Central and East European
Society for Phenomenology

Conference | Paper

“The Solidarity of the Shaken.” Revisiting Patočka's and Havel's Ideas from the Perspective of the Belarussian Protest Movement 2020–2021

Tatiana Shchyttsova

Thursday 2 December 2021

12:50 - 13:30

Zoom 1-2

Taking my bearings from Jan Patočka’s Heretical Essays in the Philosophy of History and Havel’s The Power of the Powerless, I am going to focus on structural, affective, and ethical preconditions of the unprecedented experience of solidarity we observed in the Belarussian protest movement. Both Patočka’s understanding of the shaken as well as Havel’s vision of the existential-political perspectives of those who dare to live against the oppressive (“post-totalitarian”) system seem informative for a comprehension of the genesis and development of the massive non-violent protests in Belarus. However, their approaches and notions are not relevant stricto sensu for the Belarusian socio-political crisis at issue. In my talk, I would like to show that and how the basic ideas caught in the concepts of “the solidarity of the shaken” and “the power of the powerless,” respectively, have been re-appropriated and re-interpreted in the Belarusian social-cultural and political context of 2020–2021. The purpose of the paper is to inquire into various constitutive elements of solidarity in question, since it is a shared experience that presupposes a characteristic intersection of “I” and “we,” that of individual’s being-shocked (traumatized) and collective (shared) emotions, of personal awareness and collective intentionality. In particular, I will focus on how ethics precedes and informs political articulation of solidarity. Furthermore, a link between the genesis of political solidarity and its manifestation will be explored.