year-old Algerian

§I. My People, Myself, Shattered: Violent Fragmentation of the Subject in Oppression, and War

§ II. When the Smoke Settles, Let It Not Choke Us: The Enduring Debt of Solidarity

§ III. Conclusion: Forgiveness, Absolution, and the Collision of Worlds

Part II Conclusion: Belonging-to Becomes Solidary Debt, When We Can Finally Hear the Free Horizon

Who Has My Heartbeat?

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