The politics of relationality: From the postmodern to post-ontology

Philosophy and Social Criticism 24 (4):1-21 (1998)
Vanderbilt University, Dept of Political Science, Nashville, TN, USA Recent attempts by American theorists to produce a radical politics, characterized by the effort to translate the insights of Continental philosophy into a political register, remain trapped in that which they purport to transcend: the metaphysics of subjectivity. In their essential determinations, the works of William Connolly, Stephen White, Richard Ashley, etc. remain firmly anchored in a traditional liberal schema. The reason for this is that while these efforts have sought to de-center political identity by exposing its relational character they have not re-thought 'rela tionality' itself. Our attempt to develop the more profound political impli cations of 'relationality' unfolds through a synthetic explication of Martin Heidegger's analysis of language, Jacques Derrida's logic of the gift, and Emmanuel Levinas' consideration of the Other. The emergent thematic of asymmetrical relationality reconfigures liberalism and provides for a rethinking of the structure of welfare. Key Words: William Connolly • . Jacques Derrida • . gift • . Martin Heidegger • - Emmanuel Levinas • - liberalism • - Other • - relationality • - welfare • - Stephen White.
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DOI 10.1177/019145379802400401
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