Giorgio Agamben: Beyond the Threshold of Deconstruction by Kevin Attell

By Kevin Attell

Agamben's suggestion has been considered as descending basically from the paintings of Heidegger, Benjamin, and, extra lately, Foucault. This ebook complicates and expands that constellation by means of exhibiting how all through his occupation Agamben has constantly and heavily engaged (critically, sympathetically, polemically, and sometimes implicitly) the paintings of Derrida as his leader modern interlocutor.

The booklet starts via reading the improvement of Agamben's key strategies infancy, Voice, potentiality from the Sixties to nearly 1990 and indicates how those options regularly draw on and reply to particular texts and ideas of Derrida. the second one half examines the political flip in Agamben's and Derrida's considering from approximately 1990 onward, starting with their investigations of sovereignty and violence and relocating via their parallel remedies of juridical energy, the relation among people and animals, and at last messianism and the politics to return.

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12 And with regard to the necessity and aims of this conceptual rerouting, Derrida notes: “Doubtless it is more necessary, from within semiology, to transform concepts, to displace them, to turn them against their presuppositions, to reinscribe them in other chains, and little by little to modify the terrain of our work and thereby produce new configurations; I do not believe in decisive ruptures, in an unequivocal ‘epistemological break,’ as it is called today” (Pos 24). 13 One way to conceive of deconstructive reinscription—say, of the term “writing”—is to imagine the term being turned into a sort of catachresis, whereby it retains its common, metaphysical, “vulgar” sense, but is fundamentally used to name something for which there is (and can be) no proper term, save, perhaps, a Derridean neologism.

The line between a deconstruction of Saussure’s text and the development of a general concept of différance based on the claims made by that text is indeed subtle at this point. However, it should not be controversial to say that in these sections of Of Grammatology and the essay “Différance,” Derrida, working within and working at the limits of Saussurian vocabulary, reveals the aporetic impasses that undermine any eventual phonocentric recourse to the presence of either the spoken word or the signified as these terms are developed in Saussure’s text.

Différance is the non-full, non-simple, structured and differentiating origin of differences. Thus, the name “origin” no longer suits it. 19 In its solicitation of the text, the reinscribed term exerts a destabilizing force from within the structure that it inhabits and thus, through its effects more than anything it lexically represents, catachrestically shows the workings of irreducible différance, which, though not anything that we might recognize as a positive origin, is nonetheless the original “producer” of differences and signification.

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