Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

The cultural contradictions of anti-capitalism: Globalisation, resistance and the limits of liberalism.

Fletcher, Daniel Kevin


Daniel Kevin Fletcher


This thesis seeks to explore the cultural tendencies of contemporary anti-capitalism by relating such tendencies to the wider cultural context. It is argued that contemporary anti-capitalist movements such as the Occupy movement are marked by a self-emancipatory ethos that emerges as an inherent feature of a global society pervaded by Western­ bourgeois cultural tendencies. It is argued that the self-emancipatory ethos is constituted by an essential contradiction, simultaneously bringing out being-over desires (or desires for power over humanity and nature) and being-with desires, (or desires for horizontal connections or associations with humanity and nature). Employing a post-structuralist perspective and insisting on the improbability of cultural transcendence, the thesis suggests that contemporary anti-capitalist movements tend to radicalise, rather than absolutely oppose, Western-bourgeois cultural tendencies, and explores how radical groups feed radical undercurrents into the liberal-democratic mainstream to contribute to the development of Western society. In developing the concept of self-emancipatory contradiction, the thesis seeks to radicalise the philosophical perspective employed by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri. It traces these authors' philosophical perspective back to the philosophy of desire developed by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari in the late 1960s and early 1970s, linking this philosophy to the political and social upheavals that developed from the revolt of May 1968 in France. While insisting that Deleuze and Guattari helped usher in a postmodern break in the 1960s, the thesis seeks to place this break within the history of self-emancipatory struggle in the West, exploring how the break exacerbated the self-emancipatory contradiction to feed into the development of neoliberal culture from the late 1970s onwards. In placing the postmodern break in its cultural context, the thesis explores the origins and early development of the Western-bourgeois ethos of self-emancipation, focusing on early liberalist philosophy and key democratising political upheavals in Western history.

Publication Date Dec 1, 2015
Additional Information For access to the hard copy thesis, check the University Library catalogue.

Downloadable Citations