Beginnings and (hopefully) Becomings…

In brief, what I want to discuss for the upcoming thesis:

The Greek word “Agon” denotes both a place of assembly (a space of contest – often in the theatre) and conflict, it is a mode of the appearance of struggle, which implicates its very notion in an aesthetic order. Typically, what is understood as constituting the sphere of “politics” are the sets of institutions, organizations of power and the “distribution of places and roles, and the systems of distribution” – which Rancière proposes to rename, in a non-pejorative fashion, ‘the police’. What he postulates as ‘politics’, rather, is the activity “antagonistic to policing: [as] whatever breaks with the tangible configuration whereby parties and parts or lack of them are defined by a presupposition that, by definition, has no place in that configuration.” Modes of contestation proper to politics, as such, cannot occur within a preconfigured, preordained space, for such a notion presupposes ‘recognized’ actors and roles that are already acknowledged as ‘parties’ (those possessing the capacity of ‘understandable’ speech). The Agon, as such, if it is to be understood as within the realm of politics, is an appearance of an aesthetic sphere that is forever becoming, continually re-drawing lines of demarcation, roles, names, operations and modes of speech / communicative acts.

The making visible of Agon, hinges on the realm of the invisible, uncounted, un-placed and non-situated. But, following up on Agamben’s analysis of ‘exceptionality’, one cannot simply polarize the counted and the uncounted, the ‘police’ and politics, for the two domains pass through one another (Agamben calls this ‘di-polarities’). Rather what is necessary is to examine the ‘modes of indistinction’ that accommodate such a ‘passing through’. Such a conceptual configuration of ‘politics’ and ‘exclusion’ reposition the ethics of the author who seeks to engage in the ‘political’ realm; whose task is not merely to make visible the invisible, but rather to allude to the more complicated, nameless terrain, that constitutes the indifference between inside and outside.

Nietzsche’s “virtù” ethics will spur on the discussion surrounding the ethics of the authorial, in close attention to Bonnie Honig’s account of a “virtue / virtù” political ethics that perpetuate modes of contest and unsettlement. Arendt’s reading of Kant, in particular her notes on the Kantian spectator will also factor in since any discussion of an aesthetic appearance must include reference to the one who has the capacity to experience.

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