Subjects, Nationalism, And Citizenship in Spivak, Butler, And Balibar’s Dialogue


The present political situation shows the fresh wave of nationalisms, of speeches and practices headed for reaffirm closing off identities (cf. Weitekamp, E.G.M.; Kerner, H.-J. 2012). Barriers ready to be radically rethought until some years ago, nowadays they are again sought and contended instruments. This situation produced some relevant theoretical reactions. Some searchers returned to think about the phenomenon of national identitarian claims. The aim of this paper is to articulate the explicit and implicit debate that Spivak, Butler and Balibar develop about the matters of nation and citizenship. All three, according to different points of view, face the complex theme starting from the problem of the relation between the subject’s constitution and the institutional question. Starting from here, they question reciprocally. Spivak and Butler talk about belonging and nation (Who sings the nation-state?). Butler criticizes Balibar’s theoretical position when he try to articulate together translation and transnational forms of citizenship (Parting Ways). Spivak come back on Balibar’s theoretical position too (What is Gender, Where is Europe?...). She criticize his citizenship’s idea too tied with the European background. On the other hand, the open and “elastic” notion of citizenship is needed by Balibar’s thought to formulate a subject’s conception that would be a third solution compared to Spivak and Butler’s ones (Citoyen Sujet et Autres Essais…). It’s a matter of a comparison that accepts the present’s challenge, allows to face again the relationship among borders, belongings and citizenship and, lastly, to offer us, in their reciprocal questioning, some useful instruments.

Author Information
Didier Alessio Contadini

Paper Information
Conference: ECCS2014
Stream: Citizenship beyond borders

This paper is part of the ECCS2014 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon