Who Comes After the Subject?


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I was very interested to learn that she encountered problems when she wanted to rewrite it in German, since she wrote the German version of her own book. I myself wrote—and others used it in similar contexts, at times in relation to Spinoza, at times in relation to Marx and others—that the sixth thesis on Feuerbach prescribes or anticipates something like an ontology of relationships. At one point, I felt obliged to ask myself if it was an ontology of relationships or an anthropology of relationships. Obviously, it can be conceived according to different modalities, some of which are subjective, even psychological, whereas others, to the contrary, are political, as with Marx, or sociological.

What interested me most was the shift from one point of view to another. When you consider that each text, in seeking to highlight the points of heresy found in a particular philosopher in relation to the subject or man, has a direct or oblique relationship to the anthropology of differences, my answer is that this results from the fact that philosophers and in particular but perhaps not uniquely modern philosophers worry about whether one must speak of human essence, the human condition or situation, or human relationships.

The third perspective is the one that interests me the most. This does not mean that I myself am trying to propose an anthropology of relationships. What is a relationship if not an essence? But if we follow the often contradictory and antagonistic fate of the stated principles of bourgeois politics, herein lies the bone of contention, I dare say. The irreducibility of difference. Anthropological discourse is not one that affirms universality against difference or difference against universality; anthropological discourse, in any case in its most philosophically interesting form, is one that interrogates the modalities of difference and the reasons it cannot be simply reduced to or subsumed under the universal.


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Some of us were raised, I dare say, in a perspective that made us critical of such ideas. Althusser may be turning in his grave, but the fact of the matter is that while Marx was not saying the same thing as Guizot, Tocqueville, Kant, or Mill, his critique accentuated a tension lurking within bourgeois political discourse. In this respect, neither socialism nor communism transcends this discourse. If there is a historical-political question that underpins all of this and that lacks a clear answer, it is something like: are we still part of it? The answer itself is no doubt complex.

I continue to grant Marx a heuristic privilege. But to return to the question of disqualifying and disqualified differences, it would be dishonest of me to pretend that this problematic arises solely from a reading of philosophical texts. It obviously arises from the ten or twenty years I have spent grappling, partly as an activist and partly as a theorist, with questions of racism, culturalism, social control, and others I could mention.

This is one side of the coin; the other side is the frenetic impulse to classify and hierarchize that is characteristic of what Foucault called knowledge-power disciplines, that is, the scientific and administrative disciplines of the so-called bourgeois age. In other words, they are obviously linked to the fact that human rights are the legal and political discourse of the bourgeois age. There is obviously a way out: the two easy solutions are [first,] to say that human rights discourse is simply a masquerade, a hypocritical veneer hiding the reality of a bourgeois age characterized more than ever by discrimination and exclusion; the other maintains that these discriminations and exclusions are of merely contingent significance.

Position of Adjectives

Obviously this is very interesting from my perspective, this is why I cite such emblematic figures as Franz Fanon and why the resistance to interpellation, as [Judith] Butler would say, expresses itself not—and the same is true of Marx, incidentally—as ignorance of universalizing discourse, but on the contrary as the ferocious demonstration of its internal contradictions, which is in itself a political weapon.

In this way, I have indeed become furiously Hegelian: I told myself that one must not sever the terms of the contradiction, but try to grasp them together. This does not at all imply that a theology is at work in these ideas, nor that there is a predetermined end towards which we are heading, but simply that we must try to understand the discrepancy or the conflict as such.

My view is not that exclusions or discriminations are more serious today than they have been in the past. The idea that I have put forward, and which I obviously do not consider to be the final word on the matter, is that once this foundational correspondence between the universality of human rights on the one hand and political equality or an equal amount of liberty for each citizen on the other is established, there is essentially no other way to justify excluding people from citizenship than to exclude them from humanity itself, or in any case to disqualify particular individuals and groups on the grounds of their humanity.

In this way I was deeply inspired by a trend in feminism that has concentrated on the way in which the nineteenth century developed the idea that women, naturally, biologically, physiologically, and intellectually, represented a kind of diminished humanity — then commenting on the complementarity of the sexes…. It is this sort of dialectic of aporias that I use successively, though not in a completely mechanical or uniform way, in several contexts. The natural starting point is the question of the normal and the pathological.

I used it as my guiding thread.

Who Comes After the Subject?

You tell your students: I am going to make you understand exactly what I have in mind, when I address you like legal or institutional discourse and ask all of you who are normal to move to one side of the class and all those who are sick and abnormal to move to the other side. You will immediately grasp how impossible and inherently violent this injunction is. Yet it does not follow from this that we can purely and simply say that the normal and the pathological have no political, moral, or philosophical relevance. And we have other limitations and blind spots, some of which are personal and some of which are social.

For twenty years or more all the good theorists of radical or emancipatory politics, of feminism, or of post-colonialism have insisted on the multiplicity of forms of domination, correcting Marx without purely and simply abandoning him. What needed to be changed?

To come back to Marx: to change something means to change the way we define or even conceive of social relations. This is why I keep my distance from eclecticism of a certain kind. We must carve difference into and force a displacement within the very idea of social relations. Foucault reopened questions Kant posed in reflection upon the meaning of Aufklarung, the Enlightenment.

Project MUSE - Life After the Subject

Kant queried the implications for society, philosophy and the ethical constitution of identity in the wake of revolutionary transformations in thought and political organization. I, as a unique but universal and unhistorical subject. I, for Descartes is everyone, anywhere at any moment" in Dreyfus and Rabinow, The subject function is pedagogically a question of who speaks for and against the subject.

It has spoken from a monologic and reactive stance, signs of the zeal of a will to power outside the spaces and temporality of lived experience. The category of the subject may have outlived its historical term and uses, produced as an effect of an episteme's dispersals of economic and symbolic power.


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As Guzzoni states "the conviction is now widely shared that what is sought for in this questioning can no longer be changeless ontological and anthropological constants" Foucault questioned the borders and limits to concepts and values within the philosophical, political and scientific structures of the modernist West. In both Discipline and Punish and Madness and History, Foucault is concerned with a doubling or folding he claimed as being inherent to development and organization of thought.

The intensive qualities of self-reflection, discipline and control by an interiorized authority are aspects of this folding and doubling. Deleuze comments that "the inside as an operation of the outside: in all his work Foucault seems haunted by this theme of an inside which is merely the fold of the outside" , The creation of social sciences formulate an inside to experiences, language and human productive labor. Deleuze regards the fold as germinal to all claims to identity, the placing into being and becoming of all oppositions of force, whether ontological, epistemological or ethical.

He regards the fold as central to what he calls Foucault's three central questions "what can I do, what power can I claim, and what resistances may I counter?

English Grammar: How to use "to" before an "-ing" verb

What can I be, with what folds can I surround myself or how can I produce myself as a subject? Deleuze's reading of Foucault contributes to his project of articulating a materialist ontology. In his innovative and often transgressive interpretations of Nietzsche, Bergson and Spinoza, Deleuze works through his concept of the productivity of being.

To speak of being as productive means for Deleuze that difference and hybridity are protean, generative powers without reserve that precede and provide the conditions of possibility for any epistemology as well as for all forms of cultural identity. The emergence of difference is dispersive, genealogical. He is committed to nothing less than a non-foundational and productive ontology. It is a radical philosophy of difference that challenges presiding and perennial logics and economies of representation in Western thought, science and cultural practices.

Deleuze's reading of Spinoza's ontological parallelism grants thought no primacy over the body. Deleuze wants to lay claim to an objectivist interpretation in which, as Michael Hardt explains "there are certain principles of being that are prior to, and independent of, the productive power of thought" , It is an ontology that views being as productive and non-teleological.

Deleuze's materialism affirms a perennial generation of difference. The material nature of difference, of an inherent becoming-other, is an aspect of existence's abundance and continual transformations. Of interest to contemporary material feminists, Elizabeth Grosz, Rosi Braidotti and Judith Butler is Deleuze's positive concept of desire.

Following Nietzsche, Deleuze's is a philosophical engineering project that inverts Platonism, giving desire and processes of becoming primacy. In their crosscultural and historical variation, processes of becoming-subject are mechanisms for the legitimation of order. Modernity has been generated in homogenizing and essentializing cultural codings by which differentiations of race, gender and class have been marked and established as the basis for entitlement, access to citizenship and the subjugation of its excluded.

Differences are discursively and materially deployed as conditions of possibility.

Postmodern subjects surpass representation, system and totality in processes of interrupted becoming-other. The nomadic subject participates in acts of perennial seizure and ceding of desire and difference. The ontological productivity of being is a perpetual becoming-other. The complex relations, values and material conditions that constitute a concept, a representation or a text are singular events. They are desire's events, traversing the complex relational fields of experience.

They come before the noun or pronoun they modify except for the predicate adjective which comes after a linking verb and modifies the subject. Examples of adjectives: The big brown bear grabbed the scared small man. The , big , and brown modify the subject bear and the , scared , and small modify the direct object man. Examples of predicate adjectives: The big bear is brown. The brown bear was big. There are seven 7 words in the English language that are always adjectives.

Who Comes After the Subject? Who Comes After the Subject?
Who Comes After the Subject? Who Comes After the Subject?
Who Comes After the Subject? Who Comes After the Subject?
Who Comes After the Subject? Who Comes After the Subject?
Who Comes After the Subject? Who Comes After the Subject?

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