First published in French in 2010, _Equaliberty_ brings together essays by Étienne Balibar, one of the preeminent political theorists of our time. The book is organized around _equaliberty_, a term coined by Balibar to connote the tension between the two ideals of modern democracy: equality and liberty. He finds the tension between these different kinds of rights to be ingrained in the constitution of the modern nation-state and the contemporary welfare state. At the same time, he seeks to keep rights (...) discourse open, eschewing natural entitlements in favor of a deterritorialized citizenship that could be expanded and invented anew in the age of globalization. Deeply engaged with other thinkers, including Arendt, Rancière, and Laclau, he posits a theory of the polity based on social relations. In _Equaliberty_ Balibar brings both the continental and analytic philosophical traditions to bear on the conflicted relations between humanity and citizenship. (shrink)
In this contribution, Balibar follows his seminal 1993 work applying the notion of the transindividual to Spinoza’s work, to produce a broader history of thinking the transindividual that brings both Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud into relation with Spinoza, devoting a section to each of these thinkers. Balibar positions the notion of the transindividual, here, as a solution to the opposing ontological errors of philosophical individualism that fails to attend to the social constitution of the individual, and the social organicism (...) that reduces the individual to the effect of larger forces. For Balibar, following Gilbert Simondon, the individual is to be understood as always already extending beyond themselves. (shrink)
étienne Balibar has been one of Europe's most important philosophical and political thinkers since the 1960s. His work has been vastly influential on both sides of the Atlantic throughout the humanities and the social sciences. In We, the People of Europe?, he expands on themes raised in his previous works to offer a trenchant and eloquently written analysis of "transnational citizenship" from the perspective of contemporary Europe. Balibar moves deftly from state theory, national sovereignty, and debates on multiculturalism and European (...) racism, toward imagining a more democratic and less state-centered European citizenship. Although European unification has progressively divorced the concepts of citizenship and nationhood, this process has met with formidable obstacles. While Balibar seeks a deep understanding of this critical conjuncture, he goes beyond theoretical issues. For example, he examines the emergence, alongside the formal aspects of European citizenship, of a "European apartheid," or the reduplication of external borders in the form of "internal borders" nurtured by dubious notions of national and racial identity. He argues for the democratization of how immigrants and minorities in general are treated by the modern democratic state, and the need to reinvent what it means to be a citizen in an increasingly multicultural, diversified world. A major new work by a renowned theorist, We, the People of Europe? offers a far-reaching alternative to the usual framing of multicultural debates in the United States while also engaging with these debates. (shrink)
Etienne Balibar, one of the foremost living French philosophers, builds on his landmark work 'Spinoza and Politics' with this exploration of Spinoza's ontology. Balibar situates Spinoza in relation to the major figures of Marx and Freud as a precursor to the more recent French thinker Gilbert Simondon's concept of the transindividual. Presenting a crucial development in his thought, Balibar takes the concept of transindividuality beyond Spinoza to show it at work at both the individual and the collective level.
"As one of Louis Althusser's most brilliant students in the 1960s, Etienne Balibar contributed to the theoretical collective masterpiece of Reading Capital. Since then he has established himself amongst the most subtle philosophical and political thinkers in France. In Politics and the Other Scene Balibar deepens and extends the work he first developed with Immanuel Wallerstein in Race, Nation, Class. Exploring the theme of universalism and difference, he addresses questions such as "European racism, " the notion of the border, whether (...) a European citizenship is possible or desirable, violence and politics, identity and emancipation"--provided by publisher. (shrink)
A collection of Essays over the last 20 years, exploring different dimensions of the philosophical debate on "subjecthood" and "subjectivity" in Modernity, as it was framed by the "Controversy on the subject" from the 1960's, and showing how it is now continued in a "controversy on the Universal.".
L'ouvrage se propose d'introduire à la philosophie de Spinoza - conçue comme une ontologie et une éthique de la communication - à partir du rapport intrinsèque qu'elle entretient avec la politique. Après une mise en situation de Spinoza dans les conflits de son temps et de son pays, qui claire les multiples dimensions de son projet intellectuel, les trois grandes oeuvres (Traité théologico-politique, Traité politique, Ethique) sont successivement discutées. Une attention particulière est apportée aux thèmes de la démocratie, de la (...) religion, de l'institution et du rapport entre la raison et l'imagination, qui font l'actualité du spinozisme. L'ouvrage s'adresse à la fois à un public d'étudiants, d'enseignants et d'intellectuels pluridisciplinaires. (shrink)
John Locke’s foundational place in the history of British empiricism and liberal political thought is well established. So, in what sense can Locke be considered a modern European philosopher? Identity and Difference argues for reassessing this canonical figure. Closely examining the "treatise on identity" added to the second edition of An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Étienne Balibar demonstrates Locke’s role in the formation of two concepts central to the metaphysics of the subject—consciousness and the self—and the complex philosophical, legal, moral (...) and political nature of his terms. With an accompanying essay by Stella Sandford, situating Balibar’s reading of Locke in the history of the reception of the Essay and within Balibar’s other writings on "the subject," Identity and Difference rethinks a crucial moment in the history of Western philosophy. (shrink)
Major difficulties for readers of Foucault’s The Order of Things concern the historical function and the logical construction of the episteme. Our proposal is to link it with another notion, the ‘point of heresy’, less frequently addressed. This leads to asserting that irreconcilable dilemmas are in fact determined by the type of rationality governing the emergence of common objects of knowledge. It also introduces a possibility of ‘walking on two roads’: a dialogical adventure within rationality. Foucault is not content with (...) either accepting or rejecting the ‘transcendental’ question ‘What is Man?’: with the help of quasi-transcendental categories performing a ‘transdisciplinary’ function, he wants to reach the ‘heretical’ point where anthropology becomes historicity within the horizon of finitude. (shrink)
Qu'appelons-nous " modernité "? Cette question est travaillée selon une triple orientation philologique, épistémologique et historique, en prenant pour fils conducteurs l'auto-énonciation du sujet, la constitution du " nous " communautaire, l'aporie de l'institution judiciaire. L'interprétation défendue pose que les processus opposés du devenir-citoyen du sujet et du devenir-sujet du citoyen en viennent à se recouvrir. C'est aussi le moment où le rapport du commun à l'universel devient un écart politique au sein de l'universel lui-même. Le " jugement des autres (...) " doit être rapporté à un " jugement de soi-même " attestant pour chacun sa propre normalité. Dès lors, l'humain ne peut coïncider avec l'institution du politique qu'à la condition de se retrancher de soi-même, dans la forme des " différences anthropologiques ". Le citoyen-sujet ne peut se comprendre indépendamment de son envers, qui le conteste et le défie. (shrink)
What is the relationship between cosmopolitanism and secularism—the worldwide and the worldly? While cosmopolitan politics may seem inherently secular, existing forms of secularism risk undermining the universality of cosmopolitanism because they privilege the European tradition over all others and transform particular historical norms into enunciations of truth, valid for all cultures and all epochs. In this book, the noted philosopher Étienne Balibar explores the tensions lurking at this troubled nexus in order to advance a truly democratic and emancipatory cosmopolitanism, which (...) requires a secularization of secularism itself. Balibar argues for the idea of the universal against its particular dominant institutions. He questions the assumptions that underlie popular ideas of secularism and religion and outlines the importance of a new critique for the contemporary world. Balibar holds that conflicts between religious and secular discourses need to be reframed from a point of view that takes into account the cultural hybridization, migration and mobility, and transformation of borders that have reshaped the postcolonial age. Among the topics discussed are the uses and misuses of the category of religion and the religious, the paradoxical genealogy of monotheism, French laïcité’s identitarian turn, and the implications of the responses to the Charlie Hebdo attacks for an extended definition of free speech. Going beyond circumscribed notions of religion and the public sphere, Secularism and Cosmopolitanism is a profound rethinking of identity and difference that seeks to make room for a renewed political imagination. (shrink)
The paper argues that a specific "concept of the political" can be reconstructed in Arendt by bringing together elements coming from Origins of Totalitarianism, Part II , from The Human Condition and On Revolution , and from On Disobedience . These propositions produce a singular variety of "institutionalism", which involves a "groundless" politics of Human Rights , and also helps clarifying the thesis on the "banality of evil" in Eichmann in Jerusalem: the sovereign tautology "law is law" is the root (...) of voluntary servitude. To say that we have a choice between becoming Eichmanns or taking the risk of civil disobedience is too quick; and to suppose that a state where civil disobedience becomes recognized would be immune of the danger of totalitarian transformation is an illusion, but as an ideal type, these formulations may encapsulate what Arendt's "concept of the political" hints at. (shrink)
We are witnessing and participating in a new “Querelle of Universals” which has indissoluble political and philosophical characters. It ranges from the incorporation of anthropological differences into the very definition of the “human” to the contemporary attempts at rethinking the diversity of histories within mankind as a multiverse of translations rather than a failed unity. The essay discusses a series of typical aporias that are relevant to this querelle and proposes a concept of subjectivity which elaborates their productivity.
Borders are never purely local institutions, never reducible to a simple history of conflicts and agreements between neighboring groups and powers. Borders are already global, ways of dividing the world into regions and thus make possible place and a ‘mapping imaginary’. Borders are characterized by an intrinsic ambivalence that derives from their internal and external functions, as the basis of collective belonging and state control over mobility and territory. The construction of political space takes place through modes of translation between (...) inside and outside that the border signifies. (shrink)
We are witnessing and participating in a new “Querelle of Universals” which has indissoluble political and philosophical characters. It ranges from the incorporation of anthropological differences (of gender-sex, race-culture, normality and abnormality, etc.) into the very definition of the “human” to the contemporary attempts at rethinking the diversity of histories within mankind as a multiverse of translations rather than a failed unity. The essay discusses a series of typical aporias that are relevant to this querelle and proposes a concept of (...) subjectivity which elaborates their productivity. (shrink)
International in scope and featuring a diverse group of contributors, The Borders of Justice investigates the complexities of transitional justice that emerge from its “social embeddedness.” This original and provocative collection of essays, which stem from a collective research program on social justice undertaken by the Calcutta Research Group, confronts the concept and practices of justice. The editors and contributors question the relationship between geography, methodology, and justice—how and why justice is meted out differently in different places. Expanding on Michael (...) Walzer's idea of the “spheres of justice,” the contributors argue that justice is burdened with our notions of social realities and expectations, in addition to the influence of money, law, and government. Chapters provide close readings of Pascal, Plato and Marx, theories on global justice, the relationship between liberalism and multiculturalism, struggles of social injustice, and how and where we draw the borders of justice. (shrink)
The paper, which retains a hypothetical character, argues that Spinoza's propositions referring to God (or involving the use of the name ‘God’, essentially in the Ethics), can be read in a fruitful manner apart from any pre-established hypothesis concerning his own ‘theological preferences’, as definite descriptions of three ‘ideas of God’ which have the same logical status: one (akin to Jewish Monotheism) which identifies the idea of God with the idea of the Law, one (akin to a heretic ‘Socinian’ version (...) of Christianity) which identifies it with the idea of Human Love, and one (akin to a form of Cosmotheism, rather than ‘Pantheism’) which identifies it with Nature. Evidence of this analytic tripartition can be found in the letter of the texts themselves. If accepted (at least as a thought experiment), it would carry three interesting consequences: 1) to renew our understanding of the theory of the ‘three kinds of knowledge’, which have obvious affinities with the three possible ways of understanding the idea of God; 2) to emphasize the critical move associated by Spinoza with each of the three ideas of God (passing from an anthropomorphic legislator to an impersonal command, passing from an imaginary community of similarities to a practical community of singularities, and passing from a teleological and harmonious idea of nature to a causal, even conflictual, idea of its infinite power); 3) to locate the essential ethical and political questions associated with religion on the ‘vectors’ which lead from one idea to another, and represent themselves practical conatus: obedience, utility, order. It is also assumed that such a reading enhances the relevance of Spinoza's philosophy with respect to contemporary debates about religion and secularism. (shrink)
The paper argues that a specific "concept of the political" can be reconstructed in Arendt by bringing together elements coming from Origins of Totalitarianism, Part II, from The Human Condition and On Revolution, and from On Disobedience. These propositions produce a singular variety of "institutionalism", which involves a "groundless" politics of Human Rights, and also helps clarifying the thesis on the "banality of evil" in Eichmann in Jerusalem: the sovereign tautology "law is law" is the root of voluntary servitude. To (...) say that we have a choice between becoming Eichmanns or taking the risk of civil disobedience is too quick; and to suppose that a state where civil disobedience becomes recognized would be immune of the danger of totalitarian transformation is an illusion, but as an ideal type, these formulations may encapsulate what Arendt's "concept of the political" hints at. (shrink)
On emploie ici le terme « structuralisme » dans un sens large, incluant les œuvres de Lévi-Strauss et Barthes aussi bien que celles d'Althusser, de Lacan, de Foucault. J'y vois non pas un système ou une école de pensée, mais un mouvement, et j'y inclus également le « post-structuralisme » de Derrida et de Deleuze, en tant que « négation déterminée » de certains présupposés. Je soutiens que le structuralisme ne se caractérise pas par une position objectiviste, mais par la (...) relance de la tentative pour produire une « genèse » ou une « construction » du sujet au sein de structures transindividuelles, et donc pour y voir un système d'effets au lieu d'une cause originaire. Cette conversion d'un point de vue du sujet constituant au point de vue du sujet constitué explique l'importance des modèles linguistique, psychanalytique et anthropologique, ainsi que d'une certaine interprétation du marxisme comme théorie de l'imaginaire social chez les structuralistes. Quant au post-structuralisme, il déploie un mouvement de rectification, en présentant les limites de la subjectivité, qui impliquent la dissolution de la « normalité » et la mise à jour de la violence inhérente au processus de constitution, comme des « différences » pures qui engendrent l'activité et la passivité. Ce second mouvement contribue de façon décisive à conférer au structuralisme, non seulement une portée épistémologique, mais aussi une orientation éthique. (shrink)
El autor indaga sobre las relaciones entre violencia, idealidad y crueldad, examinando sus paradojas y ambivalencias, iluminando la compleja relación entre el deseo de eliminar la violencia, frente a la necesidad de la manifestación violenta en la persecución de la utopía y la presencia de la violencia ejercida por instituciones, colectividades y el mismo Estado. Problematiza la relación entre poder y violencia, y se pregunta: ¿se puede eliminar la violencia y no a los violentos?, concluyendo que no existe un grado (...) cero de violencia en la acción de persecución de los ideales. (shrink)