Jan Patočka and the Global South

Latin American dissidence and Czech phenomenology


  • Aspen E. Brinton Virginia Commonwealth University - College of Humanities and Sciences




Jan Patočka, phenomenology, political philosophy, global south, solidarity of the shaken, historicity, Felix Guattari, Latin America, environmental activism, femicide, existential politics


This paper argues that the phenomenological philosophy of Jan Patočka is relevant for understanding cases of political dissidence across the Global South. In particular, it examines three phenomena related to Latin American dissidence in order to show this relevance: the movement against femicide in ‘Ni Una Menos,’ the frequent murder of environmental activists defending the Amazon rainforest, and the historical experience of activist and psychoanalyst Felix Guattari chronicled in Molecular Revolution in Brazil (1982). These three phenomena are analyzed using Patocka’s oeuvre, including his concept of ‘solidarity of the shaken,’ his framework of the ‘three movements of existence,’ and in light of his critique of technology and mathematization as it relates to ‘living in truth.’ Overall, it argues that when Patočka’s ideas are deterritorialized in conversation with these phenomena of the Global South, the relevance of his ideas for understanding the existential aspects of historicity and political engagement hold up across time and place, affirming his legacy as a philosopher who can inspire both contemplation and action.

Biografia do Autor

Aspen E. Brinton, Virginia Commonwealth University - College of Humanities and Sciences

Aspen Brinton, Ph.D., is a political theorist. Her research interests include democratic theory, dissident movements, East-Central Europe, phenomenology, and the intellectual history of civil society and free speech. Her first book, Philosophy and Dissidence in Cold War Europe (2016), examines the philosophical legacy of Eastern European dissidents during the Cold War. This book is part of a larger project to develop philosophical and theoretical tools to examine the discourses of dissident movements and civic associations more generally, in particular looking for ways to engage continental philosophy and phenomenology to expand the boundaries of political theory. Her most recent book, Confronting Totalitarian Minds: Jan Patočka on politics and dissidence was published by Karolinum Press (Charles University) in 2021. This monograph examines how the thought of Czech phenomenologist Jan Patočka might be relevant for understanding concepts of dissidence and totalitarianism throughout the contemporary world. Before joining the VCU International Studies program, she taught previously in the philosophy department and International Studies program at Boston College, and before that she taught at the University of Pennsylvania in the honors program for the College of Arts and Sciences. Before Penn, she spent four years teaching political philosophy, liberal arts, and political science courses at Northwestern University and Georgetown University on their campuses in Doha, Qatar.


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Como Citar

E. BRINTON, Aspen. Jan Patočka and the Global South: Latin American dissidence and Czech phenomenology . PENSANDO - REVISTA DE FILOSOFIA, [S. l.], v. 14, n. 32, p. 39–55, 2023. DOI: 10.26694/pensando.vol14i32.4476. Disponível em: https://periodicos.ufpi.br/index.php/pensando/article/view/4476. Acesso em: 18 jul. 2024.

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