ABSTRACT

By way of a literature review, this chapter will establish a baseline and theoretical background for the discussions which follow, building a position on the complexities of contemporary power and resistance by focusing on a number of key theorists who do not always fit comfortably alongside one another. However, while they may approach the problem from different angles – using different traditions and presuppositions – I intend to play them off against one another in order to establish themes and concepts which will be developed throughout the book: authority, collective organisation, and aesthetics. Moreover, while Foucault, Butler, Brown, Žižek, Badiou, Dean, and Rancière may differ in their philosophical pedigrees, they nevertheless share a common and overlapping interest in understanding the counterintuitive mechanisms of power and resistance in the context of (post-)modern capitalism. It is this common focus which has led me to mix their contributions despite the in-fighting that exists between their followers; for instance, we might highlight the rifts between post-structuralists and Marxists, which in the case of these specific theorists have usually taken the form of mistaken accusations of Foucault himself being a neoliberal (e.g. Zamora 2014) and post-structuralists (among many others) unfairly dismissing Žižek as a charlatan or a facetious clown (Chomsky 2016; see also Burgum 2014).