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Resistance

RESISTANCE.

The path of resistance has been neither straight nor narrow. First adopted by the political right, and then crossing the aisle to the left, resistance is sometimes considered a means and other times an end. Its modern history traces the evolution of an idea and a transformation in politics.

The English word resistance is a derivation of "resist," stemming from the Latinvia the Frenchmeaning "to stand." Resistance has a technical scientific meaning, the opposition offered by one body to the pressure or movement of another, as well as a later psychoanalytic one, the unconscious opposition to repressed memories or desires. But the Oxford English Dictionary 's primary definition: "To stop or hinder (a moving body); to succeed in standing against; to prevent (a weapon, etc.) from piercing or penetrating," has a distinct political bent.

Conservative Roots

Edmund Burke (17291797), the great conservative thinker of the modern era, makes the case for resistance in Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790). Fondly remembering Marie Antoinette as a "morning star, full of life, and splendour, and joy" (p. 75), Burke criticizes the revolutionary overthrow of birthright authority. Horrified by the thought of the hair-dresser who thinks himself the equal of his betters, he rails against the leveling of classes. But what really motivates Burke's fear and loathing of the French Revolution is his belief that these radical and sudden changes fly in the face of time-tested tradition and are an "usurpation on the prerogatives of nature" (p. 49). Undermining the firm foundations of society, this can only lead to chaos. As such, Burke appeals to his English audience to resist such progress in their own country "with their lives and fortunes" (p. 16).

Nearly a century later, Burke's countryman Matthew Arnold (18221888) takes up the call of conservative resistance. In Dover Beach (1867) he describes a faithless land that "Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light. Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight/Where ignorant armies clash by night." Arnold's mid-nineteenth century England was a world of storm and strife: urbanization, industrialization, and class warfare. The republican ideals of the French Revolution had triumphed over Burke's beloved tradition, and "nature," after Darwin, was harnessed to progress. A new principle of resistance was needed; for Arnold it was culture. As "the best which has been thought and said" (p. 6) as he defines it in Culture and Anarchy (1869), culture offered a means with which to rise above the politics, commerce, and machinery of the day and supply a universal standard upon which to base "a principle of authority, to counteract the tendency to anarchy which seems to be threatening us" (p. 82) Culture was a metaphysical realm where "real thought and real beauty; real sweetness and real light" (p. 69, author's emphasis) could safely flourish, eventually returning to terra firmaif at allin the form of an ideal State to guide society.

Anti-Colonial Resistance

Halfway around the world Mahatma Gandhi (18691948) was developing his own ideas of resistance. Arriving at conclusions similar to Burke and Arnold, he stood these conservative notions on their head in opposing British colonial rule. Central to Gandhi's political philosophy was the idea of satyagraha. In Sanskrit this means "insistence on the truth"; Gandhi, however, also used the word to denote "civil resistance." This was a logical translation for him. Insisting on the truth in an India under foreign rule meant resisting the imposition of that rule, for as long as India labored under colonial guns and culture, she would have a false idea of herself. It was this false idea: that English culture comprised the "best that has ever been thought and said," that one needed to be violent like one's oppressors, that needed to be resisted more fiercely than even the British themselves. To be free of European bodies on Indian soil was one thing, to be free of their ideas, their prejudices, and their technology, was another. As Gandhi rhetorically asks in an early pamphlet Hind Swaraj (1910), "Why do you forget that our adoption of their civilization makes their presence at all possible?" (p. 75). As with Arnold, insistence on the truth meant cultivating a resistant culture that could rise above the world of the West and act as a guide to a truly home-ruled India. And like Burke, tradition offered a resource for this resistant culture. Gandhi counseled breaking India's economic dependence on Britain by khaddar, a return to the hand looming of cloth, and looked to non-Westernized, rural India for political and spiritual models.

Radical resistance, defined in part as the rejection of foreign cultures and the celebration of indigenous traditions, winds its way through the twentieth century, as European colonies in Africa and Asia were swept away by struggles of national liberation. This strain of resistance makes its way back to the metropole in the words of those finding parallels between their own struggles and anticolonialism. A key point of identification was the fight against internalized oppression, what the Algerian writer and activist Albert Memmi (b. 1920) referred to as the colonizer within (1965). In 1970 the American group, Radicalesbians, issued a manifesto calling for "The Woman-Identified Woman." "[W]hat is crucial" they write, "is that women begin disengaging themselves from male defined response patterns. For irrespective of where our love and sexual energies flow, if we are male-identified in our heads, we cannot realize our autonomy as human beings." "Only women," they conclude, "can give to each other a new sense of self."

These final words were picked up and developed by the radical black women of the Combahee River Collective, who asserted in 1977, "We believe that the most profound and potentially radical politics come directly out of our identity," setting the stage for an "identity politics" that argued for resistance based within and upon the unique experiences of a person's ethnicity, gender, or sexual identity (p. 272).

Totality

La Résistance was the name adopted by the French citizens who fought against the Nazi occupation of France. But the specter of oppression didn't disappear with the defeat of Fascism in the postwar West. Instead, totalizing power was identified everywhere and resistance was redefined as an everyday battle with no end in sight.

This total resistance against totality finds its roots in existentialism. Existentialists argued that the fate of humanity is to choose and to act; indeed, it is only in these actions that one defines who one is. "Man is nothing else but that which he makes of himself," Jean-Paul Sartre (19051980) writes in Existentialism Is a Humanism (1946; p. 349). If the importance of action (or resistance) was once judged on its efficacy in bringing about (or protecting) an ideal or country, Sartre was now arguing that it was the choice, and the action that follows, which matters. In the Myth of Sisyphus (1955), Albert Camus (19131960) retells the tale of Sisyphus, condemned for eternity by the gods to roll a rock up a hill only to watch it roll back down again. In this task Camus identifies the human condition as being condemned to an action that brings no certain result, but also finding definitionand happinessin the absurd and ceaseless labor.

In 1961 Erving Goffman (19221982), an American sociologist influenced by the existentialists, wrote Asylums (1961), discussing "total institutions." Observing patients in a mental asylum, Goffman agued that the job of total institutions is to createor recreatetheir charge's identity in order to integrate them into the world. Individuals, however, don't always do what they should. The patients Goffman observed elided institutional demands and created an "underlife" where different values reigned. Indeed, it was in resisting the definitions pressed upon them that inmates of institutions developed their own sense of identity. Asylums was an implicit critique of the postwar "Free World" of big business and the welfare state, mass media, and compulsory education. But, Goffman argues, this institutionalization and homogenization of thought and behavior need not lead only to despair, for as Goffman's mental patients taught him, "It is against something that the self can emerge" (p. 320).

Meanwhile, youth cultures such as the beatniks, and later the hippies, were busy acting out identities of resistance, defining themselves by what they were not as much as what they were ("I'm gonna wave my freak flag high," sang Jimi Hendrix in 1968). The freak, mental patient, artist, native, and resurrecting an old ideal of nineteenth-century anarchism, the criminal, were celebrated (and idealized) in their "otherness"; their resistanceconscious or notto the world of the white-collared conservative. In 1968 the world seemed to explode. Vietnamese nationalists were defeating the most powerful military in the world, U.S. college campuses and urban ghettoes were in upheaval, young people stood up to dictatorships in Mexico City and Prague, and perhaps most dramatic of all, students and workers, together, took to the streets of Paris in May 1968. The world was rocked to its core, yet politically little seemed to change: the ruling powers in these countries continued to rule.

In Paris of the 1960s Michel Foucault (1926-1984), like Gofffman, was examining total institutions such as prisons, asylums, and schools, but the French intellectual was interested in institutions of the mind as well, such as disciplinary boundaries and classification systems. The failures of the political resistance in 1968 confirmed what Foucault had already known: that power was not something out thereeasy to identify and to overthrow. Instead it was everywhere, "the disciplinary grid of society," which was continuous, anonymous, intimate, and even pleasurable (1980, p. 111). Whereas previous critics of totalitarianism, from the left and the right, elevated the ideal of the individual subject resisting against totalizing society, Foucault countered that the individual was itself problematic. This Enlightenment creature that made new ideals of personal freedom possible also opened up a new site of oppression: the individual's mind, body, and spirit. Because power is impressed upon and internalized into the subject, it raises the vexing problem of who resists and what exactly are they resisting. Can one resist the very subject thing doing the resisting?

Resistance remains a stated goal for Foucault, but it must be reconceptualized. The ideal of developing the pure subject in opposition to the corrupting object of society must be rejected. "Maybe the target nowadays," he suggests, "is not to discover what we are, but to refuse what we are" (1984, p. 22). Foucault's refusal to provide an answer, to spell out what the resistant subject is for or against, is characteristic, as it is the answer, the category, the truth which constrains us most of all.

In his essay, "The Masses: The Implosion of the Social in the Media" (1985) the playful postmodernist Jean Baudrillard (b. 1929) extends Foucault's ideas to theirperhaps illogicalconclusion. Baudrillard argues that strategies of resistance always change to reflect strategies of control. Against a system that excludes or represses the individual, the natural demand is one of inclusion: to become a subject. This, however, is not the modern world. In twenty-first century Western society people are bombarded with appeals for their participation: "Vote!" and "This Bud's for You," and yet they also know that their choice or vote matters little. Against a system that justifies and sustains its existence by the consent (or consumer purchases) of those it governs, the masses have devised their strategy of resistance: apathy"a spontaneous, total resistance to the ultimatum of historical and political reason" (p. 588). Popular politics is "no longer a question of revolution but of massive devolution a massive desisting from will" (p. 586). It is a resistance to resistance.

Cultural Resistance

While apathy may reign supreme in the voting booth, some scholars and activists have been looking for resistance elsewhere: on the street corner, in the living room, or at the club, that is, in cultural expression. Matthew Arnold first articulated cultural resistance, but the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci (18911937) framed the contemporary discussion.

Gramsci, writing from a Fascist jail in the 1920s and early 1930s, reflected on why the communist revolutions he labored for in the West had so far failed. Part of the reason, he concluded, was a serious underestimation of culture and civil society. Power does not just reside in institutions, but also in the ways people make sense of their world; hegemony is both a political and cultural process. Armed with culture instead of guns, one fights a different type of battle. Whereas traditional battles were "wars of maneuver," frontal assaults that seized the state, cultural battles were "wars of position," flanking maneuvers, commando raids, and infiltrations, staking out positions from which to attack and then reassemble civil society (pp. 229239). Thus, part of the revolutionary project was to create counterhegemonic culture behind enemy lines. But if this culture was to have real power, and communist integrity, it could notcontra Arnoldbe imposed from above; it must come out of the experiences and consciousness of people. Thus, the job of the revolutionary is to discover the progressive potentialities that reside within popular consciousness and from this material fashion a culture of resistance.

It was this implicitly politico-cultural mission that guided the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies at the University of Birmingham in the 1970s. The CCCS is best known for its subcultural studies, and it was within these mainly working-class subcultures that researchers found an inchoate politics of resistance. Mods one-upped their bosses with their snappy dress. Punks performed the decline of Britain with lyrics that warned: "We're your future, no future." Skinheads recreated a cohesive white, masculine working-class world that no longer existed. And Rastafarians turned the world upside down by rereading Christianity into a condemnation of white Babylon. It was through culture that young people contested and rearranged the ideological constructionsthe systems of meaninghanded down to them by the dominant powers of postwar Britain.

For Stuart Hall (the influential director of the CCCS) and his colleagues, cultural resistance was politically ambiguous. Subcultures opened up spaces where dominant ideology was contested and counter hegemonic culture was created, however, these contestations and symbolic victories often remained locked in culture. "There is no 'subcultural solution'" to structural inequality write Hall and his colleagues in Resistance through Rituals (1976), "They 'solve,' but in an imaginary way, problems which at the concrete material level remain unresolved" (pp. 4748). As W. H. Auden (19071973) came to lament, "Poetry makes nothing happen"at least not by itself.

Resistance Refuted and Reimagined

Is cultural resistance, resistance at all? Malcolm Cowley (18981989) raised this question in Exile's Return (1934), his memoir of Bohemian days in Greenwich Village. He pointed out that while the cultural conservatism of the Victorians may have served an era of capitalism predicated on hard work and savings, by the 1920s a new ethic was needed for what was becoming a mass consumer economy. Within the context of consumer capitalism the bohemian call to be freed from yesterday's conventions translates easily into freedom to buy tomorrow's products. More recently, Thomas Frank has taken up the refrain, writing in his journal The Baffler (1993):

Over the years the rebel has naturally become the central image of this culture of consumption, symbolizing endless, directionless change, an eternal restlessness with "the establishment"or, more correctly, with the stuff "the establishment" convinced him to buy last year. (p. 12)

As a purely political strategy resistance also has its critics. Resistance only exists in relation to the dominant power"bonds of rejection," are what Richard Sennett calls these in his discussion of Authority (1980)and without that dominant power, resistance has no coherence or purpose. This is not a difficulty if resistance is a tactic on the road to revolution (and thus the end of resistance), but once this goal is discarded resistance becomes problematic, for what is the point of resistance if the very thing being resisted must be maintained?

In the early twenty-first century, theorists and activists are rethinking and redefining resistance, approaching it less as a stand against the world and more as means with which to actualize a new one. This is a central theme of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri's Empire (2000). Resistance, they argue, has two sides. Yes, it is opposing the current world, "but at the same time it is linked to a new world." This new world, however, unlike the revolutionary utopias of times past, "knows no outside. It knows only an inside, a vital and ineluctable participation in the set of social structures, with no possibility of transcending them" (p. 413). This is a strange resistance. What sort of opposition counsels participation inside the system? What sort of new world cannot transcend the old one? The answers lie in Hardt and Negri's analysis of empire. Within the social structures of the system of global capitalism they discover resistant elements: global interdependence, social networks, systems of communication, affective and immaterial labor, and the formation of cooperative consciousness. These ideas and practices are as useful to a new world as they are necessary to the old one. As such, these experiences lived by the multitude are both conformity and resistance, depending upon how one understands and mobilizes them.

Hakim Bey (also known as Peter Lamborn Wilson) shares Hardt and Negri's suspicion of a world "outside," but believes that through resistance one can catch a glimpse of an alternative. His model is the TAZ, or Temporary Autonomous Zone (1985), an immediate experiencea happeningthat temporarily reverses the rules, laying bare the structures of the present and experimenting with a model for the future. The TAZ is necessarily limited in time and space. "But," Bey argues, "such moments of intensity give shape and meaning to the entirety of a life" (p. 100). Protest groups such as London-born Reclaim the Streets put this philosophy of resistance into practice in the 1990s: throwing large, illegal street parties that literally demonstrated to participants what the experience of a participatory public culture feels like. What is being created, through acts of resistance, is a revolutionary imagination. As the rebel-poet Subcommandante Marcos of the Zapatista army in Southern Mexico writes,

In our dreams we have seen another world. A sincere world, a world definitively more just than the one in which we now move. That sincere world was not a dream of the past, it was not something that came from our ancestors. It came from ahead, it was from the next step that we had taken.

See also Liberty ; Resistance and Accommodation .

bibliography

Arnold, Matthew. Culture and Anarchy, 1869. Reprint, Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

. "Dover Beach." In Poetical Works, edited by C. B. Tinker and H. F. Lowry. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1950. First published in 1867.

Baudrillard, Jean. "The Masses: The Implosion of the Social in the Media." New Literary History 3 (1985): pp 57789.

Bey, Hakim. TAZ: The Temporary Autonomous Zone. New York: Autonomedia, 1985.

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Camus, Albert. The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays. New York: Knopf, 1955. The Combahee River Collective.

"The Combahee River Collective Statement." In Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology, edited by Barbara Smith. New York: Kitchen Table/Women of Color Press, 1983. First published in 1977.

Cowley, Malcolm. Exile's Return. 1934. Reprint, London: Penguin, 1976.

Duncombe, Stephen, ed. Cultural Resistance Reader. New York: Verso, 2002.

Foucault, Michel. The Foucault Reader. Edited by Paul Rabinow. New York: Pantheon, 1984.

. Power/Knowledge. New York: Pantheon, 1980.

Frank, Thomas. "Alternative to What?" The Baffler 5 (1993): 514; 119128.

Gandhi, Mahatma K. Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule, 1910. Reprint, Madras: Ganseh and Co/Nationalist Press, 1919.

Goffman, Erving. Asylums. New York: Anchor, 1961.

Gramsci, Antonio. Prison Notebooks. Edited by Quintin Hoare and Geoffrey Nowell Smith. New York: International, 1971. Originally written between 19291935.

Hall, Stuart and Tony Jefferson, eds. Resistance through Rituals. London: Unwin Hyman, 1976.

Hardt, Michael, and Antonio Negri. Empire. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2000.

Marcos, Subcommandante. "A Thank-You to the NGO's." EZLN communiqué, 1 March 1994.

Memmi, Albert. Colonizer and the Colonized, 1965. Reprint, New York: Beacon Press, 1991.

Radicalesbians. The Woman-Identified Woman. Gay Flames pamphlet, New York, 1970.

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Stephen Duncombe

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Resistance

Resistance

BIBLIOGRAPHY

The concept of resistance, meaning literally to stand against, entered the social sciences primarily from politics and culture. While there is a clinical psychoanalytic definition of the term, and a technical one used by the physical sciences, it is really resistance in a critical politico-cultural sense that has had the greatest impact in the field.

Resistance in a political context is often thought of as the property of the left. The famed French (and often communist-led) Résistance against the Nazi occupation immediately comes to mind. But the concept was first introduced into the modern political lexicon from the right, by Edmund Burke, who argued for the necessity of resisting revolutionary progress in his Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790). Burke was incensed at the French overthrow of birthright authority and the leveling of classes (he was particularly horrified by the thought of the hairdresser who thinks himself the equal of his betters). These, and other such revolutionary abuses, fly in the face of time-tested tradition and threaten to upset the natural order of things. As such, it is the best wisdom and the first duty of every Englishman to stand against such radical change, with jealous, ever-waking vigilance (p. 54).

The conservative call for a resistance against change was taken up by Burkes countryman Matthew Arnold. By the mid-nineteenth century the republican ideals of the French revolution had the lead over Burkes beloved tradition, and nature, after Darwin, was harnessed to progress. A new principle of resistance was neededand for Arnold, it was culture. As the best that has ever been thought and said (as he defines it in Culture and Anarchy, 1869), culture offered a means with which to rise above the politics, commerce, and industry of the day and supply a universal standard upon which to base authority and order.

Karl Marx, exiled in England when Arnold was writing, also thought resistance a conservative ideal. In their 1848 Communist Manifesto Marx and Engels paint a heady portrait of dynamic change: traditions overthrown, nature transformed, nations dissolved, people uprooted; a world where all that is solid melts into air (p. 38). For Marx, resistance is not the answerits the problem. It is capitalisms bourgeois caretakers who are resisting the systems own logic. Capitalism has socialized the means of production, yet ownership is kept in the hands of the few. The revolutionary solution is to tear asunder this final resistance and herald in the new world.

Resistance moved leftward with the anticolonial struggles of the twentieth century. Mohandas K. Gandhi, waging a battle against British rule in India, advocated a political philosophy of satyagraha. In Sanskrit this word means insistence on the truth, but Gandhi also used it to denote civil resistance. This conflation of meanings makes a certain sense, as for Gandhi it was the untruths of colonial rulethat power must rest upon violence, that English culture comprised the best that has ever been thought and saidthat needed to be resisted more fiercely than even the British themselves. To be free of European bodies on Indian soil was one thing; to be free of their ideas, their prejudices, and their technology was another. Drawing upon both Burke and Arnold, but turning these ideas on their head, Gandhi advised the practice of civil disobedience, not merely in the streets, but through a political and spiritual return to traditional Indian culture and practices like khaddar, the hand-looming of cloth.

Radical resistance, defined in part as the rejection of foreign cultures and the celebration of indigenous traditions, spread across the globe as European colonies in Africa and Asia were overturned by struggles of national liberation. Gandhis strategy of nonviolent civil disobedience was not adopted by all. The Caribbean psychiatrist-cum-rebel Frantz Fanon made the case for bloody resistance in his influential The Wretched of the Earth (1963). Indeed, for Fanon it is the very violence of the resistance that will clear the way to a new society. But for all their differences, Gandhi and Fanon agreed on one thing: that the enemy that one had to resist the most virulently was the enemy one had internalizedwhat the Tunisian writer and activist Albert Memmi referred to in his 1957 book The Colonizer and the Colonized as the colonizer within.

The concept of resistance returned to the West via concerns with identity and identity-construction. In the early 1960s the American sociologist Erving Goffman argued that the job of total institutions like prisons, hospitals, and armies is to createor recreatetheir charges identity in order to integrate them into the system. However, Goffman observes, the patients in the mental institution he studied actually formed their identities by eliding institutional demands and creating underlives within the institution. In brief, it is in resisting the definitions pressed upon them that inmates of institutions develop their own sense of identity: It is against something that the self can emerge (p. 320). Goffmans book, Asylums (1961), was not merely a critique of total institutions, but a critical assessment of the postwar Free World of big business and the welfare state, mass media, and compulsory educationa mostly benign, but nonetheless totalizing system.

It was in resistance to this benign totalitythe tickytacky little boxes where everyone comes out all the same, as Pete Seeger sang in 1962that a youth counterculture emerged in the 1960s, as young people created under-lives by defining themselves against The System. Some of this resistance was politicalopposition to the American war in Vietnam, for instancebut it was also a stylistic confrontation: new styles of clothes, forms of music, and types of intoxicants. In other words, it was cultural resistance.

The idea, and ideal, of cultural resistance, while first championed by Matthew Arnold, takes its radical articulation from the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci. Gramsci held that hegemony is both a political and cultural process and thus part of the revolutionary project is to create a counterhegemonic culture. But if this culture is to have real power, and radical integrity, it cannotcontra Arnoldbe imposed from above; it must come out of the experiences and consciousness of the people. Thus, the job of the revolutionary is to discover the progressive potentialities that reside within popular consciousness and from this material fashion a culture of resistance.

It was this implicit politico-cultural mission that guided the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS) at the University of Birmingham in the 1970s. The CCCS is best known for its study of subcultures, and it was within mainly working class subculturespunks, mods, skinheads, and Rastafariansthat researchers found an inchoate culture of resistance. For Stuart Hall and his CCCS colleagues, however, cultural resistance was politically ambiguous. Subcultures opened up spaces where dominant ideology was contested and counter-hegemonic culture was created; at the same time, these contestations and symbolic victories often remained purely cultural, leaving the political and economic systems untouched. Cultural resistance, unless translated into political action, becomes what Hall and others referred to as imaginary solutions to real-world problems (Hall 1976).

This raises a nagging question that dogs the whole project of politico-cultural resistance : Is this resistance really resistance at all? The efficacy of cultural resistance has been questioned since at least 1934, when Malcolm Cowley, reminiscing about his Greenwich Village life in Exiles Return, pointed out that while bohemians may have flouted Victorian values of thrift and savings, their libertinism and emphasis on style and innovation mesh quite nicely with the needs of consumer capitalism. As the Frankfurt School theorist Theodor Adorno snidely remarked about the jazz fan of the era, he pictures himself as the individualist who whistles at the world. But what he whistles is its melody (Adorno 1938, p. 298). Resistance as a political strategy also has its critics. Resistance only exists in relation to the dominant powerbonds of rejection is what Richard Sennett calls this relationship in his discussion of Authority (1985) and without that dominant power, resistance has no coherence or purpose. What, then, is the point of resistance if it rests on the maintenance of the very thing being resisted?

Michel Foucault, like his contemporary Erving Goffman, studied total institutionsprisons, asylums, and schoolsbut the French intellectual was interested in institutions of the mind as well: disciplinary boundaries and classification systems. The failures of radical political resistance in 1968 confirmed what Foucault had already known: that power was not something out thereeasy to identify and overthrow. Instead, it was everywhere, continuous, anonymous, intimate, and even pleasurable: the disciplinary grid of society (p. 111), as he names it in Power/Knowledge (1980). For most critics, the individual subject/self is the hero of resistance against totalizing control; Foucault countered that the subject itself was problematic. The Enlightenments focus on the subject allowed for new ideals of personal freedom, but it also opened up new sites of oppression: the individuals mind, body, and spirit. Because power is impressed upon and internalized in the subject, it raises a vexing problem: Who is it that resists and what exactly are they resisting? Can one resist the very subject doing the resisting? Resistance remains a stated goal for Foucault, but one that must be reconceptualized. The ideal of developing the pure subject in opposition to the corrupting object of society must be rejected. Maybe the target nowadays, he suggests in The Subject and Power (1984), is not to discover what we are, but to refuse what we are (p. 208).

This idea of resistance is played out to itsperhaps illogicalconclusion by the playful postmodernist Jean Baudrillard. In his 1985 essay The Masses: The Implosion of the Social in the Media, Baudrillard argues that strategies of resistance always change to reflect strategies of control. Against a system that excludes or represses the individual, the natural demand is one of inclusion: to become a subject. Today, however, people are bombarded with appeals for their participationand yet they still feel that their choice or vote matters little. Against a system that justifies and sustains its existence by the political consent (or consumer purchases) of those it governs, the masses have devised a new strategy of resistance: apathy, a massive desisting from will (p. 109). A resistance to resistance.

Another path taken has been to move beyond resistanceto reimagine identities and politics not tied to the negation of the other. Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri sketch a bleak portrait of an all-pervasive, omnipotent system of control: Empire (2000). They acknowledge that within such a system, political and cultural resistance is usually expressed in a generalized being-againsta negative resistance. Yet they also see the chance for something different. They argue, like Marxists before them, that the system itself is generating the very tools and social conditions that make transcendence possible. The system of Empire relies upon new communication flows, new forms of organization, and new subjectivitiesall of which might give rise to radical identities, ideals, and collective actions not mired in the negation of being-against, thereby offering the subjectivity necessary for proactive social change, that is: a being-for. The boldest, and perhaps most outrageous, proposal to move beyond resistance comes from the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek who, drawing upon ideas of Jacques Lacan in The Ticklish Subject (1999), proposes something he calls the Acta radical act that jumps outside the coordinates of the dominant system, including any opposition tied to these coordinates. This act transcends resistance and its attendant disobedient obediencebut one might also legitimately ask: Where does an act like this lead?

SEE ALSO Colonialism; Cultural Studies; Fanon, Frantz; Foucault, Michel; Gandhi, Mohandas K.; Goffman, Erving; Gramsci, Antonio; Hall, Stuart; Marx, Karl; Marxism

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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Cowley, Malcolm. 1934. Exiles Return: A Literary Odyssey of the 1920s. London: Penguin, 1976.

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Fanon, Frantz. 1963. The Wretched of the Earth. Trans. Richard Philcox. New York: Grove Press.

Foucault, Michel. 1980. Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 19721977. Ed. Colin Gordon; trans. Colin Gordon et al. New York: Pantheon.

Foucault, Michel. 1982. The Subject and Power. In Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics, ed. Hubert L. Dreyfus and Paul Rabinow, 208226. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Gandhi, M. K. 1919. Hind Swaraj; or, Indian Home Rule. Madras, India: Ganesh/Nationalist Press.

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Gramsci, Antonio. 19291935. Prison Notebooks. Ed. Quinton Hoare and Geoffrey Nowell-Smith. New York: International Publishers, 1971.

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Marx, Karl, and Frederick Engels. 1848. The Communist Manifesto. Trans. Samuel Moore. New York and London: Verso, 1998.

Memmi, Albert. 1957. The Colonizer and the Colonized. Trans. Howard Greenfield. New York: Beacon Press, 1991.

Sennett, Richard. 1980. Authority. New York: Norton.

ŽiŽek, Slavoj. 1999. The Ticklish Subject: The Absent Centre of Political Ontology. London and New York: Verso.

Stephen Duncombe

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Resistance

RESISTANCE

Psychoanalysis understands resistance as something that stands in the way of the progress of analytic work during treatment. The term appeared for the first time in Sigmund Freud's writings in the Studies on Hysteria (1895d), where he reportedin connection with the case of Lucy R.how he had given up testing the degree of hypnosis of his patients because "this roused the patients' resistances and shook their confidence in me, which I needed for carrying out the more important psychical work" (p. 108). During his treatment of Elisabeth von R., already mindful of his own role in the clinical work, Freud perceived this resistance through the efforts he had to make in order to get his patient to remember certain painful representations. In the Freudian psychodynamic approach, this concept refers to the psychic force that the patient opposes to the bringing into consciousness of certain unpleasurable representations during treatment: the psychic force developed to maintain repression.

If the topographical theory led to the idea that psychoanalysis was, in Freud's words, an interpretative art that consisted of making the unconscious conscious, the analyst's task was henceforth to "lead the patient to recognize his resistance and to reckon with it." Analysis of the resistances thus became one of the cornerstones of analytic technique; analysis of the transference was soon linked with it.

In "The Dynamics of Transference" (1912b), Freud wondered why transference, the most effective among the factors of success, could become the most powerful agent of resistance. He was thus led to distinguish between positive and negative transference, and to conclude that "transference to the doctor is suitable for resistance to the treatment only in so far as it is a negative transference or a positive transference of repressed erotic impulses."

Freud agreed that nothing in analysis is more difficult than overcoming the resistances. However, these phenomena are valuable because they make it possible to bring to light patients' secret and forgotten emotions of love; above all, by endowing these with a sense of immediacy, the resistances facilitate the recognition of these emotions, because, as Freud put it in a well-known formulation, "it is impossible to destroy anyone in absentia or in effigie " (1912b, p. 108). Instead of remembering, the patient reproduces attitudes and feelings from his or her life, which, through the transference, can be used as means of resistance against the treatment and against the therapist. It is as if the patient's intention to confound the analyst, make him feel his impotence, triumph over him, becomes more powerful that his or her intention to bring an end to his or her illness.

The article "Remembering, Repeating and Working-Through (Further Recommendations on the Technique of Psycho-Analysis II)"(1914g) marked a turning point where the discovery of repetition compulsion put an end to an illusion: Freud admitted that naming the resistance still did not make it disappear immediately. Analytic technique purported to be an art of interpretation that focused above all on recognizing the resistances and communicating them to the patient. Discovering that "The greater the resistance, the more extensively will acting out (repetition) replace remembering" (p. 151), Freud recognized the importance of the need for working-through (durcharbeiten ) "One must allow the patient time to become more conversant with this resistance with which he has now become acquainted, to work through it, to overcome it, by continuing, in defiance of it, the analytic work according to the fundamental rule of analysis" (p. 155). Freud constantly reiterated that it is the working-through of the resistances that offers the patient the greatest chance of change.

In the chapter "Resistance and Repression" in Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis (1916-17 [1915-17]), Freud underscored the forms of the resistances, which are very diversified, extremely refined, and often difficult to recognize, and their protean characterattributes that require the physician to be cautious and to remain on guard against them. Thus, during treatment, phenomena such as gaps in memory, screen-memories, overabundant production of dreams, cessation of free association, avoidance of causal links, judgments about the insignificance of thoughts that come to mind, or even flight into treatment may all be understood as forms of resistance. But it was the most paradoxical forms of resistancerepetition compulsion and the negative therapeutic reactionwhich Freud linked to unconscious feelings of guilt, that gave his study of the resistances its full amplitude.

In Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety (1926d), Freud returned to the forms of the resistances and distinguished those of the ego, the id, and the superego. The first type is under the aegis of the pleasure principle and includes three possibilities: resistance to the lifting of repression, resistance to the loss of secondary gains from illness, and transference resistance, which aims to maintain repression. The second, resistance of the id, corresponds to "the power of the compulsion to repeat" (1926d, p. 159) and necessitates working-through. The third, resistance of the superego, comes out of the feeling of guilt and the need for punishment, which stand in the way of successful treatment; this type was later described as a negative therapeutic reaction, itself linked to the death instinct.

If Freud remained reticent on the intrinsic nature of the resistances while underscoring their variability, richness, and solidity, he always believed that the patient's work on his or her own resistances was indispensable to the success of the treatment, even positing in his last writings that this work alone carried in it the potential for real and lasting change in the ego.

Analysts after Freud have done relatively little further work on the manifestations of resistance during treatment. However, Melanie Klein, by seeing resistance essentially as a manifestation of negative transference, paved the way for a certain number of other studies, notably those of Wilfred Bion, who described psychotic resistance as "attacks on linking."

MichÈle Pollak Cornillot

See also: Acting out/acting in; Active technique; "Analysis Terminable and Interminable"; "Autobiographical Study, An"; Cathartic method; Change; Character; "Constructions in Analysis"; Cure; Defense; Development of Psycho-Analysis ; Doubt; Ego; Ego and the Id, The ; Evenly-suspended attention; Face-to-face situation; Fundamental rule; Id; Interpretation; Negative therapeutic reaction; Psychoanalysis of Children, The ; Psychoanalyst; "Remembering, Repeating and Working-Through"; Repressed; Repression, lifting of; Silence; Studies on Hysteria ; Superego; Technique with adults, psychoanalytic; Termintaion of treatment; Therapeutic alliance; Training analysis; Transference; "Wild " Psycho-Analysis ; Working-through.

Bibliography

Bion, Wilfred Ruprecht. (1959). Attacks on linking. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 43 (4-5), 308.

Freud, Sigmund. (1912b). The dynamics of transference. SE, 12: 97-108.

. (1914g). Remembering, repeating and working-through (further recommendations on the technique of psycho-analysis II). SE, 12: 145-156.

. (1916-17a [1915-17]). Introductory lectures on psycho-analysis. Parts I and II. SE, 15-16.

. (1926d [1925]). Inhibitions, symptoms and anxiety. SE, 20: 75-172.

Freud, Sigmund, and Breuer, Josef. (1895d). Studies on hysteria. SE, 2: 48-106.

Further Reading

Busch, Fred. (1995). Resistance analysis and object relations theory. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 12, 43-54.

Gray, Paul. (1992). Memory as resistance, and the telling of a dream. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 40, 307-326.

Smith, Henry F. (1997). Resistance, enactment, and interpretation: A self-analytic study. Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 17, 13-30.

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resistance

re·sist·ance / riˈzistəns/ • n. 1. the refusal to accept or comply with something; the attempt to prevent something by action or argument: she put up no resistance to being led away. ∎  armed or violent opposition: government forces were unable to crush guerrilla-style resistance. ∎  (also re·sist·ance move·ment) [in sing.] a secret organization resisting authority, esp. in an occupied country. ∎  (the Resistance) the underground movement formed in France during World War II to fight the German occupying forces and the Vichy government. Also called maquis. ∎  the impeding, slowing, or stopping effect exerted by one material thing on another: air resistance would need to be reduced by streamlining. 2. the ability not to be affected by something, esp. adversely: some of us have a lower resistance to cold than others. ∎  Med. & Biol. lack of sensitivity to a drug, insecticide, etc., esp. as a result of continued exposure or genetic change. 3. the degree to which a substance or device opposes the passage of an electric current, causing energy dissipation. Ohm's law resistance (measured in ohms) is equal to the voltage divided by the current. ∎  a resistor or other circuit component that opposes the passage of an electric current. PHRASES: the line (or path) of least resistance an option avoiding difficulty or unpleasantness; the easiest course of action.

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resistance (in electricity)

resistance, property of an electric conductor by which it opposes a flow of electricity and dissipates electrical energy away from the circuit, usually as heat. Optimum resistance is provided by a conductor that is long, small in cross section, and of a material that conducts poorly. Resistance is basically the same for alternating and direct current circuits (see impedance). However, an alternating current of high frequency tends to travel near the surface of a conductor. Since such a current uses less of the available cross section of the conductor than a direct current, it meets with more resistance than a direct current. In circuit analysis an ideal resistor, i.e., a circuit component whose only property is resistance, is called a resistance. The phenomenon of resistance arises from the interactions of electrons with ions in the conductor. The unit of resistance is the ohm. See superconductivity; Ohm's law; conduction.

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resistance

resistance
1. (in microbiology) The degree to which pathogenic microorganisms remain unaffected by antibiotics and other drugs. Genes for antibiotic resistance are often carried on plasmids or transposons, which can spread across species barriers.

2. (in ecology)
a. The degree to which a pest can withstand the effects of a pesticide. It depends on the selection and spread within a pest population of genes that confer the ability to destroy, or minimize the effects of, a pesticide.

b. See environmental resistance.


3. (in immunology) The degree of immunity to infection that an animal possesses.

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resistance

resistance refusal to accept or comply with something.
The Resistance is the name given to the underground movement formed in France during the Second World War to fight the German occupying forces and the Vichy government. The Resistance was composed of various groups which were coordinated into the Forces Françaises de l'Intérieur in 1944, which joined with Free French forces in the liberation of Paris and northern France.
the line of least resistance an option avoiding difficulty or unpleasantness; the easiest course of action.

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resistance

resistance (symbol R) Property of an electric conductor, calculated as the ratio of the voltage applied to the conductor to the current passing through it. Conductors have low resistance. The SI unit of resistance is the ohm. It represents the opposition to the flow of electric current. See also resistor

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resistance

resistance (ri-zist-ăns) n.
1. the degree of immunity that the body possesses.

2. the degree to which a disease or disease-causing organism remains unaffected by antibiotics or other drugs.

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resistance (in psychiatry)

resistance, in psychiatry: see psychoanalysis.

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resistance (in biology)

resistance, in biology: see immunity.

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resistance

resistanceabeyance, conveyance, purveyance •creance • ambience •irradiance, radiance •expedience, obedience •audience •dalliance, mésalliance •salience •consilience, resilience •emollience • ebullience •convenience, lenience, provenience •impercipience, incipience, percipience •variance • experience •luxuriance, prurience •nescience • omniscience •insouciance • deviance •subservience • transience •alliance, appliance, compliance, defiance, misalliance, neuroscience, reliance, science •allowance •annoyance, clairvoyance, flamboyance •fluence, pursuance •perpetuance • affluence • effluence •mellifluence • confluence •congruence • issuance • continuance •disturbance •attendance, dependence, interdependence, resplendence, superintendence, tendance, transcendence •cadence •antecedence, credence, impedance •riddance • diffidence • confidence •accidence • precedence • dissidence •coincidence, incidence •evidence •improvidence, providence •residence •abidance, guidance, misguidance, subsidence •correspondence, despondence •accordance, concordance, discordance •avoidance, voidance •imprudence, jurisprudence, prudence •impudence • abundance • elegance •arrogance • extravagance •allegiance • indigence •counter-intelligence, intelligence •negligence • diligence • intransigence •exigence •divulgence, effulgence, indulgence, refulgence •convergence, divergence, emergence, insurgence, resurgence, submergence •significance •balance, counterbalance, imbalance, outbalance, valance •parlance • repellence • semblance •bivalence, covalence, surveillance, valence •sibilance • jubilance • vigilance •pestilence • silence • condolence •virulence • ambulance • crapulence •flatulence • feculence • petulance •opulence • fraudulence • corpulence •succulence, truculence •turbulence • violence • redolence •indolence • somnolence • excellence •insolence • nonchalance •benevolence, malevolence •ambivalence, equivalence •Clemence • vehemence •conformance, outperformance, performance •adamance • penance • ordinance •eminence • imminence •dominance, prominence •abstinence • maintenance •continence • countenance •sustenance •appurtenance, impertinence, pertinence •provenance • ordnance • repugnance •ordonnance • immanence •impermanence, permanence •assonance • dissonance • consonance •governance • resonance • threepence •halfpence • sixpence •comeuppance, tuppence, twopence •clarence, transparence •aberrance, deterrence, inherence, Terence •remembrance • entrance •Behrens, forbearance •fragrance • hindrance • recalcitrance •abhorrence, Florence, Lawrence, Lorentz •monstrance •concurrence, co-occurrence, occurrence, recurrence •encumbrance •adherence, appearance, clearance, coherence, interference, perseverance •assurance, durance, endurance, insurance •exuberance, protuberance •preponderance • transference •deference, preference, reference •difference • inference • conference •sufferance • circumference •belligerence • tolerance • ignorance •temperance • utterance • furtherance •irreverence, reverence, severance •deliverance • renascence • absence •acquiescence, adolescence, arborescence, coalescence, convalescence, deliquescence, effervescence, essence, evanescence, excrescence, florescence, fluorescence, incandescence, iridescence, juvenescence, luminescence, obsolescence, opalescence, phosphorescence, pubescence, putrescence, quiescence, quintessence, tumescence •obeisance, Renaissance •puissance •impuissance, reminiscence •beneficence, maleficence •magnificence, munificence •reconnaissance • concupiscence •reticence •licence, license •nonsense •nuisance, translucence •innocence • conversance • sentience •impatience, patience •conscience •repentance, sentence •acceptance • acquaintance •acquittance, admittance, intermittence, pittance, quittance, remittance •assistance, coexistence, consistence, distance, existence, insistence, outdistance, persistence, resistance, subsistence •instance • exorbitance •concomitance •impenitence, penitence •appetence •competence, omnicompetence •inheritance • capacitance • hesitance •Constance • importance • potence •conductance, inductance, reluctance •substance • circumstance •omnipotence • impotence •inadvertence • grievance •irrelevance, relevance •connivance, contrivance •observance • sequence • consequence •subsequence • eloquence •grandiloquence, magniloquence •brilliance • poignance •omnipresence, pleasance, presence •complaisance • malfeasance •incognizance, recognizance •usance • recusance

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