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Julie Gaillard (French & Italian)

Junior Research Fellows, 2020-2022

" 'Who, We?' Pronominal Politics, Citizenship, and the Rights of the Other in Hashtag-Era France"

‘Who, We?’ explores the tensions between horizontal forms of political expression facilitated by social networks and vertical structures of representation in the specific French context to show how they currently challenge the traditional model of universalist republican citizenship inherited from the French Revolution. Drawing on linguistics, cultural studies, and contemporary francophone philosophy on community formation and republican citizenship, this book in progress questions the referential dynamics at stake in individual and collective first-person utterances in hashtags, slogans, literary testimonies and manifestos after #JeSuisCharlie, #metoo and the Yellow Vests movement. In particular, the pragmatic framework elaborated by Jean-François Lyotard in The Differend provides a crucial tool to interrogate the stakes of the intrinsic heterogeneity of the pronoun “we.” In reading the pronominal politics underlying key contemporary movements against Lyotard’s philosophy of reference, this project seeks to interrogate the conflict of legitimizations existing between ethnic, republican and neoliberal discursive models, and ultimately explore the interconnection of a post-secular “rights of the Other” and the notion of a commons where personal pronouns might need to be done away with altogether.

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