the politics of philosophy (notes)

Filed under: philosophy, difference, narrative, the political, spectacle — sdv @ 02:34:40 pm

To say that everything is political will always be a strange concept because people will continuously confuse politics with the exercise of power and the related struggle for power and control. But politics is not simply about power because as Ranciere says for politics to exist a particular sort of community has to come into existence. But even this is not an adequate description of why the ‘everything is political’ is essential. I would extend this with the proposition that not everything has a community, though it always has relationships. Ranciere assumes that politics is conflictual an argument across disagreements and (sometimes) differends, but this is not always the case. Because politics exists between any two beings, a man and woman together will constitute the moment in which the personal is always already political, even the act of walking down the street is always a political moment and act…

So that to read recent notes which try and define aspects of human activity as non- or a-political in any sense is interestingly enough to define precisely why these aspects are always already political or if you wish the always-becoming-political. The not so obvious obvious example below might help.

The politics of philosophy is different from the politics of the philosophers. Clearly the concept of the politics of philosophy does not reference the personal political engagements of the writers in the present or historical moments. And nor does it concern itself with the way they misrepresent society, politics or even the identities that don’t really exist in their texts. No what the concept discloses is that the politics of philosophy is political simply because it exists. The concept recognizes that on the philosophical plane there is a line of practice which is political and which is always synonymous with the philosophical practice. A practice which is usually not about the invention of concepts, but about the repetition of already existing concepts. This repetition is the central moment which demonstrates why philosophy is always political… for just as the man and woman together constitute a personal political moment because of their relationship so does the repetitive or constructive moment in philosophy. Perhaps we might say that the political always reconfigures what is perceived…

(should have referenced Lyotard more directly i suspect and perhaps the Ranciere text i was thinking of…)


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