Materiality has long been tied to the political projects of nationalism and capitalism. But how are we to rethink borders in this context? Is the border the limit where the capitalist nation-state, contested and re-created at its centre, becomes fixed? Or is it something else? Is the border something, or does it instead do things? This volume brings questions of materiality to bear specifically on the study of borders. These questions address specifically the shift from ontology to process in thinking about borders. The political materialities of borders does not presume the material aspect of borders but rather explores the ways in which any such materiality comes into being. Through ethnographic and philosophical explorations of the ontology of borders and its limitations from the perspective of materiality, this volume seeks to throw light on the interaction between the materiality of state borders and the non-material aspects of state-making. This enables a new understanding of borders as productive of the politics of materiality, on which both the state project rests, including its multifarious forms in the post-nation-state era.
This book offers the first authoritative guide to assumptions about time in theories of contemporary world politics. It demonstrates how predominant theories of the international or global ‘present’ are affected by temporal assumptions, grounded in western political thought, which fundamentally shape what we can and cannot know about world politics today. In so doing, the book puts into question the ways in which social scientists and normative theorists diagnose ‘our’ post-Cold War times. The first part of the book traces the philosophical roots of assumptions about time in contemporary political and international theory. The second part examines contemporary theories of world politics, including liberal and realist International Relations theories and the work of Habermas, Hardt and Negri, Virilio and Agamben. In each case, it is argued, assumptions about political time ensure the identification of the particular temporality of western experience with the political temporality of the world as such and put the theorist in the unsustainable position of holding the key to the direction of world history. In the final chapter, the book draws on postcolonial and feminist thinking, and the philosophical accounts of political time in the work of Derrida and Deleuze, to develop a new ‘untimely’ way of thinking about time in world politics.
battles, its pronouncements are never objective, self-evident or universally applied ( Evans, 2013 ). Arendt’s claim that violence can be justified but never legitimate must be reversed: violence is often legitimated in political arenas and juridical courts; but it can never be justified through an invocation of justice, except where the latter is limited to a reductive juridical paradigm. Justice is not law ( Derrida, 1992 ). Justice is the ability to live a life with dignity and free from lawful violence. Justice in this regard is not the end of power. It is an
5302P Democracy MUP-PT/lb.qxd
The ends of democracy: who, we?
Jacques Derrida first delivered his essay ‘The ends of man’
(1982) at a colloquium in New York in October 1968 on the
proposed theme of ‘Philosophy and anthropology’. This text,
written in the shadow of an ‘American’ war on Vietnam, the
uprisings in Paris, and general political unrest in the West,
begins by meditating on what he calls
As a conclusion to this examination of Traveller alterity I wish to
briefly discuss the philosophical possibilities that exist for a movement
beyond the ‘politics of difference’ as it currently stands and the potential
for a new theoretic dualism of Self/Other. Poststructuralist thinkers such
as Jacques Derrida have been to the fore in this theoretical evolution
and I discuss his notion of différance as a roadmap for future theoretical engagement with the concept of the ‘Other’. Postmodernism
involves a radical critique of universal reason and truth. From the
Ontologies of borders:
the difference of Deleuze and Derrida
This chapter is about the concept of border. I will not approach border as if I was
going to conceptualize something that we already empirically know about, and
nor will I concentrate solely on geographical and political borders. Instead, I will
take a step back and consider border in an abstract sense: as a separation of one
into two dissimilar entities. This means that I will take the study of border into the
area of philosophy and, in particular, into problems of ontology and
Ferdinand de Saussure’s arguments in order to
offer some thoughts on the role of naming in relation to the Kosovo
conflict. Naming concerns the relationship of language and reality.
Using Jacques Derrida’s thought, the second section argues that
the idea of the existence of a reality, which constrains our actions, is
itself a representation, which has political implications. The third
section explores how
versions of historicism, have been challenged by the following thinkers: Arendt,
Benjamin, Derrida and Deleuze. The arguments of these thinkers differ, but they
all involve rejecting an account of political time as driven by mechanical causation or teleological end. From these points of view, the idea of thinking about
history either as the authoritative ground for action and judgement or as something that can be scientifically grasped and controlled is fundamentally
For all of these thinkers, the time of politics is associated with
their actions are represented as potentially dangerous.
This can be understood in relation to what Jacques Derrida called ‘autoimmunity’, where a body’s own defence mechanism becomes the threat, or in another
of his favoured concepts, the ‘pharmakon’, where something is both poison and
cure. Although these moments of deconstruction are replete within superhero
comics, the chapter will conclude with examples of how superhero comics also
manage to re-establish the distinction, having previously problematised it.
As was noted in Chapter 1, superhero comics are tied to
continental philosophy itself has, in recent times, been
marked by a general return to the question of ethics. Thinkers such as Derrida
and Lyotard, for instance, turned later in their work to more explicit ethical
concerns, the former through Levinas, and the latter through Aristotle and
Kant. The seeming paradox here is that the postmodern condition, with which
such thinkers have been generally associated, is seen to imply a breakdown of
moral metanarratives and a decline of the idea of a universal moral position.
Instead of Kant’s categorical imperative – in which ethics