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This chapter explores the broader political implications of a dialogical aesthetic paradigm, focusing on the tension between individual self-transformation and the processes by which these same individuals might come together to create political change. The chapter identifies a set of discursive structures that impose a binary division between localized change and global revolution and between forms of identity based on racial or sexual difference and class-based identities. There is a danger in contemporary left theory of abandoning a close understanding of the conditions that lead people to demand change and the embodied conditions of both repression and resistance. There are valuable insights for understanding this embodied condition in anticolonial and Black theory. The chapter references Boaventura de Sousa Santos’s notion of “rearguard” theory and outlines a set of examples, including the Shackville protests in Cape Town and recent work by indigenous artists and activists in Canada.

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