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Violence as negation of potential in the works of Hannah Arendt, Albert Camus, and Frantz Fanon: From Totalitarianism and Colonialism to Biopolitics

Ntalaka, Olga (2022) Violence as negation of potential in the works of Hannah Arendt, Albert Camus, and Frantz Fanon: From Totalitarianism and Colonialism to Biopolitics. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.96349) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:96349)

Language: English

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This thesis argues that political violence can be broadly conceptualised as negation of human potential. The analysis bypasses essentialist definitions of violence and prioritises instead the function of violence in relation to the political experiences of subjects. The thesis examines the works of Hannah Arendt, Albert Camus and Frantz Fanon and interprets their views on violence by focusing on its political function and effects on subjects. The main claim is that all three thinkers, despite their differences, agree that violence negates the potential of subjects to act and express themselves in certain ways, which involves spontaneity and creative initiative. This is shown through Arendt's concept of natality, Camus's concept of rebellion and Fanon's idea of reshaping subjectivities through anticolonial struggle. The thesis argues that violence negates potential because of the unpredictability and insecurity that spontaneous action entails and this goes against the three thinkers' views on humanism. It demonstrates how Arendt, Camus and Fanon espouse political resistance through novel creative action in order to break the circle of violence that rests upon repetition and reaction. Violence is examined in the context of politics in totalitarianism and colonialism, complemented by an analysis of violence in biopolitics though a discussion of the thoughts of Michel Foucault and Giorgio Agamben. In this way, the thesis reveals the links between totalitarianism, colonialism and biopolitics, by emphasising the role of violence that negates human potential, which is common to all these political constellations.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.96349
Uncontrolled keywords: violence, totalitarianism, Camus, Arendt, Fanon, neoliberalism, biopolitics, potential
Subjects: J Political Science
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Funders: University of Kent (
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 24 Aug 2022 07:06 UTC
Last Modified: 25 Aug 2022 15:28 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Ntalaka, Olga.

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