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What Is an Event?$
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Robin Wagner-Pacifici

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226439648

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226439815.001.0001

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Fragmenting Forms

Fragmenting Forms

(p.105) Chapter 5 Fragmenting Forms
What Is an Event?

Robin Wagner-Pacifici

University of Chicago Press

In this chapter, uncertain or confused events are considered via an analysis of their unresolved or fragmented forms and flows. The Paris Commune is an exemplar of an incoherent event in which the mechanisms of political semiosis misfire. The assessment of the Paris Commune as a fundamentally inchoate event proceeds via an analysis of the contested collective identities and social relationships (proletariats, petty bourgeois, neighbors, women) of those involved in the Commune. The painting Il quarto stato is taken up again in this chapter for the ways it proposes event fault lines within and without. The painting has appeared in multiple political, literary, artistic, academic, and social contexts and contests over the course of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The contradictory role of the painting in the abortion referendum campaign of 1981 in Italy is described and analyzed.

Keywords:   fragmentation, Paris Commune, identity, abortion, Il quarto stato, women

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