New knowledge, new epistemologies
3 September 2012
Colonized and racially subordinated subjects enter the realm of ethics as violence, and that phenomenon becomes their appearance. They are obligated, in other words, not to appear. Colonialism, understood in these terms, is tragic in the Hegelian sense of a conflict between two conceptions of right. The settlers see themselves as having a right to the land; however it was originally obtained, the transactions by which the generation of settlers facing the indigenous or anti-colonial fighters acquired their possessions was part of a legal and as far as they are concerned just system. They thus have a right to their possessions in the colony. The indigenous or prior inhabitants argue, however, that the land was stolen from them through acts of conquest or trickery. They therefore have a right to its repossession. Even if the settlers decide to give the land back, there is a deeper ethical argument that even that act of good will isn’t their right.
5 April 2012
In contrast to its self-portrayal as the ‘East’ vis-à-vis France, Germany’s national self posed as the ‘West’ in relation to its Slavic neighbors. Studia Zahodnie in Poland has meant German Studies while Ostforschung in Germany meant Polish studies. The imagining of East/West in virtual reality does not stop at the German-Polish border. Posited as the ‘East’ by Germans, Poles regarded themselves as ‘Europeans’ against the ‘Asiatic’ Russians. In turn, Russians, underprivileged as ‘Tartars’ in Europe, could represent themselves as Europeans confronting Asian neighbors as indicated in the Dostoyevsky’s diary.
8 August 2011
With the rise of ubiquitous computing and the informatization of labour and life, it's clear that the current conjuncture is defined by the networked condition. No matter what social milieu, geocultural situation or mode of production the individual today is always connected to circuits of capital. What sort of effects does this networked condition have on institutional settings associated with knowledge production? And what kind of social-technical relations emerge to comprise new diagrams of the political? This essay addresses these questions with reference to the global logistics industries that govern the movement of people, finance and things.
2 August 2011
By inquiring into the archaeology of colonial modernity, we now begin to comprehend why theory had to be so intimately associated with the West. There is a figure of ‘man’ or humanity, yet this humanity was not ‘man’ in general.
12 July 2011
Anyone who took part in the discussions on the dialectics developed by so-called Western Marxism during the 1930th, 1950th and1960th would easily recognize how the roles played in those debates by Lukàcs’ History and Class Consciousness and the work of the Frankfurt School were at that time complementary. In a strange and ineffective hybridization, a series of phenomenological descriptions and normative hypotheses produced in those periods regarded life, society and nature as equally invested by the productive power of capital and their potential as radically diminished by it. The question of alienation traversed the entire theoretical framework: the phenomenology of agency and historicity of existence were all seen as being completely absorbed by a capitalist design of exploitation and domination over life.
5 July 2011
How should we think of knowledge and “knowledges” (les savoirs), old and new? The new ones raise the question in an urgent fashion. Should we be looking for new facts and truths in them? After all, many people include truth into the very definition of knowledge; but other are very strongly against doing so. Should we be looking at their social functioning instead? Or should we do both? The social epistemology of new knowledge is way ahead of us. We might get some help and inspiration from great analyses of older knowledges.
4 July 2011
I do not intend to talk about the future of the Humanities in general, but to present a personal and thus necessarily partial approach of the problem. I will formulate it as follows: the frontiers between the Humanities and Science must be redrawn. This is because the most accurate concept of the frontier is currently being elaborated and articulated by science, and no longer by the disciplines that constitute the Humanities any longer. Science is gradually becoming a discourse on frontiers, on limits, and has thus begun to deprive the Humanities of their proper content or task : the reflexion upon frontiers and limits.
20 Décember 2010
Whether the loss is real, phantasmatic, fictional or fabulous, effective, proven by scientific research, lived, felt or feared… is of little import. In another context such loss would be called castration. This sexually charged dialectic between loss and recovery, rupture and continuity, the erection or delimitation of a figure which detaches itself against an infinite ground – all these questions of territory and belonging I am attempting to explore here – call for a long, meticulous translation, a transfer in truth, into the field of psychoanalysis.
8 Décember 2010
To understand postcolonialism in its present-day postmodernist reincarnation requires a simultaneous grasp of the ways in which disparate notions—e.g. tradition as a political-cultural construct in resistance to modernity, neo-traditionalism as the recasting of “tradition” in an age of mass media, heterogeneity as oppositional gesture in a world subject to abstraction and homogenization, not to mention the subsumption of difference to the gravitational field of Orientalism’s spatialized imaginary, and away from a encounter of the present with the past and future as radically distinct social forms—come together in a specific historical conjuncture. The conjuncture in question—the post-1989 collapse of a world order inaugurated by the October Revolution of 1917 and radical anti-colonial struggles in subsequent decades—has, in effect, abolished the future. As an expression of this post-1989 world, and the diminished political possibilities it seems to offer, the “post” in postcolonialism no longer refers exclusively to colonialism as a historical phenomenon but to revolution as a punctual political rupture with the actually existing capitalism.
15 June 2010
Today, globalization is reorganizing knowledge and its institutions in new and seminal ways. Can we delineate the way this process is affecting the nature of sociological knowledge?
6 November 2009
Modernity, a trigger to much opening to extra-European continents, was also the big historic rift which made translation almost impossible by making many concepts normative, and particularly that of the political. Concepts and terms of “european” origin, through a process of universalization (a “westernisation”), assumed a genealogical and etymological continuity, imposing a corresponding discontinuity on those originating in other regions and languages.