Political Phenomenology: Experience, Ontology, Episteme 9780367193157, 9780429259852

In recent years phenomenology has become a resource for reflecting on political questions. While much of this discussion

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Table of contents :
Half Title
1 Three Types of Political Phenomenology
Part I Phenomenology of Political Experiences
2 Dialectical Praxis and the Decolonial Struggle: Sartre and Fanon’s Contributions to Political Phenomenology
3 The Normative Force of Suffered Violence
4 A Political Grammar of Feelings: Thinking the Political Through Sensitivity and Sentimentality
5 Being Concerned: For a Political Rehabilitation of an Unwelcome Affect
6 The Shimmering Phenomenon of Clandestinity: Political Phenomenology Beside Appearing and Vanishing
Part II Phenomenology of Political Ontology
7 Husserl and the Political: A Phenomenological Confrontation With Carl Schmitt and Alexandre Kojève
8 Rethinking the Politics of Post-Truth With Hannah Arendt
9 “Who One Is” – A Political Issue? Hannah Arendt on Personhood, Maximal Self, and Bare Life
10 Democracy and Terror: Toward a Phenomenology of (Dis-)Embodiment
11 The Power of Public Assemblies: Democratic Politics Following Butler and Arendt
12 The Matter of the Other
Part III Phenomenology of Political Episteme
13 Instituting Institutions: An Exploration of the Political Phenomenology of Stiftung
14 Intentionality, Representation, Recognition: Phenomenology and the Politics of A-Legality
15 The Struggle for a Common World: From Epistemic Power to Political Action With Arendt and Fricker
16 Doing Gender Differently? The Embodiment of Gender Norms as Between Permanence and Transformation
17 Filling in the Blank: Art, Politics, and Phenomenology
List of Contributors
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Political Phenomenology

In recent years phenomenology has become a resource for reflecting on political questions. While much of this discussion has primarily focused on the ways in which phenomenology can help reformulate central concepts in political theory, the chapters in this volume ask in a methodological and systematic way how phenomenology can connect first-person experience with normative principles in political philosophy. The chapters are divided into three thematic sections. Part I covers the phenomenology of political experience. The chapters in this section focus on a variety of experiences that we come across in political practice. The chapters in Part II address the phenomenology of political ontology by examining the constitution of the realm of the political. Finally, Part III analyzes the phenomenology of political episteme in which our political world is grounded. Political Phenomenology will be of interest to researchers working on phenomenology, Continental philosophy, and political theory. Thomas Bedorf is Professor at the Institute of Philosophy at FernUniversität in Hagen, Germany. Steffen Herrmann is Associate Professor at the Institute of Philosophy at FernUniversität in Hagen, Germany.

Routledge Research in Phenomenology Edited by Søren Overgaard University of Copenhagen, Denmark Komarine Romdenh-Romluc University of Sheffield, UK David Cerbone West Virginia University, USA

Pragmatic Perspectives in Phenomenology Edited by Ondřej Švec and Jakub Čapek Phenomenology of Plurality Hannah Arendt on Political Intersubjectivity Sophie Loidolt Phenomenology, Naturalism and Science A Hybrid and Heretical Proposal Jack Reynolds Imagination and Social Perspectives Approaches from Phenomenology and Psychopathology Edited by Michela Summa, Thomas Fuchs, and Luca Vanzago Wittgenstein and Phenomenology Edited by Oskari Kuusela, Mihai Ometiţă, and Timur Uçan Husserl’s Phenomenology of Intersubjectivity Historical Interpretations and Contemporary Applications Edited by Frode Kjosavik, Christian Beyer, and Christel Fricke Phenomenology of the Broken Body Edited by Espen Dahl, Cassandra Falke, and Thor Erik Eriksen Normativity, Meaning, and the Promise of Phenomenology Edited by Matthew Burch, Jack Marsh, and Irene McMullin Political Phenomenology Experience, Ontology, Episteme Edited by Thomas Bedorf and Steffen Herrmann For more information about this series, please visit: www.routledge.com/ Routledge-Research-in-Phenomenology/book-series/RRP

Political Phenomenology Experience, Ontology, Episteme Edited by Thomas Bedorf and Steffen Herrmann

First published 2020 by Routledge 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017 and by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2020 Taylor & Francis The right of the editors to be identified as the authors of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Bedorf, Thomas, 1969– editor. | Herrmann, Steffen, 1971– editor. Title: Political phenomenology : experience, ontology, episteme / edited by Thomas Bedorf and Steffen Herrmann. Description: New York : Routledge, 2019. | Series: Routledge research in phenomenology; 14 | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2019040064 (print) | LCCN 2019040065 (ebook) | ISBN 9780367193157 (hbk) | ISBN 9780429259852 (ebk) Subjects: LCSH: Phenomenology. | Political science—Philosophy. Classification: LCC B829.5 .P57 2019 (print) | LCC B829.5 (ebook) | DDC 320.01—dc23 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2019040064 LC ebook record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2019040065 ISBN: 978-0-367-19315-7 (hbk) ISBN: 978-0-429-25985-2 (ebk) Typeset in Sabon by Apex CoVantage, LLC


Acknowledgmentsviii  1 Three Types of Political Phenomenology




Phenomenology of Political Experiences15  2 Dialectical Praxis and the Decolonial Struggle: Sartre and Fanon’s Contributions to Political Phenomenology



 3 The Normative Force of Suffered Violence



 4 A Political Grammar of Feelings: Thinking the Political Through Sensitivity and Sentimentality



 5 Being Concerned: For a Political Rehabilitation of an Unwelcome Affect



 6 The Shimmering Phenomenon of Clandestinity: Political Phenomenology Beside Appearing and Vanishing ANDREAS OBERPRANTACHER


vi  Contents PART II

Phenomenology of Political Ontology119  7 Husserl and the Political: A Phenomenological Confrontation With Carl Schmitt and Alexandre Kojève



 8 Rethinking the Politics of Post-Truth With Hannah Arendt



 9 “Who One Is” – A Political Issue? Hannah Arendt on Personhood, Maximal Self, and Bare Life



10 Democracy and Terror: Toward a Phenomenology of (Dis-)Embodiment



11 The Power of Public Assemblies: Democratic Politics Following Butler and Arendt



12 The Matter of the Other




Phenomenology of Political Episteme237 13 Instituting Institutions: An Exploration of the Political Phenomenology of Stiftung



14 Intentionality, Representation, Recognition: Phenomenology and the Politics of A-Legality



15 The Struggle for a Common World: From Epistemic Power to Political Action With Arendt and Fricker STEFFEN HERRMANN


Contents vii 16 Doing Gender Differently? The Embodiment of Gender Norms as Between Permanence and Transformation



17 Filling in the Blank: Art, Politics, and Phenomenology



List of Contributors350 Index352


This book is both the product of scholarly research as well as an invitation for future reflections. Most chapters were first presented at the bi-annual conference of the German Society for Phenomenological Research (Deutsche Gesellschaft für phänomenologische Forschung), which was held at FernUniversität in Hagen in September 2017. The editors are grateful for the support of all of those who helped organize the conference and prepare this volume. We would like to specifically thank the following members of the Hagen team: Christoph Düchting, Selin Gerlek, Sarah Kissler, and Felix Schneider.

1 Three Types of Political Phenomenology Thomas Bedorf and Steffen Herrmann

The relationship between phenomenology and politics is a difficult one, and there are methodological reasons for this. Since its beginnings, phenomenology as a method has been associated with a certain object: the experience structure of consciousness. As Edmund Husserl made clear in Ideas Pertaining to a Pure Phenomenology (1913), it is not simply a matter of describing and identifying individual contents of experience but exposing their essential structures. Husserl therefore calls phenomenology a “science of essence” (Husserl 1983, XXII). He refers to “epoché” as an important methodical basis for understanding the essence of consciousness. This term, as is well known, describes the bracketing of our natural attitude in which certain assumptions are presupposed without further questioning. Through the epoché, Husserl identifies “pure consciousness” as the main object of phenomenological analysis. Insofar as this analysis is descriptive and not normative; however, the question arises about how phenomenology can position itself politically. It is precisely phenomenology’s methodological approach that seems to preclude its political involvement. Husserl seems to acknowledge this himself when he describes his work as “an entirely unpolitical one” (Husserl 1994, 244). Such doubts concerning political phenomenology do not diminish when considering the second founding father of phenomenology, Martin Heidegger. Although he may have opened up phenomenology for the social dimension of existence by transforming Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology into fundamental ontology, his personal political stance only seems to confirm the adverse relationship between phenomenology and politics. While it has been assumed for a long time that Heidegger’s notorious rectorate speech was a blunder due to political naiveté (Beistegui 1998), the publication of the Black Notebooks has clearly shown that the problem lies deeper: The fundamental ontological concept of being-with is based on the idea of an ethnic destiny closely linked to eliminatory antisemitism (Mitchell and Trawny 2017). In the case of Heidegger, therefore, phenomenology is under suspicion of leading to fatal political views.

2  Thomas Bedorf and Steffen Herrmann Of course, a completely different impression arises when one turns to the French tradition of phenomenology. In its initial phase, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Frantz Fanon addressed the hopes that were (or could have been) connected to a new historical beginning following World War II, both in philosophy itself and in postwar journalism. Subsequently, Claude Lefort (who considered himself a protégé of Merleau-Ponty) and Cornelius Castoriadis developed the idea of a democratic institution inspired by an empty space of power. The phenomenologies of alterity of Derrida and Levinas also demonstrated a political potential, widely recognized today. Employing concepts like the gift (Jean-Luc Marion), the retrait (Marc Richir), or the stranger (Bernhard Waldenfels), German and French phenomenologists finally worked on breaking open the harmonious wholeness that connected Husserl’s questions to the idealistic heritage, thus paving the way for a shift toward the tense and conflictual political.1 Ideally these authors, as well as the phenomenological tradition in general, provide new impulses for problems of current political philosophy. With labels like “post-democracy” and “post-politics,” a certain strand of political philosophy is often accused of contributing to those populist and autocratic developments that are currently threatening Western democracies (Crouch 2004; Rancière 2015; Brown 2015). Although such allegations would require further substantiation, they point to a crisis related to contemporary political philosophy’s near exclusive focus on normative principles that obscure the first person’s perspective. Subsequently, the gap between what is and what ought to be has become increasingly unbridgeable and the ability to relate to life-world problems of social actors is gradually vanishing. Thus, phenomenology’s focus on the first-person experience may help to re-embed normative thinking in our life-world by showing how it emerges from it. In the course of this undertaking, the question arises: Is phenomenology merely a complementary science of political theory, or does it allow independent access to political questions? In the first case, the relationship between phenomenology and politics is supplementary, while in the second case it is foundational. Our preliminary remarks suggest that the role of phenomenology in political theory formation is unclear. While phenomenology may help to close gaps in political philosophy and contribute to its renewal, the political often seems to evade its methodological structure. Whether one subscribes to one view or the other depends, of course, to a large extent on how one understands both phenomenology and politics. A clarification of the relationship between phenomenology and politics therefore presupposes a determination of what is understood by these two terms. Accordingly, we would like to systematically distinguish three different phenomenological approaches to the field of politics: the analysis of political experiences, the enquiry of political ontology, and the investigation

Three Types of Political Phenomenology 3 of political episteme. By elaborating upon these approaches, we will show that the phenomenological method itself changes along with the subject in question. This not only suggests that phenomenology can contribute to the renewal of political philosophy, but that political philosophy can contribute to the further development of phenomenology.

1. Phenomenology of Political Experience The first approach of a phenomenology of the political conceives the political as the institutionalized sphere of the regulation of public affairs. Therefore, the analysis focuses on a series of basic experiences that are constitutive for acting in public, such as trust, power, and authority or dispute, hatred, and resentment. To elucidate this approach more closely in what follows, we will take up a negative experience of politics: the dispute, as described by Edmund Husserl. Although Husserl considers phenomenology value-free and thus apolitical, he is still interested in investigating the constitution of the political space of experience – as long as it can be described value-free. Accordingly, the political space of experience does not take center stage in Husserl’s reflections but repeatedly appears at the margins of his thought. In the following, we look closely at these side considerations in order to understand those experiences that can be described as genuine political experiences. Husserl’s reflections on the foundation of intersubjectivity provide a starting point. In his works and bequest notes on the matter of intersubjectivity, Husserl repeatedly makes it clear that although the epoché allows and guarantees a return to the transcendental ego as constituting ground, this does not imply solipsism. On the contrary, all constitution of meaning has a bodily monad apprehending other bodily egos as a prerequisite. The experience of the “transcendency of the Other” (Husserl 1960, 89), which is not an object in the world but “subject . . . for this world . . . experiencing it” (Husserl 1960, 91), prevents the solipsist threat. The lateral connection with others is a condition for shared sense, in other words, objective contents. It is the difficulties of this basic epistemological situation that Husserl will reconsider again and again, without ultimately resolving the tension between egological foundation and lateral-intersubjective experience in a satisfactory way. Starting from the epistemic problem of understanding others, Husserl devotes himself to a phenomenology of intersubjective communities at various points in his work. In the course of this project, three areas are of particular importance: the community of love, the sociality of equal order, and the sociality of subordination (Schuhmann 1988, chapter I). Husserl defines the community of love as a union driven not by desire but by spiritual love: a “penetration of the otherwise separated to a joint personality” (Husserl 1973b, 175). However, the love community is not simply a fusion of two persons into a whole person but the “unity of two

4  Thomas Bedorf and Steffen Herrmann persons” (Husserl 1973c, 599), which makes it possible to live with and through each other. In the community of love, the individual reaches the highest form of existence through the “delight of coexisting” (Husserl 1973a, 107). These communities must be distinguished from those that come about through a shared external purpose, like trade associations. Husserl calls them “associations of equal order” (Husserl 1973b, 213). Such associations create belonging primarily on the basis of argument and counterargument, question and answer. Husserl, therefore, also speaks of “communicative communities” (Husserl 1973b, 201) that create a community of will. With the admittance into such a community of will comes the adoption of rights and duties by which the individual person merely becomes a functionary. Finally, the sociality of subordination must be distinguished from the sociality of equality. Here, it is not the mediation of the different wills but the subordination of one will to another that is at the center of communitization. It is on this very level that Husserl situates the state, which has the task of resolving the “collision of ends” (Husserl 1973b, 224) that may arise in the community of love and in the community of equals. Accordingly, the reason for the state’s existence is to prevent disputes and to provide compensation where they arise. In this way, Husserl equates the political sphere with the balancing function of the state apparatus whose task is to ensure the harmonious self-fulfillment of the individual in the community of love. The purpose of politics is primarily negative: It serves to protect against attacks while pacifying disputes. One may, therefore, argue that dissent is the genuine experience from which the political derives. In Husserl and Transcendental Intersubjectivity, Dan Zahavi distinguishes three forms of dissent in Husserl’s theory: the dispute over perceptual phenomena, the dispute over everyday notions of normality, and the dispute over cultural idiosyncrasies (Zahavi 2001). While the first type of disagreement can be resolved by providing higher levels of perception systems, for example, the sciences, this is not possible in the second and third cases. Even if it is true that we can trace the dispute over normality and cultural expectations back to the genesis of our expectations of normality and reflect upon our integration into the collective tradition to understand such disputes, this does not guarantee that we overcome them completely. This is only possible through resolution by a higher authority, which, for Husserl, is the state. It is clear that Husserl’s “un-political” thinking of the political concentrates essentially on the phenomenon of dispute. The necessity of the state order results from the experience of an irrevocable dispute that cannot be resolved, only satisfied. This is because Husserl understands the dispute only as a negative force, without considering its productive potential. Husserl could have learned from his contemporary Georg Simmel that conflict does not necessarily lead to dissociation but can also contain integrating and socially stabilizing moments (Simmel 1971, Ch. 6). Thus

Three Types of Political Phenomenology 5 Husserl’s phenomenology of political experience ultimately proves to be one-sided. It lacks eidetic variations that focus on forms of political disputes whose procedural conduct contributes precisely to the overcoming of tensions, thus, creating common ground.

2. Phenomenology of Political Ontology The second phenomenological approach to the political no longer focuses on paradigms of political experience but attempts to elucidate the meaning of the political sphere as a whole by shifting attention from ontical inquiry to ontology. Instead of describing worldly experiences, the investigation now concentrates on the being-in-the-world itself. The work of Hannah Arendt reveals how such a phenomenological ontology interrogates the political. Arendt begins her considerations by distancing herself from the anthropological approach of classical political philosophy. Since Hobbes, the question of what humankind is has served as the basis for determining how successful human coexistence is possible. In contrast, Arendt assumes that this cannot be determined anthropologically, since the answer to this question essentially depends on humankind’s self-image. Arendt, therefore, makes it her task to identify the basic conditions of being-in-the-world within which people develop their self-image (Arendt 1998, 7ff.). Most important in our context is the condition of human plurality. Because we are many without being the same, we need the political to serve as the sphere of collective self-determination. Our plurality poses a considerable challenge: We occupy different places in the world, so what we jointly refer to shows itself in different ways. The plurality of people means a plurality of opinions, which must be conciliated in the political without being annulled. Arendt argues that it should not be the task of the political to negate human plurality by sublating specific individual perspectives in an overarching general perspective. Instead, the political must be shaped in such a way that different perspectives can come together. Moreover, the role of the political is not simply to ensure a smooth coexistence of individuals but rather to create those conditions within which individuals can realize themselves. This is only possible if individuals can experience themselves in political action as identical to as well as different from others. Thus, the experiences of identity and difference are conditions that the political must provide if it is to enable the self-realization of individuals (ibid., 175ff.). As is well known, Arendt’s major work, The Human Condition, focuses on the distinction between three spheres of human activity: labor, work, and action. Where labor serves to reproduce our lives and work our cultural world, action reproduces our common world. Political action is dependent on a public space where citizens can meet to discuss shared concerns. This guarantees that opinion-forming processes are not

6  Thomas Bedorf and Steffen Herrmann contingent and arbitrary but that the plurality of perspectives gathered in a community is considered, and that public opinion has influence and legitimacy. According to Arendt, power arises when the process of opinion formation leads social actors to join together to advocate their convictions. This is not a “power over” but rather a “power to” – the power to shape our way of life in a certain way (Arendt 1998, 199). It is this empowering potential of political action that allows agents to experience their equality with others and is the first step toward political self-­ realization. But what about the second condition: difference? For Arendt, this can only be realized if power-building processes are structured in an agonistic way. Where our perspectives lead to different ideas of what the world is and should be there is a conflict that allows individuals to distinguish themselves from one another. It is crucial that this conflict does not represent a deficit for Arendt but is necessary for the self-realization of individuals, since here they can experience themselves in their difference from others. The fulfillment of the two basic conditions of political self-realization results in the experience of “public happiness” (Arendt 1990, 119). As politically committed citizens, we experience ourselves as beings both different from and identical to others – and it is precisely this existential function that leads Arendt to link political action to public happiness. Arendt also extends her phenomenological arguments to a political analysis of her time. Here the decline of the political as described in The Human Condition is seminal: For Arendt the ancient homo politicus has been replaced during the course of history first by the homo faber and then by the homo laborans. This develops alongside the colonization of the political sphere: Once the site of self-government, it has become a place that privileges economic utility. The problem is not that politics deals with economic issues, but rather that political questions are reduced to economic issues. This decline of the political is accompanied by the historical genesis of the party system, through which political action is transferred to professional elites. The separation of citizens from the decision-making process not only makes it possible to cede individual responsibility for the common world but also encourages individuals to see themselves only as private individuals. Arendt describes the emergence of the “bourgeois” who has lost all interest in public happiness and only thinks of securing personal happiness (Arendt 1994, 130). Arendt certainly sees this transformation of the political sphere flanked by far-reaching historical transformations such as the shift from class society to mass society and the emergence of modern bureaucracy. While massification produces a sense of individual superfluousness that further diminishes interest in the well-being of others, the logic of the administrative apparatus guarantees the dominance of “nobody,” replacing the principle of individual responsibility with organized irresponsibility. For Arendt, the sum of these developments results in a disappearance of the

Three Types of Political Phenomenology 7 political in modernity. This, in turn, culminates in totalitarianism, which eradicates the political by grasping it by its roots: the plurality of people. The suppression of the public sphere and the reduction of the individual to a uniform “bundle of reactions” (Arendt 1979, 441) create a world of universal predictability. Totalitarianism is thus the anti-political par excellence: It is the denial of the fact that human beings exist only in plural. Regardless of how Arendt’s analyses are evaluated in detail, they show us that a genuinely phenomenological approach to the political is possible. Phenomenology does not have to resign itself to the role of a supplementary science for already existing political theories; rather, it can provide an independent perspective on the formation of the political order on the basis of our being-in-the-world. The basis for this is a methodical transformation, which lies at the heart of Arendt’s work. The shift from political experience to the sphere of the political corresponds to a transformation of phenomenology from a science of essence to a science of existence. The subject matter of the analysis is no longer the transcendental or mundane ego (as with Husserl) but actual existence. The consequence of this is that a deeper layer of intentionality becomes thematic, which is not about individual experiences but about the disclosedness of the world as a whole. Existential analysis is not about the essence of individual existential realizations but about the ontological structure of existence itself. This approach leads to fascinating and penetrating analyses but is also limited because it addresses only very specific political conflicts which then are applied to the respective historical circumstances. Moreover, since historically varying problems are repeatedly traced back to the same basic ontological structures, any historicity itself is in danger of being erased. What existential phenomenology lacks is the ability to reflect on the political foundation of its own concepts. However, this final objection leads us straight to another stage of phenomenological thinking that explicitly addresses the temporality of our episteme.

3. Phenomenology of Political Episteme The last phenomenological approach to the political focuses neither on the experience nor on the ontology of the political, but rather on its episteme. Following Foucault, we understand episteme to designate a relation between the basic concepts and practices in which the world reveals itself and becomes accessible to our experience (Foucault 2002, 211). The scope of what is understood as “the political” is thus extended once again: Neither state politics (as with Husserl) nor the broader realm of our political being-in-the-word (as with Arendt) is at issue; rather, what is at stake is the political institution of our worldliness as such. In this sense, not only are the institutions of political legislation or the spheres of public affairs political but all our relationships with ourselves, others,

8  Thomas Bedorf and Steffen Herrmann and the world. It is precisely the political in this broad sense that is the topic of the last phenomenological approach to the political. Certainly, phenomenology reaches its limits here. Although it is characteristic of phenomenology to expose the subjective genesis of meaning, its origin in transcendental philosophy creates difficulties when it comes to understanding this genesis itself as an effect of a political foundation. Therefore the author we now turn to goes beyond phenomenology by bridging it with discourse theory. In a 1988 interview, Ernesto Laclau relates how a number of Husserlian ideas were fundamental to the development of his own theory, but rather than adopt them immediately, he transformed and radicalized them (Laclau 1990, 212). One of the decisive points of Laclau’s hegemony theory is that it is anti-essentialist: The rules and practices of our social interaction cannot be based on a final, absolute foundation but are “contingent” in a fundamental sense (Laclau 1990, 18). Our understanding of ourselves and of the world can neither be traced back to divine origins nor to laws of nature or reason but is rooted in institutional events in the course of which we place ourselves in these relationships. This event is contingent because the nature of the institution (Stiftung in Husserlian terms) is never without alternatives. The concept of contingency is therefore not synonymous with coincidence but, rather, indicates that the moment of institution is a kind of existential choice that could have always turned out differently. For Laclau, it is precisely because of this decision-­making character that every institution has a political character. How we interpret ourselves, others, and the world is always the result of political decisions. In order to better understand this thesis, we need to take a closer look at Laclau’s theory of discourse. Its starting point is the structuralist tenet that signs do not carry their meaning within themselves but laterally. Meaning can only be determined by a relational classification of the particular sign within a sign system. Such a classification can take place in two ways (Laclau and Mouffe 1985, 127). First, meaning must be embedded into a relational network of differences. If we take, for example, the concept of political freedom, it can only be made explicit by referring to other political concepts such as equality or democracy. Here, meaning is not brought about by a conceptual substance but by embedding the sign in a relational structure. Secondly, meaning can arise through a contrastive juxtaposition. Here, too, meaning does not derive from the matter itself but from within a conceptual horizon; however, this time it is not created by reference to co-constituting expressions but by contrastive exclusion. The content of concepts such as freedom, equality, or democracy is achieved by opposing concepts such as unfreedom, inequality, or non-democracy. The relational classification of a character in a sign system therefore takes place in two ways: either by linkage or by contrasting differences. Both forms of the foundation of meaning

Three Types of Political Phenomenology 9 are now decisive for the articulation of political demands. First, there is the logic of linkage: According to Laclau, political articulations create so-called chains of equivalence (Laclau and Mouffe 1985, 130). These allow various political concerns to be connected. Necessary for such a linkage are “empty signifiers” (Laclau 1996, 36) that subsume different requirements. The political signifier “liberal,” for example, encompasses policies of gender diversity, pacifism, and ecology. Through empty signifiers, differences in discourses may be bridged by equivalence formation. At the same time, however, empty signifiers also have a contrasting effect, which brings us to the second logic of meaning explained earlier. Here, the political signifier “liberal” stands in contrast to that of “conservative.” It is precisely this opposition that allows the empty signifier to be used internally to produce equivalence. Thus, for example, the various previously-mentioned concerns can be united under the signifier “liberals” as a way to distinguish themselves from “conservatives” – who, in turn, identify with concerns such as state security, militarism, or free markets. The political signifier “conservative” is the constitutive outside of the signifier “liberal.” If for Laclau discourse theory is productive for a description of the political, what place does the concept of hegemony occupy? The answer is that hegemony, in the sense of supremacy, is the goal of the respective political actors. It is necessary to make one’s own position the politically dominant position. Such supremacy is achieved by using empty signifiers to produce the longest possible equivalence chains (Laclau 1996, 40). The longer the chain of equivalence, the more political demands can be gathered under one’s own banner. The downside of this process, however, is that an empty signifier can only become hegemonic by discarding any content. Accordingly, as the democratic discourse becomes hegemonic, the concept of democracy itself threatens to become nothing more than an empty shell. However, it is less this hegemonic paradox that concerns Laclau but, rather, the fact that hegemonic discourses feign objectivity and, thus, unchangeability. It is precisely at this point in his theory that he draws upon Husserl. In his late publication The Crisis of European Sciences, Husserl places the critique of objectivism at the center of what he had earlier called “genetic phenomenology” (Steinbock 1998). The task of genetic phenomenology is to investigate the origin and development of the different forms of intentionality that constitute our life-world. In the Crisis, Husserl puts this concept of genetic phenomenology at work by attempting to show that objectivism is a specific mode of intentionality that covers the world with a “well-fitting garb of ideas” (Husserl 1970, 51). Husserl situates objectivism’s origins in Galileo’s mathematization of nature. He argues that abstractions used methodically to understand the natural world increasingly lose their representative character with the development of science, so that, ultimately, the purely mathematical archetype,

10  Thomas Bedorf and Steffen Herrmann rather than the object experienced in the life-word, stands in for reality. Husserl refers to this as a “theoretical-logical substruction” (ibid., 127) and attempts to rehabilitate the life-world as the actual basis of our access to the world. Laclau is, of course, less interested in Husserl’s examination of the natural sciences than in the method he employs here. He adopts three key methodological terms from Husserl’s critique of objectivism: the concept of the institution, the concept of sedimentation, and the concept of reactivation (Laclau 1990, 34). Husserl refers to Stiftung (institution) or Ur-Stiftung (primal institution) as the original experience of, for example, the perception of an object in which the wholeness of a sense of the object is given.2 The meaning given by this institution is also maintained in the habitualization of forms of experience that follow the original institution (re-institution or Nachstiftung, Husserl 1970, 71) until its task in the final institution has attained perfect clarity (ibid., 72). The passive genesis, in other words, the experience that the ego does not constitute the sense of the object alone, but that it happens to it always refers to an institution as its origin. With the notion of sedimentation, Husserl describes how the worldview of the natural sciences gradually became more and more established and the moment of institution of this paradigm sank into oblivion. However, it is precisely this moment of institution that Husserl thinks must be reactivated in the present – not by going behind the natural sciences, which would imply a certain backwardness, but by seizing opportunities implicit in the historical moment. The reactivation of the institution thus aims to reinstitute our relationship to the world. From Laclau’s perspective, Husserl’s three notions of institution, sedimentation, and reactivation capture a dynamic of political struggles for hegemony that one would do well to follow. In contrast to Husserl, however, Laclau does not want to return to an original institution but emphasizes the contingent character of institutional events, in the course of which each original institution presents itself as a relational institution. Laclau develops his concept of the political based on the phenomenological concept of institution. In his work, the term is used in interplay with the concepts of sedimentation and reactivation as a critique of ideology that exposes the apparent naturalness of orders resulting from political disputes. However, Laclau’s appropriation of Husserl’s phenomenology goes even further than it may seem at first glance. In addition to his inclusion of the concept of institution, there is an underlying appropriation and further development of the method of phenomenology as a whole. This is illustrated by two motifs. First, Husserl’s method of epoché serves to override our naive world belief and the associated postulations of being. As a result, phenomenology has become the predecessor of an anti-essentialist science, since it does not focus on the substance of things but on the way we relate to them. From Husserl’s perspective, this process of relating always allows for a variety of meanings. It is precisely this

Three Types of Political Phenomenology 11 plurality of meaning that Laclau pursues with his anti-essentialism when he assumes that our relationships to ourselves, others, and the world cannot be grounded on any final basis but derive from historically situated institutional events. Second, while Laclau basically follows the idea of the epoché, he is critical of another methodological tool of Husserlian phenomenology: eidetics. Husserl’s conception of phenomenology as knowledge of essence is based on the conviction that one of its tasks is to make judgements with “ ‘unconditional’ universality” (Husserl 1983, 13). For this, he uses the method of eidetic variation in which an object is varied and modified in the imagination until its essential characteristics become apparent. We have seen how, in the wake of structuralism, Laclau radically distances himself from such an approach: We cannot answer the question of what something is by referring back to pure essentials but by how it differs from other objects. The absolute generality of essential characteristics is thus replaced by a historically situated and relative generality of differences. The application of the phenomenological method to politics, as the last two points make clear, has an effect on phenomenology itself and contributes to its further methodological development. No matter how one looks at this development, by enriching the phenomenological method with discursive theory, one can view the political in a way that is unavailable to conventional phenomenological approaches. The experiences and structures examined by phenomenology as a science of essence or existential science are again shown in the discourse-analytical perspective to be mediated by political struggles. In this last paradigm, each episteme is traced back to the conditions that Foucault once described as a “historical a priori” (Foucault 2002, 143; Aldea and Allen 2016).

4. Three Types of Political Phenomenology It should be clear now that what constitutes the political varies according to the three paradigms of political phenomenology we have reconstructed. We have considered not only how the respective notion of the political becomes the subject of different theorizations but also how the phenomenological method transforms itself. Three correlations have emerged. (i) First, the phenomenological study of political experience has been based primarily on an eidetic analysis. In Husserl, empirical intuition was transformed by ideation into pure intuition of essence in order to uncover a certain type of political experience. The phenomenological analysis was thus primarily supplementary: Insofar as it proceeds descriptively rather than normatively, its insights acquire political significance only in the course of their embedding in overarching political theories. (ii) Second, the phenomenology of political ontology cedes eidetic analysis to existential analysis. It is not the identification of certain types of experience that is in the foreground here but the structure of our being-in-the-world as a whole. From

12  Thomas Bedorf and Steffen Herrmann this analysis, as we have seen with Arendt, emerges a genuine phenomenological conception of the human condition that allows us to address the normative character of the political. (iii) Finally, the analysis of political episteme is based on a genetic analysis, which allows us to uncover the social and historical situating of self, other, and world. The genetic analysis of institutional events makes it possible to understand the space of experience itself as a result of political struggles, so that in this last variation of political phenomenology our worldliness as a whole becomes the scene of political disputes. It becomes clear from this final perspective that the normative nature of the political is not simply given but rather the result of a historical process that produces such normativity in the first place. Moving through the three methodological variations of political phenomenology may appear to be a linear progression. In reality, however, this is merely an extension of its subject area. While initially only individual experiences were considered to be political, our entire episteme ultimately emerged as the result of political disputes. Against this background, it becomes clear that the sequence of the three methodical variations of political phenomenology is not a kind of teleological succession but, rather, all three refer to each other. Each of the forms of analysis is itself at risk of losing sight of a decisive motif. Where the focus on certain types of experience threatens to lose sight of the constitution of the space of experience itself, the mere analysis of political episteme is in danger of being blind to the ways in which the political is institutionalized.

Notes 1. Recent publications that explore the field of political phenomenology include Fóti and Kontos 2017; Gurley and Pfeiffer 2016; Jung and Embree 2016; Held 2010 as well as somewhat older contributions like Dallmayr 1981; Jung 1993; Schnell 1995; Thompson and Embree 2000. What roughly distinguishes our approach from these is the idea that a systematic access to the field of the political can be based on different kinds of phenomenological methods. 2. Rather than translate Stiftung as “foundation” or “establishment” (Husserl 1970, 378), we prefer “institution” (as Laclau does), which reflects the double meaning of “instituting” and “instituted.”

Bibliography Aldea, A. S. and Allen, A. (2016). “History, Critique, and Freedom: The Historical a Priori in Husserl and Foucault,” Continental Philosophy Review 49, 1–11. Arendt, H. (1979). The Origins of Totalitarianism. San Diego: Harcourt Brace. Arendt, H. (1990). On Revolution. London: Penguin Books. Arendt, H. (1994). “Organized Guilt and Universal Responsibility,” in Kohn, J. (ed. and with an intro.). Essays in Understanding, 1930–1954: Formation, Exile, and Totalitarianism. New York: Schocken Books. Arendt, H. (1998). The Human Condition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Three Types of Political Phenomenology 13 Beistegui, M. de (1998). Heidegger and the Political: Dystopias. New York/ London: Routledge. Brown, W. (2015). Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution. New York: Zone Books. Crouch, C. (2004). Post-Democracy. Cambridge: Polity Press. Dallmayr, F. R. (1981). Beyond Dogma and Despair: Toward a Critical Phenomenology of Politics. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press. Derrida, J. (2005). The Politics of Friendship. Transl. by G. Collins. London/New York: Verso. Dodd, J. (2012). “Political Philosophy,” in Luft, S. and Overgaard, S. (eds.). The Routledge Companion to Phenomenology. New York: Routledge, 429–438. Fóti, V. and Pavlos, K. (eds.) (2017). Phenomenology and the Primacy of the Political: Essays in Honor of Jacques Taminiaux. Cham: Springer. Foucault, M. (2002). Archaeology of Knowledge. Transl. by A. M. Sheridan Smith. London/New York: Routledge. Gurley, S. W. and Pfeiffer, G. (eds.) (2016). Phenomenology and the Political. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield. Held, K. (2010). Phänomenologie der politischen Welt. Frankfurt: Peter Lang. Husserl, E. (1960). Cartesian Meditations: An Introduction to Phenomenology. Transl. by D. Cairns. The Hague: Nijhoff. Husserl, E. (1970). The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology: An Introduction to Phenomenological Philosophy. Transl. by D. Carr. Evanston: Northwestern University Press. Husserl, E. (1973a). Zur Phänomenologie der Intersubjektivität: Texte aus dem Nachlass. Erster Teil. 1905–1920. Husserliana XIII. Ed. by I. Kern. The Hague: Nijhoff. Husserl, E. (1973b). Zur Phänomenologie der Intersubjektivität: Texte aus dem Nachlass. Zweiter Teil. 1921–1928. Husserliana XIV. Ed. by I. Kern. The Hague: Nijhoff. Husserl, E. (1973c). Zur Phänomenologie der Intersubjektivität. Texte aus dem Nachlass. Dritter Teil. 1929–1935. Husserliana XV. Ed. by I. Kern. The Hague: Nijhoff. Husserl, E. (1983). Ideas Pertaining to a Pure Phenomenology and Phenomenological Philosophy: First Book. General Introduction to a Pure Phenomenology. Transl. by F. Kersten. The Hague: Nijhoff. Husserl, E. (1994). Familienbriefe: Husserliana: Dokumente 3. Bd. 9. Ed. by. K. Schuhmann. Dordrecht: Kluwer. Jung, H. Y. (1993). Rethinking Political Theory: Essays in Phenomenology and the Study of Politics. Athens: Ohio University Press. Jung, H. Y. and Embree, L. (eds.) (2016). Political Phenomenology: Essays in Memory of Petee Jung. Cham: Springer. Laclau, E. (1990). New Reflections on the Revolutions of our Time. London/New York: Verso. Laclau, E. (1996). Emancipation(s). London/New York: Verso. Laclau, E. (2005). On Populist Reason. London/New York: Verso. Laclau, E. and Mouffe, C. (1985). Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics. London/New York: Verso. Levinas, E. (1991). Totality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority. Transl. by A. Lingis. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

14  Thomas Bedorf and Steffen Herrmann Lyotard, J.-F. (1991). Phenomenology. Transl. by B. Beakly. Foreword by G. L. Ormiston. Albany: State University of New York Press. Merleau-Ponty, M. (1968). “L’‘institution’ dans l’histoire personnelle et publique,” in Résumés de cours: Collège de France 1952–1960. Paris: Gallimard, 59–65. Merleau-Ponty, M. (2003). L’institution/La passivité: Notes de cours au Collège de France (1954–55). Ed. by D. Damaillacq, C. Lefort and S. Ménase. Paris: Belin. Mitchell, A. J. and Trawny, P. (eds.) (2017). Heidegger’s Black Notebooks: Responses to Anti-Semitism Paperback. New York: Columbia University Press. Mouffe, C. (2005). On the Political. New York/London: Routledge. Rancière, J. (2015). Dissensus: On Politics and Aesthetics. Ed. and transl. by S. Corcoran. London/New York: Continuum. Schnell, M. W. (1995). Phänomenologie des Politischen. Munich: Fink. Schuhmann, K. (1988). Husserls Staatsphilosophie. Freiburg: Karl Alber. Simmel, G. (1971). On Individuality and Social Forms: Selected Writings. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Steinbock, A. (1998). “Husserl’s Static and Genetic Phenomenology: Translator’s Introduction to Two Essays,” Continental Philosophy Review 31, 127–152. Szanto, T. and Moran, D. (eds.) (2016). Phenomenology of Sociality: Discovering the ‘We’. New York/London: Routledge. Thompson, K. and Embree, L. E. (eds.) (2000). Phenomenology of the Political. Cham: Springer. Zahavi, D. (2001). Husserl and Transcendental Intersubjectivity: A Response to the Linguistic-Pragmatic Critique. Transl. by E. A. Behnke. Athens: Ohio University Press.

Part I

Phenomenology of Political Experiences

2 Dialectical Praxis and the Decolonial Struggle Sartre and Fanon’s Contributions to Political Phenomenology Robert Bernasconi 1. Racism as a Material System The two most commonly referenced phenomenological accounts of racism were already formulated well over fifty years ago. Jean-Paul Sartre’s Anti-Semite and Jew (1948) and Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks (2008), first published in 1947 and 1952, respectively, continue to inspire numerous studies in critical philosophy of race by offering descriptions of the lived experience of the racist gaze. However, Sartre in 1960 in Critique of Dialectical Reason (1976) and Fanon in 1961 in The Wretched of the Earth (2004) both departed from these earlier accounts and demonstrated that, to the extent that descriptions of lived experience overlook the colonial system as such, they ignore the material conditions from which these experiences live. In this chapter I argue that these two works from the early 1960s should not be seen as departures from phenomenology but as models of how political phenomenology should operate if it is to pass from being descriptive to being transformative. They did so by embracing the dialectic as a way of making the operation of the system visible and highlighting how transformational change takes place. In the aftermath of the Second World War it was a frequently held belief that education was sufficient to combat racism. This was because of the widespread tendency to reduce racism to a set of specific beliefs and attitudes that can allegedly be addressed by education (Bernasconi 2014, 15). This is why, for example, in 1956 Fanon launched a direct attack on the UNESCO approach that presented racism as “rational, individual, genotypically and phenotypically determined” (1996, 32). His core argument was that racism is “one element of a vaster whole: that of the systematized oppression of a people” (33). In the same year Sartre delivered his lecture “Colonialism is a System” (2006b, 36–55). That colonialism was a system had been announced by Pierre Victor Malouet (1802, 14), and the colonial system was already challenged by the Haitian philosopher Baron Pompée Valentin Vastey (1814, 90–92). But Sartre and Fanon insisted that to expose colonialism as a system, to render it visible, one would need to break with the dominant ways of thought that

18  Robert Bernasconi concealed its operation so as to embrace the dialectical reason embedded in praxis. My argument here is not only that this did not necessitate the abandonment of the phenomenological approach with which they had begun but also that it provides a powerful reason why political phenomenology should deploy the resources of dialectical reason. Both Sartre and Fanon aimed at the concrete. Sartre wrote in the Critique of Dialectical Reason that the concrete was “the hidden conclusion of the entire investigation” (1976, 521). Even more tellingly, Fanon repeatedly insisted that the masses themselves had “a voracious taste for the concrete” that they received from the praxis that had thrown them into a desperate struggle (Fanon 2004, 52. Translation modified). From early on they both acknowledged that racism should not be approached through piecemeal accounts of racist individuals but could be combatted in a meaningful way only by addressing directly social structures in their materiality. Although Sartre in Anti-Semite and Jew began with the individual anti-Semite, it was the social structures at large that had to be changed if antisemitism was to be overcome: “It could not exist in a classless society” (1948, 149). Similarly, Fanon in 1952 argued that to overcome color prejudice would necessitate restructuring the world (2008, 63). But by 1956 both were responding more directly to the evils of systemic racism at a time when the struggle against French colonialism in Algeria was gaining momentum. Unfortunately some readers of Fanon fail to see the importance of understanding Sartre’s Critique of Dialectical Reason for an appreciation of the dialectic in The Wretched of the Earth, and it is partly for this reason I am returning to the subject to show in more detail how both Sartre and Fanon transformed their approaches to racism in an attempt to meet the new challenges posed by this new context.1 It is well-known that by the time he wrote Critique of Dialectical Reason Sartre had modified many of the claims found in Being and Nothingness (2018). The most important innovation was his focus on materiality that is already announced early in the volume with the introduction of scarcity (Sartre 1976, 113). Whereas in Being and Nothingness and AntiSemite and Jew it is the direct gaze that determines relations with another, in Critique of Dialectical Reason our relations to others are mediated by materiality and also our relations to other others: For example, Jewish doctors relate to antisemites through their relation to other Jewish doctors across the scarcity of jobs (267–268). And a colonialist beats a native through the beatings given to other natives by other colonialists in the sense that they act in this way “because this is what one does” (731n, emphasis in original). In other words, the other colonialists act in each of them. However, although the impact on Sartre’s philosophy of this new focus on these mediating relations was to bring about a significant change in perspective, what holds these mediations together is a concept central

Dialectical Praxis and the Decolonial Struggle 19 to Being and Nothingness, the concept of the project with its rich phenomenological heritage. I will explore that concept in the fourth section of this chapter, after I have in the second section focused on Sartre and Fanon’s attacks on conventional modes of thought and in the third section given a preliminary account of how they both saw dialectics operating. This leads me in the fifth section to focus on revolutionary praxis as the site where dialectic is experienced. In conclusion I highlight the benefit of approaching the political phenomenologically with an account of systemic racism, locating the lived experience of racism within the larger context that produces it and gives it its meaning.

2. Beyond Analytical Reason Both Sartre and Fanon believed that the conventional modes of thinking that most philosophers still practice have the effect of radically undermining attempts to challenge the status quo. Sartre used the phrase “analytical reason” to highlight positivist forms of thought which he characterized as tendency to understand new facts by reducing them to old ones, whereas he defined “dialectical reason” as “the absolute intelligibility of the irreducibly new” (Sartre 1976, 59). Fanon’s clearest rejection of an exclusive reliance on analytical reason can be found in the opening pages of the famous essay on violence with which The Wretched of the Earth begins. He observed that the colonial world is a world that is compartmentalized, divided, petrified, and ruled by “a purely Aristotelian logic,” by which he meant the logic of opposition, the logic of non-contradiction. “The zone inhabited by the colonized is not complementary to the zone inhabited by the colonizers. The two zones are opposed to each other, but not in the service of a higher unity. Ruled by a purely Aristotelian logic, they obey the principle of mutual (reciproque) exclusion. There is no possible conciliation. One of the terms is superfluous” (2004, 4). Fanon’s point is that, so long as one remains tied to this oppositional logic, then it seems that there is no way out of colonialism: Things are at an impasse. As Fanon wrote, citing Sartre, the colonizer can always see the colonized as entirely superfluous, but exterminating them would not be the fulfilment of colonialism but its destruction (43. Citing Sartre 1976, 303n). This makes visible the contradiction inherent in colonialism as a racist material system: Each needs the other in their struggle against each other. The reciprocal exclusion when seen dialectically is concretized in a reciprocal homogeneity: “The violence of the colonial regime and the counterviolence of the colonized balance each other and respond to each other in an extraordinary reciprocal homogeneity” (2004, 46). This is why Fanon explicitly insisted that hatred sustained only by the rigidity of bourgeois logic cannot on its own sustain a war of liberation: Hatred is not a program (89). The revolution must find a way to break with the established framework more radically

20  Robert Bernasconi than is possible with simple opposition, because opposition affirms what it attacks in and through the attack. Sartre had a similar insight. What to analytic reason appears as simple opposition is, when seen dialectically, more like correlation, an “antagonistic reciprocity” (1976, 804). Sartre’s account of the limitations of analytic reason occupied much of the first part of Search for a Method, the bulk of which was first published in 1957 in Les Temps Modernes before being republished in Critique of Dialectical Reason. There Sartre showed how “the analytical critical rationalism of the great Cartesians” had promoted the claims of the French bourgeoisie to be a universal class but that it subsequently was put in the service of “the ‘atomization’ of the Proletariat” (1963, 5). At its inception, individualism was progressive, but it was subsequently used to deny the salience of class or race in contexts that rendered it reactionary, as well as making it impossible to uncover the workings of history (Sartre 1992, 88). A one-sided focus on the abstract individual removed from the concrete conditions in which he or she finds him or herself is characteristic of contemporary society and deprives that society of the resources it needs to identify and stay focused on the problems created by systemic racism. In this way, analytic reason and the dogmas associated with it served to mask the real struggle (1963, 3–6). This initial argument of Search for a Method is repeated in modified form in the main body of Critique of Dialectical Reason: Analytic reason is “an oppressive praxis for dissolving” classes, which explains why the bourgeois cling to it (1976, 804). To be sure, dialectical reason is not opposed to analytic reason in either Sartre or Fanon. To posit an opposition between them would recreate the problem that recourse to dialectics is supposed to solve. Analytic reason has its place within dialectical reason (Sartre 1976, 93). Similarly, one cannot go straight to the concrete, but one must work one’s way there in part with tools provided by abstract analysis in spite of its inadequacy to the task of investigating “oppression as a historical praxis” (729, emphasis in original). But it is in the praxis of struggle as a form of antagonistic reciprocity that the dialectic is experienced (804). This is what Sartre and Fanon set out to illuminate. They turned to dialectics in the conviction that it would overcome the limitations of so-called analytical reason and so lead phenomenology from descriptions based on lived experience to a recognition of the material system. Conventional reason concealed crucial features of the racist system but above all rendered largely invisible its totalizing operation.

3. Dialectical Reason Marxism, which was the main home of dialectics around 1960, was seen by both Sartre and Fanon as in crisis. The recognition that Marxism has lost its way was expressed by Fanon at the end of The Wretched of the

Dialectical Praxis and the Decolonial Struggle 21 Earth when he lamented the fact that in Europe dialectics had little by little been turned into “a logic of equilibrium” in which the movement of thought had been rendered immobile (Fanon 2004, 237. Translation modified). Sartre was also dismissive of contemporary Marxism: It had come to a stop (Sartre 1963, 21). Marxism’s revitalization, according to Sartre’s Search for a Method, was to come from existentialism (181). Sartre and Fanon turned to dialectics but not as a departure from phenomenology (Ally 2010). There would still be a limited role for “phenomenological description” (Sartre 1963, 52n). The task was to draw on the resources of phenomenology to breathe new life into dialectics in order to meet the challenge of thinking of colonialism as a system. Fanon found fault with Friedrich Engels for focusing on the instruments of violence (Fanon 2004, 25). Sartre similarly but even more decisively insisted that Engles’s tendency to see the results of antagonistic forces as means meant that he was unable to “conceive of the appearance of systematic processes such as capitalism or colonialism” (1963, 100n). It was not only analytic reason that was at fault. Apparently not even Engels was equipped to give an adequate account of colonialism as a system. Just as Critique of Dialectical Reason and The Wretched of the Earth began by challenging conventional modes of thinking, so Engels began Anti-Dühring by characterizing a mode of thinking, which he called analysis or decomposition (Zerlegung), that he regarded as justified and even necessary but at the same time one-sided, restricted, and abstract (1935, 19). By separating nature into its individual parts, it detaches them from their connection with the vast whole (18). Dialectics, by contrast, grasps things and their conceptual images in their interconnection (Verkettung) and their movement (20). In the Critique, Sartre rehearsed the three laws of history identified by Engels: the law of the transformation of quantity into quality, the law of the interpenetration of opposites, and the law of the negation of the negation. Sartre’s complaint was that these laws were presupposed by Engels, but not established by him (Sartre 1976, 31), whereas they are all moments of totalization and must be approached as such (57). Sartre, at various points in the Critique of Dialectical Reason, albeit only in passing, sought to show how these laws of the dialectic can be approached in terms of totalization. First, quantity can become quality within a whole which “reinteriorizes even relations of exteriority” but this whole is to be understood as “the unity of the totalizing act in so far as it diversifies itself and embodies itself in totalized” acts (1976, 47–48n). In other words, the mechanical use of quantity, as when one from the outside puts a number of the number of a people engaged in a riot, is for the rioters themselves interiorized as a relation of reciprocity insofar as each of them is for themselves now, as a member of a group, one of whatever number of people happen to be engaged in the riot at the time: one is not just one, one is as the latest addition to the group,

22  Robert Bernasconi for example, the hundredth (1976, 375). Second, Sartre argued that the law of the interpenetration of opposites becomes intelligible when one recognizes that, just as workers understand themselves in their acts only in so far as they interpret every partial totality in terms of the overall totalization, so one can say more generally that “each partial totality, as a determination of the whole, contains the whole as its fundamental meaning and, consequently, also contains the other partial totalities” (92). Finally, and with respect to the law of the negation of the negation, Sartre explained that worked matter is the negation of human creation that has come to being through the project’s negation of previous negations. It has “an inert power to crush, demolish and degrade” but in such a way that it carries within itself the seeds that enable this system to be transcended (183). Worked matter is “the fundamental motive force of history.” It “produces a necessity for change of itself” through the contradictions it embodies and the way all actions are united in it insofar as they aim at the unity of a common future (183, emphasis in original). However, the important point in the present context is the way that for Sartre the totalizing process is to be approached through the concept of the project, as I will explain, and is thus linked to Sartre’s account of freedom in Being and Nothingness and its source in the account of the Entwurf in section 32 of Heidegger’s Being and Time (Heidegger 1962, 193).

4. Marxism and Existentialism It has sometimes been supposed that Sartre’s turn to dialectics was his renunciation of phenomenology, just as his embrace of Marxism has long been seen by some as a departure from existentialism (Burkle 1966, 747), but this is far from the case, at least if one conceives of phenomenology broadly and especially focuses on his relation to Heidegger (Chiodi 1976, 8–20). Sartre’s argument in Search for a Method was that Marxism and existentialism needed each other but not in the same way or to the same degree; their relation was not symmetrical. Existentialism was simply an “ideology,” by which he understood in this context a parasitic form of knowledge living on the margins (Sartre 1963, 8). But although Marxism was the living philosophy of the time (30), it was on life support. Existential phenomenology could revivify Marx, but having done so, it had no significant role to play on its own. To illustrate his diagnosis of the poverty of contemporary Marxism, Sartre attacked Lukács, his old opponent from the early days of existentialism (Lukács 1948). In Search for a Method Sartre wrote: “Lukács has the instruments to understand Heidegger, but he will not understand him; for Lukács would have to read him, to grasp the meaning of the sentences one by one. And there is no longer any Marxist, to my knowledge, who is still capable of doing this” (Sartre 1963, 38). This was an extraordinary claim for Sartre to make,

Dialectical Praxis and the Decolonial Struggle 23 especially at a time when the level of his commitment to Marxism, as well as his understanding of it, was under scrutiny. But the insult was not as gratuitous as it might seem at first. Nor was it entirely straightforward. Why was it important for Lukács to understand Heidegger? What Marxism lacked and needed was, Sartre explicitly insisted, “the existential project,” that is to say, the project which throws human beings “toward the social possible in terms of a defined situation” (Sartre 1963, 181). It was to grasp the link between the project and the situation (Sartre 1992, 463), and beyond them the material system, as a variation on the Heideggerian notion of world, that it was necessary for Marxists to read Heidegger sentence by sentence. The project, understood as a crucial component of the account of the worldhood of the world and the for-thesake-of-which (das Worumwillen) culminating in section 18 of Being and Time, provides the totalizing movement. Nevertheless, although the term “project” derives from Heidegger, Sartre was not endorsing his specific account of the project any more than he was suggesting that he himself had got it right in Being and Nothingness. Sartre left a decisive clue as to how he now saw Heidegger in an enigmatic but instructive passage in the main body of the Critique where he engaged with Walter Biemel’s short book on Heidegger’s concept of the world (Biemel 1950). In fact, although Sartre cited Biemel as if he had actually read the book, his treatment of it suggests that his knowledge of it came from Alphonse de Waelhens’s Phénoménologie de la vérité, which he cited in a subsequent note.2 If that is the case, then Sartre would have been unaware that, in the very same pages from which he was quoting, Biemel was directly casting him as an idealist (84–91). Even if Sartre had since the publication of Being and Nothingness come to a better understanding of what Heidegger had understood by the thrown project (geworfene Entwurf ), as one can see for example in Search for a Method (Sartre 1963, 151), he never seems to have had a good understanding of what especially the later Heidegger meant by being (Sein), even writing in one place of “the materiality of Being (la materialité de l’Être)” (Sartre 1976, 182). This is somewhat ironic given his critique of Lukács as someone incapable of reading Heidegger. But even more ironic, perhaps, is the fact that, while Biemel was accusing Sartre of giving an idealist interpretation of Heidegger, Sartre was accusing Heidegger himself of idealism, an idealism similar to that of which he accused Lukács (Sartre 2016, 3). And especially powerful was what these two idealisms were said to share: “Any philosophy which subordinates the human to what is other than man, whether it be an existentialist or Marxist idealism has hatred of man as both its basis and its consequence” (Sartre 1976, 181). These were the stakes. However, in a footnote, Sartre offered a more favorable, albeit highly questionable, interpretation of the later Heidegger based on Biemel’s claim that Heidegger’s method after the publication of Being and Time was that of moving from Being to the interpretation of man which

24  Robert Bernasconi brings him close to what Sartre called the “external materialist dialectic” (181n). The role of the project in Sartre was to make the human dimension of history central. It was also the heart of transformative politics. What Sartre and Fanon were struggling to attain was a way of thinking that would enable them, without abandoning their commitment to phenomenology, to approach the concrete. Sartre set his sights against abstraction from the first pages of Being and Nothingness (Sartre 2018, 33–34) and, from the perspective of the Critique, the situation was still abstract if not seen in the light of the material system from which it had been abstracted. Sartre’s path can best be clarified by recalling Aristotle’s conception of praxis and the mode of knowing that corresponds with it, phronesis. According to the Nicomachean Ethics, it is not the case that the situation is given in the same way to everyone and that moral knowledge is the application of the right rule to it, an error that could easily be illustrated by the use of examples in contemporary ethics. Rather, moral knowledge is the capacity to see the situation for what it is, which means to see what is called for by it, a knowledge which leads directly to action, according to Aristotle. This means that, for the onlookers, the praxis of the phronimos reveals the situation that they did not see independently. The phronimos is the one equipped with practical reason and is guided by a sense of the good in the form of the that-for-the-sake-of-which one acts, under the name the hou heneka (Aristotle 1934, 339). Now, this is the reading of Aristotle initiated by Heidegger in his seminars in Marburg and developed by his students, most notably Hans-Georg Gadamer (Gadamer 1976, 200–201; Gadamer 1989, 312–324). However, in Heidegger’s Being and Time the insight was lost sight of, because even though he incorporated into his account of the worldhood of the world the hou heneka in the form of “the for-the-sake-of -which” (das Worumwillen) (Heidegger 1962, 87), the focus was on the experience of making and thus on techne as a mode of knowing (Bernasconi 1986, 112–121). The genius of Sartre in the Critique, whether or not he had Aristotle in mind, was to restore the link implicit in Heidegger between the idea of praxis and the idea of the project. Whereas praxis helps to reveal the situation, the project locates it within a larger totalizing frame, and when the praxis takes the form of revolutionary praxis aimed at undermining the material system, then it is the system itself that comes to light.

5. Praxis and Its Agents Sartre focused on the project not only in order to show the continuity with his earlier approach embodied in Being and Nothingness to the dialectical approach of Critique of Dialectical Reason but also to show how existential phenomenology can accommodate what Sartre was calling “the detotalized totality,” to use a phrase he had already introduced in Notebooks for an Ethics in an earlier account of the dialectic

Dialectical Praxis and the Decolonial Struggle 25 (Sartre 1992, 88). If one recalls that the project, as Sartre understood it, is “a real and active totalization aimed at changing the world” (1976, 182, emphasis in original), then it is clear that the critique of Sartre’s idea of a detotalized totality is misconceived if one tries to assimilate it to a rigid idea of totality, such as that proposed by Lukács. But, from the perspective of the struggle against colonialism, the decisive concept that brought Marxism and existentialism together was that of praxis formally defined as “an organizing project, which transcends material conditions towards an end and inscribes itself, through laboring in inorganic matter as a rearrangement of the practical field and a reunification of a means in the light of the end” (Sartre 1976, 734). “Concrete thought must be born from praxis and must turn back up it in order to clarify it” (Sartre 1963, 22). It was in and through praxis that the project became concrete and truly transformative as opposed to the idealist transformation in Being and Nothingness, where a change in the project alone is sufficient to change the world or, at least, how it appears. It is in praxis therefore that phenomenology is put to work in the service of the decolonial struggle. Phenomenology no longer thinks of itself as confined to a description of what is given in lived experience as ordinarily conceived, the status quo, but instead serves a liberatory politics as critical phenomenology. It is easy enough to see the continuity between Heidegger, the early Sartre, and the Sartre of the Critique of Dialectical Reason in his formal definition of praxis quoted earlier with its appeal to the project through which one transcends the given situation. However, what is decisive is the link Sartre makes between dialectic and praxis. Henri Lefebvre complained that Sartre’s account of dialectic seemed at times to hypostasize it (Lefebvre 1961, 69–69, 78–79), but it need not be seen quite in that way once one recognizes that the notions of praxis and dialectic are inextricably bound together (Sartre 1963, 175). The dialectical movement is within praxis (Sartre 1976, 159). This emerges only in the course of revolutionary struggle. The dialectic cannot experience itself “except in and through the praxis of struggle” (804, emphasis in original). Fanon had a sharper and narrower idea of praxis than Sartre, who used it in multiple senses. Fanonian praxis is, like Sartrean praxis, totalizing, but he tends to restrict his use of the word to those occasions where action is transformative and absolving (Fanon 2004, 44, 50). According to Fanon, praxis is conjoined with the deployment of violence and “the project of liberation.” Through them “the colonized discovers the real and transforms it” (Fanon 2004, 21. Translation modified). The nationalist militant through “concrete praxis” discovers a new politics” that in no way resembles the old (2004, 195. Translation modified). Praxis enlightens the agent by indicating both the means and the end (Fanon 2004, 44). Both Sartre and Fanon insisted that dialectics is not something rarefied, possessed only by the few who have studied closely the writings of Hegel

26  Robert Bernasconi and Marx. It is not to be approached as something abstract. In fact, the opposite is the case. It becomes concrete in praxis and indeed all concrete thought is born from praxis (Sartre 1963, 22). Sartre understood the dialectic as “the practical consciousness of an oppressed class struggling against its oppressor and under the right conditions it brings about the transcendence of atomization by the solidarity of a group” (1976, 803). It is in this vein that Sartre, recalling the phrase from the opening line of the Internationale that subsequently formed the title of Fanon’s second book, wrote: “The ‘wretched of the earth’ are precisely the only people capable of changing life and who do change it every day, who feed, clothe, and house humanity as a whole” (Sartre 1976, 241). Indeed, it is tempting to think that Fanon was not only referencing the lyrics to that great anthem by Eugène Pottier but also this sentence by Sartre, given how central this same idea was to Fanon. The task of dialectical reason is to reorganize the mind of the people, to provide them with a certain “lucidity,” so that they are not looking backward, albeit to do so is a natural response to the way the colonists demeaned the past of the colonized (Fanon 2004, 149, 161). Fanon observed that during the period of nation-building within the process of decolonization, every citizen who embraces the nation as a whole not only “embodies the constantly dialectical truth of the nation” but also wills “here and now the triumph of the total man” (141. Translation modified).3 That is to say, “the underdeveloped peoples” have in view “the future of humanity” (143. Translation modified). That belongs to their project. Meanwhile, the national bourgeoisie in these same underdeveloped countries have a different end in view and so are incapable of seeing the new concrete situation as it emerges in and from the action of the people (98). The bourgeoisie, and the nationalist parties associated with them, tend to analyze any given situation using only abstract terms that belong to received forms of knowledge inherited from elsewhere (99). So when Fanon says of them that they lack the ability “to extract reason from praxis,” “reason” is to be understood as a reference to dialectical reason as the power to extract the new understanding of the situation that emerges in revolutionary action (97–98. Translation modified).4

6. Reconceptualizing Racism Just as Fanon challenged the priority widely accorded to individual experience when abstracted from “the dialectical truth of the nation” of which it is merely a link in the chain (Fanon 2004, 141), Sartre’s account of racism demonstrated that a focus on the individual racist allows for the perpetuation of systemic racism. It reduces systemic racism to a succession of individual anomalous cases, whereas a dialectical approach shows how the colonial world is saturated with violence and indeed a violence that finds its legitimation in the counter-violence it produces.

Dialectical Praxis and the Decolonial Struggle 27 This had been a theme of Sartre’s since the Notebooks for an Ethics in the late 1940s, frequently in response to Engels and the latter’s debate with Dühring (Bernasconi 1998). In Notebooks for an Ethics Sartre had referred to “an ethics of violence justifying itself” (1992, 186). By the time of Critique of Dialectical Reason, one of the concrete forms that is taken is identified as colonialism. “Racism has to become a practice; it is not contemplation awakening the significations engraved on things; it is in itself self-justifying violence: violence presenting itself as induced violence, counter-violence and legitimate defence” (1976, 720, emphasis in original). Racism becomes normal in the form of a norm. The starting-point of Sartre’s argument is that “racism is a passive constitution in things before being an ideology” (1976, 739). Racism is embedded in the material system. More precisely, the system produces racism as a practice (718 and 720). That racism is negated not through refutation but through praxis does not mean that ideas are irrelevant to the understanding of racism. Racism is “a praxis illuminated by a theory (‘biological’, ‘social’, or empirical racism, it does not matter which) aiming to keep the masses in a state of molecular aggregation, and to use every possible means to increase the ‘sub-humanity’ of the natives” (721). Sartre developed his rejection of the reduction of racism to ideas in an important footnote in Critique of Dialectical Reason where he wrote: “The essence of racism, in effect, is that it is not a system of thought, which might be false or pernicious.” He continued: “It is not a thought at all. It cannot even be formulated” (300n. Sartre’s italics). Sartre took a number of racist formulations, any one of which might have been frequently expressed by colonists, such as “the native is lazy.” His commentary on them is as follows: “These phrases were never the translation of a real, concrete thought, they were not even the object of thought. Furthermore, they have not by themselves any meaning, at least in so far as they claim to express knowledge about the colonized. They arose with the establishment of the colonial system and have never been anything more than this system itself producing itself as a determination of the language of the colonists in the milieu of alterity” (1976, 301n, emphasis in original). To be sure, Sartre seemed in this context at least to be deaf to the meaning that these formulations might have for those whom they target. To be forced to work as a slave or as a poorly paid worker under demeaning conditions and be told at the same time one is lazy carries a clear meaning to those so described. It belongs to their oppression and Sartre does not say enough about that, but that does not undermine Sartre’s dialectical perspective. According to it, whereas part of the attraction of racist ideas lies in their very stupidity, antiracism is equally susceptible to being reduced to a fixed thought. For one thing, it takes the racist literally, as if refuting the claim that “the native is lazy” would change the situation, whereas the racist was using a code by which to establish the solidarity of racists, somewhat like a secret handshake.

28  Robert Bernasconi In this way antiracism is susceptible to its own form of stupidity, and, by not looking beneath the surface to the system that produces the racism, threatens to be complicit with that systemic racism (Bernasconi 2019, 99). In the same footnote in which Sartre attacked the idea of racism as a system of thought, he proposed this alternative account: “In reality, racism is the colonial interest lived as a link of all the colonialists of the colony through the serial flight of alterity” (1976, 300n). It was an account written with clear reference to France’s attempt to thwart the Algerian struggle for independence that was at its height at that time (301n). But it shows how Sartre found in the lives of the colonist the same conformist features that he had recognized in their words. This conformism described in the phrase “serial flight of alterity” does not mean that he took responsibility away from individuals. Drawing on the insight that relations to others are mediated by materiality and our relations to other others, he explained that “The racism which occurs to an Algerian colonialist was imposed and produced by the conquest of Algeria, and is constantly recreated and reactualised by everyday practice through serial alterity” (714). It was an idea expanded on in notes to the second volume of the Critique. The colonial system is invented by human beings, put in place by them, and realized by them (Sartre 2006a, 432). In a lecture given in Rome in 1964, Sartre offered a sketch of how the resources he had developed in the Critique of Dialectical Reason could be used to explore how colonialism produced racism (2015, 55–93). He demonstrated how the various aspects of the system were interconnected. So, for example, he explored how “the dialectic of impossibility” (84) gave rise in certain contexts to an impossibility of being human that dialectically generates “the unconditional possibility of manifesting the human as norm and reality by suppressing itself as an inhuman life” (89). Sartre in this lecture explicitly endorsed Fanon’s discussion in The Wretched of the Earth of the violence that the colonized direct against each other. Although the colonizers use this violence as proof of their own superiority and as a justification of their rule, seen dialectically, it is an effect of the system, a product of the violence directed against the colonized (Fanon 2004, 15–16. See Sartre 2015, 65). I have argued that the recognition of systemic racism presented a problem for thought leading to a call for a revolution in thinking. The solution Sartre and Fanon offered was to be found in the course of the struggle by the agents of history: It was in revolutionary praxis itself that the system became visible as such, especially at those moments which offered some indication of how it might be transcended. In so doing, and with their focus on Algeria’s fight for independence, they reconceptualized racism as a material system. I have sought to demonstrate the ways in which the later Sartre and Fanon not only do not leave phenomenology behind but also show why a phenomenology that remains locked into the paradigm of the gaze at the risk of bypassing material structures is inadequate to

Dialectical Praxis and the Decolonial Struggle 29 the task. Put simply, if political phenomenology is to be transformative and not simply descriptive, the phenomenology of situations needs to be located within a phenomenology of the material system, which can only mean a phenomenology that operates dialectically on the basis of the experience of revolutionary praxis.

Notes 1. To give just one example, it is striking that George Ciccariello-Maher in his celebrated book Decolonizing Dialectics ignores Critique of Dialectical Reason altogether (Ciccariello-Maher 2017). For my earlier treatment, see Bernasconi 2010. Too many Fanon scholars are content to stop with Fanon’s rejection of Sartre’s account of dialectics in terms of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis in “Black Orpheus” (Sartre 2001, 136–139; Fanon 2008, 113–114). I will not return to those pages here as I have said more than enough about them for now elsewhere. See, for example, Bernasconi 2007. 2. There are three quotations from Biemel in the Critique of Dialectical Reason. The phrase in the main body of the text – “l’ouverture de l’Être” (Biemel, 85) – and the first quotation in the note, which Sartre distilled from a longer sentence (Biemel 1950, 86), could both have been taken from Waelhens (1953, 74n). The third quotation is garbled in the first edition (Sartre 1960, 248n) and the English translation. It has been corrected in the new French edition of the Critique – I’Être for l’Êté – (Sartre 1985, 291n), but I have so far failed to find this phrase in either Biemel or de Waehlens. 3. Although the phrase “total man” (see also Fanon 2004, 62) can be traced back at least to Marcel Mauss (Garces and Jones 2009), it is probably from Henri Lefebvre and his Dialectical Materialism that Fanon took it (Lefebvre 1968, 161–162). Fanon had a copy of this book in his library (Fanon 2018, 742). 4. Richard Philcox mistranslates this crucial phrase – à en extraire la raison (Fanon 2011, 543) – to say that the national bourgeois cannot attribute reason to praxis. There are numerous problems with Philcox’s translations (especially his translation of Black Skin, White Masks). Some of the most egregious errors in Wretched of the Earth have been listed in Etherington 2016.

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30  Robert Bernasconi Bernasconi, R. (2010). “Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth as the Fulfilment of Sartre’s Critique of Dialectical Reason,” Sartre Studies International 16(2), 36–46. Bernasconi, R. (2014). “Where Is Xenophobia in the Fight Against Racism?” Critical Philosophy of Race 2(1), 5–19. Bernasconi, R. (2019). “A Most Dangerous Error, the Boasian Myth of a Knockdown Argument against Racism,” Angelaki 24(2), 92–103. Biemel, W. (1950). Le concept de monde chez Heidegger. Paris: Vrin. Burkle, H. R. (1966). “Jean-Paul Sartre: Social Freedom in Critique de la raison dialectique,” Review of Metaphysics, 19(4), 742–757. Chiodi, P. (1976). Sartre and Marxism. Transl. by K. Soper. Hassocks: Harvester Press. Ciccariello-Maher, G. (2017). Decolonizing Dialectics. Durham: Duke University Press. Engels, F. (1935). Herr Eugen Dühring’s Revolution in Science (Anti-Dühring). Chicago: Charles H. Kerr. Etherington, B. (2016). “An Answer to the Question: What Is Decolonization? Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth and Jean-Paul Sartre’s Critique of Dialectical Reason,” Modern Intellectual History 12(1), 151–178. Fanon, F. (1996). Toward the African Revolution. Transl. by H. Chevalier. New York: Monthly Review Press. Fanon, F. (2004). The Wretched of the Earth. Transl. by R. Philcox. New York: Grove Press. Fanon, F. (2008). Black Skin and White Masks. Transl. by R. Philcox. New York: Grove Press. Fanon, F. (2011). Œuvres: Peau noire, masques blancs, L’An V de la révolution algérienne, Les damnés de la terre, Pour la révolution africaine. Paris: La Découverte. Fanon, F. (2018). Alienation and Freedom. London: Bloomsbury. Gadamer, H.-G. (1976). Philosophical Hermeneutics. Transl. by D. E. Linge. Berkeley: University of California Press. Gadamer, H.-G. (1989). Truth and Method. Transl. by J. Weinsheimer and D. G. Marshall. New York: Crossroad. Garces, C. and Jones, A. (2009). “Mauss Redux: From Warfare’s Human Toll to L’homme total,” Anthropological Quarterly 82(1), 279–310. Heidegger, M. (1962). Being and Time. Transl. by J. Macquarrie and E. Robinson. Oxford: Blackwell. Lefebvre, H. (1961). “Critique de la critique non-critique,” La nouvelle revue marxiste 1, 57–79. Lefebvre, H. (1968). Dialectical Materialism. Transl. by J. Sturrock. London: Jonathan Cape. Lukács, G. (1948). Existentialisme et Marxisme. Transl. by E. Keleman. Paris: Nagel. Malouet, P. V. (1802). Collection de mémoires sur les colonies, et particulièrement sur Saint-Domingue. Vol. IV. Paris: Baudouin. Sartre, J.-P. (1948). Anti-Semite and Jew. Transl. by G. J. Becker. New York: Schocken. Sartre, J.-P. (1960). Critique de la raison dialectique. Volume 1. Paris: Gallimard. Sartre, J.-P. (1963). Search for a Method. Transl. by H. E. Barnes. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Dialectical Praxis and the Decolonial Struggle 31 Sartre, J.-P. (1976). Critique of Dialectical Reason, Volume I: Theory of Practical Ensembles. Transl. by A. Sheridan-Smith. London: NLB. Sartre, J.-P. (1985). Critique de la raison dialectique. Vol. 1. Ed. by A. ElkaïmSartre. Paris: Gallimard. Sartre, J.-P. (1992). Notebooks for an Ethics. Transl. by D. Pellauer. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Sartre, J.-P. (2001). “Black Orpheus,” in Bernasconi, R. (ed.). Race. Oxford: Blackwell, 115–142. Sartre, J.-P. (2006a). Critique of Dialectical Reason. Vol. II. Transl. by Q. Hoare. London: Verso. Sartre, J.-P. (2006b). Colonialism and Neocolonialism. Transl. by A. Haddour, S. Brewer, and T. McWilliams. New York: Routledge. Sartre, J.-P. (2015). “Les racines de l’éthique,” Études Sartriennes 19, 11–118. Sartre, J.-P. (2016). What Is Subjectivity? Transl. by D. Broder and T. Selous. London: Verso. Sartre, J.-P. (2018). Being and Nothingness. Transl. by S. Richmond. London: Routledge. Vastey, B. P. V. (1814). Le système colonial dévoilé. Cap-Henry: P. Roux. Waelhens, A. de (1953). Phénoménologie de la vérité. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

3 The Normative Force of Suffered Violence Pascal Delhom

Some experiences can hardly be described in strictly objective terms, as though our interest in them were purely cognitive.1 Suffered violence2 is one such experience, and not only because of the affective charge it mostly involves. At a deeper level, I would argue, a normative dimension belongs constitutively to the very meaning of suffered violence as such, such that any understanding or phenomenological description of violence as something that is suffered must include it. Constituting neither an evaluative judgement nor a legal or ethical regulation of violent actions, both of which are external to the actions or experiences that they seek to judge or regulate, the normative dimension of suffered violence belongs, I would argue, to the phenomenon itself. Put simply: Violence wouldn’t be experienced as suffered violence if it weren’t experienced as something that should not happen or exist, in a sense that must be specified. Such rejection of or insurgency against the lived experience of suffered violence is a constitutive part of this very experience. This normativity arises at two distinct but correlative levels. The first is that of suffered injury in a very broad sense, including what is usually called physical, psychical, and moral injury in the sense of the external disturbance or destruction of fundamental dimensions of life against the will of the injured person, as certain examples in the chapter will show. Such an injury can be experienced from different perspectives (that of a victim or an involved party, that of an eyewitness, or that which is given through the witness of others) and in very different ways (as immediate pain, anxiety, or a feeling of powerlessness, or as a damaging of our relationship to the world, to ourselves, and to others). Mainly, however, suffered injury is experienced as something that should not exist or happen. A moment of rejection is thus a constitutive part of that experience. As not all injuries are experienced as suffered violence, however, we need a second level of normativity to understand this phenomenon. This second level corresponds to a broadly accepted and practiced (even if not always explicitly formulated) regulation of social life, that is, of the relationships between persons, and between persons and groups, within any given society. Such a regulation finds its expression in the social

The Normative Force of Suffered Violence 33 norms regulating society members’ belonging, integrity, and existential empowerment. The experience of suffered violence presupposes and combines these two levels of normativity. Thus, something is experienced as suffered violence when it is experienced as an injury (as something that should not exist) and when that injury, in turn, is experienced as a violation of at least one of these fundamental social norms. But the twofold normative dimension of suffered violence is not only a constitutive aspect of suffered violence, one that any adequate description of the phenomenon must take into consideration. The thesis of a normative force of suffered violence assumes that this normative dimension not only presupposes the social normativity that defines what, in a given society, will be considered and experienced as violence but also shapes and develops this social normativity. In so doing, it shapes and develops in return the experience of violence itself. A political phenomenology that addresses the question of suffered violence must therefore begin with an understanding of what it means to be injured and, more specifically, what it means to be injured in the sense of suffered violence. It must then address how such experiences not only are conditioned by social norms but also shape them.

1. Questions of Methods Methodologically, a phenomenology of suffered violence faces two main difficulties. The first of these concerns how the phenomenological subjects gain access to the phenomena of suffered violence. For the experience of suffered violence differs sharply from the perception of an object that stands in front of a subject, always at a certain distance, and can therefore be accessed through an intentional act. In contrast, suffered violence is also experienced subjectively as an affection of the subject herself. As with Merleau-Ponty’s description of the permanence of one’s own body in his Phenomenology of Perception, the experience of suffered violence happens “on the side” of the subject and not in front of it (see Merleau-Ponty 2012, 93). Suffered violence, therefore, never belongs completely to the realm of objects. Yet neither is it suffered as a bare pathos that, like birth, death, or falling asleep, withdraws from the sphere of experience. Indeed, there are injuries that are suffered without being perceived. This happens for instance over and over again to people caught in the heat of the moment. An injury that affects them might only later come to their consciousness, when they are not captivated any more by their activity. There are even forms of injuries or traumas that stay hidden for years or for a whole life – although they might affect the perception and the behavior of the injured persons. But as long as they are not perceived as such, such injuries are obviously not experienced as violence.

34  Pascal Delhom Suffered violence is not reducible to the subjective feelings of pain, helplessness, anxiety, or exposedness in which it can be given to consciousness. For not every pain or exposedness is suffered as violence. As we will see, a certain relationship to the world and to others seems to belong constitutively to the experience of suffered violence. But insofar as it is suffered, violence remains nevertheless outside of the realm of phenomenality, “on the side” of the subject. In this sense, suffered violence is a phenomenon taking place at the limit of phenomenality. It withdraws from the phenomena in which it appears and that refer only marginally, like a shadow, to the suffering of the subject. Furthermore, a suffered injury might as well affect and damage the very ability of the suffering subject to perceive objects in the world and, hence, to objectively see her or his own injury. For an injured eye for instance or an injured hand do not only hurt – if they hurt – but they transform and impede as well our relationship to the visible or tangible world. Hence, in accordance with the level of such a damage or hinderance, the injury sustained by the subject appears to the latter not directly as a phenomenon, but only indirectly, as a modification of the subject’s ability to perceive. A phenomenology of suffered violence will have to follow these indirect paths and try to locate in them the specific phenomenality of violence, as well as the normative force that arises from it. The second difficulty is that it is impossible for the phenomenologist to personally suffer all of the kinds of violence she intends to describe. This is especially true for extreme or selective forms of violence such as torture, enslavement, racism, sexism, or structural poverty. Nor, at a more general level, can the phenomenologist provoke the violence she intends to suffer merely in order to describe it, as in this case her very intention would profoundly modify the experience of that violence, making it into a voluntary rather than a suffered (and hence involuntary) experience. If the phenomena of suffered violence are to be accessible to and describable by phenomenologists, therefore, they must be accessed in ways other than those afforded by direct experience. Two of these indirect access routes are quite common: The fact of being the eyewitness to violent events, and that of hearing, seeing, or reading the accounts of other persons who have themselves experienced or witnessed violence (see, among others, Ricœur 2004, Part II, Chap. 1.III). The latter means of access is for most people – and also for the phenomenologist – the most common one. We tend to talk and write about experiences of violence that we have heard of and that we have neither experienced nor witnessed first-hand. Nevertheless, these forms of access to the phenomena of suffered violence require a critical reflection on the part of both witnesses and those who rely on their accounts. Hence, to properly understand it, the witness to a violent event must reflect on his own involvement in what he perceives and how it affects him. Likewise, insofar as we refer to what others have witnessed, we must first establish their reliability as witnesses,

The Normative Force of Suffered Violence 35 and then critically examine the framework in which these accounts of suffered violence are given – frameworks that affect not only the form, but also, through the modification of their form, the content of these accounts (see Vismann 2000). Indeed, accounts of suffered violence differ profoundly in accordance with the framework in which they are given, be this a criminal procedure, a psychological cure, a political discussion, a historical report, a sociological research project, a support group, a literary narrative, or some other form. Such frameworks and the specific conditions of utterance that they allow must therefore be taken into account when establishing the truth (and the kind of truth) of a testimony. The pages following do not explicitly address these difficulties. Rather, they refer mainly to experiences of suffered violence among those who have experienced it, without addressing how the phenomenologist gained access to these experiences. Because such distinctions shape the background of these experiences, however, they should be systematically addressed in any comprehensive phenomenology of suffered violence.

2. The Experience of Suffered Violence As mentioned previously, there are different ways of experiencing suffered violence and different dimensions of such experiences. I would like to identify five such possible dimensions of the experience of suffered violence which correspond to the different modes of givenness of the violence experienced by the subject and to the different domains of experience that they affect and transform. The first is the immediate, non-intentional givenness of an injury that manifests as feelings of pain, helplessness, anxiety, and exposedness; the next three are modes of givenness that consist in the modification of a person’s relationship to the world, herself, and others; and the last is the experience of suffered violence as a violation of social norms. Several possible combinations of these modes of givenness constitute the experience of suffered violence, albeit with a different emphasis in each particular case.3 And all of them are shaped by a specific form of rejection of this suffering as something that should not exist or should not happen. This is what I call their basic normative dimension. 2.1. First Dimension of Experience of Suffered Violence One of the most common ways of talking about suffered violence is to equate it with the pain it causes. But pain is only one aspect of and one form of awareness of the injuries we sustain, and it is not even a necessary one. Indeed, some injuries are received in the total absence of felt pain, and they are not always the less severe ones! Hence, pain should not be equated with injury but rather taken seriously as what it is: an immediate, pre-reflexive form of self-givenness of the subject affected by

36  Pascal Delhom an injury. In the same way, an injury can be experienced by the subject immediately as feelings of helplessness, anxiety, or exposedness. All of these feelings are experienced without being the objects of an intentional cognitive act, nor are they necessarily connected to the experience of any object in the world, even if they can be manifested in the way the world shows up for one.4 And their evidence is absolutely subjective: Although beyond question for the subjects who endure them, they cannot be constituted intersubjectively as an object in a common world. In a certain sense, such feelings tend to isolate their subjects from the world and reduce them to a state of affective self-awareness. They are lived as a movement of withdrawal from the world yet simultaneously felt as an affectedness by and exposure to the world and other people. They are experienced and suffered as passivity. And even if this passivity can only retrospectively be constituted as the effect of an activity in the world, it is lived from the start as an exposedness to the world and to others that cannot be reduced to experiences of self-affection (regarding the experience of pain, see Grüny 2004, 31). In this sense, persons who feel themselves to be affected by the violence suffered are not the active subjects of their own experience. They are only subjects in the sense that they are subjected to that experience and aware of their subjection. This form of self-awareness, which is felt as pain, anxiety, or helplessness is, itself, repulsive and sometimes even unbearable (even if such feelings can be modified and valorized in certain situations and under certain conditions, such as those arising within the framework of therapies or sexual practices). Combined with the feelings of affectedness and of exposedness to the world and to others, it is an experience that those subjected to it reject, even if they continue to fundamentally affirm life. Moreover, the subject’s withdrawal from the world of intentional objects makes it difficult to make sense of this experience. Thus, it is lived as something that should not be (see Grüny 2004, 33). According to Levinas, this is even truer of pain suffered by others, insofar it is presented to us in their face. For even if we can retrospectively give meaning to what we ourselves have suffered, we cannot offer such justification for the suffering of others (see Levinas 1998). This fundamental rejection of suffered violence as manifested in immediate feelings of pain, anxiety, helplessness, or exposedness is the first occurrence of a negative normativity that is intrinsic to that experience. 2.2. Second Dimension of Experience of Suffered Violence The three next modes of givenness of suffered injury are indirect ones. The first of these (and the second altogether) consists of a modification of the relationship between an injured person and the world of objects around her. In normal perception, the disposition and orientation of the objects inside the subject’s field of perception tell her where she stands

The Normative Force of Suffered Violence 37 and the point from which her perception of those objects is occurring, thereby indirectly allowing her to become aware of her position at the center and starting point of her perception (Merleau-Ponty 1968, 143). Similarly, changes in our capacity to perceive objects, or to move and act in the world (as compared to what we could do at an earlier point in time, or as compared to what others can do) make us aware of the injuries that affect us and are behind these changes. We perceive our injured hand, for example, not only in terms of any pain we might feel but also as the inability to grasp an object. In the same way, we perceive an injured leg as a modified perception of distances that we now have a hard time or even fail to cover, and injured eyes as the invisibility of formerly visible things. In this sense, an injury modifies all the qualities of the objects that the injured limb usually enables us to perceive, move toward, or act upon. Furthermore, this modification is not perceived by us as a mere change in our perception. It is also suffered as a hinderance, as the inhibition of something that we habitually experience(d) as possible. This inhibition is particularly perceivable in the form of a tension between different fields of perception. Thus, certain objects that we can see – an apple, for example – usually present themselves as things that we can grasp with our hands, or smell, or taste; others (such as stairs) present themselves as accessible to our feet, or (for example, in the movements of a speaking mouth) as audible, etcetera. When this no longer occurs, the whole phenomenal and temporal structure of our perception, with its variety of aspects and depth of expectations, is disturbed. In that case, we experience our injuries indirectly, as the impoverishment and distortion of our experience of the world. This impaired perception and inhibition of our movements find their counterpart in our increased exposure to events and actions that may affect us. Having been impaired, our perception is less able to warn us of possible dangers, and we ourselves then feel less able to cope with, escape from, or tackle these dangers. As a consequence, we perceive the world as increasingly threatening and ourselves as increasingly vulnerable. This perceptive stance not only modifies our relationship to the world of objects that are perceivable by us, or that can affect us; it also affects another kind of relationship between us and the world we live in: that of habitation (see Levinas 1969, 152ff.). This is because we not only face that world as the horizon of possible objects of perception and action, but also, through a process of reciprocal adaptation, habitually integrate certain of its places and objects into our living bodies. Those places and objects become part of the position we take in the world as bodily subjects – the position from where we can access objects through an intentional act. Within this “habitation” relationship, a part of the world – normally our home or some private place, our furniture and certain tools, and sometimes other places and objects that have become very familiar to us – serves to enlarge and protect our body in support of

38  Pascal Delhom our movements (Scarry 1985, 38f.), and belongs to what is “on our side” in our everyday perceptions and actions. Some kinds of suffered violence, like burglary, solitary confinement (Guenther 2013), torture, or exile, obviously (and in very different ways) damage or even destroy the capacity for habitation of the persons subjected to it. But many other injuries also impair our habitual relationship to objects or places within the space we inhabit, and hence destroy the felt security of that habitation. All of these forms of indirect awareness of injuries not only modify our relationship to the world – whether by impoverishing and impairing our field of perception and action, by increasing our feeling of being vulnerable and under threat, or by rendering a place less habitable – but also are experienced by us as a loss, or at least (in the case of continuous or structural forms of suffered violence) as a deficit. In any case, each injury in this mode of givenness is also experienced as something that should not have occurred or should not exist. 2.3.  Third Dimension of Experience of Suffered Violence A third mode of givenness of injuries consists of a modification of the affected subject’s relationship to herself. At stake here is not the subject’s pre-reflexive self-awareness of pain, helplessness, anxiety, or exposedness but rather the bodily subject’s ability to integrate an objectively perceived injury into her own (bodily, social, or even narrative) identity. In this third mode, the subject either fully or partially fails to achieve that integration. One very well-known example of this at the level of sensation is the phenomenon of the phantom limb. Here, the bodily subject knows objectively that her arm or leg is absent but nevertheless feels pain or paralysis in the missing limb, or tries to move it to avoid an obstacle (Merleau-Ponty 2012, 78f.). Similarly, a person with a facial deformation not constantly within her sight may be newly surprised – even repulsed – each time she sees herself in a mirror. In this case, the subject knows that the image she sees is her own but fails to recognize herself in it (Goffman 1986, 9). At a much lower level of self-estrangement, injured persons might need a certain amount of time and many failed experiences before they can learn to avoid spontaneous movements or attitudes incompatible with their injuries. Some may also tend to adopt an attitude of objectifying distance toward their injured limbs, as if those limbs were not a part of themselves and as if they (the subjects) themselves had not been injured in their integrity as living subjects. In all these cases, the injured subject experiences a disjunction between the self-awareness she possesses as a living, feeling being and the observable, intentionally accessible aspects of her body and life. Such a disjunction is possible because the unification of these two sides of the self is not innate. Rather, in each of us, this unification developed through a long process of habituation, during which we learned to recognize ourselves in

The Normative Force of Suffered Violence 39 the parts of our bodies that we can observe “from the outside” – a process through which we also learned to locate our felt pain or pleasure, for instance, in our visible body. The phenomena of chiasmatic perception between the touched and touching hands described by Merleau-Ponty (1968, chap. IV) reveal the ambiguity of this unity of the self. Suffered injuries tend create a disjunction, or at least a manifold tension, precisely in the affected subject’s relationship to herself. The emergence of such a tension or disjunction not only happens in the relationship between the felt and the perceived body. In a similar way, injured people, for example, face the impossibility of integrating certain of their experiences into their lived identities. Jan Philipp Reemtsma writes of such an experience in his account of his kidnapping: “But it seemed helpful to me to present myself in the following pages in the third person singular. Embarrassing things could be said more easily in this way; this figure of speech suits also the fact that there is no I-continuity from my writing desk to the basement about which I will have to write” (Reemtsma 1997, 46, my translation). Even in the very moment of the suffered aggression, the identity of the victims and their identification with themselves can break down. Several victims of rape, for instance, report having had the impression of leaving their body and observing what happened from outside while the rape was taking place, as if they were not involved. (Herman 1997, 43) In these and similar cases, in which the disjunction might be lived as a protection from unbearable pain, it is also itself, nevertheless, part of the suffered injury. The more or less severe disturbances in the living subject’s relationship to herself brought on by suffered violence – the subject’s felt alienation of a part of herself that she cannot integrate into her lived experience and identity – cannot be explained merely through reference to the constitutive selectivity of our perception and of our memory. For the people who suffered them, this alienation expresses an existential rejection of certain experiences, ones that are lived as occurrences that should not happen or have happened. They are experienced as alien to oneself, because they are (or have been) lived, experienced, and suffered as something to which one should not have been subjected. Like the experience of pain or an impoverished experience of the world, albeit in a very different way, these experiences express the negative normativity of an experience that should not happen or exist. 2.4.  Fourth Dimension of Experience of Suffered Violence The fourth mode of givenness of injuries consists in a modification of our relationships to the others. This is by far the most complex one, for at least two reasons. First, it gives a new quality to all possible injuries that can affect us, ensuring that they might be experienced as violence in a genuine sense. Such is the case when injuries, rather than being the product

40  Pascal Delhom of accident or natural events, are perceived as having been caused by others, or at least as not having been prevented by others even when this would have been possible.5 For the experience of the destructive force of nature can be traumatic. But unless we attribute a kind of intentional performativity to nature, we usually don’t perceive it as violent. Or to put it differently: There is a qualitative difference between the experience of an injury for which no one is responsible – or at least for which no one can be made responsible – and that which, either through causation or lack of prevention, can be attributed to an agent, be it a human being, God, or a personalized Nature. Only in the second case do we normally perceive an injury as a kind of injustice, and not merely as a misfortune (see Shklar 1990). And even if the dividing line between these two domains of experience is not as clear as it would seem to be, as Shklar also stresses, the distinction between them seems decisive with respect to what is and is not perceived as violence. Later in this chapter, I will suggest that this distinction has to do with the fact that suffered violence is experienced not only as an injury but also as a violation of social norms, and that such a violation cannot be attributed to nature or bad luck. Second, the experience of suffered violence as a modification of our relationship to others is complex because this relationship is itself complex. Not only does it differ dramatically from our intentional experience of objects in the world, but it also profoundly affects how we relate to the world and to ourselves. This is the case when our relationship to others changes due to suffered violence. Let us begin with a short account of the specificity of our relationship to others, and how it differs from that between ourselves and the objects we perceive or that we act upon in the world. The fundamental difference between them is the experience of a complete inversion of the direction of intentionality in interpersonal relationships. In our relationship to the others, we are not only the origin of an intentional movement toward them but also are – and perceive ourselves to be – the object or the destination of their intentional movements toward us. This direction of this relationship between ourselves and others seems even to be more fundamental and originary than the other one. Before we are able to perceive objects in the world, we are brought into it through our mothers, welcomed into it, held, carried and educated by our parents and close relatives, given a name as well as love and attention, and much more. Throughout our lives, we have the experience of being seen and approached by others, to be the addressee of their words and gestures, and to depend on them in order to be what we are and do what we do – that is, in order to be recognized in our existence or be able to participate in social and linguistic interactions. As I already underlined, the specificity of these relationships between ourselves and other people is that in this kind of relationship we experience ourselves not only as the origin but also as the addressee of

The Normative Force of Suffered Violence 41 intentional movements; we depend on others much more than we constitute them as objects of our perception or of our actions. This dependency, however, is not a form of violence. On the contrary, it empowers us to do what we do and to be who we are. It is always bound to a call for activity on our part and to the creation of the conditions under which we can answer that call. According to Levinas, our dependency on the other who welcomes us at home is even the very condition that enables us to adopt a position of separation from the world and from the other – a position of habitation from which we can intentionally, as subjects of perception and actions, have or gain access to all possible objects in the world (Levinas 1969, 152–174). Here again, our dependence is not perceived as violent (Levinas 1969, 204)6 but as a condition of our position as a subject or – alternatively – as a call that generates our responsibility toward others. Our relationship to others and our dependency on them are only perceived sources of suffered violence when this social order of dependency is disturbed. This happens in three different ways. 2.4a: Exclusion The first of these involves excluding someone from the space of her bodily and social existence. This happens whenever the presence of others in a place fails to convey to the arriving person a feeling of being welcomed, thereby precluding any habitation or dwelling on her part. It also happens when the gaze of others is not one of recognition but rather of alienation and objectivization, as described by Sartre in Being and Nothingness (Sartre 1993, 340–400) – when it is a gaze that makes the seen person hypervisible to others as a (racial or sexual) object while also simultaneously producing her invisibility as a subject (see Petherbridge 2017). This happens when others’ words and gestures do not call for an answer (see Waldenfels 2002, 149) and so do not place the called person in a position from which she can respond7 but, on the contrary, actually destroy the conditions necessary for language. It happens when the structural production of poverty excludes an entire section of the population from the conditions needed for them to participate in social life. All of these forms of violence are experienced by individuals and groups as an exclusion from a social order which offers no place for them as subjects and no ability for them to participate in social interactions. 2.4b: Intrusion The second kind of disturbance of the social order of dependency that is perceived as violence consists in the intrusion of others into one’s own space of existence, be this one’s own body, a private space, one’s own habitation, or even a collective territory (on the distinction between a violence of intrusion and of exclusion, see also Delhom 2014). The

42  Pascal Delhom decisive factor governing one’s experience of an intrusion as violence is not the presence of the other in one’s own space, for the other could as well be a guest, a housemate, a lover, or even an unborn child, and his/ her presence naturally would not then be experienced as violent. Nor is it the intrusion itself, for even cutting one’s own skin and flesh with a knife is not perceived as suffered violence if it is done, for instance, by a surgeon during an operation. Rather, the decisive factor here is the violation of the border of one’s own or private space, that is, the violation of the specific normativity of this border, a normativity that regulates who can enter this space, how they do it, when, for how long, and under which conditions (see Delhom 2009). Edward T. Hall has shown how animals whose living space has been transgressed by animals of another species tend to react to this provocation by seeking to escape (or, at a shorter distance, attack), while animals whose space has been transgressed by animals of the same species tend to react aggressively. Further, he shows that the repetition of such transgressions – due, among other things, to the overpopulation of a given space – can destroy the social order of the whole population inside of this space. With human beings, the regulation of the distance between individuals is not constant. It depends, first of all, on the sensual fields involved in their relationships and on the coordination between these fields. For certain people and in certain circumstances, being seen by others – for instance in a situation in which being seen is bound with a feeling of shame – may be more disturbing than being touched by them, although in the former case there is more distance between themselves and the others. But the regulation of social distances also depends on socially and culturally acquired modes of perception and behavior. The intimate distance of touch might, for instance, be reserved to a very few close relatives and friends in certain societies, whereas in others it might be much more open and accessible. The acceptable distance between people can also be regulated through specific ways of organizing space. In an architectural context, for example, this distance might be regulated by reducing the fields of vision and audition to allow for a higher level of proximity in a common space, or by using perfume to regulate the olfactive field. Hence, for human beings, the limits of what Hall calls the intimate, personal, and public spheres as designation of different levels of proximity in interpersonal relationships (Hall 1990, 116–124) is not naturally given. Rather, it can differ radically from context to context and is socially shaped. The only thing that can be called “universal” here is the fact that there are limits and that the violation of these limits modifies and profoundly disturbs the interaction between persons in a social group. In a very similar sense, I would like to argue that the limits described by Hall are relevant to our understanding of what any given society perceives as violence. For the violation of an intimate, personal, or social sphere, in the sense of a forbidden intrusion into any of these spheres, is an essential

The Normative Force of Suffered Violence 43 aspect of what is perceived and suffered as a “violence of intrusion.” Thus, being injured is only perceived and suffered as a violent intrusion when it involves the violation of such acquired social limits. Something similar is also true for the violence of exclusion: For the external limits of a social group, according to which someone can be considered as not belonging to it, are mostly defined for animals as spatial limits bound to the scale of their senses and hence to the possibility of being seen, heard, or smelled (Hall 1990, 14). For human beings, especially in times of medial communication, those limits are very variable. Nevertheless, they are all similarly conditioned by a person’s ability to see and hear, and to be seen and heard – that is, by her access to the social group to which she belongs. The violence of exclusion involves a violation of this limit. 2.4c: Coercion Beyond the violence of exclusion and the violence of intrusion, there is a third kind of disturbance of the social order which is perceived as violence: That of being forced to act or to behave in a way contrary to one’s own will or one’s own conception of existence. In other words, it consists in being hindered, as an individual or as a group, from being the subject of one’s own actions or existence. This is a violence of coercion. In a narrow sense, this hinderance happens whenever actions and behaviors take place under duress, whether that takes the form of a threat, a painful coercion, or a compelling social pressure. On the one hand, these actions are voluntary – their origin is not external to the acting subjects, as though the latter were mechanically moved by an external cause – and so the acting subjects can be held accountable for, and feel guilty or ashamed of, what they do or have done (see Aristotle 2009, Book III.1). But on the other hand, a subject acting under duress is acting against her will – that is, against her own preferences, convictions, and what she considers to be right both individually and collectively. What is violated in such cases is the subject’s freedom of action or, in the words of Montesquieu, her political freedom. It is not the freedom of choice, opinions, or thought – although in the long term how we are forced to act or behave can affect even our freedom of thought – but the freedom to act in accordance with one’s own will and convictions within the frame of the shared rules of a society. For Montesquieu “political liberty does not consist in an unlimited freedom. In governments, that is, in societies directed by laws, liberty can consist only in the power of doing what we ought to will, and in not being constrained to do what we ought not to will” (Montesquieu 1777, Book XI.3, 196). It is precisely this power to act in accordance with our will, as guaranteed by the laws and the rules of a society, and the freedom to avoid being forced to act against these rules and our will that are violated in situations of duress. This violation is experienced and suffered as a form of violence.

44  Pascal Delhom In a broader sense, and more fundamentally, what hinders people from being the subjects of their own actions and their own existence is the impossibility within a given society for them to develop something like a free will in accordance with which they could act. While they certainly learn to act and to behave in certain ways, they never learn to associate this behavior with a decision or project of their own. This happens whenever a society’s structure and mode of functioning force individuals or groups not only to play roles that they have not chosen for themselves but also to identify with those roles as though they were intrinsic to them – not only to behave in a way defined by others but also to see this behavior as the only possible way for them to behave, because of who they are – and, ultimately, to understand and evaluate their own existence in accordance with criteria imposed upon (but also assimilated by) those individuals, to the point where they cannot challenge or even question them. In this case, even if such persons do challenge or question the imposed criteria, they feel stuck in the role and the position that society has set out for them. In a racialized society, for instance, the members of each racialized group internalize the racial projections of the dominant group – which is not always the majority of the population – and behave in accordance with these projections. They are caught in and contribute to the sedimentation of certain forms of bodily behavior and even of “habits of perception or seeing” (Petherbridge 2017, 109). In a certain sense, the dominant group is also caught in these projections. But as far as these are its own projections, this group is not alienated in the way that the dominated groups are. The same kind of sedimentation of behavior and perception also characterizes societies organized and hierarchized according to criteria of gender, naturalized culture, or economic performance. Another reason why people cannot become the subjects of their own existence as members of particular communities has to do with the politics of homogenization enforced for entire populations. Such a politics of homogenization has been practiced in France, for instance, as a condition for obtaining the French nationality in the colonies since the end of the 19th century and in the metropole during the main part of the 20th century. After a short period between the 80’s and the beginning of the 21st century, in which a politics of integration was privileged, it has become dominant again in the political discourse and practice since the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy. It corresponds to a certain understanding of the egalitarian ideal of republicanism that does not tolerate any racial or, later, cultural diversity in the core of national identity. Such an understanding makes the assimilation (not just the integration) of all citizens imperative, rejecting any personal or cultural specificity as irrelevant to the definition of national identity and the organization of public life (see Chemin 2016). More radically, the homogenization of the population has been central

The Normative Force of Suffered Violence 45 to the organization of most totalitarian states (see Diprose 2017, 34 sq.). In such a context, people act and behave in certain ways and can be held accountable for their actions, but they do not act in ways that they would call their own. As soon as they become aware of it, this imposed deprivation of the possibility to be the subject of one’s own existence can be experienced and suffered as violence, even if it is mostly a form of structural violence that is not necessarily connected with events of personal violence. The three forms of violence I have just distinguished are connected to three kinds of disturbance of the social order: exclusion, intrusion, and coercion. They are all experienced and suffered not only as an absence, or as a certain kind of interpersonal relationship that might be appropriate in certain situations but rather as a deprivation or deficiency in our relationships to others. And this deficiency affects, in turn, our relationships to the world and to ourselves. Of course, this doesn’t mean that, primarily to the experience of violence, there is something like an ideal or intact social order with sound relationships which are themselves free of any violence, and that violence would disturb this intact and sound state of affairs. No social order is completely free from structural and personal violence. But violence is nevertheless suffered as the deprivation of what our relations to the others could and should be in any given society. In the case of exclusion, people are deprived of belonging to a common living environment, to a common sphere of language and communication, to a common space outside of which it is impossible to build and develop the social dimension of our existence. In the case of intrusion, they are deprived of the protective function of a limited space which we perceive as their own, a space they can inhabit, a space that represents the starting point of their intentional relationship to the world. In the case of coercion, they are deprived of the development and the exercise of their own will and their own existence, as these are recognized within a specific social group. Hence, what violence deprives us of in such different ways are not only particular possibilities with respect to human life and existence; they are the very conditions of our existence as human beings in a society. If we are deprived of them, we don’t just live differently; we live under the condition of this deprivation, under the condition of exposedness to others and fear of new intrusions, of a lack of social embeddedness and recognition, of alienated forms of actions and existence. Security becomes a fight, as does recognition – at least as far as our will is able to engage in these fights. For even our will might be deprived not only of its own power of action and of self-determination but also of the social resources needed to be able to fight: The will needs recognition and support in order to be able to fight for recognition! This is a fatal experience made by all those who lack this kind of support and recognition, an experience that belongs to the lived experience of suffered violence.

46  Pascal Delhom Here again, suffered violence is experienced as something that should not happen or occur. The normative dimension of this existential rejection is a constitutive aspect of this experience. 2.5. Fifth Dimension of Experience of Suffered Violence I come now to the fifth and last dimension of the experience of suffered violence. Beyond the immediate givenness of suffered injuries in pain, helplessness, anxiety, or exposedness and beyond their experience as a disturbance of our relationships to the world, ourselves, and others, suffered violence is also and always perceived, as I already mentioned, as a violation of the social norms that regulate these relationships. Together with the fact that the cause of the suffered injuries can be attributed to an acting subject, the fact that they are perceived as a violation of such social norms is constitutive for the experience of injuries as violence.

3. Suffered Violence and Social Norms The norms in question – if they can be called norms – are very specific. They are not the kind of norms that regulate actions in allowing, forbidding, or prescribing some of them or in providing criteria to evaluate and judge them. For what they regulate is not how people act but the way people can be affected by others or by a functioning social order in a way that injures them. These norms regulate the social order of a group or of a whole society and the possible disturbances of this order. They are directly related to the three possible kinds of injuries associated with the disturbances of the individual’s relationship to others and to the social group, which I have just described. The first group of norms are those of belonging, inclusion or integration. They regulate the way members of a given society belong to it, participate in its constitutive activities, are both protected by and obligated by it; hence, they also regulate how those society members experience exclusion from this group as deprivation and injury. The second kind of norms are those of integrity (see Delhom 2010). They regulate how personal or private spaces, from one’s own body to the (shared) space of one’s home or the sphere of one’s private life, are protected, how certain distances and limits are set that must be respected in order to ensure this protection, and hence how the violation of these limits can be experienced as a violence of intrusion. I would like to call the third kind of norms norms of existential empowerment.8 They regulate how society members, as individuals and as members of a social group, can evolve existentially and develop their abilities to acquire knowledge (or “to know”) and act. These norms also regulate how being deprived of such possibilities through force, disciplinary measures, or homogenization can be experienced as a deprivation of freedom and even as a loss of one’s own existence.

The Normative Force of Suffered Violence 47 In any given society, all of these norms are the product of a long history of shared experiences, both of social relationships and their possible disturbances. They are a habitual sedimentation of these experiences, the sedimented affirmation of their social regulation and the sedimented rejection of their disturbance and of the injuries they provoke. As a consequence, they are different in different groups and societies that have different histories. They are not necessarily formulated in terms of explicit rules or principles, but they shape – at least subconsciously – certain styles of behavior, certain types of experience that are common to the members of the same society, class (Merleau-Ponty 2012, 476 f.), or group. They are also reflected materially, for instance in the typical distributions of homes and public spaces that regulate what members of specific societies see as an acceptable distance between them, or in the dress codes that regulate their visibility, or in the technical supports that shape and regulate their participation in social life. What is relevant here is that these social norms of belonging, integrity, and existential empowerment are common to a whole social group. For it means that the perception of a suffered injury as violence is not only due to the individual feelings or sensibility of a singular person. It is experienced as a violation of a common norm, one that is bound up with the moral and social expectations of a whole social group (see Strawson 2008). This explains why the violation of certain norms can be experienced as violence in most cases but not when they are committed by small children, for instance, or by foreigners, people with disabilities, or others who have not assimilated these norms and toward whom we don’t have the same expectations. We might then still be injured, but we wouldn’t consider our injury as suffered violence because it does not involve the violation of a shared norm. Of course, to the extent that these social norms of belonging, integrity, and existential empowerment are the product of a shared experience and the shared rejection of certain kinds of injuries, they are open to modification by such experiences. Hence, in the experience of violence, there is a tension between the rejection of suffered injuries that has already become sedimented into norms and come to be associated with shared societal expectations, and that which is not (yet) perceived as violating an established social norm but nevertheless tends, in the shared experience of individuals or of certain groups, to be recognized as violating what should be a norm and should therefore be perceived as a form of violence. A decisive element of this tension seems to be the sharing of such experiences and hence their introduction in the public space, where they can be discussed and recognized. Their publicity transforms in return what could previously have been considered as a private experience without relevance for social normativity. Recognizing the exclusion of women and minorities from human rights or political participation, for instance, as a form of violence supposes such a tension and the possibility

48  Pascal Delhom of a corresponding evolution in norms, sometimes in the name of these very norms themselves. Certain methods of education that involve corporal punishment, certain disciplinary practices, or certain forms of hurtful language have undergone similar evolutions. Inversely, it seems that new practices of surveillance within the framework of a threat-centered politics of security, for example, tend to progressively modify and lower the perception of certain forms of surveillance as violent in our modern democracies. Here again, the experience of surveillance as a form of intrusive violence depends on society-specific social norms that govern what, in a given society, is perceived as a kind of injury that should not be. Hence, what is perceived and suffered as violence is what is perceived as a violation of these norms. It is, however, important to specify that these social norms do not identify with the general acceptance or rejection of violence, even of suffered violence, in a given society. Rather, they define the conditions under which a suffered injury is perceived and suffered as violence. There is perhaps no social order in which certain practices of violence are not accepted, legitimized, valorized, or even glorified. Suffered violence is also accepted within the framework of such practices. For a soldier, for instance, having been exposed to violence and had his or her “baptism by fire,” or even having been injured and having overcome this injury, might be the condition of a full belonging to the combat troop. In many societies, the ability to endure pain and injuries without tears or complaints is a way to show that one is a “real man,” while the acceptance to be hurt can be proof of courage or a scar might be a source of pride. There are numerous examples of such socially anchored forms of acceptation of suffered violence. But even such an acceptation or valorization of violence presupposes that it is experienced as violence – that is, as a violation of a specific kind of social norms, those that regulate not practices but the foundation of the social relationships within a given society and any potential threat to that foundation. Just as courage doesn’t mean the absence of fear but rather the act of overcoming it, the acceptation of certain forms of suffered violence also presupposes that they are experienced as violence, together with the rejection – in all of its dimensions – that accompanies that experience. Here again, there is a tension, although at a different level than the previous one, between what is recognized as violence in a given society – a violation of the basic social norms governing belonging, integrity, and existential empowerment – and the acceptance of practices of violence or the valorization of being exposed to it within those same societies. In other words, there is a tension between the rejection of what is experienced as the violation of social norms and what nevertheless seems to be a necessary violence in order to guarantee a social order or to perpetuate certain forms of social or cultural identity. In order to cope with this paradox, most societies have developed strategies of valorization of violence, not only in the sense of a justification

The Normative Force of Suffered Violence 49 or legitimation of violent acts and practices (see Hirsch 2004) despite the fact that those acts and practices are suffered as injuries that should not be, that is, as something that shouldn’t happen, but also as a valorization of sufferance itself, whether in the name of “male virtues” (defended by Hegel or Nietzsche), which do not only consist in the capacity to win a combat but also to endure sufferance without being visibly affected by it; in the name of a certain understanding of “purity” or “chastity” that justifies and valorizes, mostly for women, the fact of being subjected to sexual mutilations; in reference to the need to adapt to a strict social order with different forms of submission and alienation of individuals or social groups; as the price of reintegration for criminals, who are said to be completely reintegrated if they accept and even approve the punishment they endured; or as the “will of God,” even if it cannot be understood by the mortals who endure it, among other reasons. But this valorization is always confronted with the different forms of negative normativity that is part of the experience of suffered violence itself at all levels: The immediate rejection of pain, helplessness, anxiety, or exposedness; the rejection of the many modifications of our relationships to the world, ourselves, and others, in which we experience injuries as a form of deprivation; the rejection of the violation of social norms that are what enable us to experience suffered injuries as violence. This manifold negative normativity, as a constitutive element of the very experience of suffered violence as such, is the primary reason why it is socially and politically necessary to justify or legitimate practices of violence in any society: It would not need to be justified if it were not, in a sense, rejected. But it can also, as the normativity of a shared experience, spark reactions leading to the modification of these practices. The twofold tension between the subjective and negative experience of suffered violence and its habitual sedimentation in a social normativity, on the one hand, and between this social normativity and the collective attitude toward violence, including a certain acceptation and valorization of at least some kinds of suffered violence, on the other, make up the very complex normative dimension of the phenomenon of suffered violence. Any social or political philosophy that seeks to address the phenomena of violence must understand this tension. More importantly, this tension is at work in every social and political attempt – which are necessarily collective ones – to cope with the problems of violence. This is its genuinely political dimension.

Notes 1. I would like to thank very warmly Laura Cunniff and the Editing Service of the Europa-Universität Flensburg for their precious editorial support. I also would like to thank the anonymous reviewer for her or his very relevant and helpful comments. I owe them what I hope to be an improvement of my text.

50  Pascal Delhom 2. I chose this expression to translate the German “erlittene Gewalt” or the French “violence subie.” 3. Not all of them are necessary for an experience to count as suffered violence, but I will try to show that some of them are constitutive of such an experience. 4. I thank the anonymous reviewer for drawing my attention to this point. 5. This extension of the domain of human accountability beyond the domain of personal or direct violence corresponds to the concept of structural violence developed by Johan Galtung (1969, 170 f). 6. I leave aside here the question of the “good” violence of the Other in Otherwise than Being (1991, 43), for although Levinas uses repeatedly the word and the whole semantic field of extreme violence in this book, he obviously and explicitly refers to a different concept of violence (see 1991, 116) than the one I try to address here. 7. I do not agree with Judith Butler when she writes that the injurious address may “produce an unexpected and enabling response” (1997, 2). In most cases, it tends on the contrary to damage the ability to respond, and external resources are needed – supporting and listening people, new resources of language, the help of other witnesses – to enable the victims of hate speech or of violence in general to speak again. 8. In the frame of a neoliberal and individualistic society, these norms are not seldom addressed, in ethical discourses or in discourses on education, as norms of autonomy and their violation is considered as a violation of autonomy. (see among others Giesinger 2007) But the very paradigm of autonomy stands in contradiction to the idea defended here of a thoroughly social constitution of human beings as groups and as individuals. No one is free alone and even our individual life rests upon resources which mostly don’t come from ourselves, even when they help us to cultivate our own way of being. I hence prefer a formulation that seems to me more open and more convenient.

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The Normative Force of Suffered Violence 51 Galtung, J. (1969). “Violence, Peace and Peace Research,” Journal of Peace Research 6(3), 167–191. Giesinger, J. (2007). Autonomie und Verletzlichkeit: Der moralische Status von Kindern und die Rechtfertigung von Erziehung. Bielefeld: Transcript. Goffman, E. (1986). Stigma: Note on the Management of Spoiled Identity. New York: Touchstone. Grüny, C. (2004). Zerstörte Erfahrung: Eine Phänomenologie des Schmerzes. Würzburg: Königshausen und Neumann. Guenther, L. (2013). Solitary Confinement: Social Death and Its Afterlives. Minneapolis/London: University of Minnesota Press. Hall, E. T. (1990). The Hidden Dimension. New York: Anchor Books Edition. Herman, J. (1997). Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence – From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror. New York: Basic Books. Hirsch, A. (2004). Recht auf Gewalt? Spuren philosophischer Gewaltrechtfertigung nach Hobbes. Munich: Fink. Levinas, E. (1969). Totality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority. Transl. by A. Lingis. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press. Levinas, E. (1991). Otherwise than Being or Beyond Essence. Transl. by A. Lingis. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publisher. Levinas, E. (1998). “Useless Suffering,” in Smith, M. B. and Harshav, B. (transl.). Entre Nous: Essays on Thinking-of-the-Other. New York: Colombia University Press. Merleau-Ponty, M. (1968). The Visible and the Invisible. Transl. by A. Lingis. Evanston: Northwestern University Press. Merleau-Ponty, M. (2012). Phenomenology of Perception. Transl. by D. A. Landes. London/New York: Routledge. Montesquieu (1777). Complete Works, Volume 1. The Spirit of the Laws. London: Printed for T. Evans and W. Davis [online]. Available from: http://lf-oll. s3.amazonaws.com/titles/837/0171-01_Bk.pdf [Accessed 7 March 2019]. Petherbridge, D. (2017). “Racializing Perception and the Phenomenology of Invisibility,” in Dolezal, L. and Petherbridge, D. (eds.). Body/Self/Other: The Phenomenology of Social Encounters. Albany: State University of New York Press, 103–129. Reemtsma, J. P. (1997). Im Keller. Hamburg: Hamburger Edition. Ricœur, P. (2004). Memory, History, Forgetting. Transl. by K. Blamey and D. Pellauer. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Sartre, J.-P. (1993). Being and Nothingness: A Phenomenological Essay on Ontology. Transl. by H. E. Barnes. New York: Washington Square Press. Scarry, E. (1985). The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World. New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press. Shklar, J. (1990). “Misfortune and Injustice,” in The faces of injustice. New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 51–82. Strawson, P. F. (2008). “Freedom and Resentment,” in Freedom and Resentment and Other Essays. Abingdon/New York: Routledge, 1–28. Vismann, C. (2000). Akten: Medientechnik und Recht. Frankfurt: Fischer. Waldenfels, B. (2002). Bruchlinien der Erfahrung: Phänomenologie, Psychoanalyse, Phänomenotechnik. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.

4 A Political Grammar of Feelings Thinking the Political Through Sensitivity and Sentimentality Brigitte Bargetz

1. Introduction Politics “no longer relies on principles, truth, etc. It is only concerned with making use of feelings for political means and imbuing them with a sense of the political” (Haslinger 1995, 51, author’s translation). It may come as a surprise that this quote by Austrian writer Josef Haslinger is not about contemporary times. His diagnosis references the Austrian presidential elections in 1986, which Kurt Waldheim, who had been a member of the SA Cavalry Corps, won. According to Haslinger, Waldheim’s success, despite the public debates concerning his Nazi past, shows a flattening of politics that gives way to the emergence of a novel “politics of feelings.” This politics does more than merely organize people’s feelings; it also aims to direct people’s thoughts toward certain feelings (ibid., 50f.).1 About 30 years later, quite similar critiques are being uttered. Since the vote on Brexit, Trump’s victory at the polls, and the talk about a politics of post-truth, a vibrant yet worried debate on the risks and dangers of affective politics has emerged. In this debate, different voices address a looming irrationality as symptomatic of an increase in (right-wing) populism and authoritarianism. Consequently, some caution against a politics of feelings and argue for a return to political reason. As Silke van Dyk (2017, 347, author’s translation) has recently observed, “The current rise in the popularity of the right is . . . read as a crisis of facticity, as a post-truth era, as a new economy of lies, and indeed as a threat to the relationship between democracy and truth, which the liberal faction so emphatically advocates.” Political theory and philosophy have long since neglected affect and feelings in politics. Presumably, this has both political and theoretical reasons. The disavowal of affect and feelings in Western modern political thought is based on a predominantly liberal conception of politics that is associated with rationality, objectivity, interests, progress, and the public. This narrow understanding of politics has hugely been critiqued by feminist and postcolonial scholarship. These scholars have pointed out

A Political Grammar of Feelings 53 that it is but one articulation within a whole set of dichotomies within Western modernity and have skillfully demonstrated the political significance of feelings (e.g., Frye 1983; Jaggar 1989; Gatens 1995; McClintock 1995; Berlant 1997; Prokhovnik 1999; Sauer 1999; Ahmed 2004; Stoler 2004). They have shown that feelings have been politically devalued and delegitimized and that this discrediting – which is usually tied to gender, sexuality, race, and class – has been mobilized to justify and fortify the Western capitalist heteronormative nation-state. Against this background, feminist and postcolonial scholarship has called upon the necessity to acknowledge the political impact of feelings and to rehabilitate feelings in politics. However, in view of the contemporary critiques of affective politics as significant modes of right-wing populism and authoritarianism, what can these feminist and postcolonial claims tell us? Does the call for reason and rationality ultimately imply that these accounts are a “historical fallacy” (Sauer 2001, 5, author’s translation)? Have feminist and postcolonial efforts to carve out the affective dimensions of politics become obsolete when confronted with calls for rationality, which in turn prove liberal theory’s triumph in terms of thinking about democracy? In my contribution, I argue for an understanding of affective politics that exceeds the debate on whether affects and feelings in politics are intrinsically good or bad, enabling or disabling, productive or dangerous, democratic or un-democratic. Such oppositions, I claim, are limiting. They run the risk of insinuating a universal understanding of affect and of reiterating the liberal fiction of rational politics void of feelings. Countering right-wing populism and authoritarianism by calling for purely rational politics is dangerous not only because it ultimately leaves the realm of feelings to right-wing populists. It also blatantly disregards how liberalism, and even more so neoliberalism, have substantially been invested in affective governing (e.g., Stoler 2004; Sauer and Penz 2017; Bargetz 2019). Indeed, in terms of affective politics, the neoliberal project is less the opposite of (right-wing) populism and more its precursor. In order to circumvent a liberal juxtaposition here, I develop a “political grammar of feelings”2 that – building on Sara Ahmed (2004, 4) – seeks to interrogate what affects and feelings (can) politically do instead of finding an answer to what they are. Speaking of a political grammar of feelings does not imply a narrow or linguistic notion of grammar but invokes the grammatical noun-verb distinction as a crucial figure to bring into view two interrelated modes of the political, namely feeling(s), as both tools and ways of doing. Particularly, I engage with sensitivity and sentimentality, which I consider as expressions and modes of a Western modern understanding of the political. For developing these political notions of sensitivity and sentimentality, I draw on Ann Cvetkovich’s and Lauren Berlant’s work. Both contest the political exclusion of feelings within liberal theories and (neo-)liberal democracies and explore the

54  Brigitte Bargetz political and, in particular, the heteronormative and racist implications of mobilizing affect.

2. Situating Sensitivity and Sentimentality: Affect, Politics, and the Affective Turn Within phenomenology, notions of affect, emotion, sensation, and intensity have always played an important role (Landweer and Renz 2008; Szanto and Landweer 2019). Recently, some even witnessed a “phenomenological turn” in the philosophy of emotions (Thonhauser 2018, 1001). Phenomenology also matters for what has come to be known as the “affective turn” (Clough and Halley 2007; Koivunen 2010). Interrogating the “timing of affect,” Marie-Luise Angerer, Bernd Bösel, and Michaela Ott (2014) have identified the affective turn as also bringing about a revival of the “phenomenological tradition” (ibid., 7). Similarly, in their widely acknowledged introduction to affect theory, Melissa Gregg and Gregory Seigworth have noted that phenomenological and post-phenomenological ideas about embodiment are an important strand in contemporary affect theory (Seigworth and Gregg 2010, 6). Feminist and queer affect studies have turned to phenomenology in work that considers the subject (of feminism) both as embodied and beyond a merely constructivist approach (Ahmed and Stacey 2001; Koivunen 2010). One might even say that the turn to affect reconfigures the earlier dispute between phenomenology and poststructuralism, or, as Anu Koivunen notes, “phenomenology meets poststructuralism” (ibid., 13). The critique of a discursive notion of affect, the desire to bring the material living body “back in”, and the insistence on felt experiences of the everyday within the affective turn clearly resonate with phenomenology’s conception of experiences, embodied beings in the world, and embodied subjectivity. From this vantage point, it is not surprising that Linda M. G. Zerilli (2015, 281) criticizes certain approaches both in affect theory and phenomenology for sharing a similar problem, namely, the implicit risk to oppose embodied coping and affect to cognition and thus to render it difficult to imagine political resistance and agency. Sara Ahmed comes from a different angle as she emphasizes the deep impact of phenomenology on affect studies. She refers to the “importance of lived experience, the intentionality of consciousness, the significance of nearness” as well as to the “role repeated and habitual actions in shaping bodies and worlds” play (Ahmed 2006, 49). In her own work that broadly engages with the role emotions play in power relations from a feminist and critical race perspective, Ahmed takes up phenomenology’s concern with the “intentionality about things” and supplements it with an understanding of being “affected by things” (Ahmed 2004, 209). Consequently, she speaks of “emotions as orientation” (ibid., 231) for theorizing emotions both as being oriented toward objects and of being

A Political Grammar of Feelings 55 affective themselves and therefore in contact with objects. For Jan Slaby, her approach toward affect is exemplary of what he calls – following Johanna Oksala – a post-phenomenological critical philosophy (Slaby 2016, 286). Post-phenomenology, Oksala (2016) explains, explicitly attends to the imbrication of experiences and social conditions. In developing my idea of an affective politics of sensitivity and sentimentality here, I am indebted to Ahmed’s theory of affect in at least two ways: First, because it emphasizes the co-constitution of the social and the personal and, second, because of her specific approach to emotions. I delve deeper into these two aspects in the following where I also flesh out my understanding of the political. Speaking of affective politics in terms of sentimentality and sensitivity, I am interested in the structural and the subjective and their critical and powerful entanglements. This interest, of course, resonates with the wellknown feminist slogan of “The Personal is Political!” that dates back to the late 1960s and early 1970s, as much as it echoes the longstanding feminist critique of the public/private dichotomy (Pateman 1989). A major concern the slogan addressed was the tendency to frame gendered discrimination and violence as a personal problem and to show that they are, in fact, embedded in social structures. Consequently, politicizing the personal was not about individual help and support but about bringing about social change. Decades later, in 2001, the slogan was rearticulated by the Public Feelings Project established by a group of critical scholars – including Lauren Berlant and Ann Cvetkovich – along with activists and artists based in the U.S. The project’s aim was to capture liberalism and neo-liberalism in their affective guises and to find novel ways of political mobilizing and agency. Their slogan “Depressed? It might be political,” embraced the earlier feminist mantra, and further emphasized, as Cvetkovich claims, that “despite a widespread therapeutic culture” feelings “still haven’t gone public enough” (Cvetkovich 2012a, 15). Even as it [the Public Feelings Project] takes up from the familiar left position that feelings and the therapeutic institutions that address them must ultimately have a political horizon and lead to social transformation, it also seeks to move past some of the impasses that have resulted from critiques of therapy and affective politics, which often subsume feeling under the rubric of politics. It opens anew the question of how to embrace emotional responses as part of social justice projects. (ibid., 109) Along with this feminist framing of politics and feelings, there is another debate that is of interest to my approach. Recently, there have been discussions about what makes affect a political issue. Thomas Bedorf (2015) refers to the distinction between politics and the political, the so-called

56  Brigitte Bargetz political difference (Marchart 2007), which, as he argues, allows one to criticize a liberal notion of politics and to re-conceptualize the relation between politics and feelings. For Bedorf, feelings are not political per se but can become political, provided that three criteria are met: The moment of activation, when feelings become mobilizing; the moment of community formation, when feelings are collectively shared; and the moment of articulation, meaning that affects are not simply translated into the cognitive but also need to be articulated within the symbolic order (ibid., 250–264). Equally, Jonas Bens and Jan Slaby take up the political difference as an analytical framework and make use of both aspects, “politics” and “the political,” for their understanding of “political affect” (Slaby and Bens 2019, 340). Affect’s ontological proximity to “the political,” they claim, ascribes to a philosophical understanding of political affect. It largely draws on Spinoza’s reading of affect as an ability to affect and to be affected and emphasizes “affects of allegiance” (ibid., 340). On the contrary, “affect in politics” describes the very concrete sphere of governing and political struggles and how they integrate or rely on affects. Translating the political difference into theorizing political affect is appealing because, similar to feminist concerns, it allows us to move beyond a narrow (liberal) notion of politics and to include affective aspects and modalities that, so far, have often been ignored in political theory. Still, this is only the case as long as “politics” and “the political” are considered as related without favoring an ontological understanding of political affect and simultaneously renders affective political struggles of secondary importance. In this vein, the political grammar of feelings proposed here situates affect and emotion, feeling and sensation, sensitivity and sentimentality within the social and political. This reading of affective politics seems, in some way, close to John Protevi’s (2009) call to “political affect.” For Protevi, affect is always already both social and corporeal, it is the mutual “imbrication of the social and the somatic,” since “bodies change in relation to the changing situations in which they find themselves” (Protevi 2009, xiv). This is why he underscores the political shaping and sociopolitical and historical embeddedness of affective politics. “[W]e make our worlds in making sense of situations, but we do so only on the basis of the worlds in which we find ourselves” (ibid., 35). Similarly, to suggest a political grammar of feelings, I wish to reconceptualize the imbrication of the personal and the public, of embodied experiences and political and economic structures, of the psychic, the bodily, and the social. In order to do so, my approach does not follow the strand of affect theory that considers affect and sensation primarily to be an asocial intensity or energy beyond the subject, which builds on Brian Massumi’s work (2002). Instead, I emphasize modes of affective perception, embodied sensations, and psychic experiences and trace how affect and feelings (can) operate politically.

A Political Grammar of Feelings 57

3. Political Sensitivity “What if depression, in the Americas at least, could be traced to histories of colonialism, genocide, slavery, legal exclusion, and everyday segregation and isolation that haunt all of our lives, rather than to biochemical imbalances?” (Cvetkovich 2012a, 115) This is Ann Cvetkovich’s provocative and “speculative” (ibid., 24) question which guides her recent work on depression. She aims to grasp depression not only as a personal or individual “problem” in a medical, clinical sense but, similar to Alain Ehrenberg’s (2010) sociopolitical reading of depression, argues that depression also be understood as a social and political phenomenon, a “public feeling” (Cvetkovich 2012a, 24), and therefore as a “political experience” (see the introduction to this volume). Her argument, however, certainly does not deny the necessity of medical treatment or romanticize depression by turning it into a positive experience. Indeed, Cvetkovich writes that depression “retains its associations with inertia and despair, if not apathy and indifference, but these feelings, moods, and sensibilities become sites of publicity and community formation” (Cvetkovich 2012a, 2). In this manner, her understanding links up with the feminist demand to politicize the personal. This means going beyond both medicalization as a mode of individualizing and biology as the only explanation and solution to depression. By explicitly proposing a “racialized understanding of depression” (ibid., 121) she seeks to expand a materialistic understanding of racism as “state-sanctioned or extralegal production and exploitation of a group-differentiated vulnerability to premature death” (Gilmore quoted in Cvetkovich 2012a, 120) and emphasizes racism’s affective dimensions. In order to develop my understanding of political sensitivity in the following, I build on Cvetkovich’s insights. Depression, she claims, “is ordinary” (Cvetkovich 2012a, 25). Arguing this way, Cvetkovich does not call upon some sort of “self-help culture” (Illouz 2007, 42) to remedy this contemporary political condition. Instead, she describes depression as a recurring mode of emotional exhaustion that marks relations of power and domination such as racism and colonialism and indicates how these are inscribed into people’s everyday practices and sensory registers. In contrast to a politics of trauma which addresses the horrors of the past as a universal human experience, political depression is not that which is spectacular, extraordinary, unique, or catastrophic but an everyday “low-level affect” (Cvetkovich 2012b, 134). By speaking of political depression, Cvetkovich draws attention to the habitualized, often takenfor-granted and thus nearly invisible forms of power. It is a perspective on the everyday as a recurring process of codifying and modifying (Bargetz 2016) that helps us understand how experiences and feelings are shaped, sedimented, and perpetuated within institutions and how they are conveyed through and embodied in everyday practices.

58  Brigitte Bargetz To assess the ordinariness of political depression, Cvetkovich conceives of racism neither as an event nor some supposedly “past” era of colonialism. As “the afterlife of slavery” (Cvetkovich 2012a, 126), political depression is inscribed in the wounded bodies and practices of contemporary societies, thus making forces of the past apprehensible through everyday feelings and sensations. Still, Cvetkovich admits that it is not easy to fully grasp the connections between today’s feelings and the violent experiences of the past, for “they might emerge as ghosts or feelings of hopelessness, rather than as scientific evidence or existing bodies of research or material forms of deprivation” (ibid.). Building on different archives, such as auto-ethnographic writings, scientific autobiographies, spiritual texts, and art projects, Cvetkovich also turns to Saidiya Hartman’s scholarly autobiography Lose your Mother, written from a Black Diaspora perspective to further explain this insight. Lose your Mother combines scientific investigation with personal memoirs and shows how colonialism, racism, and depression are mutually interwoven. When a white policeman stops 12-year-old Saidiya Hartman and her mother who unwittingly ran a red light, the girl shouts at the cop in a state of what Hartman retrospectively describes as “indignant rage” even “despite her mother’s fear of confrontation” (ibid., 130). The young girl’s reaction to this state authority articulates an affective legacy of the history of colonialism and institutional(ized) racism. It expresses, as Cvetkovich notes, “the underbelly of dreams of freedom and racial uplift and the emotional unconscious of a world that remains ‘ruled by the color line’ ” (ibid., 131). It reflects “an inability to trust white people” and “a tendency to assume the worst in any encounter with authority” (ibid., 131). The incident demonstrates how racism and colonialism are translated through “fear and suspicion” (ibid., 131) into the temporalities of the everyday. Speaking of political sensitivity, I want to emphasize that the little girl’s expression is not only an individual feeling but one that is deeply embedded within the political conditions of the present and the past. The notion of political sensitivity here aims to highlight an understanding of affective legacies and that is the endurance of past power structures and how they (affectively) translate into the historical present. It is a way to acknowledge the disembodied ghosts of the colonial past as they materialize in everyday practices and affective reactions. History, Cvetkovich claims, “shapes even the most personal experience of the present” (2012a, 130). Political sensitivity indicates that the past enters as affective traces, written into the body’s affective registers and everyday practices. In this manner, affects are political because they are both shaped by the past and continue to shape the present. Affects are a mode of transportation and translation into the everyday. Traces of the past illustrate the corporealaffective transmission of moods and intensities. Affects evoke and actualize the past and consequently make the past powerful within the present.

A Political Grammar of Feelings 59 Yet affects are always articulated within historically-specific relations of power and domination. Taking Cvetkovich’s elaboration on racism and colonialism as a mode of political sensitivity also brings a very specific temporal dimension into play. The slogan “The Personal is Political!” highlighted that what is assumed to be personal is indeed a political expression and, more specifically, one of patriarchal gender relations. Cvetkovich’s reflections can further show that the personal is also an expression of past political and economic structures. Affects articulate a connection between everyday feelings in the present and violent structures in the past – where even moments of violence matter that one did not experience personally. Affects like depression may not only point beyond the self but also beyond the present moment. Depression can therefore be read as a transindividual and historical force. It is a mode of political sensitivity, because it is also through depression that power relations can become sensible, visible, and sometimes even apparent. Political sensitivity, therefore, describes the affective articulation of political structures of the past and present. Still, it refers to connections between the past and the present without assuming a linear and determining understanding of these forces. Traces of the past articulate a non-representational understanding of temporality by indicating a “having-become” and by therefore apprehending the present as a historical present. Thinking through affective traces of the past can help identify (some) present (power) relations – although this should be understood neither as exclusive nor as the preferred mode of knowledge. Theorizing political sensitivity in this way means that depression can be both indicative of and a signal for relations of power and domination. Embodied feelings like depression can indicate that and how power and domination “get under your skin” (Ahmed 2010, 216) historically and transindividually. Thus, the materiality of power relations is also affectively inscribed in people’s bodies and embodied practices. Everyday experiences and feelings are not disconnected from relations of power and domination but also become intelligible as aspects of these relations. While political sensitivity might be taken as an expression of a subject – and therefore appear to be a personal experience – it does indeed extend beyond the individual. Political sensitivity, then, is a mode of affective perception that is both part of and the very expression of complex and complicated social structures. Following this, political sensitivity also refers to the possibility to gain further insight into political conditions. Everyday feelings indicate that wider social structures, such as institutionalized violence, are expressed in the “small dramas” (Cvetkovich 2007, 464) of the everyday. Feeling bad or depressed can eventually also serve as an “entry point on to political life” (Cvetkovich 2012b, 132). To think about depression also as political depression may offer knowledge about and insight into power relations and structures of inequality and, therefore, following

60  Brigitte Bargetz Cvetkovich’s reading, racism, colonialism, and slavery. It allows us to learn about how histories of power and violence shape the historical present, without, however, claiming that this knowledge is necessarily politically activating or mobilizing. Still, highlighting that something has been shaped politically and is not only a result of a chemical reaction, may be politically moving. It may encourage people, bring them together, and may ultimately lead to political mobilization – as I discuss further later. It may become a political entry point, since these insights gained through affective perception may also orient people toward changing ongoing political conditions. Speaking of political sensitivity in this manner describes an embodied and bodily affective register. Taking depression as a political and social phenomenon implies a mode of sensation, perception, and agency through which social and historical structures may both be realized and rendered intelligible. Depression constitutes a way of (embodied tacit) knowing through feeling. In this sense, the notion of political sensitivity does not rely upon differentiating “intentional emotions” from “automatic physical responses and non-intentional sensations,” as for instance in Alison Jaggar’s bridging of “love and knowledge” (Jaggar 1989, 154) or on a differentiation between intentional “emotional feelings” and “nonemotional feelings” (Döring 2009, 14, author’s translation). Instead, I highlight affective knowledge as embodied everyday knowledge, thus building on Linda M. G. Zerilli’s claim to rethink Gilbert Ryle’s wellknown differentiation between “knowing how” and “knowing that” in a sense that, ultimately, considers “affect and cognition” as “radically entangled” (Zerilli 2015, 282). Affects transport and translate power and domination into everyday practices. To consider affective knowledge as one way of gaining insights into relations of power and domination, then, can (also) help bring to light how racism, colonialism, and exploitation affectively materialize within the everyday and how people affectively cope with these relations of power and domination. In this vein, emphasizing political sensitivity expands a notion of power by integrating its affective operations. It means considering how political relations are affectively accepted, rejected, or reinterpreted. The notion of political sensitivity addresses bodily affective registers and, therefore, comprises an understanding of affective legacy, affective perception, and affective knowledge. There are, however, a few more questions to bear in mind in view of this notion. Emphasizing a political sensitivity following Cvetkovich’s approach offers a way to grasp forces of the past through everyday feelings and embodied practices. Yet, to explain how this “transmission of affect” (Brennan 2004) precisely works would require further theorizing. One question could be which relations of power and domination are decisive and to what extent political sensitivities are socially shaped. The question especially arises in the face of different forms of power and exploitation, let alone their entanglement,

A Political Grammar of Feelings 61 and how they are inscribed in people’s embodied practices of the everyday. Cvetkovich is not alone with her concern to politicize depression. Like Ehrenberg, Mark Fisher, too, emphasizes the political dimension of depression by focusing on neoliberal conditions. In the presence of “capitalist realism” Fisher observes a “a correlation between rising rates of mental distress and the neoliberal mode of capitalism practiced in countries like Britain, the USA and Australia” (Fisher 2009, 19), which leads him to claim: “The task of repoliticizing mental illness is an urgent one if the left wants to challenge capitalist realism” (ibid., 37). Cvetkovich (2012a, 11) also remarks on the connection between depression and neoliberalism when she writes: “Depression, or alternative accounts of what gets called depression, is thus a way to describe neoliberalism and globalization, or the current state of political economy, in affective terms.” In view of these insights on neoliberalism’s account of depression, what are the consequences for theorizing political sensitivity that, as I have suggested, refers to depression as a racialized political phenomenon? It is indeed important to highlight that speaking of political sensitivity does not imply the ability to detect specific individual causes, neither does it suggest the opposite, namely that neoliberalism and/or colonialism necessarily result in depression. Rather, it allows one to grasp complex and multiple social forces as part of the depressive condition of the historical present and, therefore, depression also needs to be acknowledged for undoing these relations. A further question arises concerning the political effects of political sensitivity. As Cvetkovich emphasizes: “Saying that capitalism (or colonialism or racism) is the problem does not help me get up in the morning” (Cvetkovich 2012a, 15). To what extent, if at all, is this mode of political sensitivity linked to political agency, (collective) political resistance, and accountability? How can political organizing be based on such forms of knowing through feeling? How might depression, as a political entry point, ultimately turn into political action? The latter is an important question for Cvetkovich, too. She refuses the option of finding an easy answer when she emphasizes that there are “no magic bullet solutions, whether medical or political, just the slow steady work of resilient survival, utopian dreaming, and other affective tools for transformation” (ibid., 2). Although I agree with Cvetkovich about the impossibility of “magic bullet points,” by mainly referring to the minor affective tools of transformation, she risks falling short in terms of her own claims when she considers depression a political feeling and more explicitly an expression of power and inequality. Depression as political sensitivity describes a mode and a moment, even of rupture, through which injustice and domination are eventually mediated and articulated as well as become visible. Specifically, because global capitalism increasingly shapes the affective everyday, it is of utmost importance to analyze and criticize these i­mbrications – also in terms of further thinking about larger structural changes.

62  Brigitte Bargetz

4. Political Sentimentality Arguing that affect both translates and articulates relations of power and domination might suggest that affect is the privileged mode of political perception and recognition and therefore might overemphasize the force of affect. Yet, as outlined in the beginning, the political grammar of feelings that I am elaborating here aims to go beyond understanding affect as either good or bad. Instead, I draw attention to what affect and feelings politically do, and to the scopes and sites where these processes unfold. The notion of political sentimentality I develop in the following also articulates social conditions, albeit in terms of individualization, desolidarization, and depoliticization. Here, I draw on Lauren Berlant’s work and specifically on her multilayered notion of national sentimentality. This notion is based on her observation of a specific form of affective politics in which people engage with the world through affect and desires as much as through cognition and ideology (Berlant 2008, x). Speaking of political sentimentality, I build on Berlant’s discussion of painful feelings, suffering, and trauma, which she perceives as founding principles for the U.S. nation state and more explicitly citizenship. A “trumping power of suffering stories” (Berlant 2000, 34), she explains, became established in U.S. history, which rendered suffering the “true core of national collectivity” (Berlant 1999, 53) and made struggles for participation subject to the condition of having experienced injuries. Berlant identifies such expressions of the political even in the feminist, workers’, and abolition movements of the 19th century, “since abolition and suffrage worked to establish the enslaved Other as someone with subjectivity, defined not as someone who thinks or works, but as someone who has endured violence intimately” (Berlant 2000, 34). Such “cultural politics of pain” (ibid., 33) are also evident in the Supreme Court’s stance on the right to abortion, which is based on the “suffering” and “undue burden” of “heterosexual femininity” (ibid., 40) but not on the right to one’s own body. This politics inscribes pain and suffering in the political and legal registers by fetishizing wounds as “proof” of identity, thereby subordinating other cognitive and political modes to this regime of pain. Such a sentimental politics runs the risk of evoking victimization and breaking up marginalized positions into hierarchies of pain by inciting, as Berlant writes, “competitions over whose lives have been more excluded from the ‘happiness’ that is constitutionally promised by national life” (ibid., 32). In this manner, political sentimentality indicates a mode of individualization, depoliticization, and de-solidarization that I would like to call a politics of recognition, or more precisely a politics of affective recognition. For Nancy Fraser (2005), collective (feminist) struggles are problematic, if they were merely struggles for recognition and not equally for distribution and representation. Her notion of a politics of recognition,

A Political Grammar of Feelings 63 then, allows us to capture Berlant’s critique of national sentimentality as a politics that provides a moral safeguard for the privileged under the guise of empathy. Presented as a collective refusal to bear any longer a population’s collective suffering, public sentimentality is too often a defensive response by people who identify with privilege, yet fear they will be exposed as immoral by their tacit sanction of a particular structural violence that benefits them. (Berlant 2000, 33) I consider this a mode of individualizing affective recognition because it ultimately assumes a defensive, self-centered politics of guilt. Taking my cue from Audre Lorde (1984), guilt is a particular, inward-oriented feeling. It is “another name for impotence, for defensiveness destructive of communication” (ibid., 130). Guilt mainly points to the person itself, to “one’s own actions or lack of action” (ibid., 130). As such, guilt does not suggest structural change but instead passivizes and individualizes, making it unsuitable for emancipatory politics. Such political sentimentality also tends to appropriate the feelings of others. Berlant brings this to the fore when she critically remarks that “the pain of intimate others burns into the conscience of classically privileged national subjects, such that they feel the pain of flawed or denied citizenship as their pain” (Berlant 1999, 53). Here, the perception and attention shift from the injuries of the subaltern to the painful sensations or wounds of the privileged. Political sensitivity and affective agency are guaranteed, first and foremost, for those who express empathy but not for those they initially empathize with. Those in privileged positions thereby ignore, silence, or even erase the suffering subjects, while keeping their own supremacy and privilege intact. Political sentimentality replaces the question of social transformation with what Berlant calls a “passive and vaguely civic-minded ideal of compassion” (Berlant 2008, 41). It entails and encourages the view that “a nation can best be built across fields of social difference through channels of affective identification and empathy” (Berlant 2000, 34). Empathy is articulated here in a way that does not seek to engage in political struggles via solidary or collective demands for socio-economic participation. At best, such sentimental politics foster patronizing discourses of rescue and promote private welfare and charity (Bargetz and Sauer 2015) and feed into legitimizing and compensating for the state’s withdrawal of social rights and the neoliberal dismantling of the welfare state. Finally, speaking of political sentimentality, I would like to highlight a politics of promise. On the one hand, pain and suffering are considered entry points into the fabric of the nation-state, as the politics of pain described earlier has shown. On the other hand, national sentimentality is also based on “the foggy fantasy of happiness” (Berlant 2000, 36),

64  Brigitte Bargetz promising a politics that ultimately goes far beyond pain: “The object of the nation-state,” Berlant attests, “is to eradicate systemic social pain, the absence of which becomes the definition of freedom” (ibid., 35). Happiness and painlessness constitute an implicit norm within the sentimental nation-state, as much as they operate as a basis for the nation-state’s legitimacy and as an affective-ideological appeal through the power of promise. In this vein, the image of a national or nation-forming consensus is established and propagated, creating a supposedly coherent “feelgood state” that is situated outside political struggles and state violence. This consensus is certainly a precarious one, since it not only renders differences and relations of domination invisible but also instates consensus and political harmony as the ultimate democratic condition. Finally, understanding political sentimentality as a mode of governing promises articulates a future-oriented, yet currently unrealizable, hope for a “better” life. It is a rhetoric of promise – of participation, belonging, wellbeing, prosperity, happiness, protection, and security – where changing the present is “sacrificed” for the hope of a better future. As such, it also creates a consensus regarding specific commitments and conditions, including those of inequality.

5. A Political Grammar of Feelings Theorizing affective politics in terms of political sensitivity and political sentimentality contests the liberal notion of the political because it dismisses the liberal idea of (purely) rational politics and instead challenges the Western modern dichotomy of political rationality versus personal emotionality. As Lauren Berlant explains, too, “Feelings are not the opposite of thought: each is an embodied rhetorical register associated with specific practices, times, and spaces of appropriateness” (Berlant 2005, 47). Both modes of affective politics, political sensitivity and political sentimentality, articulate a form of politicizing the personal and private, yet in different ways, as I explore further later. In both modes, relations of power and domination are crucial: In terms of how people are affected, how they affectively orient themselves within and cope with relations of power and domination, and how these relations are affectively maintained and transmitted. Understanding the political through sensitivity and sentimentality does not imply a narrow scope of politics in terms of the public or the state; it also conceives of the political as located in people’s everyday practices and bodily feelings. These two modes of political sensitivity and sentimentality make up what I suggest calling a “political grammar of feelings,”3 thus bringing into view two interrelated modalities of the political. On the one hand, I consider feeling to be a sensory register, as one – although not the only – mode of sensation, perception, cognition, and agency which I call feeling politics. I distinguish this

A Political Grammar of Feelings 65 affective political mode, on the other hand, from feelings as instruments and means of the political, which I call a politics of feelings. Speaking about political sensitivity as a mode of feeling politics, I emphasize that “to feel” and “feelings” are both indications and expressions of political conditions. Affect and emotions are not simply apolitical, irrelevant, or irrational, as the “liberal dispositive of separation” (Sauer 1999, author’s translation) between politics and feelings suggests. Rather, relations of power and domination are also felt or affectively perceived within the temporalities of the everyday. Political conditions, such as colonialism, racism, and capitalism, are (also) expressed within and through processes of feeling. Feeling politics seeks to theorize affect as a transindividual and historical force, as a mode in which relations of power and dominations translate into the embodied practices of the everyday and in which these conditions become visible or sensible. Feeling politics does not privilege rationality and objectivity but examines how power circulates through feelings. However, emphasizing that politics and power are also felt does not mean that feelings are the only or preferred mode of cognition and knowledge. Consequently, feeling politics does not imply that there is such a thing as “true feelings.” Feeling politics is neither per se emancipatory nor necessarily an individualized, depoliticized mode of the political. Precisely because feelings are also effects of politics, political sensitivity does not locate feelings beyond but rather within the realm of power relations and social structures. Feeling politics points to the idea that political and economic conditions are affectively absorbed, solidified, and interrogated. From this vantage point, politics does not exclusively take place on the lofty plane of state politics above people’s heads but affectively unfolds in people’s everyday practices. Taking this mode of feeling seriously as a potential for political sensation, perception, cognition, and agency makes it possible to incorporate affect and affective knowledge into theorizing power relations, and also allows for a rethinking and opening up of new spaces of transformation through moments of affective disruption. Political sentimentality is the notion I use to explore how feelings such as pain, suffering, vulnerability, or empathy can also be made productive for hegemonic purposes; it is a mode that I call a politics of feelings. Political sentimentality illustrates a governing through feelings, for instance, through individualization and depoliticization or by producing consent. It helps unveil the mystification inherent in postdemocratic politics of consensus (Rancière 1999) and to grasp consensus as an (affective) mode of safeguarding and legitimizing hegemonic politics. Even though a politics of feelings points to an activity or practice, too, it shifts the focus from sensory registers toward acknowledging affects as instruments and means of the political. By conceptualizing a politics of feelings, I seek to emphasize that power and politics work through feelings. In this manner,

66  Brigitte Bargetz affective politics can indicate how differences and exclusions are legitimated, maintained, or publicly orchestrated explicitly through feelings. The perspective of a politics of feelings thus opens up an analysis and critique of manifold political hierarchies and hierarchizations, which are produced and managed through affect and emotions. This also enables a critical examination of hegemonic scripts of feeling or so-called “feeling rules” (Hochschild 1983, 56). Obviously, this mode of affective politics does not only interrogate the liberal separation of politics and feelings but also shows how this interrelation might fuel a (neo-)liberal logic of the political. Political sentimentality indicates that some politics include feelings but under (neo-)liberal signs. The notion of a politics of feelings should make visible such modes that operate and govern through affect. Certainly, a politics of feelings does not need to be confined to the idea of feelings to be appropriated, as my elaborations on political sentimentality suggest. Affects do not necessarily need to be instruments of devaluation, exclusion, and domination. Rather, the perspective of a politics of feelings also allows affects to be understood as a way of mobilizing politics and as a political force that makes it possible to interrogate conditions of inequality and oppression. A politics of feelings therefore also refers to feelings in an emancipatory sense. Affects can both incite agency as well as passivize, which raises the question of how to direct political sentimentality toward becoming emancipatory affective politics. Put differently, what are the necessary conditions to prevent the political mode of affective sensation, perception, and cognition from resulting in a sentimental “oppression Olympics” (Martínez 1998) or an equally sentimental and consensual “feel-good-politics” but instead leading in a dissensual (Rancière 1999) yet solidary politics? How can political sensitivity become the (affective) starting point for political disputes and collective political struggles? How can these socially articulated and simultaneously personally felt expressions of politics and power be transformed into collective emancipatory practices? The two logics of feeling politics and a politics of feeling are closely interwoven. The feeling of politics, which means feeling as a mode of sensation, perception, cognition, and agency, can also become the means and motive of politics or feelings as an instrument. Depression can be an affective mode of cognition, as much as depression can be mobilized for specific political purposes. However, I use this two-fold political grammar of feelings to emphasize two different affective logics without viewing them as two sides of the same coin. Both logics show that to feel and feelings are not beyond, but rather part of, relations of power and domination. Affect and feelings are neither immutable substances nor exclusively positive or negative forces. Feeling is not asocial, neutral, or authentic, as some contemporary affect theories suggest but an aspect of politics. To feel and feelings are simultaneously an expression, an effect, and a goal of the political.

A Political Grammar of Feelings 67 This two-fold logic makes it possible to emphasize pain, anger, depression, and exhaustion as (possibly) insightful political moments as well as their problematic entanglement in power relations. In this sense, political depression, exhaustion, and vulnerability can be integrated into political theory as aspects of the political without, however, making it an “ultimate ground” (Marchart 2007, 9) of the political. Such affective politics is not about propagating a passivizing victim politics by linking the right to citizenship, for instance, to the experience of violations. Political depression, for instance, does not indicate a lack or weakness, nor is it a call for patronizing interventions. It is also not the opposite of optimism or the counterpart of a (neo-)liberal politics of promise. Political depression can – although need not necessarily – be an effect and expression of the latter. By proposing this twofold political grammar of feelings, I want to emphasize that such affective politics go beyond a liberal understanding of politics and point toward a different form of thinking the political: While speaking of feeling politics can help us grasp the affective modes of connections and dependencies, a politics of feelings can make the unequal “distribution of emotions” (Bargetz 2015) visible and thus also bring to light possibilities of emancipation. With this twofold political grammar of feelings – feeling politics and a politics of feelings – I do not seek to exclude or reject feelings from political theory, nor do I want to celebrate feelings as a promising new mode of the political. On the contrary, I aim to approach affective politics in a way that contributes more than a binary treatment of affect that either valorizes or devalorizes it. Merely criticizing affective politics falls just as short as the concern to exclude affects from the field of the political as supposedly personal, non-political, irrational, or therapeutic. The political grammar of feelings refers to a concept of the political in which affects both constitute a mode of criticizing and transgressing political as much as theoretical boundaries (Bargetz and Sauer 2015). In this manner, affective politics is less about determining what affect is and more about what affect does politically. It is in this sense that I aim to open a space for asking about how politics moves us, how feelings are mobilized politically, if and how they are equally or unequally distributed within the political, and thus how the political (also) works affectively.

Notes . I would like to thank Erika Doucette for her careful English proof-reading. 1 2. Some of my considerations of a political grammar of feelings have been discussed and presented elsewhere (Bargetz 2014, 2019). Here, I rework and push these insights further. 3. My use of this notion is not related to the collection of texts by Max Scheler edited by Paul Good under the title Grammatik der Gefühle (Grammar of Feelings), by which Good highlights Scheler’s universal grammar of expression and a logic of feelings (Scheler 2000, 21–25).

68  Brigitte Bargetz

Bibliography Ahmed, S. (2004). The Cultural Politics of Emotion. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Ahmed, S. (2006). Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others. Durham/London: Duke University Press. Ahmed, S. (2010). The Promise of Happiness. Durham/London: Duke University Press. Ahmed, S. and Stacey, J. (2001). “Introduction: Dermographies,” in Ahmed, S. and Stacey, J. (eds.). Thinking through the Skin. London: Routledge, 1–17. Angerer, M.-L., Bösel, B. and Ott, M. (eds.) (2014). The Timing of Affect: Epistemologies, Aesthetics, Politics. Zürich/New York: Diaphanes. Bargetz, B. (2014). “Mapping Affect: Challenges of (Un)Timely Politics,” in Angerer, M.-L., Bösel, B. and Ott, M. (eds.). The Timing of Affect: Epistemologies, Aesthetics, Politics. Zürich/New York: Diaphanes, 289–302. Bargetz, B. (2015). “The Distribution of Emotions: Affective Politics of Emancipation,” Hypatia 30(3), 580–596. Bargetz, B. (2016). Ambivalenzen des Alltags: Neuorientierungen für eine Theorie des Politischen. Bielefeld: Transcript. Bargetz, B. (2019). “A Sentimental Contract: Ambivalences of Affective Politics and Publics,” in Fleig, A. and von Scheve, C. (eds.). Public Spheres of Resonance: Constellations of Affect and Language. New York: Routledge. Bargetz, B. and Sauer, B. (2015). “Der affective turn: Das Gefühlsdispositiv und die Trennung von Öffentlich und Privat,” Femina Politica: Zeitschrift für feministische Politikwissenschaft 24, 93–102. Bedorf, T. (2015). “Politische Gefühle,” in Bedorf, T. and Klass, T. N. (eds.). Leib – Körper – Politik: Untersuchungen zur Leiblichkeit des Politischen. Weilerswist: Velbrück Wissenschaft, 249–265. Berlant, L. (1997). The Queen of America goes to Washington City: Essays on Sex and Citizenship. Durham/London: Duke University Press. Berlant, L. (1999). “The Subject of True Feeling: Pain, Privacy and Politics,” in Austin, S. and Kearns, T. R. (eds.). Cultural Pluralism, Identity Politics, and the Law. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 49–84. Berlant, L. (2000). “The Subject of True Feeling: Pain, Privacy and Politics,” in Ahmed, S. et al. (eds.). Transformations: Thinking through Feminism. New York: Routledge, 33–47. Berlant, L. (2005). “The Epistemology of State Emotion,” in Sarat, A. (ed.). Dissent in Dangerous Times. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 46–87. Berlant, L. (2008). The Female Complaint: The Unfinished Business of Sentimentality in American Culture. Durham/London: Duke University Press. Brennan, T. (2004). The Transmission of Affect. Ithaca/London: Cornell University Press. Clough, P. T. and Halley, J. (eds.) (2007). The Affective Turn: Theorizing the Social. Durham/ London: Duke University Press. Cvetkovich, A. (2007). “Public Feelings,” South Atlantic Quarterly 106(3), 459–468. Cvetkovich, A. (2012a). Depression: A Public Feeling. Durham/London: Duke University Press.

A Political Grammar of Feelings 69 Cvetkovich, A. (2012b). “Depression Is Ordinary: Public Feelings and Saidiya Hartman’s Lose Your Mother,” Feminist Theory 13(2), 131–146. Döring, S. A. (2009). “Allgemeine Einleitung: Philosophie der Gefühle heute,” in Döring, S. A. (ed.). Philosophie der Gefühle. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 12–65. Ehrenberg, A. (2010). The Weariness of the Self: Diagnosing the History of Depression in the Contemporary Age. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press. Fisher, M. (2009). Capitalist Realism: Is There no Alternative? Winchester, Washington: Zero Books. Fraser, N. (2005). “Reframing Justice in a Globalizing World,” New Left Review 36, 1–18. Frye, M. (1983). The Politics of Reality: Essays in Feminist Theory. Trumansburg: The Crossing Press. Gatens, M. (1995). Imaginary Bodies: Ethics, Power and Corporeality. New York: Routledge. Haslinger, J. (1995). Politik der Gefühle: Ein Essay über Österreich. Frankfurt: Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag. Hochschild, A. R. (1983). The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling. Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press. Illouz, E. (2007). Cold Intimacies: The Making of Emotional Capitalism. Cambridge/Malden: Polity Press. Jaggar, A. M. (1989). “Love and Knowledge: Emotion in Feminist Epistemology,” Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 32(2), 129–155. Koivunen, A. (2010). “An Affective Turn? Reimagining the Subject of Feminist Theory,” in Liljeström, M. and Paasonen, S. (eds.). Working with Affects in Feminist Readings: Disturbing Differences. London/New York: Routledge, 8–28. Landweer, H. and Renz, U. (2008). Handbuch Klassische Emotionstheorien: Von Platon bis Wittgenstein. Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter. Lorde, A. (1984). “The Uses of Anger,” in Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Berkeley: The Crossing Press, 124–133. Marchart, O. (2007). Post-Foundational Political Thought: Political Difference in Nancy, Lefort, Badiou and Laclau. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Martínez, E. S. (1998). “Seeing More than Black and White,” in Martínez, E. (ed.). De Colores Means All of us: Latina Views for a Multi-Colored Century. Cambridge: South End Press, 4–20. Massumi, B. (2002): Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation. Durham/London: Duke University Press. McClintock, A. (1995). Imperial Leather: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Colonial Context. New York/London: Routledge. Oksala, J. (2016). “A Phenomenology of Gender,” in Landweer, H. and Marcinski, I. (eds.). Dem Erleben auf der Spur: Feminismus und die Philosophie des Leibes. Bielefeld: Transcript, 219–234. Pateman, C. (1989). “Feminist Critiques of the Public/Private Dichotomy,” in Pateman, C. (ed.). The Disorder of Women: Democracy, Feminism and Political Theory. Cambridge: Polity Press, 118–140. Prokhovnik, R. (1999). Rational Woman: A Feminist Critique of the Dichotomy. London/New York: Routledge.

70  Brigitte Bargetz Protevi, J. (2009). Political Affect: Connecting the Social and the Somatic. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Rancière, J. (1999). Disagreement: Politics and Philosophy. Minneapolis/ London: University of Minnesota Press. Sauer, B. (1999). “ ‘Politik wird mit dem Kopfe gemacht’: Überlegungen zu einer geschlechtersensiblen Politologie der Gefühle,” in Klein, A. and Nullmeier, F. (eds.). Masse – Macht – Emotionen: Zu einer politischen Soziologie der Emotionen. Opladen/Wiesbaden: Westdeutscher Verlag, 200–218. Sauer, B. (2001). “Öffentlichkeit und Privatheit Revisited: Grenzziehungen im Neoliberalismus und die Konsequenzen für die Geschlechterpolitik,” Kurswechsel 4, 5–11. Sauer, B. and Penz, O. (2017). “Affective Governmentality: A Feminist Perspective,” in Hudson, C., Rönnblom, M. and Teghtsoonian, K. (eds.). Gender, Governance and Feminist Analysis: Missing in Action? London/New York: Routledge, 39–58. Scheler, M. (2000). Grammatik der Gefühle. Ed. and with an introduction by P. Good. Munich: DTV. Seigworth, G. J. and Gregg, M. (2010). “An Inventory of Shimmers,” in Gregg, M. and Seigworth, G. J. (eds.). The Affect Theory Reader. Durham/London: Duke University Press, 1–25. Skeggs, B. (2005). “The Making of Class and Gender through Visualizing Moral Subject Formation,” Sociology 39(5), 965–982. Slaby, J. (2016). “Die Kraft des Zorns – Sara Ahmeds aktivistische PostPhänomenologie,” in Marcinski, I. and Landweer, H. (eds.). Dem Erleben auf der Spur: Feminismus und Phänomenologie. Bielefeld: Transcript, 279–303. Slaby, J. and Bens, J. (2019). “Political Affect,” in Slaby, J. and von Scheve, C. (eds.). Affective Societies: Key Concepts. New York: Routledge, 340–351. Stoler, A. L. (2004). “Affective States,” in Nugent, D. and Vincent, J. (eds.). A Companion to the Anthropology of Politics. Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 4–20. Szanto, T. and Landweer, H. (eds.) (2019). The Routledge Handbook of Phenomenology of Emotions. London/New York: Routledge. Thonhauser, G. (2018). “Shared Emotions: A Steinian Proposal,” Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 17(5), 997–1015. van Dyk, S. (2017). “Krise der Faktizität?” Prokla: Zeitschrift für Kritische Sozialwissenschaft, 47(188), 347–368. Zerilli, L. M. G. (2015). “The Turn to Affect and the Problem of Judgment,” New Literary History 46(2), 261–286.

5 Being Concerned For a Political Rehabilitation of an Unwelcome Affect Emmanuel Alloa and Florian Grosser

1. Being Concerned: An Unwelcome Affect The question of the role and significance of affects in politics is as old as political thought itself. If the rules of societal coexistence are at stake and decisions that directly impact the conditions of individual existence need to be made, it is hardly surprising that heated discussions break out and that passion comes into play. Yet, there is a broad consensus that, generally, affects must be kept at bay if decisions are to be sustainable and in the service of the common good. Where affective concernedness, where dismay or anguish, is turned into a political currency and where democracy comes down to a matter of stronger nerves, doubts crop up regarding whether democracy can keep its inherent promises. Based on appeals to gut feelings or agitation alone, policy-making and governance – let alone good governance – become unachievable. Whoever acts in the heat of affects is under suspicion of being guided by resentment and of losing all grip on reality. Against the background of the experience of totalitarianism in the twentieth century, this consensus has increasingly solidified. Consequently, politics is to be transformed from an arena of unleashed emotions to a forum of sober negotiations, in which rational arguments supersede affective outbursts. Over the past years, the situation has shifted slightly. The topic of affects is again on the agenda of political theory. This renewed interest has to do with specific phenomena in contemporary politics. The resurgence of ideological fanatism around the globe, anti-immigration movements, the Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom, or the last presidential election in the United States have forced adherents of “constitutional patriotism” and representatives of normative “ideal theory” to confront anew the question of the relation between the political and the emotional. In light of such phenomena, debates in both political science and political philosophy show an increased interest in the role of “political emotions.” In the context of these debates, the discipline of so-called affect studies has firmly established itself. It is particularly in view of circumstances that have been described as “post-political” that

72  Emmanuel Alloa and Florian Grosser the renewed interest in the study of affects seems to remedy the prevalent broad skepticism toward and disenchantment with the political system and its leading representatives. Under the heading of the thymotic, some theorists celebrate the role that rage and outrage play in democracy and even go so far as to defend the concept of populism in spite of its negative connotations.1 However, within this contested theoretical and political field of discussion, one concept is missing, which this chapter aims to reappraise: the notion of concernedness or being concerned. By this notion, we refer to the fact that subjects are not only sources of volitions (interests) and bearers of rights (competences) but, first and foremost, sites or targets of affections: They are concerned by something long before they are concerned with, concerned for, or concerned about something, i.e., long before they articulate demands, issues, or claims. In critical dialogue with current debates about social ontology, the priority we give to a state of concernedness in this sense (or to being as being concerned) aims at uncovering a dimension in the structure of intersubjective experience that is often overlooked. Before spelling this out in the second part of the chapter, however, we must investigate a number of important caveats related to the idea of considering political agency from the vantage point of “being concerned.” As a matter of fact, the concept of concernedness is used very rarely by thinkers today. One might conjecture that the term is tied to a situation characterized by lack of movement and agency, as it were. It is therefore seen as incompatible with notions of a disputatious and “battlesome” democracy. In addition, concernedness is associated with a state of being emotionally seized, a reaction induced by sensationalist media coverage. As reports of catastrophes become more frequent, a mediatized public is forced into a reverent, deep concern. Political involvement, understood as active participation, is thus replaced by emotional involvement and by expressions of compassion that ultimately remain inactive. What Hannah Arendt refers to as a “politics of pity”2 is superseded by new, tendentially depoliticized forms of delegated suffering. The suffering of others, of strangers, impacts us emotionally, inspires concern, but it ends there. With the sociologist Luc Boltanski, one could even speak of a peculiar detached form of emotion, of concernedness at a distance. On the level of emotion, media consumers only allow themselves to be affected by suffering that occurs far away (cf. Boltanski 1999); their compassion is limited to forms of life that do not touch their own existences. In addition, one could also speak about telematic voyeurism, as outlined by Susan Sontag, not to mention “poverty porn,” as the latest manifestation of a form of journalism and art devoted to concerned dismay (cf. Sontag 2003; Emcke 2013). If, as some assume, an “affective turn” has indeed taken place, it differs significantly from the emphasis on outrage in the context of the 1968 counter-cultural revolts, which are widely viewed as anticipated

Being Concerned 73 and informed by Theodor Adorno’s considerations on Betroffenheit, typically translated into English as “concern.” While Adorno elaborates a morality of concern as a radical alternative to the Kantian ethics of duty – a morality according to which respect and solidarity are no longer based on rational insights but (cf. Adorno 1973, 361–408) on the recognition of the fact that bodies can be violated and tortured – its critics describe it as expressive of a hyperbolic negativism. In his Critique of Cynical Reason, Peter Sloterdijk denounces what he sees as the masochistic tendencies of the Frankfurt School that he holds unable to conceive affects independent of an “a priori of pain.” The English counterpart of Betroffenheit – “concernedness” and “concern” respectively – is similarly ambivalent. For instance, the contemporary Tea Party movement in America has described itself in terms of a “Coalition of the Concerned.” According to this self-description, it challenges the established party system – and, with it, underlying notions of political legitimacy – by enabling citizens to take their political fate into their own hands. Similar self-designations can be found in the context of vigilante groups along the American-Mexican border or of Christian conservative groups in New Zealand and elsewhere that, triggered by feelings of worry and a sense of threat, advocate for a restrictive legislation with regard to abortion or same-sex marriage. A preliminary conclusion: Especially when deployed as a driving force for political action, concern/concernedness has a poor reputation. Applied in the manner mentioned earlier, it presents itself as inextricably tied to personal or group-specific sensitivities, moods, and interests and, thus, as an unsuitable starting point for broader, more inclusive forms of collective agency. Largely detached from tangible threat and objective suffering, such “felt” coalitions and communities of the concerned are often characterized by what Rahel Jaeggi refers to as “blockages of experience,” accompanied by resentful, aggressive attitudes of walling-off (cf. Jaeggi 2015). This brief sketch shall suffice to indicate why the concept is under intense scrutiny. If affects have carefully been rehabilitated in recent political and politicotheoretical debates, this certainly does not apply to all affects comprehensively (nor to all rehabilitated affects to the same degree). By all accounts, concernedness has not been included among the affects deemed relevant to democratic politics. Diametrically opposed to the marginalization of affective concernedness, the juridical understanding of concernedness – i.e., the notion of certain rights being granted or refused to those who are affected by decisions – is seen as central to such a politics. Paradoxically, the latter form of concernedness is even invoked in order to limit potential political demands that appeal to the former. To prevent democracies from being turned into systems of escalating indignation, the principle of democratic control is cited. What concerns everyone must be approved and assented by everyone. Insofar

74  Emmanuel Alloa and Florian Grosser as conceptions of constitutional democracy refer back to a juridical concept of concernedness, one variety of concernedness has for its purpose the taming of another variety. The subsequent considerations aim at examining the semantic field of “concernedness” as to its political contents and implications. This field unfolds between an understanding of the concept in terms of affect (i.e., concernedness as an “interior” emotion) and an understanding of the concept in terms of affectivity or affectedness (i.e., concernedness as an “exterior” experience). It is with an eye to democratic legitimacy as well as – and this is the main focus of our considerations – democratic community that we seek to determine both the limits and the capacities that the concept of concernedness brings with it. In a first step, we critically trace politico-theoretical approaches that primarily grasp concernedness juridically and that reject it as a democratic principle either on the basis of normative arguments or with reference to a lack of practicability (section 2). Drawing on the phenomenological tradition, we subsequently examine approaches that, by contrast, develop understandings of concernedness as affective when assessing its significance in the context of processes of subject constitution (e.g., in the work of Emmanuel Levinas) and of community constitution (e.g., in the writings of Bernhard Waldenfels and Roberto Esposito), respectively (section 3). In a third step, we discuss the role of concernedness in relation to predominant conceptions of political community (section 4), which, as we show, essentially depend on the notions of shared interest (i.e., contract-based), shared identity (i.e., value-based), or shared exigency and need (i.e., emergency-based). It is against these prevalent conceptions that, in a final step, we outline an alternative understanding that makes it possible to rethink concerned communality in terms of responsivity (section 5): In light of selected examples (e.g., recent protest movements), it is our task to specify criteria which can help to identify the kind of responsive communities that emerge from shared concernedness.

2. Concernedness and the Foundation of Democratic Constitutionality In contrast to affect-guided forms of politics, the constitutional state, guided by the rule of law, is seen as the central institution that secures access to and the free exercise of rights. A constitutional regime is considered democratic if its legitimacy is based on popular consent, i.e., if the people is understood as the sovereign source of state authority. However, this view itself is in need of justification. Its justification generally has the following form: Those who are affected by government decisions should (directly or indirectly) participate in the process of democratic decision-making. Insofar as sovereign authority is founded on popular self-­ determination, the principle of concernedness is recursive. Those who are

Being Concerned 75 concerned by decisions are to participate in the decisions that concern them and by which they express and exercise their self-­determination. If democracy essentially consists in collective self-determination, the term does not designate a certain form of government but, rather, a property that different regimes and decision-making processes have in common. A valid claim to co-determination results from concernedness. The condition that one will be subject to the decisions once they are made leads to the right to participate in the preceding negotiations. Accordingly, all negotiation processes could be deemed democratic that grant the right to participate to people whose interests are concerned in a fundamental way. It is for this reason that concernedness thus understood is considered a central normative principle of modern liberal democracy. In fact, one can argue that the principle of concernedness is as old as European legal thinking. Medieval legal systems know the formula quod omnibus tangit, a omnibus tractari et approbari debet, “what touches all must be treated and approved by all” (cf. Post 1964). It can be traced back to a similar formulation in Roman law where it is primarily applied to private law.3 As a valid criterion for political legitimacy, it comes into force in the context of modern constitutionality. While thinkers such as Hobbes, Locke, or Rousseau primarily understand concernedness as a virtual or hypothetical principle – i.e., along the lines of the consideration “if they acted in accordance with their self-interest, those concerned would have approved and assented” – it becomes real the moment concrete procedures of supervision and mechanisms of participation are at stake. The principle also plays a significant role in utilitarianism where it is thematized in the active notion of “concern” as well as in the more passive notion of “concernedness.” According to utilitarian thought, the quality of a form of government is measured by the amount of good it produces (i.e., by how much it increases happiness/pleasure and decreases suffering/pain) and that it provides for those who, living under this regime, are concerned. However, Jeremy Bentham already acknowledged how difficult it is to determine the exact radius of a regime’s impact and, thus, the exact scope of those concerned; it is only possible to make estimates by taking into considerations “those whose interests seem most immediately to be affected.” (Bentham 2000, 32; emphasis by the authors) John Stuart Mill, in turn, saw a political system that gives priority to those who are concerned as advantageous for two reasons: It reduces the dangers of paternalism and exclusion and enables more qualified decisions since “in the absence of its natural defenders, the interest of the excluded is always in danger of being overlooked: and, when looked at, is seen with very different eyes from those of the persons whom it directly concerns” (Mill 1975, 167). “Concernedness” – as well as the related notions of “interest” and “affectedness” – thus count among the foundational concepts of democratic constitutionality. To give but one prominent example, this finds

76  Emmanuel Alloa and Florian Grosser expression in Jürgen Habermas’s definition of the democratic “discourse principle,” which he defines as follows: “Just those norms are valid to which all possibly affected persons could agree as participants in rational discourses” (Habermas 1996, 107).4 It is here – i.e., with respect to the problem of the “circle of a polity’s groundless discursive self-­ constitution” (Habermas 2001, 774) – that questions arise anew about how precisely concernedness is to be grasped and about whom specifically is included among the “concerned.” Among other things, the underdetermined character of the concept leads to difficulties in the context of the law. Although certain legal discourses repeatedly refer to the concept of concernedness,5 the seemingly unproblematic derivation of justified claims to participation from concernedness in democratic theory turns out to be untenable from a juridical vantage point. For when the right to participate is claimed by invoking the category of concernedness, this is not based on general principles of sovereignty but on special interests of those who are (or who present themselves as) concerned. In Germany for instance, the Constitutional Court issued several judgments in which concernedness was rejected as a legal foundation for decision-making power. It was argued that, otherwise, the central democratic notion of civil equality could be undermined.6 The concept of concernedness has received renewed attention in debates on post-national political order. For instance, David Held holds that, corresponding to shifts in geopolitical power relations, a shift in the “nature of constituency” becomes increasingly apparent. This shift, he argues, leads to a revaluation of “domains and groups significantly affected” (Held 1995). The talk is of new, post-national, sectorial demoi or “postWestphalian” public spheres. In a much-discussed contribution to these debates, Arash Abizadeh suggests that issues of migration and border politics in particular should not be negotiated and decided by sovereign decision-makers of so-called receiving states alone. He argues that those who are primarily concerned by border politics and policies – and this means migrants themselves – can justifiably claim certain participation rights too (Abizadeh 2008). What comes into the critical focus of such analyses that spell out concernedness either in terms of subjection or in terms of affectedness is the central position occupied by “the citizen” and “the people” in modern political thought and, in particular, in social contract theory. Under contemporary conditions of large-scale migratory movements, these authors argue, the legitimacy of democratic systems can no longer be determined sufficiently on the basis of the constellation of citizen-people-state alone. Against the privileging of the contingent category “citizen,” which in its current form perpetuates global inequalities in today’s world, they propose to open and expand democratic political subjectivity and agency by including the “subjected” or “affected.” For theorists who argue for the “all-subjected principle,” “the people,” understood in a genuinely democratic sense, does not only include those

Being Concerned 77 who, typically qua birth, have citizen status. Instead it is composed of all those who find themselves within the reach and influence of a state’s authority, no matter if they are citizens or not. Whether and to what degree a political system can be seen as democratically legitimized consequently does not depend on its treatment and consideration of its own citizens alone. It depends on its relation to all those who are subjected to its authority as it manifests itself in coercive measures and coercive threats. The attempt to reconceive the demos as “in principle unbounded” and to develop new, justified claims as to (partial) political participation is taken a step further by proponents of the “all-affected principle.” Theorists like Carol Gould, Iris Young, David Held, and Nancy Fraser7 aim at detaching democracy even more from the traditionally central notions of the state and of the citizens’ self-determination exercised within its borders. According to their approaches, participation rights can be claimed by all those who are affected by the decisions of (state, intra-state, or supra-state) political institutions. Thus, genuinely democratic forms of organization can no longer be derived from relations of membership but must be determined in accordance with the concrete shape and constitution of power relations. With respect to the democratic “people,” this leads to a moving image, according to which demoi keep (re-)constituting themselves on the scale of the local, the national, or the global in correlation to the decisions and measures by which they are affected. Theorists who support the “all-subjected principle” can draw on a variety of similar approaches in the history of political thought – ranging from classical positions in social contract theory to Hannah Arendt’s revaluation of “residents” or “habitants” as a more inclusive alternative and corrective to the category of the “citizen” (cf. Arendt 2017) – that seek to derive rights of protection and rights to participation from the individuals’ being subject to state authority. In addition, they can invoke the history of political struggles, in which substantial democratic gains have been made with implicit or explicit reference to the principle of concernedness. The revolt of the American colonies against the British occupying power or the assertive realization of universal and, in particular, women’s suffrage are but two cases in point. Yet, there are strong arguments to the effect that linking democracy to the principle of concernedness is neither workable nor desirable. Even though it is acknowledged that this principle can have diagnostic, critical value (cf. Näsström 2011), the objection is raised that its usage as a positive, constitutive principle of legitimacy opens Pandora’s box (for an early critical discussion cf. Dahl 1970): Although a referendum on Scottish independence would not only concern or affect the population of Scotland but would have considerable consequences for the population of the entire United Kingdom, a referendum is only held in Scotland. And although it would primarily concern or affect the inhabitants of

78  Emmanuel Alloa and Florian Grosser developing countries, if Switzerland cut its developmental aid programs, it would be difficult to cogently reason that developing countries get to decide upon the Swiss budget for such programs. In other words, the argument of concernedness or affectedness in itself cannot be a sufficient criterion for making valid claims as to codetermination and participation or even to holding decision-makers accountable. It is argued that applying concernedness without any further criteria allows for one conclusion only. This is based on the notion that in one way or another everyone is concerned or affected by everything (the so-called butterfly effect). Political processes would thus become ultimately impossible as a result of the vast, unsurveyable number of competing and conflicting claims. It is thus suggested that the minimum requirement for making sense of and working with the concept of concernedness would be its differentiation as to kinds and degrees of being concerned (e.g., based on the question whether vital needs, legal and political rights, or opportunities for consumption and lifestyles are at stake).8 In addition to objections to the notorious indeterminacy (or fundamental indeterminability) of the demos, it is further criticized that the application of the concept would ultimately lead to undemocratic shifts of power in favor of those who get to decide what exactly constitutes a case of relevant concernedness. However, all these more or less critical approaches to concernedness strike us as problematic and, in the last analysis, misleading because they frame the debate in exclusively juridical terms and thus reduce concernedness to a matter of attributing rights to (or withholding rights from) individuals. If, from the outset, concernedness, mediated by claims to participation, is used in order to legitimize democratic constitutionality or the lawfulness of democratic decision-making procedures, it is always already seen from a juridical point of view. While concernedness still implies considerable affective moments in Bentham’s or Mill’s utilitarian theorizing, this is no longer the case in theories of sovereignty. Since it cannot be determined normatively in a sufficient manner, it is no longer considered a valid criterion for claims regarding the right to participate. More importantly, and this is at the center of the following considerations, concernedness ultimately challenges and goes against the principle of state, popular, and individual sovereignty. As the discussions show, popular sovereignty cannot be derived from concernedness cogently. Sovereignty is a matter of justification, not of impact. If, for instance, Arturo Toscanini should decide to retire from his position as chief conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the members of the orchestra would be seriously concerned or affected by his decision. And yet, they would not have any right to (co-)determine whether Toscanini retires or not – here, the decision is entirely up to the sovereign individual.9 If concernedness fails as a reliable criterion for identifying claims to participate in decision-making processes, the question remains as to

Being Concerned 79 what other concepts might be worth considering. At first sight. all those who are members of a specific political order or a distinctly organized political entity could reasonably voice such a claim. However, in modern constitutional regimes, this does not apply unrestrictedly. For example, the realm of fundamental rights, which states institutions are required to protect and preserve, is excluded. Thereby, constitutional jurisdiction is seen as a bulwark against a “politics of affect,” always prone to eruption (e.g., when citizens demand the reintroduction of capital punishment in reaction to the day’s events). In such cases, citizens are no longer considered competent. Instead, sovereign decision-making power rests with non-participatory institutions such as courts of law, expert commissions, or parliamentary committees. The principle of participation is thus unequivocally limited: Not everyone is supposed to comment and express herself – and not on all matters. In this way, concernedness is superseded by (limited, exclusive) competence, which decides who gets to make specific decisions. This creates a paradoxical situation. While concernedness was first dismissed as a valid criterion for participation since it violated the principle of equality, it now seems to lead to a different form of inegalitarian partiality since it empowers a select few to make decisions due to their presumed qualification and expertise. This objectivity of expertocratic judgment insinuates that recommendations are given and decisions are made by persons who, while responsible due to their qualified competence, are not concerned affectively. What remains for concernedness is a realm that is considered, by and large, practically irrelevant. It is reduced to compassion at a distance while actual political responsibility, competence, and agency is situated elsewhere and delegated to experts; from the outset, both its site and scope are normalized. Whereas concernedness is, on the one hand, transformed into privileged competence, it is, on the other, reduced to impotent spectatorship. However, over the past years a variety of political developments and movements have occurred that challenge this polarization between the exclusive competence of qualified experts and the compliant indignation of emotionalized monads. It is against the background of normalized or merely symbolic concernedness that we now seek to examine to what extent the category of concernedness has the heuristic potential to grasp such phenomena. Drawing on the phenomenological concept of responsivity, we attempt to describe contemporaneous forms of community formation that are triggered by shared experiences of concernedness in terms of “responsive communities.”

3. (Co-)Affectedness: Forms of Shared Concernedness Attempts to identify approaches within the phenomenological tradition that can explain collective meaning as well as community formation for

80  Emmanuel Alloa and Florian Grosser the most part have depended on the idea of applying Edmund Husserl’s individual-subjective analyses to questions of inter-subjectivity. One highly differentiated field of research examines how far the intentional structure of consciousness can be transposed to groups so that one can speak of “collective intentionality.”10 However, we do not want to pursue this path here. Instead, we draw on another point of departure that plays an important role in the context of a different theoretical tradition, namely on Husserl’s notion of “original impressions” (Urimpressionen), which are situated on a pre-predicative level. One of the earliest readers of Husserl in France, Emmanuel Levinas (who provided an early translation of the Cartesian Meditations), developed a groundbreaking reinterpretation in examining the urimpressional structure of consciousness that, albeit in mediated ways, proved to be relevant for social theory too. Where Husserl assumes that “original impressions” are the epitome of the immanence of consciousness (namely as far as they stand for the autoaffection of consciousness), Levinas recognizes signs of a constitutive hetero-affection that precede higher capacities of consciousness. (Levinas 1998) Accordingly, transcendence in the sense of an excess toward an outside does not only occur through intentional references, but already emerges on the level of the most basic affective structures. Such forms of affection that are not constituted consciously but set consciousness in motion exhibit an alteritarian structure. For Levinas, this means that at the core of identity we always already find traces of alterity, that the self always begins outside of itself. This alteritarian perspective opens up an alternative strand of thought within which thinkers like Merleau-Ponty and Sartre can be situated. The alteritarian structure of consciousness is extended to external experiences of all kinds, to experiences of otherness and, with that, to experiences of other subjects. As Sartre observes, “we encounter the Other; we do not constitute him” (Sartre 1978, 250). The Other, for Merleau-Ponty, enters one’s field of perception laterally and affects one from there without ever becoming a Gegen-stand (literally, something that “stands against”), without ever being graspable as an object (Merleau-Ponty 1973, 86, note). Yet, it is Levinas who develops the most radical critique of an egological foundation of consciousness as he uses the idea of a universal original affection (Urhylè) in Husserl’s late works to think of the moment of non-intentionality in terms of an onset, an incursion of an unassailable outside (Levinas 1986, 345–359). For him, this is a matter of being hit or struck that precedes every conscious realization and that cannot be transposed into such a realization. Qua affectedness by an overwhelming external, foreign form of address or demand, the receptive capacities of consciousness are always already exceeded, which is why affectedness can no longer be understood as receptivity. Instead, it is now described as a primordial passivity that is prior to the alternative of activity and passivity. Insofar as the address or demand of the Other, in crossing and

Being Concerned 81 countering all intentionality, thwarts anticipation or “protention,” it is unassailable in two respects. First, it is unassailable because the demand only finds expression in the response that is given to it, because in its logical (rather than chronological) precedence it has always already passed. Second, it is unassailable because one categorically cannot do complete justice to such a demand due to its excessive character. (Levinas 1981) There is a fundamental asymmetry between that which is demanded and that which is given in response. However, the fact that demands of this kind cannot be satisfied does not mean that it is possible to decline them. In his continuation of Levinasian thought, Bernhard Waldenfels has made clear wherein the inevitability of responding consists. Demands that occur in different forms – e.g., in the variations of an explicit address or a silent gaze – impact me independently of my volitions and undermine the opposition of “is” and “ought.” Following Levinas, one is thus confronted with a fundamental “non-indifference” toward the Other. Although it is within our discretion how we respond, it is not up to us to decide whether and to what (or to whom) we respond. This is what Waldenfels refers to as a responsive double-bind. We cannot not respond, for even in looking away or in overhearing the uncomfortable address, demand or appeal is implicitly confirmed. In this sense, what is valid for the double negation in logic also applies to the structure of address by the Other. It is an expression of necessity; the address of the Other is characterized by its inescapability, its pervasive not ceasing or not going away (ne-cessitudo) (see Waldenfels 2002b; Waldenfels has elaborated on these notions in Waldenfels 2002a). This brief sketch cannot do justice to the far-reaching implications of Levinas’s theory of subjectivity. This, however, never was the aim in the specific context of our analysis of political concernedness, for which it is relevant to examine how certain forms of responding can be critically illuminated with the help of Levinas. If demands of others are rejected based on individuals or institutions declaring themselves to be “not responsible” or “not accountable,” the leap across categorical boundaries becomes apparent. Claiming judicial “incompetence” and contending to be unconcerned by such demands may well be legitimate legally; yet, such claims enter too late if one seeks to retrace the logic of concernedness. If remaining deaf to the Other’s demand only confirms that it has been heard, one must say that the unconcernedness displayed on the surface testifies to a more basic affective concernedness. For Levinas, the ethical demand is extensive as responsibility is not only “assumed” and “accepted” for those one is responsible for legally (as in the case of wards or guardians) but must be shouldered for all in the name of an unconditional hospitality. With Levinas, one can thus criticize the juridicization of the ethical in all cases, in which existing positive law is invoked in order to either deny responsibility or, conversely, in order to claim to be speaking for another person in the name of such law, thus patronizing her qua legal

82  Emmanuel Alloa and Florian Grosser representation. The picture drawn here is one of twofold arbitrariness. In suggesting that being concerned or not is entirely at the discretion of the individual person, it insinuates that the subject can freely decide that and by what (or by whom) it is concerned, that and for what (or for whom) it takes responsibility. As has been pointed out by various commentators, Levinas’s almost hyperbolic emphasis on alterity can present an obstacle when it comes to transposing his ethics to the field of social theory. This is largely due to his focus on the experience of (dual, “face-to-face”) inter-subjectivity, which initially leaves aside the validity of social institutions and norms. Yet, a number of recent attempts at such a transposition indicate how moments of socialization can be conceived once the figure of the other Other, referred to by Levinas as “the third,” is taken into consideration (Delhom 2000; Bedorf 2003; Vanni 2004; Zeilinger 2010). What is added to the twofold unassailability mentioned earlier is a third aspect. Not only is it impossible to adequately respond to the Other’s demand – as only finite responses can be given to an infinite demand – but the manifold, often competing, demands that originate in a plurality of Others necessitate choices that inevitably neglect many such demands. Against the foil of these demands – most of which can never be satisfied, let alone satisfied sufficiently – decision must be taken, for which responsibility needs to be assumed in turn (Flatscher 2011). Decisions of this kind, however, are rarely taken alone. They are instead already situated within the horizon of collective negotiation. In contrast to a legal tradition that sharply delimits and partitions responsibility, what is decisive in such attempts at justice is their (re-)connection to events that have provoked them and brought them about. This implies that collective decisions and resulting actions cannot only be located at the level of deliberative discourse and debate. Analysis thus has to begin at an earlier stage. For instance, it must be presumed that concernedness occurs under conditions of sociality; that affectedness is already to be understood as co-affectedness. While Levinas couples affectedness with transcendence experienced by singular subjects and, thus, situates it in the horizon of the individual, there are troves in Martin Heidegger’s writings that mark the experiential context of concernedness as one that is communally constituted. Although the pertinent remarks are scattered across his work and often have the character of mere allusions, Heidegger’s renewed reflections on “beingwith-others” – reflections that, starting in the mid-1930s, led to certain revisions of his earlier, politically eminently problematic approaches to community – indicate how affective concernedness can be understood as an original moment of community constitution. Even though affectedness, in the context of Heidegger’s analyses of Befindlichkeit (translated into English as “situatedness,” “where we’re at-ness,” “attunement,” or, as recently suggested by Jan Slaby, “findingness”) in Being and Time, is

Being Concerned 83 explicitly determined as “more than a feeling” and, thus, unequivocally demarcated against psychological interpretations in terms of an individual subject’s internal state, its transindividual aspects remain underdetermined.11 However, this changes noticeably in Heidegger’s later works such as, e.g., his interpretations of Hölderlin. There, “the political” – i.e., willful decision-making by individuals or collectives – is no longer presented as essential for the “founding and building of the polis” (Heidegger 2000, 112). It is instead related to the experience of “the excess of destiny and its dispensations,” (ibid.) of “the shock of being struck,” affected, or concerned,12 which is now identified as enabling the formation of community. Preceding “the political,” this experience of being concerned does not end at the limits of separate individual horizons but refers individuals to a shared horizon and to one another. The notion of a community out of concernedness also takes shape in Heidegger’s considerations on the “thing” with its inherent “gathering” power. Again, the essential impulse for community formation is not conceived in terms of deliberation and decision, will and choice but in terms of the experience – in the sense of Widerfahrnis or Zu-fall, of an accident – of a prior being “be-thinged” or conditioned (be-dingt), of a pre-contractual being addressed, which can be taken up responsively (cf. Heidegger 2012). In his recent book, Bernhard Waldenfels has further elaborated this line of thought (cf. Waldenfels 2015, esp. 55–59 and 93–109). In critical discussions of Heidegger’s concept of “being-with,” he shows how affectedness or concernedness by shared experiences is constitutive of a communal “we” consisting of “co-patients.” That is to say that others do not appear as fellow-subjects of collective decision-making at first but as those with whom one is (co-)exposed to and (co-)affected by the experience of a “bodily compassion.” On the basis of this analysis, Waldenfels suggests that responsivity can no longer be described adequately on the level of individuality either. It now must be understood as always already shared with others. For this shared, common responsivity, he coins the term “co-respondence.” Roberto Esposito’s reflections on community pick up crucial moments of these approaches – especially their emphasis on the impossibility of tracing the emergence of community back to acts that spring from subjective sovereignty and intentionality – and transpose them into an explicitly political register (cf. Esposito 2009). Two traits of the communal are at the center of Esposito’s analyses, developed in critical examinations of the works of Hobbes, Rousseau, Kant, Heidegger, and Bataille. Rightly understood, communitas has no foundational starting ground to be defined in terms of “natural,” organic or historical belonging, affiliation, and cohesion. Thus, it cannot be conceived as something that is one’s “own,” as a “property” or “possession.” Neither can it refer to a destination or end point that safely orients its endeavors. By extension, melioristic ideas of achieving freedom and equality, fairness and justice through

84  Emmanuel Alloa and Florian Grosser discourse as well as nostalgic notions of loss and retrieval, alienation and ­re-appropriation, cannot endow community with secure substance and unity. Of unfounded, “abyssal” origin and constantly involved in movements of search and exploration, community proves to be a continuous “chain of alterations that cannot be fixed in a new identity” (ibid., 138). Contrary to predominant approaches in political theory, the cum or “with” is not characterized by plenitude but by a constitutive lack. On Esposito’s account, this “void” constitution of community is already reflected in the etymological origin of communitas: The word does not denote any kind of common ground (of historical descent or ethnic belonging) but a collective munus (i.e., a “task,” “duty,” or “office”). It is through the prefix cum that it designates a challenge that must be taken up, a service that must be rendered together with others. What in the original Latin finds expression in the word’s second component, munus, is the idea that community is to be understood as an obligation to be met, a commitment to be fulfilled, a task to be performed; it thus signifies a gift to be made without any prospect of compensation, a duty to give which concerns and “affects”13 individuals immediately, i.e., without any prior possibility for reflection, decision, and choice. Accordingly, the individual does not enter the community but finds herself caught in the field of force of a common demand that refers her to others and that imposes an obligation on her. This forceful demand, which is not free of certain coercive, even violent traits, can only be limited and turned down by individuals through a procedure that, though most familiar in bacteriology, originates in the legal field: the procedure of “immunization” (cf. Esposito 2011). An individual can break free from this common obligation if she isolates herself in the literal sense of im-munitas, thus asserting her independence. Legally, immunity stands for a privilege since it describes the situation of an individual that is “exempt” from the laws (privilegium is composed of lex, “law” and privus, “separate”). According to Esposito, the logic of immunization has accompanied the history of political formations from the beginning. Today, it becomes manifest as a controversial issue at the center of debates on biopolitics (cf. Lorey 2011). However, the very moment the burden of the task of giving is taken on, it renders exemption impossible and ties those who are thus “affected” together.14 Seen from the vantage point of the (cum-)munus, community cannot rest on preexisting interests or values that are shared and that therefore warrant clearly defined collective identity. On Esposito’s account, it initially presents itself as a “coincidence,” as an accidental falling into one – or, following Heidegger, as a “falling” (Verfallen) experienced together with others – that connects strangers who, apart from this coincidence and the resulting obligation, have “no-thing-incommon” (Esposito 2009, 141). On the one hand, this implies that community necessarily lacks any substantive (political, ideological, historical,

Being Concerned 85 cultural, ethnic, etc.) common ground. On the other, it means that it is exactly this deficit, this abyssal void, which, in the last analysis, is owed to mortality,15 that gives rise to binding forces and that becomes constitutive for community, i.e., a kind of community that is continuously under way, searching, and in (re-)formation. This approach does not only discard conceptions that try to establish and justify community based on notions of the natural and organic; it also rejects models that define political community in terms of a contract. In fact, the idea of the gift is diametrically opposed to the logic of exchange, to the political economy of incentives and advantages, which finds its paradigmatic expression in the do, ut des at the core of the Hobbesian contract. This leads representatives of social-contract thought to suspect that any such concernedness by an obligation or task must be tantamount to disenfranchisement and heteronomy. From their perspective, Esposito’s communitas can only be perceived as an involuntary, coercive form of association. Even though, in the context of Esposito’s framework, autonomy can neither be considered as a valid explanation for inter-subjective association nor invoked as a normative criterion for justified communality, there are two important indicators which suggest that such suspicion is exaggerated and, ultimately, unfounded. First, one finds references to a tradition of thought, decisively initiated by Kant and continued by, among others, Heidegger and Levinas, which seeks to adequately determine the relation between heteronomy (which unquestionably shapes munus and concernedness) and autonomy. In their reflections on “command,” “call,” and “appeal,” respectively, the former constitutes the “before” of the (ethical) subject that only makes possible its subjectivation. However, this unavailable, exterior, ineluctably alteritarian “before” does not constrain, let alone block, autonomy but rightly understood, forms the ground and frame of its possibility.16 Second, Esposito’s interpretations of Heidegger on “caring-in-common” and of Bataille on “common works” indicate how moments of autonomy are relocated as to their temporal position rather than superseded altogether. While concernedness by obligation, duty, and task, initially constitutive of community, remains inaccessible to autonomous control and decision, it opens up a range of possibilities for free, creative play with respect to how communal coexistence is realized by “caring” and “working” together. Since Esposito only discusses such possibilities in passing, we will have to come back to the question of what exact forms of freedom, creativity, and responsibility are consistent with a conception of community out of concernedness. Despite this preliminary incompleteness, the philosophical grounding sketched out with the help Levinas, Heidegger, Waldenfels, and Esposito allows us to critically examine existing understandings of community out of concernedness in order to then explore alternative conceptions.

86  Emmanuel Alloa and Florian Grosser

4. Communities of Concern: Three Models and Their Limitations What is the role played by concernedness, in the twofold sense of affect and “earlier” affectedness suggested here, in the processes of community formation? One of the objections to a contractual understanding of how political communities are formed is the observation that individuals do not form collectivities and societies based solely on a rational analysis of the benefits of membership but often build communities in reaction to emergency situations. For instance, the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York or the 2015 attacks in Paris evidently led to the citizens of these countries growing closer together. These and similar observations suggest that the moral-political agents so central to liberal theorizing are moral-political patients in the first place. If, in the following, the contours of responsive communities out of concernedness are to be elaborated in more detail, such a concept first needs to be distinguished from other concepts of community that could also be categorized under the heading of concernedness. As discussed earlier, concernedness does not only refer to an initial affective situation but to a plurality of contexts in which questions of legal responsibility or interestdependent relevance can be at stake. With a view to current theoretical debates, three dominant models can be identified in which concernedness is invoked explicitly, although in differing ways: 1) the interest-based community out of concernedness, 2) the identity-based community out of concernedness, and 3) the reactive community out of concernedness. 1. The interest-based community out of concernedness largely coincides with liberal theories of society. According to their conceptions of society that emphasize voluntariness, those persons agree to associate whose interests are or could be concerned. Interest-based communities of this kind are goal-oriented and presuppose the person’s free decision to enter the social contract with other consenting individuals (and, as a result, to have her individual autonomy and rights limited by political authority). Another important aspect of this model underlines that the participants themselves get to determine the boundaries between that which does and that which does not affect them. 2. The identity-based community out of concernedness overlaps significantly with communitarian approaches. What is central to these approaches is the idea of tradition- or value-based belonging. Thus, community is understood as something that individuals do not actively shape themselves; they are, instead, born into, interwoven in, and shaped by such communities. As a consequence, strong bonds of shared, collective identity exist between its members. If individual members of such an “essential” community, such as one based on

Being Concerned 87 shared values, are concerned, the entire community is, therefore, also immediately concerned. 3. Finally, reactive communities out of concernedness fall into one with emergency communities, i.e., communal formations that emerge under the impression of acute urgency and need for action. It is in the aftermath of catastrophes or in situations of extreme vulnerability that persons associate: solidarity being the order of the day. Both the bond and the scope of such communities are predetermined by the specific demands of problem solving; such communities are limited insofar as, as a rule, they are not sustainable and dissolve once the emergency is overcome. As much as these models of community out of concernedness differ from each other, they also reveal significant flaws. The first, interest-based model of concernedness is confronted with the question of whether individuals can freely decide what concerns them and what doesn’t. Within the intricate network of human affairs, examined with great precision in Hannah Arendt’s The Human Condition, interests are hardly ever a matter of free accord and agreement. Overlooking the conditions of interesse, i.e., of plural in-betweenness as Arendt highlights in her analyses, (Arendt 1998, esp. Ch. V) this model reveals questionable individualistic, rationalistic, and voluntaristic biases. Drawing on both Arendt and Levinas, Judith Butler, in her recent work, pointedly shows the potential dangers that accompany this model. Her considerations on an “ethics of cohabitation” make clear that contract theories, in suggesting that one can “will” and “choose” with whom one coexists, are tied to an understanding of freedom that leaves open the possibility of eminently violent practices of exclusion. On Butler’s account, the idea that obligations only exist with regard to those with whom one has consciously entered contractual relations problematically marginalizes obligations with regard to those with whom one is always already situated in contexts of (more or less immediate) “cohabitation.” For her, this marginalization of “precontractual” coexistence that precedes all willing and choosing can even result in the assumption that, based on the notion of the contract, one is entitled to decide “which portion of humanity may live and which may die”17 (Butler 2015, 111). The second, identity-based model is ambiguous for other reasons. Where essence and value are invoked in order to define community, it is obvious that a substantial ground must be presupposed. Although sufficient evidence for its existence can never be provided, such communal ground – conjured up in founding myths and other genealogical grand-narratives as well as in corresponding canons of values allegedly shared by all members – remains unquestioned. This particular variation on community out of concernedness, developed and defended in the works of Michael Oakeshott, Charles Taylor, or Amitai Etzioni, seeks to

88  Emmanuel Alloa and Florian Grosser (over-)compensate for the communal lack characteristic of instrumental liberal theories by means of a socio-anthropological excess; it therefore runs the risk of cementing a (perceived) status quo at the expense of possible change. Due to its appeal to “values that members already possess,” (Etzioni 1991, 148) Etzioni’s otherwise interesting concept of “responsive community” is a case in point. Of course, (liberal) interest-based and (communitarian) value-based conceptions of community, informed by specific understandings of concernedness, do not have to be mutually exclusive. That these approaches can intertwine and even stabilize one another becomes apparent in, e.g., contemporary debates on the ethics and politics of immigration. In their attempts to justify the “right to exclude” – i.e., the right of democratic communities to unilaterally decide all questions regarding the admission and integration of migrants – David Miller and Michael Walzer emphasize the significance of both self-determination and cultural particularity (cf. Miller 2016; Walzer 1983, 31–63). Whereas the sovereign decision concerning inclusion/exclusion is identified as the core of communal independence, cultural factors such as language, way of life, or institutional system, typically spelled out on the scale of the nation, are taken to guarantee communal cohesion. This combination of identity of interests, preferences, and objectives and identity of traditions, values, and also sensitivities – and this can even include “anxieties, resentments, and prejudices felt by native citizens toward many (though not all) immigrants,” (Miller 2016, 159) i.e., the undeniably unwelcome affects mentioned previously – leads to sharp lines of demarcation between inside and outside, own and foreign, belonging and not belonging to the political community. Within these boundaries, moral-political “special relations” and “special obligations” that bind “members” together in a privileged, exclusive manner are constituted on this basis. In contrast to conceptions of community that insist on continuity and static conditions, reactive communities out of concernedness run into a different problem due to their (over-)emphasis on exceptionality. The uprisings, strikes, revolts, and insurgencies of all kinds, often presented as paradigms of political community by representatives of this strand of thought, are mostly short-lived. Once the emergency that has triggered community formation is resolved, the collective quickly disintegrates again. Something that has addressed and affected people has been reacted to in a primarily negative manner, i.e., with the sole aim of jointly overcoming that specific challenge or obstacle. Because the forces that brought people together in the first place are quickly exhausted, one can conclude that the cause that brought people together is to be found in the past, not in the future. Beyond these interest-based, identity-based, and reactive models of community – models in which community is under-determined, overdetermined, and determined in a merely negative fashion, respectively – we

Being Concerned 89 now want to suggest an alternative model that avoids their shortcomings. This fourth model, presented in the subsequent section, takes up the socio-phenomenological insights of the previous section, which it seeks to reconsider in terms of responsive communities. What is central to this attempt is to think through cases in which that which has affected or concerned communities does not cease to be significant but, instead, has the form of an ever-approaching horizon of communal possibilities. With this in mind, we will first turn to a few concrete examples that, in our view, can illustrate the concept of responsive communities out of concernedness. Against this background, we will establish a number of criteria that are typical for such communities in the concluding section.

5. Concerned by That Which Is “To Come”: On Responsive Communities The following phenomena all seem to qualify as varieties of communities out of concernedness: the masses gathering on Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the movement of the Indignados in Spain, the protesters in Istanbul’s Gezi Park, the Occupy movement in New York and elsewhere, and the Umbrella movement in Hong Kong. Besides such broadly perceived, media-effective initiatives, one must also mention lesser-known cases in which concernedness appears to have triggered inventive forms of concerted action. For instance, one might think of Prendocasa, an Italian initiative that, primarily aiming at access to housing, occupies empty houses and administrative buildings, monasteries, and historical buildings (including some twentieth-century palaces), the maintenance of which is no longer subsidized by the government. In this initiative, “strangers” – i.e., individuals who do not have any substantial positive traits as to their identity or legal status, their preferences or belief systems in common – get together and work together in self-organized ways. What gives rise to communality is their involvement in shared practices of “house taking.” To only take up the politico-legal dimension of their “strangeness” or “foreignness,” elements of the common and communal that emerge between Italian citizens and permanent-resident aliens, migrants with temporary residence permits, along with “clandestine” migrants, can neither be traced back to “given” commonalities nor to commonalities that are established discursively (e.g., by means of an “overlapping consensus”). Such elements are instead made possible by an experiential space, in which “strangers” contingently find themselves confronted by others and, together with these others, by a challenge that affects all of them. Communal bonds are therefore the result of a plural ­co-presence within one experiential or problem horizon that can be grasped in terms of precarity and that manifests itself concretely in a wide-spread lack of (political, social, economic, and cultural) possibilities for (self-)expression and participation. In the case of Prendocasa, the

90  Emmanuel Alloa and Florian Grosser process of community constitution thus takes the form of a response in light of the specific problem horizon of precarious housing conditions, which cuts across the previously mentioned and other lines of difference. Tying otherwise unconnected individuals together, the precise scope and shape of this community in formation is only defined in this response, i.e., in the common project of struggling for living space as it unfolds. Since Prendocasa essentially involves inventing and experimenting with new forms of coexistence and political agency, occupying and squatting are not reducible to a merely pragmatic interest in having vital necessities satisfied. Beyond shelter and other crucial infrastructural aspects, what is at stake are internal processes of self-organization and, externally, of negotiation with established politico-legal actors and institutions that ultimately aim at enabling those who are (co-)concerned to live what Butler refers to as “livable lives.” A second example pertinent for our considerations is the Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (PAH), a Spanish initiative that was awarded the European Citizens’ Prize by the European Parliament in 2013. This “platform of those affected by mortgage” formed in the context of the Spanish housing bubble when 80 percent of the population, attracted by cheap mortgage, took out loans, most of which they have still been unable to repay. It is organized as an anti-hierarchical network of local platforms that support citizens threatened by evictions because of mortgage debt or cutoff from gas and electricity because of outstanding payments. The affected gather in working groups and assemblies where possibilities of self-organization and resistance are debated. Their focus is on symbolic expressions of solidarity (e.g., demonstrative occupations of vacant buildings) as well as concrete measures necessary to facilitating relocation and establishing a system of emergency accommodations. What distinguishes this form of responsive community out of concernedness from solely reactive communities is the generality of their demands, as they seek to shape the existing politico-social situation beyond specific defects. In its struggle against a mortgage system considered inhumane, the platform has had considerable success. In 2013, the European Court of Justice ruled that mortgage laws in Spain are contrary to European law. What is more, the PAH turned into an important forum for broader discussion regarding debt regimes in Southern Europe, from which further social movements have emerged. Both the creative-inventive character of its (re-)formation and the generality of its political demands indicate that it cannot be reduced to a reactive collective that merely engages in acts of problem-solving. What links these examples is the fact that they question normalizations of the political domain and oppose classical forms of interest-driven politics (although it should be noted that intersections to the arena of organized party politics can and often do exist).18 In addition, both cases are characterized by a specific geostrategic and power-theoretical

Being Concerned 91 positionality. Not only are they situated in the periphery in relation to centers of decision-making; they are also situated at the margins of the political. With that, we have already pointed out some features typical of community (formation) out of concernedness. Despite certain similarities and intersections, communities of this kind can thus be told apart from the more traditional forms of political community discussed previously. Five descriptive criteria can be identified that allow for a more precise definition of responsive communities out of concernedness: 1. Co-exposure: What makes a community of the concerned one of equals cannot be backed up with reference to belonging of whatever kind. It is due to the shared horizon of an affliction and vulnerability that the members of such a community experience themselves as equals. As bodily beings, subjects are exposed to other demands, challenges, and assaults. This ontological condition, however, is always already a socio-ontological condition since being exposed inevitably implies being co-exposed. The original exposedness of human life is not a private matter. Instead of founding inter-subjective connection and obligation through a social contract, what is at stake are ethical demands that precede all claims of validity that are made explicit. Binding forces of this kind are essentially owed to (ultimately corporeal) moments of proximity and co-presence between “strangers” who are situated within and affected by one initially shared horizon of experience. The existence of this bond manifests itself in the demand to find – or, rather, to invent – forms of non-violent, “livable,” and meaningful co-existence under conditions of ineluctable difference. 2. Precarity: In contrast to Etzioni’s conception of community, responsive communities in the sense specified here do not have to be “sustainable.” Instead, precarity is inherent to such communities due to their origins, even if they last for prolonged periods of time. Collective concernedness brings about a shared space of experience, which serves as a foil rather than a ground or basis. Thus, the provisional nature of responsive communities out of concernedness is not due to their (more often than not limited) duration but to the fact that they are not fully resilient since they do not provide a firm foundation upon which to build in a durable, reliable manner. In this regard, one could think of Arendt’s reflections on the “fragility” of political projects or of the political – understood by her in terms of plural, concerted “action and speech” – as such. As she frequently stresses, the danger of failing is inscribed in all political attempts to give shape to the “absolute chaos of differences.” Accordingly, all processes of “world-building,” – and this, for her, essentially implies “we-building” and “meaning-building” – take place under conditions of ineradicable uncertainty.19

92  Emmanuel Alloa and Florian Grosser 3. Creativity: Concernedness does not exhaust itself in passive affect but opens up unexpected room for free play. Instead of resulting in either solidification or mechanic response, concernedness contains transformative moments. In common parlance, need is the mother of invention. With Waldenfels, it must be recognized that response, albeit inevitable, is not predetermined as to its concrete form. While a response must be given, it remains open as to how it is given. Herein lies the creativity of responding. In a more specifically political sense, this aspect can be grasped with the help of Arendt. The manifold, open-ended possibilities of “world-building” do not only encompass the new creation or disclosure, the re-appropriation and reconfiguration of public “things” and places (e.g., by means of artistic practices and works); (cf. Honig 2017) such possibilities can also be realized in practices that significantly (re-)build and transform political institutions. Sure enough, the underlying experimental agency is fundamentally different from all forms of sovereign agency that pursue “institution-building” in the name of pragmatic problem-solving or with the implementation of an agenda in mind, i.e., on the basis of minutely predefined intentions and interests and guided by detailed calculations as to means and ends.20 4. Responsibility: Responsive community of the kind discussed here can neither be understood as the sum of individuals that are concerned or that declare themselves to be concerned (“with” or “about” something), nor can their agency be grasped in terms of a mechanical response to affects they have suffered. In opposition to a merely reactive politics, which could rightly be described as a politics in the spirit of resentment that neglects and deliberately blocks experiences of (co-)concernedness, what is at stake is thinking about transformative possibilities that responsively turn experiences suffered into concrete options for actions, the unwilled into the willed, the involuntary into the chosen, and, thus, the reactive into the active or creative. An involuntary occurrence or event of responding can thus be turned into an act of conscious responsibility, which, independent of both reactive (or, respectively, reactionary) mechanisms for action and the illusion of self-authorized foundation of society ex nihilo, contributes to establishing tentative, temporary, and transitional contexts of successful coexistence. Even though the “site” of autonomy and intentionality shifts significantly, since they are no longer considered or posited as the origin of community, they are by no means superseded altogether.21 5. Synergy: If concernedness remains a suspicious, unwelcome category for describing the formation of political community and meaning, this is likely due to the fact that it still seems to be diffusely tied to the sphere of mere spectatorship. In this view, the pathos of emotion at best opens the up the field of so-called natural feelings like pity,

Being Concerned 93 kindness, or mercy. As long as the “pathic” suffering is taken to be the negation of praxis, this view is unlikely to change. However, it is a decisive criterion for responsive communities out of concernedness that sympathy, much cited in classical social theories,22 can always segue into in synergy, that co-suffering (sym-pathos) can be converted into co-acting (syn-ergeia). If the concept of community is even etymologically tied to the idea of a common task or duty, it must be made comprehensible why communities can be thought of on the basis of such a common work (ergon). What finds expression in this synergetic aspect of responsive community is the significance of what Arendt refers to in terms of “world-building,” i.e., of activities that create shared meaning or (Mit-)Sinn. As an alternative configuration of collective (non-)identity, the responsive community out of concernedness sketched out here undermines sharp dichotomies of (sovereign) self-description and (hegemonic) description by others of active, intentional, and, thus, free in contrast to passive, unwilled, and, thus, unfree, community constitution, which essentially determine pertinent debates in political and social philosophy.23 Among other things, our considerations seek to establish connections that allow for exchange between two debates largely conducted in isolation from one another, namely between socio-ontological discussions on processes of community formation, on the one hand, and on normative discussions on the legitimatory underpinnings of democratic systems, on the other. There can be no doubt that it remains to be examined separately to what degree responsive communities out of concernedness can meet the normative standards of singularity and plurality, of freedom and equality (or, more precisely, of “equality in difference”)24 that are essential for democratic collectives. We hope that this sketch can provide points of departure for further critical investigations into community out of concernedness and give some clues as to why the concept of concernedness deserves to be taken out of the poison cabinet of the political-theoretical pharmacy.

Notes 1. Despite considerable thematic, methodological, and ideological divergences, Peter Sloterdijk’s reflections on “rage,” Stéphane Hessel’s praise of “indignation,” and Chantal Mouffe’s recent plea for a “left-populism” converge in this respect. 2. For her critical discussion of pity as a political factor, see Arendt 1990, esp. chapter 2 ‘The Social Question.’ 3. In the Codex Justinianus, the formulation reads quod omnes similiter tangit, ab omnibus comprobetur (cf. Cod. Just. V, 59, 5, 2). 4. In this context, it is made clear that there are people who, albeit “concerned,” right now do not participate in democratic discourse. As becomes apparent due to certain individuals who do not meet Habermas’s standards

94  Emmanuel Alloa and Florian Grosser for rational discourse (e.g., minors or mentally disabled persons), this is not contingently but necessarily the case. However, even the complete inclusion of all concerned would run into a number of problems. This is critically pointed out in Luhmann 1996. 5. In a narrow sense, concernedness includes legal concernedness (Rechtsbetroffenheit), i.e., the question whether and to what extent legal violations have occurred. In a wider sense, however, it also includes political concernedness or concernedness by power (Herrschaftsbetroffenheit), i.e., the question to what extent citizens should participate in decision-making processes with regard to which they can claim that their “legitimate interest” is at stake. 6. Cf. BVerfGE 93, 37, 69, the Federal Constitutional Court’s ruling of May 1995 concerning political (co-)determination. Yet, contemporary political theorists like Benjamin Barber or Avner de-Shalit, in discussing the idea of the ‘city-zen,’ i.e., the (concerned) inhabitant of cities, argue in favor of qualified forms of linking such powers to concernedness. 7. After originally arguing for the “all-affected principle,” Fraser more recently has turned to an analysis of subjection, which, she holds, can be identified more clearly. Cf. Fraser 2008, esp. chapter 4 “Abnormal Justice.” 8. For an overview over the discussion on “kinds” and “degrees” of concernedness, cf. Caney 1991. 9. Robert Nozick gives this example when criticizing the principle of affectedness, cf. Nozick 2013, 268–270. 10. Drawing on, among other things, social theory, phenomenology, pragmatism, and analytic philosophy, contemporary debates on “collective intentionality” have been importantly shaped by authors such as Wilfrid Sellars, John Searle, Raimo Tuomela, and Hans Bernhard Schmid. 11. Jan Slaby has convincingly rebutted such mentalistic readings of Befindlichkeit. Cf. Slaby 2017. 12. The formulation “Not der Betroffenheit” that Heidegger uses is more accurately translated as “affliction of affectedness” or “affliction of concernedness.” 13. The notion of being “affected” is introduced in opposition to being “exempt.” It is not only directly related to the categorical difference between “communitas” and “immunitas,” central to Esposito’s own project, but also tied to the distinction between “public” and “private.” Cf. Esposito 2009, 6. 14. The German term “Auf-gabe” captures both moments that are crucial for Espositos’s considerations because of its double-meaning of, on the one hand, a task or demand to be met and, on the other, a form of (self-)surrender that accompanies meeting this demand in the act of giving. 15. The significance of death as that which refers individuals to one another and, thus, is at the (abyssal) ground of community is discussed by Esposito in dialogue with the work of Georges Bataille. Cf. Esposito 2009, 112–134. 16. The implications of Kant’s concept of the “command” and of Heidegger’s concept of the “call” with respect to the constitution of subjects and communities are discussed in particular detail at the beginning of the fourth chapter of Esposito 2009. 17. Butler’s critical remarks on the contractual model of political community, referring back to Arendt’s analysis of the Eichmann trial, point to its latent, uncanny compatibility with a “freedom to commit genocide.” 18. The transformation of the Spanish Indignados movement into a new political party, Podemos, is one case in point. Similarly, the phenomenon of socalled Sanctuary Cities in the US (and of Cities of Refuge in Europe) indicates such intersections. It currently attracts attention due to these cities’ practical attempts at approaching migration politics in alternative ways. Although concernedness is primarily conceived in juridical terms, the sanctuary

Being Concerned 95 approach shows that community under the signs of concernedness can be recognized by institutions that represent established state-centered politics. What takes precedence over questions of “legality” or “illegality” regarding the migrants’ entry and residence is the fact of their lived presence and lived ties as (co-)habitants. 19. This is particularly obvious in Arendt’s posthumously published Was ist Politik? (1950–1959) and her 1958 talk Kultur und Politik. 20. From the vantage point of Arendt and Waldenfels, it could be said that it is neither certain whether community out of concernedness will lead to political institutionalization at all nor what exact form it takes. Thus understood, political institutions do not constitute the starting point, but a “later” expression of concerned and responsive (re-)configurations of community. Responses to experiences of (co-)concernedness do not necessarily need to be given spontaneously and independent of all solidification as suggested by authors like, e.g., Giorgio Agamben who propagate the overcoming of “mere politics,” and its institutionalized forms, by “the political” as a “destituent” power. Such responses can also become manifest in more conventional forms of political organization as they emerge in contact with traditional political actors within the framework of the state. 21. Taking up a formulation by Jan Slaby, one could describe (co-)concernedness as the “ground floor dimension of intentionality” Slaby 2017, 10. 22. Adam Smith’s considerations on “fellow-feeling” or Jean-Jacques Rous seau’s concept of “pity” might serve as two such classical examples. 23. Carolin Emcke cogently reconstructs such dominant approaches to community and points out their problematic essentializing tendencies. What is missing in her study, however, is the analysis of possibilities (such as the ones indicated here) of thinking about communality independent of the binary scheme of autonomy/heteronomy. Cf. Carolin Emcke 2018. 24. This is the central normative criterion invoked in Emcke’s study on collective identities.

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Being Concerned 97 Miller, D. (2016). Strangers in Our Midst: The Political Philosophy of Immigration. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Näsström, S. (2011). “The Challenge of the All-Affected Principle,” Political Studies 59, 116–134. Nozick, R. (2013). Anarchy, State, and Utopia. New York: Basic Books. Post, G. (1964). Studies in Medieval Legal Thought: Public Law and the State 1100–1322. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Sartre, J.-P. (1978). Being and Nothingness: An Essay on Phenomenological Ontology. Transl. by H. E. Barnes. New York: Washington Square Press. Slaby, J. (2017). “More than a Feeling: Affect as Radical Situatedness,” Midwest Studies in Philosophy XLI, 7–26. Sloterdijk, P. (1988). Critique of Cynical Reason. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Sontag, S. (2003). Regarding the Pain of Others. New York: Picador. Vanni, M. (2004). L’impatience des réponses. L’éthique d’Emmanuel Lévinas au risque de son inscription pratique. Paris: CNRS. Waldenfels, B. (2002a). Bruchlinien Der Erfahrung: Phänomenologie-PsychoanalysePhänomenotechnik. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp. Waldenfels, B. (2002b). “Levinas and the Face of the Other,” in Critchley, S. and Bernasconi, R. (eds.). The Cambridge Companion to Levinas. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 63–81. Waldenfels, B. (2015). Sozialität und Alterität: Modi sozialer Erfahrung. Berlin: Suhrkamp. Walzer, M. (1983). Spheres of Justice: A Defense of Pluralism and Equality. New York: Basic Books. Zeilinger, P. (2010). “ ‘eins, zwei, viele . . .’ oder – Ohne Selbst, aber in Gemeinschaft: Der Einbruch des Anderen-im-Plural bei Levinas,” in Flatscher, M. and Loidolt, S. (eds.). Das Fremde im Selbst – Das Andere im Selben: Transformationen der Phänomenologie. Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 225–247.

6 The Shimmering Phenomenon of Clandestinity Political Phenomenology Beside Appearing and Vanishing Andreas Oberprantacher Learn how to become invisible, disappear into a crowd, hug the walls, avoid eye contact, speak only when spoken to, bury our pride and close our hearts to humiliation and insults, throw our switchblades in the gutter, learn to keep in the background, to be nobody: another shadow, a stray dog, a lowly earthworm, or even a cockroach. That’s it, yes, learn to be a cockroach. —Mahi Binebine, Welcome to Paradise

1. The Circulation of Spectral Border Images It is the cinematographic sensibility of Gianfranco Rosi to begin his film Fuocoammare (Fire at Sea, 2016) with a sequence of images that reflect en passant how recent events around the Pelagie island of Lampedusa have been framed (see Butler 2009, 5–12). Bleak contrasts such as brightness and darkness, the elementary opposition of land and sea, or the antithetical figures of rescuers and rescued function as stereotypical images that fail to address the aesthetic complexity of the Mediterranean border drama. Following a brief introduction of the film’s main protagonist – a boy named Samuele Pucillo – climbing up a tree, breaking off a branch, and carving a slingshot, viewers are shown a radar unit set in a restricted area of the island, rotating on its own axis and scanning the grayish horizon (is it dusk or dawn?) for undeclared vessels suspected of crossing the Strait of Sicily from the northern shores of Africa to the southern coasts of Europe. This scene is characteristic of Rosi’s nuanced approach to Lampedusa: It condenses in one instant the imaginative efforts of border authorities to “capture” something transient, ephemeral, and clandestine through technical means of visualization. Simultaneously, we hear various voices – Italian officials and the crew of a ship in distress, likely transporting clandestini – attempting to communicate in broken English with one another on a crackling radio signal. The next moment, the camera suddenly shifts to a patrol boat’s spotlight as it glides across nocturnal waters searching for shipwreck victims. Sequences like these, carefully selected and combined by Rosi, who both

The Shimmering Phenomenon of Clandestinity 99 directed and filmed Fuocoammare, deviate from standardized displays of Mediterranean crossings in that the cinematic scope of this documentary is based not on an accumulation but rather a “dys-position” (see Didi-Huberman 2018a, 78, emphasis in original) of the kinds of images that currently dominate our comprehension of this iconic border zone. In other words, Fuocoammare disassembles the graphic order of typical border images while exemplarily reflecting that the problem of how to imagine borders cannot be separated from that of how images of borders border the imagination. Drawing upon Hito Steyerl, I would suggest that Fuocoammare is a reflexive documentary, for it seeks to acknowledge its “documentary uncertainty” (Steyerl 2007). That Fuocoammare intervenes consciously at the intersection of borders and images is particularly noticeable when Samuele visits the Lampedusian community doctor Pietro Bartolo – surrounded by clinical recordings of the unborn and deceased – to have his eyesight checked. Unable to read the small letters on the optometric chart, Samuele is diagnosed as slightly myopic in his left eye, which according to Bartolo’s colloquial verdict is an occhio pigro (lazy eye) that only partially transmits information to the brain, resulting in a chronic one-sidedness or one-eyedness. Through such scenes, Rosi deftly pictures how inextricably linked processes of imaging and processes of bordering are, and how demanding it is to focus on something that seems blurred: Fuocoammare reflects the events around Lampedusa and across the Mediterranean like a distorting mirror. The film does not represent the spectacular tragedy conventionally depicted by media agencies. As an artistic effort to come to critical terms with clandestine journeys, it seeks instead to “creatively recalibrate representational conditions and challenge dominant orders of visibility and invisibility” (Demos 2013, 31). It does so by mirroring a variety of those monitoring gazes and visual operations that eagerly desire to illuminate and immobilize fleeting shadows, while recombining an exemplary variety of border images so that neither a panorama forms nor does a singular perspective triumph. In other words, Rosi addresses aspects of clandestine movements through the Mediterranean “by reinventing the conditions of moving images in the documentary art” (Demos 2013, 245). What remains at the end of the film are shimmers of an island situated between Africa and Europe, which has come to symbolize a veritable humanitarian disaster – the shattering of a vision of a common world into pieces. In a related context, Shahram Khosravi begins his autoethnographic study “Illegal” Traveller (2010) by writing that the “paradigmatic image of the world today is undoubtedly one of bodies, squeezed between pallets inside a truck. The picture is taken by an X-ray camera on a border between nation-states. It exposes those that are invisible, the people without papers on the wrong side of the border. The X-ray image shows the naked, white bodies on a black background – a silhouette of human

100  Andreas Oberprantacher beings” (Khosravi 2010, 1). Spectral images of “stowaways,” such as those undocumented commuters detected by digital scanning systems usually deployed at the junction of commercial axes and state limits, are indeed significant for learning to think differently about a world whose local borders are currently shifting, fading, merging – in short, ­globalizing – while ghostly figures of transit are being evoked, especially those proverbially defamed as “illegals” and said to unsettle national households. They are significant, for they illustrate how people who neither count as citizens nor as “refugees” or “migrants” (in legal terms) are persistently scrutinized according to the interests and provisions of media agencies, humanitarian projects, or biometric apparatuses, while perpetually obfuscated when pushed around between detention and deportation facilities or forced to drudge on the black market. Such border images are both phenomenologically and politically significant, since they signal that clandestinity – as a generic term that summarizes the existential conditions of people commonly defamed as “illegals” (sans-papiers, sin papeles, clandestini, undocumented aliens . . .) – may be considered a shimmering phenomenon that appears and then vanishes, without ever really being manifest. Insofar as the phenomenon of clandestinity is referring to a multiplicity of situations where people who lack the normative “substance” provided by legal status are hiding in plain sight or moving in the shadows of civil society, we may refer to it as both phantom and phantasm, for it eludes definite captions, haunting any conception of politics that requires regulative norms such as evidence, transparency, and permanence. In this chapter, I turn to the phenomenon of clandestinity as a formative occasion for discussing and rethinking the relationship between phenomenology and politics. I will argue that an intermediate, and perhaps even disruptive, term like “opacity” and, thus, a discourse like “hauntology” could indeed be phenomenologically promising for critiquing and perhaps even twisting problematic dichotomies such as appearance and disappearance or visibility and invisibility that structure predominant modes of political perception and participation. I will approach the phenomenon of clandestinity from four angles that are typically thought of as marginalia to a prospective phenomenological method of political research but that reflect various moments of how to think about “illegals” as a perplexing – phantomatic and phantasmatic – political figure. First, I will briefly recall Hannah Arendt’s arguments that politics are, at least in principle, a matter of appearing to others. Since Arendt’s phenomenological appreciation of politics is linked to her experience and analysis of statelessness as a specific configuration of “worldlessness,” she tends to emphasize quite unilaterally the importance of moving out of clandestine shadows into public light while disregarding the significance of vanishing as a potential act of resistance. Bearing in mind Arendt’s phenomenological preference for a politics of appearing, I will then argue

The Shimmering Phenomenon of Clandestinity 101 that Michel Foucault’s famous dictum that “visibility is a trap” (Foucault 1995, 200) may be instructive for discerning why technical means of biometric visualization are such a problematic political trend. If it is the case, as I will contend, that current facial recognition platforms are playing a decisive role in turning the human face (as the epitome of the human body) into a veritable checkpoint, that is, an intimate border image subjected to ubiquitous controls, then it is also increasingly important to question how phenomenology relates to the genealogical tradition of personal identification. Additionally, I will discuss Édouard Glissant’s plea for a right that cannot be codified in legal terms but that is nevertheless juridically relevant, especially when contesting situations that are defined by all sorts of glaring identification measures: “The right to opacity.” This argument has attracted scholarly and artistic attention over the past few years and may be read as a critique of a contemporary political paradigm that privileges evidence, transparency, and permanence in favor of a phenomenological sensibility that deviates from the cult of illumination. Finally, I will turn once more to the Mediterranean as an ominous site that often exemplifies the phenomenon of clandestinity as both phantom and phantasm since it “haunts” conventional notions of political association and affiliation, not least the familial conception of the nation-state. In doing so, I argue that Jacques Derrida’s neologism “hauntology” designates a plausible, if not mandatory, way to rethink the relationship between phenomenology and politics as phantasmatic and phantomatic.

2. Arendt’s Political Phenomenology of Appearance As many scholars have observed, Arendt’s political thought results from a critique of traditional (academic) political philosophy while “also entailing a new political phenomenology” (Loidolt 2018, 39; see also Cavarero 2005, 188–193). That Arendt debates and reflects politics in phenomenological terms is already noticeable in the ample phenomenological vocabulary she adopts from Husserl and Heidegger and submits to her own lines of political reasoning: She utilizes words like “world,” “worldliness,” or “worldlessness” to articulate the changing experience of human plurality and the constitution (or destitution) of a public realm. Furthermore, she narrates politically disastrous situations such as those fermented by imperialism, totalitarianism, or consumerism in phenomenological terms. Considering how Arendt criticizes academic philosophy as an elitist episteme that traditionally wished to “protect and liberate itself from the realms of human affairs” (Arendt 1994b, 428; see also Arendt 2005b) by favoring a method of (philosophical) thinking reserved for “the few” and not for “the many,” or how she denounces the discourse of behaviorism for advancing mass society’s progressive uniformity (see, e.g., Arendt 1998, 41–45), one may argue that her political thought unfolds historically between a phenomenology of political

102  Andreas Oberprantacher experience and a phenomenology of political episteme, whereas the centerpiece of her writings can indeed be characterized as a phenomenology of political ontology (see, in this respect, the introduction to this volume). Especially relevant are those passages from her book The Human Condition (1958) where she vigorously emphasizes that the polis, at once birthplace and birthmark of all further politics, “is not the city-state in its physical location; it is the organization of the people as it arises out of acting and speaking together; and its true space lies between people living together for this purpose, no matter where they happen to be” (Arendt 1998, 198). This “space” that should not be mistaken for a given place is, as Arendt continues, “the space of appearance in the widest sense of the word, namely, the space where I appear to others as others appear to me, where men exist not merely like other living or inanimate things but make their appearance explicitly” (Arendt 1998, 198–199; my emphasis). Passages like these are indicative insofar as they prove that Arendt’s repeated references to brightness and darkness (see, e.g., Arendt 1995, viii) in the context of her political phenomenology are not accidental metaphors. As Arendt argues in her “Introduction into Politics,” drafted in the 1950s but never completed, it is only when people1 step out of the shadows of their private households and enter into the irradiated public arena where they meet equals “capable of seeing and hearing and admiring one another’s deeds” (Arendt 2005a, 123) that a historical light reveals their previously anonymous existence and eventually allows future generations to remember them by name. This is also to say that, according to Arendt, “men attain their full humanity, their full reality as men, not only because they are (as in the privacy of the household) but also because they appear” (Arendt 2005b, 21). Whereas Heidegger’s Being and Time (1927) addresses the existential-ontological structure of Dasein in view of “the clearing” (Lichtung; see Heidegger 2001, 171 [133]) that Dasein itself is while simultaneously referring to “the publicness of the ‘they’ ” (die Öffentlichkeit des Man; see Heidegger 2001, 220 [175]) as a moment of “ ‘fallenness’ ” (Verfallenheit; ibid.) into a world “guided by idle talk, curiosity, and ambiguity” (ibid.), Arendt’s exposition of The Human Condition twists Heidegger’s controversial phenomenological move2 when arguing that there can be a “human world” only if its pluralistic condition is disclosed through human speech and deed, that is, through a public realm. Arendt’s efforts to think about politics in phenomenological terms – with and against Heidegger (see, e.g., Arendt’s letter to Heidegger dated 28 October 1960; Arendt in Arendt 2004, 123–124; see also Arendt 1978, 189–192) – become particularly noticeable at the beginning of the fifth chapter titled “Action,” where she famously asserts that “with word and deed we insert ourselves into the human world, and this insertion is like a second birth, in which we confirm and take upon ourselves the naked fact of our original physical appearance” (Arendt 1998, 176–177).

The Shimmering Phenomenon of Clandestinity 103 When Arendt writes that the act of appearing to others through words and deeds marks a “second birth,” which differs from our first (natural) birth, she is suggesting that a radical transformation – an other (artificial, non-physical) beginning – occurs whenever people are speaking to or acting with each other: A distinctively human world comes into being that is unlike any situation defined by labor or work since people are now able to disclose who they are and become someone (instead of just being somebody). Arendt maintains that this disclosure of who, not what, one is, is unexpected and risky. It is unexpected because it cannot be deduced or derived from “whatever may have happened before” (Arendt 1998, 178) and can fall apart again. In other words, the political significance of appearing to others through words and deeds defies “the overwhelming odds of statistical laws and their probability” (ibid.), also meaning that “the new therefore always appears in the guise of a miracle” (ibid.). But it is risky, too, because responding to the question of who one is requires the disclosure (unclothing) of oneself before others.3 According to Arendt, this risk of disclosure reflects a political drama of existential proportions, since any moment of disclosure involves the exposure of oneself to the judgment of others, demanding the courage to transcend the fear of death and the love of life. Considering this phenomenological characterization of the public realm as a “space of appearance” that comes into being when people begin to cross the threshold of their domestic environment and form assemblies that are already political, it is no surprise that for Arendt slavery – bound by labor and confined to agriculture or the household – was primarily an economic issue or social question (see also Arendt 1959). Additionally, in her political disregard of slavery, Arendt even went so far as to propose that “the incapacity of the animal laborans for distinction and hence for action and speech seems to be confirmed by the striking absence of serious slave rebellions in ancient and modern times” (Arendt 1998, 215), thus discounting that many slave rebellions were often willfully erased from historical accounts (see Linebaugh and Rediker 2000). Given that Arendt’s phenomenology of political ontology is concerned with exploring the significance of appearing to others through words and deeds, it is consequent that she considers all invisible and inaudible modes of existence problematic. Apart from those forms of communal bonding that she briefly discusses in The Human Condition as an illustration of a nonpublic and thus apolitical “community of people . . . who had lost their interest in the common world and felt themselves no longer related and separated by it” (Arendt 1998, 53) – communities of “saints” or “criminals” (ibid.) – she is especially attentive in her book The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951) to the uncountable group of stateless people, “the newest mass phenomenon in contemporary history,” (Arendt 1979, 277) as a negative example of the devastating consequences of the rightlessness that afflicts far too many people with “the deprivation of a

104  Andreas Oberprantacher place in the world which makes opinions significant and actions effective” (Arendt 1979, 296). It is indeed reasonable to assume that Arendt’s subsequent appreciation of “appearance” as a critical category for conceptualizing a phenomenology of political ontology results from a prior phenomenology of the political experience of statelessness. That statelessness was of both personal and phenomenological concern for Arendt, who became a stateless person herself when she fled Nazi Germany in 1933, two years before the Nuremberg Laws stripped all German Jews and Romani of their citizenship, is discernible in her essay “We Refugees” (Menorah Journal 1943). This seminal essay, which attracted considerable attention after Giorgio Agamben referred to it in an eponymous contribution (see Agamben 1995),4 marked a turning point in Arendt’s thinking and writing because it reflects the personal experience of a tremendous loss, shared by so many Jewish “outlaws,” “pariahs and parvenus alike” (Arendt 2007, 274), that is at once turned into the desire to rethink the relationship between phenomenology and politics. Whereas Husserl’s phenomenology remained fixated on the tacit attempt “to conjure up a new home from a world perceived as alien” (Arendt 1994c, 165; see also Benhabib 2003, 48–50; Loidolt 2018, 28–30), Arendt’s phenomenology of political experience, as articulated in her 1946 essay “What is Existential Philosophy?” reflects, by contrast, the explicit acknowledgment of a multiplicity of losses – home, daily life, language – that cannot be compensated by philosophical contemplation. As Arendt argues toward the end of the second part of The Origins of Totalitarianism, the political loss experienced by people who were displaced and became stateless is a loss unlike any other, for it means, phenomenologically speaking, that such people, who were “nothing but human beings” (Arendt 1979, 295), do not belong anymore to the “common world” (Arendt 1979, 302), that is, they tend to be “worldless” (weltlos; Arendt does not use this term – coined by Heidegger; Heidegger 1995, 176–178 – in the English version of the text, but she uses it repeatedly in the German version; see Arendt 2011, 624). If Arendt begins to develop her phenomenology of political ontology after addressing the experiences of people deprived of rights, homes, states, and, thus, access to a “common world” (while criticizing the traditional episteme of philosophy for its failure to address these experiences), it is consequent that she refers to such situations as an existence that “is oblivious of the world to the point of worldlessness” (Arendt 1998, 118). It is against the “dark background of mere givenness” (Arendt 1979, 301), which has never ceased to exist and repeatedly “breaks into the political scene” (ibid.), as Arendt writes, that she reminds her readers that a “common world” will be created only as long as there is also a “space of appearance brought forth through action and speech in public” (Arendt 1998, 204) and temporarily preserved by the empowering power “to act in concert” (Arendt 1970, 44) with others more. When this

The Shimmering Phenomenon of Clandestinity 105 space of appearance fades, as has occurred recurrently from antiquity to modernity, then the world ceases “to relate and to separate” (Arendt 1970, 53), that is, to be between people, thus collapsing everyone into disappearance.

3. When Visibility Becomes a Trap: From Certified to Monitored Appearances In Who are you? (2007), first published in German with the polysemous heading Der Schein der Person (2004), historian Valentin Groebner cites a noteworthy etymological thread that connects figurations of appearance and processes of certification with one another: That the term Schein translates into English both as “appearance” and “certification” indicates that appearing and certifying are knotted together in a historically variable web of meaning. In “Middle High German, schîn signified visibility, lucidity, the condition of becoming apparent, and ocular, while schînbrief denoted a written certificate, testimony, and (legal) document” (Groebner 2007, 220); thus, Schein referred to “both the apparition of a matter and its true material manifestation” (ibid.). However, this correspondence began to change around 1500 when newly introduced means of personal identification, product of the age of mechanic reproduction and modern bureaucracy, “doubled the person thus authenticated through sealed and stamped documents” (Groebner 2007, 177). Paradoxically, these means of personal identification also fostered a culture of forgery, imitation, and counterfeit, with which the term Schein was henceforth frequently associated. Considering this complex transition that had manifold implications for the further development of a bourgeois culture struggling with authenticity and replication (see Benjamin 2008; McLuhan 2002; Habermas 1991), Groebner suggests that between 1500 and 1800 the word scheinbar (“seeming/ly”) was increasingly used to refer to the aspect of “simulation” (Groebner 2007, 220), and eventually it superseded and replaced Schein as “the standard word for legal documents, certificates, and identity papers in the sixteenth and seventeenth century” (ibid.). However, “to this day,” concludes Groebner, “the German language maintains this tension between scheintot (“seemingly dead”) and Totenschein (“death certificate”). Whether we like it or not, the Wahr-Schein (“the apparition of the truth”) and the Fahrschein (“transportation ticket”) are closely bound to each other” (Groebner 2007, 220–221). Groebner’s propositions and remarks are highly relevant for several reasons. First of all, his study illustrates in a variety of respects that it would be genealogically naïve – at least for a critical assessment of political modernity – to assume that the “space of appearance,” as discussed by Arendt, begins to form without any mediation and that a “common world” between people comes into being immediately whenever they

106  Andreas Oberprantacher speak to and act with each other. Even if it makes sense to agree with Arendt that words and deeds mark a spontaneous “second birth,” a dramatic rite de passage into the public realm, we must concede that this birth is always already mediated, eventually through those means of identification that became increasingly popular since litterae passus or passports were introduced in the fifteenth century (see Groebner 2007, 171–221), rendering some people visible while others remain invisible. Ultimately, it is even the “eternal feverish efforts [of stateless individuals] to obtain at least birth certificates from the country that denationalized them” (Arendt 1979, 287; see also Arendt 1943) that signal how intricately entangled the topic of appearance and the issue of certification have become in late modernity. Apart from this aspect, Groebner’s investigation is also relevant because it suggests that the various efforts to define what phenomenology is about and how the term “phenomenon” could or should be thought about in relation to concepts like “appearance” or “semblance” (see, e.g., Husserl 1999, 33–40; Heidegger 2001, 51–55; Arendt 1978, 37–40), remain in one way or another, even if critically, captive to a modern scientific epistemology and methodology focused on evidence while cultivating technical means of visualization. Foucault’s problematization of the Enlightenment period as bringing hidden aspects to light, preferably “by means of observation” (Foucault 1995, 170), is telling in this respect. In Discipline and Punish (1995) he writes that “side by side with the major technology of the telescope, the lens and the light beam . . . there were the minor techniques of multiple and intersecting observations, of eyes that must see without being seen; using techniques of subjection and methods of exploitation, an obscure art of light and the visible was secretly preparing a new knowledge of man” (Foucault 1995, 171). Though Arendt repeatedly approximates Foucault’s genealogy of modernity, for example, when she refers to the “political economy” as a specifically modern oxymoron (see Arendt 1998, 29; cf. Foucault 2009, 106–107), or when she reflects the rise of the social and the “sphere of intimacy” (see Arendt 1998, 38–49; cf. Sennett 2002), or when she addresses the invention of the telescope visà-vis Cartesian doubt (see Arendt 1998, 248–289; cf. Heidegger 2002), her main political preoccupation is a phenomenological legitimization of appearance in view of the perils of a darkening world and a “loss of common sense” (Arendt 1998, 280–289). Foucault’s genealogy of modernity serves as an important corrective for Arendt’s rather one-sided political phenomenology, since he convincingly claims that “a new knowledge of man” was conceptualized in late modernity through interrelated means such as observation, certification, and identification, embodied by Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon as an “architectural figure” (Foucault 1995, 200) which “reverses the principle of the dungeon; or rather of its three functions – to enclose, to deprive of light and to hide – it preserves only the first and eliminates the other two. Full lighting and the eye of a supervisor

The Shimmering Phenomenon of Clandestinity 107 capture better than darkness, which ultimately protected. Visibility is a trap” (Ibid.). Numerous scholars who have researched and debated late modernity’s efforts to control “deviance” through various devices of surveillance concur that visibility is or, rather, has indeed become a veritable trap. The discovery of light-sensitive chemical reactions and the subsequent development of photography mark a comprehensive change in the modern history of identificatory procedures: From this moment on it was the preferred means to “capture” human identity and to “fix” human behavior on film. The inception of photography became an integral part of the historical formation and propagation of a “new knowledge of man,” since it connected sensitive domains like forensic criminalistics (see Finn 2009), clinical psychiatry (see Didi-Huberman 2003), and national administration (see Lyon 2009) and catalyzed the need to generate pictorial evidence. As Groebner remarks toward the end of Who are You? this anthropometric knowledge was not uniform but specialized and organic. Whereas clinic psychiatry focused primarily on pathological postures and forensic criminalistics eventually abandoned the use of “mug shots” – standardized by Alphonse Bertillon in the second half of the nineteenth century – while turning to dactyloscopy (fingerprinting) instead – “the bourgeois tradition of photographic portraits allowed for the ready integration of photographs on identity papers, even on those of the more affluent. . . . The heraldic sign of nationhood that now appeared on identification documents turned the certified individual into a legal person – a positive distinction that ensured the individual as citizen privileged access to certain resources” (Groebner 2007, 237). The divulgation of visiting cards with a Konterfei (German for “portrait,” from the Latin contrafacere) of its bearer attached, a trend among the bourgeoisie that began in the second half of the nineteenth century (see Groebner 2017), demonstrates in exemplary fashion how portrait photography contributed to turning social “anonymity into a physiognomy,” as Walter Benjamin writes in his 1931 essay “A Short History of Photography” (Benjamin 1972, 21). Today the photographic portrait seems to have lost much of its former shine. What was once perceived as a site of social distinction and national identification, at least among the bourgeoisie in contrast to those stigmatized as “abnormal,” is currently being reconfigured according to biometric verification systems that pervade almost every aspect of daily life. As a contemporary device, biometrics alters anthropometric epistemology and technology in the sense that its point of reference is no longer a quantitative notion of the human but the computability of (transhuman) life-forms in general. Although biometrics comprises a multiplicity of focal points, one can nevertheless argue that the human face is an ideal laboratory for testing the capacity and reliability of biometric recognition techniques. Given attempts to unmistakably recognize and interpret

108  Andreas Oberprantacher a singular human face through facial recognition platforms that calculate facial features and automatically search for matching images in existing facial recognition databases, one may concur with Agamben that, paradoxically, it is the overtly apparent human face where “inappearance – this sublime absence of the secret of human nudity – most prominently leaves its mark” (Agamben 2011, 87). The “digital turn” of border management is perhaps the most striking exemplification of biometric visualization as a strategic means of transnational government (see Ajana 2013; Nail 2016, 155–164). Border checks are no longer limited to specific locations (if they ever were), nor do they only take place at the legal crossroads between one state and another (if they ever did). Digital border management measures, as they are currently envisioned, deployed, and advertised by private-public partnerships between multinational corporations and state organizations (EURODAC, EasyPass, IDENT, and so on), are becoming ubiquitous because they turn human bodies into a veritable checkpoint while focusing on facial appearance as a marker of personal identity. In contrast to traditional personal identity certificates like passports that effectively doubled the person on paper, facial recognition platforms do not produce “paper doppelgänger” (Groebner 2007, 8). The biometric light that shines on bodies and faces in transit produces sensitive data streams, casting digital shadows no longer pertinent to a society oriented toward publicity but rather one that is virtually obsessed with transparency (see Harcourt 2018).

4. Becoming Opaque in the Face of Transparency While Arendt was aware that “there are a great many things which cannot withstand the implacable, bright light of the constant presence of others on the public scene,” such as the experience of love, which requires privacy (Arendt 1998, 51–53), she could not have anticipated how this “implacable, bright light” intensified its radiation and amplified its spectrum through the manifold application of biometric verification systems or how the imperative of transparency has affected and modulated the “space of appearance.” Many scholars have commented upon how “transparency” functions as a paradigm in discussions about the ambiguous effects of visualization (or datafication) and the recent technological transformation of social relations – even calculable love patterns (Illouz 2007, 74–114). As “dogma” (Han 2015, vii) or as “dream” (see Schneider 2013), transparency serves as a “magic concept” (Alloa 2018, 29) that permeates all of contemporary society and articulates the complexity of a worldview that fetishizes the idea of illumination. This fetishization has dramatic consequences for those individuals discredited as “illegals,” forced to populate “the margins of common

The Shimmering Phenomenon of Clandestinity 109 humanity” (Agier 2008, 73). Unlike Arendt’s phenomenology of statelessness as a mode of existence that is barely visible or audible – dim situations conditioned by the danger of disappearance – the phenomenon of clandestinity is vividly imaged and imagined through audiovisual and biometric technology. From cameras pointed at the faces of people crossing the Mediterranean, to humanitarian projects promising to give a “human face” to economic deprivation, to facial recognition platforms that turn biometric data into a profitable commodity, “illegals” are reductively visualized (as victims or criminals) even as their claims and demands are disregarded. As an aesthetic convention, clandestinity is controversial because some aspects, like the crossing of borders as film stills (see Kuster 2018), are sensationalized while others, such as secretive detention and deportation facilities, are obfuscated. Thus the very dream of transparency bears the nightmare of obscurity – taking the form of CIA black sites, offshore financial centers, FRONTEX operations, and so on. Around two years prior to his death in 2011, Édouard Glissant published a book entitled Philosophie de la Relation. Poésie en étendue (2009; Philosophy of Relation: Poetry in Extension) where he returns to a thought (pensée) at the threshold of philosophy and poetry, articulated in previous essays: “The thinking of the opacity of the world” (Glissant 2012, 77; la pensée de l’opacité du monde). This thought (or thinking) claims the right to become elusive when confronted with the imperative of transparency, which makes it pertinent to rethinking the relationship between phenomenology and politics with respect to the shimmering phenomenon of clandestinity (and the trend toward biometric visualization). Glissant justifies and transliterates this puzzling “right to opacity” (ibid.; le droit à l’opacité) in the following manner: “To acclaim the right to opacity, to turn opacity into another humanism, is nonetheless to renounce reducing the truth of the expanse down to the measure of one sole transparency, which would be mine, which I would impose. It is to establish that the inextricable, planted in the obscure, also drives clarities that are not imperative” (Ibid.). Glissant’s words are both phenomenologically and politically relevant because they reflect, between the lines, his efforts to come to nuanced terms with situations that remain, historically speaking, shady – neither fully transparent, nor completely obscure to the historian’s eye – like those endured by people who were chained to each other in the “belly” of slave ships while crossing the Atlantic (see Glissant 2006, 5–9; cf. Rediker 2007) and eventually sold to plantations like chattel (see Glissant 2006, 63–75). These “opaque sources” (Glissant 2006, 73) confuse and resist the reductive categorizations of Arendt’s conceptualization of slavery by requiring a more creative sensibility for articulating the experience of people forced to exist apart. It is telling that Glissant turns to the experience of (black) music born from silence

110  Andreas Oberprantacher and transformed into speech when contesting conventional accounts of plantation slavery: Monotonous chants, syncopated, broken by prohibitions, set free by the entire thrust of bodies, produced their language from one end of this world to the other. These musical expressions born of silence: Negro spirituals and blues, persisting in towns and growing in cities; jazz, biguines, and calypsos, bursting into barrios and shantytowns, salsas and reggaes, assembled everything blunt and direct, painfully stifled, and patiently differed into this varied speech. This was the cry of the Plantation, transfigured into the speech of the world. (Ibid.; see also Gilroy 2002, 187–223) Glissant’s “right to opacity” is epistemologically instructive because it functions as a critique of past and present attempts to comprehend and apprehend that which seems foreign, enigmatic, or spectral by methodically (phenomenologically) reducing such phenomena to an “ideal scale providing me with grounds to comparisons and, perhaps, judgments” (Glissant 2006, 190). Consequently, Glissant’s poetic arguments “for opacity” radicalize the philosophical appraisal of differences. He seeks “to bring an end to the very notion of scale . . . [to] displace all reduction” (ibid.), while emphasizing that the right to opacity “is not enclosure within an impenetrable autarchy but subsistence within an irreducible singularity. Opacities can coexist and converge, weaving fabrics” (Ibid.). While Glissant’s writings are primarily concerned with the legacy of slavery, suggesting an alternative narration and commemoration of the displacement, enslavement, and marginalization experienced by those (“blacks”) traditionally denied a sense of history (Mbembe 2017, 78–102), his call to “clamor for the right to opacity for everyone” (Glissant 2006, 194) has other ramifications too, like an aesthetics that challenges the contemporary authority of biometric apparatuses. The artistic interventions of Zach Blas illustrate how inspiring Glissant’s thought is for disputing and even disrupting the dubious divide between appearing and vanishing under the condition of biometric verification systems. According to Blas, Glissant’s turn to opacity “is paradigmatic of a coming politics that is anti-recognition and anti-capture” (Blas 2014, 17; see also Blas 2016), since he repeatedly problematizes how people are being held hostage by the will to be(come) identifiable, and rather favors an aesthetics that literally disobeys the imperative of transparency. Blas’s project Facial Weaponization Suite (2011–2014) comprises a series of artistic performances, including a video communiqué in the style of guerilla communication (Blas 2014) that take a militant stand against biometric visualization. Additionally, Blas organized several workshops where participants collaboratively created and tested four prototypes of amorphous face masks that mixed their biometric facial data. Unlike the

The Shimmering Phenomenon of Clandestinity 111 traditional, carnivalesque use of masks to hide individual facial features and identities, these masks disfigure and distort them so that they are unrecognizable to facial recognition procedures. It is the fourth and final mask of Blas’s Facial Weaponization Suite series, Grey Mask, that I would like to briefly mention, because it plays with aspects of opacity to tactically deface the order of recognition while hypothetically reframing depressing situations of clandestinity. This greyish mask was fabricated in Mexico City in 2014 during a workshop at the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC) where Blas developed artistic means of deceiving and subverting the biometric configuration of borders, specifically the border zone stretching between Mexico and the United States. That border areas are not solid territories but managed as plastic frontiers is clear given the multidimensionality of this particular frontera (cf. Rael 2017, 10–21), considering the arsenal of digital measures currently deployed to monitor the rugged border terrain between California and Texas. Field surveillance radars, sudden motion sensors, and drone patrols are just some of the “sensitive” devices operated by US border guards (and paramilitary border vigilantes) alongside other biometric identification procedures like automated fingerprint identification systems, iris scanners, and facial recognition platforms – all part of the aforementioned digital turn of border management. Thus, Blas’s Grey Mask signals an attitude of radical refusal: What is refused and refuted – for example, during the Procession of Biometric Sorrows (June 5, 2014) – is the automatic surrender and transmission of biometric data stripped off individuals’ faces to verify who is entitled to pass from south to north, and who is not. To deface one’s own countenance by donning a monstrous mask is an aesthetic intervention that takes Glissant’s call for “the right to opacity” playfully seriously. It avoids the blackand-white thinking characteristic of the border spectacle requiring that people be classified as “legal” or “illegal,” opting instead for an opaque, colorless, and dubious grey.

5. Moving Sideways: Political Phenomenology Among Phantoms and Phantasms “We do not live in one world,” writes Georges Didi-Huberman in his tribute to Laura Waddington’s art film Border (2004), but between two worlds, at least. The first is inundated with light, the second crossed with flashes. At the center of the light, we’re supposed to believe, twist and turn those few who today are called, with a cruel Hollywood antiphrase, the People, or sometimes the stars. . . . But making their way along the margins, across an infinitely more extensive territory, are innumerable peoples about whom we know too little and for whom counter-information seems ever more necessary.

112  Andreas Oberprantacher Firefly-peoples, when they retreat into the night, seek their freedom of movement as they can, flee the spotlights of the ‘kingdom,’ do the impossible to affirm their desires, to emit their own flashes and send their signals to others. (Didi-Huberman 2018b, 83–84) Didi-Huberman’s argument that we should not be seduced and blinded by “the great light” (Didi-Huberman 2018b, I), that is, by a luce that seeks to persistently illuminate everything and render everyone transparent, testifies to a sensibility for the minor and marginal as he traces shimmering phenomena – the intermittent, twitching flashes emitted by fireflies, lucciole (see Pasolini 2000). Recalling Pier-Paolo Pasolini’s text La scomparsa delle lucciole of 1975 in reference to the phenomenon of clandestine border crossings, Didi-Huberman writes that fireflies do not entirely disappear, even if pursued and spotted by floodlights. Rather, they vanish at the edge of light cones pointed at them, plunging into the darkness of their nocturnal surroundings only to reemerge and reappear elsewhere, often unnoticed. Didi-Huberman calls for an aesthetics that does not unconditionally or uncritically praise the brilliance of light but that is capable of letting us think through the dominant chiaroscuro and make sense of intricate situations where people move at the margins of vanishing and appearing. Such an aesthetic sensibility cultivates an imagery of border situations that defies stereotypical representations while developing a social imagination that resists reductive classifications. Additionally, it reveals the graphic violence of exposures that command others to unequivocally appear (see Didi-Huberman 2009, 2012) – to be so apparent as to become transparent. In this sense, becoming opaque is indeed an art form. Such an aesthetic sensibility is also relevant for rethinking the relationship between phenomenology and politics in terms of phenomena that may be called spectral. The very word “phenomenon” can be read as a seminal trace in this context, for it is etymologically related to both “phantom” and “phantasm.” However, the point of this etymological reminder is not to conjure an “original” relation between words as a vehicle to “fantasize” about a comparatively sinister conception of phenomena. Rather, this etymological affinity provides the opportunity to disengage from those phenomenological traditions that methodologically revolve around the idée fixe of evidence and politically prioritize appearance. A phantom is said to be a spectral entity that manifests without being manifest, that is capable of shifting shapes at the threshold of life and death, past and present, while phantasm refers to the obsessions that repeatedly take possession of self-images and structure worldviews in extremely ambiguous terms. Both words are, in principle, phenomenologically significant, for they confer a range of meaning to the word “phenomenon” that cannot be reduced to categories of Being such as presence or absence. In other

The Shimmering Phenomenon of Clandestinity 113 words, if phenomenology formed as a way of thinking that seeks to overcome (transcend) a series of dualisms like subject and object or idealism and realism (while sticking to other dualisms), it is perhaps consequent to recall the phantomatic and phantasmatic sides of phenomena. This argument, at the moment little more than a hypothesis, resonates with what Derrida called “hauntology” (Derrida 2006, 10) in his 1993 book Specters of Marx, where he argues, “it is necessary to introduce haunting into the very construction of a concept. Of every concept, beginning with the concepts of being and time. That is what we would be calling here a hauntology”5 (Derrida 2006, 202). But diverse references to the phantomatic and phantasmatic sides of phenomena already haunt the edifice of phenomenology, making this argument strangely familiar. One might turn, for example, to the writings of Maurice Merleau-Ponty who in Phenomenology of Perception (1945)6 discusses the “phenomenon of the phantom limb” (Merleau-Ponty 2005, 88) as phenomenologically symptomatic insofar as it is neither (physiologically) present nor (psychically) absent. Rather, it should be thought of as a twisted intermediary sensation, which indicates that “the ambiguity of being-in-the-world is translated by that of the body, and this is understood through that of time” (Merleau-Ponty 2005, 98). One may also consider the words of Emmanuel Levinas who, in conversation with Philippe Nemo, questioned the idea that his thought can be characterized as a “phenomenology of the face” (Nemo in Levinas 1985, 85): “I do not know if one can speak of a ‘phenomenology’ of the face, since phenomenology describes what appears. So, too, I wonder if one can speak of a look turned toward the face, for the look is knowledge, perception. I think rather that access to the face is straightaway ethical” (Levinas 1985, 85). In Otherwise Than Being or Beyond Essence (1974) he refers expressis verbis to the “nonphenomenality of the face” (Levinas 1991, 89) to suggest that any (optical) effort to finally face the other, to get to see who “the neighbor” truly is, misses the haunting sense of ethical obligation, which “is not to the measure of the images he [the neighbor as the Other] gives me” (ibid.). Last, but not least, we should return to Arendt, as does Didi-Huberman in Survival of Fireflies (2009), where he quotes a passage from her essay “The Gap Between Past and Future” (1961). Here, Arendt alludes to a “diagonal force” (Arendt 1961, 12) – in the context of Kafka’s parable “he” – that differs from the “antagonistic forces” (ibid.) deriving from past and future. This third force corresponds to a move to the side – to an evasive move that might reconfigure desperate situations in terms of a surprisingly other position. This move to the side, writes Arendt, refers to “mental phenomena” (Arendt 1961, 13), that is, transient ways of thinking that pave this small track of non-time which the activity of thought beats within the time-space of mortal men and into which the trains of thought,

114  Andreas Oberprantacher of remembrance and anticipation, save whatever they touch from the ruin of historical and biographical time. This small non-time-space in the very heart of time, unlike the world and the culture into which we are born, can only be indicated, but cannot be inherited and handed down from the past; each new generation, indeed every new human being as he inserts himself between an infinite past and an infinite future, must discover and ploddingly pave it anew. (Ibid.) All of these disseminated references, still fragmentary and inconclusive, signal that the answers to the question of how to rethink the relationship between phenomenology and politics depend on how we define what a phenomenon is (if it “is”). The idea of phenomena as phantomatic and phantasmatic entities treads upon a phenomenological path that is perhaps not as evident or apparent as those traditionally frequented. It is a path paved by a doubtful way of thinking that, to borrow Arendt’s phrase, avoids direct confrontation – like the antagonistic juxtaposition of appearing and vanishing – instead moving diagonally to the side to recalibrate desperate experiences and to rebuild a sense for the world that seems, once again, “out of joint.” For the time being, venturing on such a path means desisting from uncritically accepting or rejecting the contrasting images of borders that currently delineate the imagination, and resisting the shining imperative of transparency and its biometric counterparts. The phenomenon of clandestinity is significant because it is a shimmering phenomenon that is evidently not so evident (as if it were a phantom), and it upsets the domestic setting of the national community through the unhomely figure of the “foreign guest” (as if it were a phantasm). Of the many questions that remain to be answered, we could begin by asking what would be gained both phenomenologically and politically were we to admit the fear of being haunted and to reconceptualize the world in terms of spectral visitations.

Notes 1. Arendt addresses first of all “free man” in this context, although her interest in researching liminal thresholds between private and the public spheres can be traced back to her analysis of Rahel Varnhagen’s “Berlin Salon” (1932); see Arendt 1994a. 2. It is indeed plausible to argue that Heidegger’s phenomenological move is also a political move since his move away from the Enlightenment’s philosophical defense of publicity coincides with his move toward an effectively depoliticized “clearing.” 3. In this respect, Arendt’s phenomenological analysis comes quite close to JeanPaul Sartre’s phenomenological description and assessment of shame; see Sartre 1984, 340–400. 4. While Arendt’s essay “We Refugees” is widely read today, Günther Anders’s equally significant phenomenological study titled “Der Emigrant” (1962; see the English translation “The Émigré”, Anders 2014) is hardly known.

The Shimmering Phenomenon of Clandestinity 115 5. This book is also relevant given that Derrida argues that “haunting would mark the very existence of Europe” (Derrida 2006, 3), as if the figure of the “foreign guest” (ibid.) has “always occupied the domesticity of Europe” (ibid.). 6. Additionally, Merleau-Ponty repeatedly mentions in his manuscript (and working notes for) The Visible and the Invisible (1964) “that it is the visibility itself that involves a non-visibility” (Merleau-Ponty 1968, 247), while referring repeatedly both to transparency and opaqueness.

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Part II

Phenomenology of Political Ontology

7 Husserl and the Political A Phenomenological Confrontation With Carl Schmitt and Alexandre Kojève Bettina Bergo My argument is divided into four thematic moments. The first explores the evolution of Husserl’s investigation of intersubjectivity, its implications for the transcendental method that uncovered the layers of the Ego, and the changing role of Einfühlung (ambiguously translated as “empathy” though it is closer to an “immediate relation”).1 Between 1927 and 1932, Husserl argued that the effectivity of Einfühlung forged ever-larger social (and political) groupings. It might even justify returning to a core notion of German Idealism: the Gemein- or Volksgeist (common or popular spirit). In light of Einfühlung as “force”,” I contrast the encounter between two subjectivities in notes Husserl took in 1927 with Hegel’s “Herr und Knecht” dialectic in mind. For Husserl, phenomenology should replace Idealism in its earlier forms. However, Husserl’s Einfühlung curiously resembles “love” as force in Hegel’s Jena philosophy, which wholly drops out of his Phenomenology of Spirit (1807), at least as a plausible bridge between ethical life and politics. The second moment contrasts Edith Stein’s phenomenology of the State with Axel Honneth’s reading of Hegel’s struggle for recognition in light of politics. I show how, from Stein and Husserl, there emerges a liberal vision of politics that incorporates an ethical conception of the “person,” with the State being understood by extension as a composite person (Stein). The third moment examines the most radical attempt to purify politics of its ethical (and economic) elements, arguing that, in so purging the concept, Carl Schmitt developed his own “eidetics” of the political. Although a realist and part of the “conservative revolution,” Schmitt was also an inheritor of Hegel; indeed, in his agonistic logic, the criterion of the “enemy” functions virtually like a “negative Einfühlung” (in the sense of the integral absence of “immediate relation”). The fourth and final moment observes that outside the state of exception, Schmitt’s politics could only be “liberal” in peacetime. It urges that his conception of sovereignty – caught in the circle of being presupposed yet constituting itself in the moment of decision – is under-developed in his thought and requires a clearer conception of the meaning of authority. For such a conception, I examine Alexandre Kojève’s phenomenology of authority in his 1943 notes

122  Bettina Bergo toward the Outline of a Phenomenology of Right. In Kojève’s notes, authority depends on specific intersubjective affects, whose resemblance with Husserl’s Einfühlung brings us back to the father of contemporary phenomenology. I thereby ask whether a phenomenology of Einfühlung, and by a certain extension, of authority, might not constitute the grounds for an effective transition between phenomenology and politics.

1. Introduction: The Political and Phenomenological Intersubjectivity – Two Eidetics In 1927, the same year that two signal works, Being and Time and The Concept of the Political, were published, Husserl was pursuing an investigation into the phenomenology of intersubjectivity underway for decades and requiring a new path, a lebensweltlicher path, into phenomenology. The new path had already begun to appear, together with a psychological one, in his 1910–1911 lectures on The Basic Problems of Phenomenology.2 There is little doubt that, with the unfolding of that path, Husserl’s approach to Einfühlung (“feeling-into” or “immediate relation”) also underwent a significant evolution. From his initially critical stance toward conceptions of empathy, like the psychological ones provided by Theodor Lipps, Husserl had come to argue, in the 1920s, for the spontaneity and sheer aggregative power of Einfühlung. By 1927, he urged that even in my most elementary encounters with others, I have a direct “experience [of them], that of understanding their bodily expressions inasmuch as these announce a subjective life” (Husserl 1973b, 400). Indeed, whatever affect the other shows me, through Einfühlung I can grasp something of it without myself “suffering” from it, and this spontaneous grasp requires no mimetic actions on my part, as apparently it did for Lipps. Einfühlung, which might best be translated as feelinginto rather than the somewhat moralizing “empathy,” makes possible an understanding of the other that “becomes increasingly perfect and, in the process, [that] reach[es] . . . in an increasingly perfect way, his [the other’s] pure subjectivity . . . under continuous phenomenological reduction” (401). Making possible an “increasingly perfect” understanding of the other, Einfühlung also evinced impressive plasticity, forging groups of persons into ever-larger friendships, communities, even nations. The enduring impact on him of his student Edith Stein’s 1916 doctoral thesis, Zum Problem der Einfühlung – as well as the enhancement that the reduction of past lived-experience to the process of its experiencing provided to the phenomenological reduction – no doubt contributed to Husserl’s search for an intersubjective epochē and what might be new possibilities of access to another consciousness both as empathizing with and as empathized by me. Initially, between 1910 and 1911, this “psychological” path was merely sketched, working as if beneath the ascendency of the Cartesian reduction that uncovered the apodictic certainty

Husserl and the Political 123 of the ego and its layers of constitution. It was not for another thirteen years that the implications of the intersubjective reduction would emerge in Husserl’s First Philosophy (1923–1924), following his rethinking of time-consciousness and passive syntheses, not to mention the dissatisfaction he felt after attempting to rework the Ideas II (Depraz 1995, 206). Stated succinctly, in scrutinizing the infinite field of past experiences in their experiencing (and not merely as object-like presentifications), the question arose of what motivated the reduction of the natural attitude, which could be performed by any beginner in phenomenology.3 An essential part of the answer would be found in the fact of intersubjectivity. I will return to that. Between 1923 and 1927, the potential of an eidetics of intersubjectivity must have encouraged Husserl to rethink the constitution of group and collective consciousness, to the point indeed of reopening the question of what Idealism had called the “common spirit” (Husserl 1973b, 404). In rethinking intersubjectivity in light of Einfühlung, he even returned (on one occasion) to Hegel’s encounter of two subjectivities, entirely skirting the fundamental agonism of the Herrschaft-Knechtschaft dialectic arising out of their reciprocal quest for recognition. Without explicitly impugning idealist dialectics but certainly with the intention of showing the dynamics of reciprocity and the passage of affects between “subjects,” Husserl jotted down, following the Christmas break in January 1927, two somewhat isolated texts having little to do with his lecture notes for the semester (entitled “Einführung in die Phänomenologie”). In the second text (Husserl 1973b, 400–409, No. 21), he proposed his own phenomenology of a master-servant dynamic. He began with somewhat general remarks on social connections. The social bond is constituted . . . in acts that pass alternately from one I to the other, acts that I and the other bring to unity within the framework of reciprocal action in which . . . subjective acts pass consciously from the ego to the alter ego, cover each other, increasingly impinge the one on the other. My will is consciously at the same time in the will of the other, and conversely. This is particularly clear in the example of the creation of a master-servant relationship [einer Herr-Diener-Verbindung]. (Husserl 1973b, 402, emph. added) Without mentioning Hegel at this point, Husserl pursued his paradigm of social existence to illustrate what he deemed one of the basic “intrication[s]” of social consciousness [Bewusstseinsverflechtungen] (Husserl 1973b, 403). In light of our spontaneous comprehension of facial expressions and the vast, communicative possibility of coming to know the other (thereby reducing his alterity and, with it, the possibility of feeling alienated before him), Husserl extended his phenomenology

124  Bettina Bergo toward intersubjective willing and intentionalities, indeed toward willing as intentionality-in-practice, without any recourse to notions like desire that presumably devolved to pre-phenomenological psychologies. ­Husserl wrote, Rather than a juxtaposition [Nebeneinander], we are dealing with an intrication [Ineinander] . . . the action of the servant is not an isolated and simply private act, but one carried out in the consciousness of the fulfillment of the voluntary demand of his master; the order of the master is a will that projects itself into the subjectivity of the servant and, being fulfilled by him, it becomes a will that goes to its end. (Husserl 1973b, 402–403) In this example, the Ineinander of the two wills began first as a unilateral movement, from the master to the servant. Though unilateral in its incipience, the sheer spontaneity of Einfühlung – unveiled both by Husserl’s exploration of association through passive synthesis and thanks to the impetus provided by Stein’s work – opened onto a variety of conative intersubjective movements. The one just described undercut anything like genetic, consciousness-theoretic moments such as characterized the quest for recognition in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. Yet despite these movements, in Husserl’s expanding phenomenological eidetics, the material conditions surrounding this relationship went under-explored. Indeed, given the relative isolation of the 1927 text, we might well wonder which of the two formal ­investigations – Hegel’s or Husserl’s – most plausibly bracketed circumstantial or “inessential” conditions and best characterized the constitution of an incipient social bond. Indeed, considering Husserl’s student Edith Stein and her concern with the formation of communities and States, we might also wonder whether Husserl contemplated deeply the political questions flowing out of his intersubjective constitutions, with their increasingly sustained attention to Einfühlung as a consolidative force (see Calcagno 2007, 48–58). I will return to this question shortly. When Husserl writes: “One subjectivity proceeds beyond itself into that of another subjectivity” (Husserl 1973b, 403), he is asserting – with his conceptions of Einfühlung, the pairing of bodies, and transference (Übertragung) – the foundational primacy of intersubjectivity, “through which the correlated acts, referring reciprocally the one to the other, pertain to each one.”4 Of course, other intersubjective encounters may entail less patently normative dimensions. But the establishment of a master-servant relationship does illustrate these concepts – even as it presumes, perhaps provisionally, the conative passivity of the servant (a passivity whose genesis goes unexplored despite the claim to retrace the “establishment of the relationship”). Yet, passivity or not, Husserl adds: “From this moment on [of our encounter with another,] acts of all sorts,

Husserl and the Political 125 spiritual [ones], love, hatred, wish-acts, willing-acts, etc., come on the scene, tying us reciprocally the one to the other, and thereby tying our subjects together qua subjects” (Husserl 1973b, 403). Such “intertwinings of consciousness” (403) are thus the practical ground of a host of intersubjective communities of varying affective intensities. And, because his phenomenology of intersubjectivity could be extended to descriptions of any level of constitution-in-reciprocity, Husserl argued that we should be able thereby to return to a “science of the spirit” (even to a Volksgeist) different from the one created “over a century ago under the influence of German Idealism” (Husserl 1973b, 404). Effectively, the new eidetic science might henceforth re-think German Idealism’s concept, pre-­eminently that of Hegel, of the “common spirit” (Gemeingeist, 404) itself. If eyebrows raised, in the 1920s, at such “returns,” alternative conceptions were clearly in the wrong for Husserl; fundamentally so, as “[this idea that may be seen as mystical] is only surpassed by the materialist error so close to it, which only considers reality properly so-called . . . in the narrowest sense of nature” (Husserl 1973b, 404, emph. added). Within the vast domain of a phenomenologically constituted “common spirit,” Husserl opened a new approach to “the I and the thou” (404), starting from the depths of our “instinctive drive life” that “produces an intersubjective connection that is ‘extremely basic[,] by means of instinctive sexual life’ ” (405) – all of this, ever “under phenomenological reduction.” Out of the “I and the thou,” more complex social formations emerged, to the point of almost contesting Husserl’s “egoic centration,” and with it, the exclusivity of the Cartesian path to the transcendental ego (Depraz 1995, 223–227). One could even describe higher-order “egos,” including An association, an urbane humanity unified by the government of the city, a people in a State unified by means of a constitution and a single government; these are [some] examples of higher level personalities for, in an effective sense . . . a State’s will is part of the State or, better, of the people in the State, distinct from the individual will of the citizens, and this State-will is a permanent social orientation of the will . . . a habitus . . . [Therefore] the State is in a certain manner a State ego [Staats-Ich]. (Husserl 1973b, 405–406, last emph. added) The expansion of conative intersubjectivity was possible thanks to Husserl’s expansion of the “genetics” of his dynamic concepts: perceptionapperception; presentation-appresentation, and above all, empathy and pairing, themselves part of the passive syntheses that assured consciousness its transcendental unity. This expansive “force” (for want of a better term),5 which Husserl referred to as “a trans-individual necessity” (Husserl 1973b, 408), was so pervasive indeed that Husserl could add, “it is possible that this holds for all men on our Earth” (Husserl 1973b,

126  Bettina Bergo 406).6 He had already asked himself whether empathic connections might extend to human simulacra (Husserl 1973a, 376), to the “abnormal” (Husserl 1973a, 13), to animals (cf. Husserl 1973c, 478). To be sure, this passive, largely unremarked effectivity took place as spontaneous syntheses, often occasioned by linguistic communication. Together, they shaped our social world, even as it “poses for everyone an open . . . outside [ein offenes . . . Draussen]” (Husserl 1973c, 431). The expanding empathic structure was thus comparable to a circular form, [or a] spherical one [that looks like] a shell. It is always endowed with a similar and an unknown outside, concretely formed in an analogous fashion. Hence, it is a question of an environing world already developed, which is ongoingly enriched with new regions of space that are familiar [to us]. (Husserl 1973c, 430) Now, Husserl’s laterally expanding spiral also stood within the purview of the Phenomenology of Spirit wherein, through super-imposed layers of recognition, an I that is a we gradually emerges. I will show in the next section how Husserl’s 1927 notes on intersubjectivity proposed an alternative version to Hegel’s intersubjective forms. Urging that his interpretation was unique, Husserl argued that a psychology understood in the sense of this parallel [between individual and collective egos, as also between the subject and the natural] has never been developed in history, and . . . only phenomenology has made possible a pure psychology and firstly a purely descriptive psychology . . . through its method of the phenomenological reduction. (Husserl 1973b, 408, emph. added) The challenge was thus clear: using a double reduction, with constant attention to Einfühlung, reconstruct a phenomenology of collective spirit, richer materially than the logicism of Hegel’s morphology of history and his work of the negative.

2. The Two Dramas: Husserl’s and Hegel’s We can now look more closely at Husserl’s conception of social genesis. With the new year begun, Husserl paused his class preparations and jotted down nine pages of notes entitled “The Phenomenological Reduction to the Alter-Ego and to Intersubjectivity” (10 January 1927, emph. added). Although it had long privileged the apodicticity of the transcendental ego as ground, the reduction here was not to intentional objects nor even to the genetic layers of that ego but to intersubjectivity

Husserl and the Political 127 itself, i.e., to expanding conjunctions of human wills. Considering “social life,” Husserl started from a minimal being-together, a Mitsein. However fragile a social “we” seems to be, it is always “more than a simple sum of pure isolated subjects” (Husserl 1973b, 401). Under many circumstances, I may not know the other well, but social processes are dynamic and my understanding of her grows. Through proximity and “the reduction to the alter ego” I can experience the other’s lived affects (serenity, anger, happiness) to such a degree that my reduction opens onto his “pure subjectivity” (Husserl 1973b, 400); as though I too were living in his immediate ongoing experience. Moreover, I can pursue this unfolding understanding in light of “subjects” as diverse as “the entirety of the animal world” (Husserl 1973b, 401).7 In these notes and others from this period, Husserl is working from a horizon of sociality against which a face-to-face encounter unfolds as affectively-motivated knowledge, almost at the level of affective investiture that Levinas attempted to reach phenomenologically. As indicated, an initial phase of Mitsein takes place in what Husserl calls the I-Thou relation (Ich-Du-Beziehung, Husserl 1973b, 404), perhaps aware of Martin Buber’s 1923 essay. Prior to the social phenomenon of a master giving orders to his servant, an I encounters the will or desire of the other facing it, and, in turn, responds to that will. We are here in a relationship of dialogical reciprocity. In its reduced passive-subjective life, the I thus discovers reciprocity. It “naturally forms a part of my pure subjectivity,” writes Husserl, because “the other is indeed there in this or that objective connection” and the other relates to me, from his side of things, and “poses a corresponding demand in my regard” (Husserl 1973b, 401).8 Here recognition is spontaneous, in many cases reciprocal, and is certainly not an object of conquest, nor even, surprisingly, of desire. From these notes it would appear that Einfühlung’s spontaneity replaces Hegel’s unfolding of desire in which two self-consciousnesses must first discover, through struggle, that the other they perceive is neither a “negatively characterized object,” nor mere life (Hegel 1977, 113). As we know, Hegel’s dialectic is so initially oblivious to Einfühlung that the telos of recognition requires each subject to show the other that it is truly a being for-itself and that it exists in more than an “objective mode,” being unattached to any worldly entity – including its own existence (Hegel 1977, 113). We might even say that Husserl’s Einfühlung undercuts Hegel’s dialectic, in its incipience at least. It also appears to entail surreptitious recognition. However, to grasp this, we need to revisit briefly two basic categories in Hegel’s dialectics of intersubjectivity: the in-itself and the for-itself (an sich and für sich). In Hegel’s discussion of the “truth of self-certainty,” the in-itself of consciousness contains its history and experiences as moments that ultimately prove to be mere “abstractions or distinctions” for it (Hegel 1977, 105). As a part of Spirit or Geist, self-consciousness unfolds by

128  Bettina Bergo distinguishing from itself what is other than itself (including a part of itself). Once this alterity becomes an object of reflection, it is already superseded in time. Now, facing another self-consciousness, it experiences itself simultaneously as an “I” suddenly “over there” and conceives the de facto other as a nothing, a non-entity comparable to the objects it previously superseded. Before this other “I” that is-not (a subject), desire arises in self-consciousness as a moment of negation, which will be enacted reciprocally by both self-consciousnesses from their respective sides. “Self-consciousness, which is simply for itself and directly characterizes its object as a negative element, or is primarily desire, will therefore . . . learn through experience that the object [the other selfconsciousness] is independent” (Hegel 1977, 106). The dialectic unfolds, then, as a reciprocal quest for recognition of the sovereignty of desire by virtue of which one “I” returns to itself henceforth as in- and for-itself, while the other perishes, or persists as the externality that must recognize the for-itself of the first “I.”9 Clearly, Husserl could not accept that the simple “I,” which Hegel understood as a logical genus, might be certain of the nothingness of the other, any more than it was “certain” of the nothingness of its accumulated experiences of possession and consumption. Despite its recurrence to the idea of a common spirit and its transcendentalism, genetic phenomenology was never a dialectics of speculative reason. Hegel’s categories are not considered by eidetic phenomenology. And their absence from it rules out anything like a drive for the unification of consciousness as anand für-sich. Yet their absence also means that a struggle for the recognition of an integrated sovereign subjectivity has no motivation in Husserl. Thus, instead of inquiring into Hegel’s model of the self-­consciousness that, as a being primitively for-itself, initially excludes all that is other from itself, Husserl scrutinizes his experience, integrating Einfühlung into willing and actions undertaken. In contrast to Hegel, Husserl states “I have the experience of others as my fellows” (Husserl 1973b, 400). We may be beings of desire and immersed in what Hegel called the “being of life” but that I might will to exclude the other as inessential from my field of immediate experience, is not perceptually primordial. Lacking Hegel’s subjective gesture of exclusion in service to the process of consciousness coming to itself as an- und für-sich, Husserl’s Einfühlung and Paarung (bodily pairing) unfold in comparable encounters without incurring resistance to, or failures of, these synthetic connections. As we have seen, for Husserl, my understanding of the other “grows increasingly perfect” (Husserl 1973b, 400), in an expanding micro-sociality of friends, not unlike Edith Stein’s philia.10 And while this clearly differs from the agonism of Hegel’s life-and-death struggle, we should recall that Hegel too had attempted, in his early Jena writings like the System of Ethical Life of 1802, to construct the grounds for socio-political existence on love – first, between two desiring subjects (see Honneth 1996, 38–40). However, he abandoned this in his later Realphilosophie as insufficient

Husserl and the Political 129 grounds for the recognition of others, notably when approached as subjects of rights and duties, i.e., in a bona fide transition from intersubjectivity to political life. Yet conversely, the peacefulness of both Husserl’s “I-thou relation” and Stein’s philia appear only partly convincing. To the degree, then, that there is recognition in Husserl, it is largely epistemological,11 and starts from my perception (and apperception) of the other’s moving body, over there, as similar to mine. Perhaps surprisingly, then, Hegel’s social dialectic, flowing from the struggle that leads to the establishment of the Herr und Knecht relationship, has been interpreted as more “existential,” closer to lived experience, than Husserl’s constitution (see Honneth 1996, 48, also Kojève 2004, 50). With this much established, we can turn to Husserl’s mature discussion of encounters with the other, which includes both the analogy-claim he posits between his and the other’s body, and the actual work done by Einfühlung. An underlying question for us will be whether a politics may ultimately be glimpsed in it. As he said, “Guided by the expression of the foreign subjectivity, in its fleshly corporeity that appears to me, I posit precisely the existence of this foreign subjectivity.”12 But intersubjective contact opens onto action and this implies that “my will is consciously, at the same time in the will of the other, and vice-versa. This is particularly clear in the example of the establishment of a master-servant relationship” (Husserl 1973b, 403, emph. added) because, at the transcendental level, “my will [becomes] one with that of the other” (Husserl 1973b, 402, emph. added). Since analogy-formation with the other’s body yields little resembling a quest for the objectification of the one subject’s desire as sovereign, Husserl’s Mitmensch is given to him directly through perception and apperception, which undercut any question of the impetus of desire by which Hegel characterized the movement of self-consciousness. Yet despite that, their ends are not dissimilar. Both are ultimately concerned with the “I that is a we,” and with intersubjective formations like communities and states. Still, the formal difference lies in the meaning of “spirit” itself: For Hegel, Spirit is free movement that consists in engendering differences – in itself and in the world. A stabilized self-certainty can only emerge from a desire whose ability to hold sway and subjugate is recognized by another.13 The “certainty of itself as a true certainty” must first overcome the resistance of a desiring alterity, however similar its bodily kinestheses are to mine, and however spontaneously “I” perceive (or apperceive) its expressions and gestures, as Husserl had claimed. As incipient intersubjective spirit, self-certainty thus begins essentially in-itself, not yet for-itself. But Hegel adds shortly thereafter (showing that he is aware of something like Einfühlung, though his is incapable of producing intersubjective unity by itself): Self-consciousness is faced by another self-consciousness;14 it has come out of itself. This has a twofold significance: first, it has lost

130  Bettina Bergo itself, for it finds itself as an other being; secondly, in doing so it has superseded the other [es hat damit das Andere aufgehoben], for it does not see the other as an essential being, but in the other sees its own self. (Hegel 1977, §179, second emph. added) The insight provided here by categories of in- and for-itself brings to light a paradox of immediate intersubjectivity: To “find oneself as an other being” amounts simultaneously to loss of self in the other and to the supersession of the same other. For contemporary phenomenology, such an insight is of course not unthinkable. For Hegel, however, it is existentially essential, because to lose oneself in another and to exclude alterity from one’s lived consciousness expresses the conundrum that can only be resolved by struggle. Only by triumphing over the (formal) resistance of the other can one’s self-consciousness receive itself back as authentically free and for-itself – albeit provisionally, because subject to subsequent struggles. Indeed, if the other self-consciousness resists effectively, then the dialectic intensifies to the point of an ultimate wager on life itself. In that respect, we can see that the emphasis on desire accords priority to willing over perception in the face-to-face encounter, even if Hegel’s undeveloped Einfühlung elicits the practical need to regain one’s selfhood at the other’s cost. Despite any resemblance to Husserl’s Paarung, the Hegelian Verdoppelung, or doubling, is interruptive. Despite his similarity to “me,” the other occasions a loss of self inconceivable for Husserl’s monadic ego (whether conceived as with or as without windows).15 In that sense, the instrumentalization of the other, as servant, would belong to a later or a psychologically higher level of experience than the one Husserl was describing in his 1927 notes. Nevertheless, for both philosophers, a sense of political life (and a good State) is present in nuce. For both these paradigmatic “scenes” obey a telos differentially defined as a large, stable formation qualifiable as a State (and, for Hegel, speculatively called emergent “Spirit”). Husserl starts from “my fellows” and, though he does not explicitly speak of desire, a dynamic of willing between the two subjects is patent. “My will becomes one with that of the other.” The transference of wills is the work of Einfühlung and Paarung, as well as communication. It comes to pass in ‘my inner sphere’, as a permanent feature of the transcendental ego, itself already constituted by way of the Cartesian path. To be sure, there seems to be a permeable limit on how completely I can constitute the foreign embodied consciousness – a limit that, if it could be explored “under constant reduction,” might show an anxiogenic quality in such constitutions or even point toward a more Hegelian, existential desire. While Hegel’s Begierde (desire) was both active and affective, Husserl’s later approach to Einfühlung is formally affective but passive. Indeed by

Husserl and the Political 131 1932, some five years after his notes on the master-servant relationship, Husserl will argue for a near fusion of wills, seeming to finesse what he had observed before about the residual strangeness of the other:16 “When we understand each other in a unilateral way or in a reciprocal mode (according to empathic experience), then this amounts – if Einfühlung becomes an intuitive appresentation – to producing . . . a ‘covering’ between me and the other, [and this] covering . . . is something entirely new” (Husserl 1973c, 471, emph. added). Thus, while Husserl’s constitution of a shared world unfolds with the supposition of the simultaneity of social existence and monads (i.e., the ego with its “immanent” world, in which other monads are reflected), a tension arises here because the constitution of the monadic Ego, made possible by the Cartesian path, was never fully brought together with discoveries from the ontological path (i.e., through the Lebenswelt) and the psychological path we just discussed, and which appears full-blown in the Crisis of European Sciences. Although Husserl strove to bring his several paths together, the double reduction (scrutiny of apperceptions that become available to me after the initial reduction to the immediate life of the Ego) brought to light the question of the motivation underlying further reductions toward lived memories, with the discovery of an intersubjective horizon implicit in all of these. Yet for Husserl, the possibility of a phenomenology of ever-larger social formations, starting from the “I-thou relation,” was propelled by Einfühlung, itself explored thanks to a psychological, or non-Cartesian, reduction (Depraz 1995, 203, 205): Through empathy, “I” perceive the lived affective experience of the other as capable of empathizing with me and, precisely in so doing, I experience myself as capable of empathizing, through my affective life, with the experiences of the other for whom I too am an other (because he is an “I”) (Depraz 1995, 202). Einfühlung as mode and motivation of the “psychological” path even appears at times to precede the Cartesian reduction. However that may be, Einfühlung is synthetic and irrevocable. As affective force, it propels the “expansion of this [intersubjective] unification,” which continues “in infinitum as a possibility” (Husserl 1973b, 407). That is why its description “carries with it a trans-individual necessity” (Husserl 1973b, 408), which allows us to make a priori claims about social existence and knowledge. A certain parallelism exists – albeit not always comfortably – between the transcendental reduction leading to the pure ego and the reduction to empathic collectivities, because the “composite personality” thus discovered is itself noetic, in principle part of “that egoic centration [Ichzentrierung] proper to the individual subject [that] can possess an effective analogon in the intersubjectivity whose formation is communitarian” (Husserl 1973b, 405, emph. added). Communitarian formations, called “higher-level personalities” (Husserl 1973b, 405), consolidate, passing through the State toward even larger formations including parts of the

132  Bettina Bergo animal world. That is why, in 1927, Husserl could equate State and Ego, arguing that “the State is, in a certain way, a State-Ego [Staats-Ich]” (Husserl 1973b, 406). When we contrast Husserl’s trans-individual necessity with the historic unfolding of Geist in Hegel, we find that some history is implicit in the sedimentations of the Lebenswelt, albeit without Hegel’s attention to political and religious contents. That is, in his 1807 Phenomenology, historic Spirit has Gestalten, with crucial moments that are philosophically ineluctable. One such moment is Protestantism, which provides the contents of “pure being-for-self” to self-consciousness (Hegel 1977, §799). Therein, the life and death of Jesus establishes a movement of positivity and kenosis (self-emptying) that presages the emergence of Spirit from its primitive intuitional forms.17 Thus religion (or Lutheran Protestantism) stands as a final, intuitive, stage in the self-reflection of Spirit as an I and a we. Indeed, a trans-individual necessity – here of reflective self-­ consciousness emerging as an organic and spiritual unity – requires the unfolding of religion and philosophy to bring about the social-universal. It is therefore quite remarkable that, for Husserl, comparable formal “work” could be done by empathy and communication – as though nonagonistic intentionalities replaced the tensions of desire in a movement similarly processual and “historic.”18 As we might expect, Husserl’s late notes radicalize the fusional force carried by Einfühlung. As we have seen, by 1932, Einfühlung amounted to a covering of wills, and Husserl equated it with a kind of absorption: If I am absorbed experientially (‘empathically’) in the other – whatever the interest I take in this . . . in listening to him, [then] I am, through appresentation, in coincidence with him; his appresented acts . . . are not only appresented; that is, there with me, just as he qua human being, for me, [possesses mine] by virtue of his taking a position that is fulfilled in my primordiality in an actual way within experience. (Husserl 1973c, 445). Facing the other, “I am ‘as it were’ in the other, who observes . . . who judges, who produces such and such a statement” (445, emph. added). Yet, again, this temporary absorption never gives rise to Hegel’s ego that “has lost itself.” Instead, a fusion-through-communication becomes – in these notes propædeutic to the Crisis – the moving force of spiritual unification – a telos ongoingly realized.19 “In an amazing fashion his [the subject’s] intentionality reaches into that of the other and vice versa” (C 254). And again, “just as there is a sole universal nature as self-enclosed framework of unity, so there is a sole psychic framework, a total framework of all souls, which are united not externally but internally . . . through the intentional interpenetration [ineinander], which is the communalisation

Husserl and the Political 133 of their lives. All of this is overlooked by positive sciences in which psychic life has long been modeled on the abstraction of physical bodies” (C 255, emph. added). The description of this internal unification was Husserl’s late task, weaving the psychological and lebensweltliche paths into his transcendental phenomenology.20 In the midst of what was starting to look like a phenomenological ensoulment moved by language, technology, and his multilayered Einfühlung, Husserl nevertheless had moments where he decisively returned to his Cartesian Ego, even moments where he sounded rather like Hegel. The same will of the “master,” which had penetrated and directed the will of the servant, was nevertheless not the only expression of intersubjective conation: “The will of the other person, presentified in my appresentation, is not in the coincidence my will, which, if I step out of this coincidence, remains as being my own will” (Husserl 1973c, 464). And he added the caveat that the ultimate horizon of a world in which I’s are we’s (his example is Greeks and Germans) is at least initially a “world that is for us purely and simply . . . ‘mythical’ [‘mythische’ Umwelt]” (Husserl 1973c, 436). Yet it “is born and continues to be born in the originary living historicity of generative existence” (Husserl 1973c, 436, emph. added). Hesitating before his own audacity, he deemed the bounds of this shared world as much a mythic telos as a pre-theoretical necessity, adding that this brought to mind “naturally . . . a universal animism” or ensoulment (Husserl 1973c, 436).

3. Einfühlung and the Possibility (or Impossibility) of Conflict It is hard to imagine that by 1932 the strong currents of organicism and vitalism found in German sciences, both natural and social, had had an impact other than terminological on Husserl’s thought.21 He had long spoken of “life,” although the “universal animism” was new. More importantly, however, a new paradox arises when we ask whether expanding Einfühlung can really give rise alone to peaceful communitarianism, even to a communicative liberalism like that of the second Frankfurt school. Does not the same “political” expansion require more consideration of freedom and difference, some idea of the tension between an an- and a für-sich? One illustrative case is found in the problem of political friends versus enemies and, by extension, of insiders and outsiders – domestic and foreign, and the borders dividing them. How is this problem addressed by Einfühlung? Do I not comprehend spontaneously the other’s [European’s?] psychic states, all the way to his “tension [Kraftanspannung] and eventually his affective excitation,” which impels the “striking movement of his arm” (Husserl 1973c, 471) as he treats me as his enemy? Perhaps I do understand him, but the problem of an otherenemy remained peripheral to Husserl’s intersubjective eidetics.

134  Bettina Bergo Approached politically, we thus find intimations of a certain liberalism, arising largely out of Husserl’s conception of rationality. We find them as well – and years earlier – in Stein’s realphänomenologische constitution of community and State, based on an analogy with the human person (Calcagno 2007, 50–53). Husserl would likely have followed her in defining the State in terms of a (reflective-negative) moment of selflimitation (Selbsteinschränkung), and in terms of a (reflective-positive) moment of self-formation (Selbstgestaltung). For vast collective Egos (Husserl 1973b, 406), self-limitation implies the “capacity of the State to set its own parameters . . . with respect to other communities and [even] States that lie outside of its physical-geographical or ‘psychic’ territory” (Calcagno 2007, 52). For Stein, this negative moment contributes to the “personality” of the State: Just as “I” can set limits on its own drives and actions, so too can the State. From this flows the positivity of freedom – again, of acts and transactions. Within this positive domain, the State repeatedly enacts itself (Calcagno 2007, 54), through “a spontaneous self-enactment mediated through persons, groups, or associations” (Calcagno 2007, 54). The two moments, negative and positive, interact and define each other reciprocally. Just as Hegel sought, in his early Jena writings, a way to move from individual desire and sovereignty toward legal rights and state power, Stein (and no doubt Husserl) confronted the problem of moving from the person to its analogue in the State. For Hegel, the Jena writings up to the Phenomenology “solved” this problem through the self-division of Spirit into two groups (in the Phenomenology, these are the two sexes; in the System of Ethical Life focus is on families), whereby a self-conscious individuality contemplates the ­universal – as State, its institutions, and its laws – and may choose to set itself in opposition to this “actuality” (Hegel 1977, 182). Such an opposition takes concrete form through a “wrongdoing or crime when it [the self-conscious individual] sets aside that actuality in a merely individual manner, or [indeed] when it does this in a general way and thus for all, putting another world, another right, law and customs in the place of those already existing” (Hegel 1977, 182). As part of an unfolding dialectic, this moment has important consequences for both the State and the individual, the most important of which will be appeals for the protection of rights and reparations, in short, for “the exercise of legal coercion in the sense of an abstraction from the material conditions [and] for the realization of individuals’ intentions” (Honneth 1996, 54). As Axel Honneth observed, “progress is reflected at the level of legal relations [here]; under pressure from the crime, the legal norms take on the character of publicly controlled regulatory laws, thereby acquiring the additional sanctionary force of the state” (Honneth 1996, 55). Of course, this sanctionary force is itself reinforced by the extension of state instances responsible for enacting such force, penalizing wrongdoers, and protecting the common will that gave rise to

Husserl and the Political 135 it. For Hegel, this movement is essential to Spirit’s passage into the objectivity of social reality. It is also essential to Spirit’s self-reflection in light of that reality and, consequently, to its own objective evolution. What occurs at a State level – concerning members of that state – must also occur between states. Recall that the essence of Spirit in Hegel is to engender, “within itself,” difference(s), to reflect on them, and thereby to pass through what could be qualified as subjective toward what is objective, i.e., the community, the State, etc. In the case of guilt passing into crime, “the action is itself this splitting into two, this explicit self-affirmation in the establishing over against itself of an alien external reality” (Hegel 1977, 282). What pertains to the action of the individual also pertains structurally to the State, as “the Spirit’s highest form of consciousness” (Hegel 1977, 286). Although Husserl explicitly sought to return to the concept of common spirit, although he was fully aware that his Einfühlung “cognized” affects in the other like tension, revulsion, and hatred, his eidetic logic did not accommodate Spirit as self-dividing, though little suggests that Husserl was unaware of comparable movements of intentionality. Still, his common spirit rested so fundamentally on Einfühlung that the latter began to resemble his contemporary, Freud’s Eros.22 Consequently, politics for Husserl evinced the distinctly liberal sense of respect for individuals, for majority rule, for discussion and compromise (viz., Einfühlung proceeds alongside communication). Now, there is arguably little to object to in such a characterization of politics, except that the relationship between the State and society is rarely clearly defined. For that reason, the “dependency” between State politics and economics, not to mention what is sometimes assumed as a normative continuum between ethics and politics (see Schmitt 2007, 70–76), do not help us to define the political in its specificity – if such a specificity can be imagined. Thus, if a “purer” definition of the political is possible, it must make space for the specificity of an enemy state, and with this something like a negative Einfühlung – beyond Hegel’s dialectic of criminality in which the enemy is firstly a member of the community and not, say, another State.

4. The Concept of the Political In the attempt to define politics outside the more hybrid frameworks of 18th and 19th century liberalisms, one might well hope for something like an “eidetics” able to set forth a “purer” criterion therefor. This was undoubtedly Carl Schmitt’s project.23 While a realist in politics and jurisprudence – and one of the major representatives of the “conservative revolution” in Germany (see Sternhell 2010, 572) – it remains that his conception of politics, as “the specific . . . distinction” that grounds “political actions and motives” relative to friends and enemies, required an approach not so different from Husserl’s eidetics, which Schmitt

136  Bettina Bergo himself called “a reduction” (Schmitt 2007, 26). Although somewhat less than an encompassing definition, Schmitt’s “criterion” of the political does combine formalism with the existential dimension we observed in Hegel. Schmitt’s dimension, clearly incorporated though perfectly formal, concerns the mobilizing force of affects: As a criterion, his notion of the political “denotes the utmost degree of intensity of a union or separation, of an association or dissociation” (Schmitt 2007, 27, emph. added). To some extent a refinement of the master-slave dialectic (Schmitt 2007, 52–53), it sets politics on the formal footing of life and death, regardless of whether war against an enemy ensues or not (Schmitt 2007, 34).24 This anti-liberal approach to politics is compelling, at least because, as Schmitt urged, in its absence, there could not be “a meaningful antithesis whereby men could be required to sacrifice life, authorized to shed blood, and kill other human beings” (Schmitt 2007, 35). That is of course why politics requires a decision about an enemy, and opens onto his muchcommented state of exception. I will concentrate, here, on Schmitt’s initial emphasis on the political as relations between States (occasionally as a relation to an internal enemy, although that implies the possibility of a civil war whereby the State simply lacerates itself). Failing this emphasis, Schmitt’s argument slides toward ideology (notably, antisemitism), and thereby toward a pre-political criminality. Despite the fact that he is not working out of an explicitly existentialist politics, Schmitt repeatedly employs terms like “intensity” (Schmitt 2007, 26), even affects “existentially so strong” (Schmitt 2007, 38) that we understand that, in the wake of the friend-enemy distinction, political sovereignty must turn on some dimension of force and passions. In that sense, sovereignty evinces what might speculatively be called the negative of Einfühlung, if only on the part of the Sovereign who decides the state of exception. To repeat: “The distinction of friend and enemy denotes the utmost degree of intensity of a union or separation, of an association or dissociation [negative Einfühlung]” (Schmitt 2007, 26, emph. added). Schmitt’s eidetics would thus turn on near-Nietzschean forces of unification and dissociation. Ironically, in the same year in which Husserl was penning notes on the master-servant relationship, Schmitt was publishing his call, if you will, “to the political things themselves.” Simultaneously appreciated by the left and the right,25 Schmitt’s criterion clearly implied a strong Hegel-style executive (animated by a knowledge of history and the kind of ‘political’ discernment that permits one to distinguish between a bona fide threat of attack versus merely symbolic postures). There are distinct advantages to defining the political apart from (liberal) economic and ethico-intellectual concerns. The truly political enemy is not just a competitor in the market any more than a partner to debate. Yet this enemy must be able to be recognized. Strongly contemporary in this sense, Schmitt’s arguments show the hypocrisy of a world-state or world-encompassing institutions, whereby everything is neutralized into

Husserl and the Political 137 matters of economic management or expansive declarations of rights, frequently affirmed in form only (Schmitt 2007, 53–54). As he says, as if with an nod toward Husserl: “Humanity is not a political concept, and no political entity or society and no status corresponds to it” (Schmitt 2007, 55). Thus, the dream of a “political” universality actually amounts to “total depoliticalization” and a vitiation of Schmitt’s criterion of life and death intensity. Part of the difficulty – after all both Husserl’s and Freud’s “forces” forged expanding human associations, potentially leading to a world alliance – lies in that the “friend” in Schmitt is just the co-citizen, the member of the same nation (or “race”) – and thus brings to light nothing of the Einfühlung that concerned Husserl. Indeed, Schmitt’s ‘eidetics’ unfold like the negative image of Einfühlung, or the total absence of immediate feeling-into. As pure concept, Schmitt’s politics is defined by the identification of an enemy and the decision to disassociate from and enter into conflict with them. It consequently has little to do with the presumably evident concept of the friend. Therefore, in Schmitt’s definition of the political, unifying force – whether conceived as Einfühlung, philia, or Eros – plays no adjudicative role, nor should it be accorded the eidetic purity that Schmitt was seeking. To bring in Einfühlung, or even Eros (Freud), would simply confuse the criterion. Seen from without, however, the Schmittian concept does not assure us of a politics of stability, beyond the time opened, that is, by the decision about the state of exception. Schmitt’s criterion thus denotes a possibility, an ever-present virtuality, liable to arise when the sovereign figure or body proclaims the decision that inaugurates the state of emergency. As we can imagine, this makes his criterion unwieldy because, in the absence of a threat (notably external but possibly internal), the right of war would have no object, and consequently the “political” could not really be en vigueur. What a state might do, if only to endure, in the absence of such a threat, implies that some kind of liberalism (as Schmitt had characterized it) would be hard to avoid.26 For Schmitt, at best this would require that the State practice a vaster range of peacetime activities (Calcagno 2007, 52–53). But whatever the liberal activity envisioned, it would seem that the only ostensible alternative to Einfühlung (as unifying force or cohesion factor) would be some form of Hegelian authority, which nevertheless stands at a distance from Husserl’s State as the analogue of the ego (his Staats-Ich), and from Stein’s State as a magnified person. This is due to two reasons. First, in keeping with Hegel’s conception of the State as superior to all entities contained in and protected by it, Schmitt rejected the idea that a constitutional State might be “ ‘the expression of the societal order, the existence of society itself’,” a position he attributes to the 19th century economist Lorenz von Stein, whose definition of the political nevertheless required more than the constitutional State alone. That is, von Stein had urged that when the State was attacked, “ ‘battle must then be waged outside

138  Bettina Bergo the constitution and the law’ ” (Schmitt 2007, 47, emph. added). Little accident, then, that Schmitt considers von Stein a liberal, because he emphasized that the State must be greater at all times than society, up to and including its very existence. The second reason underlying Schmitt’s criterion of State sovereignty is his philosophical anthropology. For him, all bona fide political thinkers have conceived humanity as variously “evil” (Schmitt 2007, 58). “Evil,” he argued, is a compound notion; it admits a host of definitions, including “corruption, weakness, cowardice, stupidity, or also . . . brutality, sensuality, vitality, irrationality” (Schmitt 2007, 58). Indeed, the equivocalness of the term “evil” poses problems that Schmitt does not address, though he lists as true political thinkers “Machiavelli, Hobbes, Bossuet, Fichte, de Maistre, Donoso Cortés, H. Taine, and Hegel, all of whom conceived ‘man’ as in some sense ‘evil’ ” (Schmitt 2007, 61). This was not the case for Edith Stein, and it would hardly have been of interest to Husserl, whose transcendental ego and expanding egoic-­formations are not approached morally, nor carry philosophicoanthropological hypotheses. Certainly, Stein borrowed Georg Simmel’s categories of mass, society, and community, setting the State as the “superior order [of] the associations (Zusammenlebens) of the society and the mass” (Calcagno 2007, 100–101), in that sense echoing Hegel. Nevertheless, for Schmitt, Stein and Husserl would have been involuntary liberals of some stripe, or simply not political thinkers, standing off the mark in their respective conceptions of State, community, and society. But despite this, sovereignty – understood as the active power to decide who is an enemy and to enact the state of exception – goes otherwise undeveloped in Schmitt’s arguments. For the political to endure outside the state of exception, sovereignty must be expanded to shed light on its authority or motivational power. This is true for any theory of sovereignty, but it is certainly the case for Schmitt, who writes: “The authority to decide, in the form of a verdict on life and death, the jus vitae ac necis, can also belong to another non-political order within the political entity, for instance, to the family or to the head of the household, but not the right of a hostis declaration as long as the political entity is an actuality and possesses the jus belli” (Schmitt 2007, 47, last emph. added). Authority would thus see its highest intensification in Schmitt’s political sovereignty, though authority actually overflows that category. Indeed, authority opens fissures in Schmitt’s criterion, suggesting something like over-precision. In other words, it is thanks to authority that a sovereign assures the protection of her or his subjects, in peace as in war. Similarly, something like a principle of authority must also be found in the relationship between masters and servants. Now, Schmitt urged that the famous protego ergo obligo – the exercise of authority for the purpose of protection – “is the cogito ergo sum of the state” (Schmitt 2007, 52), at least when considered beyond individual relationships. Authority would

Husserl and the Political 139 thus be the fundamentum inconcussum of a truly political state. Yet for Schmitt such protection can be equated neither with acts of recognition, nor even with what Husserl called Einfühlung. Still sovereignty, when it protects and obligates, must consist in the effectivity, the acting force of authority itself.27 For that reason, let us try to clarify the notion outside the rigid framework Schmitt gave to his criterion for an authentic politics. As we will see, only a phenomenology of authority provides such a clarification and, as such, it may be phenomenology that ultimately affords us a bridge between Husserl’s communities of Einfühlung and political life.

5. Toward a Phenomenology of Authority, Motivation, and Political Mobilization In preparing his Outline for a Phenomenology of Right in 1943, Alexandre Kojève defined authority this way: “[It] is . . . necessarily a relation (between agent and patient) . . . the possibility that an agent has to act on others (or on another), without the others reacting to him, even if they are capable of doing so” (Kojève 2004, 58). As an example, he ventures that if I can make another leave with a simple “get out!” and that other leaves with neither debate nor discussion, then I have enacted authority. We see that this is related to Schmitt’s decisionism about the state of exception, and must be, lest the danger of loss of life incite others (like the Parliament) to insist on negotiating with the “enemy” (thereby vitiating authority and, with it, weakening the criterion of the political). Indeed, political sovereignty requires this sort of unilateral authority, which appears to foreclose Einfühlung just as it stands outside realms like Stein’s philia. This is the case despite the fact that such authority must also protect (and obligate) those on whom it is binding. In The Concept of the Political, Schmitt rarely refers to the idea of authority, because sovereignty contains it almost tautologically. Yet authority would have to be motivational in all cases where the decision is made about the state of exception and the mobilization of people to war. We should hear “motivational” in the sense of a prompt or spontaneous impetus and, in a more psychological sense, as the “conscious and voluntary renunciation of the realization” of opposition to it (Kojève 2004, 57). On the one hand, this ties it to Husserl’s Einfühlung in the previously-discussed case of the master and servant. On the other hand, it poses the question of the “conscious and voluntary renunciation” that Kojève says must be presupposed for the practical “authentification” of authority (Kojève 2004, 57, emphasis in original).28 Again, though authority opens the possibility of acting on others without having to conceive of strategies for eliciting their adherence or participation, the figure of authority itself need not itself move. It thus dispenses with force, by definition (Kojève 2004, 58), even if force is a mainstay of law via

140  Bettina Bergo tribunals, the police, carceral institutions, etc.29 In that sense, Schmitt’s careful distinction between war and politics (Schmitt 2007, 34) is illuminated by Kojève’s argument.30 Whereas liberalism distributes political instances and functions – and although commentators like Arendt and Kojève regret the evaporation of authority, notably “paternal,” from contemporary political institutions – my discussion of authority has a different purpose. Understood in its Roman and thereafter Christian sense, authority pertains both to foundation (auctoritas) and to augmentation – improvement of a given State and society (Arendt 1977, 121–22).31 As we have seen, it also engages motivation (in the psychological sense) and imagination (in the sense of Castoriadis’s social imaginaries),32 though a longer examination of motivation would lead us back to questions of intensity and, by extension, back to affects, which move beyond the formal analyses Kojève proposed with an eye to unearthing the foundations of right and law. With authority, we nevertheless find a passage – undeveloped by Kojève – toward the surreptitious activity of affects, understood neutrally as what holds my (passive) attention and moves me to act. This is not to return to the conundrums Husserl already faced in his discussion of sensation, simultaneously active and passive but rather to move more decisively along his aforementioned “psychological path.”33 Just as the Einfühlung at work in intersubjectivity entailed various affections whereby I enact an order or speak, etc., I would argue that authority spontaneously elicits a motivation whose grounds can be examined phenomenologically. Recall Husserl’s argument in Erste Philosophie II (1923–1924): The double reduction which all presentifications can experience, [is a] reduction of the presentification [understood] as present experiences [Erlebnisse] and [a] reduction ‘within’ the presentification [itself]. Thereby is revealed the system of ‘motivation’, which . . . belongs to every naïve, posited ‘existing’ thing for which all existential validity [Daseinsgeltung] . . . concerns not the merely momentary experience, but rather intentionally implies this whole system [dieses ganze Eines] rooted in the momentary experience although, certainly, as [the] horizon . . . of a system of possible, consequent experience. (Husserl 1959, 434, emphasis in original) Through this system of motivation, which shakes the naïvely perceiving subject out of its presumptive evidences, it becomes possible to scrutinize important dimensions of the past and of all those others already found therein. The motivation discussed here must contain a kind of force and it must unfold both at the level of my “interest” in the past and my discovery of the horizon of other people in it.34 While this diverges from Kojève’s rapprochement between force and violence, Husserl has here

Husserl and the Political 141 taken a different phenomenological path, again supplementary to his transcendental egology: The motivation to explore my past (as well as the possibility of acts of association including Einfühlung) is intimately tied to affects, which themselves always evince psycho-physical force. Without some affective motivation, neither birth of nor a change in my attention can occur. Recall that Husserl had emphasized as early as 1918 that the problem of affection returns once more with respect to what is elementary [the impressional sphere], and in particular it returns as the problem of whether affection is not already an essential condition for the emergence of any constitutive synthesis, and whether both of these must not go together: a pre-affective characteristic of the elements [of force and flow], with the essential presuppositions for the formation of unity proper to the pre-affective character and [to] the affection itself. (Husserl 1966, 165, emph. added) While a pre-affective property is found in objects and others (understood as “transcendences”), it is simultaneously “in me.” And this leads Husserl to argue that we must consider the possibility whether all the fusions and separations . . . do not require an affective vivacity in order to become at all, and that perhaps they could not so become if the materially relevant conditions of forming unities were indeed fulfilled but the affective conditions were nil. (Husserl 1966, 165, emph. added) This affective vitality, operating almost like a drive behind the associations, separations, and fusions by which we constitute people and things, is no doubt also at work in Einfühlung – that is, if we want to grasp Einfühlung’s spontaneity and its ability to bring about instantaneous pairings between bodies (is Paarung not like the fusions and associations Husserl is describing here?). All of this constitutes an initial response to what Husserl calls the “enigma of association, and with this all [the] enigmas of the ‘unconscious’ and of varying modes of ‘becoming-­conscious’ ” (Husserl 1966, 165). This elaborate discussion of motivation as affectivity – though it seems to play its phenomenological role mainly in constituting objects and associating memories – is a significant, embodied dimension of Einfühlung as Husserl came to approach it. Still more important, it clarifies an ingredient of authority that remained unthematized in Kojève – although Schmitt approached it obliquely in his discussion of political intensities. Once an affect is conceived neutrally as a force that attracts the attention

142  Bettina Bergo of the ego – “even if it is only found in the antechamber of the ego” (Husserl 1966, 166, emph. added) – it must also inhere in Einfühlung and accompany what political philosophies called “authority” (hence the frequent association of authority with charisma). Indeed, it need not even be fully conscious. That means that Kojève’s authority finds verification in Husserl’s genetic phenomenological perspective. Beyond the question of authority’s loss, Kojève’s discovery of its capacity both to incite us to spontaneous action and to modalize temporally also points to the radiation of affective vitality – around decisions and projects in the future (the purview of “the Chief”), or with regard to acts in the present (the purview of “the Master”), etc. For Kojève, only the authority of “the Judge” stretches out a-temporally, because it is defined by justice as a trans-temporal ideal. Kojève’s types of authority need not concern us further here. What is important is the impressive correspondence implied by authority’s temporal modalizations and phenomenology’s temporalizations of consciousness itself, as revealed by the genetic double reduction and Husserl’s scrutiny of passive syntheses. Because Einfühlung ultimately belonged to such syntheses, it follows that any subset of Einfühlung, including socio-political (which Kojève defined as authority, and Stein located in philia) would similarly belong to passive syntheses. If it were possible to establish that the very efficacy of authority is rooted in Einfühlung (such that “we” hear and obey, or again approve a future project without discussion or violence), then authority could be established as one of the “translations” or as an “extension” of Husserl’s Einfühlung that constitutes groups expanding all the way to the scale of the State. That way, authority would better express the “vitality” of sovereignty by getting around (or better, by supplementing) Schmitt’s decisionistic “Sovereign.” After all, the intensity Schmitt described of the state of exception looks phenomenologically like the negative of Einfühlung, or like its constrictive or dissociative correlate. I stated previously that Husserl’s Einfühlung appeared to operate almost like Freud’s Eros, which itself forged associations of various intensities and scales. In one case Husserl speaks of the phenomenological “subject” perceptually “empathizing with” or grasping the anger coming across the face of someone about to strike him. Einfühlung could thus be conceived psychologically as accompanied by revulsion, or as a direct apprehension of violence, perhaps even hatred, though there is not an enemy to be found in Husserl’s notes. And certainly not a political enemy. The true negative of Einfühlung would thus be its integral absence with regard to an other, whether individual or collective. On the other hand, and although he saw no need to include discussion of “the friend” in his criterion of the political, Schmitt’s notion of the enemy, essential to authentically political decisions, expresses what I would argue is the negative of Einfühlung: a very real movement of dissociation without a trace of affect, psychological or formal. But this leaves the matter of intensity as if hanging in Schmitt, and with it, the problems we have seen

Husserl and the Political 143 with authority in light of motivating people to act. It is interesting that a similar intensity of negation is found in Hegel’s phenomenology of two consciousnesses struggling for recognition. What is more, given the formal circularity in Schmitt’s concept of the political; viz., the decision is called “sovereign” and, in being taken, constitutes sovereignty, political sovereignty also needs the intensity and motivation of convictions.35 The latter are implicit in Kojève’s authority and they are elucidated thanks to a return to Einfühlung, when understood in terms of affective force and as spontaneous, passive synthesis. Einfühlung may even go some way toward providing a psychological clarification of Hegel’s claim that, before the other self-consciousness, the first has effectively lost itself, even as it has found “itself as an other being” (Hegel 1977, 111). We have seen that the concept of the enemy and the decision it implies represents a step beyond liberal thought’s “neutralization” of politics, because Schmitt gives us politics in a “pure,” existential form. Could it be that the question of the relationship between phenomenology and politics – indeed the question concerning an eventual bridge between them – is answered in part thanks to the notion of authority, provided the latter is understood as being grounded in Einfühlung, understood even beyond its work as aggregative force? While this may step away from Husserl’s epistemological concerns, it is undeniable that authority carries affective force, which makes possible intersubjective relations of varying modes and intensities. Although there is little of Einfühlung in Schmitt’s approach to the political, it remains that authority amounts to the most direct expression of sovereignty, whose circular relationship to the act of deciding the state of exception is Schmitt’s formal criterion of the political. Before or around that intensity lie the horizons of affective syntheses and ultimately various modalizations of authority. Indeed, these horizons provide the phenomenological grounds for Kojève’s modalizations of authority, which he expressed temporally as past authority (paternal), present authority (Master), future (Chief), and trans-temporal authority (Judge). Little should thereby preclude our starting with a phenomenology of authority, as one modalization of Einfühlung, for a larger project of phenomenological investigations into the political.

Dedication For David Bertet.

Notes 1. Depraz 1995, 343. This is the translation proposed by Depraz, responsible for the French translation of much of the Husserl’s Notes of Intersubjectivity (Husserl 1973a-c). 2. Depraz 1995, 198–216. Depraz is discussing the plurality of paths developed toward phenomenology, notably beyond the well-known Cartesian path,

144  Bettina Bergo and arising from the development of the “reduction in the reduction” or the double reduction, first thematized in 1910, whereby Husserl scrutinized the horizons of the act of lived memory and not just a presentified memory. There is little discussion of Einfühlung in her chapter other than to point out that empathy is grasped as an intentional act, and initially “ ‘has no exceptional position’ (Husserl 1973a, no. 6, §31, 172),” Depraz 1995, 202. 3. As Husserl put in in 1923–1924, “the double reduction, through which all presentifications can be experienced, [is a] reduction of presentifications qua presented lived experiences and a reduction “in” presentifications. Pour tout ceci thereby is unveiled the system of “motivation,” that belongs to every “existing” thing posited naively . . . [and] implies in an intentional way this whole of a possible system of experience . . . assuredly only as horizon,” (Husserl 1959, 434, cited by Depraz 1995, 206–207, emphasis in original, final italics mine). 4. These are but notes of course, yet the use of the term “subjectivity” is significant here, even redolent of Hegel’s “geistigen Einheit in ihrer Verdoppelung” or spiritual unity in its doubling, Hegel 1977, §178. 5. Husserl referred to affective forces in §3 of his Notes on Passive Synthesis (Husserl 1966), urging that all memories, associations, and even concept formation likely required their effectivity: “We must examine whether an affective vitality is not necessary to all fusions and all separations, through which the objective unities in the field of the present are born, in order that they might simply be born” (Husserl 1966, 165). Or again, “In conformity with our original interpretation, this means then that the liaison [association of retentions] generally takes place only thanks to affective force and that, as long as the intuition occurs, it is eo ipso an affective force” (Husserl 1966, 175). 6. The analogy here between the ego and egoic life with a state-ego suggests a political system. But which one? Did Husserl have a monarchy in mind, a parliamentary monarch? We cannot answer this question at this point, because Husserl’s apparent Platonism (i.e., the city is the psyche writ large) is not concerned with the nature or number of the rulers so much as with 19th century liberal conceptions of political life. 7. Husserl writes literally: “Freilich ist meine Erfahrungskenntniss von Anderen zunächst sehr viel unvollkommener als die von mir selbst. Aber im Fortgang der nachverstehenden Erfahrung bestimmt sich ihr . . . und in diesem Fortgang erreiche ich unter beständeger phänomenologischer Reduktion auch immer vollkommener ihre reine Subjektivität als konsequentes Thema” (400 [No. 21]). 8. This applies in a restricted sense to the “animal world” as well: “Men and, to a lesser extent, animals do not live simply isolated: They have a social life. All sociality can be thematized from the point of view of purely subjective experience and thereby furnishes more than a simple sum of pure isolated subjects” (Husserl 1973b, 401). 9. As Hegel argues in his 1807 Phenomenology: “The simple ‘I’ is this genus . . . for which the differences are not differences only by its being the negative essence of the shaped independent moments [negatives Wesen der gestaltenden selbständigen Momente]; and self-consciousness is thus certain of itself only by superseding this other that presents itself to self-consciousness as an independent life; self-consciousness is Desire [Begierde]. Certain of the nothingness of this other [self-consciousness], it explicitly affirms that this nothingness is for it the truth of [that] other; it destroys the independent object and thereby gives itself the certainty of itself as a true certainty, a certainty which has become explicit for self-consciousness itself in an objective manner [gegenständliche Weise]” (Hegel 1977, §174, emph. Hegel’s).

Husserl and the Political 145 10. Stein recurs to the Aristotelian notion of philia as the bond whose consolidative importance to communities and states is more significant even than justice. Philia would be “a relational mode of comportment wherein there is a genuine and universal bond permitting persons to dwell mutually together in a . . . wellordered fashion.” See Calcagno 2007, 56. Calcagno is citing Stein 1925. 11. In Appendix 54 to a text dedicated to “The Possibility of the Ap-presentation of the other person (The Flesh ‘Thrust outside’, Resemblance, according to Appearance, of the Parts of the Flesh and of Things, Ap-presentation and the ‘Transposition to the Inside’). Against Lipps’ Objection to Reasoning by Analogy,” Husserl wrote, of “perception by recognition” that it was the analogizing realization of an act intention based on the awakening of a retention of a prior act on the mode of “what is originally given.” From there, he constituted pairing, the flesh of the other as resembling mine, and the basic presuppositions of Einfühlung (Husserl 1973c, 660–661). It was by analogy that the “foreign flesh was recognized as other similar bodies.” The sense of recognition serves the epistemological purpose of clarifying the work of empathy. 12. In various places he also observes that although the “foreign subjectivity is increasingly unified with mine” (Husserl 1973b, 400 [No. 21]), its basic strangeness is never lost (Husserl 1973c, 433–434, 464, 631). 13. Cf. §222: “For consciousness, no doubt, in appearance renounces the satisfaction of its self-feeling, but it gets the actual satisfaction of that feeling, for it has been desire, work, and enjoyment; qua consciousness it has willed, has acted, has enjoyed.” 14. This is a bit of hermeneutic activism on A. V. Miller’s part, the German reads, more simply: “Es ist für das Selbstbewußtsein ein anderes Selbstbewußtsein; es ist außer sich gekommen,” or: “There is, for the self-consciousness another self-consciousness; it has come out of itself.” 15. Although Husserl introduced his Leibnizian concept of monad to show that the transcendental Ego contains the entirety of its experiences, he once added of this monad: “Monads possess windows of reciprocal causality that are specifically monadic and form a pure ‘world of monads’ as a real causal unity in the totality [of monads]” (Husserl 1973b, 360, first emph. added). 16. Unlike the speculation found in his notes, the fifth Cartesian Meditation insisted that the apperceptive transference that occurred between my body and that of an other “over there” never afforded access to his mental states. See Husserl 1973, §50 “The mediate intentionality of experiencing someone else, as ‘appresentation’ (analogical apperception),” 138–141. Also see Zahavi 2001, 151–156. Part of Zahavi’s argument about Husserlian Einfühlung turns on Max Scheler’s powerful critique, albeit of the “official” Husserl rather than the one we find in his notes on intersubjectivity. 17. “The disclosure or revelation which substance has in this consciousness is in fact concealment, for . . . only the abstract moments of substance belong to self-consciousness; but since these, as pure movements, spontaneously impel themselves onward, self-consciousness enriches itself till it has wrested from consciousness the entire substance and has absorbed into itself the entire structure of the essentialities of substance” (§801). 18. But for which time had to be brought into line with the absolute intersubjective time analogous to the time that defined pure transcendental consciousness. 19. Of course, a similar claim could be made of Hegel’s absolute Spirit, whose awareness must be awakened in all self-consciousness. 20. We find concentric circles of dynamic integration in the account of the emergence of the state in Hegel’s Phenomenology as well, suggesting that political history must parallel – to be meaningful – the emergence of Spirit as it returns

146  Bettina Bergo to itself reflectively as objective. On the other hand, a pathos of context can be felt in the 1930s work of Husserl, as he describes the increasing unification of humanity in the winter of 1931, in terms of “the surrounding world [that] acquires an expanded, more encompassing spatial sphere, which possesses the . . . spherical form of a shell” (Husserl 1973c, 430). This world, he ventured optimistically, “carries as virtuality indeterminate expansion, despite zones of obscurity and subworlds not yet known,” because, in all cases, we have to do with “a human universe of persons who communicate amongst themselves” (431), enlarging each time “horizons known and unknown” as their very historicity. That is why “all that is yet foreign, incomprehensible, possesses a known core, without this being in general the object of an experience” (432). 21. Even though Husserl was perfectly capable of venturing observations like: “The national surrounding worlds (which we experience each time, in their particular humanity, as world pure and simple) metamorphose into subjective, national ‘apperceptions’ . . . as world in itself” (Husserl 1973c, 436). More important is that, in the context of the time, phenomenology and vitalism were anything but antithetical. Ludwig Ferdinand Clauß (author of the influential 1933 work, Die Nordische Seele [published by Max Niemeyer], cf. Clauß 1940) had started his intellectual career, like several others, in phenomenology, only to seek concreteness and life in Heidegger and vitalism. 22. The claim that Eros unites humans in ever vaster collectivities is found in many places in Freud. One such is in his Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego (1921) (Freud 1940), chapter 4, where he ventures “that a group is clearly held together by a power of some kind: and to what power could this feat be better ascribed than to Eros, which holds together everything in the world? Secondly, that if an individual gives up his distinctiveness in a group and lets its other members influence him by suggestion, it gives one the impression that he does it because he feels the need of being in harmony with them rather than in opposition to them – so that perhaps after all he does it “ihnen zu Liebe” [out of love, Eros, for them].” In Civilization and its Discontents (1929, around the time Husserl was radicalizing Einfühlung) (Freud 1961), Freud reiterated the work of Eros in culture: “civilization is a process in the service of Eros, whose purpose is to combine single human individuals, and after that families, then races, peoples and nations, into one great unity, the unity of mankind. Why this has to happen, we do not know; the work of Eros is precisely this. These collections of men are to be libidinally bound to one another. Necessity alone, advantages of work in common, will not hold them together.” (Chapter 6, emph. added) Of course, Freud was not a monist, and Eros as force was intertwined with a mysterious second drive (called “nirvana” in 1920) that could become disentwined from it under circumstances of trauma. 23. As Christian Meier urges: “The notion of politics developed by Carl Schmitt is theoretical. It could in no way be affected by circumstantial and partisan positions, which might have suggested to their author the existentiell, even existentialist premises of his procedure.” This, however, is not the goal of the criterion which is the result of an elaborate purification of the concept of the political. See Meier 1995, 29. 24. Against many readings of von Clausewitz’s argument in Vom Kriege (1853), Schmitt insists that war need not be “the ultima ratio of the friend-andenemy grouping. [This is because w]ar has its own grammar (i.e. special military-technical laws), but politics remains its brain” (Schmitt 2007, 34, note 14).

Husserl and the Political 147 25. He could appreciate that Marxism had not lost touch with a relatively pure concept of the political, unlike Liberalism, because “Marxists approach the class struggle seriously and treat the class adversary as a real enemy [fighting] him either in the form of a war of state against state, or in a civil war” (Schmitt 2007, 37). To this, Walter Benjamin responded in his eighth thesis on the philosophy of history: “The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the ‘state of emergency’ in which we live is not the exception but the rule. We must attain to a conception of history that is in keeping with this insight. Then we shall clearly realize that it is our task to bring about a real state of emergency, in the struggle against fascism” Benjamin 1969, 257. 26. Edith Stein too had discussed sovereignty as self-constitution and self-­ formation, in no way circumscribing it to self-limitation. But the purity of Schmitt’s definition of the political, notably its temporal “concentration” in the decision (about life and death) suggests not one, but two possible “extensions”: a liberal politics in the meantime, or a monarchist politics that reflects Hegel’s discussion of the tripartite state into the power to “establish the universal” (the legislature); the power “to subsume single cases and the spheres of particularity under the universal” (the executive); and “the will with the power of ultimate decision” (the Crown). In the first case, following the decision about the enemy, the state would be obliged to intervene in virtually all other spheres (economic, labor, intellectual, and cultural) of the community. In the second case, the hierarchy would have already been established and duly structured. See Hegel 1967, §273, 176. It is worth adding that, considered from the perspective of “ethical life,” the “worldhistorical realm” of the “Germanic” represents for Hegel “mind . . . pressed back upon itself in the extreme of its absolute negativity” (§358). In this highest approximation between freedom and necessity, German philosophy has glimpsed “a reconciliation with the fulfillment of which the principle of the North, the principle of the Germanic peoples, has been entrusted”: This is the organic reconciliation of freedom and necessity. This cannot have escaped the student of Hegel, Carl Schmitt, who in effect forced the reconciliation by purifying the political into a decision creating the situation in which freedom and necessity disappeared into each other. 27. Recall that Gilles Deleuze recurs to these concepts to describe all true creation (all foundation). For Nietzsche, whom he comments here, jubere is the only way through which the philosopher becomes a legislator. See Deleuze 2007, 104–105. 28. The question of motivation becomes still more complex when we ask what it is about authority that precipitated a conscious renunciation of resistance. This claim involves Kojève in the tangle of imputation, as though authority was simply enacted and spontaneously provoked conscious renunciation. Although “conscious” need not mean reflective, it remains that the question of identification, which we find developed in Freud’s Massenpsychologie, is here starkly aligned with authority itself and thereby not further problematized. 29. For our purposes, Kojève’s contribution lies in its near phenomenological inspiration, which consists in defining a relation in terms of its temporal modalizations. Indeed, beyond any question pertinent to Schmitt, Kojève argued that authority took four possible forms: a paternal form, that of a head, that of a judge, and that of a master (Kojève 2004, 140). As such, and in the case of the latter three, it may be individuated or diffuse. Paternal authority concerns him who founded a given collectivity and temporalizes as the past-in-the-present. “The authority of the father signifies ‘tradition’ ”

148  Bettina Bergo (Kojève 2004, 143); precisely the tradition that Kojève, and after him Hannah Arendt, lamented as being essentially lost to contemporary society. The authority of the Head (le Chef) turns on “initiative” and the vision of a project, “decisions taken in view of the future” (Kojève 2004, 142). This sort of authority temporalizes differently than that of the father. Nevertheless it enters into relation with the power of the master, understood as executive power, acting in the present, and “being ‘action’ par excellence” (Kojève 2004, 142). Finally, the authority of the judge is the most paradoxical because, guided by an idea of justice (that is almost a Kantian idea), it lays claim to eternity – however much modernity has “temporalized” the latter. On Kojève’s argument, the dimension of authority called the Judge stands separate from the purely temporal authorities of Head and Master, although this applies only to political justice and not to that of civil codes. The important thing here is that justice must be able to judge; executive authority may be invested with this power, but the tension will remain between the now and the eternal. 30. Against some receptions of Clausewitz, Schmitt urges that: “War is neither the aim nor the purpose nor even the very content of politics.” Nevertheless “as an ever present possibility, it is the leading presupposition which determines in a characteristic way human action and thinking and thereby creates a specifically political behavior” (Schmitt 2007, 34). The distinction turns on war having its own “grammar” in the form of military technical laws. Still, for Schmitt, “politics remains its brain. It [war] does not have its own logic” (Schmitt 2007, 34 n. 14). Referring to the work of Reinhart Koselleck, Christian Meier recalls the “profound mutation in the entirety of political and social concepts that occurred between 1750 and 1850.” This “mutation” concerned, precisely, their temporalization – even their assignation to past, present, and future events and states such as we also see in Kojève. The mutation was accompanied by a distinction between “state” and “politics” such that, as an adjective, “politics” lost its unique reference to the state. In Schmitt, this concerns the advent of liberalism. See NP 27. For a discussion of the temporal modalizations of what he calls “moral emotions” (pride, shame, guilt, hope, and despair), see Steinbock 2014. 31. See Arendt 1977. The essay dates from 1961 and makes no reference to Kojève, though some of the core arguments are similar. One of Arendt’s important contributions is that an “authoritarian society” must not equate to tyranny or to totalitarianism, but readily reflects 19th century Liberalism and any society organized grosso modo in the form of a pyramid, with authority flowing from the top through the distinct, constituent layers toward the base. As such, “the binding force of this authority is closely connected with the religiously binding force of the auspices”, themselves attached to the founding of Rome. 32. Cornelius Castoriadis first defines an individual imaginary as a condition of possibility for representing something (“something that is there not to represent something but which is sooner an operative condition of every later representation . . . which exists already by itself . . . the fundamental phantasy of the subject, its nuclear scene”), only to pass to a discussion of the social imaginary which he understands as the possibility of symbolization and as “significations that are not there in order to represent something else, [but] which are like the ultimate articulations [articulations dernières]

Husserl and the Political 149 that the society in question has imposed” on its environment in general. The social imaginary passes through language; it would not be reducible to the Freudian unconscious or to Husserl’s phantasia. Nevertheless, that authority take the forms of paternal executive mastery and juridical engages in something more than the pure form of authority as utterance; I might spontaneously see in the speaker my new “father,” my judge, or my master; hence, the imaginary dimension. See Castoriadis 1975, 199–200. 33. Without equating affect to mere sensation which already posed the problem of the bodily unconscious or the where sensation was “before” it “intentionalized” as consciousness. See Husserl 1991 (German: Husserl 1969), Appendix 7, which discusses the “primal impression” as material now and the flow of time as “a one-dimensional ‘rectilinear’ multiplicity” (119–120; Husserl 1969, 115–116), and Appendix 12, which urges that the now-moment can only reflect upon itself when it has stretched in flowing consciousness as a retention. This suggests the difficulty of a now that would be in a sense prior to its intentionalization, to the fact of our directing our attention to it. 34. The question of affective force, at work in present perception and, significantly, in “retentions” flowing back in consciousness, stands at the heart of what Humean psychology (and Husserl after him) called association; most notably in its inexplicable spontaneity. See Husserl 1966, 172–181, 2001, §§36–37, 221–230. 35. I believe Weber’s concept of charisma is valuable but insufficient here to elicit such conviction in a stable fashion, which must include spontaneity and durability. Think only of Freud’s intensification of affect, tied to (largely regressive) identification with a leader, and opening onto a fusional group libido. Citing McDougall’s concept of “direct induction of emotion by way of the primitive sympathetic response,” Freud urges that a crowd inspires in “the individual forming part of a group . . . a sentiment of invincible power which allows him to yield to instincts which, had he been alone, he would perforce have kept under restraint.” In stabilized groups like the church and the army, a “primitive” identification with the leader operates in such a way that the isolated “subject” “gives up his distinctiveness in a group and lets its other members influence him by suggestion, it gives one the impression that he does it because he feels the need of being in harmony [cf. Einfühlung] with them rather than in opposition to them” distilling from historian, psychologists, and sociologists his conception of suggestibility (cf. G. Tarde, “imitation”; G. Le Bon, “mysterious and irresistible power . . . ‘prestige’ ” from the leader; McDougall, “intensification of emotion”). Freud associates the suggestibility with the libido urging, once again: “In its origin, function, and relation to sexual love, the ‘Eros’ of the philosopher Plato coincides exactly with the love-force, the libido of psychoanalysis, as has been shown in detail by Nachmansohn (1915) and Pfister (1921)” Freud 1940, 73, 80, 90–91. It is this “affect,” whether considered as a quantitative magnitude or as an emotion (the two being correlated) that defines the powerful association (and ultimately perhaps disassociation) of a group, arguably mirroring the “effectivity” of Einfühlung. The question is whether the object occasions Einfühlung’s inversion into hatred and rejection, or whether something else in this “magnitude” and “emotion”: turns, of itself, into a negative form. We know what Freud’s answer was (see the case of Daniel Paul Schreber).

150  Bettina Bergo

Bibliography Arendt, H. (1977). “What Is Authority?” in Between Past and Future. New York: Penguin Books, 121–122. Benjamin, W. (1969). Illuminations: Essays and Reflections. Transl. by H. Zohn. New York: Schocken Books. Calcagno, A. (2007). The Philosophy of Edith Stein. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 48–58. Castoriadis, C. (1975). L’institution imaginaire de la société. Paris: Le Seuil. Clauß, L. F. (1940). Die Nordische Seele: Eine Einführung in die Rassenseelenkunde. Munich/Berlin: J. F. Lehmanns Verlag. Deleuze, G. (2007). Nietzsche et la philosophie. Paris: PUF. Depraz, N. (1995). Transcendance et incarnation: le statut de l’intersubjectivité comme altérité à soi. Paris: Vrin. Freud, S. (1940). “Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego (1921),” in Strachey, J. (ed. and transl.). The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Vol. XVIII. London: The Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psychoanalysis, 65–144. Freud, S. (1961). “Civilization and Its Discontents,” in Strachey, J. (ed. and transl.). The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Vol. XXI. London: The Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psychoanalysis, 57–146. Hegel, G. W. F. (1967). Philosophy of Right. Transl. by T. M. Knox. London: Oxford University Press. Hegel, G. W. F. (1977). Phenomenology of Spirit. Transl. by A. V. Miller. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Honneth, A. (1996). The Struggle for Recognition: The Moral Grammar of Social Conflicts. Cambridge: MIT Press. Husserl, E. (1959). Erste Philosophie (1923/24): Zweiter Teil. Theorie der Phänomenologischen Reduktion. Husserliana VIII. Ed. by R. Boehm. The Hague: Nijhoff. Husserl, E. (1966). Analysen zur passiven Synthesis. Aus Vorlesungs- und Forschungsmanuskripten 1918–1926. Husserliana XI. Ed. by M. Fleischer. The Hague: Nijhoff. Husserl, E. (1969). Zur Phänomenologie des inneren Zeitbewusstseins (1893– 1917). Husserliana X. Ed. by R. Boehm. The Hague: Nijhoff. Husserl, E. (1973a). Zur Phänomenologie der Intersubjektivität. Texte aus dem Nachlass. Erster Teil: 1905–1920. Husserliana XIII. Ed. by I. Kern. The Hague: Nijhoff. Husserl, E. (1973b). Zur Phänomenologie der Intersubjektivität. Texte aus dem Nachlass. Zweiter Teil: 1921–1928. Husserliana XIV. Ed. by I. Kern. The Hague: Nijhoff. Husserl, E. (1973c). Zur Phänomenologie der Intersubjektivität. Texte aus dem Nachlass. Dritter Teil: 1929–1935. Husserliana XV. Ed. by I. Kern. The Hague: Nijhoff. Husserl, E. (1973d). Cartesianische Meditationen und Pariser Vorträge. Husserliana I. Ed. by S. Strasser. The Hague: Nijhoff. Husserl, E. (1991). On the Phenomenology of the Consciousness of Internal Time (1893–1917). Transl. by J. B. Brough. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Husserl and the Political 151 Husserl, E. (2001). Analyses concerning Passive and Active Synthesis. Transl. by A. Steinbock. Berlin: Springer. Kojève, A. (2004). La Notion de l’autorité. Paris: Gallimard NRF. Meier, C. (1995). La Naissance du politique. Transl. by D. Trierweiler. Paris: Gallimard NRF. Schmitt, C. (2007). The Concept of the Political. Transl. by G. Schwab. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Stein, E. (1925). “Eine Untersuchung über den Staat,” Jahrbuch für Philosophie und phänomenologische Forschung 7, 1–117. Steinbock, A. J. (2014). Moral Emotions: Reclaiming the Evidence of the Heart. Evanston: Northwestern University Press. Sternhell, Z. (2010). Les anti-Lumières: une tradition du XVIIIème siècle à la guerre froide. Paris: Gallimard. von Clausewitz, C. (1853). Vom Kriege. 3 Vols. 2nd ed., Ed. by F. W. V. Brühl. Berlin: Ferd. Dümmlers Verlagsbuchhandlung. Zahavi, D. (2001). “Beyond Empathy: Phenomenological Approaches to Intersubjectivity,” Journal of Consciousness Studies 8(5–7), 151–176.

8 Rethinking the Politics of Post-Truth With Hannah Arendt Linda M. G. Zerilli

Contemporary democratic societies, it is often said, are characterized by post-truth or post-factuality.1 Awash in a plethora of appeals to subjective affects and claims to the equal validity of “alternative facts,” our current political predicament understandably inspires various strategies of resistance.2 Many of these strategies, however, are at risk of falling prey to the very metaphysical ideals of Truth and Objectivity that the phenomenological tradition has criticized as indifferent or hostile to human experience. Animated by the fear of relativism, according to which all views of the world are equally valid, with none being better or truer to how things actually are, debates over post-truth too often repeat the deep and longstanding distrust of human experience as the basis for knowing what is real and what is not that characterizes the Western philosophical tradition. The phenomenological tradition can help us reclaim experience as the basis for a critical political practice. Reading the problem of post-truth through the singular contribution of Hannah Arendt, I want to question the idea that the political manipulation of reality should or can be critically contested by means of overcoming or bypassing the uniquely situated and, as hermeneutic phenomenology holds, irreducibly linguistic nature of human claim making. Arendt’s distinctively political understanding of speech and action, however, goes beyond this otherwise important philosophical insight, for it does not circle around the question of truth as it has been endlessly debated within the history of Western philosophy, including both phenomenology and hermeneutics. Her focus is not on the epistemological and ontological concerns that animate that discussion. She is not interested in, say, the relationship between “mind and world” that drives modern epistemology and often (re)produces correspondence theories of truth; nor is she focused on the role of interpretation and language that animates the hermeneutic phenomenological challenge to such theories. For her, it is not truth as such but the world that is at once occluded and at stake in every such philosophical debate. This potential loss of the world as something that is created and sustained in and through the practice of politics is precisely what a

Rethinking the Politics of Post-Truth 153 narrowly philosophical conception of the phenomenological contribution to the debate fails to see. Within academic circles, the problem of post-truth politics appears at first glance to be about how human beings have contact with the world around them, that is, how they can claim to know what is real. This way of reading what is at stake, however, tends to bring with it the assumption that philosophy can adjudicate the current problem of post-truth, be it by means of a better epistemology or ontology – and here phenomenology might be invoked as the most promising of the various philosophical traditions. Although she works with the basic phenomenological insistence on lived experience as the ultimate source of all meaning and value, Arendt invites us to understand the nature of our current predicament in terms that also depart from the philosophical grammar of that tradition. She does not merely extend phenomenological concepts into the political realm but rather transforms them – sometimes radically so – by her insistence on human plurality. Indeed, lived experience itself, that most basic of phenomenological concepts, is unthinkable apart from “the human condition of plurality . . . the fact that men, not Man, live on the earth and inhabit the world” (Arendt 1989, 7). Grasping the distinctively political meaning that Arendt gives to plurality is crucial to recognizing how she at once inherits and transforms the phenomenological tradition, for which the current problem of post-truth would appear more or less as a philosophical question of the human subject’s relation to the world. As Sophie Loidolt has recently argued, the concept of plurality is crucial to recovering Arendt’s singular contribution to phenomenology (Loidolt 2018). I agree with Loidolt that plurality is what pushed Arendt to re-think the philosophical traditions in which she was trained. The “paradigm of plurality,” argues Loidolt, inserted the concept of politics into philosophical thought but also led Arendt to see that traditional political philosophy could not adequately conceptualize human plurality, since its focus remained “on the ‘essence of man’ in the singular” (ibid., 2). What Arendt discovers and foregrounds, however, is not simply the sheer fact of human diversity but plurality as something that we, democratic citizens, need to realize and affirm, something that is not simply given in the fact that “nobody is ever the same as anyone else who has ever lived, lives, or will live,” (Arendt 1989, 2) but is something that must be recognized and sustained through the practice of politics itself. Plurality is not simply an ontological relation but a political one, a relation that is enabled by human action and speech.3 Understanding plurality as political rather than ontological is crucial to seeing how Arendt does not merely extend but transforms phenomenological concepts and – more to the point of this chapter – how such transformation might organize an Arendtian approach to the problem of post-truth.

154  Linda M. G. Zerilli For Arendt, the very idea of “post-truth politics” would already take for granted that (how to know the) truth is the proper condition or objective of political life. Truth is portrayed as something we have lost, something that now needs to be restored to its proper place as the shared object to which political speech and the exchange of opinions is or ought to be directed. For well-known commentators such as Jürgen Habermas and Ronald Beiner, Arendt cannot help us make sense of our post-truth condition because she rejects the idea that truth is relevant to political life and even goes so far as to suggest that the quest for truth, a quest she associates with the Western philosophical tradition, is blatantly antipolitical, hostile to all things contingent and worldly.4 Indeed, Arendt has been critically received as denying the relevance of truth to politics tout court. I have found this to be a mischaracterization of her position (Zerilli 2016, ch. 4). She is concerned with the question of when and how truth can matter for politics, and accordingly critical of the assumption, inherited from the Western philosophical tradition, that truth does matter for politics and that politics is by definition a search for truth. Further, Arendt is deeply concerned with the fate of factual truths, which “constitute the very texture of the political realm” (Arendt 1993a, 231). Factual truths are inherently contingent; they could have been otherwise. Related to human action, they “have no conclusive reason whatsoever for being what they are” (ibid., 242). That Germany invaded Belgium in August 1914 is a factual and hence contingent truth and, in some important sense, one among those “brutally elementary data . . . whose indestructibility has been taken for granted even by the most extreme and most sophisticated believers in historicism,” she observes (ibid., 239). But Arendt herself gives innumerable examples that belie this intrinsic resilience of factual truths: the complete erasure of a man named Trotsky from official Soviet history; the Nazis’ successful use of anti-Semitic tales, such as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, that had already been fact-checked as false by journalistic authorities of the time; and the whole web of conspiracy theories that sustained totalitarian rule by terror. Whatever resilience factual truths may have depends ultimately on the continual testimony of human beings, who in a practice of freedom, in their ordinary speech and action, affirm reality as shared. Infinitely fragile because of this dependency, warns Arendt, “once [factual truths] are lost, no rational effort will ever bring them back” (ibid., 231). This concern for freedom as the animating force behind Arendt’s easily misunderstood account of factual truths informs my own critique of the current debate over the politics of post-truth. Captivated by the idea that truth simply does matter for politics and that it is something we are either in grave danger of losing or have already lost, this debate evinces a barely disguised hostility to the plural opinions that Arendt’s political reframing of the phenomenological critique first made visible. Accordingly, it

Rethinking the Politics of Post-Truth 155 is truth, not opinion, that needs to be “saved.” For Arendt, however, any effort to “save reality” by means of appeals to an objective world independent of what anyone might feel, think, or experience is bound to remain trapped in the impossible demands of that tradition, its disdain for the contingent world of human affairs, and so in the denial of human freedom. In her view, we have the world in common – that is, as objective, shared, or real – only insofar as we view it from different perspectives that are exchanged through quotidian practices of opinion formation and judgment. In this way, Arendt reframes the old philosophical problem of objectivity and truth based on the figure of “Man in the singular” through the political phenomenological lens of plurality. Since philosophical truth concerns man in his singularity, it is unpolitical by nature. If the philosopher nevertheless wishes his truth to prevail over the opinions of the multitude, he will suffer defeat, and he is likely to conclude from this defeat that truth is impotent, “he may then be tempted, like Plato, to win the ear of some philosophically inclined tyrant and in the fortunately highly unlikely case of success he might erect one of those tyrannies of “truth” which we know chiefly from the various political utopias, and which, of course, politically speaking, are as tyrannical as other forms of despotism,” (ibid., 246) Arendt’s target here is not the idea of truth tout court, certainly not factual truth, but the philosophical conception of truth that is not only indifferent but hostile to the opinions of the many. Such truth, she insists, can only be despotic, for it sets itself over and against opinion as the locus of untruth and seeks to free itself from any admixture of subjectivity. Distinguishing between a philosophical and a political conception of truth, Arendt would question the Western tradition’s longstanding opposition of opinion and truth. Following Socrates, she argues that there is truth in opinion and the exchange of opinions is the practice through which what is true could appear. For Arendt the objective of political speech and action is not to uncover truth; truth is neither the sine qua non nor the conditio per quam of all political life, as it has been for the Western tradition that originates with Plato. That distinction of being the dual condition of political life belongs not to truth but to that which the philosopher sees as a permanent threat to truth, namely, plurality.5 Arendt performs a delicate balancing act: She attacks the philosophical conception of truth as singular and indifferent to what human beings think or say, on the one hand, and warns against the loss of factual truths, which constitute the very texture of the political realm, on

156  Linda M. G. Zerilli the other. Factual truths are that about which we speak and that which we also take for granted in our speaking and acting with others. However resilient they may be, factual truths that are not in some way embedded as a kind of invisible scaffolding of our speech and action cannot survive. For this reason, the fate of factual truths, which are the only truths relevant to politics in Arendt’s view, are inextricably bound up with practices of speaking and acting with others – with political freedom, as Arendt defines it. The practice that holds together the democratic play of plural opinions with the democratic capacity to distinguish truth and falsehood is called judgment. For Arendt, the problem of judgment is not one of specifying criteria but of creating a space in which differences in valuation can be publicly expressed and judged. Working with and against the phenomenological tradition that she inherited from Heidegger, Arendt argues that human life takes place in the space of appearances, and appearance is not “mere” appearance. She rejects the “two-world theory,” according to which there is a “metaphysical dichotomy of (true) Being and (mere) Appearance,” and affirms instead “the primacy of appearance for all living creatures to whom the world appears in the mode of an it-seems-to me [dokei moi]” (Arendt 1978, 21–23).6 Appearance is not the epistemological veil that covers the “true world,” but the genuine human mode of access to reality. Appearance is not something to be by definition mistrusted, as it is in metaphysics, or to be gotten beyond, as it is in “[m]odern science’s relentless search for the base underneath mere appearances” (ibid., 25). Appearance is fundamental to how human beings exist in and relate to each other and to the world. “That appearance always demands spectators and thus implies an at least potential recognition and acknowledgment has far-reaching consequences for what we, appearing beings in a world of appearances, understand by reality, our own as well as that of the world,” writes Arendt (ibid., 46). Our faith in the reality of what we see, hear, taste, or smell, our faith in the reality of what is given to us through the five senses, “depends entirely on the object’s also appearing as such to others and being acknowledged by them [as the same]” (ibid.; Arendt cites Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s work on perception here). This faith in appearance, in the “it seems to me” (which qua appearance) is “open to error and illusion” (though not by definition illusory) is what Arendt calls the “prior indication of realness” (ibid., 49). Realness is not produced by any one of our senses taken in isolation, or by any object taken out of context. It is rather “guaranteed by its worldly context, which includes others who perceive as I do, on the one hand, and by the working together of my five senses on the other.” This is “[w]hat since Thomas Aquinas we call common sense, the sensus communis,” she observes. Taken alone, common sense could not overcome “the subjectivity of the it-seems-to-me” were it not for the fact that “the same object

Rethinking the Politics of Post-Truth 157 also appears to others though its mode of appearance may be different” (ibid., 50). This difference in the mode of appearance, the plurality of perspectives on the same object, is crucial to our sense of realness and thus to the common world. However important the phenomenological account of realness is to Arendt’s attempt to reclaim the idea of sensus communis for democratic politics, it is not enough.7 Through the Greek idea of “learning to see politically” and the Kantian idea of “enlarged thinking,” Arendt develops a conception of objectivity that goes beyond these phenomenological claims to a new political conception of objectivity for which judging in the public space is crucial to our very sense of reality, of inhabiting a common world. For Arendt, the problem of objectivity cannot be addressed through various (anti-metaphysical) philosophical correctives, as important as these were in the development of her thinking. The concepts of Reality or Objectivity that metaphysics and science in their different ways forward are a response to skepticism or relativism understood as threats to genuine knowledge. In her view, however, the far greater danger lies in “radical subjectivism” or “Cartesian doubt,” understood not as an epistemological problem but as what she describes as the “worldlessness” or “[w]orld-alienation . . . [that] has been the hallmark of the modern age” (Arendt 1989, 254; On world-alienation, see also 1993b, 53). Not only can this threat – which has its origin not in theories but in events – not be met by various philosophical rearticulations, it cannot be properly understood if we remain wholly within the epistemological paradigm in which it seems to arise. (For the distinction between theories and events as the origin of Cartesian doubt, see Arendt 1989, 254, ch. 5, esp. 259.) The consequence of “the modern age’s doubt of the reality of an outer world ‘objectively’ given to human perception as an unchanged and unchangeable object,” writes Arendt, “was the emphasis on sensation qua sensation as more ‘real’ than the ‘sensed’ object.” Arendt remained convinced that, in the wake of totalitarianism and the rise of scientism and mass society, the corrosive effects of Cartesian doubt (devastatingly described in the final chapter of The Human Condition), and the erosion of common sense had turned all evaluative judgments in liberal democracies into subjective preferences because the worldly conditions of their objective and shared character had been lost. This is in important ways what we now (mis)characterize as the condition of post-truth. In her view, however, the loss is not of truth as such but of a common world in which we can so much as experience common sense and so a shared reality. Objectivity was no longer an epistemological problem as it had arisen in early modern science but a political problem of the expansion of the social, the triumph of “life [as] our supreme and foremost concern,” and the consequent decline of action and the public space (Arendt 1993b, 53).8

158  Linda M. G. Zerilli These insights are crucial to loosening the grip that the grammar of post-truth has on our political thinking and to our attempt to make sense of our contemporary context. By shifting our focus from the loss of truth as such to the problem of worldlessness, Arendt enables us to see how we misunderstand what is at stake in our otherwise undeniable sense of a highly attenuated shared reality. She invites us to see how our common sense of reality, the very ordinary sense of objectivity, is publicly generated and sustained in the very specific political sense of the speech and action in concert that defines the Arendtian public realm. Politically speaking, it is not just a matter of recognizing something to be an objective fact, but of recognizing, counting, or acknowledging this fact as meaningful for what we do or do not have in common. I have described this as the political task of affirming plurality, which alone gives meaning and significance to the sheer empirical fact of human differences. Not all subjective perspectives on the world capture things as they really are, but any correction of a perspective would be by means of other perspectives rather than by something untainted by experience and affective forms of subjectivity. For Arendt, the political character of objectivity is not restricted to the kind of objectivity that is proper to politics (as it is, say, for John Rawls) versus, say, the kinds that are proper to natural science or to ethics. These differences exist to be sure, but Arendt’s conception goes further. Our shared sense of a common world is politically based in practices of freedom, in acting and speaking among one’s peers. For Arendt, “the raison d’etre of politics is freedom,” and political freedom is based not in the “I-will” but the “I-can,” which depends on other citizens who enable us to realize what we may “will” (Zerilli 2005). Freedom is radically distinguished from “sovereignty,” be it the philosophical conception of “free will” or the liberal idea of “negative freedom” (freedom from). Freedom is no more a state of being or a property of a subject than it is an end, something that it is the very goal of politics to secure. “It is rather the substance and meaning of all things political. In this sense, politics and freedom are identical,” writes Arendt (Arendt 2005, 129). The meaning of freedom emerges in Greek society as “freedom of movement,” first, in the “physical [world]” and, then, in the “mental world,” argues Arendt (ibid., 168). She locates the origins of the latter, the ability “to truly see topics from various sides – that is, politically –” (ibid., 167) in “Homeric impartiality,” which “is still the highest type of objectivity we know” (Arendt 1993b, 51).9 Learning to see politically is to get the world into view by moving among perspectives. Were human perspectives rooted in experience intrinsically distorting, as they are for the philosophical ideal of objectivity, we could not correct for one perspective by occupying other perspectives. Rather than serve as reminders of a limit, of our confinement in our all-too-human modes of subjectivity, situated perspectives are taken to be the means by which we can

Rethinking the Politics of Post-Truth 159 overcome the particular restrictions on getting the world in view that are associated with any particular location in it. For Arendt, it is not the quest for objective knowledge or truth as such that is the problem for democratic politics. This quest must in any case be part of more general practices of human flourishing. Rather, it is the mode and space in which this quest takes place. The problem with ordinary concepts of truth and objectivity arises when “we seek a meaning beyond the political realm . . . [and,] like the philosophers of the polis, we choose to interact with the few rather than with the many and become convinced that speaking freely with others about something produces not reality but deception, not truth but lies” (Arendt 2005, 130). This is the idea of perspective and appearance within lived experience as irremediably distorting that the phenomenologist Arendt explicitly rejects. At that point, truth and objectivity become Truth and Objectivity, metaphysical ideals, the pursuit of which sets us apart from those with standpoints quite different from our own, and thus with genuine touchstones of reality, and throws us back instead into an endless cycle of dogmatism or skepticism, animated by the fantasy of sovereignty.10 The phenomenological tradition, however, does not provide what for Arendt is the crucial political concept of publicity enacted through action and speech, whose fate (rather than truth as such) is at stake in the philosopher’s flight from the many. Her concept of “world,” for example, which she originally took from Heidegger, was significantly modified to become what she calls “the space in which things become public” (Arendt 1994, 20). For Arendt, “public” does not just mean something that is inherently common to all, it is something that is talked about as common to all, something that is the shared object of our action, speech, and judgment. Accordingly, the plural standpoints and perspectives that make up the public realm are crucial for anything we call objective. For Arendt, to belong to a democratic political community is to have a “common world,” not to share a worldview, and this common world exists only where there is a plurality of worldviews. [T]he reality of the public realm relies on the simultaneous presence of innumerable perspectives and aspects in which the common world presents itself and for which no common measurement or denominator can ever be devised. For though the common world is the common meeting ground of all, those who are present have different locations in it. . . . Being seen and being heard by others derive their significance from the fact that everybody sees and hears from a different position. This is the meaning of public life. . . . Only where things can be seen by many in a variety of aspects without changing their identity, so that those who are gathered around them know they see sameness in utter diversity, can worldly reality truly and reliably appear. (Arendt 1989, 57)

160  Linda M. G. Zerilli Not only is there no common human nature that might guarantee unity in diversity, there is no “common measurement or denominator,” no metacriterion according to which to adjudicate plural perspectives, only the actual public articulation of those perspectives themselves, the eliciting of ordinary criteria. Our sense of what we have in common, of what is objectively given to us, can appear only when it is seen from different perspectives. These perspectives are not mere perspectives in the sense of being irremediably distorting, as they have been for the Western philosophical tradition that Arendt critiques. Consequently, the reduction of competing perspectives results not in a world that is more shared but in a diminished sense of what we have in common.11 “If a people or nation, or even just some specific human group which offers a unique view of the world arising from its particular position in the world – a position that . . . cannot readily be duplicated – is annihilated, it is not merely that a people or a nation or a given number of individuals perishes, but rather that a portion of our common world is destroyed, an aspect of the world that has revealed itself to us until now but can never reveal itself again,” (Arendt 2005, 175) writes Arendt. This is so, she adds, because “[s]trictly speaking, politics is not so much about human beings as it is about the world that comes into being between them and endures beyond them” (ibid.). This world is the tangible and intangible in-between whose reality emerges through a plurality of perspectives – and it is quite unlike anything approaching Reality. It can sound as if the common world is given in the ontological fact of human plurality. But for Arendt, I have argued, it is much more than that. The common world is constituted not only in and through “the fact that everybody sees and hears from a different position,” but that they are also able to see from positions not their own – in short, that they are able to think representatively and judge reflectively (Arendt 1989, 57). Were the common world ontologically given, then how could it ever be lost? But in Arendt’s account, it surely can, and indeed was in totalitarianism.12 This loss of the world, rather than truth as such, is what Arendt sees as threatened by the development of mass society. Under the conditions of a common world, reality is not guaranteed primarily by the “common nature” of all men who constitute it, but rather by the fact that, differences of position and the resulting variety of perspectives notwithstanding, everybody is always concerned with the same object. If the sameness of the object can no longer be discerned, no common nature of men, least of all the conformism of a mass society, can prevent the destruction of the common world. . . . The end of the common world has come when it is seen only under one aspect and is permitted to present itself in only one perspective.” (Arendt 1989, 57–58)

Rethinking the Politics of Post-Truth 161 We do better to think of the common world, and so of the objectivity that has been lost according to the rhetoric of post-truth, as a political achievement requiring the creation and maintenance of the public space, however rooted the idea of plural standpoints may be in the ontological idea of human plurality. The common world, built as it is not only out of different perspectives but also out of imaginative acts of thinking and judging that take them into account, is “the space in which things become public” (Arendt 1994, 20). “If the sameness of the object can no longer be discerned, no common nature of men, least of all the unnatural conformism of a mass society, can prevent the destruction of the common world,” writes Arendt (Arendt 1989, 58). This destruction entails the loss of plural perspectives that give us the object as the same, but it is not just that. It is also a loss of the ordinary concept of perspective, as James Conant observes, according to which “perspectives are perspectives on something, so that the same thing can appear differently depending upon the perspective, from which it is viewed,” (Conant 2005, 32) and the distortions associated with any one perspective on the same object can be corrected by other perspectives (for the loss of the ordinary concept of perspective see Zerilli 2016, ch. 1). The corrosive doubt, anomie, and loneliness that characterize modern mass society, where people “are imprisoned in the subjectivity of their own singular experience” (Arendt 1989, 58) and “depriv[ed] of ‘objective’ relationships to others and of reality guaranteed through them,” (ibid., 58–59) observes Arendt, also involves a radical change in this ordinary concept: The idea of there being a shared object that is viewed from different perspectives drops out and there are only perspectives and more perspectives (understood, for example, as competing worldviews), no one any better than the other, just more entrenched, powerful, or appealing in ways that have nothing to do with rationality or better or worse ways of judging. Here, plurality can only appear as a threat and descent into the condition of post-truth as its consequence. It is as if we inhabited an ever-expanding universe of perspectives without common objects. The point at which we no longer have any sense of there being objects which we have different perspectives on marks the radical subjectivism that is the other face of an impossible objectivism. This is in many ways what we take to be our current condition of post-truth, which we misunderstand as a problem that arises as a consequence of the irreducibly situated and thus partial nature of human perspective. But this diagnosis, beginning as it does with philosophy’s “Man in the singular,” inevitably seeks remedy in a notion of objectivity that is hostile to plurality. For Arendt, by contrast, subjectivism is not the inevitable price of plurality but the consequence of the radical shrinkage of a public space in which different perspectives can attest to the existence of a common object. The scare of relativism that animates the so-called crisis of judgment, as I have argued in previous work, also arises in the contemporary debate

162  Linda M. G. Zerilli over post-truth. Relativism names plurality as a problem for politics. The charge of relativism almost inevitably leads to a call for reestablishing criteria, according to which we can decide what is a fact and what an “alternative fact,” what is news and what “fake news,” and so on. But this call for shared standards just as inevitably leads in the direction of the objectivism and impossible ideal of a perspective-free knowledge that Arendt shows to have eroded the ordinary conception of human perspective and opinion, the dokei moi or “it-seems-to-me” through which the shared world can appear. The idea that we could save or restore truth to its rightful place in democratic politics takes for granted that truth is the common object we have lost. Arendt invites us to rethink what it is that we may well have lost, or better, if not lost, failed to robustly create in the first place. This is not truth fallen prey to opinion but opinions absent a space in which they could be world building rather than world destroying. The loss of the common world, not truth, is the problem that we face today, and that is a loss that cannot be made good by transcending the realm of human experience in which perspectives are formed or by developing new truth criteria. We recover truth not through philosophical critique, not even a phenomenological one but as part of practices of freedom: acting and judging politically.

Notes 1. Accounts of post-truth run the gamut from popular discourse to academic treatise, with books appearing on the scene almost overnight, many hastily published in response to a perceived market for guidance on navigating a world of “fake news” and “alternative facts.” Many, but not all, of these focus on Trump, though the so-called problem of post-truth is viewed by more seasoned commentators as having a far longer genealogy. For a sample of these texts see McIntyre 2018; Kakutani 2018; Levitan 2017; Baggini 2017; Kalpokas 2019. 2. The term “alternative fact” has its origins in a now infamous January 22, 2018 Meet the Press interview in which U.S. Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway defended then Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s false statement about the number of people who attended Donald Trump’s inauguration. The ceremony, claimed Spicer, had drawn the “largest audience to ever witness an inauguration – period – both in person and around the globe.” When asked by the interviewer Chuck Todd how Spicer could “utter a provable falsehood,” Conway replied that Spicer was giving “alternative facts.” To this Todd responded, “Look, alternative facts are not facts. They’re falsehoods.” 3. Zerilli 2005, 19. Plurality is, as Loidolt also argues, “not something that simply is, but essentially something we have to take up and do. Therefore, it manifests itself only as an actualization of plurality in a space of appearances” (Loidolt 2018, 2). 4. I have addressed these objections in previous writings, including Zerilli 2005, esp. ch. 4; Zerilli 2016, ch. 4. 5. “While all aspects of the human condition are somehow related to politics, this plurality is specifically the condition – not only the conditio sine qua non, but the conditio per quam – of all political life” (Arendt 1989, 7).

Rethinking the Politics of Post-Truth 163 6. “Seeming – the it-seems-to-me, dokei moi – is the mode, perhaps the only possible one, in which an appearing world is acknowledged and perceived.” (Arendt 1978, 21). 7. These pages draw closely from arguments made in Zerilli 2016, ch. 1. 8. The new modern god of Science, Arendt argues, which has in any case deposed Philosophy as the master discourse, cannot restore our confidence in the truth-revealing capacity of the senses, for it is precisely the task of science to call such confidence into question. Within its own realm, of course, such scientific questioning is justified. But when the scientific attitude overtakes all aspects of human existence, when the entire idea of truth and objectivity is claimed by science and its method, then the loss of common sense can only result in extreme subjectivism and the flight into an abstract ideal of the external standpoint that “Droysen once denounced as ‘eunuchic objectivity’ ” (Arendt 1993b, 49). 9. “Impartiality, and with it all true historiography, came into the world when Homer decided to sing the deeds of the Trojans no less than those of the Acheans, and to praise the glory of Hector no less than that of Achilles” (Arendt 1993b, 51). On Homeric impartiality, see also Arendt 2005, 166– 167. For a reading of Arendt’s conception of judgment as based on Homeric impartiality see Disch 1993. 10. Readings of Arendt that emphasize the importance of a refigured conception of objectivity to her political thought include Keedus 2015; Bernstein 1982. Notwithstanding his awareness of Arendt’s unique project, Bernstein sides with Habermas in arguing that Arendt fails to provide criteria according to which judgments with objective validity could be reached. 11. On the narrow view of objectivity, perspectival modes of thought, because they are infused with subjectivity, have an intrinsic tendency to interfere with our access to reality. And though Arendt insists on plural perspectives as the very condition of judging, she also argues that there is a certain mode of subjectivity that cuts us off from the world. This is the form of the subject enclosed within his or her mind and certain only of the capacity for radical doubt, as described by Descartes. It is the subjectivism that attends the “world alienation” that Arendt called “the hallmark of the modern age” (Arendt 1989, 254). Such alienation marks our sense of a boundary separating us from the world and that is rooted in “[t]he conviction that objective truth is not given to man but that he can know only what he makes himself” (Ibid., 293). What he can know are the conceptual categories of his own mind; he cannot know whether and how these are connected to how things stand in the world. 12. Arendt writes: “[T]he destruction of the common world . . . is usually preceded by the destruction of the many aspects in which it presents itself to human plurality. This can happen under conditions of radical isolation, where nobody can any longer agree with anybody else, as is usually the case in tyrannies. But it may also happen under conditions of mass society or mass hysteria, where we see all people suddenly behave as though they were members of one family, each multiplying and prolonging the perspective of his neighbor. In both instances, men have become entirely private, that is, they have been deprived of seeing and hearing others, of being seen and being heard by them. They are all imprisoned in the subjectivity of their own singular experience, which does not cease to be singular if the same experience is multiplied innumerable times.” (Arendt 1989, 58)

164  Linda M. G. Zerilli

Bibliography Arendt, H. (1978). The Life of the Mind. Volume 1: “Thinking”. New York: Harcourt Brace. Arendt, H. (1989). The Human Condition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Arendt, H. (1993a). “Truth and Politics,” in Between Past and Future: Eight Exercises in Political Thought. New York: Penguin, 227–264. Arendt, H. (1993b). “The Concept of History,” in Between Past and Future: Eight Exercises in Political Thought. New York: Penguin, 41–90. Arendt, H. (1994). “What Remains? The Language Remains: An Interview with Gunther Gauss,” in Kohn, J. (ed.). Essays in Understanding, 1930–1954. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1–23. Arendt, H. (2005). “Introduction into Politics,” in Kohn, J. (ed.). The Promise of Politics. New York: Schocken, 93–200. Baggini, J. (2017). A Short History of Truth: Consolations for a Post-Truth World. London: Quercus. Bernstein, R. (1982). Beyond Objectivism and Relativism: Science, Hermeneutics, and Praxis. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Conant, J. (2005). “The Dialectic of Perspectivism, I,” Sats: Nordic Journal of Philosophy 6(2), 5–50. Disch, L. (1993). “More Truth than Fact: Storytelling as Critical Understanding in the Writings of Hannah Arendt,” Political Theory 21(4), 665–694. Kakutani, M. (2018). The Death of Truth: Notes on Falsehood in the Age of Trump. New York: Tim Duggan Books. Kalpokas, I. (2019). A Political Theory of Post-Truth. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. Keedus, L. (2015). The Crisis of German Historicism: The Early Political Thought of Hannah Arendt and Leo Strauss. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Levitin, D. J. (2017). Weaponized Lies: How to Think Critically in the PostTruth Era. New York: Dutton. Loidolt, S. (2018). Phenomenology of Plurality: Hannah Arendt on Political Intersubjectivity. New York: Routledge. McIntyre, L. (2018). Post-Truth. Cambridge: MIT Press. Zerilli, L. M. G. (2005). Feminism and the Abyss of Freedom. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Zerilli, L. M. G. (2016). A Democratic Theory of Judgment. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

9 “Who One Is” – A Political Issue? Hannah Arendt on Personhood, Maximal Self, and Bare Life Sophie Loidolt Exposition of the Problem: Arendt’s Ambivalent Theory of Personhood1 Arendt’s phenomenology of the political puts persons at the center. It is persons who act and who become who they are by interacting with and appearing before others. By generating stories through their actions, persons gain their identities, in their struggle against or in power associations with others. In this sense, the issue of “who one is” and its intrinsic relation to plurality constitutes a central feature of Arendt’s theory of the political, in its descriptive as well as in its normative aspects. Arendt insists that it is simply “unrealistic” to exclude the personal factor from politics, “the inevitability with which men disclose themselves as subjects, as distinct and unique persons, even when they wholly concentrate upon reaching an altogether worldly, material object” (Arendt 1998, 183). If one did so deliberately, this would result in an anonymous achievementoriented society in the best case scenario, and in dehumanizing violence in the worst (Arendt 1998, 180f.). So far, so good. But does this mean conversely that we need the political and the public realm for being persons as such – or, at least, “full persons”? A differentiated answer to this question will be necessary. Because at first glance this thesis simply seems to go too far, if taken at face value. It cannot mean that only people who engage in political action are real persons and all others lead shadowy existences without a proper identity, without a story, without being someone: namely, this special person. Most people lead private existences and have no interest in politics. Still, we wouldn’t claim that they lack uniqueness or personhood. Neither would we do that vis-à-vis people who cannot engage in political action, such as children or people with dementia or severe disabilities, for example. Now, one could claim that all these people are in some ways constituted as persons through the legal system and thus, in a mediated way, through the public realm (although a legal system is not necessarily in need of a properly functioning public sphere with free speech, debate among equals, etc.).

166  Sophie Loidolt But Arendt does not mean it in that formal, institutionalized, or abstract way. Her thesis goes to the roots of an ontology of personhood entailing that it is indeed the uniqueness of being “me” and “you” that is shaped through public interaction. And the quite everyday intuition against this claim would be that this must be an exaggeration, because we don’t seem to need a public audience in the strong sense for having a story and for being someone, for being loved and valued as a person – even if all my peers and myself were slaves and completely deprived of a public existence. But then, what does Arendt mean if she insists that to “live an entirely private life means above all to be deprived of things essential to a truly human life” (Arendt 1998, 58) – not only in the sense of Robinson Crusoe but, quite plainly, in the sense that “private” means not actively engaged in political matters? What does she imply if she claims that “action needs for its full appearance the shining brightness [of] the public realm,” precisely because of an action’s “inherent tendency to disclose the agent together with the act” (Arendt 1998, 179)? We need to explain these puzzling as well as crucial passages if we want to grasp Arendt’s theory of personhood. One starting point would be to look at the negative cases. The seeming absurdity of claiming that we feel “real” only by being heard and seen by potentially all (Arendt 1998, 56) becomes much less absurd if we think of her analysis of the situation of refugees (Arendt 1943) and stateless persons (Arendt 1973, 267–303). To lose one’s story (“No one knows who I am anymore”) and to be condemned to an existence where one’s voice does not count and one’s actions do not matter, is to be made “invisible” and “unreal.” It seems that Arendt has drawn her theoretical elaboration of the conditions of “who one is” precisely from these negative cases of being “no one,” of losing one’s place in the world, of being excluded from at least a potentially political life. This extends to her account of the hell of the extermination camps (cf. Arendt 1973, 447–459), where human beings who have systematically been depersonalized and made “worldless” and “superfluous,” are finally dehumanized with the explicit aim to “destroy the person”2 (Arendt 1973, 453) and hence all signs of natality and plurality, before they are fabricated into corpses. But even given these dramatic examples – although in Arendt’s case, very close and true-to-life – should her claims be perhaps taken more metaphorically than ontologically, meaning, for instance, that even the persons in the camps were nevertheless persons until the very end? Is she caught in an ambivalence between the political and the ontological, especially through a language that oscillates between these two spheres and uses concepts of the one to metaphorically describe the other? I would like to address this difficulty, which is an overall feature of her work, and examine it through the question of personhood. I contend that Arendt’s oscillation is a deliberate one. She is neither, as many of her readers and

“Who One Is” – A Political Issue? 167 number of scholars have assumed, merely indecisive or imprecise. Nor is she simply unwilling or unable to draw a clear line between the ontological and the political realm, to distinguish between “a person in the political sense” versus “a person in the ‘real,’ ontological sense.” Instead, she deliberately politicizes the ontological realm, suggesting that a clear distinction between one and the other is not feasible. In the following sections, I will try to explain more precisely how she does this. This does not mean, however, that Arendt wants to assert that “everything is political.” Beyond that, it is indeed possible to read Arendt’s theory as merely a general ontological theory of personhood and personal becoming, without the specificity of the political and the public realm. By separating the activities of acting and speaking from their explicitly political connotation, which many passages in The Human Condition allow for, especially the central chapters 24–26, we can establish an intersubjective, enactive, and performative theory of personhood and actualized plurality that can very well do without explicitly political references. The line of argument here would be that needing an “audience” for becoming a self does not yet imply that this must be in any way a public audience. It can happen very well at home, in friendships and relationships that are private and precisely because of that constitute the deepest source of our personhood. Yet, even if this works in theory, it misses the point. I will therefore try to work out more specifically what is political about Arendt’s theory of personhood.

Some Basic Conceptual Clarifications: The Political, the Public, and the Person First, we will need to start with some basic conceptual and terminological clarifications. For Arendt, “the political,” as distinguished from “politics,” describes an existential concept. This implies that political organization is neither something contingent nor unrelated to who we are but something deeply rooted in human existence.3 In contrast to Carl Schmitt (2007), who shares the view of the existential deep-rootedness of the political and finds it in the distinction between friend and enemy, Arendt locates the condition of the political in the basic fact of human plurality. This makes her theory “associative,” yet does so without avoiding conflict and struggle, while Schmitt’s proposal, by contrast, is clearly “dissociative” (cf. Marchart 2007, 38). Plurality, the condition of action and speech, is not only in Arendt’s but perhaps surprisingly also in Husserl’s view, a “primal fact” – which means that it is a facticity that necessarily precedes all reflections on eidetic possibilities. To be more precise: Already for Husserl, it is the interrelation between an ontological plurality of monads that is the irreducible, metaphysical primal fact (cf. Husserl 1973b, 366). But whereas in Husserl this “fact” converges with his central theorem of transcendental

168  Sophie Loidolt intersubjectivity – and, in its mundane forms, with interpersonal relations – Arendt articulates it in existential terms. Plurality, she claims, is existence in the plural, which is actualized and realized in certain forms of activities. And in further contrast to Husserl, from the outset, she takes the political into account. This happens especially through her elaboration of Heidegger’s de-naturalizing interpretation of Aristotle (cf. Heidegger 2009). Through speaking and acting, we actualize plurality. This therefore also implies that distinguishing ourselves from others, as a unique being among equals, we actualize our individuality. This points to the polis as the space of self-realization for a zoon logon echon. Hence, early on, Arendt suggests a continuity that is not a natural teleology but might nonetheless be seen as a normative one: She builds from an intrinsically political notion of ontological plurality (“human plurality is the paradoxical plurality of unique beings” [Arendt 1998, 176]) to a specific form of political community (“being distinct among equals”). Such a form of community, is not, however, “naturally given” but needs to be installed. The decisive and politicizing point is that Arendt understands “uniqueness” as an expressed, articulated uniqueness through language and action. It is therefore not an “objective” and reifiable uniqueness, constituted by properties, like, for instance, a DNAstructure. In this sense, all animals would be “of the same species” and yet “distinct” from one another. In contrast to this notion of uniqueness constituted by properties, Arendt instead points to an enactive or interactive notion of uniqueness, one only obtained in interaction and actualization with others: in a performative process of distinction that involves speech, expression, and narration. Zoon logon echon “is” zoon politikon, not by virtue of essence or properties but by the actualizations of plural existence, by existing together, by speaking with one another. (In his lectures, Heidegger (Heidegger 2002, 45) calls this fundamental existential mode Miteinandersprechendsein.) Yet, zoon logon echon “is” zoon politikon only contingently. The actualizations of plurality do not have to take place. They can be interrupted and destroyed or simply suppressed. Arendt even claims that in consumerist societies they are often levelled down to mere conformist behavior or show events, swallowed by the logic of quick consumption goods. Actualizations of plurality are, in this sense, evanescent, failing to develop into a political structure under adverse circumstances. Nonetheless, we would still remain living beings of the same species, (nearly) each one possessing their unique DNA; but that’s neither realizing plurality nor the political. Plurality is something we do and uniqueness, just as well, has to be achieved in interaction and expression, if it is supposed to be the uniqueness of a “who” and not of a “what.” In a similar vein, Arendt draws a quasi-teleological, contingent line from the “appearing world” to the “space of appearance” and, finally, to the “public realm.” Her basic conception of the world is phenomenological.

“Who One Is” – A Political Issue? 169 Because “Being and Appearing coincides” (Arendt 1977, 19), everything that is can only be conceived as such by appearing and showing itself as what it is. The world is this “stage” on which appearance and performance take place. We appear on this stage when we are born and vanish from it – from appearance – when we die. This means, we “live in the world of appearances” and that we are “of” the world in the fundamental sense that we always have our basis in the appearing world (Arendt 1977, 22). Appearance means appearance of something for someone. To appear, therefore, implies to appear before others. This is how Arendt introduces a criterion of visibility, at a very basic level, early on in her analysis. What she calls the “space of appearance,” comes into being wherever men are together in the manner of speech and action, and therefore predates and precedes all formal constitution of the public realm and the various forms of government, that is, the various forms in which the public realm can be organized. (Arendt 1998, 199) To this observation, she adds: Its peculiarity is that, unlike the spaces which are the work of our hands, it does not survive the actuality of the movement which brought it into being, but disappears not only with the dispersal of men . . . but with the disappearance or arrest of the activities themselves. (Arendt 1998, 199) Thus, again, the transition to an institutionalized public space that would be “the work of our hands,” in the sense that we produce it, is not something that has to emerge. It has a sort of pre-form in the appearing world where human interaction takes place and in which persons appear through their words and deeds. But if this pure state of actualization is not organized or institutionalized, it vanishes quickly and is again forgotten. This is how “the stage of the world” is intrinsically politicized. Seyla Benhabib has expressed her problems with this conception. Drawing on Habermas’s investigation of the emergence of the bourgeois public sphere, specifically in private salons and literary discussion clubs or coffee houses, she accuses Arendt of a conflation of the ontological and the institutional dimension. Arendt, she claims, allows the public sphere to come into being only as a state institution (cf. Benhabib 2003, 129f.). However, Arendt does not claim that a pre-public sphere within the private is not possible. Rather she argues for the consolidation of such fleeting “spaces of appearance,” something for which the bourgeoisie aimed, by such measures as installing publication organs like the press. Be that as it may – what I want to point to is that this “conflation,” with which

170  Sophie Loidolt Benhabib feels uneasy, is Arendt’s deliberate strategy for introducing political meaning into core ontological and phenomenological notions. Thereby, she respectively elucidates the ontological and phenomenological roots of some core political notions, however, without “grounding” these notions in necessary or eidetic structures. The moment of contingency rather introduces a moment of responsibility and normativity. If we keep in mind that Arendt seeks to demonstrate why an actualization of plurality is needed for a good life – something she does largely by showing how its lack diminishes our existences – we can see where her normative motivations come from. Now that we have elucidated these key concepts, let us return to the issue of person and to the related question of the emergence of personhood. The difficulty we are dealing with is to what extent being a person can be called a “political” issue. It should now be clear that we are not dealing with institutional but with existential notions of “the political” and of “the public.” But this does not make things easier. The challenge is to work out what this sense of “being political” means on an existential level. Furthermore, being a person can of course also mean different things (cf. Moran 2017). One can be a person who is a sort of irreducible or incommunicable substance (medieval tradition), a self-responsible agent in possession of a certain kind of rationality (Kantian tradition), someone who persists in time (Anglo-empiricist tradition), someone who wears a socially constructed “mask” (juridical and ancient tradition), someone who appears as a “unique style” (phenomenological tradition), or someone who possesses a personal identity as a narrative identity (“a story of who I am” or, as Ricoeur (1992, 16) puts it: an ipse- instead of an idem-identity). Or, now that we are closer to Arendt’s ideas, a person can be unique in the sense of distinguishing themselves in action and speech, appearing as themselves before and to others, and thereby generating stories and becoming who one is. Arendt defends a performative and narrative theory of the self that avoids substance-talk and that substitutes rational figures of commitment with commitment in relations to others. In the subsection following, “Integrated Layers of Self and Stages of Articulation of Personhood,” I will address how this approach can relate to theories of the person as the mask. Furthermore, I will also show to what extent Arendt also retains a phenomenological element of “uniqueness of style” and even of “incommunicability” in the appearance of the person, which Benhabib suspects to be an essentialism. For now, I would like to point to a distinctly political element in Bonnie Honig’s reformulation of Arendt’s theory of personhood as an “agonism” that is understood “as a practice of concerted action”: The agonal passion for distinction, which so moved Arendt’s theoretical account, may also be read as a struggle for individuation, for

“Who One Is” – A Political Issue? 171 emergence as a distinct self: in Arendt’s terms, a “who” rather than a “what,” a self-possessed not of fame, per se, but of individuality, a self that is never exhausted by the (sociological, psychological, and juridical) categories that seek to define and fix it. (Honig 1995, 159) Is it thus the element of struggle, or rather “struggle as concerted action” that makes Arendt’s existential phenomenological ontology “political”? Let us take a brief look at other phenomenological and existential theories of personhood and self to investigate this further.

A Short Look at Other Phenomenological Theories of Personhood, Compared to Arendt’s Approach Even if there are similarities to Arendt’s approach, for a contrasting example of a non-political phenomenological theory of personhood, let us take a quick glance at Husserl’s theory of the personal self. Husserl speaks of different layers of the I. Whereas he defends an “indeclinability” of the primal I, which I will later address as the “experiential self,” the personal I for Husserl clearly needs a “you.” A person has a “communicative world” (Husserl 1952, 193) as her Umwelt and she is only a person among persons, i.e., together with others in a “personal association” (Personenverband). Just as the person constitutes herself among persons, “sociality constitutes itself in specifically social and communicative acts, acts by which the I addresses others and in which these others are apprehended by the I as those who are addressed. Furthermore, they understand the fact of their being addressed, and either conform to it in their behavior or respond to it with acts of agreement or disagreement” (Husserl 1952, 194; my translation).4 Husserl defends the uniqueness of the person, not as a “substance” but as a unique “performance.” Here Husserl intersects with Scheler, another famous proponent of phenomenological theories of personhood. For Scheler (1973, 387), the person is the performing unity of all different kinds of acts, not just an “I think.” It has an individual, “unique style” – an expression Merleau-Ponty (2005, 98, 382) also uses for describing the uniqueness of the person. For Husserl, this uniqueness already lies in the person’s passivity, her very basic affectual reception and reaction to those specific impressions that “speak to” her and to which she responds. This basic affectivity also plays a role in Husserl’s “ethics of the person” who, as a rational agent, actively follows the ethical imperative of constant renewal, as well as her specific “ethical call” (cf. Loidolt 2012). Persons are thus agents who are uniquely affected to become who they are and who are also bound to be “true” to themselves. Husserl develops a concept of interpersonal love in which persons lovingly support other persons in their becoming and in the realization of their ethical calls (cf. Husserl 1973a, 2014). This ideal

172  Sophie Loidolt of society results in a “community of love” whose ethical focus is evident. The only slightly political feature is that Husserl envisions this community as a cosmopolitan one in the spirit of Enlightenment. The striking absence of struggle in Husserl is also worth noting. According to Husserl, identities are not struggled for but passively inspired. Only thereafter are they developed and formed in the process of their active strivings. Even though his concept of personhood is, like Arendt’s, intersubjective and enactive, it nonetheless differs greatly from her account because of its stress on the harmonious and ethical aspects of a community’s formation. It is evident, however, that neither harmony nor ethics is necessarily constitutive for a phenomenological theory of personhood. The epitome of an intersubjective theory of conflict can be found in Sartre’s Being and Nothingness who claimed that “Conflict is the original meaning of being-for-others” (Sartre 2003, 364). For Sartre, this tragic constellation results from his conception of freedom of the for-itself (consciousness) who, in principle, escapes objectification but nevertheless is always halfnailed down to its objectifying facticity by appearing in the world. By being for others and being exposed to their look, I am always threatened with objectification and hence must try either to possess the other’s freedom, to objectify it back in turn, or to annihilate it. Since this implies a reciprocal-relation, the dynamics of conflict enters a sort of hermeneutic circle that can assume the form of love, hate, masochism, sadism, or indifference. However, these keywords from Sartre’s analyses of “concrete relations with others” (cf. Sartre 2003, Part 3, Chapter 3) already indicate that these relations remain on a private level, even if the element of “struggle,” which we took to be an indication for the political, is essential to them. Struggle and conflict can, therefore, also remain quite unpolitical.5 Note, however, that early on in her analysis, Arendt criticizes precisely this feature of Sartre’s “Cartesian” theory as unable to “indicate any orientation” (Arendt 1994a, 438) as a frame of reference for political action. In her eyes, this also explains Sartre’s and Merleau-Ponty’s superimposition of Marxism as their frame of reference for action, “although their original impulses owed hardly anything to Marxism” (Arendt 1994a, 439; cf. Loidolt 2018, 44). The ontological conflict conceptualized by Sartre thus remains politically arbitrary. In Arendt’s eyes, it neither points to a specific form of political action nor of political community. This “existential solipsism” is something she also criticizes in Heidegger. Although Heidegger (1962) certainly does not develop his approach from the perspective of a Cartesian subjectivity, but from the worldly existentiale of Being-with, it is precisely the existential struggle of becoming oneself that tends to lead away from forms of sociality. This struggle, which is at the heart of Heidegger’s existential phenomenology, is not a conflict with a concrete other; it is a heroic fight against the conformist tendencies of the Man. Even when his theory of personal individuation seems

“Who One Is” – A Political Issue? 173 to become ethical, in the famous “call of conscience” chapter, it has the tendency to remain self-centered, as Dasein calls itself to be itself. Finally, “running forward towards one’s own death” is also a rather lonely existential enterprise (cf. Arendt 1994b, 180). Again, as discussed previously, the struggle for personal individuation does not yet imply a genuinely political theory. Against the prominent figure of mortality as the main source for individuation, Arendt hence emphasizes natality in reverse, as being much more important for my story and for becoming who I am. This short comparative look demonstrates that phenomenological theories of personhood do not necessarily involve the moment of struggle, and if they do, this does not necessarily mean that they are “political” in the Arendtian sense. Since we are still in search of criteria for an existential notion of the political, the following sections will go deeper into this question. Arendt, it seems, asks for a clear ontological basis of the political, i.e., for a specific form of political community, which is linked up with being a person and which certainly implies normative measures. In Heidegger, she thinks this account is flawed by turning to the Volk, Geschichtlichkeit and Geschicklichkeit when becoming political (Heidegger 1962, §47), in Sartre (and the other French existentialists) it is arbitrary, and in all predominantly ethical accounts the dimension of being with-another (also in conflict and struggle) is ignored in favor of only being for-another. Furthermore, as mentioned previously, Arendt does politicize ontology, but that does not mean that everything for her is political. Rather, it means that everything is viewed and judged from this aspect. It is precisely by addressing appearance, i.e., by introducing a specifically phenomenological element into an intersubjective ontology, that Arendt achieves a politicizing differentiation within different realms of the appearing world. This leaves room for private relations and conceptions of personhood that are not necessarily political but even “unpolitical” or “antipolitical,” as she claims – and that’s what it means to judge them from a political perspective. Private spaces exist and are necessary for Arendt. They are, in their own right, not political, but that does not mean that they are unrelated to the political realm. Everything that appears is on some level related to the political, since the political allows for a distinguished form of the appearance of the who.

Politicizing Ontology Through Appearance: Darkness, Light, and Different Light By reflecting on different modes of appearance and spaces of appearance, Arendt mobilizes an important phenomenological tool in her theory of the political, of which, surprisingly, other phenomenologists have not made use. That “those, who are in the darkness” appear differently than “those who are in the light,”6 or rather, that those in darkness “drop from sight,” is a simple and very clearly put insight taken from the ballad

174  Sophie Loidolt of “Mack the Knife,” and one to which Arendt likes to refer. What is public and what is private, and how these conditions of visibility are constituted, is always a political issue. Elsewhere, I have argued that I do not think that Arendt wants to reinstall an essentialism of the public and the private – determining what belongs where – but instead analyzes historical dynamics of how spaces of meaning constituted by activities and visibilities intersect, and either reinforce and amplify or diminish and deform each other. To be sure, this analysis is imbued with a normative preference for the fragile, political space of plurality that needs protection from other logics invading it (cf. Loidolt 2018, 142f.). Here, however, I am concerned with the issue of personhood. Although Arendt seems to argue that full personhood implies political and public appearance, she also fiercely defends the private realm as necessary for personal development and protection and as a condition to enter the public sphere at all. “Protection” seems to be a key word for the development, realization, and disclosure of the who in general (it is also a key word for the development of the political as a whole). To work this out, let us go back to the comparison with Sartre, who emphasizes the negative opposite: “exposure.” The exposed self that Sartre describes is a privately, even intimately conceived, naked self without any protection. This is the reason why, for Sartre, to be in the dimension of appearance and thus for-others, is essentially to enter the dimension of shame – pre-reflectively, without distance. It is without doubt interesting to compare Sartre’s negative tone of an always slightly menacing exposure to others with Arendt’s positive connotations of appearing before others. But it seems that the difference here lies not only in tastes. The person in Arendt immediately appears, but she appears with a politically conceived distance, i.e., with an in-between stretched out between me and her (a true “space of appearance”) that leaves room for an expression of her being. This is obviously quite different from a caught voyeur, which is Sartre’s paradigmatic figure. Although, as we discussed briefly earlier, Arendt knows her own negative versions of exposed existence, she nonetheless imagines a political world where factual givenness is accepted, even with a feeling of gratitude. This is a world in which people can positively relate to their givenness, thrownness, and facticity while, at the same time, they are not reduced to it (cf. Loidolt 2018, 44f.). For this to be possible, Arendt elucidates and calls for strategies of protection, expression, and distance, a point to which I will return in the following section. In Sartre, by contrast, my pure exposure befalls me and nearly silences me in my immediate shame. There is no in-between at all, just my pure, direct exposedness. Sartre even insists that the other must inscribe herself into my very own being (in my mode of being-for-others), which places the conflictual antagonism under my skin.7 For Arendt, such a conception quickly becomes “unworldly” or “worldless” – it leaves no

“Who One Is” – A Political Issue? 175 “space of appearance” open. Yet, in spite of the negative connotations, we can find a surprisingly positive, systematic place for these explicitly worldless, but nevertheless personal,8 relations in her work: in the utmost private and intimate sphere of love. This opens up a completely new and additional dimension that is, seemingly, not so easy to reconcile with the political emphasis of her writings.9 While for Sartre, exposedness always seems to be the exposedness of a private “who” to a public, anonymous or quasi-public, objectifying “look,” Arendt knows two different forms of non-objectifying exposedness: one in the publicness of the world and one in the private I-Thou relation of love (and also friendship). “Love, by reason of its passion,” she observes, “destroys the in-between which relates us to and separates us from others.” (Arendt 1998, 242) Nevertheless – and here it becomes tricky – love also emphatically discloses the “who.” Love, Arendt argues, “possesses an unequaled power of selfrevelation and an unequaled clarity of vision for the disclosure of who, precisely because it is unconcerned to the point of total unworldliness with what the loved person may be, with his qualities and shortcomings no less than with his achievements, failings, and transgressions” (Arendt 1998, 242). By being indifferent to the always objectifying “what” of achievements of the person, love is purely and immediately directed at the “who,” a point in which Arendt comes close to Scheler. But can this possibly be the same “who” that is revealed in plurality and with whom Arendt is largely concerned? The answer must be that it is the same “who” in the sense that both disclosed whos are the same person, “me” or “you” but that this “who” appears in different intersubjective modes and is revealed in different spaces – literally, in a different light. The different light of love is dim (“blind”) and bright at the same time – in the German version, we read of the worldly in-between blazed up in “flames” (Arendt 1981, 309) – and it lovingly protects and creates as much as it discloses. Therefore, the who that is exposed without the mediation of the world (and Arendt emphasizes the “without” indeed strongly here, to the point that suggests an immediate encounter with an alterity) is one that can only be seen by a loving you – including all the illusions that accompany this revelation, whereas the “worldly who” appears to all. We can see now that Arendt envisions two forms of protection of the who, on the two ends of the spectrum: The “who,” revealed in the I-Thou relationship of love, is protected by the “darkness” of privacy and needs this protection for its unworldly appearance (“love, in distinction from friendship, is killed, or rather extinguished, the moment it is displayed in public” (Arendt 1998, 51).10 The “political who,” the “who” revealed to plurality in speech and action, is a worldly appearance, and here the light of the public is necessary not to “drop from sight.” However, again, the who is protected and not shamefully exposed in her mere facticity, through her possibilities of expression and, thus, transcendence.

176  Sophie Loidolt The political person, as described by Arendt, thus weaves and is woven into her own protective mask of “persona” in interpersonal interaction. I use the term “mask” here in reference to the old tradition of the “persona,” where the plain and factical givenness of, say, social background or skin color, is mantled and protected for the unique voice to sound through (this is what Arendt also hints at in On Revolution11). One could see this as a legal figure, creating equality by abolishing social or natural differences. One could also see it, in a more Arendtian way, as a political process that creates my “persona” in my struggle for identity. In what I intend to describe, the institutionalized and the personalized political moments grow together, mostly conflictually. Hence, by using the term “mask” I do not mean that a “real I” would be concealed but rather that my struggle with others weaves a “second nature” that becomes indistinguishable from my “first nature,” while it functions as a protection against perceiving me in my bare, objectifying, and always power-related facticity. Hence, the mask allows the political person precisely to appear as she is in her active expression and relation to her givenness, while she is never just exposed and largely alienated from others, as Sartre has it. No matter if in public or in private, Sartre’s subject is always up for an existential fight and always remains intimately exposed (“she looks at me with disgust” is not fundamentally different from “me, naked, before the anonymous look of an audience”). What happens in this dynamic struggle of being facticity (“what,” in-itself) and being transcendence (“who,” for-itself), of being for-others who are, in turn, for me, is the individuation of the person. For Arendt, conflict is neither so deep nor so intimate. In this sense, conflict is not at the heart of her theory of personhood. If it becomes important, it is at the level of the non-intimate and non-private. Moreover, she presents conflict as a struggle that ultimately relates a person to the world and that creates spaces and positions. This is how and why political enemies can still be personal friends. So far, we have looked at how Arendt politicizes appearance and, at the same time, how she points to harbors and strategies of protection, both private and public, necessary for becoming a person. In contrast to Sartre, who functions as a nice counter-example here, Arendt actually relocates struggle and conflict from an unprotected, private, even intimate zone to a politicized realm in her sense, which distances from immediate givenness and opens up a room for the in-between, where we can relate to ourselves in relation to others. But is private life really this sealed-off directedness at only one other, as the example of romantic lovers suggests? Can this picture capture, for example, conflictual processes in a family, between generations? As we know, such conflicts often involve a series of political issues that are connected to the personal identity of, say, the teenager rejecting her parents’ way of life. As Arendt (1983a) describes it in her essays on education, caretakers should protectively introduce young people to the world. Yet, surprisingly, it is not only young people

“Who One Is” – A Political Issue? 177 but also the world that needs protection, precisely from the neoi’s boost of novelty and natality. Through these conflicts, the stage of the world can thus emerge and open up on the threshold of the family home. Indeed it has to, if private and public space are not to be sealed off from each other. Arendt does not, however, say much about these struggles for identity. She only implies that they point to worldliness and the common world and therefore always to more than private conflicts. They call us to make judgments, to develop an enlarged mentality and not only stay in the idiosyncratic cocoon of “I like,” “I don’t like” (and “therefore I don’t like you”). And that, for Arendt, is what makes us express our uniqueness in plurality, and thus our person: the state of judgment. Our mere affective facticity that provokes our first and still bare “no’s” is necessary to start the process of conflict. It should then, hopefully, develop into reflection and reflective judgment, and, finally, into action in the world. We can finish up this section with the conclusion that Arendt does differentiate between different forms of appearance of the “who”: in the open space of worldly encounters and in the intimacy of what seems to be limited to I-Thou relations of love and friendship. Only the former can be called clearly “political,” while she even labels love as “anti-political.” On an interpersonal level, its radical worldlessness is only opened up again, as Arendt suggests, if the couple becomes a family.12 Thus, even if the family seems to be the private entity per se, from a perspective of worldliness it is the first “in-between” and thus a hopefully protected, pre-stage of what is to come. Another bridge, if not the paradigmatic one, between the private and the public “who,” is given through the personal relation of friendship. Friendships are directed at the who, but they are not worldless in the sense of love, and therefore also communities of taste. This brings us close to what Arendt actually understands by the political: not primarily an existential conflict or antagonism but rather a worldly orientation that produces distance but nevertheless inaugurates a community. And for the world to appear in all its aspects, plurality as well as the public are necessary.

Integrated Layers of Self and Stages of Articulation of Personhood: “Maximal Self” We have seen so far that “who one is” is a complex issue on many different levels. In this section, I would like to systematize these levels and present Arendt’s theory of personhood as a theory of integrated layers that works with the concept pair of actuality and potentiality, thereby gaining its normative aspect. Its politicizing aspect emerges by taking the implications of a performative theory of identity seriously: Performance implies an audience as well as a stage. Therefore, an augmentation of the reality of the person is gained by an augmentation of the audience, in terms of publicness, revelation, and communication. This does not amount to an

178  Sophie Loidolt abolishment of privacy but implies an explicit relation to the private. Without being able to show this in detail, I would thereby like to propose a model of self that forges a link between the numerous, rather unpolitical, debates about the “self” in phenomenology, and about the politicized discussions on recognition and personhood in political contexts. With a little terminological nod to the current discussions on self and personhood in phenomenology (including links to developmental psychology, philosophy of mind, and psychiatry) that have seen heated debates on “minimal self,” one could claim that Arendt’s publicly appearing “who” is a version of “maximal self” that has gone through different stages of articulation and formation of its uniqueness. But what is personal uniqueness? Is it a given or a produced, narrated uniqueness, created by different perspectives? Again, Seyla Benhabib takes up this question and divides Arendt’s theories of action into a “narrative” and into an “agonal” one, which results in an incompatible dualism of a “constructivist” versus an “essentialist” theory of the self. Benhabib rejects the latter as “outmoded,” suggesting that Arendt would – partly – propagate a model where the “revelation of who one is” amounts to “the making manifest of what is interior,” while other passages suggest “that ‘the who one is’ emerges in the process of doing the deed and telling the story” (Benhabib 2003, 125f.). I have argued elsewhere in detail why I think this is a flawed presentation of Arendt’s intentions, as she fiercely opposes any model of an “inner man.” I agree with Honig’s (1995, 157) criticism that Benhabib constructs an asymmetrical dualism and a loaded choice between the two options’ “essentialism” and “constructivism,” neither of which really apply to Arendt (cf. Loidolt 2018, 207–212). Instead, I think that Arendt indeed takes seriously the “philosophic perplexity” (Arendt 1998, 181) of how the unique “who somebody is” appears to others in the living actualization of acting and speaking but at the same time somehow escapes a description in words or any other reification – even in a narrative. Arendt, in this context, speaks about the “curious intangibility [of the who] that confounds all efforts toward unequivocal verbal expression” (Arendt 1998, 181). In this sense, she takes up the traditional idea of the “incommunicability” of the person. Yet instead of combining it with a substance-talk, she links it with the phenomenological idea of the “unique style” of the person that has always had a strong performative quality (Scheler 1973, 387). Arendt’s intervention is that she makes explicit that “performance” means that the self appears to others on a stage and needs others to articulate and become itself. Furthermore, she makes clear that intersubjective appearance through performance implies a logic of visibility. Hence, she introduces the difference between “public” and “private” into her theory of personhood, thereby politicizing it. What’s more, I contend that her discussion of an “unchangeable identity of the person” (Arendt 1998, 193) (in German: “Diese bleibende

“Who One Is” – A Political Issue? 179 Befindlichkeit, welche die Identität der Person ausmacht” [Arendt 1981, 242]).13 can be reconciled with her descriptions of a narrative, pluralized, and never fully exhausted identity. In order to solve this difficulty and escape the dualist aporia of either essentialism or constructivism, I have proposed to differentiate between three layers of the self: (1) “the who of mineness” (as the basic experiential “minimal self”), (2) “the who of Befindlichkeit” (the “unique style” how this experiential self lives her experiences and appears to others), and (3) “the who of identity” (in the sense of a personal ipse-identity) (Loidolt 2018, 210f.). These layers conditionally build on each other but are always actualized together in a performative identity. The irreducible, first-personal, experiential who, which is never produced but is the ontological basis of plurality, manifests itself as a “how” of uniqueness in action and speech. It does so only together with others. By extension, within this process, it also struggles for identity, in a narrative sense. As a whole, this is a performative process which keeps its moment of alterity. On the one hand, the intangible who, which is neither to be fixed as an identity nor produced by sociocultural processes, emerges from this process as a distinct who with a story. On the other hand, this distinct who keeps its inscrutability in being the uncontrollable actualization of its performativity. Arendt thus advocates a model of identity in action, in the performative, which may turn into a narrative. Therefore – and this counts for both Benhabib and Honig – I think it is not necessary to fear Arendt’s insistence on the “uniqueness of the who” as if this were automatically something substantial, an antecedent essence of the self. Even if the who’s first-person-perspective is not a produced one, the who’s uniqueness always happens in existence and existence only happens together with others. Arendt’s political take on questions of identity introduces another aspect that is nicely distilled in the following quote: Since our feeling for reality depends utterly upon appearance and therefore upon the existence of a public realm into which things can appear out of the darkness of sheltered existence, even the twilight which illuminates our private and intimate lives is ultimately derived from the much harsher light of the public realm. (Arendt 1998, 51) Personhood hence develops first in a private, dimly lighted space (“the darkness of sheltered existence”). Such a space, we should not forget, is not only the protective darkness of the loving family. It can also be the violent darkness of the household, or some educational institution or even the street. From there, the person can (or cannot) rise into public existence. Apart from being experienced only as the mere “privative” (Arendt 1998, 38, 58) sphere to which a person is confined, the private, therefore, seems to have at least four different positive functions: (1) the genetic/

180  Sophie Loidolt generative14 aspect; (2) its own positive forms like love that are revealing of the who and that are not translatable into public existence; (3) that which is closest, most important, and most necessary for the person’s body and its needs, her personal and intimate relationships, her “private possessions, which we use and consume daily” (Arendt 1998, 70). The driving force that emerges from this realm is, as Arendt contends, “unmatched by the so-called higher desires and aspirations of man; not only will it always be the first among man’s needs and worries, it will also prevent the apathy and disappearance of initiative” (Arendt 1998, 70); and (4) the fourth positive function of protective private spaces: [The] non-privative characteristic of privacy15 is that the four walls of one’s private property offer the only reliable hiding place from the common public world, not only from everything that goes on in it but also from its very publicity, from being seen and being heard. A life spent entirely in public, in the presence of others, becomes, as we would say, shallow. While it retains its visibility, it loses the quality of rising into sight from some darker ground which must remain hidden if it is not to lose its depth in a very real, non-subjective sense. (Arendt 1998, 71) To this existential-phenomenological description, Arendt typically adds a direct political demand: “The only efficient way to guarantee the darkness of what needs to be hidden against the light of publicity is private property, a privately-owned place to hide in” (Arendt 1998, 71). These four characteristics of the private, including protection, significance, vitality/necessity, and depth are indeed conditions necessary for developing personal identity. But they are of a non-privative privacy since they relate to public existence: as a source, as a hiding place, and as that which is “one’s own” in a relational way. This also emphasizes the role of the body. One can see that the political logos that is developed here takes a different direction than Sartre’s model of basic existential conflict. Arendt emphasizes a basic realm – as a developmental condition as well as a constant necessary complement to the exposure of public existence – that allows for weaving the mask with which we can then enter the stage of visibility. Furthermore, this necessary darkness of the private sphere encompasses not only the depth of the body and intimate relations but also the depth of the life of the mind. The paradigmatic example, for the capacity of the mind that needs the privacy of reflection as well as the public, is judging. Based on the model of Kant’s reflective judgment, this activity of the mind clearly needs plurality but also reveals the person in one of her most personal traits: taste. For this to be not just the trivial report of my sensuous states, Kant (2000, §§2–3) discerns the “agreeable” from the “beautiful” and with it, a whole range of practices that

“Who One Is” – A Political Issue? 181 distance immediate affectedness and insert it in public discourse, while nevertheless remaining faithful to my non-conceptualized feelings in the activity of reflection. While the judgment on the agreeable hence reports the “what” of a person’s idiosyncratic responses, the judgment on the beautiful reveals a “who” in the sensuous and reflective confrontation with a single object, interweaving her with a world and a community of judges. Again, the keywords here are distance and in-between, which allow for the “who” to appear, not only in a naked facticity (invoking shame) but with the protection of a mask, resulting from the person’s own activities. I understand the term of the mask as clearly relational, without meaning that it would be either just the “social role” we take on, or just the juridical persona.16 The persona, in Arendt’s political terms of distinguishing oneself, is an individual, unique mask, and in this sense it is myself, an individualized, articulated expression of myself in plurality. What emerges here is my capacity for an enlarged mentality – a capacity to be exercised alone but only in relation to others – that opens me up to others while remaining myself. Arendt famously takes up this Kantian figure as the political core capacity of “representative thinking” (Arendt 1983b, 241). Her claim is that the person’s opinion gains validity not only in representing others’ standpoints but that the person herself gains reality in public interaction. Representing others’ perspectives and reflecting them from my standpoint connects and interweaves these perspectives. Arendt insists that we need the light of the public to experience ourselves as “real,” i.e., as inserted in historical time and intersubjective space that is shared by all from different perspectives. We need others to confirm our existence already on a very basic level. On the public and political level, this reassurance of a person involves the visibility of her standpoint and her actions. Daring to enter this space and become visible adds a dimension to her private life that is of a totally different quality than all the intensity she can experience in private encounters. While Arendt concedes that “the subjectivity of privacy can be prolonged and multiplied in a family, it can even become so strong that its weight is felt in the public realm,” she insists that “this family ‘world’ can never replace the reality rising out of the sum total of aspects presented by one object to a multitude of spectators” (Arendt 1998, 56). This opens up a person’s private life to more than her own (family-)interest and more than just the endless, “viral” multiplication of mass society – even if it is a constant challenge for my identity and thus involves struggle. The inbetween that is woven by this exchange and interaction, as well as the visibility it creates, allows for associations of taste. This means that groups can be formed that are not only held together by bonds of language, family, or history, or by sharing the same class-interests but by sharing judgment on how the world should look. It should now be obvious that developing communities of taste17 and being in struggle with other such

182  Sophie Loidolt communities go hand in hand with a development and augmentation of the person. All these are versions of a “maximal self” that can gain full individuality in the visibility of plurality. Furthermore, also the antagonism of “we” and “they” inevitably emerging form this p ­ rocess – and trivially necessary for any identity – takes on a more mediated form than the naked facticity of my natural given enemy. All these elements point to the fact that Arendt’s theory of the political envisions an establishment of an in-between much more than pure conflict or antagonism. What the political and the public realm should provide us with is precisely the possibilities to be opened up to an inbetween, without just being exposed or without just being determined by a person’s private interests or the one mass-interest. It should enable us to relate to ourselves and others in a common world through forms of articulation and expression that ensure the personal factor and reduce the dominance and mere commodity character of social status. All these elements also point to the normative aspect of her political theory. As I hope to have made clear, this hangs together closely with a theory of personhood and the development of a full and unique personality. This becomes even more manifest if, in a final move, we look at the negative versions of sociality that have an evident impact on the development and growth of the person.

Bare Life As a countermovement to the ascent18 of the private person to the “maximal self” in the public sphere, one could list figures of alienation and deformation in Arendt’s writings that diminish the person, d ­ e-individualize, and, in the worst case, de-humanize her. Listed top-down, in one possible system of ranking, this includes: the natural processes of labor and life (including pain); competition in terms of mere accomplishment (without a personal factor); mass-society’s consumerist culture (conformism and alienation as a commodity owner or as being a commodity oneself); disintegration as a refugee and stateless person, down to the horrors of totalitarian bureaucracy; and finally the camps that produce “bare life.” Figures of Alienation/Depersonalization/Deindividualization/Dehuma­ nization:19 6. Processes of labor and life, including pain 5. Competition of mere accomplishment 4. Das Man, mass society, status, exposedness as a commodity or as a mere commodity producer 3. Totalitarian bureaucracy and conformity 2. Being no one, losing one’s story (refugees, stateless persons) 1. Bare life/destruction of the person

“Who One Is” – A Political Issue? 183 It is already apparent that not being allowed to enter the dimension of public expression and mediation of individuality in plurality diminishes the person and deprives her of substantial possibilities of being who she is and who she can be. Without being able to go into detail, this becomes worse with every step down on the scale in the process of dehumanization. In Origins of Totalitarianism, Arendt describes the practices that strip persons of their layers of worldliness and make them into worldless creatures, recklessly exposing them in and to their mere bodily facticity. She explicitly calls this a process of the “destruction of the person,” first the juridical, then the moral, and finally the individual person in the camps: Once the moral person has been killed, the one thing that still prevents men from being made into living corpses is the differentiation of the individual, his unique identity. . . . There is no doubt that this part of the human person, precisely because it depends so essentially on nature and on forces that cannot be controlled by the will, is the hardest to destroy. . . . The methods of dealing with this uniqueness of the human person are numerous and we shall not attempt to list them. They begin with the monstrous conditions in the transports to the camps, when hundreds of human beings are packed into a cattlecar stark naked, glued to each other, and shunted back and forth over the countryside for days on end; they continue upon arrival at the camp, the well-organized shock of the first hours, the shaving of the head, the grotesque camp clothing; and they end in the utterly unimaginable tortures so gauged as not to kill the body, at any event not quickly. The aim of all these methods, in any case, is to manipulate the human body – with its infinite possibilities of suffering – in such a way as to make it destroy the human person as inexorably as do certain mental diseases of organic origin. (Arendt 1973, 453) By invoking what Agamben (1998) later coined as the concept of “bare life,” Arendt seems to go far beyond anything that is captured in Sartre’s exposedness or in a minimalist conception of a self being reduced to experiential selfhood. Why? One could claim that any tortured existence in a camp possesses minimal selfhood. That would certainly be true even for the so-called “Muselmann” (as long as she is conscious). But it’s also clear that this cannot be the point. What Arendt addresses here are conditional structures for developing, or losing, personhood that neither lie in consciousness (mineness) nor in the ontological structures of the in-itself-as-for-others. Instead, they lie in the condition of plurality and of bodily existence. As such, they have a different ontological status. They show a certain variability in how they can be realized, which justifies the levels of potentiality and actuality

184  Sophie Loidolt that Arendt introduces. Nevertheless, they are not simply empirically contingent for being a person as such. Rather, they are conditions in the sense of a “primal fact” that can be lived and realized differently, with historical and cultural variability. But there are limits within this eidetic variation, since personhood rests on conditional structures which as such imply normative constraints. “Bare life” in the camps is one of these limit figures – analogous to what I called the “maximal self” which is found at the other end of the spectrum. It is important to remember that “bare life” is produced, not a “natural given” but a socially and politically produced form of “mere life.” This means, we are never “originally” bare life, as if we were born as such and then become this and that. The production of bare life involves violence and power, and a politics directed at life, as much as it involves our naked bodily existence. With the ontological/phenomenological neutrality of the concept of minimal self or even of the exposedness of the in-itself, one cannot address the vulnerability of the body and human life that comes to the fore here, especially not in its dependence on political conditions: the de-personalized person as an effect of politics. That such theories fail to take this into account should not be viewed as a weakness; this is not what they intend to do. Zahavi (2017), in particular, explicitly describes his theorem of minimal self as “thin,” meaning that it only aims to address the basic feature of consciousness and not of personhood. Minimal self is thus not “bare life” at all, since the point is that it is and cannot be “produced.” Yet, it seems important to keep the discussions on “minimal self” connected to theories of personhood and personal becoming, and not to lose oneself in theoretical discussions on the nature of consciousness. Zahavi himself proposes a theory that echoes Sartre and Husserl, claiming that others and intersubjective interaction are necessary for the development of personhood, and conceiving the minimal self as a condition for the “exposed self.” Other discussions in the philosophy of psychiatry contest the minimal-self-thesis by addressing, for example, a vulnerability of the mind in its dependency on others (Ratcliffe 2017). Without being able to decide this dispute here, the case of “bare life” shows that there are also other additional conditions to be taken into account for personhood. That this element implies normative consequences is not unusual for (phenomenological) theories of personhood, even if they are usually mostly ethical and not political. Being a person is being dependent on others and as soon as this is acknowledged, I contend, the political factor cannot be ignored anymore, not even on a basic level. This brings us back to our main questions: What is “political” about being a person, and is “the political” really necessary for being a person? The answer we can give after these reflections is: Yes, in the limit figure of bare life one can see that personhood is clearly conditioned by plurality and its relatedness to bodily existence. What makes personal existence

“Who One Is” – A Political Issue? 185 “political” is that plurality is one main condition for it. This condition comes in different stages and shapes, pointing to fulfillment structures in certain forms of political communities. Plurality can therefore be lived and realized differently, which directly correlates to augmented, diminished, or annihilated states of the person.

Conclusion: What Is Political About Arendt’s Theory of Personhood and Personal Becoming? In closing, I will recapitulate the main findings connected to the conclusion made earlier and then make a proposal for further discussions on selfhood, personhood, and the political. One of our central concerns was to examine Arendt’s existential notion of “the political,” especially in connection with the question of personhood. We have seen that it is not a pure constellation of antagonistic conflict. Furthermore, it emphasizes the I-Thou and face-to-face encounter less than the potentially open visibility and communicability to a public “we” (cf. Loidolt 2018, 40–42). Arendt, therefore, does not take an antagonistic relation to be decisive for making our existence “political,” neither on the individual level (as in Sartre) nor on the group level (as in Schmitt). Instead, it is plurality with all its different forms of possible realization (struggle, association, agon, communities of taste, etc.) that constitutes us as political beings. This makes her notion of the political broader and, at the same time, narrower than other existential proposals. Broader, because beyond conflict only, it involves a wide range of activities including the public/private dichotomy as a criterion of visibility. Narrower, because it seems to reserve the notion of the political only for the instances of actualized plurality, which gives it critical potential but also makes it a normatively loaded notion. To this, another aspect must be added: Arendt takes “the political” to be a certain form of activity and actualized state that relates us to the world by relating us to others. It provides the stage for acting together and for relating to the world in a manner not forced by necessity. In this sense, the personal factor, which was our main focus here, is immensely important. If the political is the dispute about how the world should look and how we should live in it, the different proposals on the table – if not forced by necessity – depend on different personal perspectives. And these perspectives should ideally be generated not only by private, idiosyncratic interest but by a consideration of different perspectives on the world, i.e., by engaging with plurality in a person’s take on the world. Again, this is important for Arendt’s enhanced political notion of personhood. Because the freedom that Arendt demands in the political world-relation – as opposed to the necessities of life – is a freedom that inscribes itself into the person herself. It shapes her development toward an “enlarged mentality,” which is the opposite of an enclosed

186  Sophie Loidolt idiosyncrasy in terms of a “what.” Such a “what” can only be exposed and never connected to others. As a main difference with respect to Sartre, we could see that instead of struggle only, Arendt emphasizes practices that enlarge a person’s personhood, that distance her from her immediate response – and thereby also from an immediate exposedness. Moreover, they also create a meaningful in-between – again, an activity directed at a shared world, creating communality by relations of meaning instead of factually common interests. This allows for protecting and translating the person’s pure facticity into a communicable personal “who.” Yet, at the same time, it retains the fundamental incommunicability of the person’s uniqueness. I have argued that figures of protection for the person as well as for the political – in the sense of actualized plurality – play an important role in Arendt’s work. This also shapes her approach to the public/private dichotomy, which plays an important role in her take on personal and political development. To ignore this factor and to read the passages on action and speech, revealing the who, completely devoid of the difference between public and private appearance, only confirms Arendt’s thesis that we have long forgotten anyway what “public happiness” is and how it could augment the reality of our personal lives (Arendt 1998, 323). I have therefore tried to reconstruct her quasi-teleological but always fragile line of development of the person up to a “maximal version” of a self that gains individuality, reality, and historical duration over time. Over the course of this discussion, we have seen that the relation of the public and the private realm is a complex one with respect to personal becoming. It involves a rise from a protected private realm to public existence that needs its private retreats. All of this stands in sharp contrast to our evanescent, not-even-private lives in mass society. Last but not least, Arendt’s existential conception of the political points to specific forms of political communities that are equal, free, democratic, and that put the individual, i.e., the person, in the center. In her critique of Sartre’s political arbitrariness, it has become clear that Arendt also demands this from a meaningful existential notion of the political: to imply normative political consequences, not only in the form of a negativist, individualist critique but also in a positive form, of being able to assess different forms of the “we.” “The political” as an existential relation between the person, plurality, and world, hence normatively prefigures the nature of the communities that foster this relation. As a theory of personhood, we have asked ourselves how Arendt’s conception could be related to classic and contemporary debates on self, personhood, and personal identity in the phenomenological tradition. I want to conclude by making two very tentative proposals for how we might integrate the political factor. The first version presents an interrelated layer-model20 with the public/political self at the top of possible developments of personhood. The second introduces the issues of public

“Who One Is” – A Political Issue? 187 and private appearance on a very basic level, thereby politicizing nearly all notions of self: First Model: Public/Political Self at the Top of All Layers 1. The experiential self as exposed/the for-itself as for-others (existentialontological constellation) 2. The interpersonal prelinguistic, affective self (basic empathic intersubjectivity) 3. The narrative self: speech and action (ethical communities) 4. The public, political self: speech and action in public (political communities) Second Model: Private/Public Distinction on All Levels, Political Self Still on Top of All Layers 1. The experiential self as exposed/ the for-itself as for-others – protected or shamed/menaced 2. The interpersonal prelinguistic, affective self – protected or shamed/ menaced 3. The narrative self: speech and action – private or public 4. The political self: speech and action in public Although I have a preference for the second model, I am undecided as to which model is the most convincing, which underscores the fact that much work still needs to be done. At the very least, I have tried to show that phenomenological theories of personhood should integrate a political perspective and that this is feasible with phenomenological means, and can be accomplished without having to import theories from elsewhere. An integration of a political perspective is as important as the integration of an ethical one. This is because the answer to the question “Who are you?” can be a depersonalized and dehumanized “no one,” an existence that even resists story-telling, and one which can, and has been, the result of politics. A theory of personhood needs to be alert to this fact, which is not only contingent or empirical but one of the possibilities, or rather, impossibilities to live and realize one main condition for personhood: human plurality.

Notes 1. The author gratefully acknowledges that this work was supported by the Czech Science Foundation, financing the project “Personal Identity at the Crossroads: Phenomenological, Genealogical, and Hegelian Perspectives” (GACR 18–16622S).

188  Sophie Loidolt 2. Arendt gives a detailed account of this destruction in all its stages, starting with the annihilation of the juridical person by “putting certain categories of people outside the protection of the law” (Arendt 1973, 447), followed by the “murder of the moral person in man” (Arendt 1973, 451) and finally destroying “the individual, his unique identity” (Arendt 1973, 453). 3. It is important to emphasize that this existentialist approach differs from locating the political in “human nature.” Arendt has frequently raised the objection that this amounts to the typical philosophical perspective of conceiving an “essence of man” in the singular instead of investigating existence in the plural – what man is, instead of how we are together. The latter perspective of the plural constitutes “political theory” for Arendt, in contrast to philosophy, and is her programmatic motto (cf. Arendt 1994c, 1–2, 2005, 93–95). 4. „Die Sozialität konstituiert sich durch die spezifisch sozialen, kommunikativen Akte, Akte in denen sich das Ich an Andere wendet, und dem Ich diese Anderen auch bewußt sind als die, an welche es sich wendet, und welche ferner diese Wendung verstehen, sich ev. in ihrem Verhalten danach richten, sich zurückwenden in gleichstimmigen oder gegenstimmigen Akten usw.” (Husserl 1952, 194) 5. Even if Sartre does apply his theory to political situations as well (e.g., in the Reflections on the Jewish Question), it is debatable whether or not the fundamental conflict he depicts arises in the private sphere and concerns essentially private matters. 6. „Denn die einen sind im Dunkeln Und die andern sind im Licht. Und man siehet die im Lichte Die im Dunkeln sieht man nicht.” “There are some who are in darkness And the others are in light And you see the ones in brightness Those in darkness drop from sight.” (Bertolt Brecht, Die Dreigroschenoper/ The Threepenny Opera) 7. In this case, Sartre and Levinas are probably more akin to each other than to theorists who conceptualize the intersubjective relation in a more Heideggerian way, along the lines of being-in-the-world. Levinas is even more radical since he gives up the ontological reciprocity in favor of a pre-ontological, ethical asymmetry where the self is “possessed” by the other before even being a self (cf. Levinas 1991). 8. Non-personal and de-individualizing forms of worldlessness are experienced in mass-society, in the anonymity of bureaucracy, or in forms of laboring together such as in the “labor gang” (Arbeitstrupp) (Arendt 1998, 212f). 9. If we stay on the political level only, “love” qua agape, understood as the main driving force of Christian conceptions of community and the political, is certainly an old adversary of Arendt’s theory of the political, dating back to her dissertation on Augustin. On the level of personhood, however, “love” – now exclusively understood as romantic and passionate love, eros – is undeniably important for her approach to human existence, precisely in its “antipolitical” nature. 10. Even if this may sound a little implausible in the sense that others in at least some ways could see the love two (or more) others may have for one another, even without participating in that love themselves, one has to

“Who One Is” – A Political Issue? 189 remember that Arendt has a strong notion of the public that suggests a constant “public light” and not just appearing on the street. This means that one would have to demonstrate and showcase one’s love all the time. And this, according to Arendt, is ruinous for the intimacy of the relationship, since consequently the lovers are not “for another” primarily but “for others as lovers.” For Arendt, this comes near to a contradictio in adiecto. 11. “The profound meaningfulness inherent in the many political metaphors derived from the theatre is perhaps best illustrated by the history of the Latin word persona. In its original meaning, it signified the mask ancient actors used to wear in a play. . . . The mask as such obviously had two functions: it had to hide, or rather to replace, the actor’s own face and countenance, but in a way that would make it possible for the voice to sound through. At any rate, it was in this twofold understanding of a mask through which a voice sounds that the word persona became a metaphor and was carried from the language of the theatre into legal terminology. The distinction between a private individual in Rome and a Roman citizen was that the latter had a persona, a legal personality, as we would say; it was as though the law had affixed to him the part he was expected to play on the public scene, with the provision, however, that his own voice would be able to sound through. The point was that it is not the natural Ego which enters a court of law. It is a right-and-duty-bearing person, created by the law, which appears before the law. Without his persona, there would be an individual without rights and duties, perhaps a “natural man” – that is, a human being or homo in the original meaning of the word, indicating someone outside the range of the law and the body politic of the citizens, as for instance a slave – but certainly a politically irrelevant being.” (Arendt 1963, 106f) 12. “The child, this in-between to which the lovers are related and which they hold in common, is representative of the world in that it also separates them; it is an indication that they will insert a new world into the existing world. Through the child, it is as though the lovers return to the world from which their love had expelled them. But this new worldliness, the possible result and the only possibly happy ending of a love affair, is, in a sense, the end of love, which must either overcome the partners anew or be transformed into another mode of belonging together.” (Arendt 1998, 242) This passage says much about Arendt’s existentialist approach to love as a descent into the darkness of “world creation,” which results in the ascent of a new creature into the world. However, she rejects a plainly naturalist interpretation of this scheme, by emphasizing that the “world-creating faculty of love is not the same as fertility” (Arendt 1998, 242). One could assume, following Plato, that the creativity of love can hence also develop different forms of world-creation and is not limited to the heterosexual couple conceiving a child. 13. “This unchangeable identity of the person [in German: Diese bleibende Befindlichkeit, welche die Identität der Person ausmacht (VA 242)], though disclosing itself intangibly in act and speech, becomes tangible only in the story of the actor’s and speaker’s life; but as such it can be known, that is, grasped as a palpable entity only after it has come to its end.” (Arendt 1998, 193) It is important to note here that the living person we experience will never be a “palpable entity,” neither in the agonal nor in the narrative model.

190  Sophie Loidolt 14. “The non-privative trait of the household realm originally lay in its being the realm of birth and death which must be hidden from the public realm because it harbors the things hidden from human eyes and impenetrable to human knowledge” (Arendt 1998, 62). 15. Arendt argues that these old non-privative characteristics of privacy are not matched by the modern version of mere “intimacy” as the safe haven from “society.” All private spaces, she claims, have been invaded by society and its conformist demands, if they have not been abolished by totalitarian regimes all together. The new visibility of the private/intimate has also lost its revealing function since it is dominated by a consumerist attitude and the logics of status and commodity. 16. Arendt describes and analyzes this classical notion in On Revolution (Arendt 1963, 107–109). Certainly, there is a direct line to be drawn from the distanced and mediated persona in the space of appearance to her juridical protection, which is again a line that introduces a certain normativity: “It was as though the law had affixed to him the part he was expected to play on the public scene, with the provision, however, that his own voice would be able to sound through” (Arendt 1963, 107). What I try to work out here, is that we start to weave this mask already through certain practices that do not leave us simply “natural” or “naked” as we appear to others in public. 17. To counter a common critique of Arendt, I would like to add that these communities of taste can and must of course deal with matters of life and “the social question” (cf. Loidolt 2018, 242–245). The question over what the world should look like in the face of these urgencies is a highly political question. It forms political opinion without suggesting that there is only “one option” that is dictated to us by “the necessities.” 18. As mentioned in note 10, there is also the descent into worldlessness through love. This is not a depersonalizing matter, but a highly personalizing one. 19. I claim neither completeness nor that the ranking cannot be discussed. This layout should just serve as a sketch for further reflection. 20. This echoes Zahavi’s model in Self and Other (2014). It starts out with (1) the experiential/minimal self (mineness), then moves to (2) the interpersonal/altered self (the shamed self), mediated through basic, prelinguistic empathy, then to (3) the narrative self (language, communication), and, finally, ends with (4) the conceptual self (conceptuality, reflection, having a theory of the self), modified a bit into a more existential and Arendtian approach. Therefore, experiential mineness and exposedness are not separated from one another but appear together in worldly existence. Furthermore, my model leaves out the “conceptual self” which I have not been addressing. I am aware that layer-models in themselves are very Husserlian things. Still, I think it can be useful for understanding how the person is conceived in Arendt, by adding a little more phenomenological and systematic background to it (cf. Loidolt 2018, 209–212).

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“Who One Is” – A Political Issue? 191 Arendt, H. (1973). Origins of Totalitarianism. New edition with added prefaces. New York: Harcourt Brace. Arendt, H. (1977). The Life of the Mind, Volume 1: Thinking. New York: Harcourt Brace. Arendt, H. (1981). Vita Activa oder vom tätigen Leben. Munich: Piper. Arendt, H. (1983a). “The Crisis in Education,” in Between Past and Future: Eight Exercises in Political Thought. New York: Penguin, 173–196. Arendt, H. (1983b). “Truth and Politics,” in Between Past and Future: Eight Exercises in Political Thought. New York: Penguin, 227–264. Arendt, H. (1994a). “Concern with Politics in Recent European Philosophical thought,” in Essays in Understanding 1930–1954. New York: Schocken, 428–447. Arendt, H. (1994b). “What Is Existential Philosophy?” in Kohn, J. (ed. and with an intro.). Essays in Understanding 1930–1954. Transl. by R. Kimber and R. Kimber. New York: Schocken, 163–187. Arendt, H. (1994c). “ ‘What Remains? The Language Remains’: A Conversation with Günter Gaus,” in Kohn, J. (ed. and with an intro.). Essays in Understanding 1930–1954. New York: Schocken, 1–23. Arendt, H. (1998). The Human Condition. Chicago: University of Chicago. Arendt, H. (2005). The Promise of Politics. Ed. and with an introduction by J. Kohn. New York: Schocken. Benhabib, S. (2003). The Reluctant Modernism of Hannah Arendt. New Edition. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield. Davis, Z. and Steinbock, A. (2014). “Max Scheler,” in Zalta, E. N. (ed.). The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2014 Edition) [online]. Available from: http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2014/entries/scheler/. [Accessed 7 March 2019]. Fanon, F. (2008). Black Skin, White Masks. Transl. by R. Philcox. New York: Grove Press. Heidegger, M. (1962). Being and Time. Transl. by J. Macquarrie and E. Robinson. Oxford: Blackwell. Heidegger, M. (1967). Sein und Zeit. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer. Heidegger, M. (2002). Grundbegriffe der Aristotelischen Philosophie. Ed. by M. Michalski. Frankfurt: Klostermann. Heidegger, M. (2009). Basic Concepts of Aristotelian Philosophy. Transl. by R. D. Metcalf and M. B. Tanzer. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Honig, B. (1995). “Toward an Agonistic Feminism: Hannah Arendt and the Politics of Identity,” in Honig, B. (ed.). Feminist Interpretations of Hannah Arendt. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 135–166. Husserl, E. (1952). Ideen zu einer reinen Phänomenologie und phänomenologischen Philosophie. Zweites Buch. Phänomenologische Untersuchungen zur Konstitution. Husserliana IV. Ed. by M. Biemel. The Hague: Nijhoff. Husserl, E. (1973a). Zur Phänomenologie der Intersubjektivität. Texte aus dem Nachlass. Zweiter Teil: 1921–1928. Husserliana XIV. Ed. by I. Kern. The Hague: Nijhoff. Husserl, E. (1973b). Zur Phänomenologie der Intersubjektivität. Texte aus dem Nachlass. Dritter Teil: 1929–1935. Husserliana XV. Ed. by I. Kern. The Hague: Nijhoff. Husserl, E. (2014). Grenzprobleme der Phänomenologie. Analysen des Unbewusstseins und der Instinkte. Metaphysik. Späte Ethik (Texte aus dem Nachlass

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10 Democracy and Terror Toward a Phenomenology of (Dis-)Embodiment1 Jacob Rogozinski

Could phenomenology help us understand political violence? What could it tell us about this phenomenon, which has raged throughout history and now reemerges with a frightening intensity? Could it provide insights not only into the persecutory violence of totalitarian movements such as Fascism and Stalinism but also into the recent rise of terrorist organizations? We are confronted here with what I call apparatuses of terror. Some of them rely on a State, others on clandestine organizations, but this distinction is not essential. In all cases, they are apparatuses of power (dispositifs de pouvoir, in the sense of Foucault), which designate certain targets – social categories, religious or ethnical minorities, or entire societies – that are to be terrorized and/or annihilated. Even if they can capture affects such as indignation, anger, and revenge, these apparatuses are driven by a fundamental affect, which is hate. Can phenomenology help us understand the genesis of hate and the emergence of hate-driven apparatuses? To tackle these questions, I will not – or at least not directly – have recourse to an analysis of social phenomena but instead rely on an approach that I call egoanalysis: a reworking of Husserl’s transcendental egology, enriched by some hypotheses from psychoanalysis (cf. Rogozinski 2010). If we wish to shed light on the phenomenon of political violence, we must try to understand the strange persistence of some schemes and phantasms underlying the strategies of persecution and terror. Where does this fear of infection, contamination, intrusion, dissociation, and mutilation come from? How does this hate against a foreigner from within, whose threatening presence calls for persecutory violence, emerge? Such hate brings into play primordial oppositions between the ego and the others, the inside and the outside, the native and the foreign, which we find in all cultures, all epochs, because they have their origin in our relationship with our singular body -or, more precisely, with our flesh. Of course, these schemas and phantasms, although universal, take on specific forms by fitting into different apparatuses. Husserl has taught us that the original phenomenon, which is revealed when the transcendence of the world is “taken out of play” by the

194  Jacob Rogozinski epoche, is that of immanent life: a life which is always singular, the life of the ego that I am. Always mine, always me, this life is given to each of us as an originally incarnated life, that of an Ichleib, an ego-flesh.2 Indeed, my body – at least my body-object, my body as exposed to the regard of others – belongs to the plane of the world and it should too be taken out of play, “put into brackets.” When I practice epoche, the constituted unity of my body disappears and only my flesh remains, a flesh scattered among countless poles which are the sites of my impressions, of my affects, of my elementary feelings of movement and effort. How could this multiplicity become one body? By a process of embodiment, of self-incorporation, which allows it to unify itself, to circumscribe itself by delimiting its inside and its outside, to constitute itself as one whole composed of differentiated organs. How does this self-incorporation of my flesh occur? It begins on the tactile plane, through the fundamental experience of tactile self-affection, where “my right hand touches my touching left hand,” where the different poles of flesh are touching and thus identify themselves, recognizing the other poles as the flesh of their own flesh. According to Husserl, my flesh thus constitutes itself in two different modes, “at once as flesh and as a corporeal thing”; and this primordial experience gives birth to my living body, enabling me to insert myself in the world, alongside others. In The Visible and the Invisible, Merleau-Ponty calls this “intertwining” (l’entrelacs) or carnal chiasm. We can define it as a synthesis of incarnation. If it did not happen, I would not have a body and I would not be in the world. However, this fundamental event runs into an obstacle: Between the poles of my flesh persists an irreducible hiatus. As Husserl already noted in Ideen II, the flesh “remains in a surprising manner something incompletely constituted.” This implies that the primordial synthesis never succeeds in fully overcoming the initial gap between the poles of flesh. For that reason, Merleau-Ponty affirmed that the coincidence of the touching and the touched “takes place in the untouchable.” This enigmatic element, which prevents my carnal poles from fully identifying with one another, this part of my flesh which I cannot recognize as mine, I call the remainder (le restant). It is the “first foreigner” with whom I am confronted, the “first non-ego,” which is not another me (an alter ego) but an Other in me. The main task of egoanalysis is to describe the genesis of the remainder and the mutations that affect it. Let me attempt to briefly expose them. The body of flesh (Leibkörper) remains unfinished, “incompletely constituted,” because the carnal chiasm collides with the resistance of the remainder. As a result, it constantly faces the risk of dismantling itself and this breach compromises its incorporation, the embodiment of the flesh. The possibility of this disembodiment is not an abstract hypothesis: We can find this haunting threat of breaking apart at the psychical level – in our nightmares and our fantasies, in the hallucinations of some

Democracy and Terror 195 psychoses – and to an even greater extent at the historical level, in crises that shake collective bodies. But it is always possible that the intertwining becomes tied to itself again, so that the fragmented flesh can reunite itself, reincorporate itself. These phases of disembodiment and re-embodiment follow one another in the phantasms of the ego and in ancient myths, as well as on the social and political levels. In my previous research, I undertook the task of describing these crises and the effects they have on the ego and the remainder. When the chiasm is interrupted, when the poles of flesh cease to mutually incarnate one another, the remainder disfigures itself: It reappears within my flesh as an inner foreign body whose apparition provokes anxiety and disgust. The ego endeavors to defend itself against this threatening intrusion by expelling this “foreign” body. This gesture of exclusion can however only fail, as the remainder is not truly foreign to the ego. It belongs to the ego as a part of its own flesh, and the more the ego endeavors to push it out, the more it will come back to haunt it within. This rejection then changes its nature: It is no longer an expulsion, but the ego now aims to destroy that which threatens it. This is where this feeling that we call hate comes in. It is not derived from a “death-drive” but from the efforts of the ego to protect itself against an anxiety-inducing intrusion. At the origin of hate, there is no “hatred” in the banal sense of the term but a primordial illusion. It is this self-delusion that incites the ego to defend itself against an element which appears foreign and hostile to it. Which obviously does not mean that every hostility is necessarily rooted in self-delusion. Would this be enough for this illusion to dissipate, for the ego to recognize the remainder as the flesh of its flesh and reconcile with it? But then how shall I manage to extricate myself from an illusion rooted in the deepest depths of my flesh? Far from being the result of “mimetic rivalry” or of a “fight for recognition,” hate is initially a drive of the ego, a self-affection of immanent life, which manifests itself underneath all human relationships. But it is true that this primordial hate will reappear in our relationships with others. As it comes with intense anxiety, the ego does not tolerate this hate awakening inside it and tries to force it out by projecting it on the remainder, so that hate appears to stem from this foreign element, as if it were an evil entity hating me and trying to destroy me. Blinded by my hate, I do not perceive that this Evil Other is in fact a part of my own flesh, that it does not enter me from the outside because it is me. Hate toward it is nothing but hate toward myself, or rather toward an unknown part of myself. Like other primordial affects, hate reveals an auto-hetero-affection wherein the ego is affected by itself as if it were another. Rooted in self-hate, it is both murderous and suicidal, and finds its ultimate expression in the dark jouissance of killing others by killing oneself (as we can see today with jihadist attacks). It would be a mistake to think that the remainder takes place only in the life of the singular ego; it also affects our collective existence.

196  Jacob Rogozinski My relationship to this immanent otherness is the transcendental matrix of all my experiences of the foreign, of all my relationships with others in the world. Indeed, this foreign element on which I project my primordial affects could be the foreign-in-me, that inner outsider which is the remainder of my flesh; but it may be a foreigner out of me too, another me. The alter ego is first a surface for the projection of my ego, the external pole in which I project my envy and my hate but also my love, so that these feelings henceforth affect me as if they were coming from others. After having discovered the immanent field of the ego and the primordial otherness that haunts it, we are equipped to understand the constitution of the phenomenon of the “other.” It is important to avoid a frequent misunderstanding about Husserl’s “Cartesian way to reduction.” Although it starts from the position of an absolute ego, this way does not consist in “encapsulating” the ego by enclosing it in solipsism (as Heidegger argued) but, on the contrary, in overcoming solipsism by showing how the ego constitutes the phenomenon of the alter ego, so that it could insert itself into an intersubjective community that has always already preceded it. As Husserl showed in his fifth Cartesian Meditation, I constitute the other as an “other myself” through an “analogical transference” (Übertragung) where I project on his/her body the experience that I have of my own flesh. It is possible to complement this Husserlian analysis: Indeed this transference of my carnation to the other’s body arguably repeats the original synthesis of my flesh in the chiasm on that plane. Also worth noting is that this primordial transference is interlaced with a counter-transference, which goes in the opposite direction, from the body of the other toward mine. Without our perception of the bodies of others, established in early childhood, our body will stay “incompletely constituted.” It is my identification to the other and to his/ her body which allows my flesh to take form in the world: By the same movement in which I give flesh to the body of the other, this body takes part in the embodiment of my flesh. What happens when this double movement is interrupted? If the transference of my flesh fails, the body of the other ceases to be flesh, it disincarnates itself, henceforth appearing to me as an object of disgust and hate. Because of counter-transference, this disfiguration rebounds on my own body: It interrupts my incorporation, breaks the shape of my body. It thus provokes intense anxiety, which turns to hate as I imagine that it is the aggression and the intrusion of the other that destabilizes my incorporation. A fundamental character of this object of hate deserves further analysis: its proximity, its uncanny familiarity. The other is at first my alter ego, the one who looks like me, with whom I can identify. One would be wrong to think that the other who becomes the object of my hate is the most distant and dissimilar foreigner. On the contrary, he is very often the almost-same: My fellow, my friend, my neighbor, my brother, an Other who almost perfectly resembles me, until a “small

Democracy and Terror 197 difference” – the trace of the remainder – thwarts our identification. The object of hate is the object of a positive identification that had already begun and has been interrupted. It is precisely for that reason that the discovery of a dissemblance between our two bodies may be apprehended in a traumatic way. This is attested for example at the psychical level, by the anguishing discovery of sexual difference by the little boy: that of the mother’s lack of a penis, to which Freud traced back the roots of the phantasm of castration and of negative attitudes toward women. We have seen that my hate toward others always finds its source in a hate toward myself, toward an internal outsider that I recognize with horror in the other. If someone proclaims his disgust and his hate of women or of homosexuals, we may wonder whether he might detest in them his own femininity, which he refuses in himself; Hitler, as we know, feared being of Jewish origin. While I may have appeared to stray quite far from my initial focus on the question of political violence and terror, this analysis has in fact already brought us closer to this issue. As intersubjective communities are grounded in transferences and counter-transferences between the ego and the others, we can affirm that there is an affinity between the immanent life of the ego and the existence of social and political communities. The initial relation between the ego and the remainder prefigures our relationships with others: It reappears in the collective existence, awakening the same affects, the same phantasms of intrusion and dissociation there. Nevertheless, what is at stake is no longer an internal outsider, a part of myself but real others which become the targets of hateful rejection and violence. This helps us understand a surprising phenomenon. Most human societies represent themselves in the form of a collective body whose limbs are the individuals. It is the organic unity of the body and the subordination of the “inferior” members that, in Plato, works as model for the ideal City; already with Saint Paul, the Church defined itself as a body with Christ as its head; this representation was transferred in the Middle Age to the Corpus Mysticum Reipublicae, the Great Body of the State headed by the king. This representation had a decisive function not only in Western societies but also in the classical culture of India and in other civilizations. How can we explain that? Just as the original synthesis of incarnation in the chiasm is repeated when I transfer my flesh to the other’s body, the synthesis of incorporation, which constitutes my body, is similarly repeated at the intersubjective level by uniting all the singular bodies within a unique Total Body. This embodiment is obviously an alienation: It is their own power, their living flesh that the individuals project upon the Great Body by a transfer in which La Boétie locates the root of our voluntary servitude: „Where has he acquired enough eyes to spy upon you, if you do not provide them yourselves? How can he have so many arms to beat you

198  Jacob Rogozinski with, if he does not borrow them from you? The feet that trample down your cities, where does he get them if they are not your own? How does he have any power over you except through you?“ (De La Boétie 1975). If our analysis is right, we should rediscover the same phenomena of embodiment and disembodiment that arise in the life of the ego on the plane of community. Is this really the case, for instance, in Western history? In a certain sense, all communities, from the ancient Polis to our modern States, are haunted by the anxiety of disembodiment, of a disintegration that would make them sink into chaos. However, they have most of the time succeeded, by various means, in staving off this threat. Is this still the case in contemporary societies? Perhaps the perspective of a disembodied society is not an abstract notion. As Claude Lefort has argued, a movement of disincorporation of the social has already been at work in modern times, at least since the French Revolution. When the head of the King falls under the guillotine, the Corpus mysticum of the kingdom, figured by the visible body of the monarch, comes apart. Let us call this tendency to disembody the social and the political democracy. Understood in this sense, democracy coincides with no particular regime, no instituted political form. It is a historical dynamic, which also carries a promise – the utopia of a non-alienated community – and a threat: that of terror, which seems inseparable from it. Why this assertion? In Ancien Regime societies, each individual was assigned their own stable place and definite identity, because they lived as a member of the collective body. They thus had an affiliation, enabling them to live in a community where, while recognizing the others, they were recognized by them. Through the process of disembodiment, the individuals gain freedom, but at the same time they lose the assurance of a stable identity. This resulted in the emergence of the modern Western individual without attachments or landmarks, who no longer succeeds in being recognized by others and experiences anxiety due to this nonrecognition. The dynamic of democracy has the same effects everywhere: It heightens the struggle for freedom and equality; and, at the same time, it creates a crisis of identifications, beliefs, and modes of recognition. This crisis and the anxiety it triggers are largely responsible for the most striking phenomenon of the past century: the rise of a counter-­ tendency that resists disembodiment and attempts to restore the unity of the Great Body. It may be called totalitarianism. Whether Fascist or Stalinist, it strives to reincorporate, to re-embody society, by making it merge with a Total State. Totalitarian movements, which are the most extreme negation of modern democracy, present themselves as responses to the crisis generated by the dynamic of democracy. Totalitarianism reacts against disembodiment by creating fusional communities in the name of the mythical identity of a People or a so-called “Race.” It responds to non-recognition with vertical recognition based on identification with the Guide. It resists disenchantment by imposing a secular religion in which

Democracy and Terror 199 the Leader occupies the place of God. The cults of Hitler or Stalin and the Terror that comes with them are ultimately atrocious ways of reenchanting the world. However, it is not only by identifying itself with its Guide that the totalitarian mass unites itself but also by converging in hate toward an enemy. Freud saw this. In his essay on mass psychology, he observes that the positive identification with the Leader is not the only possible one: The leader (Führer) or the leading idea might also, so to speak, be negative; hatred against a particular person or institution might operate in just the same unifying way, and might call up the same kind of emotional ties as positive attachment. (Freud 1940, 99) Hate is thus the cement of totalitarian movements, and this allows us to define them as machineries of terror. By turning to egoanalysis, we can supplement Freud’s hypothesis. We have indeed seen how our objects of hate are constituted: Our hate toward other men is rooted in a primordial hate toward the First Foreigner in us, which is the remainder of our flesh. In the “enemy of the People” (or of the “Race”), which is the target of totalitarian movements, we find all the traits that characterize the disfigured remainder: the projection-of-hate which leads one to believe that the enemy is a threat for the very existence of the people; the agonizing phantasms of contamination, intrusion, and fragmentation of the People’s Body; and that uncanny proximity in which the foreign enemy reappears in the very heart of the people. Egoanalysis also helps us to understand that hate is based on an illusion: Those who are driven by it do not see that the threatening foreigner whom they dread is in truth the flesh of their flesh. They do not understand that “every extermination is nothing else than self-extermination.” Those who are victims of persecutory hate are thus the victims of a fundamental illusion, which means that the fight against terror and hate is also a fight for the truth. A difficult question arises here: Does this fusional identification based on hate only characterize modern totalitarianism? Perhaps totalitarian movements have only exacerbated some tendencies that are found in every human community. As soon as a community configures itself as a body, it must reject a part of itself, a social, sexual, “racial,” or religious minority: a detached fragment of its own flesh, which it no longer recognizes as its own. We may call this excluded part the remainder of the community. From the ritual murder of the pharmakos in ancient Greek cities to the confining of fools in early Modern Times, from the stakes where heretics and alleged “witches” were burnt, to the State Terror camps of the twentieth century, the political Body always founds itself on the rejection of a remainder. Admittedly, however, the concrete forms of this rejection profoundly change according to the different epochs and types

200  Jacob Rogozinski of society. Some of them exclude castes of “unclean” pariahs by keeping them free, but apart, without persecuting them. Others undertake to keep certain minorities confined, as Western societies have done since the Middle Ages for the lepers and the Jews, then for the fools, although they have slaughtered some others, like heretics, homosexuals, or socalled “witches.” There is therefore a distinction to be made between these classical forms of the political Body and contemporary totalitarian movements like Nazism, which was grounded on hate. Indeed, totalitarianism is a counter-tendency that presupposes the dynamic of democracy to which it is opposed: It desperately strives to rebuild a Total Body in a society driven by an irreversible disincorporation. The anxiety generated by this disembodiment and the phantasms it provokes are so intense that they can explain the intensity of the persecutory hate that underlies totalitarian terror. This raises a new set of questions. Can we say that the current rise of Jihadist terrorism is the expression of a new form of totalitarianism, of “Islamo-fascism,” as is sometimes claimed? Or are we dealing with something else, with the emergence of new machineries of terror, different from those which bloodied the twentieth century? Even if the relationship of Jihadist movements to religion, politics, and modernity is very different, are they not also a consequence of the dynamic of democracy, of the disembodiment of collective bodies? If this disembodiment is irreversible, how could we succeed in countering these machineries? Must we say that Terror is therefore the “unsurpassable horizon” of modern democracy: the threat which, by its very dynamic, it necessarily arouses and which it has to resist? What should be the answer to the anxiety and phantasms generated by disembodiment? What could be a radically disembodied community? A fully disincorporated one, open to the Outside, to all the faces of the Foreigner but consistent enough to subdue the fear of intrusion and dislocation? These questions have so far remained unanswered.

Notes 1. The translation of this chapter received support from the Maison Interuniversitaire des Sciences de l’Homme d’Alsace (MISHA) and the Excellence Initiative of the University of Strasbourg. 2. I argue that Leib should be translated by flesh (in French: la chair), instead of proper body or lived body, as is usually done – precisely because the Husserlian Leib is not a kind of body, but a quite different phenomenon.

Bibliography De La Boétie, É. (1975). The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude. Transl. by H. Kurz. Auburn: The Mises Institute.

Democracy and Terror 201 Freud, S. (1940). “Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego (1921),” in Strachey, J. (ed. and transl.). The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Vol. XVIII. London: The Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psychoanalysis, 65–144. Rogozinski, J. (2010). The Ego and the Flesh. Transl. by R. Vallier. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

11 The Power of Public Assemblies Democratic Politics Following Butler and Arendt Gerhard Thonhauser

Public assemblies play a major role in current politics. While uprisings like the Arab Spring, the Occupy movement, and the Gezi Park protests generated hope on the left, this moment has since passed, overshadowed by the recent emergence of right-wing political movements in many countries. In both developments, strategies of public assembly have played a crucial role. To get a better grasp of these developments, this chapter discusses Hannah Arendt’s theory of plural action in the public sphere and Judith Butler’s performative theory of assembly as resources for addressing the ontology and ethics of public assemblies. In terms of ontology, the focus is on the conditions under which public assemblies enact their power. In terms of ethics, this chapter will discuss possible criteria for a normative evaluation of public assemblies. While Arendt and Butler provide important conceptual tools for understanding public assemblies, the ontology and ethics of public assemblies turn out to be more complicated than they anticipated. First, whereas Arendt, and to a lesser extend also Butler, focused on assemblies that are constituted by bodily co-presence, processes of digitalization have raised new questions about the constitution of public spheres beyond a strict dichotomy of physical and mediatized spaces. We therefore need new conceptual tools for understanding the ontology of assemblies in hybrid public spaces. Second, current political polarization suggests that strategies of public assembly, far from following an intrinsic normative trajectory, are ethically neutral tools that can be deployed for various political purposes, complicating the normative evaluating of assemblies. The chapter is divided into six parts. The first two parts offer preliminary discussions of Butler’s concept of plural performativity and Arendt’s concept of plural action. The third part is concerned with Butler’s appropriation of Arendt’s thought, which leads the way to an attempt at conceptualizing the power of public assemblies in part four. Whereas the first four parts focus on a reconstruction of Butler and Arendt’s thought in order to sharpen the conceptual tools they have to offer, the last two parts evolve around two crucial issues not adequately addressed by their works. Part five raises the issue of public assemblies in the age of

The Power of Public Assemblies 203 digitalization, while part six discusses possible criteria for a normative evaluation of public assemblies.

Butler’s Performative Theory of Public Assemblies In a number of recent essays collected in the volume Notes Towards a Performative Theory of Assembly (cf. Butler 2015), Judith Butler develops her understanding of performativity into a proposal for thinking about public assemblies in a new way. The gist of her proposal is to conceptualize assemblies in terms of bodily and plural performativity. The added emphases on the body and plurality transform the understanding of performativity in two regards. First, Butler’s original account of performativity, as it was introduced in the 1990s (cf. Butler 1990, 1993, 1997a, 1997b), was often read as being exclusively concerned with linguistic or discursive practices. In this way, it could be seen as in line with how the term performativity was introduced in Austin’s (1975) speechact theory. For Austin, performativity refers to the capacity of speech to perform an action; an utterance is performative if it does what it says. By thinking about performativity in terms of bodily enactments, Butler moves beyond an exclusive focus on discourse. This does not require her to abandon the dimension of speech, as performative enactments sometimes take the form of discursive expressions. The thrust of her argument, however, is that the performativity sometimes lies already in the act of being bodily present in a certain space, without anything being said or otherwise linguistically expressed. Second, whereas Butler’s previous reflections on performativity focused on how individuals act within normative frames – frames she understood as at once enabling and regulating the realm of possible actions – the new focus on plurality expands the scope of performativity to the question of how individuals can come to act together. Butler proposes a performative theory of assembly in a strong sense, according to which an assembly performatively constitutes itself in and through acting together. Thus, her suggestion is to investigate the self-constitution, self-determination, and self-authorization of assemblies. In her performative theory of assembly, Butler argues against approaches, which hold that for an assembly to emerge it must refer back to some previously established social formation with a collective identity. According to such approaches, individuals must already identify themselves in advance with the group or category that the assembly comes to represent (e.g., members of the Green Party, heterosexuals, Christians, or white-collar workers). Butler voices an ontological and a normative challenge against such approaches. On an ontological plain, she argues that an exclusive focus on group-identification and group-membership often misses the crucial social dynamics of public assemblies. Her assumption is that assemblies can be constituted and sustained in light of more

204  Gerhard Thonhauser heterogeneity and dissonance than theories focused on identity and identification usually acknowledge. In terms of a normative or perhaps strategic argument, Butler suggests that focusing on identity is a bad strategy for progressive political movements. She considers it more promising to support coalitions that actively incorporate their internal antagonisms, thereby showing that cooperation and acting together are also possible where people disagree or are in conflict with each other. With her emphasis on public assemblies, Butler emphasizes a bodily and plural enactment of freedom, which presupposes neither a collective identity nor a conformist understanding of what it means to act together. She takes many public assemblies to display forms of plural action that are characterized by large degrees of heterogeneity and internal deviation. More importantly, many assemblies do not presuppose a pre-established collective subject. By contrast, assemblies are often the place in which a “we” is performatively constituted in bodily and plural practices. Butler’s understanding of bodily and plural performativity draws on three main sources. First, it is an expansion of her notion of performativity as it was developed in her earlier work. It has always been crucial for Butler’s understanding of performativity that it does not imply that individuals are free to do whatever they want. A performative theory of gender, for instance, does not mean that an individual can freely choose to be a woman one day and a man the next. Her notion of performativity is meant instead to emphasize the normative frames into which any such enactment is embedded. A performative theory of gender, for instance, requires one to investigate the gender norms constituting and limiting the realm of possible gender enactments. Similarly, a performative theory of assembly directs our attention to the normative frames, which govern who is able to assemble, as well as when and how. The appearance of an assembly in public space refers back to the norms constituting what it means to appear in public and regulating who is allowed to publicly appear. We will see later that the political force of assemblies often lies precisely in their challenge of the norms regulating the appearance in public space. Second, Butler’s understanding of bodily and plural performativity is informed by the relational ontology of the body, which was one of Butler’s main concerns in the 2000s (cf. Butler 2004, 2009). According to such a relational ontology, bodies are constitutively relational insofar as they are dependent upon networks of support for their development and preservation. Butler understands these networks both in terms of social interdependence and in terms of infrastructural and technological conditions. With her performative theory of assembly, Butler builds on such a relational ontology of the body but shifts her focus to the possible power of bodily presence in public spaces. She wants to explore how bodies assembled in public space can “form networks of resistance together” (Butler 2015, 184) by making manifest their interdependency

The Power of Public Assemblies 205 and challenging the conditions for navigating in public spaces. She is particularly interested in cases where the public appearance of a plurality of certain bodies is itself the main political claim. This is, for example, the case when the assembly is constituted by individuals who do not have the required status to appear in the particular public sphere; for instance, because they do not have legal residence in the respective polity. In other cases, it is the possibility to assemble in public itself that becomes the main political claim. This might be the case, for instance, because the responsible polity restricts the right of free assembly or because infrastructural conditions hamper the possibility of public appearance. One can think about scenarios with a general curfew or scenarios in which there is no public space left because the entire land is private property. Third, Butler’s notions of plurality and of the public are inspired by Hannah Arendt. Not only that but Butler’s understanding of the selfconstituting, self-determining, and self-authorizing power of public assemblies appears to be crucially informed by Arendt’s notion of power, which she sees as emerging when a plurality of individuals comes to act together. Hence, Butler’s performative theory of assembly can only be understood against the background of Arendt’s groundbreaking work. The following section will discuss how plurality, power, and the public are connected in Arendt’s work.

Arendt’s Notion of Plural Action in the Public Sphere Arendt thinks about the connection of plurality, power, and the public through the concept of appearance. As she states in the first chapter of The Life of the Mind, she takes being and appearance to be the same (cf. Arendt 1978, 19–65). She defends the same thesis in The Human Condition, where she considers appearance as constitutive of reality: “For us, appearance – something that is being seen and heard by others as well as by ourselves – constitutes reality” (Arendt 1958, 50). In the following, I will trace this link between reality and appearance and discuss how it relates to power and plurality. With her understanding of appearance, Arendt builds on a phenomenological notion of world according to which a world is a holistic horizon within which all entities, including human beings, can appear as meaningful. However, she gives the phenomenological notion of world a particular twist, a twist pointing toward the political, by connecting the notion of world with the notion of the public. In a first step, she does so by identifying world and appearance. Something is part of the world if it crosses the threshold of appearance. Appearance, however, does not only mean appearing to me but implies appearing to all. As a consequence, the world is intrinsically a common world. Something being a part of the world is constituted by its appearing to all, by its being public. This claim is condensed in the title of §7 of The Human Condition: “The Public

206  Gerhard Thonhauser Realm: The Common.” In short, it is its public character that guarantees the reality of the world and everything that appears in it: “To men the reality of the world is guaranteed by the presence of others, by its appearing to all” (Arendt 1958, 199). But this is only the first step toward Arendt’s political notion of world. In a second step, Arendt claims that public appearance is not a given, a kind of anthropological fact that can be deduced from human nature. On the contrary, public appearance is a potentiality, something that needs to be actualized in order to come into being. This can be seen in Arendt’s claim in The Human Condition that the space of appearance is constituted by human speech and action: “The space of appearance comes into being wherever men are together in the manner of speech and action, and therefore predates and precedes all formal constitution of the public realm and the various forms of government, that is, the various forms in which the public realm can be organized” (Arendt 1958, 199). In other words, a space of appearance becomes actualized whenever individuals are acting together and speaking with each other. A space of appearance is a transient phenomenon, as “it does not survive the actuality of the movement which brought it into being, but disappears not only with the dispersal of men . . . but with the disappearance or arrest of the activities themselves. Wherever people gather together, it is potentially there, but only potentially, not necessarily and not forever” (Arendt 1958, 199). Against this background, we can see the quasi-transcendental role that Arendt reserves for plural action: Since a space of appearance is constituted if and only if individuals are acting together, Arendt considers plural action as the site of the foundation of a world. Such a foundation opens up a public sphere in which entities can appear. However, since plural action takes place only in its concrete actualization, this foundation is necessarily a contingent one. The opening of a public sphere can only take place when a plurality of individuals is acting and speaking together; it dissolves when speech and action disappear. Thus, we see the interconnectedness between Arendt’s notions of world, space of appearance, and public sphere, and how she thinks of them as potentialities. They are possibilities that need to be actualized. The opening of a public sphere that enables entities to appear – in other words, to become part of the common world – is the power of plural action, and such an opening only happens when a plurality of individuals comes together and acts with each other. Having discussed the constitution of a world in plural action, we are in a position to address Arendt’s notion of plurality. As Sophie Loidolt has recently shown, “plurality is not something that simply is, but essentially something we have to take up and do. Therefore, it manifests itself only as an actualization of plurality in a space of appearances” (Loidolt 2017, 2). Thus, we primarily need to think of plurality in a verbal sense, as an activity or enactment (cf. Loidolt 2017, 51). Plurality – understood

The Power of Public Assemblies 207 as a “we” that is composed of the “paradoxical plurality of unique beings” (Arendt 1958, 176) – needs to be actualized by speech and action in a space of appearance. Thus, plurality is not an ontological given but emerges only in and through plural action. This is related to Arendt’s understanding of power, which she sees as emerging whenever individuals act together in a space of appearance. According to Arendt, power is not something one individual can exercise over another but a potentiality that can become actualized only when individuals are acting together. Power never resides within an individual but always within an interaction; it is an exclusive possibility of plural action. Finally, we can see how this matches a performative understanding of plural action. According to Arendt’s notion of action, an isolated individual cannot act. For Arendt, action is intrinsically linked with the appearance before others. It requires a space of appearance in which human beings can appear for each other. In other words, action is necessarily public. As Arendt puts it in The Human Condition: “In acting and speaking, men show who they are, reveal actively their unique personal identities and thus make their appearance in the human world” (Arendt 1958, 179). In the German version of the text, Arendt uses the metaphor of the stage. Human beings, she states explicitly, “appear on the stage of the world” (“treten gleichsam auf die Bühne der Welt“) (Arendt 1960, 219). This shows surprising similarities to Goffman’s (1959) The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, which appeared at the same time and whose German translation was published with the title Wir alle spielen Theater (“We all play theatre”) (cf. Goffman 1969). Goffman shares Arendt’s idea that appearance is constitutive of reality, including the reality of the self. In acting and speaking we show who we are, in front of others, on the figurative public stage.

Butler’s Appropriation of Arendt Butler often focuses on those aspects of Arendt’s work that she sees in a critical light, which makes it appear as if their accounts were rather far apart from each other. However, behind this curtain of critique, the similarities between Butler and Arendt’s accounts outbalance the differences, and Butler’s critique often seems excessive in light of more progressive readings of Arendt. Against the background of Arendt’s notion of action, we can further advance a performative understanding of plural action. Butler asserts that plural action does not require a coherent collective with a single demand. Rather, it allows for internal differentiations; in other words, a plurality of diverse participants and a multiplicity of demands can be accommodated within plural action. Alluding to Arendt’s terminology in The Human Condition, Butler suggests an understanding of plural action as “acting in concert” and not as “acting in conformity.” Plural

208  Gerhard Thonhauser action, in this sense, is distinct from collective action. It does not require participants to join one token of action but rather focuses on how they might join forces despite the diversity of their interests and aims. This shows Butler’s appropriation of an Arendtian notion of power, according to which power emerges in virtue of a plurality of individuals coming together to act and speak with each other. As a consequence, power is not a precondition for plural action. On the contrary, power originates from plural action. As Butler puts it, “it is not a question of first having power and then being able to act; sometimes it is a question of acting, and in acting, laying claim to the power one requires. This is performativity as I understand it” (Butler 2015, 58). With regard to an appropriation of Arendt’s reflections on the public sphere, Butler advances a double strategy of adoption and critique. She does so by utilizing an ambiguity in the use of the term public sphere. In the very general sense that Arendt aimed at, public sphere means a space of appearance, which emerges whenever a plurality of individuals comes together to act and speak with each other, however such a space may concretely be shaped. In a narrower sense, public sphere refers to a public space, that is a concrete, material location where people can come together, like a town hall or a public square. (To avoid the ambiguity, I use public space whenever I refer to a public sphere in this second sense.) Arendt is focused on the public sphere in the sense of a space of appearance and claims that a space of appearance emerges whenever individuals act and speak with each other – and she sees this as the only precondition for a space of appearance to be possible. Butler, on the other hand, raises the question about the possibility of public assembly under aggravated conditions, for example, in regimes where freedom of assembly is not guaranteed, in cities where public space is limited, or when a public space is architectonically shaped in such a way that it hampers certain individuals from participating, such as when a location is not wheelchair-accessible. With these considerations, Butler emphasizes that infrastructural and technological conditions are crucial for the possibility of assembly in public spaces, and she criticizes Arendt for neglecting those concrete conditions of possibility of public assembly in favor of general reflections on the nature of a space of appearance. More generally, Butler claims that assemblies always require a location – a location that is necessarily material in some sense. This is also true in the case of mediatized spaces, since they also require some form of technological basis and maintenance, something that is often only noticed ex negativo when the technological conditions are lacking, for instance because a regime is censoring or blocking the internet. Butler worries that if we follow Arendt’s focus on the public sphere solely in terms of a space of appearance, we are led to ignore that political conflicts are often precisely about the various conditions that enable or disable assemblies in public space.

The Power of Public Assemblies 209

The Power of Public Assemblies Having outlined the general frameworks of Butler and Arendt’s remarks on plural performativity and plural action, we can now discuss how the power of public assemblies can be conceived based on their works. The slim volume Who Sings the Nation-State, which contains a conversation between Butler and Gayatri Spivak, offers an apt illustration for this discussion. Butler and Spivak discuss demonstrations of illegal residents that broke out in California in 2006 (cf. Butler and Spivak 2007, 58). In particular, they are intrigued that the protesters sang the U.S. national anthem in Spanish and aim to understand what kind of action this singing was. In this text from 2007, Butler discusses this singing in terms of a performative contradiction. The anthem was sung in a language in which it is not supposed to be sung, at least according to then U.S. president George W. Bush (cf. Holusha 2006). Moreover, it was sung by individuals who were not considered entitled to sing it and who were not legally even allowed to reside in the area where the singing took place. Butler refers to Arendt’s essay “The Decline of the Nation-State and the End of the Rights of Man” from The Origins of Totalitarianism, where Arendt introduces the famous dictum about “the right to have rights” (Arendt 1973, 296). The “right to have rights” amounts to the demand to “live in a framework where one is judged by one’s actions and opinions” (Arendt 1973, 296f.). Being judged by one’s actions and opinions means to be considered a legitimate part of a common world. According to Arendt, participation in a common world is precisely what stateless persons are deprived of. Such individuals can still utter sentences and pursue activities, but what they do and say is not considered relevant speech and action within a common world. Thus, what they do and say does not have power. It is excluded from appearing as meaningful within a given space of appearance. It is important to note, however, that neither stateless persons nor illegal immigrants exist beyond all legal structures. Rather, being a stateless person or being an illegal immigrant are legal statuses that make one particularly exposed to the authority of the state. What Arendt wants to emphasize is that while these individuals are subject to state authority, and while they might also participate in economic and social life, they are excluded from participation in the public sphere. In other words, they are banned from appearing as political subjects, as persons whose actions and opinions matter. Coming back to the illegal residents in California, it can be noted that singing the U.S. anthem in Spanish is not an isolated act without context. If this were the case, this singing of the anthem would not be comprehensible for what it is. By contrast, the illegal residents drew on a long-standing tradition of singing The Star-Spangled Banner, which is also codified in a

210  Gerhard Thonhauser few written rules and a much larger set of unwritten norms. If there were no established practice of singing the anthem, expressing norms of who is supposed to sing it when and how, then this particular singing in California could not have been identified as an inappropriate act of singing the anthem. It was inappropriate in the sense of being sung by the wrong individuals (individuals who are not citizens of that nation), in the wrong location (those individuals were not allowed to reside in that polity), and in a wrong way (the U.S. anthem is supposed to be sung in English). Nevertheless, what the protesters did was identifiable as an act of singing the U.S. national anthem. The performative contradiction arises from the gap of legitimization: The singing was an action that had no basis of legitimacy within the established norms. Rather, its performance issued a claim of legitimacy against the established practice. In this sense, it can be understood as a demand for “the right to have rights,” a right that is “guaranteed by no law but belongs to the nature of equality which turns out to be not nature but a social condition” (Butler and Spivak 2007, 65). What the illegal residents demanded was for their words to be heard and for their actions to matter. In other words, they demanded to be part of the political community of the polity in which they reside. In terms of a performative theory of assembly, these demonstrations can be understood as both the foundational act of a group and the challenge of the prevalent shape of the space of appearance. The illegal immigrants had no established right to appear within the particular space of appearance. It was their assembly itself, by that fact of its very existence, that first expressed the demand for such a right. As Butler suggests, this is a case where “the assembly is already speaking before it utters any words” (Butler 2015, 156). In this case, assembling in public space already is the main claim. What the assembly primarily expresses is its own existence, and in so doing it demands that this existence becomes a part of reality, that it appears as meaningful and relevant. Against this background, it is possible to explicate what is meant by the self-constituting, self-determining, and self-authorizing power of public assemblies. In the act of gathering, a plurality constitutes itself as an assembly. By occupying a particular public space in a specific fashion, the assembly determines its own make-up. Finally, since the assembly has no basis within the established order, it authorizes itself in the very act of gathering. This power of assembly is particularly visible in cases like the illegal residents in California, when the assembly is constituted by individuals who do not have an established right to appear in public space. In such a case, it is obvious that the assembly does not only lay a foundation for its own existence but also challenges the established organization of a space of appearance. Relating to this matter, the chapter “ ‘We the People’ – Thoughts on Freedom of Assembly” from Notes Towards a Performative Theory of Assembly is particularly illuminating in showing that this is not only

The Power of Public Assemblies 211 what happens in such particular instances like the demonstrations in California. Rather, it is a general feature of assemblies that concerns the relation of an assembly to the polity in which it occurs. In this text, Butler discusses what it means when an assembly claims to speak in the name of the people. Butler’s main point is that when a public assembly claims the power of popular sovereignty – “We are the people” – this does not presuppose or imply that the assembly represents the entire people. On the contrary, the crucial point is that no enactment of “the people” can fully represent the people. The term “the people,” Butler states, “can never adequately represent a collectivity that is in the process of being made or making itself – both its inadequacy and its self-division are part of its enacted meaning and promise” (Butler 2015, 169). A public assembly claiming to speak in the name of the people performs an act of self-determination and self-authorization, which is different from an act of self-representation. It is precisely on the basis of an insurmountable representational gap that such self-determination is both possible and necessary. Every representation of the people leaves a gap that points to “the people” being an “essentially contested concept” (Gallie 1955) that can only be invoked in a presumptuous act of self-determination and self-authorization. In other words, since a people can never fully or adequately represent itself, it can only appear in a plural action that selfauthorizes itself to represent the people. With these considerations, Butler’s thought is in the vicinity of Claude Lefort’s groundbreaking considerations about the postfoundational foundations of society after the democratic revolution (cf. Marchart 2007). The democratic revolution is defined by the experience that there is no representation of a centre and of the contours of society: unity cannot now efface social division. Democracy inaugurates the experience of an ungraspable, uncontrollable society in which the people will be said to be sovereign, of course, but whose identity will constantly be open to question, whose identity will remain latent. (Lefort 1986, 303f.) Because it is only possible to represent society in particular entities claiming to perform this representation, there will always be conflicting claims of representation, and society can never rest in itself. Lefort condensed this representational gap into his famous dictum that power is an “empty place.” The dominant position in society can only be temporally occupied by a particular group or person and will always be open for contestation: “There is no law that can be fixed, whose articles cannot be contested, whose foundations are not susceptible of being called into question” (Lefort 1986, 303). Butler sees the main power of public assemblies in the contestation of an established order of society. An assembly claiming to speak in the name

212  Gerhard Thonhauser of the people draws attention to the possibility of a different organization of society. It points toward different images of society beyond its currently dominant representation. Similarly, a public assembly of individuals not currently represented or representable in a space of ­appearance – like the demonstration of illegal residents in California – is not reducible to a demand for inclusion (the demand that one’s actions are visible and one’s speech is heard). Rather, it is at once also a demand for a different shape of the public sphere. Precisely because such an assembly is not legitimized by the dominant representation of society, it has the potential of unfolding a critical power in virtue of its self-constitution, self-determination, and self-authorization.

Public Assemblies in the Age of Digitalization So far, this chapter has focused on a reconstruction of Butler and Arendt’s conception of plural action in order to conceptualize the power of public assemblies. Now, it is time to draw attention to two issues arising around public assemblies, which are not sufficiently addressed in Butler and Arendt’s work. First, Butler, and even more so Arendt, focus on assemblies that are constituted by bodily co-presence. Yet, recent processes of digitalization raise new questions about the constitution and efficacy of public assemblies beyond physical gatherings in public space. Second, Butler and Arendt’s works are built around an implicit valuation of public assemblies – they see it as something intrinsically valuable when people assemble. Current political polarization suggests, however, that strategies of public assembly, far from following an intrinsic normative trajectory, are ethically neutral tools that can be deployed for various political purposes. I will begin with the issue of digitalization before addressing the ethical evaluation of pubic assemblies in the following section. The main aim in these sections is not to offer finished solutions but rather to first raise these issues in order to point toward the need for further conceptual and normative work. Butler and Arendt implicitly build on the distinction of direct and indirect gatherings. Jean-Paul Sartre discussed these types of gatherings in his Critique of Dialectical Reason by example of the paradigmatic gatherings of the twentieth century (cf. Sartre 2004, 270ff.). He sees indirect gatherings as paradigmatically exemplified in the audiences of mass media, in particular radio and television. First radio and then television managed to gather large parts of the population in front of their receiving units. As primary sources of information, they were a major space of appearance. It is hardly exaggerated to say that what counted as real was decisively influenced by what appeared on television. Moreover, as radio and television were in most countries dominated by national service broadcasters, they were main sources for constituting and stabilizing a national public sphere. With regard to understanding the type of gathering that

The Power of Public Assemblies 213 broadcasting creates, it is crucial to note that radio and television sets were pure receivers without any transmitting function. It is easy to see the consequences of these technological conditions for the corresponding gathering. While radio and television were able to assemble many individuals in front of their receivers, these individuals were addressed in isolation from each other. Lacking an immediate way of responding to the transmission, they could not perceive one another. Consequently, members of such a gathering were not in the position to speak or act with each other. In this sense, we can follow Sartre in speaking of an indirect gathering – a gathering which has no direct means to coordinate and instantiate plural action. Plural action is only possible in direct gatherings. Traditionally, direct gatherings required physical co-presence of the participants. Public assemblies were the paradigmatic cases of direct gatherings, as they brought a plurality of individuals into close proximity, which allowed them to coordinate their action. However, as new types of media and new means of communication have arisen, it has become less clear whether a clear distinction between direct and indirect gatherings can be maintained. New media do not confine users to the role of passive recipients but enable them to also transmit their opinion. Moreover, they allow for large-scale interaction without physical co-presence. In short, what is discussed as digitalization challenges the boundaries between direct and indirect gatherings and calls for a rethinking of the intersections of physical and mediatized co-presence. Arendt, writing in the 1950s and 1960s, could not have anticipated these technological developments. For us, who are able to read her work from a historical perspective, it is important to ponder how much her thought was shaped by being conceived in the heyday of mass media. Arendt is convinced that power can only emerge when individuals are in close physical proximity, since only such proximity enables them to truly speak to each other and act with each other: “Only where men live so close together that the potentialities of action are always present can power remain with them” (Arendt 1958, 201). Audiences of mass media, by contrast, were isolated from each other and could not, therefore, obtain power. We can thus see that in agreement with Sartre’s reflections in Critique of Dialectical Reason, a book not coincidentally also written in the late 1950s, the concept of plural action in Arendt’s The Human Condition is based on the idea that only physical co-presence facilitates mutual appearance and enables individuals to act together. Unlike Arendt, Butler has witnessed the role social media played in a number of recent uprisings. She is thus aware that individuals do not need to be at the same physical location to be able to collaborate in speech and action. New types of media and new means of communication have expanded the space of appearance beyond the constraints of physical co-presence. This leads to a situation in which bodily assemblies

214  Gerhard Thonhauser in public spaces are often not only accompanied but also preceded and evoked by “assemblies” in mediatized spaces provided by platforms like Facebook or Twitter. This radically complicates the issue over what constitutes a “public,” and forces us to raise the question: What is a space of appearance in the age of digitalization? In Notes Towards a Performative Theory of Assembly, Butler shows awareness of these developments and discusses a number of recent events that challenge the traditional distinction between direct and indirect gatherings. However, she does not take the next step of providing conceptual tools for conceiving of the public sphere in a way that is adequate for the age of digitalization. But maybe her reflections can help sharpen our view of the issue at hand. One important observation is that the framing of assemblies in media coverage is crucial for their power, and such framing is usually an important battle place for the conflicting parties. In Butler’s words, “the signifying effect of the assembly, its legitimation effect, can function precisely through orchestrated enactments and orchestrated media coverage . . . The struggle over legitimation invariably takes place in the play between public enactments and media images” (Butler 2015, 19). As an example, Butler notes that the filming of police actions has become crucial in the fight against police violence. More generally, smart phones and the sharing of images and videos via social media have become central tools in gaining and maintaining public support. Although this is an important observation, Butler nonetheless fails to accentuate one of the most intriguing aspects of this development, namely that we witness the multiplication of the public sphere. In light of the multiple channels spreading images and competing for the main currency under digital conditions – attention – it is no longer accurate to refer to the public sphere or the space of appearance in the singular. Rather we need conceptual tools for thinking about conflicting publics and competing spaces of appearance. Whereas Butler notices the constitutive function of media coverage for the space of appearance, she does not conceptually capture the competing nature of multiplied public spheres under conditions of digitalization. These brief remarks are merely meant to show that a lot of work is ahead of us. To name just a few questions: How should we conceive of fluent passages between physical and mediatized co-presence? Is it possible to think of assemblies that constitute themselves precisely at these passages? Does it make sense to speak of competing spaces of appearance and how should we think about their relation?

Normative Evaluation of Public Assemblies In this final part, I will now turn to the issue of normatively evaluating public assemblies. With regard to this issue, it is important to note the temporal context in which Butler wrote Notes Towards a Performative Theory of Assembly. The volume collects essays that Butler wrote

The Power of Public Assemblies 215 between 2011 and 2013. She was inspired by a number of big and powerful protest movements that took place in those years, in particular the Arab Spring, the Occupy movement, and the Gezi Park protests. One can notice this temporal context in the euphoric mood that carries Butler’s reflections on the power of those protests and the progress that they promised. She also confesses at some point that she experiences “a certain thrill, dating back to my adolescent years, when bodies get together on the street” (Butler 2015, 134). This sensed “thrill” likely informs her conceptualization of assemblies. However, the political climate has changed drastically since 2013 and rereading Butler’s essays now makes her enthusiasm appear rather unwarranted. As a number of right-wing political movements have adopted the politics of the street, we are reminded that the power of assembly can be deployed for various political purposes, and that the streets are politically contested spaces. She wrote the introduction to Notes Towards a Performative Theory of Assembly in 2015. At that time, most protests had already been crushed or had ebbed away, and it was foreseeable that the Arab Spring, with the exception of Tunisia, would not lead to transitions to democratic government but rather into civil wars, most of which have since ended with the reinstallation of counter-revolutionary regimes. Moreover, 2015 was the beginning of the so-called European refugee crises, which later led to a drastic swing in public opinion and, as of 2018, is still a main factor in most European elections. Butler’s introduction seems to take these developments into consideration, as it shows signs of a more complex evaluation of public assemblies than the other essays in the volume. Hence, with and against Butler, we have to ask the question: Are there criteria that allow for a normative evaluation of public assemblies? In the introduction to Notes Towards a Performative Theory of Assembly, Butler links the normative evaluation of assemblies with the issue of how they enact their power. She suggests that the critical function of an assembly is linked with its transitory character. This is particularly the case when an assembly drives a wedge between state sovereignty and the sovereignty of the people by claiming “to represent the people along with a prospect of a more real and substantive democracy” (Butler 2015, 2). Butler, however, is convinced that movements assuming this function are invariably transitory when they remain extraparliamentary. And when they realize new parliamentary forms, they risk losing their character as the popular will. Popular assemblies form unexpectedly and dissolve under voluntary and involuntary conditions, and this transience is, I would suggest, bound up with their “critical” function. (Butler 2015, 7) While there is certainly something to be said for that claim, Butler’s restriction of such a critical function to transitory assemblies raises an important issue: the issue of institutionalization. Are critical assemblies

216  Gerhard Thonhauser necessarily transitory, or is a path imaginable that allows one to institutionalize such a critical function? Moreover, is the power of assemblies restricted to short moments of critical rupture, or can this power also be preserved over longer periods of time? Finally, even if we follow Butler in restricting the critical power to transitory assemblies, this does not solve the issue of establishing a normative evaluation. It would be a mistake to think that transitory assemblies are intrinsically good. Sometimes an assembly claiming to represent the people is a justified intervention against unjust conditions. In other cases, however, such a claim might be issued precisely to sustain existing injustices, for example, when privileged parts of the population rally against improvements for other groups. In another remark in the introduction to Notes Towards a Performative Theory of Assembly, Butler reminds us that it’s hard to dissociate normative evaluations from political assessments. We need to be aware that the evaluation of an assembly is often disputed based on political disagreements. As Butler notes, “sometimes a movement is deemed antidemocratic, even terrorist, and on other occasions or in other contexts, the same movement is understood as a popular effort to realize a more inclusive and substantive democracy” (Butler 2015, 2). As was discussed in the previous section, the battle for public support plays a major role in political conflicts and is a constitutive factor for the power an assembly can realize. More importantly for the current discussion, Butler’s remark suggests that the normative evaluation of an assembly is always bound to certain political convictions, and that it is probably better to admit as much, as this allows us to also address the underlying political premises of such evaluations. This last remark can also be applied to Arendt and Butler themselves. Following this line of thought, I will now venture to discuss three criteria that constitute the normative framework that informs Arendt and Butler’ evaluation of assemblies. First, Butler’s works from the 2000s focus on the concept of precariousness and present it as an alternative to traditional accounts in practical philosophy which consider individual capacities as constitutive for moral status (cf. Butler 2004, 2009). In contrast to a focus on individual capacities, the notion of precariousness emphasizes the relational and processual nature of moral agency based on a social ontology of the body. The main idea is that qua being embodied, a living being depends upon conditions of support to be able to obtain and sustain its life. Such support, however, is unevenly divided; some individuals live under more precarious conditions than others. Butler distinguishes precariousness as a “generalized condition” (Butler 2009, 14) pertaining to all living beings, from precarity, which is a “politically induced condition” (Butler 2009, 25) of concrete endangerment, and she suggests that precariousness is a normative resource for fighting the uneven distribution of precarity. Against this background, Butler suggests that assemblies

The Power of Public Assemblies 217 fulfill their critical function in a normatively praiseworthy way when they make manifest the situation of parts of the population that are particularly affected by the uneven distribution of precarity. Another type of criterion can be found in Arendt’s (1963) On Revolution. The main thrust of this book is an understanding of revolution as the birthplace of freedom. A revolution creates a new space of appearance, which Arendt understands as a space of freedom and equality. Accordingly, Arendt thinks that not every uprising or coup should count as a revolution. A true revolution only occurs when it is accompanied by the idea of a new beginning in the name of freedom and equality. As a consequence, one might suggest that an assembly is praiseworthy when it does not aim solely at liberation from oppression or an improvement of living conditions but also at building a new foundation for society in the name of freedom and equality. Finally, the notion of plurality developed in Arendt’s The Human Condition might be seen as yet another criterion. If we follow Arendt’s claim that the actualization of plurality implies that each individual appears in her irreducible uniqueness, we might conclude that assemblies are praiseworthy if they are constituted for the sake of an actualization of plurality, i.e., if they aim to allow each individual to appear in her uniqueness (cf. Loidolt 2017, 154). If an assembly is truly an actualization of a plurality, it enables individuals to act “in concert.” This implies that distinctions and even conflict between individuals are indeed possible; they are manifestations of plurality. They do not hinder but increase the possibility of plural action. How do these criteria relate to each other? It is easy to notice a tension between Butler’s criterion in her work on precariousness and Arendt’s criterion in On Revolution. Arendt seems to suggest that an uprising cannot count as a revolution when it is driven by social issues. This is a point on which Butler disagrees with Arendt, as she emphasizes that fighting against an uneven distribution of precarity and aiming for a better life are major factors for critical assemblies. However, Butler’s focus on precarity might be taken to imply that assemblies can also fulfill their critical function when they act solely in the name of the interests of a particular group. Arendt, by contrast, claims that a new beginning in the name of freedom and equality requires individuals to transcend the support of particular interests and to strive for a new and more equal organization of the space of appearance. Now, what would it look like if one combines these two perspectives? On the one hand, this would suggest that uprisings are often driven by the experience of precarity that inspires the struggle for a better life in the first place. At the same time, it would also suggest that a fight against precarity is only praiseworthy when conducted with reference to the generalized condition of precariousness; this reference implies that one group’s fight for a better life cannot be justified if it requires other groups to be worse off. Taken together, these

218  Gerhard Thonhauser normative criteria revolve around the demand for a society that enables everyone to lead a “livable life” (Butler) – a life as free from precarity as possible – and to experience his or her words and actions as meaningful and efficacious within a common world (Arendt). To conclude, one can note that Arendt and Butler’s considerations are driven by an underlying political conviction, namely the conviction that it is best to live in a society based on freedom and equality. Following Arendt and Butler, this means a society in which one is judged by one’s actions and opinions, and in which one does not suffer from socially induced precarity. That the normative criteria refer to a political vision is not necessarily problematic. On the contrary, it makes manifest why these criteria are relevant and why the society envisioned in them is worth fighting for. Similarly, it is not a weakness of Arendt and Butler’s considerations that these criteria might be reapplied in various contexts and by different groups. Rather, it shows how every such claim – of making manifest an uneven distribution of precarity, of representing a free and equal society, or of actualizing plurality – is open to political contestation. Public assemblies unfold their power on a normatively and politically contested battleground.

Bibliography Arendt, H. (1958). The Human Condition. 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Arendt, H. (1960). Vita Activa Oder Vom Tätigen Leben. Munich: Piper. Arendt, H. (1963). On Revolution. New York: Viking Press. Arendt, H. (1973). The Origins of Totalitarianism. San Diego/New York/London: Harvest Book. Arendt, H. (1978). The Life of the Mind. San Diego/New York/London: Harvest Book. Austin, J. L. (1975). How to Do Things with Words. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Butler, J. (1990). Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York: Routledge. Butler, J. (1993). Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex”. New York: Routledge. Butler, J. (1997a). Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative. New York: Routledge. Butler, J. (1997b). The Psychic Life of Power: Theories in Subjection. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Butler, J. (2004). Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence. London/New York: Verso. Butler, J. (2009). Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable? London/New York: Verso. Butler, J. (2015). Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Butler, J. and Spivak, G. C. (2007). Who Sings the Nation-State? Language, Politics, Belonging. London/New York/Calcutta: Seagull Books.

The Power of Public Assemblies 219 Gallie, W. B. (1955). “Essentially Contested Concepts,” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 56, 167–198. Goffman, E. (1959). The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. New York: Doubleday. Goffman, E. (1969). Wir Alle Spielen Theater: Die Selbstdarstellung Im Alltag. Munich: Piper. Holusha, J. (2006). “Bush Says Anthem Should Be in English,” The New York Times, April 28. Available from: www.nytimes.com/2006/04/28/us/28cndanthem.html [Accessed 20 May 2019]. Lefort, C. (1986). The Political Forms of Modern Society: Bureaucracy, Democracy, Totalitarianism. Cambridge: MIT Press. Loidolt, S. (2017). Phenomenology of Plurality: Hannah Arendt on Political Intersubjectivity. New York/London: Routledge. Marchart, O. (2007). Post-Foundational Political Thought: Political Difference in Nancy, Lefort, Badiou and Laclau. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Sartre, J.-P. (2004). Critique of Dialectical Reason, Volume 1. Theory of Practical Ensembles. London/New York: Verso.

12 The Matter of the Other Debra Bergoffen

Materiality, Meaning and the Teleology of the Other The title of this chapter, “The Matter of the Other,” is deliberately ambiguous. Attending to the twofold sense of the English term matter, a word that can refer to the materiality of a thing as in the marble of a statue, or that can be used to speak of meaningful concerns as in the mantra Black Lives Matter and in the phrase “it’s a matter of life and death,” it draws out the ways that the matter of the other is always and necessarily a matter of the body. Creating conditions that produce disgusting revolting bodies is one way of supporting an ideology that signs the other as an affront to humanity that must be vomited out. The intersection of meaning and materiality embedded in the English term matter is explicitly captured in the phenomenological phrase “the lived body.” As lived, the human body exists as a material worldly object and a signifying activity that creates a meaningful world. As the embodiment of the meanings it creates, the human body is never experienced simply as a thing. It is addressed and lived as an enactment of a gendered, raced, religious, ethnic, and national way of life. It is politicized within shifting power hierarchies that determine the extent to which its existence is or is not legitimated. Thus, Merleau-Ponty’s assertion that the human is an historical idea, to which I would add: The historical idea of the human also entails an historical idea of its other. As an historical idea, the status of the other depends on the degree to which their otherness conforms to prevailing standards of the human. Defined as fully human, the other may, like Aristotle’s friend, MerleauPonty’s partner in dialogue, or Beauvoir’s erotic lover, be embraced as desired and desirable. Once a person’s or group of people’s otherness is seen as failing to meet current ideas of the human and/or as a threat to these ideas, their otherness will be stigmatized as shameful. The extent to which these others will be shunned and punished for their otherness will depend on the malleability of threat they are perceived to embody. The immigrant’s assimilation may render her difference tolerable. The enemy’s defeat may save him from death. Some others, however, are

The Matter of the Other 221 marked as irredeemably anti-human. As unsalvageable, they are marked for elimination. This continuum of otherness operates in accordance with a teleological logic marked with the purpose of “protecting” the status of the human. Though the places of the fully human, the tolerable less than human, and the intolerable anti-human remain logically fixed, the people consigned to these places change with the vicissitudes of history. Moving through the continuum of otherness, the matter of the body, at first seemingly irrelevant, becomes central. Much like the phenomenon of the “invisible” healthy body and the oppressively present sick one, the body of the benign other, because it mirrors prevailing standards of humanness, is not an issue. The body of the stigmatized, threatening, or intolerable other is another matter. It is either “spontaneously” perceived as less than human or subjected to conditions that render it too disgusting to be counted as fully human. Sometimes merely being identified as an enemy is enough to elicit the perception of the other’s body as grotesque. In all cases, the more an other’s body is perceived as monstrous the easier it is to treat him or her as a monster. Euripides gives us an example of the way one’s identity as an enemy structures our perception. He opens The Phoenician Women with Antigone leaving the palace to catch a glimpse of her returning brother. Her first sight, however, is of the invading army. Seeing men whom she knows well enough to name, she describes one (the prince Hippomedon) as “hateful to see! Like an earth-born giant hurling flame in a picture, not like the race of day.” She identifies a second (Tydeous, a warrior from Aetolian), as having arms “half-barbarous to see,” and a third (Parthenopaeus) as “a youth, frightful to see”. Discerning the figure of her brother Polyneices among these demonic foreigners, however, she delights in his “golden arms” (Euripides 2013, 105–106). In Antigone’s case monstrous bodies were attached to foreign enemies at the city gates. Her brother’s familiar body, though a threat to the city, remained delightful. He might be commanding an army of barbarians but as her brother his humanity remained intact. In many cases of genocide, however, family alliances cannot be counted on to secure one’s humanity. The recognized/recognizable human bodies of family, friends, and neighbors who were once part of the social fabric but whose elimination is now deemed essential to nationalist objectives as was the case in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, or purity of race programs, as in Nazi Germany, are disfigured and/or rendered irrevocably shameful in order to legitimate the claim that those so embodied are an affront to the state or species. The tactics of brutalization are multiple, the objective is singular – erase the humanity of the body at hand. Before the appearance of the Musselmann, this erasure failed. According to Johannes Lang this failure was no accident. Obliterating the humanity of those subjected to genocidal violence would defeat its meaning. (Lang 2010, 225–246) Urging us not to be taken in by claims of

222  Debra Bergoffen de-humanization, Lang argues that it is the humanity of the victims that gives the violence its power, for it is only by demonstrating their right to brutalize other human beings that perpetrators signal their own superior human status. Though referred to as animals, it is because they are not animals that the violence is deemed necessary and produces its desired effects. Mutilating and destroying a bunch of vermin could hardly be celebrated as a demonstration of legitimate self-righteous power. Thus the project of genocide requires the degradation but not the destruction of the despised other’s humanity. From this perspective the teleology of the other has yet to be fulfilled. Whatever cogency this argument may have when speaking of familiar genocidal tactics, the appearance of the Musselmann, the walking dead of Auschwitz, undermines its premise. In creating conditions that produced the Musselmann, the Nazis demonstrated that dehumanization was not only possible but also the ultimate display of absolute power. For Giorgio Agamben and Adriana Cavarero, writing after the fact of the Musselmann, and Primo Levi and Jean Améry who witnessed the production of the fact of the Musselmann, the Musselmann is not a degraded human being whose humanity persists but the other-of-the-human being. For them, the defeat of Nazi Germany and the destruction of the camps has not destroyed the possibility of fulfilling the teleology of the other. The Musselmann of the past stalks the present. As the grotesque body that demonstrates the possibility of de-humanization, the matter of the Musselmann, by fulfilling this teleology, resets the question of the matter of the human (Agamben 2002, 87–88).

Finding the Right Words Recognizing the urgency of resetting the question of the human is one thing. Having the tools to deal with it is another. Adriana Cavarero finds that our current vocabulary is not up to the task. Nothing in the present lexicon adequately expresses the encounter with the gruesome body that announces its destroyed humanity. Rejecting the path of silence, she coins the term horrorism, defining it as the violence aimed at nullifying human beings more than at killing them. (Cavarero 2009, 9, 12, 32) As a derivative of the term horror, Cavarero reserves the term horrorism for “a certain model of horror [that] is indispensable for understanding our present,” a time she finds defined by the apex of horrorism, the Nazi death camps, and their Musselmann legacy. (Cavarero 2009, 29) Those who survived the camps describe the brutality of the violence as arbitrary and capricious. Cavarero, following Hannah Arendt, finds this arbitrariness deceptive. It was governed by a clear principle: “Everything is Possible.” As distinct from the principle “Everything is Permitted” where violence, as Lang argues, is aimed at degrading the human being, the violence of the principle “Everything is Possible” aims at transforming human beings

The Matter of the Other 223 into superfluous matter. Placing humanity in question by brutalizing the body, the horrorism of the camps tied the fate of the human to the fate of the lived body (Cavarero 2009, 40). For Cavarero the matter of the human is a matter of singularity and vulnerability. To be human is to exist as the incarnation of the singularity of a vulnerable body (Cavarero 2009, 8). This singularity is expressed in the spontaneity that fashions and re-fashions a life – in the capacity to begin anew, to reinvigorate habits. As embodied, this spontaneity is unavoidably vulnerable. Like the lived body described by phenomenologists, Cavarero’s vulnerable body is inextricably connected to and exposed to others (Cavarero 2009, 43). Specifying the implications of this exposure, she describes it in terms of care, wounding, and suffering. As vulnerable, our bodies may elicit the other’s care or ignite their desire to wound (Cavarero 2009, 20). Whether the other responds to the lived body’s vulnerability by the caring that soothes suffering or the wounding that inflicts it, suffering is integral to the matter of the singular humanity of the vulnerable body. Cavarero is careful to distinguish the vulnerable body from the victim body. Though we are born vulnerable, we are not born victims. Victims are created. Absolute helplessness is a condition of the human infant that is outgrown. In adults, absolute helplessness is “unnatural.” It must be produced. Torturers are skilled in this craft. Their goals are served by exploiting the humanity of human suffering and through this suffering to get the tortured to speak, bear witness to, the torturer’s power – the confession. The architects of the Lager had different goals. They were interested in destroying, not exploiting, the humanity of the prisoners. To do this, they instituted a reign of violence that was geared toward pushing the suffering of the inmates to the extreme of destroying their ability to suffer. When they succeeded, they created the Musselmann, silent skeletons who felt nothing (Cavarero 2009, 34, 36, 39). Cavarero’s description of the human being as an incarnate vulnerable singularity and her discussion of the ways that the extreme violence of the camps created superfluous victims is confirmed by the testimonies of Levi and Améry.

The Musselmann Adopting the principle “everything is possible,” the Nazis created the Musselmann by eradicating the vulnerability of the lived body. The Musselmann body could no longer be wounded, not because it was dead but because blows no longer hurt. Confronting the fact that in creating the Musselmann the Nazis succeeded where other genocidal programs failed, and that their success is now embedded in our world, requires probing the matter of horrorism by taking up the questions: Who were the Musselmann? What does the burden of their legacy mean for us? In turning to these questions it is essential to remember that, though witnesses can

224  Debra Bergoffen attest to the existence of the Musselmann, they can only express their experience of the destroyed humanity of the Musselmann. The Musselmann cannot speak for themselves – not only because none survived but, more importantly, because in losing their capacity to suffer they lost their capacity for speech and all other forms of human interaction. Primo Levi divides the prisoners of the Nazi labor and death camps into two categories: the drowned, those called Musselmann, and the saved, those who, like himself, through luck or circumstance, never reached bottom. The drowned, he says, were first destroyed as men and then slowly killed (Levi 1960, 36). Levi’s descriptions of the Musselmann make it clear, however, that though visually and metaphorically powerful, speaking of the Musselmann as the drowned ultimately misses the mark. It is too benign. The corpse body of the drowned person does not elicit horrorism. Its inertia is normal. Though a desecrated corpse may elicit horror, as in the sight of the unburied corpse of the “traitor” Polyneices mutilated by the elements and animals, the corpse per se is not an affront to the dead person’s humanity. The inertia of the still alive Musselmann body is radically different. Subjected to a chronic hunger that Levi and other survivors tell us no one outside the camps can fathom (Levi 1960, 23, 54), the Musselmann’s body exhibits the torpor of a desperate apathy. Like the corpse, the Musselmann is incapable of responding to anything. Unlike the corpse, it moves in inertia. Levi describes this spectacle of inert movement as the dance of the dead (Levi 1960, 66). Levi attributes the Musselmann’s destroyed humanity to their lost capacity to relate to the world and everything in it. He traces their apathy to the unimaginable hunger suffered by camp prisoners. Subjected to this hunger, some were able to keep a hold on their bodies. The Musselmann could not. Losing this hold, they lost the capacity to feel the beatings, to desire, think, or judge. No longer existing as the vulnerability of a lived body in a world among others, the inert moving Musselmann is condemned to a dead life of imprisoned insulation and incomprehensible solitude (Levi 1960, 23, 54). A body consumed with unimaginable hunger implodes upon itself. Levi’s descriptions of the Musselmann are intended to show what he means when he says that the Musselmann were destroyed as men before they were murdered. The title of one of his books, If This Is a Man, suggests, however, that he may be less than certain on this matter. It suggests that the Musselmann may not have been eradicated as men before they were slaughtered but rather that their monstrous existence puts the question of the human on the table. If this is a man – then what? Jean Améry, also among the saved, describes the Musselmann as the living dead. Here the analogy between the body of the Musselmann and the corpse is explicit. The Musselmann, Améry says, was a living corpse, a bundle of physical functions in its last convulsions characterized by an inability to distinguish good from bad, noble from base. (Améry 1980, 9)

The Matter of the Other 225 A bundle of physical functions, no longer the singularity that gives these functions their unique identity. More shocking, perhaps, than Levi who calls this horrorism of the camps the drowned, Améry identifies it as the Nazi’s victory. Pursuing Améry’s thought, Agamben sees the Musselmann as the camps’ legacy to the present. For him the Musselmann is “the nightmare of vegetative life that indefinitely survives the life of relation” (Agamben 2002, 154). Like Levi’s allusion to the Musselmann as the drowned, Agamben’s comparison of the unresponsive Musselmann to vegetative life also falls short. Vegetative life still possesses what the Musselmann have lost – an embeddedness in their environment. Vegetative life responds to the ebbs and flows of light and dark, wet and dry, cold and hot, and as recent studies have shown, to each other. (Grant 2018, 48–57) It is not the human life of affective responsiveness but neither is it the Musselmann’s life of insulated isolation. If the comparison to plant life does not get at the extremity of the Musselmann’s condition, the focus on the lost life of relation is essential for getting at the heart of the Musselmann’s fate, for this makes it clear that it was not the skeletal bodies produced by extreme hunger that threatened the Musselmann’s humanity but the power of this hunger to sever their attunement to their bodies, the world, and others. So long as this attunement is in place, suffering is possible, blows hurt and terrorize, judgments matter, distinctions between base and noble make sense. Destroy the hold on the body and everything else goes. Though what humanizes the body is not that it relates to the world, all life forms do this but how it relates to the world, without the “that” there is no human “how.” The possibility of destroying a man before killing him speaks to the difference between a lived and an unlived body. A lived body embodies relationships that begin with/in itself and reaches out to and into the world. As an unlived, alive dead body, the Musselmann exhibits the horrific meaning of invulnerability. Its inert apathetic movements come from nowhere, reach nothing, touch no one. Reading the matter of the human in terms of the lived body’s attunement to itself and its world is not just relevant to the question of the humanity of the Musselmann. Eva Kittay, in her presidential address to the American Philosophical Association’s Eastern Division meeting in 2017, sees the moral significance of the human in terms of this relational capacity. Describing her daughter as having no measurable IQ and unable to do anything for herself, Kittay rejects the idea that this renders her daughter less than human. Her daughter’s humanity is not a matter of her mental or physical abilities. It lies in her capacity to respond to music and to indicate preferences. Her responsiveness places us under the moral obligation to recognize her humanity. Going further, Kittay argues that it is our relationship to other human beings that makes us human and that the relationships we have with others begin with the relationship we have

226  Debra Bergoffen with ourselves. This affirmation of her daughter’s humanity, in seeming to seal the case against that of the Musselmann who are described as neither having a relation to themselves nor to others rebounds as a question for us: What, if any, are our moral obligations to those whose responsiveness and its attendant vulnerability has been destroyed?

A Savage Intrusion Hubert and Patricia Dreyfus, commenting on the common theme of Pinter’s The Dumbwaiter, The Room, and The Collection, write: “Something savage intrudes into an island of order, suddenly revealing this island’s vulnerability demanding a response” (Merleau-Ponty 1973, xv). I take the Musselmann to be this savage intrusion into our continuing quest for a stable world order. I read Améry’s and Levi’s descriptions of their lives in the camps, Agamben’s reflections on their accounts, and Cavarero’s discussions of horrorism as warnings against seeing the allied victory of WWII as the triumph of good over evil and as justifying the pursuit of a moral world order as distinct from the pursuit of an immoral one, for whether the order desired is defined as moral or immoral, insofar as it is a desire for a world immunized from the disruptions of the other it carries a twofold threat: One, that of creating others who fulfill the teleology of the other – Musselmann; two, that of silencing the challenge to the meaning of the human posed by those consigned to the end point of this continuum. Though he does not address the Musselmann directly, Bernard Waldenfels shows us what is at stake in insisting that this challenge be heard. His depiction of the alien as that which “exceeds the playing field of possibilities, as something extra-ordinary . . . as something im-possible . . . in the sense of a lived impossibility” (Waldenfels 2011, 18) reads (to me) as a description of the Musselmann – the inerasable savage face of the Third Reich’s impossible politics of creating a perfectly ordered invulnerable world. Waldenfels says that the alien emerges at the limits of every order. It has no place in that order. Yet it is not nothing. (Waldenfels 2011, 5) Intruding into and escaping the order of things the alien demands a response that recognizes the ways that its appearance in the world puts our ideas and desires into question (Waldenfels 2011, 20). There is this critical difference, however, between the appearance of Waldenfels’s alien and the Musselmann alien. Where Waldenfels finds that there is no sufficient justification or explanation for the intrusion of the alien, (Waldenfels 2011, 4) there is, if not a justification, an explanation for the appearance and intrusion of the Musselmann – the Nazi death camps. Here the intrusion of the lived impossibility of the alien is created by an order directed by the principle: “Everything is possible.” For Waldenfels, the experience of the alien creates the demand to engage in a phenomenology where the principle of sufficient reason gives

The Matter of the Other 227 way to the principle of insufficient reason – a principle that takes up the task of bringing that which evades competent description and explanation into focus (Waldenfels 2011, 30, 34). Calling this phenomenology a phenomenology of the alien, Waldenfels tells us that it allows itself to be affected by the disturbance that evades being reduced to one meaning as it challenges existent possibilities of meaning (Waldenfels 2011, 34). Waldenfels identifies the alien as the hyper-phenomenon that shows itself by eluding us, as that which can’t be deduced from the own or subsumed under the general but which is not entirely different from the own and the familiar. For me, Waldenfels’s description of the alien hyper-phenomenon is materialized in the figure of the Musselmann. Seeing the alien in this way, I hear Waldenfels’s call for a phenomenology of the alien as especially relevant to the challenge the Musselmann poses to our ability to render the meaning and limits of the human intelligible (Waldenfels 2011, 35). As that which cannot be integrated into the whole but yet remains entangled with (in?) it, (Waldenfels 2011, 75) the Musselmann, in calling for a phenomenology of the alien, exists as the embodiment of the question: If this be a Man? Calling Auschwitz the experiment that, in producing the Musselmann, desecrated all previous meanings of the human, Agamben, confronting the matter of the Musselmann directly, pursues a different but related response to this savage intrusion into our ordered world. For him, facing the demand of this alien means putting our understanding of the meaning and limits of the human in question by listening to the silences through which the Musselmann speaks. It requires placing our traditional categories and concepts of the ethical in abeyance as we probe the contours of an ethics before good and evil. Nietzsche, looking to cure humanity of the poison of the last man’s resentments, spoke of an ethics beyond good and evil. Creating this ethics, he said, was necessary to secure the conditions hospitable for the emergence of a noble type of life – the Übermensch. Living after Nietzsche, when the resentments of the last man were clothed in brown shirts and Nazi uniforms, Agamben confronts the problem of securing the conditions of human life per se. For Agamben this is a matter of finding ourselves at the before of good and evil, not the before of the innocence of the Garden of Eden but the before of the possibility of the human: the before of dignity, the before of responsibility, the before that was created by a regime that invoked the categories good and evil to destroy the human. Having witnessed this destruction – the Musselmann – we are, according to Agamben, confronted with the task of developing a phenomenology of the unsaid. As an ally of Waldenfels’s phenomenology of insufficient reason, this phenomenology of the unsaid would assume the task of discerning the silence of the Musselmann’s alienated humanity and of unearthing the principles of the human that might emerge from

228  Debra Bergoffen it – principles that must be in place before any talk of good and evil is possible. Tracking Agamben as he follows the testimonies of Levi and Améry to unearth these principles, I listen to him as he, like Aristotle, finds that there is an intimate relationship between ethics and politics. The problem, however, is that after Auschwitz the Greek version of this relationship cannot be countenanced. No return to classical politics is possible. If the Musselmann embodies the catastrophe of creating a world immune from the intrusion of the alien, an ethics and politics that opens the world to this intrusion might begin by resetting the question of the human through Améry’s seemingly secure post-Auschwitz experience of himself as a stranger living under the threat of being expelled from the right to exist. Tying the matter of vulnerability to the ever present possibility of becoming an alien is one way of embarking on the project of developing an ethics and politics of vulnerability after Auschwitz.

Oppressed and Saved by Shame Primo Levi opens Survival in Auschwitz, insisting that there is no language to express the experience of living through the Nazi biological and social experiment aimed at the demolition of men (Levi 1960, 15). Nevertheless he writes. Like the obstacles to surviving in Auschwitz, the obstacle of language will not deter him from his determination to bear witness to what he calls “the image of evil in our time.” In Auschwitz, this determination was, for Levi, an act of resistance, an assertion of his dignity and humanity. As a freed man his refusal to be silent, to insist on saying what others do not want to hear, meets the obstacles of the desire to forget (if not forgive) and to move on. Here too, Levi’s witnessing is an act of resistance. Sounding a bit like Agamben who insisted that after Auschwitz the familiar categories of good and evil do not hold, Levi says that the Lager revealed values that can neither be categorized as good nor evil but that must be recognized in order to assess the meaning of this image of evil (Levi 1960, 65). Whether these values contain the seeds of an ethics before good and evil or of a politics of vulnerability is the question. Levi describes himself as someone the Germans succeeded in breaking, someone who is docile, incapable of violence or defiance. He distinguishes himself from the Musselmann through his capacity to feel the shame of his degraded humanity (Levi 1960, 113–114). So long as he can see his vile and filthy skeletal body as disgusting and disgraceful, so long as he is vulnerable to the beatings and the judgments of others that is said to justify them, so long as his shame oppresses him he is not destroyed. He may be at the edge of humanity, but he is not yet expelled. Sartre’s influential discussion of shame focuses on shame as an essentially interpersonal relationship, an affect that depends on our vulnerability to/

The Matter of the Other 229 before others for its effects. Certainly this is in play in Levi’s self-imposed oppression. Seeing himself as disgusting he sees himself as he is seen by others. Though he does not share the S.S. judgment that his degradation is deserved, he does share their view that his emaciated, filthy, smelling body is shameful. If this was all there was to Levi’s experience of shame, however, it would not have the effect of helping to preserve his humanity. To more fully understand how in being oppressed by shame, Levi resists becoming a Musselmann, we need to turn to Agamben’s discussion of Benveniste’s description of the middle voice as expressive of a relation that one has to oneself such that in acting one affects oneself. Here the action is that of preserving the humanity threatened by the “Everything is Possible” principle of the camps. Anticipating his discussion of the middle voice in The Use of Bodies, Agamben refers to the middle voice indirectly in Remnants of Auschwitz, where he turns to Kant to describe shame as an auto affection where the passive subject is active with respect to its own passivity (Agamben 2002, 109). His direct discussion of the middle voice occurs in The Use of Bodies. It begins with Agamben looking for the best way to translate the word chresthai – a verb that expresses a unique relationship between subject and object – and discovering that Benveniste’s “striking formula” of the middle voice does the trick. According to this formula, “on the one hand the subject who achieves the action by the very fact of achieving it . . . first of all . . . affects himself in the process . . . precisely for this reason . . . does not stand over the action but is himself the place of its occurring” (Agamben 2016, 28). In expressing a relation that one has to oneself, the middle voice is situated in a zone of indetermination between subject and object. Though Agamben does not link this account of the middle voice to his earlier discussion of shame, it is impossible to miss the fact that as an auto-affection shame is best understood as a middle voice phenomenon. Knowing that Levi affects himself through shame is not enough, however, to understand how this self-affection saves him from becoming a Musselmann. A third step is necessary. It can be found in Agamben’s discussion of the middle voice in the context of deciphering the verb conor, to demand. Now Agamben finds that the middle voice is pertinent to his search for an ontology. Spinoza is the point of reference, where “the being that desires and demands in demanding modifies, desires and constitutes itself” and where the demand is tied to the desire to preserve itself in its being (Agamben 2016, 171). Levi, resisting the intended effects of being shamed by the S.S., affects himself through a shame that oppresses him in accordance with the demand of his desire to preserve himself. In the Lager it was a matter of escaping the death of the self. MariLee Mifsud, in her discussion of shame in Homer, finds that shame is the midwife to the birth of the self. Parsing out the meanings of oh popi and oh moi ego to develop Henry J. Johnston’s thesis that the self emerges

230  Debra Bergoffen in the recognition of contradiction and is maintained through the management of contradiction, she identifies shame as an affect that, in registering contradiction, is an experience that announces the presence of a self. As ashamed of herself for not being able to help Odysseus, Eurycleia calls her-self into being. She becomes an object to herself by acting on herself. Not being able to match Odysseus’s strength, Eurymachus expresses his shame at failing to meet the norms of heroic masculinity. In these and other Homeric cases, the self birthed in the experience of shame dies when its contradictions are resolved. As the self is not experienced as essential to one’s humanity, its disappearance is neither experienced as a traumatic loss nor as a threat to one’s status as human (Mifsud 2015, 38–44). Tracing the history of the emergence of a permanent experience of self tied to ones’ claim to be human from this contingent and fleeting experience of self unrelated to one’s humanity is beyond the scope of this chapter. Seeing shame as integral to the birth, experience, and death of the self, however, reveals the unique vulnerability to which we, as persons who now tie our experience of an enduring self to our status as human beings, are exposed – a vulnerability exploited by the Nazis and embodied in the horrorism of the camp’s walking dead. One of the questions raised by turning to Homer is whether a politics and ethics of the future might require imagining other ways of being recognized as human. Like the characters in Homer’s world and Sartre’s imagined voyeur, Levi’s shame registers the contradiction between the way he appears and acts before others and the way he believes that he should appear and act. Though the law of the Lager is intended to destroy this contradiction and the sense of self that accompanies it, thereby producing the Musselmann, Levi, embodying our modern sensibilities, must hold on to it at all costs. Though docile and incapable of rebellion, so long as he can experience himself as a self who can be judged by itself and thereby act upon itself, he will be capable of the resistance embodied in the middle voice ambiguity of the lived body’s desires to preserve itself. As being ashamed of himself is the condition for the possibility of being ashamed before others, keeping a hold on his body is the condition for sustaining the desire to be himself. Go through the body to destroy the resistance embodied in the middle voice of shame. Create the horrorism of the Musselmann. The concrete implementation of the formula “Everything is possible.” Shame, the last spark of humanity, can exist within the Lager; generosity cannot, for the Lager law of survival “eat your own bread and someone else’s too if you can” makes generosity impossible. The reappearance of this human gesture once the S.S. fled and the arrival of the Russians was imminent – once survival is assured and wounding hunger no longer rules – announces the end of the Lager – “the beginning of the change by which we who had not died slowly changed from Häftlinge to men again” (Levi 1960, 121). Now the suffering body can elicit the care of others.

The Matter of the Other 231 Becoming a man again, Levi bends language to the demands of witnessing. He identifies the ability to resist, judge, desire, and think as integral but not essential to our status as human. He finds that even when these abilities are destroyed, our humanity survives in the experience of being oppressed by shame. The shameful experience of abjection makes it possible for those who are broken to resist the slow death of the Lager and when the Lager dies, to align their experience of shame before the other with an offer of generosity to the other. In the first case my humanity is saved by experiencing my vulnerability to the other. In the second it is reborn in recognizing the vulnerability of the other. The persistence of shame, the emergence of generosity, the affirmation of vulnerability, the first pieces of an ethics before good and evil.

The Shame of Destruction, The Dignity of Revolt In his Preface to the first (1966) edition of At the Mind’s Limit, Améry describes it as a “phenomenological description of the existence of the victim,” (Améry 1980, xiii) – an experience he tells us he survived but never overcame. The issue of this overcoming, not only why it cannot in Améry’s case be overcome, but whether it should, even for those who have never been victims, be overcome, provides another piece to the question of the possibility of an ethics and politics before good and evil. Améry’s experience as a victim began when he received “the first blow” in the torture room. It was compounded when he was transferred to the Lager and became a numbered member of the camp’s theater of torture. Describing himself as one “who went hungry but did not starve to death, who was beaten but not totally destroyed, who had wounds but not deadly ones, who thus objectively still possessed the substratum on which, in principle, the human spirit can stand and exist,” Améry says he survived with his humanity wounded but unbroken (Améry 1980, 9). It is as someone who survived the disaster of absolute helplessness but experienced its effects that he speaks for the ultimate product and victory of the camp, the Musselmann. The camps, Améry says, are misunderstood if they are merely seen as the implementation of the Final Solution to the “problem” of the Jews. They were also, and perhaps more horrifically, the place that demonstrated that after a person’s humanity was destroyed they could continue to live as dead before actually being murdered. Saying this, Améry echoes Levi’s description of the Musselmann as an inertia in motion. What saved Améry from becoming a Musselmann, he says, is that he refused to accept the verdict of the world that he had no right to exist. He describes the Musselmann as the effect of accepting this verdict. Living among them all of his ideas of inherent human dignity are disrupted (Améry 1980, 20). What is disrupted at the sight of the Musselmann,

232  Debra Bergoffen however, is not the idea of human dignity, but the idea that it is inherent – immune from the matter of the vulnerability of the body to the wounding, depravations, and blows inflicted on it and from the judgments that justify these assaults. Dignity, Améry discovers, is a matter of vulnerability: the vulnerability of the lived body to becoming a living corpse. Confronting these vulnerabilities, Améry defines dignity as a matter of resisting the judgment of the world that you have no right to live and confronting it through revolt (Améry 1980, 89–90). For Améry, this meaning of dignity first emerges in its destruction at “the first blow”. It gradually becomes clearer at the sight of the Musselmann. It is fully revealed, however, when, returning to the everyday world of neighborly smiles – a world where torture and the camps are behind him – Améry discovers that he can never return to the conviction that his status as human, and that the dignity that is said to be given with this status, is secure. His trust in the world is broken. His faith that the world will always grant him the right to live cannot be restored. He has lost the assurance that his vulnerability will not turn him into a victim. In the essay “Torture,” Améry says that this loss of faith is not unique to him. Torture, by reducing one to flesh, destroys every torture victim’s faith in the world. “Whoever,” he writes, “has succumbed to torture can no longer feel at home in the world. The shame of destruction cannot be erased” (Améry 1980, 40). Unlike Levi’s experience of being oppressed by shame as a threat to his status as human, Améry’s inner oppression destroys his experience of being secure in this status. Whether or not he can preserve this status is in the hands of the other. Here too, however, the poison of the shame is also a source of resistance to its venom. It transforms Améry from a passive victim to the other’s power to dispose of him into a member of a community in revolt. This becomes clear in his essay “The Necessity and Impossibility of Being a Jew.” Now Améry expands the category of those who, having experienced the shame of destruction, can no longer feel at home in the world. Whether or not they were tortured or sent to the camps, the Jew, he writes, cannot escape “feeling the tragedy of yesterday as an inner oppression” (Améry 1980, 94). Captured by this tragedy, the Jew, Améry says, must accept being foreign and through this experience of being alien assert his dignity in a solidarity of revolt with other Jews (Améry 1980, 99). If we are to embark on the project of creating an ethics before good and evil that nourishes a politics of vulnerability, we must, I think, extend the category of those who cannot escape feeling the tragedy of Auschwitz as an inner oppression beyond those who were the immediate or are the potential victims of this tragedy. As witnesses, we too must own this shame of destruction and decipher the meaning of dignity through the experience of being a stranger in a world that might deem us unfit for love or life – a world that has no place for the alien.

The Matter of the Other 233

The Aporia Where Améry identifies his testimony as a phenomenology, Agamben challenges the idea that an account of the experience of the Lager can be given. Guided by Levi’s remarks regarding the inadequacy of his words and Améry’s assertion that only the lost language of the camps could speak the truth of Auschwitz, Agamben finds the truth of the testimonies of those who survived in terms of their inadequacy – in what is necessarily lost in the translations of the experience of the camps into a language that is comprehensible to those of us who were not there. He calls this inadequacy a lacuna, a gap that is not an empty space but an aporia, an impasse, a point of doubt and indecision. This lacuna extends beyond the possibility of understanding the phenomenon of Auschwitz (Agamben 2002, 12–13). It concerns the possibility of an ethics and politics after Auschwitz – one that deals with the aporia between the human and its other, the un-human, in terms of the un-decidability of where the one begins and the other ends and remains undecided as to where or whether this line can be drawn. Reading the meaning of Auschwitz in this way, Agamben challenges the phenomenological project of grounding thought in its descriptions of lived experience. According to Agamben, so long as phenomenology is defined in this way it will evade the fact that the Musselmann did not/ could not describe their experience and that those who survived insist that the truth of Auschwitz lies in the inadequacy of their descriptions. The challenge to phenomenology after Auschwitz concerns its capacity to listen to/for the unsaid of what is said to be given and to see this unsaid as the frame of the given that gives it its meaning (Agamben 2002, 14). Whether we read Améry, Levi, Agamben, or Cavarero, this unsaid, this what cannot be said, is the Musselmann. Reading the Musselmann through the lens of Waldenfels’s discussions of the alien suggests that an alliance between his phenomenology of the alien and Agamben’s phenomenology of the unsaid may be one way of responding to the aporia of Auschwitz, for between them neither the barriers of reason nor the inadequacies of language are accepted as an excuse for silence. Reading Améry’s and Levi’s accounts of how they survived the fate of the Musselmann in terms of Agamben’s call for an ethics and politics in the wake of Auschwitz, Agamben’s assertion that shame is the hidden structure of all subjectivity (Agamben 2002, 128) suggests that the embryo of this ethics may lie in deciphering the relationship between shame, the desire and demand to survive, the Musselmann, and the witness. Shame can be seen from two directions. One, from the perspective of the one who has the power to shame. The other, from the perspective of the one who is subjected to this power. Describing himself as oppressed by shame, Levi identifies his oppression as self-inflicted. This

234  Debra Bergoffen capacity for being oppressed by shame is what distinguishes him from the Musselmann, the one who has lost the capacity for shame. As a lived body, the one who as oppressed by his shame demands to survive, Levi as his own other is a witness to his own de-humanization. He is broken but not destroyed. Tying his ambiguous, divided self to itself and to others, shame tethers him to his humanity. Silently oppressed by shame and living in the middle voice, Levi resists the oppression of the camp. Though he and Améry may be among those who now dance the dance of death on leaving and returning to the Lager, as ashamed of being among those who trace the steps of this dance they are not (yet) what Agamben describes as the nightmare of a life that survives the life of relation (Agamben 2002, 154). If the point of the extreme hunger of the camps was to alienate the prisoners from their bodies, and hence extinguish their capacity to feel, think, or desire, the goal of the camps might be seen as severing the lived body from its attunement to the other and the world. It is in this sense that preserving one’s sense of shame, the last thread of the lived body’s aliveness, may be understood as resistance to the project of Auschwitz. The camp architects believed that, by making all recognizable forms of resistance impossible, they could transform vulnerable lived bodies into victim bodies and turn victim bodies into superfluous matter. The survivors tell us something else. Their voices teach us that to give teeth to the familiar but hollow slogan “Never Again,” we must listen to the silence of the Musselmann and to the audible unsaid of the testimonies of those who lived to bear witness to them. The survivors of the camps who speak of their resistance to becoming Musselmann in terms of the middle voice power of shame direct us to take up the question of the human through a reconsideration of our understanding of shame. This reconsideration might show that it is not the shameful sight of the Musselmann that is a stain on the species but that the threat to the species comes from another direction – the inability to see the tie between their destroyed humanity and our seemingly secure status as human. From this perspective, the Musselmann may be seen as the figure through which the idea of the human is tested. From this perspective, the test may be formulated through our response to the shame of the Musselmann. Should we be ashamed of them? Should we see their shameful existence, their inability to resist becoming living corpuses, as indicative of their status as the other of the human? Or should we be ashamed for them? Should we recognize their destroyed lived-bodies as something that could only happen to a human being? Being ashamed for the Musselmann rather than of them ties the shame of their unlivable humanity to the unique vulnerability of the lived human body. It opens a path toward an ethics and politics of vulnerability. Our first steps on this path might begin by returning to Antigone’s resistance to the edict that severed her brother from his humanity. Where she insisted that the

The Matter of the Other 235 fate of the city rested on the fate of her brother’s body, on recognizing his human right to the rites of a proper burial, it may be time for us to insist that the vulnerable humanity of the Musselmann be remembered for the sake of our own.

Bibliography Agamben, G. (2002). Remnants of Auschwitz: The Witness and the Archive. Transl. by D. Heller-Roazen. New York: Zone Books. Agamben, G. (2016). The Use of Bodies. Transl. by A. Kotsko. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Améry, J. (1980). At the Mind’s Limit: Contemplations by a Survivor on Auschwitz and Its Realities. Transl. by S. Rosenfeld and S. P. Rosenfeld. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Cavarero, A. (2009). Horrorism: Naming Contemporary Violence. New York: Columbia University Press. Euripides (2013). The Phoenician Women: Euripides IV. Ed. by D. Grene and R. Lattimore, transl. by E. Wyckoff. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Grant, R. (2018). “The Whispering Trees,” Smithsonian, March, 48–57. Lang, J. (2010). “Questioning Dehumanization: Intersubjective Dimension of Violence in the Nazi Concentration and Death Camps,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies 24(2), 225–246. Levi, P. (1960). If This Is a Man: Remembering Auschwitz. New York: Summit Books. Merleau-Ponty, M. (1973). Sense and Non-Sense. Transl. by H. L. Dreyfus and P. A. Dreyfus. Evanston: Northwestern University Press. Mifsud, M. (2015). Rhetorical Theory and Contemporary Communication. Pittsburgh: Duquesne Press. Waldenfels, B. (2011). Phenomenology of the Alien: Basic Concepts. Evanston: Northwestern University Press.

Part III

Phenomenology of Political Episteme

13 Instituting Institutions An Exploration of the Political Phenomenology of Stiftung Thomas Bedorf

1. Introduction The term institution in the sense that it is used in the fields of anthropology, sociology, and political science refers to a system of rules or a settlement, defined by rules, which creates a certain social order and through it establishes expectations about behavior. The act of settlement is linked to the Latin etymology, in which instituere includes within the semantic field to “situate,” “set up,” “fund,” and “establish,” as well as “to confront.” In its everyday usage, the German term Stiftung refers more narrowly to a certain type of institution, specifically to one that maintains an inheritance or a property or heritage, the use of which has been granted only for specific purposes by the founders of the institution or by its donors. From an institutional-theoretical perspective, an empirical or historical look at foundations may be important. But from a political-theoretical one, the semantics related to its origins and foundations emerge as more significant, an observation already recorded in the Grimm Brothers’ dictionary (Deutsches Wörterbuch 1971, 2876). Stiftungen thus refer to activities that take the initiative, that is, without a prior, causal prehistory, to set in motion a goal-oriented work or action. Examples from etymology include the foundation of cities, the erection of buildings, or charitable institutions, as well as those that are referred to today as foundations (Stiftungen). Digging deeper into the history of the word reveals that it has always maintained a link to its original, political meaning. Through an incitement (a Stiften) an “impetus for the development of an event [can] be given, mostly in the sense that one uses other people as an instrument or tool and drives them to a certain way of behaving or acting” (Deutsches Wörterbuch, 2887). The term Stiftung then, according to such a definition, designates a somehow dematerialized process, in putting more stress on the intellectual origins of the beginning and less on the concrete impact of behavior on others. With the aforementioned in mind, the philosophical preoccupation with the term can now build upon its semantic dimensions of founding and inciting. This preoccupation with the term is nonetheless in need of

240  Thomas Bedorf explanation. It is not a fundamental philosophical concept, a fact indicated by its absence from the Historisches Wörterbuch der Philosophie. Nevertheless, the etymology is used in the entry about institutions. In the history of religion and theology the Latin institutio refers to each indisputable, basic assumption, which serves as a hermeneutic frame for the exegesis. It is precisely for this reason that the “indisputable” nature of the institution soon proves to be unstable because the texts do not come with their own interpretation. All traditions, especially religious ones, carry within them this debate about their interpretation. The interconfessional debate thus centers on whether or not institutions established by Christ, or also those established after his death, should be endowed with authority (Dubiel 1976). From this brief etymological investigation two attributes of the term Stiftung emerge that justify its use as a concept in political philosophy: its initiality and its instability. In political philosophy, these attributes link the term with the political, as opposed to politics. Whereas politics means the institutionalized processes of decision making, the political points out the interrupting event of putting institutions into question. In the field of political theory – as far as it is not understood as a normative project concerned with the legitimization of political institutions – the term is linked with fundamental pluralities and conflictualities (be they sensory, discursive, or ontological) related to the balance of power (Marchart 2010; Bedorf and Röttgers 2010; McNay 2014; Prozorov 2014; Paipais 2017). Yet in this field of theories, the political has often been conceived as a rupture with or as an interruption to the order of politics as in the works of Jacques Rancière, Alain Badiou, Chantal Mouffe, and the like. The complexity of the relationship between the two, the political and politics, does not always seem to be taken into account. The Eigensinn of the political, which acts as a protest against the institutionalization and staged nature of politics, cannot be denied. But events related to the political, nonetheless, sometimes seem as if they were tailored to suit only the rare, radical, or revolutionary moments of historical magnitude, somehow replacing the historically and philosophically laden term “revolution.” Where the certainties of historical and philosophical teleologies are lost, only the pure, emphatic eventfulness remains. There is an extensive debate about the difference between the political and politics that cannot be delved into here. In the first, merely etymological, encounter with the term Stiftung in relation to the political, it conveys – as stated earlier – its initiality and instability. The term Stiftung should be examined as a possible alternative or parallel term that more precisely describes the meaning of an event of the political as understood within this theoretical field. Such an examination should be carried out without reverting to a celebration of the pure event. In the best-case scenario, the explorations that follow serve as an impetus to dealing systematically with the concept and with its implications from a political and theoretical

Instituting Institutions 241 perspective. A concept would not therewith be “created” (Deleuze and Guattari 1994, 5), as Deleuze and Guattari describe the task of philosophy. But insofar as each term possesses a “becoming,” it could possibly move from the sidelines onto the main court. The idea of Stiftung is indebted to the field of phenomenology. Edmund Husserl employed it to examine the genesis of meaning. But since Maurice Merleau-Ponty it has taken on an increasingly political connotation. Building on Merleau-Ponty, Claude Lefort and Cornelius Castoriadis continued this trajectory, and Stiftung grew to become a permanent part of the study of institutional processes within the field of phenomenology. Finally, the lasting impact of the term can be detected even in places where it is no longer used, such as in Heidegger’s problematization of the beginning or in Derrida’s paradoxes of performative foundations. Making its way along this historical path, the term has come to occupy a growing semantic field. The outcome of this journey is that Stiftung has acquired the contours of a political-theoretical term, which has proven itself worthy of being examined as a fundamental concept. The following discussion can offer nothing more than the preliminary groundwork for just such an examination. It sketches out a rough outline of points including, as its most important factors, repetition, eventness (avènement), groundlessness, retrospectivity, and performativity, all relevant to a more thorough examination. We should keep in mind that the discussion of each of these factors is necessarily partial and brief. We must begin, nonetheless, with an issue related to translation.

2. Stiftung and Institution: A Translation Problem as Transference of Meaning The initial focus on the etymology of the terms stiften (to endow, to institute) and Stiftung was due to the fact that the phenomenological shaping of the concept began in German. Edmund Husserl brought the word into play in various versions – Stiftung, Urstiftung, Nachstiftung, Endstiftung – the meaning of which will be examined in the following section. Without further investigation the translation of the word is scarcely understandable. “Le beau mot [the fine word] Stiftung” (Merleau-Ponty 1973, 68) inspired various translations, which opened up specific semantic possibilities (while at the same time closing others). In French, Stiftung was translated as “établissement,” “institution,” “création,” and even “fondement.” Among the most important early attempts are those by Emmanuel Levinas and Gabrielle Pfeiffer, who in their translation of Cartesian Meditations, handed down “Urstiftung” as “fondation première” and as “création première” (Husserl 1931, § 38 and § 50). Paul Ricœur, who in an early text from 1949 translates Stiftung as “fondation originelle,” also contributed to these early attempts, clarifying the expression as “proto-fondation” (Ricœur 1949, 293–294).

242  Thomas Bedorf In English, translations of Husserl choose the phrase “primal establishment” (Husserl 1970, 12) along with various versions of “founding” – Dermot Moran passed down four different expressions for the word Urstiftung, including “primal institution,” “primary instituting,” “primary founding,” and “primary foundation” (Moran 2005). The English translator of Cartesian Meditations, Dorion Cairns, came closest to the semantic meaning of the term, translating it as “primal instituting” (Husserl 1960, 80, 111; Cairns 1973, 108). In his translation of Merleau-Ponty’s La prose du monde (The Prose of the World), John O’Neill vacillated between “foundation” and “institution,” using both English words to refer to the German Stiftung. This evident uncertainty over the way that the meaning of Stiftung might be suitably conveyed is not necessarily problematic. On the contrary, it underscores the semantic flexibility of the term. The translation of Stiftung as “institution” appears to be the most appropriate for three reasons. First, if one compares the standing of statuere with the firmly laid or underlying fundamentum, the etymological criteria suggest that the term “institution” is more unstable than it sounds. What lies cannot fall down. What stands (and be it “institutional”), by contrast, can.1 Stiftung should not support something else “without help, without holding it up [but] rather stand alone” (Bojanić 2007, 238). Second, Merleau-Ponty’s translation of Stiftung as “institution” established a choice of words, which was widely accepted in French phenomenology. Finally, the translation of Stiftung as “institution” is also recommended for theoretical and strategic reasons. Only the term institution makes the connection and the alignment with a theory of political institutions possible.

3. Repetition: The Historicization of Meaning by Husserl The term Stiftung has its place in Husserl’s genetic phenomenology, which – while not entirely replacing the static methodology in his eidetic examination of already constituted objects – exceeds and expands it from the perspective of the historicity of experience (Lohmar 2011, 2017; Welton 1997). First of all, one has to take into account that the objects of consciousness are not simply given but have their own temporality and history. For example, an Urstiftung refers to the original meaning-­ making experience, such as the perception of an object, in which the totality of the meaning of an object is given. By virtue of the conscious mental life, which stands in subordination to the “great principle of iteration” (Husserl 1970, 71), a repetition is nonetheless essential, whereby the meaning receives durability through its sedimentation and habitualization. Although the prefix ur (pre) suggests uniqueness and credibility, it needs “reestablishment [Nachstiftung]” (Husserl 1970, 71), in order to make meaningful experiences. The world cannot be experienced “with a mere glance” (Husserl 1960, 78, translation modified). Moreover, the

Instituting Institutions 243 genesis includes collective and passive aspects, such that the originating of meaning always leans on parts outside of the transcendentally constituting consciousness. Through the Urstiftung, expectations emerge, which are either fulfilled or perhaps disappointed in the further processes of perception. Perception is organized with foreknowledge about what comes next. If expectations are not met, another type of organization of perception is then selected. Because types become habituated before predication, they persevere over superior cognitive knowledge. On the way to work I may turn onto a street that is blocked off because of construction works, despite the fact that the day before I had already noticed there was construction there. I took this wrong turn because this route is part of my daily routine. I should have known better. The repetitive nature of Stiftung that is implied by Nachstiftung leaves the construction of meaning open. For the meaning to acquire perfect clarity a “final establishment” (Husserl 1970, 72, Endstiftung) is thus expected. Yet, this expectation is hardly ever fulfilled. The ideality of meaning is idealized in a temporal and historical sense. The timeliness of Stiftung and the participation of others in its constitution provoke the object’s meaning-making to “strike” the ego (at least partially). More consequential was Husserl’s use of the term Stiftung in relation to the genesis of science and philosophy in Greek antiquity or at the onset of modernity, as inaugurated by Descartes (Husserl 1970, 11–14, 1976, 427, 432, 438). In Krisis, Husserl diagnosed a crisis of science in which the origins of Stiftung from out the lifeworld praxis have been forgotten. Experience constructs types into a “practice of perfecting” (Husserl 1970, 26), moving across an open horizon. The natural sciences, by contrast, which Galileo represented as mathematized, aim pragmatically at the ideality of methodologically secured data. The problem with the crisis diagnosed by Husserl is not this process of objectivation but the fact that this scientific and idealized access to the world is mistaken for the world itself in its entirety. At the origins of this mathematicized idealization of the modern natural sciences, the inaugurating origins must have, by contrast, already existed. Remaining necessarily implicit, these origins can nonetheless be ascertained through explication. Here Husserl wants to show that the genetic retreat to geometry’s Stiftung is orientated not to its term but to the “carrying out” of its implementation. Put in more contemporary terms, one could say that Husserl wanted to return to the performative aspects of, for example, the art of surveying that took place at the moment of the term’s implementation. In so doing, he hoped to provide evidence for the genesis of the term’s meaning instead of relying only on the logic of its justification. Reconstructing its performative carrying out parallels any analysis of the reasons for their validity. He therefore sought to emphasize the not-being-constituted of identity, which first takes shape at the moment of the event and which cannot rely

244  Thomas Bedorf on a constituting substance. Yet despite this dynamicization at its genesis, it remains notoriously uncertain how the ideality of entities, at which Stiftungen finally take aim, should, in principle, be distinguished from Platonic ideas. According to Blumenberg, “the genesis of the logical from out of the ‘lifeworld’ is ‘platonicized’ ” (Blumenberg 1986). Or, in Derrida’s words, “the Endstiftung [is] indefinitely deferred [différée] in its content but always evident in its regulative value” (Derrida 1989, 138). This critique is accurate insofar as Husserl always had in view the “horizon of humanity” which is the telos to preserve the meaning as language and as writing and thus “assures oneself from the start, after the self-evident primal establishment, of its capacity to be reactivated and enduringly maintained” (Husserl 1970, 362). Such a connection exceeds the narrow space of epistemology – as Husserl explains – and the Kantian a priori is dynamicized to an “a priori of history” (Husserl 1970, 371). Husserl’s teleology of “humanity” makes it impossible to understand as an analogy to the “historical a priori” the way Foucault did. Foucault renounced any original meaning by conceptualizing history, in a Nietzschean sense, by its plurality and contingency, instead of by its unifying meaning. Even if in the end, Foucault clearly rejected the Husserlian idea of an Urstiftung of rationality, he nonetheless sees in the pluralization of Stiftungen (“different foundations, different creations, different modifications”) the reason for the conflictual simultaneity and reciprocal modification of rationalities (Foucault 1983, 202). Husserl, by contrast, concludes finally with an “absolute a priori” without regard to historical and cultural differences “for all of humanity, all times, all peoples” (Husserl 1970, 377, transl. slightly modified). The term Stiftung – as Husserl forged it – is, in consequence, not yet suited for use in a pluralistic political philosophy that accounts for contingency.

4. Avènement: Merleau-Ponty’s Opening to the “Instituted” Field With the term Stiftung, Husserl thus provides a possibility of reconciling the singularity of a historical founding event with the varieties of its continuation (something Husserl labeled “habitualization”) in the process of instituting a meaning. Merleau-Ponty was among the first to recognize the meaning of the term institution. Without the guidance of consciousness, the constitution of meaning is hardly conceivable. As a result, it tends toward a philosophy, which supports a philosophy of consciousness that is necessarily one-sided. Stiftung (French: “institution”) allows more of a margin for conceiving even a corporeal way of formation of meaning. If one understands the world as instituted instead of as constituted, it is possible to conceive of an operative definition for Stiftung that refers to previous ones and that forms the content of future ones. Intersubjectivity

Instituting Institutions 245 is thus formulated as Mitstiftung, without degrading others to a double or negative of the subject (Merleau-Ponty 2010, 76). According to Merleau-Ponty’s definition, “institution” describes every event of experience that confers enduring dimensions upon which other experiences can build meaning and construct a history (ibid., 8sq. see 76sq.). Meaning is established by linking together events and thereby establishing a structural connection, by which only an event becomes an experience. Yet there is not only one possible experience; other linkages are equally possible. As Lyotard puts it, albeit in another context: “To link is necessary, but a particular linkage is not” (Lyotard 1988, 80). The effect of a Stiftung is not data, not reified elements of an inflexible series but an open field of experience. The term “field” stands for both structure and openness. What a history establishes (stiftet) is accompanied by an open future, the way that a birth is not an act but the “institution of a future [avenir]” (Merleau-Ponty 2010, 8). Merleau-Ponty distinguishes the term institution from an event that would be completely void of meaning, one that is unable to impart meaning on its own and instead wholly subject to an interpretation (and again to an act). This difference is articulated in French by the distinction between événement and avènement or, to put in more precise terms, through the understanding of événement as avènement. The avènement comes to open up an undetermined horizon, which rises alongside Stiftung and expands in its temporal reach (while one could, by contrast, misunderstand événement as pure appearance without a timely dimension). Derrida – without citing Merleau-Ponty – also made productive political and theoretical use of this distinction for his “démocratie à venir.” In his 1954–1955 lectures, Merleau-Ponty examined the term Stiftung in relation to the development of personality, art, and the history of truth. In his evaluation of the term’s connection to the political, Merleau-Ponty paid particular attention to a fourth dimension. Turning to history, he undertook a reinterpretation of the notion of a historical new beginning. Basically, he hypothesized that an irreducible reciprocity between Stiftung and subject is contained within the conception of field. The meaning of field and Stiftung have to be grasped such that, according to Merleau-­ Ponty, “they give what they do not have and what we receive from them; we bring it to them” (Merleau-Ponty 2010, 60). If the instituted historical-­cultural field gives what it does not possess, this means that the Stiftung – its initiative, its intention – goes beyond the present institution’s givenness. And if, conversely, what is received from inside the field is brought into it, this could be understood as a formula for the necessity of repetition within cultural practices. In short, Stiftungen cannot be what they are without Nachstiftungen. With reference to the question of historical origins, this reciprocal contingency now means that there may indeed be origins but that they can only be carried out partially,

246  Thomas Bedorf conditionally. In this attenuated – but actually very precise – sense, MerleauPonty can then speak of “permanent revolution” (Merleau-Ponty 2010, 81). This does not mean the permanence of revolution as a political mode of activism linked to a radical critique but that the dynamic of the Stiftung persists in every institution. Insofar as the (open) future of an institution in an avènement is instituted (gestiftet), this future continues the institution as much as it modifies it. Counter to Sartre’s existentialist determination to depict the new as a rupture resulting from a radical choice, Merleau-Ponty sees both continuity as well as change as part of ambivalent margins, both of which necessarily inhere within instituted institution’s acts of reestablishment (Nachstiftungsakten). In further contrast to the existential view of revolution that suggests a succession from origin and historical variation, Stiftung is a performative term. It refuses a teleology of reason as well as an activist decisionism (Dupond 2001, 27ff.). In a Stiftung, meaning occurs and the subject is created with it, such that a previously constituting subject (or a guiding egological consciousness, as Husserl suggested) must no longer be postulated. Instead of a subject that generalizes the object to become objectivity, there exists a “lateral generalization” (Merleau-Ponty 2003, 103), which, within the “field,” simultaneously creates subjectivities and generalities. In comparison to other, competing explanations of social formations, there emerges a critique of the notion of society that conceives of it as either the “opaqueness” of purely positive factualities or the result of a structure that would be unconsciously effective, obscured from individuals’ conscious perception (Merleau-Ponty 2003, 63f.). Thinking of institution in this sense of avènement and of field distances itself from the alternative between absolute knowledge and absolute relativism.

5. Groundlessness: Lefort’s and Castoriadis’s Politicization of the Institution Focusing exclusively on its political meaning, Claude Lefort picked up on the term’s fundamental objective, something that Merleau-Ponty had merely touched on in passing. The Stiftung “is not the opposite of revolution; the revolution is an additional Stiftung,” (Merleau-Ponty 2010, 42). Lefort maintained Merleau-Ponty’s view that the origin of a political order cannot be classified within a historical chronology. To firmly establish the origin of an order means to preclude the possibility of a bird’s eye view in which the events of the order’s foundation were to be stringed together in a functional sequence. Only a singularized event outside of any historical logic could work as a real origin. Conversely, a consistent philosophy of history can never grant a foundational act as the origin of a political order, which the narrative demands. A “distortion of the originary” (Lefort and Gauchet 1971, 13) consists in the double “impossibility for us to make the origin present” and “to decree

Instituting Institutions 247 the absent origin” (ibid.). With this aporia, Lefort distances himself from the economic theory of Marxism that deduces the legitimation of power from the structures of ownership, and from classical historical paradigms that subordinate all historical innovations and ruptures to the advance of humankind’s rational development (Merleau-Ponty 1969, 64). As a contrast to such teleologies, which attribute only a secondary role to the political instituting event, Lefort formulates the “present-absent foundation” as a “continued institution” of the social order itself (Lefort and Gauchet 1971, 13). The Stiftung of the social order is groundless but still does not come from nothing. Lefort changes the social and philosophical meaning of the ontological term “flesh,” as developed by Merleau-Ponty, to refer to a sign of each relationality, which still lacked a form. According to Lefort, “flesh” refers to a lifeworldly “mode of difference between points of reference, by means of which the experience of common life takes shape” (Lefort 2006, 168). The points of reference are not given empirically but maintain their meaning foremost by the differentiated events of “establishing a relationship” (ibid.). Only through the further step of formation, however, does the morphological “flesh of the social” (Lefort 1988, 14) obtain its configuration. “Giving them a form implies both giving them meaning (mise en sens) and staging them (mise en scène).” (Lefort 1988, 11) The formation already establishes differentiations, which make it possible for a society to perceive itself as ordered – and to think of itself as a particular sort of society at all. They lend it meaning. This act of meaning-making should not be understood as an intentional establishment of meaning, which would be consciously and rationally carried out by constituting social actors but as a “staging.” This theatrical metaphor means that the formation – to draw on the language of contemporary theory – is a practical configuration or a performative act. The “instituting function of power” (Lefort 1979, 27) itself produces what it labels through the process of formation. Formation gives the symbolic its meaning, which in turn enables a society to affirm its self-understanding. The act of symbolization through signs is not a matter of simple depiction of an already established order. Lefort describes the representative function as “quasi-representation” in order to distinguish between the performative creation and its mere depiction. In direct reference to Merleau-Ponty, Cornelius Castoriadis takes up the issue of the term Stiftung. He makes a distinction between a transcendental constitution and a socio-historical institution. Although Castoriadis regards Merleau-Ponty’s thinking as paving the way for an opening, he nonetheless criticizes Merleau-Ponty for what he alleges amounts to ontological statics. Had Merleau-Ponty taken the term Stiftung more seriously – as his accusation goes – and had he allowed for its use less as an ontological term, then he would have recognized that our perception is already culturally and historically configured. Castoriadis used this insight to subtly dissect Merleau-Ponty’s analysis: “If our perception

248  Thomas Bedorf is cultural and historical, this means it originates, at least partially, in the institution” (Castoriadis 1983, 112). Institutions are socially, culturally, and historically situated and are inconceivable otherwise. The contingency that is essential to the term Stiftung means, as Castoriadis stressed, the impossibility of a rational final justification. The institution “is the creation, which outside of itself does not find requisite or sufficient conditions. . . . [It is] bringing into being a manifestation of the radical imaginary” (Castoriadis 1983, 113). Despite this distancing from Merleau-Ponty, Castoriadis builds upon one of Merleau-Ponty’s central tenets in another respect. The appellation of political Stiftungen as a “permanent revolution” in Merleau-Ponty could have been interpreted in such a way that the (open) future of an instituted institution is conceived as both continuation and alteration. Castoriadis then makes it clear that societies do not freely (“revolutionarily”) invent their symbolic orders but “must instead make use of what is ‘already there’ ” (Castoriadis 2005, 121). It may be that the signifier seeks to “loosen itself from each tight connection to a certain signified and that this possibly leads it into an entirely different direction.” No reestablishment, however, is free from these linkages to a history of the institution. Castoriadis deems the explanation of the institution insufficient, which, functionalist in its approach, is able to deny the surplus of the symbolic and its reproductive and transformative power. Such functionalist approaches must assert that social life gives expression to something that possessed already complete reality prior to every symbolization in speech. But such content is only formulable under the conditions of the institution. As Castoriadis puts it: “The ‘real social relations’ . . . are always instituted” (Castoriadis 2005, 124, emphasis in original). In short, according to the logic of Stiftung, groundlessness does not imply arbitrariness. Castoriadis counters Merleau-Ponty’s adherence to ontology by introducing the notion of the imaginary. Borrowing from the field of psychoanalysis, he argues for a notion of power that is productive, which is embedded individually as well as collectively, and from which institutions emerge in the first place. Castoriadis emphasizes that productive actions are only conceivable if Being is, like “magma”, perceived as an energetic substance, still unformed or at least not fully defined. Otherwise creations would only be reproductions of forms that are already on hand or at least in embryo. A politically creative practice such as the invention of Greek democracy is, in this sense, an “institution of a new social rule . . . the invention of a new object or a new form” (Castoriadis 2005, 44). Castoriadis considers a society that institutes itself autonomous: one that conceives its own rules and order. Such a society is not subject to any prescribed law (nomos) but creates it itself (autos). Indeed the “the emergence of new institutions . . . is not a ‘discovery’ . . . but an active constitution” (Castoriadis 2005, 133). Because Castoriadis advocates for the

Instituting Institutions 249 permanent possibility of acting in a generally autonomous and productive way, his view culminates in a creatio ex nihilo that he also describes as such. He has been subject to much criticism for his underestimation of the relationship between reflection and creative change, on the one hand, and the resistance and the inertness of the already existing, on the other. One could agree with Jean-Luc Nancy and also understand Stiftung, politicized by Lefort and Castoriadis, as groundlessness. It can be labeled “the ‘without reason’ [sans raison] of the world or its absence of ground [absence de fondement]” (Nancy 2007, 47). Stiftung and foundation distinguish themselves from one another precisely in that the former is conceived as a founding without a foundation (on the metaphoric see Heidenreich 2016). The contingent nature of the groundlessness of the process of social institutionalization means that instituting an institution can only ever succeed in instituting one (particular) institution. A political “we” that assembles itself into an institutionalization cannot guarantee the “we” that is addressed as such within the institution. The corresponding “we” is not congruent with the one that is so named. There remains a “gap between the ‘we’ that speaks and the ‘we’ that is mentioned in the explanation” (Waldenfels 2008, 262; see Garcia 2016; Marrou 2016). According to Waldenfels, this gap in the instituting events demands, if one wants to take it into account, “a phenomenology, a . . . genealogy, or a . . . deconstruction of the political, through which the process of normalization as process is made known and also held open” (Waldenfels 2008, 263, italics mine, Th. B.). The gap in the groundless Stiftung makes its permanent state of instability and changeability visible.

6. Retroactivity: Heidegger on the Inaccessibility of Every Beginning The reason why Heidegger had no use for the term Stiftung in the Husserlian sense is because of the definitive dismissal of all the remains from the philosophy of consciousness. The question of another beginning, which could offer an alternative version of the history of Western metaphysics as a forgetting of the Sein, leads Heidegger to think about what a beginning is in the first place – what a beginning implies. The reflections, in which Heidegger engaged in Spruch des Anaximander about the question of the translatability of the first words of philosophy, could enrich our understanding of Stiftung, after Husserl. Heidegger identifies the problem of the beginning in a line of text from Anaximander, considered the oldest text in Western philosophy. This assertion, at the outset, presents historical and philological issues. Even if this is the oldest sentence from philosophy that has been passed down, it is not certain that it is the oldest. There may have been earlier texts or other authors that have not been passed down because the documents were lost. It should also be considered whether or not philosophy must

250  Thomas Bedorf be (or had to be) written or if philosophy, in its origins, was more akin to spoken thought (qua dialogue). In any case, Anaximander’s text is (for now) only the first in a contingent sense. Even if one is willing to accept this contingency, the problem of dealing with this beginning still remains fully intact. The problem arises precisely when we, as latecomers to philosophy, want to approach the meaning of philosophy’s first sentence. Because we do not speak the language of Anaximander, we must translate it. The language of philosophy that we speak is indeed 2700 years older than that of the author of Samos. This language reinforced itself through a complicated history of coinages and conceptualizations that belong to philosophy – indeed that philosophy itself is, insofar as one understands philosophy as working on a conception. If philosophers like Nietzsche or philologists like the editor of Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, Hermann Diels, are calling Anaximander prePlatonic or pre-Socratic, then it is not only the mere naming of a group of thinkers but a system of classification that accounts for what comes after: Socratic philosophers (or Plato and Aristotle as names linked to an established philosophy) upon which the further history of text toils in both a positive and negative sense. Even if one discusses “archaic” philosophers, this label betrays the unspoken primacy of philosophy as it developed conceptually. Although Heidegger’s propositions framed this and other early texts as “latecomers to philosophy” (Heidegger 2002, 245), in the context of these discussions, he was only interested in the form of the problem insofar as it helped shed further light on the dilemma of the Stiftung. One does not have to agree with Heidegger’s thesis that “the destiny of the West rests on the translation of the word ἐόν” (Heidegger 2002, 260) to consider as unavoidable the paradox of the beginning, because Anaximander did not use words like ỏν as concepts (the Sein). In Heidegger’s words: “He cannot have used them this way since conceptual language is something necessarily foreign to him” (Heidegger 2002, 257). Hence one cannot translate them in philosophical terms. The paradox can be expressed as follows: If Anaximander’s sentence is the first sentence of philosophy, it is untranslatable. Put in more general terms: Every first sentence of philosophy would be either untranslatable or it would not be the first sentence of philosophy. If philosophy first arose with Anaximander’s sentence, then there are no grounds for certainty for its translation, on which the meaning of the word ỏν, for example, could be built. This is because earlier so-called non-philosophy is irrelevant as something merely used in reference to the lifeworld, cults, or literature. The original language is not yet philosophical and is therefore not available as a space of meaning-making out of which the translation can be created. The word ỏν is, however, already philosophical, such that in this sense the pre-philosophical space cannot be its source. The first

Instituting Institutions 251 sentence of philosophy is thus untranslatable, because it marked something new, to which semantics cannot be traced. If this first sentence was not untranslatable, then it would not be the first sentence of philosophy. This is because the usual semantics would not be sufficient to ensure the meaning of the words in their translation. Something new would not come into being that, in theory, distinguishes it from the semantics of its origins. The paradox of the tension between the not-yet and the always-already cannot be solved. One does not have to draw conclusions from this paradox the way that Heidegger did, claiming that it can be explained with the “enigma of being” (Heidegger 2002, 259). Nonetheless, one does gain insight into the differential non-presentness of Stiftung. To the extent that something (for example, philosophy through Anaximander) is instituted, it cannot ever be determined or defined unequivocally and free from paradox – what has been instituted when. Only retroactively can an event be declared as an instituting event. One must already be familiar with the institution in order to be able to explain the event as an event of the instituting event.

7. Performativity: Derrida’s Aporias of the Stiftung The performative power of political Stiftungen as developed by Lefort is also stressed elsewhere by Jacques Derrida, whose work inhabits the margins of phenomenology. Derrida examines the paradox of the signature in the American Declaration of Independence, where the American people (“in the name . . . of the good people”) declare themselves free. They document this freedom and their future legitimacy through the act of recording the text. The people are thus entitled to freedom only upon the signing of the document. At the same time, the people constitute themselves only with the document as sovereign. The people could not yet sign it because as citizens who possessed this freedom the people did not yet exist; the signatories only came into being through the act of the Declaration of Independence itself. The signing subject thus signed in anticipation of its future existence. Any connection to such instituted institutions cannot, therefore, simply be continued in an identical manner. It is only conceivable as “iterability” when it is not a mere static reproduction but a “difference in repetition” (Derrida 2002, 24). Being an “inheritor” of an instituting event is, in theory, therefore only conceivable as having missed it. Even to decline an inheritance, however, would be a way to accept it. Because no Stiftung is unequivocal, subsequent interpretations are open. Inheritances are, in and of themselves, diverse, “ghostlike.” As Derrida explains, “What we are, we inherit . . . we are what we inherit” (Derrida 2002, 26). Insofar as the precarious inheritance can only be adopted and continued by means of a “we” and at the same time only through an inheritance can the interpretation of an inheritance be realized, a responsibility emerges through the inheritance of the instituting

252  Thomas Bedorf institution. Doing justice to it – whatever that may imply – calls for a politics of inheritance. Finally, we find the spectral plurality of iteration in Waldenfels’s responsive phenomenology as well. Here the term Stiftung is expanded to refer to the contingent origins of an order but not only to a political system. Institution events (Stiftungsereignisse) are then the key events of a foundation, from which a system emerges that is characterized neither as random nor essential but contingent. “These events without a master,” in the sense that they are not caused by those for whom they constitute key events, are those “which cannot be fitted into an existing context but rather themselves form landscapes and trigger histories” and are “ ‘primal institutions’ (Urstiftungen) in which validity and genesis are inseparably linked” (Waldenfels 1996, 95). According to Waldenfels, key events, which are instituting orders, can be found in all historically composed processes: biography, history of science, history of political regimes, and the natural history of humanity.

8. A Political Stance As we made our way along this pathway, we gathered a number of clues about what possibilities might be introduced if the term Stiftung is read from a political perspective. The Husserlian invention of the term provides the first lead, by linking from the outset the inaugural power of Stiftung to iterations. Without repetition, Stiftungen are not present in Nachstiftungen. The historicization of explanations and foundations are bound up with their habitualization in a “praxis of perfection.” While Husserl still referred to teleological idealities (albeit unattainable ones) with Merleau-Ponty’s reading, they lost their idealization to the instituted field’s open and malleable future. Here the mere event is understood as an open avènement. Merleau-Ponty prepared the way by using the key term “permanent revolution” but only in reference to history. Building on Merleau-Ponty, Lefort and Castoriadis highlighted the term’s political meaning. The groundlessness of the institution owes to the contingent nature of the instituting events that the institutionalization cannot ever fully guarantee. This is because the place of the institutionalization’s establishment would never be fully occupied and legitimated. To think of Stiftung politically thus means to have to select possible connections in their plural individuality, while at the same time remaining mindful of the irrationality of such connections. The paradoxical time structure of every instituting beginning – as Heidegger could have been read – consists in the fact that the instituting event can only be explained as such retroactively. This is because it cannot be both the driver and passenger of its own explanation. Every interpretation happens après coup, but without interpretation there is no Stiftung. The “we” that realizes such an interpretation, or rather declares a “masterless” instituting event as such, is

Instituting Institutions 253 for its part never contained within itself. It is, instead, characterized by a division between every “we” that speaks and every “we” from which the declarative act speaks. The performativity of every Stiftung creates an indelible, aporetic tension, by which inheritance – as ascertained from Derrida – should be read and reported from a political perspective. If one desires to extract Stiftung from its phenomenological history in order to render it productive from a perspective of political theory, it could be worthwhile to consider the aforementioned aspects of repetition, as related to the inaugurating events (avènement), groundlessness, retroactivity, and performativity. None of this provides a systematic, substantive interpretation of the term Stiftung from a political and theoretical perspective. Some of the proposed readings are all too cursory and possibly of only marginal significance. Some may seem one-sided. Some contradictions between single aspects have not been pursued. It is uncertain whether a closer inspection would allow for further clarity. There is nonetheless a point that seems to connect these readings of Stiftung. The term Stiftung, deeply intertwined with the concept of the political, is characterized by a fundamentally anti-decisionistic thrust. Groundless contingency does not mean relativistic arbitrariness. By stressing that politics “is nothing more than the placing of a ground” (Plessner 1918, 174), Helmut Plessner also raised the notion of a situative new beginning, which is directed against both the ratification of prescribed rules and against the radical creatio ex nihilo (Schürmann 2018).2 Merleau-Ponty had already distanced himself from Sartre’s decisionistic, existential emphasis on a radical new beginning in favor of a notion of permanent revolution that is richer in variety and constructed upon repetition. In the ontological event of the political, the pathos of the new beginning yields to an awareness of the contingent, but not arbitrary, connection. It remains to be considered whether a philosophy of the political might, on this basis, be able to initiate something.

Notes 1. The imagery of the metaphorical semantics is not stable. The metaphor of the field – of central importance for Merleau-Ponty – that is opened by a Stiftung is not reducible to the imagery of something unsteady standing. 2. The “new beginning” is also a main feature of Hannah Arendt’s political philosophy, not discussed here. From the natality over the social possibility to begin a new sequence of actions to the instituted beginning of the French Revolution, Arendt emphasizes instituting capacities. See Loidolt 2018; Marchart 2014.

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14 Intentionality, Representation, Recognition Phenomenology and the Politics of A-Legality Hans Lindahl 1. Introduction This chapter offers a phenomenological reading of what I will call the politics of a-legality. I introduce the notion of a-legality as a technical term for a mode of appearance specific to legal orders, namely, behavior that appears as either legal or illegal (hence the “legality” of a-legality) yet which is unintelligible in its legal intelligibility because it resists qualification through both terms of this binary distinction (hence the “a” of a-legality). I propose to read a-legality as the privileged legal mode of appearance of the alien or strange, itself a recurrent motif of phenomenological philosophy. Accordingly, if I undertake a phenomenological reading of legal ordering, an account of the politics of a-legality aspires to show some of the ways in which phenomenology might profit from an enquiry into the politics at work in the structure and genesis of legal orders. The initial focus of this enquiry is intentionality, both individual and collective. This seems like a good place to start. Arguably, Husserl’s explorations into intentionality, as captured in the canonical formulation “something as something,” are at the heart of phenomenological philosophy, even though his successors have taken this fundamental insight in directions quite different to those explored by the founder of phenomenology. But if intentionality is a – perhaps the – privileged phenomenological gate of entry into my enquiry, intentionality becomes a properly political concept when reconfigured in terms of representation and recognition. So, whereas intentionality illuminates a politics of a-legality, conversely, representation and recognition cast light on the political and legal stakes of intentionality. These are, then, the three conceptual markers orienting an enquiry into phenomenology and a politics of a-legality: intentionality, representation, recognition. Two caveats. First, it is not my ambition to engage in a scholarly assessment of the contributions to collectives and collective intentionality that might be extracted from phenomenologists who have dealt with the topic, beginning with Husserl himself (see Szanto and Moran 2016). Instead, I would like to outline the main contours of the politics of a-legality, drawing on those contributions where that is helpful. Second, while the

Intentionality, Representation, Recognition 257 foundational phenomenological motif of “something as something” governs how I approach and link together intentionality, representation, and recognition, my development of these three categories may be quite different to how they are dealt with by any specific phenomenologist. Here again, I will ignore those differences. The Sache selbst of the politics of a-legality commands my attention, not a claim to affiliation with any given strand of phenomenological philosophy.

2. Intentionality I follow an indirect strategy to take legal order into phenomenology. Instead of directly discussing intentionality as a central category of phenomenological philosophy, I turn to legal philosophy for the traces of something like a legal intentionality at work in the attempt to conceptualize legal order. Hans Kelsen’s Pure Theory of Law is fertile ground for such an enquiry, even though its methodological and substantive presuppositions blocked a phenomenological approach to legal order. Two Kelsenian contributions to a theory of legal order are of particular interest for my purposes. The first is the concept of the legal norm as a “scheme of interpretation,” the second, his account of the spheres of validity of legal norms. When read in a phenomenological key, these two contributions point to the systematic connection between intentionality, both individual and collective, and world. A phenomenological reception of these two contributions suggests that a legal order – better: legal ­ordering – is, as one might put it, a second-order mode of worldly involvement. Legal ordering is a social mode of practical engagement with the world oriented to enabling certain social forms of practical engagement with the world. This is, phenomenologically speaking, the basic function of legal ordering at work in what Kelsen calls empowerment (Ermächtigung), even though it remains beyond the bailiwick of his analyses. Turning to his characterization of legal norms as “schemes of interpretation,” Kelsen notes that human behavior becomes a legal act by dint of acquiring a legal meaning, and it acquires this meaning when brought into relation with a legal norm. Take a parliamentary enactment, an administrative act, a judicial decision, a private law transaction, a delict; each of these events acquires its legal meaning through an interpretative act in which someone qualifies something with one or the other legal meaning contained in a legal norm. When a judge establishes as a given a concrete material fact (say, a delict), his cognition . . . becomes legal at the point at which he brings together the material fact he has established and the statute he is to apply; that is, his cognition becomes legal when he interprets the material fact as “theft” or “fraud.” (Kelsen 2002, 11; emphasis added)

258  Hans Lindahl This description of legal interpretation comes very close to thematizing the basic structure and dynamic of intentionality, as summarized in the formulation that something appears as something to someone. But moving too quickly from norms as schemes of interpretation to norms themselves as the object of interpretation, Kelsen fails to ask whether the interpretation of legal norms also discloses “something as something,” such that “interpretation” points to a fundamental feature of the human engagement with reality (see Lindahl 2002). Kelsen’s second contribution to a phenomenology of legal order turns on the “spheres of validity” of legal norms. In a nutshell, he argues, legal orders order by determining who ought to do what, where, and when, whereby “ought” is a place-holder for commands, permissions, and prohibitions. In other words, legal orders order behavior by setting its spatial, temporal, subjective, and material boundaries. Although Kelsen does not pursue this line of thinking, it amounts to arguing that legal orders are never only systems of norms. They are also pragmatic orders which configure certain kinds of relations between different places, subjects, times, and act-contents. They also integrate these four kinds of relations as the dimensions of a single order of behavior, such that certain acts by certain persons are allowed or disallowed at certain times and in certain places. There is an internal connection between legal boundaries and (il)legality, the fundamental distinction governing how legal orders disclose reality. Indeed, the spatial, temporal, subjective, and material boundaries laid down by legal norms determine what can appear as (il)legal behavior; conversely, to determine what counts as (il)legal behavior is to establish who ought to do what, where, and when. Crucially, things, persons, and events acquire their legal meanings by pointing beyond themselves to a pragmatic order as a meaningful nexus of legal relations. Under normal conditions, legal norms and the corresponding pragmatic order remain more or less unthematized and unobtrusive at the background of each event in which something appears as something to someone. So much for Kelsen. I would now like to show how these two contributions are productive for a phenomenology of legal order. While I have referred to intentionality when discussing legal interpretation, I have said nothing about how legal interpretation might be exemplary for collective intentionality in a legal mode. When does something appear as something to someone, not only to an individual, nor to a manifold of individuals considered separately – “we each,” in Margaret Gilbert’s vocabulary – but rather to a range of individuals as participants in joint action – “we together,” as she puts it (Gilbert 1992, 186)?1 More precisely, under what conditions does an individual’s interpretation, i.e., my disclosure of this event or situation as having this or that legal meaning, appear as an interpretation that we* share or ought to share? To answer this question, consider three scenarios, which successively allow me to introduce the three-way distinction between legality, illegality, and a-legality.2

Intentionality, Representation, Recognition 259 In a first scenario, a group of backpacking friends pitches a tent in a public park in the area authorized to this effect by a municipal ordinance, as formulated in a sign which reads, “Camping allowed in this zone; please obey the rules for the use of this camping terrain.” The sign (Zeichen) is, in Heidegger’s terminology, a Zeug that provides orientation in a pragmatic order. The backpackers go about their business of cooking, do some sightseeing and decamp a couple of days later, moving on to their next destination. They act in accordance with the law: They enter the park and leave as established by the ordinance; their daily activities unfold routinely and pose no problems for their neighbors, who simply notice them as fellow campers. While it would be possible to explicate what is happening in legal terms, there is no occasion or need to explicitly qualify their behavior as legal. The applicable legal norms remain more or less unobtrusive – fully operative or zuhanden, as one might put it – and so also that the backpackers, like all other campers, are their addressees as participants in a legal order that determines who ought to do what, where, and when. In a second scenario, the backpackers engage in rowdy behavior well into the early hours of the morning. The other campers, who could not shut an eye due to the ruckus, complain to the friends, calling in the police when they refuse to shut up. The backpackers are forced to decamp after some tussling with the police. Their behavior is illegal, it was established. They had breached the applicable municipal ordinance, which becomes obtrusive in the mode of inoperativeness – Vorhandenheit, again evoking Heidegger’s vocabulary. The norm ceases to be effective in structuring reality, such that our attention is called to it in the mode of a means that no longer does its work, namely, to realize the end for the sake of which it was enacted.3 The breach of an applicable rule has its counterpart in the interruption of joint action, which becomes conspicuous, qua ordering process, in the mode of disorder. It is not only the sign which suddenly becomes obtrusive as that which is breached, so also the boundaries that establish who ought to do what, where, and when, as stipulated by the sign. “You, like the rest of us, should keep quiet after 10 P.M.!” shouts one of the exasperated campers. The campers’ exasperation shows that the distinction between legality and illegality is not merely cognitive; it speaks to a preference in the difference in which affects elicit emotions, and emotions evince motivational structures that move persons to act in one way rather than another. Legal intentionality is affective through and through. Furthermore, the qualification of the backpackers’ act as illegal renders us* thematic as a collective, calling attention to the web of mutual expectations that participants ought to entertain with respect to one another, whereby the mutuality of their expectations involves a reference to the group qua unit: to the first-person plural perspective of a “we together.” In brief, the interruption renders the three dimensions of a legal order more or less conspicuous: as the unity of a we*, as the unity of a system of norms, as the unity of a pragmatic order. Importantly,

260  Hans Lindahl whoever qualifies their behavior as illegal reaffirms each of these three dimensions; she reaffirms legal order in the face of disorder.4 In a third scenario, a group of Aboriginal activists pitched a tent on the lawns contiguous to Parliament House in Canberra on January 26, 1972, taking advantage of the fact that no municipal ordinance prohibited doing so. At the initiative of Tom Coorey, they dubbed the tent the “Aboriginal Tent Embassy” because, as Gary Foley, a fellow activist, explained it, “The government had declared us aliens in our land and so [Coorey thought] we need an Embassy just like all other aliens.” Indeed, Foley and his friends viewed the Aboriginal Tent Embassy as a “symbolic response” to the statement by Prime Minister McMahon on the occasion of that year’s Australia Day, in which the head of government recognized “the deep affinity between Aboriginal peoples and the land” and announced new policies on land holdings on Aboriginal reserves that would give them “effective and respected places within one Australian society,” inasmuch as “the idea of separate development [of Aboriginal communities] as a long term aim is utterly alien” to the objectives of those policies. This policy stood in sharp contrast to the demands of Aboriginal activists, namely, that they be granted a separate status in recognition of the colonization of their lands. In a statement put out in the early stages of the occupation, the Aboriginal ambassadors to Australia demanded the retraction of McMahon’s statement and compensation for stolen lands, warning the government that they would stay till their demands were met. The Tent Embassy took the McMahon government by surprise, leaving it in a state of disarray and disorientation paired to considerable irritation and embarrassment in the face of national and international attention to the event. Several months later, the Aboriginal Tent Embassy was forcibly dismantled and the Aboriginal ambassadors evicted. But that was not the end of the matter. It became the model for new encampments that – literally – took place on the lawns of what is now Old Parliament House in 1974, 1979, and 1992. The encampment of 1992, which demanded the recognition of Aboriginal sovereignty, is still in place (Cited in Power 2014, 76). Like in the second scenario, the conspicuousness of the encampment was correlative to the conspicuousness of Australian law. In this case because a municipal ordinance prohibiting the encampment was missing. Moreover, pitching the Tent Embassy, as was the case with the rowdy backpackers, renders conspicuous the legal boundaries of the pragmatic order establishing who ought to do what, where, and when. Finally, like with illegality, the reference of the Aborigines’ act to a collective – we* Australians – was interrupted. But there are also significant differences between the second and third scenarios. The Aborigines called attention to the operation of inclusion and exclusion at work in qualifying the place they occupied as a public space: The commonality predicated of the House of Parliament lawns

Intentionality, Representation, Recognition 261 includes the territory of Australia by excluding lands the Aborigines claim as their own and from which they have been dispossessed. By pitching the Tent Embassy, the Aborigines questioned the boundaries that configure what counts as (il)legal behavior, thereby challenging the jointness of joint action claimed for the Australian legal order. The Australian legal order becomes conspicuous as a legal order that empowers certain practical possibilities for joint action, while also disempowering others. In contrast to illegality, which calls for the reaffirmation of legal order in the face of disorder, the Aborigines sought to deplete the binding character of the Australian legal order, revealing its contingency by showing that joint action can and ought to be ordered otherwise. The foregoing analysis suffices for the purpose of introducing a third category in my analysis of collective intentionality: a-legality. Indeed, the Aborigine encampment resists assimilation to either face of the distinction between legality and illegality, even though it is interpretable as a legal act. If the “il” of illegality speaks to a privative form of legal order – legal disorder – the “a” of a-legality intimates another legal order. More precisely, the encampment evokes a strange legal order, to which the Aboriginals alluded when referring to themselves as “aliens” in their own land. The Aboriginal Tent Embassy is xenotopic, not merely heterotopic: It is both inside and outside the Australian legal order (Foucault 1984). It illustrates the notion of strangeness as described by Husserl: “Accessibility in its genuine inaccessibility, in the mode of incomprehensibility” (Husserl 1973, 631). Let us now examine how collective action must be structured, such that legality, illegality, and a-legality can appear as modes of collective intentionality. Collective action has, to begin with, a point: that which our joint action is/ought to be about. Point functions as the cynosure that orients action by participants, determining what counts as justified reciprocal expectations of those participants, such that they understand themselves as acting jointly: we*. Reciprocal expectations are articulated in direct or relational obligations and rights, which constitute the default setting of joint action. This default setting is the root form of what legal theorists call a “system of norms,” that is, the unity of a manifold of norms. Moreover, the default setting of joint action deploys a pragmatic order: It determines which differentiated and interconnected places, times, subjectivities, and act-contents are conducive to realizing the joint action’s point. To engage in collective action is to orient oneself in space, time, subjectivity, and act-contents in accordance with the default setting of its point. Point orients collective action by including and excluding, empowering and disempowering, practical possibilities for participants. In effect, collective action calls forth and connects only those places, times, subjectivities, and act contents which are relevant and important to the realization of its point, marginalizing the rest. On the one hand, collective action

262  Hans Lindahl includes what manifests itself to participants as (dis)order. See here the root condition for (il)legality.5 On the other hand, it excludes all other practical possibilities, casting them out into the domain of what remains unordered for that particular collective. But what is marginalized as irrelevant and unimportant can irrupt into the pragmatic order configured by joint action, intimating another first-person plural perspective, for which what has been excluded from joint action is important and relevant, and which resists assimilation into what that pragmatic order calls (dis)order: a strange order. See here the root condition for a-legality. A final feature merits separate attention. I have argued that collective action has a point that includes and excludes by configuring a first-person plural perspective which anticipates what counts as important and relevant for joint action. This anticipation takes shape in terms of what are deemed to be the mutual expectations that participants in joint action should entertain as regards who ought to do what, where, and when. This anticipative structure opens up a horizon for collective action, a horizon pre-given and co-given with the events and things that manifest themselves to participants in joint action. Beyond the horizon lies the dark domain of the unordered, whence events “arrive” and call for legal interpretation and qualification. This horizon has its correlate in what I call the background of collective action, meaning by such that all collective action is conditioned by a variable range of everyday practices, capacities, and assumptions into which its participants are socialized yet which are not themselves thematized in the course of joint action. There is no such thing as stand-alone, self-contained joint action. Acting together presupposes a variable range of practices, skills, and assumptions that are shared by participant agents in the form of a knowing-how, hence which are not common knowledge in the form of a knowing-that we are acting together and what it is that we are doing together. I want to call the articulation of the background and horizon of collective action its Umwelt, the circumambient world in which joint action takes place. Likewise, the Umwelt of collective action becomes more or less conspicuous to its participants in the form of behavior that irrupts into the pragmatic order from the domain of the unordered by challenging the boundaries of (il) legality. The horizonal character of collective action becomes manifest when those boundaries are either breached or transgressed, boundaries which, in an a-legal transgression, appear as limits of collective action, insofar as the unordered appears as orderable, and as fault lines thereof, to the extent that the unordered manifests itself as unorderable (see Lindahl 2013). These structural elements of collective action are at work in and condition the three-way distinction between legality, illegality, and a-legality. They explain, most generally, how and in what sense legal ordering is a collective mode of worldly engagement directed to empowering (and we can now add, disempowering) individual participation in collective

Intentionality, Representation, Recognition 263 modes of worldly engagement. They also explain why joint action has a circumambient world but no direct access to the world. For even in the event that a truly global polity were ever founded, it would have to include and exclude, giving rise to an outside – a Fremdwelt. When the strange irrupts into collective action from the domain of the unordered, what had been taken to be the world recedes, giving way to the distinction between the home world and a strange world.6 As concerns a-legality, these structural elements allow us to further describe the interruption of legal order wrought by the Aboriginal Tent Embassy. Their encampment challenged the Australian legal order as a whole, evincing the colonization that excluded Aboriginals from their lands by including them in Australia’s territory. Interestingly, indigenous and dominated groups of other parts of the world, including Black Power activists, expressed their sympathy for the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, in some cases actually joining the Aborigines in the encampment. So it was not only the borders of the Australian legal order which appeared as the limits of an Umwelt. In fact, the entire order of international law, as organized in terms of states and state borders, became conspicuous as an Umwelt which has an outside, even though international law claims validity across the entire face of the earth. The Aboriginal Tent Embassy is inside and outside the world of international law: It is here and elsewhere; it takes place now, as part of the historical arc suturing the past, present, and future of Australia and the interstate order, and “elsewhen.” The Aborigine Tent Embassy is a sign which intimates another world; it is, in this precise sense, an act of “symbolic resistance.”

3. Representation I have been concerned to outline a thumbnail account of different modalities of collective intentionality in the law and, more generally, of legal ordering as a second-order mode of worldly engagement. I would now like to sketch out the main contours of a genetic enquiry into collective action with a view to illuminating the political stakes of collective intentionality as it plays out in legal ordering. I turn, to this effect, to representation. In my reading thereof, to represent is to represent something as something. I choose to carry forward an exploration into collective intentionality by recourse to representation because it is the key to the emergence of collective action and, therewith, to the processes of inclusion and exclusion at the heart of a politics of a-legality. To secure proper access to representation as a political concept and problem, I jettison straightaway the hackneyed distinction between participation and representation. Contra Arendt, Rancière, Habermas, and their epigones, participation is a modality of representation: What is represented in politics (e.g., through participatory decision-making) is a collective qua unity (Arendt 1990a, 230; Rancière 2007, 53; Habermas

264  Hans Lindahl 1996, 170). In Waldenfels’s words, “[a] ‘we’ [cannot] say ‘we’. . . . A political group only finds its voice by way of spokespersons who speak [and act, HL] in its name and represent it as a whole” (Waldenfels 2001, 140; see, earlier, Derrida 1986). While the English grammar favors the active verbal form – collective A1 enacts φ, or collective A2 refuses to ρ –, the passive verbal form expresses more accurately the nature of collective agency: Collective A1 is deemed to have enacted φ; collective A2 is deemed to have refused to ρ. Collective acts are acts by individuals or groups of individuals ascribed to a collective as its own acts; representations are representational claims. Because unity is always a represented unity, a collective emerges as an us before becoming a we*: No group gets off the ground unless someone summons two or more individuals to view themselves as a collective. Here is a first contribution to the ruin of political Cartesianism: A theory of collective action begins as a theory of collective passion. The representational acts that originate a collective seek to empower individuals as members of a community, summoning them to become subjects who ought to act in certain ways, at certain times, and in certain places. Representation enjoins the gerundial rather than the simple noun form when referring to pragmatic orders: not subject but subjectifying, not space but spacing, not time but timing, not materiality but materializing behavior. These are modalities of what Kelsen calls Ermächtigung. This would-be empowerment – this emergent possibility of practical possibilities opened up by a nascent legal order – only materializes if the addressees of the summons retroactively identify – I will shortly say: recognize – themselves as the members of a collective by exercising the powers granted to them by that inaugural act. Representation deploys a paradoxical temporality because an act can only originate a collective if it succeeds – and as long as it succeeds – in representing an original collective, opening up a “past that we can look forward to.”7 It is beyond the scope of this chapter to query what structural conditions must be met for the success of representational acts. Suffice it to note that a necessary, even if not sufficient, condition for the success of representational acts is that they wrest a realm of practical possibilities from the more or less anonymous and pre-reflective forms of sociality that constitute what I called the background of collective action, referring those possibilities to us* as our possibilities and positing them as what we* really are about, thereby opening up a horizon for joint action. These representational acts have a narrative form, for no legal order can sustain itself only as a process of creating and applying rules. Every collective requires a narrative about the context of its emergence and point that seeks to motivate its addressees to engage in joint action by anchoring the collective in a world that is both presupposed by and co-presented with the narrative. Foundational narratives promise their addressees that participating in joint action contributes to orienting oneself in a world

Intentionality, Representation, Recognition 265 worth living for, even in the face of adversity. Yet the enworlding function of representation is never innocent. Representational acts “wrest” practical possibilities from a background, as noted previously, because narratives gather together things, events, and persons into a world, while also marginalizing other worlds, more or less forcefully. Representation enworlds and deworlds. These narratives obtain material “condensation” in symbols, in signs which conjure up the world that lends emergent collective action its point and impetus – or resist it, evoking another world. The Aboriginal Tent Embassy is one such sign and one such act of “symbolic resistance.” If foundational narratives are re-foundational narratives, they are also always counter-narratives. All representational acts have two dimensions which follow directly from the insight that to represent is to represent something as something. On the one hand, representation is the representation of (something); on the other, something is represented as (this or that). So also with the representation of collectives.8 Whoever claims to speak and act on behalf of a collective, for example by enacting a constitution, attributes the enactment of the constitution to the collective as a whole: representation of. On the other hand, the enactment does more than simply claim that the collective is a unity; the constitution must spell out, at least minimally, what “our” joint action is/ought to be about. It must articulate the point of joint action, what we* hold in common, enabling us to view our individual acts as part and parcel of joint action: representation as. Whence the ambiguousness of representation. For the one, no collective can emerge absent acts that seize the initiative to speak and act on behalf of a collective, representing us as this or as that. So, for example, the Preamble to the Australian Constitution of 1900 reads as follows: WHEREAS [we] the people of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania, humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God, have agreed to unite in one indissoluble Federal Commonwealth under the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and under the Constitution hereby established. For the other, representation ensures that a collective is contingent in a twofold sense: It is contingent that we* are a collective and what we* are as a collective. Indeed, there is no representation absent more or less forceful inclusion and exclusion: We* are represented as this rather than as that group. If intending something as this (rather than that) brings about a “significative difference,” I would add that representing a collective as this (rather than that) operates a representational difference, both cognitive and normative (Waldenfels 2002, 28–30).9 Typically, political liberalism is concerned to unmask and redress forms of exclusion. But the cry of the Aborigines – “We are aliens in our own land!” – was not oriented to securing their inclusion in Australia but rather to demanding

266  Hans Lindahl that they be excluded from “[we] the people of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania.” Representation ensures that a-legal challenges to collective unity arise through resistance to inclusion in a collective, no less than through exclusion therefrom. “Not in our name!” cuts both ways, bringing into focus the limits of a collective and, to a lesser or greater extent, its fault lines. There is no representation of collective unity without struggles for the representation of collective unity, that is, struggles for inclusion in and exclusion from joint action: a politics of a-legality. Hence, the representation of collective unity is always also, to a lesser or greater extent, its misrepresentation. Representation opens up a domain of practical possibilities for acting together and closes down others; it is afferent and efferent. And the enworlding of joint action brought about by (narrative) representations of collective unity goes hand in hand with a deworlding of what those representations marginalize, precipitating, in extreme situations, the loss of a world. “What are we to reconcile ourselves to? A holocaust? To massacre? To . . . the taking away . . . of our lives, our lands, and of our economic and political base[?]” (Interview with one of the Aboriginal activists, Kevin Gilbert 2014, 194). Here, then, is an important corrective to Margaret Gilbert’s theory of collectives as “plural subjects”: If there can be no plural subject without representation, so also the strong form of plurality effected by ­representation – the unorderable in ourselves – entails that we* are never fully a subject: “We each” and “we other” are ensconced in “we together.” If collectives cannot be integrated absent representation, so also representation ensures that collectives are always also aggregates. Importantly the dynamic of representation entails that there is no direct access to what constitutes us* as a collective: Someone represents us* as this or as that. There is, in other words, no direct access to an original unity that could conclusively settle the key practical question, “What is/ought our joint action to be about?” Collective unity is always a putative unity. Social ontologies of analytical provenance insist – correctly – that collectives have an existence irreducible to that of the participants therein, even though collective existence is not independent from the existence of those participants. But the representational dynamic of collective action suggests that two further features are part and parcel of collective ontology: questionability and responsiveness. On the one hand, because an original unity can only be represented, without there being any direct access thereto, it is irreducibly questionable that a manifold of individuals are a collective, and what joins them together into a collective. On the other, and correlatively, collectives cannot but ex-sist by responding, at every step of their career, to the practical question, “What is/ought our joint action to be about?” Under conditions of normality, the default setting of joint action seems more or less adequate to deal with what calls for qualification as legal or illegal behavior, such that the question remains latent. But the practical question bursts into

Intentionality, Representation, Recognition 267 full view, calling for an explicit response when the ordinary course of collective action is interrupted, as when a-legal behavior challenges how a collective draws the boundaries of (il)legality: “We are aliens in our own land!” Notice, moreover, that responsiveness is already at work in the “first” representational act that gets a collective going, as was the case with the Australian constitution, which was enacted in response to problems that arose between the Australian colonies and the British Empire, although Australia was only later to become a fully independent state. To represent ourselves as this (a Federal Commonwealth), rather than as that (either a fully independent state or a simple colony), is to respond to the practical question, “What is/ought our joint action to be about?” Here is a second contribution to the ruin of political Cartesianism: We* begin elsewhere, in alterity, in a-legal challenges.10 In the same way that representation precludes direct access to an original unity, so also it has no direct access to what demands a response. The response to the practical question regarding who we* are/ought to be is also always an indirect response to the nature of the challenge of the other, interpreting the challenge as this rather than that. If we are always more and other than any representation of us*, so also the other’s challenge is in excess of any response thereto. Claims to collective unity are always unstable because representation includes and excludes us* and the other (in ourselves). In short, we* cannot but incessantly represent ourselves and the other (in ourselves) because no representation can be definitive for either pole of the intersubjective relation in which the dynamic of questionability and responsiveness plays out. La nation est un plébiscite de tous le jours, Ernest Renan posited; the thesis needs to be generalized: All collectives, national or otherwise, ex-sist as an ordo ordinans, not as an ordo ordinatus, and where the “anew” of representation hovers between “again” and “new.” All legal orders are emergent: Legal order is always a legal ordering. I summarize the internal relation between representation and the operation of inclusion and exclusion in a way that highlights the political stakes of collective intentionality deployed in legal orders: 1. 2. 3. 4.

The unity of a collective is putative There is no unity, only a process of unification There is no plurality, only a process of pluralization Unification and pluralization are the two faces of the single process of representing collective unity 5. No enworlding without a deworlding.

4. Recognition Having pitched the Tent Embassy, the Aboriginal protesters proceeded to hold up placards which read: “LAND RIGHTS NOW OR ELSE. LEGALLY THIS LAND IS OUR LAND. WE SHALL TAKE IT IF NEED

268  Hans Lindahl BE. LAND NOW NOT LEASE TOMORROW” (Power 2014, 7). This was not the only version of their demands. In January 1992, Aboriginal protesters occupied Old Parliament House and delivered an Aboriginal Declaration of Sovereignty to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. In an interview, Kevin Gilbert explained that “We, by being here, are simply reoccupying Aboriginal sovereign lands that were taken from us by the invaders who occupied our land and established upon these lands a defective root title. For they have denied our sovereign right by declaring that our lands were lands that were terra nullius.” He went on to note that, in addition to declaring Aboriginal sovereignty, they rejected the reconciliation process set up by the Australian government, calling instead for a treaty between their nations and the Australian government that would recognize “our right to self-government and self-determination in our own land and territories” (Interview with Kevin Gilbert 2014, 193). As shown by the reference to “self-government” and “self-determination,” the Aboriginal Tent Embassy raises a demand for the recognition of a group identity/difference violated by the Australian legal order. If, thus far, I have explored the dynamic whereby something appears as something to someone in collective intentionality and in the representation of collective unity, let us now consider how this dynamic transpires in struggles for recognition. To recognize is to recognize something as this or as that. In Bedorf’s words, recognition deploys a “recognitive difference”: “The two-part relation, x recognizes y, describes the relation only partially. Instead, it is a triadic relation in which x recognizes y as z” (Bedorf 2010, 122; see also Düttmann 2000). To make the transition from representation to recognition, it is first necessary to operate the passage from unity/plurality to identity/difference. I draw, in a drastically abridged form, on Ricœur’s discussion of identity, in which he distinguishes between the poles of sameness and selfhood, idem- and ipse-identity (Ricœur 1992). Sameness manifests itself in the form of behavior that lives up to what are deemed to be mutual expectations about who ought to do what, where, and when, as articulated in the default setting of the point of joint action. A collective remains the same or becomes different over time depending on the constancy or transformation of those mutual expectations. The reflexivity of selfhood obtains lexical form in the use of indexicals or quasi-indexicals such as “our” or “ours,” “we,” “us,” and stands in contrast to “their,” “theirs,” and “they”: other-than-self. Collective self-identity is that pole of identity in which group participants stick to their mutual commitments over time, such that the group is fit to be held to its commitments. Nous maintiendrons, as one could put it: We* will hold firm, even in the face of adversity. The link between collective identity and unity is as follows: We* will hold firm together, which means that we* remain the selfsame collective over time insofar as we are and remain committed to continue acting as a group (the putative unity of a we*), even though challenges to our

Intentionality, Representation, Recognition 269 joint action may require changing the default setting of what we* take to be the point of joint action (the putative unity of a legal system), and therewith who ought to do what, where, and when (the putative unity of a pragmatic order). In turn, the link between other-than-self and plurality is assured by representation, which folds other-than-self into selfhood: We are deemed to entertain these mutual expectations of each other, a representational claim that is challenged by the other in ourselves: “I/we am/are not the same as you: Not in my/our name!” So, an a-legal challenge, qua demand for recognition amounts to the claim that what we* understand ourselves as being really about (sameness) and our capacity to jointly realize who we* are/aspire to become (selfhood) are jeopardized by your joint action.11 When confronted with this demand for recognition, a collective must respond by setting, in one way or another, the boundaries of what is to count as (il)legality, hence the limit between collective self and other-than-self. Importantly, the “re” of recognition deploys the same dynamic as the “re” of representation: Collective identity is never given directly to recognition. In the same way that there are, strictly speaking, no unity and no plurality but rather processes of unification and pluralization, so also recognition is a process of identification and differentiation: Whoever recognizes something posits an identity between what is recognized and how it is recognized, thereby differentiating it from what becomes its other. As a result, what recognition identifies is always more and other than – different to – how it is identified. Collective self-recognition deploys this process of identification/differentiation. Paraphrasing Bedorf, collective self-recognition does not have the form “we recognize ourselves”; it deploys a triadic relation: “We recognize ourselves as z (rather than as w).” The self-identification – hence self-inclusion – that takes place in selfrecognition is also always a self-differentiation – hence a self-­exclusion. Recognition differentiates a collective with respect to itself in the very move by which it posits its identity (in time), such that no collective is ever only here and now but also elsewhere and “elsewhen.” Analogous problems regard collective recognition of the other (in ourselves). Indeed, the “re” of recognition ensures that other-differentiation goes hand in hand with other-identification, in that the other is recognized as one of us* – e.g., as having an interest in land. No collective is either identical to itself or simply different from its other(s). The ambiguity of struggles for recognition points to a double asymmetry between question and response. The other’s demand for recognition is asymmetrical with respect to a collective’s response because it is not merely a claim to inclusion in relations of legal reciprocity as a way of redressing the violation of its identity/difference. To a lesser or greater extent, demands for recognition are in excess of the possibilities available to the group perspective opened up by the point of joint action. In turn, the response governed by that group perspective is asymmetrical

270  Hans Lindahl with respect to the question because it frames the demand of the other in ways that render it amenable to a response in the terms of (transformed) relations of reciprocity available to joint action. Collectives frame their responses to demands for recognition in such a way that they can recognize themselves when transforming the default setting of their joint action with a view to recognizing the other (in themselves). There is always at least a minimal gap between the question to which a collective responds – What is/ought our joint action to be about? – and the question addressed to it by a demand for recognition. In the same way that, as I argued, representation involves misrepresentation, so also recognition, as García Düttman and Bedorf point out, is always also misrecognition (for a far more detailed discussion of asymmetrical recognition, see Lindahl 2018, 286–347). This insight bears directly on the ontology of collectives. Introducing yet a further correction to social ontologies of analytical provenance, I submit that collectives exist in the modes of a finite questionability and a finite respons-a-bility. The finite existence of collectives, as evinced in struggles for recognition, plays out in the distinction between limits and fault lines. Qua limits, boundaries can be transformed to include in or exclude from the compass of joint action. Limits speak to the domain of the unordered which, irrupting into a legal order as a demand for recognition, is orderable for that legal order. Qua fault lines, boundaries intimate ways of acting and being together that refuse integration into the joint action through an act that recognizes the other as one of us*. Fault lines signal the domain of the unordered insofar as it is unorderable for a legal order. It is instructive, in this context, to briefly consider the famous Mabo 2 ruling of the Australian High Court, issued in 1992 (Mabo v Queensland 1992). On the occasion of a complaint brought against the State of Queensland by members of the Meriam people, who inhabit the Murray Islands in the Torres Strait, the majority of the High Court rejected the view that, at the time of colonization, Australia was terra nullius and, consequently, that all rights were extinguished which the Meriam people – and a fortiori all Torres Strait Islanders and Aboriginal peoples – may have had in their lands. This is core of the Court’s ruling: “Recognition of the radical title of the Crown is quite consistent with recognition of native title to land” (§52). “Radical, ultimate or final title,” as defined under English law, means that “a sovereign enjoys supreme legal authority in and over a territory” (§50). Along these lines, the High Court held that “the Crown’s acquisition of sovereignty over the several parts of Australia cannot be challenged in an Australian municipal court” (§83). But, it added, as long as [an indigenous people] remain an identifiable community, the members of whom are identified by one another as members of

Intentionality, Representation, Recognition 271 that community living under its laws and customs, the communal native title survives to be enjoyed by the members according to the rights and interests to which they are respectively entitled under the traditionally based laws and customs. (§68) A great deal has been written about Mabo 2, and I will not rehash the assessments – celebratory and derogatory – of the ruling. My interest lies in how it highlights the ambiguity of and the double asymmetry at work in struggles for recognition. Look again at the central thesis: “Recognition of the radical title of the Crown is quite consistent with recognition of native title to land.” It shows, in general, that a collective response to a demand for recognition involves a claim to both collective self-recognition – in the ruling, the “recognition of the radical title of the Crown” – and to collective recognition of the other (in ourselves) – in the ruling, a “recognition of native title to land.” Notice, moreover, that as an act of collective self-recognition, Mabo 2 includes and excludes us*: We* recognize Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders as members of our collective, Australia, while also excluding them as regards their own self-understanding: a range of distinct groups who reclaim the lands from which they have been dispossessed through colonization. Their recognition as Australian citizens, at least formally on equal footing with all other Australians, is the pre-condition for recognizing their otherness as a minority group. Indigenous peoples are recognized as part of us*. This is not to deprecate or minimize the significance of the Court’s rejection of the terra nullius doctrine and its recognition of “native title” in land. But the Court’s appeal to the equality of all Australian citizens, as per the Racial Discrimination Act of 1975, to underpin both conclusions is deeply ambiguous. To understand why, it pays to briefly consider Arendt’s defense of political equality. “We are not born equal,” she notes; “we become equal as members of a group on the strength of our decision to guarantee ourselves mutually equal rights” (Arendt 1951, 301). And she refers approvingly to a passage in the Nicomachean Ethics in which “Aristotle explains that a community is not made out of equals, but on the contrary of people who are different and unequal. The community comes into being through equalizing, isasthèna” (Arendt 1990b, 83). Yes, Mabo 2 recognizes the Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders by equalizing them, thereby granting them certain rights of which they were bereft. But what Arendt misses in her account of equalization is the misrecognitions it perpetrates: Their demand is not simply a demand to the right to have rights.12 In turn, the equalization of Aboriginals with other Australians, as the expression of the principle that all are equal before the law, hides a conundrum that Kelsen was acutely aware of when articulating his theory of the basic norm. The conundrum turns on the notion of a “first

272  Hans Lindahl constitution.” As a legal norm can only be enacted through an act authorized by an earlier and higher-level legal norm, the notion of a first constitution is an oxymoron: If it is a constitution, then it cannot be the first constitution; if it is the first, then it cannot be the first constitution. This, precisely, is the problem confronting the High Court when handing down Mabo 2: The notion of a “radical title” is an oxymoron. The recognition of “native title” in land for Aboriginals is premised on the radical title of the Crown. But how can the fact of colonization at all yield a radical title? More pointedly: How can might yield right? Even the recognition of “native title” in land involves a form of misrecognition, as it interprets indigenous relations to land in terms of property law and its capitalist commodification under Australian common law, terms which are alien to the self-understandings of indigenous peoples. Notice, furthermore, that Mabo 2 excludes all those non-indigenous persons who oppose the capitalist commodification of land under Australian common law: They also are misrecognized by the ruling. Mabo 2 shows how collective self-(mis)recognition is, as it puts it, “consistent” with the (mis)recognition of the other. The ruling pluralizes and deworlds because it unifies and enworlds. The key question that emerges from Mabo 2 as an illustration of the ambiguity accruing to struggles for recognition concerns the link between collective self-recognition and recognition of the other. Look yet a third time around at the central thesis of the ruling: “Recognition of the radical title of the Crown is quite consistent with recognition of native title to land.” By insisting on the need for “consistency,” the Court avers that recognition of the other (in ourselves) is only possible as collective selfrecognition. In other words, to recognize the other is to recognize the other (in ourselves) as one of us*. One can imagine that the Court could have gone further in its recognition of the Aboriginal demand for recognition, for example by renouncing the Crown prerogative of extinguishing “native title” by a later act, a prerogative upheld by Mabo 2. But the recognition of Aboriginals as other would remain subordinated to their recognition as part of us*. The Court could no doubt respond to its critics that, even though it could have handed down another decision, whatever other decision it might have reached would have had to fulfill the condition of consistency: To recognize the Aboriginals as other can only mean to recognize them as part of us*. For, the Court would argue, it has no authority to rule on their demand unless it is an act of collective self-rule, hence of self-recognition, by the Australian collective – of which they are a (misrecognized) part. The Court’s reasoning is impeccable as far as it goes; but the reasoning is circular: From perspective of those Aboriginals who demand sovereignty for their peoples, the Court has no authority to rule in Mabo 2, even though sovereignty was not at issue in this specific case. They

Intentionality, Representation, Recognition 273 would evoke the violent origins of the “radical title” whence the Court draws its authority. Their demand is the demand that Australia recognize “our right to self-government and self-determination in our own land and territories,” as Kevin Gilbert put it. It is, in brief, the demand for the recognition of indigenous peoples as the other (in ourselves) who is other than us*. Theirs is an unorderable a-legal challenge, a challenge that cannot be accommodated within the Australian legal order. They engage in a politics of a-legality that brings into play the fault lines of who ought to do what, where, and when. Their challenge concerns the referent of recognition – recognition of: Which is the we* that is to recognize itself in relating to land – and not how a given collective, Australia, should recognize itself in relating to land – recognition as. Here, then, is the question de confiance of a politics of a-legality: Is it possible to “consistently” recognize the other (in ourselves) as one of us* and as other than us*? As concerns the specific struggle for recognition I have been exploring, the Aboriginals themselves pointed the way, when handing over the declaration of sovereignty to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs in Old Parliament House in Canberra in 1992: The negotiation of a treaty between the Aboriginal peoples and Australia, as sovereign collectives, oriented to settling the land question. This would require partially suspending the application of the Australian Constitution to pave the way for political negotiations between the parties. Could the Court propose such a step without betraying its mandate to uphold the Australian Constitution? Surely it would be an act of recognition of the other as other than us*, but how could it be “consistent” with collective self-recognition in which the other (in ourselves) is recognized as one of us*? A condominium or coimperium is, in international law, “a territory over which two or more States exercise governmental authority.” Moreover, “the States exercising the condominium may administer the territory jointly or they may retain common authority only over major decisions, allowing each to exercise jurisdiction over part of the territory in other matters.” (Morrison 2006). I prefer the term coimperium because the High Court, in its majority ruling, distinguishes between “radical title” as the exercise of sovereign imperium, and “native title” as a form of dominium. By entering negotiations that envisage a coimperium with Aboriginal peoples, the Australian collective would recognize them as sovereign states, hence as other than us*. But because negotiations would aim to set up a coimperium, it would also be necessary to establish which domains of behavior are to be governed jointly. This would amount to the negotiation of the terms in which each of the parties could recognize the other (in ourselves) as one of us*. Up to this day, the responses by the Australian political parties to the Aboriginal declaration of sovereignty offer little or no hope of such a prospect. But were such negotiations to take place, and were they to

274  Hans Lindahl materialize in a treaty, a coimperium might provide the legal framework for recognition of the other (in ourselves) as one of us* and as other than us*. A coimperium would not erase the colonization of Aboriginal lands; in fact, the institution was used for colonizing purposes. The demand for recognition of indigenous peoples remains “excessive.” But it would certainly give an unexpected, even transgressive, twist to the colonial use of coimperium, were this institution to be used for recognizing Aboriginal peoples in a way that renders visible and deals partially with the violent origins of the Australian collective, while also challenging the capitalist commodification of land under Australian common law. In any case, the overture made by Aboriginal peoples to Australia to engage in negotiations leading to a treaty on the land question shows that, in contrast to the simple three-way disjunction between a home world, a strange world, and the one world, the primordial condition of politics is one of worldly entwinements. For the upshot of a phenomenology of the politics of a-legality is that boundaries are chiasmatic: They include what they exclude, and exclude what they include.

Notes 1. Hereinafter I add an asterisk to we and us – we*, us* – whenever the subjective and objective cases of the pronoun refer to the first-person plural perspective. 2. The phenomenologist will recognize that this three-way distinction has the methodological function, analogous to the Husserlian epoché or Heidegger’s description, in Being and Time, of the interruption of “praxis” in a workplace, of interrupting the flow of legal ordering to be able to describe it as a mode of worldly engagement. 3. Kelsen refers to the law as a “social technique,” a means to realizing social ends, without engaging in a phenomenological clarification of how the technical, tool-like character of norms manifests itself as such. My analysis attempts to provide just such a clarification (Kelsen 2002, 28–29). 4. Notice that the interruption of joint action can also lead, after due deliberation, to the qualification of behavior as legal, rather than illegal. So, for example, it could be the case that, when confronted with the complaint, the police deemed the noise levels of the campers to remain within acceptable limits, given the time of the night. Here also, legal order and its three dimensions are rendered obtrusive – and reaffirmed. More generally, while I have characterized legality in terms of Zuhandenheit, and illegality in terms of Vorhandenheit, it would not be difficult to find examples in which the qualification of behavior as legal points to a form of inoperativeness – Vorhandenheit – of the law because a legal norm allows or commands behavior that, in hindsight, should be prohibited or at least regulated. 5. Illegality – disorder – is the negative manifestation of what is deemed important to a collective, hence to legal order. 6. In an excellent study, Menga compellingly argues that polities have an Umwelt, but no direct access to the world, and that preserving this difference is essential to democratic politics. See Menga 2018. 7. I borrow this felicitous formulation from my colleague, Bert van Roermund.

Intentionality, Representation, Recognition 275 8. I parse “we together” into three distinct we* positions: we* speaker, we* at stake, we* author. If the first of these positions concerns the spokesperson who speaks and acts on behalf of a collective, representing it as this or as that, the second is the referent of such representational acts, namely, the we* for the sake of which spokespersons speak and act. The third position concerns authorship, namely, when addressees of representational acts recognize themselves as authoring them, even though issued by spokespersons. See to this effect in Lindahl 2018, 98ff. 9. The representation of collectives, I argue, has a hybrid character, both cognitive and normative, which can only be separated into descriptive and prescriptive components in an abstractive move: Representation is both an appraisal of what we are and of what we ought to be as a group. 10. I would add, although I cannot address this wider issue here, that, in light of environmental degradation and the suffering visited upon non-human life, a-legal challenges include but are not limited to the second-person perspective in the narrow sense of human alterity favored by Stephen Darwall and Emmanuel Levinas, albeit from very different philosophical approaches. 11. While recognition can have a “cultural” focus, its compass is coextensive with that of collective action. The Aborigines refused a “culturalist” reading of their demand for recognition, as they were acutely aware that their domination by the Australian legal order covered all dimensions of their lives as a group. To cite Kevin Gilbert again, “what are we to reconcile ourselves to? . . . To . . . the taking away . . . of our lives, our lands, and of our economic and political base[?]” 12. The misguided opposition between representation and participation has its counterpart, in Arendt, in the simple disjunction between power and violence. See Arendt 1970.

Bibliography “Interview with Kevin Gilbert,” (2014). in Foley, G., Schaap, A. and Howell, E. (eds.). The Aboriginal Tent Embassy: Sovereignty, Black Power, Land Rights and the State. Abingdon: Routledge, 193–194. Arendt, H. (1951). The Origins of Totalitarianism. New York: Harcourt Brace. Arendt, H. (1970). On Violence. New York: Harcourt Brace. Arendt, H. (1990a). On Revolution. London: Penguin Books. Arendt, H. (1990b). “Philosophy and Politics,” Social Research 57, 73–103. Bedorf, T. (2010). Verkennende Anerkennung: Über Identität und Politik. Berlin: Suhrkamp. Derrida, J. (1986). “Declarations of Independence,” New Political Science 15, 7–15. Düttmann, A. G. (2000). Between Cultures: Tensions in the Struggle for Recognition. Transl. by K. B. Woodgate. London: Verso. Foley, G., Schaap, A. and Howell, E. (eds.) (2014). The Aboriginal Tent Embassy: Sovereignty, Black Power, Land Rights and the State. Abingdon: Routledge. Foucault, M. (1984). “Of Other Spaces, Heterotopias,” Architecture, Mouvement, Continuité, 5, 46–49. Gilbert, M. (1992). On Social Facts. 2nd ed. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Habermas, J. (1996). Between Facts and Norms: Contributions to a Discourse Theory of Law. Transl. by W. Rehg. Cambridge: MIT Press.

276  Hans Lindahl Husserl, E. (1973). Zur Phänomenologie der Intersubjektivität: Texte aus dem Nachlass. Dritter Teil: 1929–1935. Husserliana XV. Ed. by I. Kern. The Hague: Nijhoff. Kelsen, H. (2002). Introduction to the Problems of Legal Theory of the Reine Rechtslehre [1934]. Transl. by B. Litschewski Paulson and S. L. Paulson. 1st ed. Oxford: The Clarendon Press. Lindahl, H. (2002). “Gadamer, Kelsen and the Limits of Legal Interpretation,” Phänomenologische Forschungen 1, 27–49. Lindahl, H. (2013). Fault Lines of Globalization: Legal Order and the Politics of A-Legality. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Lindahl, H. (2018). Authority and the Globalisation of Inclusion and Exclusion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Mabo v Queensland (No 2) (“Mabo case”) [1992] HCA 23; (1992) 175 CLR 1 (3 June 1992) [online]. Available from: http://www6.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/ viewdoc/au/cases/cth/HCA/1992/23.html [Accessed 7 March 2019]. Menga, F. G. (2018). Ausdruck, Mitwelt, Ordnung: Zur Ursprünglichkeit einer Dimension des Politischen im Anschluss an die Philosophie des frühen Heidegger. Munich: Fink. Morrison, F. L. (2006). “Condominium and Coimperium,” Oxford Public International Law [online]. Available from: http://opil.ouplaw.com/view/10.1093/ law:epil/9780199231690/law-9780199231690-e1384 [Accessed 7 March 2019]. Power, E. (2014). “Black Power – by Any Means Necessary,” in Foley, G., Schaap, A. and Howell, E. (eds.). The Aboriginal Tent Embassy: Sovereignty, Black Power, Land Rights and the State. Abingdon: Routledge, 67–83. Rancière, J. (2007). Hatred of Democracy. Transl. by S. Corcoran. London: Verso. Ricœur, P. (1992). Oneself as Another. Transl. by K. Blamey. Chicago: Chicago University Press. Szanto, T. and Moran, D. (eds.) (2016). Phenomenology of Sociality: Discovering the ‘We’. New York/London: Routledge. Waldenfels, B. (2001). Verfremdung der Moderne: Phänomenologische Grenzgänge. Essen: Wallstein Verlag. Waldenfels, B. (2002). Bruchlinien der Erfahrung: Phänomenologie-PsychoanalysePhänomenotechnik. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.

15 The Struggle for a Common World From Epistemic Power to Political Action With Arendt and Fricker Steffen Herrmann During the last decade, the concept of mini-publics has enjoyed a revival in political philosophy.1 Based on democratic innovations such as deliberative polls, citizens’ assemblies, and participatory budgeting, the idea has gained momentum that a form of direct self-government of the people is still possible even under the conditions of today’s mass societies. One difficulty with which the idea of radical self-government has to struggle is that access to public deliberation can be associated with exclusion. This can be voluntary, deliberate self-exclusion or involuntary, unintentional exclusion resulting from the effects of power. It is precisely this kind of exclusion that is at the center of those democratic theories that have become prominent under the label of radical democracy. They are “radical” not necessarily because they represent extreme political positions but because they tackle the question of democracy at its roots (from the Latin radix). Before attempting to answer the question of how the people can realize democratic deliberation, these theories ask: How is the people constituted in the interplay of inclusion and exclusion? Drawing on the reflections of Hannah Arendt and Miranda Fricker, and more recently the Black Lives Matter movement, I will address the question of how such mechanisms of exclusion are constituted and how they can be overcome by political struggles. Before going in medias res, let me frame my approach somewhat further. The radical theory of democracy emerged in France at the beginning of the 1980s and is today mostly associated with names like Claude Lefort, Jean-Luc Nancy, Jacques Rancière, Alain Badiou, Ernesto Laclau, and Chantal Mouffe. A founding moment for the emergence of this new way of thinking about the political was the establishment of the Centre des Recherche Philosophique sur le Politique in 1980 (Marchart 2007). The name of the center is programmatic: The emphasis on le politique as opposed to la politique is intended to make it clear that the focus of research is not “politics” but “the political.” This distinction appears in different terminological variations among the authors mentioned. Yet, all use it in some form or another to distinguish their work from that

278  Steffen Herrmann of traditional political theory, which they accuse of being so narrowly focused on the organization of political processes that it is blind to the forces that constitute the framework of politics. Whereas theories of politics, so the argument goes, concentrate foremost on examining the distribution of political power and material goods, theories of the political start by asking about how the political actors involved in demanding a more just distribution are constituted in the first place. In the following discussion, I would like to present Arendt as a radical democratic thinker because she thinks more comprehensively than the aforementioned authors without reducing her considerations to the dichotomous schema of politics and the political. She does not stylize radical democracy and deliberative democracy as opposites but as two sides of political emancipation. Another reason to start with Arendt is that her phenomenological approach allows us to understand the question of the constitution of the common world as the result of a political struggle for visibility and voice. Arendt’s reflections, however, soon reach their limits since they lack a concept of power through which the epistemic conditions of visibility and voice can be grasped. It is precisely at this point that Arendt’s reflections can be supplemented with those of Fricker on epistemic power. I will show how her reflections can be reformulated in the vocabulary of phenomenology and thus reconciled with Arendt, and how Fricker, starting from a theory of judgments of perceptions, elaborates two forms of epistemic power, which we must understand as the central objects of the struggles for the constitution of the common world. To make this clear, I conclude by examining the political actions of the Black Lives Matter movement and show that we are dealing here with a kind of political struggle that seeks to counter epistemic power. Its aim is to create exactly the kind of common world Arendt had in mind when thinking about the prerequisites of successful political self-government.

1. The World We Share For Arendt, the original object of the political disagreement is what, in The Human Condition, she calls the “common world” (Arendt 1998, 57). The world, she argues, is more than a collection of merely given things to which we then refer by acting or speaking. Instead, it represents a “web of human relationships” that we create first and foremost through speaking and acting, thereby transcending the factuality of the merely given (Arendt 1998, 183). The world we share, therefore, does not precede collective processes of interpretation but is first and foremost produced by them. If we understand the world as the result of the process of interpretation, then it is also clear that the world we share can be controversial. That there is a world common to us is thus not a self-evident fact; it is a fact in need of explanation. In the following, I would like to explore

The Struggle for a Common World 279 the question of how a common world is called into being: How does the world of each individual become a world common to us? How can contradictions in the common world be dealt with? And how can such a world be changed and transformed? The Instituting of the Common World Arendt’s concept of the world undoubtedly has its roots in the phenomenological tradition with which she became known during her studies in Marburg with Martin Heidegger from 1924–1925. Arendt’s connection to Heidegger has led many scholars to reconstruct her concept of the world in relation to Heidegger’s notion of being-in-the-world. Such interpretations usually focus on the fact that Arendt, in contrast to Heidegger’s pessimistic view of the public sphere, assumes that the mineness of existence is constituted by affiliating with others in political action, not by turning away from them (Villa 1996; Benhabib 1996; Taminiaux 1997). At this point, I would like to take a different path and follow the approach of Klaus Held, who reconstructed Arendt’s concept of the world by drawing on Husserl’s concept of the lifeworld (Held 2012). Where Heidegger’s concept of being-in-the-world aims to uncover ontological existentials, Husserl’s investigation into the lifeworld aims more directly to uncover the significance of historical institutional events.2 If the world itself is to be seen as an object of political debate and transformation, this genetic method promises to be more sustainable than the fundamental-ontological method. In order to understand how Husserl develops his concept of the lifeworld, we must go back to his analysis of the structure of our consciousness. Consciousness, he points out, is always “consciousness of something” (Husserl 1960, 33). Far from being an empty container that simply incorporates objects, consciousness and its objects are of the same origin. Husserl calls this the structure of the “intentionality” of consciousness (Husserl 1960, 33). Building on this notion, Husserl refines his argument further by differentiating between noesis and noema, the act of consciousness, on the one hand, and the object of consciousness, on the other. This distinction points to the two directions in which Husserl pursued his investigations over the course of his life: He sought to examine acts of consciousness as a means of uncovering the constitutive achievements of passive synthesis, such as our inner time consciousness, and he sought to examine the objects of consciousness in order to expose their social constitution. This becomes clear in Husserl’s concept of horizon, which addresses both the inner and outer horizon of perception. An example of the inner horizon is a situation in which we may only see the front side of a house, but we perceive it as a whole. Through the process of perception, we perceive its backside, even if it is hidden from view. The act of perception therefore also reaches out to the non-present, which is

280  Steffen Herrmann nonetheless present in its absence. Husserl speaks in this respect of the ability of “appresentation” (Husserl 1960, 108). The outer horizon of perception, in contrast, refers to the fact that the object of perception is always situated in relation to the world surrounding it. An example of the outer horizon of perception is a situation in which we perceive a house in its spatial context: as standing next to a church, in a village, or on the edge of a field. The outer horizon of perception refers, however, not only to the spatial relationship of the object of perception but also to its social and cultural one. Thus, in the Western-Christian tradition, a house of worship for example does not simply represent a building: It forms the center of the human life-form from which people enter the world in order to make the land fertile on behalf of a divine authority. The outer horizon of perception thus refers us to a social background knowledge that informs our perception, which is the task of phenomenology to analyze, as well as the individual acts of consciousness in which this knowledge is effective. While Husserl’s static phenomenology focuses mostly on the constitutive achievements of pure consciousness, his late work in the course of genetic phenomenology draws attention to the investigation of the historical world and the horizons that come along with it. The subject of genetic phenomenology are “primal institutions” (Husserl 1960, 112). This refers to events in the course of which the insight into the sensual wholeness of an object of perception forms for the first time and attains lasting validity. Thus, primal institutions form a new layer of validity in the lifeworld. Of course, primal institutions can be in conflict with past institutions, transform them, or join them. In such cases, Husserl speaks of “re-institutions” or “new institutions.” Here, the ground of the world under our feet begins to sway for as long as it takes before the new validity is sedimented in the course of general habitualizations. The institutional events that Husserl has in mind often concern innovations in the fields of natural sciences (Galileo) or philosophy (Descartes). Nonetheless, on the basis of his reflections, political institutional events such as the French Revolution of 1789 or the Student Revolution of May 1968 can also come to the fore. Both have brought about far-reaching transformations in the context of the validity of our lifeworld, creating the ideas of freedom, equality, and solidarity that today form the horizon of our worldly actions. For Arendt, the most important political institutional event of the modern era was the American Revolution because it introduced the idea that freedom is not merely a freedom from external constraints but freedom to act together. This positive understanding of freedom is reflected in the American Constitution, which doesn’t rest simply on an agreement between the people and their representatives but on an agreement between the individual members of the people themselves. Arendt stresses

The Struggle for a Common World 281 that we are not dealing here with a “vertical” but with a “horizontal” form of social contract (Arendt 1969, 86). This bond between individuals, she adds, is based not on historical or ethnic ties but on what she calls the “original consensus universalis” (Arendt 1969, 90). In other words, all citizens should be able to participate equally in the process of political self-determination. The original consensus expressed in the American Constitution thus consists in the mutual commitment of citizens to the democratic process. Before Arendt addresses the institutional framework within which this procedure can be successful, she stresses that there is one faculty that is essential for the success of the democratic process: common sense. Common sense for Arendt is a “sixth sense” that holds our other five senses together to “fit man into the reality” (Arendt 1998, 274).3 Its task is to compare our experience with reality in a manner that it is immune to the suspicion of subjectivism. Common sense makes such a comparison possible by putting us in the position of others. Through the change of place by means of imagination, we can see both material objects of perception and intellectual facts from a variety of perspectives. It is precisely this multiperspectivity that is at the core of the world we share. Arendt’s concept of common sense is reminiscent of Husserl’s “appresentation”: the idea that in our perception of a particular object we always keep other perspectives present. Just as we perceive the object only by seeing it before the horizon of alternative perspectives (Husserl), we achieve a world in common only by perceiving its objects against the background of a plurality of perspectives (Arendt). The point is that the common world can also include opposing, mutually exclusive perspectives. Accordingly, we also share a world where we can only agree to disagree. Such contradictions, for Arendt, are not a threat but an enrichment of the world we share. What is important now is that taking note of alternative points of view for Arendt is not a pure achievement of our imagination but requires encountering and dealing with others whose stories teach us what it means to assume a certain point of view. Therefore, a common world cannot emerge between separate and isolated individuals but requires the experience of otherness or, in Arendt’s words, “relies on the simultaneous presence of innumerable perspectives and aspects in which the common world presents itself and for which no common measurement or denominator can ever be devised” (Arendt 1998, 57). Arendt argues that conflicting perspectives of the world should not simply remain side by side; they should be confronted with each other in public. However, this process only takes place after the constitution of the common world through common sense.4 Public deliberation, therefore, presupposes a common world. It takes place in a “space of appearance,” which is created by the extension of common sense to the plurality of the perspective of others.

282  Steffen Herrmann The Destruction of the Common World The common world, which is brought about by the common sense, is of course not a first brute fact; it is the result of political processes. Arendt makes this clear when she states: This space does not always exist, and although all men are capable of deed and word, most of them – like the slave, the foreigner, and the barbarian in antiquity, like the laborer or craftsman prior to the modern age, the jobholder or businessman in our world – do not live in it. . . . To be deprived of it means to be deprived of reality. (Arendt 1998, 199) Arendt refers to those who are excluded from the common world as “worldless” (1998, 54). She first brings the phenomenon of worldlessness into focus in her large-scale study The Origins of Totalitarianism. For Arendt, the characteristic feature of totalitarian ideology is to claim to provide a comprehensive explanation of the world, which can assign everything and everyone a place in history on the basis of such principles as “race.” The temporal course of past, present, and future should adhere to a logical legal process, which must only be executed by the individuals in the historical here and now. Therefore, it seems that directly from the idea of “race” springs the historical dynamic of the racial struggle, with its telos of eliminating all unfit lives. In this way, racial ideology leads directly to terror, the task of which is not only to prevent any resistance to ideology but also to execute its murderous logic. As ideology and terror spread, they help to block the experience of the individuals and allow a fictional reality to take its place. Ideology, Arendt thus claims, can form a “sixth sense” in that it organizes all our other sensory impressions so that they correspond to the fictional worldview (Arendt 1976, 471). If we now recall that Arendt claims that common sense constitutes our “sixth sense,” it becomes clear that, under totalitarianism, ideology takes on the task that in a free society is normally assigned to common sense. By extension, in a free society common sense helps us perceive the world from others’ perspectives, thus conveying to us the fact of the plurality of perspectives on the world. Under totalitarianism, by contrast, ideological processes and projection subvert common sense. Stereotyping reduces everything foreign to a common denominator, thereby retracting the plurality of perspectives that make up our world. An example of such a simplification or reduction of the foreign to a common denominator can be found in shifts in language, such as when the vernacular no longer employs the plural “the Jews” but instead the singular “the Jew.” Ideology thus replaces plurality with the simple distinction between friend and foe, as in Carl Schmitt’s political philosophy (Schmitt 1997) and its neoconservative proponents.

The Struggle for a Common World 283 The Struggle for a Common World Arendt’s reflections on totalitarianism show that creating a common world is a process that can go hand in hand with excluding others from it and making them worldless. Such a process of exclusion does not always have to be successful, of course, but can, in turn, become the object of resistive action. In two works from 1970, Arendt made clear how such a political confrontation takes place. In On Violence, Arendt initially opposes the assumption that violence is a suitable means of resistance against domination and oppression since the state’s means of violence usually supersedes those of insurgents. As she puts it, “In a contest of violence against violence the superiority of the government has always been absolute” (Arendt 1970, 48). This does not mean, however, that all forms of resistance are pointless. They must take another path: Power, not violence, must be the object of resistive action. This is because even in a terrorist state, orders and obedience cannot be based exclusively on sanctioning violence. They require groups such as the police, army, or other executive bodies to carry out instructions on the basis of consent. If it is possible to break the consent of these organs, and thereby undermine the power of the state, its means of violence will also lose its effect. It then becomes apparent, Arendt says, that “everything depends on the power behind the violence” (Arendt 1970, 49). In her 1970 essay, “Civil Disobedience,” which grew out of her confrontation with the Civil Rights Movement, Arendt stresses the importance of nonviolent resistance. She argues that civil disobedience does not fundamentally question the authority of the existing legal system but, rather, sides against existing legal interpretations and practices in the name of the constitution. African Americans were disadvantaged in the 1960s despite their constitutional right to equal treatment. This applied both to their participation in social life, characterized by racial segregation in the public sphere, and their participation in political life, where they were prevented from exercising their right to vote by massive obstructions by the authorities. Arendt attributes ignorance of black concerns to a “tacit consensus” of whites (Arendt 1969, 91). This is based on the deep-seated conviction of the superiority of the “white race” which is so embedded in mainstream white culture that it opposes any attempt to dismantle it by law, decree, or appeal. The task of resistive action is now to break down those very ingrained structures of prejudice. When Arendt states that civil disobedience arises where “a significant number of citizens have become convinced . . . that the normal channels of change no longer function, and grievances will not be heard or acted upon” (Arendt 1969, 74), she points out that such prejudicial structures elude their dissolution by discursive communication. The problem is not simply that whites have false beliefs and oppose guidance by better arguments but that they are unable to take those arguments seriously because of their

284  Steffen Herrmann prejudices. Therefore, the prejudices against blacks cannot be resolved by appealing to white people’s sense of justice or even by arguing away with facts and figures. They need other political means. But what do these political means look like? To answer this question, we must return once again to the constitution of the common world. Common sense, as we have seen, is the result of becoming aware of others’ narratives and experiences, making it possible to view the world through their lens. But what if the perception of others is structured from the outset in such a way that the narratives of some count more than others? What if some perspectives in the world are more available to us than others? Isn’t there the danger that the common world will present itself not as comprehensive and plural but as limited and particular? To answer these questions, I would like to turn to Miranda Fricker’s reflections on epistemology and power. They allow us to better understand how effects of power can structure our knowledge of other points of view. Once we understand better how these power effects function, we will likely be in a better position to answer the question of the particular nature with which resistive action can protect itself against deep-seated prejudices.

2. Epistemic Power Arendt’s reflections come to an end where they arrive at the tacit consensus that forms the basis of the constitution of our common world. However, it remains unclear how this consensus is linked to the notion of common sense that Arendt started out with. That Arendt does not clarify this connection is likely due to the fact that she only contrasts the positive concept of power with that of the destructive concept of violence. Arendt thus lacks a theory of productive power to provide the conceptual means for describing the pre-configuration of our common sense. Such conceptual tools, however, can be found in the epistemic reflections of Fricker, who established an entire field of research with her monograph Epistemic Injustice (Fricker 2007; Kidd, Medina, and Pohlhaus 2017). Fricker’s reflections are situated in the field of feminist epistemology, which assumes that because of their social constitution, subjects of knowledge are not simply interchangeable but bring with them certain peculiarities (Grasswick 2011). What’s more, because knowledge is distributed unequally, the question of practices of knowledge exchange is an important object of analysis. Much of our knowledge is not direct experiential knowledge but knowledge acquired through the words of others: so-called testimonial knowledge. Fricker had precisely such knowledge in mind when she asked: Under which conditions do we believe the words of others? And how do we come to give some people more credibility than others? To answer these questions, she develops a theory of

The Struggle for a Common World 285 pre-reflexive judgments of perception in order to uncover the connection between power and episteme in our common sense. The Idea of Judgments of Perception The starting point for Fricker’s reflections is the process of passing on knowledge, which is connected to the issue of trying to understand under which conditions we believe the words of others. An example of this is a situation where we have to assess the testimony of another subject from whom we want to know something. For instance, imagine a scenario in which, en route to the train station, we ask a stranger for the time. Normally, in such situations we don’t think much about whether the information we receive, “It’s 5 P.M.,” is credible or not; we simply take it for granted. To complicate the example, imagine that the stranger tells us the time quickly, without looking at her watch first. We will then ask ourselves how she knows that it is 5 PM and perhaps ask, “Are you sure?” If the person answers “yes” without further explanation, we will ask ourselves if we can trust this statement, or if the stranger is perhaps toying with our trust. With this scenario in mind, we can begin to consider more deeply the question of which conditions allow us to believe the words of another person and which lead to doubt. For Fricker we can answer such questions with two kinds of theories, which she calls “inferential” and “non-inferential,” also referring to the latter as “phenomenological” (Fricker 2007, 61). According to inferentialist theories, our being together is based on shared intellectual capacities and our perception is the result of the processing of sensory data. With regard to the statement, “It is 5 P.M.,” this means, for example, that we are convinced of its truth only if we can state the reason for its occurrence (for example, the stranger looked at her watch shortly before we asked her for the time) or infer the reliability of the speaker (her serious clothing makes a joke unlikely) through induction. Although this approach seems to describe our approach to the problem of validity claims well, Fricker argues that it is totally unsuitable for describing the processes of our everyday life. It does not fit with our mundane experience in which we directly trust or mistrust information from others without reflecting on their credibility (Fricker 2007, 63). The inferentialist position, with its intellectualist assumptions, may therefore be suitable for describing explicit reflection processes adequately, but it does not succeed in adequately grasping our pre-reflective life. Fricker thus shares a basic phenomenological conviction: In our everyday life, the world is initially given to us unquestionably. We are not skeptical about it; we are practically committed to it and have a prior understanding that guides our actions sensibly. We only take a reflexive, skeptical position when this action comes to a standstill and is confronted with contradictions.

286  Steffen Herrmann Fricker describes situations in which we immediately assess the credibility of our interlocutor as “virtuous testimonial perception” (Fricker 2007, 80), the clarification of which stands at the heart of her analysis. How must we now understand the process of virtuous testimonial perception? Fricker cites a number of important characteristics that I would like to summarize in three points. First, our judgment of a person’s credibility is not intellectual but perceptive. It does not come about by means of mental abilities but is directly embedded in our perception and therefore pre-reflective. In short, we “see” the credibility of a person by looking at her. This process is to be understood in such a way that we possess a sensitivity for signs of credibility, by means of which the sincerity and competence of the speaking person is assessed. The background to this assessment, Fricker continues, is a series of non-thematic assumptions about the credibility of certain “social types” (Fricker 2007, 82). Second, judgments of perception are not brought about by rule-based generalizations. There are no permanent indicators of credibility that can be linked according to certain principles in such a way that it results in a credibility quotient. Social situations are far too complex, sublime, and multifarious for this. We must, therefore, understand judgments of perception not as the result of the application of epistemic rules but as the ability to assess situations individually and creatively (Fricker 2007, 76). Finally, perception judgments motivate action. Assessing a situation in a certain way means being challenged to give a practical answer. Accordingly, perception and action are not two separate processes; they are intertwined. The emotive aspect of our perception thereby serves as a connecting element. A positive or negative perception judgment about the credibility of others creates trust or mistrust, which motivates immediate follow-up action (Fricker 2007, 80). Power processes now find their way into our judgments of perception at the very moment when our perception makes reference to background assumptions about social types. For example, in a culture where foreigners are considered unreliable, if we hear “It’s 5 P.M.” in a foreign accent, we may not afford it the same credibility had it been delivered in a local dialect. The social types of domestic and foreign, and the ideas of reliability and unreliability associated with them, guide our process of perception. Fricker’s approach to connecting individual perception and social imago via social types can be very fruitful. A lot depends, nonetheless, on the question of whether or not she can make the link between an individual’s perception and their evaluation of it sufficiently plausible. What does it mean, exactly, that we can “see” the credibility of a person? Fricker’s answer to this question is rather weak insofar as she argues merely by analogy between moral and perceptual judgments (Fricker 2007, 72ff.). If we return to the phenomenological tradition to which Fricker very loosely referred at the outset of her argument, it is possible to make a stronger claim.

The Struggle for a Common World 287 A Phenomenology of Judgments of Perception The three moments of testimonial perception mentioned by Fricker can be identified as conceptual characteristics of perception in general if we draw on Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s seminal work Phenomenology of Perception. Without going into detail about Merleau-Ponty’s philosophical anchoring of the process of perception in our bodily life, we can identify three points that guide his considerations: Perception is the perception of shape, it is connected with situational competence, and it is connected with affordances. I will briefly explain these three motifs in more detail. First, our perception, as Merleau-Ponty argues following Gestalt psychology, is not composed of a sum of individual data but is characterized by the fact that an overarching organizational principle – the so-called gestalt – is inherent in it. This can be clearly seen in such things as the optical illusions of Müller-Lyer’s lines or the Zöllner illusion, but it can also be experienced in the simple perception of a melody. When we hear a melody, we do not simply hear a series of individual tones that line up linearly. We perceive the shape of the melody, in which each new tone emerges against the background of the tone just fading away and is directed toward the sound of a following tone. This becomes evident, for example, when a sequence of notes that has been prematurely interrupted demands a certain end (Merleau-Ponty 2012, 81). Here it becomes clear that individual tones do not carry their meaning within themselves but receive it starting from an overarching form. Second, the learning of cognitive shapes is connected with the acquisition of general competences, which enable us to react to very different situations. Once we have acquired a certain cognitive form, we can apply it to ever new and changing situations that no longer correspond exactly to the situation in which they were acquired. For example, we can easily recognize a melody when it is played in a different key or draw expectations from it for new, unknown melodies (Merleau-Ponty 2012, 262). Third, perception is not only a doing but also a suffering: Perceptual figures appeal to us. To support this point, Merleau-Ponty refers to cases of brain-injured people who suffer from color blindness. Visually, they are unable to recognize colors but because of the motor effects associated with certain colors, they are, nonetheless, still able to recognize them. For example, warm colors encourage them to stretch, cold colors to bend. Thus, there is not only a blue-vision but also a blue-behavior (Merleau-Ponty 2012, 217). The same can also be said for melodic perception: Melodies elicit moods that can drive or paralyze us, such as when we think of marching music or war drums associated with military music. The three aforementioned points allow us to better understand Fricker’s conception of judgments of perception. In particular, they underscore the key point at which her analysis links processes of perception with those of power. Social classifications, following Merleau-Ponty, can be

288  Steffen Herrmann understood as gestalt-building principles. They do not simply form the background in front of which our perception operates but rather guide its formation. Just as a melodic figure produces certain expectations about a sequence of tones, so the figure of a social type functions as a measure of credibility. Just as Müller-Lyer’s lines make the same line appear smaller and larger, so stereotypes can make a person appear more or less trustworthy, depending on whether she is white or black. Just as the Zöllner illusion leads us to perceive parallel lines in a distorted way, prejudices can lead to a distorted perception, for example of a stranger’s credibility. What is decisive here is that stereotypes and prejudices are not subsequent evaluations of perception but, rather, shape perception itself. With Merleau-Ponty we can therefore actually make sense of the phrase that we “see” another person’s credibility. Moreover, Merleau-Ponty’s reflections on situational competence and affordance also reveal how stereotypes are removed from the context of their acquisition and transferred to new contexts (such as the myth of a dangerous sexual potency in black and Jewish men) and how they can manifest themselves in our affective life (such as the “fear of the black man” practiced in seemingly harmless children’s games). As we have now seen, a phenomenological conception can provide us with an understanding of how stereotypes and prejudices function on a pre-reflexive level of cognition. However, before we discuss their negative effects in more detail, it is important to realize that stereotypes and prejudices must be understood as regular components of the perceptual process. This becomes clear when we look at Hans Georg Gadamer’s conception of the hermeneutic process. In Truth and Method, he argues that our understanding never begins from scratch but always with a prior understanding of the matter in question (Gadamer 2004, 267). The process of the creation of meaning goes hand in hand with certain expectations and accordingly brings meaning with it. When Gadamer says “that all understanding inevitably involves some prejudice” (Gadamer 2004, 272), he does not mean a prejudgment but the heuristic starting point with which we begin the process of understanding. The prejudice may well prove to be wrong and in need of revision in the confrontation with its object. It nevertheless forms the necessary starting point from which we can grasp at an interpretation of the object at all. Building on this notion, Gadamer argues that the dignity of prejudice stems from the fact that the cultural knowledge of a society is contained in it. Prejudice should be understood as background knowledge handed down through tradition, custom, and habit. Since such a tradition does not take place naturally but “needs to be affirmed, embraced, cultivated” (Gadamer 2004, 282), prejudices are not sources of irrationality. They are legitimate “sources of truth” (Gadamer 2004, 280). Prejudices thus keep us in touch with our historical horizon. However, it is precisely this integrative role of prejudice that, according to Gadamer, has been forgotten in

The Struggle for a Common World 289 the course of Enlightenment. What is more, a “prejudice against prejudices itself” is created here (Gadamer 2004, 273). For if the maxim of the Enlightenment is not to uphold any other authority other than one’s own reason, then every form of handed-down knowledge falls under the general suspicion of unreasonableness. Gadamer, by contrast, claims that prejudices form a reasonable starting point for our process of understanding because they ensure that it proceeds from the proper historical level of social rationality. If one advocates for such a rehabilitation of the role of prejudice, the question arises of course as to how to distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate prejudices. At this point, we can return to Fricker. She sees negative prejudices at work where there is a lasting association between a social group and one or more stereotypes that is resistant to counterevidence (Fricker 2007, 35). Negative prejudices can be distinguished from constitutive prejudices because the former do not serve the process of understanding as preliminary clues that must, in turn, prove themselves and thereby be corrected and adapted. Rather, they do not permit such a process of understanding at all. While constitutive prejudices guide experiences, negative prejudices block experiences. The former allows the transformation of meaning, while the latter refuses such transformations because it is resistant to rebuttal. Fricker attributes this resistance to an “affective investment” (Fricker 2007, 35) of the subject, without, however, clarifying more precisely how such an investment comes about and why it results in a particular persistence of negative prejudices. I think we can explain this as follows: Prejudices that are particularly persistent are those closely linked to the constitution of one’s own identity – their revision can only be achieved at the expense of one’s self-definition. We find such prejudices embedded in dichotomous concepts such as self/other, man/woman, or white/black. If the first term in each duo is defined solely by its negation of the second term, the latter becomes constitutive. Its transformation, therefore, poses a danger to the relationship as a whole, which can result in a refusal to accept such transformations. Two Forms of Epistemic Power In the last section, we have seen that prejudices are not retrospective evaluations of our perception but principles that are at work in the perceptive process itself. Starting from here, we must now look at how power asymmetries can seize our perception. To answer this question, I would like to draw upon Fricker’s concept of epistemic injustice and Gaile Pohlhaus’s subsequently formulated concept of epistemic ignorance. Particularly relevant to this discussion is the mode of epistemic injustice Fricker calls testimonial injustice. For Fricker, this takes place where the utterances of subjects are unable to generate resonance due to negative prejudices. In order to see how this happens, we must first understand the way power

290  Steffen Herrmann functions more precisely. According to Fricker, power consists in the ability to control the actions of others and such control can be exercised both actively and passively (Fricker 2007, 13). For example, the police exert their power actively, by working to ensure that the law is respected. But they also exert their power passively, by influencing the behavior of the population even in their absence. The active and passive power to control the actions of others depends on a wider social context: They only work against the background of social institutions. The prosecution of crimes is effectively only possible in combination with a judicial power and a prison system. Power is always, first and foremost, social power. Consequently, the power potential of an agent such as the police increases to the extent that its power is also linked to social areas upon which it is not necessarily dependent. For example, this is the case when the labor market is organized in such a way that evidence of a criminal record compromises a job seeker’s candidacy. This shows that power can increase to the extent that it can fall back on a socially coordinated interaction of different social areas. What is crucial now is that power can be based not only on social but also on imaginary, coordination. This happens when shared ideas about social identity, in the form of stereotypes or prejudices, influence how power is exercised. Fricker calls this form of power “identity power” (Fricker 2007, 14). An example of identity power can be found in a scene from Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Talented Mr. Ripley, in which one of the characters, Herbert Greenleaf, silences his daughter-in-law with the words, “Marge, there is female intuition and there are facts!” By linking femininity to such traits as irrationality, naiveté, and emotionality, Greenleaf is exercising a form of identity power. Greenleaf’s use of identity does not have to be intentional or malicious; he may even view it as simply an articulation of something self-evident or even benevolent. For instance, Greenleaf may intend to protect his daughter-in-law from others by not allowing her to embarrass herself with her utterances. But that does not change the fact that he uses identity power to control the effect of Marge’s words. As in the case of social power, Fricker points out that identity power can be exercised passively as well as actively. The latter is the case when Marge does not even dare to express her opinion publicly. This might have been because, according to the social conventions of the time, women should neither raise their voices in public nor contradict a man. For Fricker, the decisive effect of identity power is that it assigns a certain degree of “credibility” to its interlocutor (Fricker 2007, 17). The stereotypes embedded in the social imaginary can now lead to an unjustified surplus or deficit of credibility in the perception of others. Such false valuations have two potential causes: The first is an epistemic error that refers to the fact that we have simply erred in our assessment, while the second is an ethical error that consists in naively adopting negative

The Struggle for a Common World 291 prejudices without either critical examination or modification. Fricker cites the fictional story of Solomon as an example: He grows up in a culture in which most people believe that women were only half as intelligent as men. Because the institutions, customs, and traditions in his home culture support such a view of women, it does not seem irrational. When Solomon leaves his home to attend a university, however, he encounters women who are in no way inferior to him intellectually. If in response to such encounters, Solomon does not adjust his belief system, then from an ethical standpoint, he would be guilty of maintaining a prejudice that he now knows is irrational. Fricker argues that, in this particular case, the women concerned have experienced “testimonial injustice” (Fricker 2007, 35); she is, of course, aware of the fact that because stereotypes are deeply embedded in our personality structure, they do not simply vanish from one day to the next. They not only exist as explicit beliefs (“women are so and so”) that can be simply discarded but can also appear concealed, even standing in explicit contradiction to a subject’s beliefs. Fricker cites the case of the committed feminist, who finds that the stereotypes that guide her perception are so powerful that she affords men more credibility than women in her everyday life, even though she consciously resists such a distortion (Fricker 2007, 37). The harm inflicted on those affected by epistemic injustice is that they are silenced. Analytically, two forms of silencing can thereby be distinguished. The first form is to silence the addressed person in the literal sense. This is the case where, due to a lack of credibility, someone is not even asked for their opinion and is excluded from the conversation. Such a silence is the result of exclusion from communicative cycles. The second form of silence occurs when speaking is emptied rather than prevented. This is the case, for example, when a woman’s “no” does not count or her words are dismissed as “nonsense.” Even if, in this case, the marginalized subjects have the possibility to appear as speakers, their speaking is not able to achieve any effects in the world because it lacks the necessary authority (Fricker 2007, 133 cf.). Starting from this insight, Fricker argues that there is a connection between silencing and the possibility of self-realization. Where people are excluded from the cycle of interpersonal communication due to deficits in credibility, they are deprived of the opportunity to participate in the process that, following Bernard Williams, she calls “steadying the mind” (Fricker 2007, 52). For example, when a woman reveals her political views in public and encounters disbelief there due to gender stereotypes, this can have consequences for her self-confidence and her mental capacities. This presupposes, of course, that silencing is not occasional and event-driven but systematic. We find this to be the case when we are dealing with prejudices about identity traits that are relevant in a multitude of different social spheres. For example, a certain group of scholars may be marginalized and belittled at a conference because of their methodological views, but this exclusion

292  Steffen Herrmann usually only applies to this very specific context and is, therefore, less serious than class, race, or gender prejudices, which are drawn through very different social contexts such as family, work, and politics. In her discussion of Fricker’s theory, Pohlhaus distinguishes a process she calls epistemic ignorance from epistemic injustice. To explain this, she draws upon one of Fricker’s central examples: Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird. The novel is set in the American South of the 1930s and deals with the trial of a black man, Tom Robinson, accused of sexually abusing a white girl named Mayella Ewell. In reality, however, Mayella had made advances to Tom and stole a kiss from him. When her father happened upon the scene, he beat up Mayella, who later passed these injuries off as evidence of rape. The novel narrates Tom’s futile defense: Not only does it become clear that Tom’s statements have much less credibility in the eyes of the white jury than those of Mayella but that all evidence supporting Tom’s innocence is ignored by the jury. Pohlhaus attributes this to a form of epistemic ignorance, which she makes clear in the following scene: The public prosecutor asks Robinson why he so often stopped at the Ewells’s house on his way to work to help Mayella with the housework although he received no compensation. Tom replies that he felt sorry for Mayella, to which the outraged prosecutor responds, “You felt sorry for her, you felt sorry for her?” (Pohlhaus 2012, 726). This astonished question reveals that Tom’s statement was incomprehensible to the white prosecutor. In a racist society, white men inhabit the top rung of the social hierarchy, followed by white women, then further down black men and, lastly, black women at the very bottom. Within this hierarchy, it is believed that compassion as a feeling can only move in one direction: from top to bottom. By feeling sorry for Mayella, then, Tom assumes a place above her in the social order that was unimaginable in the white-supremacist society he inhabited. Even a simple, workingclass housewife stands above a black man – she does not need his pity. It is this hermeneutic pattern of the ruling white class that ensures that the prosecutor and the jury ignore Tom’s statement and, even worse, perceive it as a sign of arrogance (Pohlhaus 2012, 726). The epistemic ignorance that interests Pohlhaus, therefore, cannot be understood as an individual attitude of refusal but rather a situation of hermeneutic blindness or deafness. Thus, it represents a complement of hermeneutic injustice: If the former marginalizes subjects and prevents them from articulating their experiences, the latter produces privileged subjects deaf to the experiences of others.

3. Political Struggles for Visibility and Voice Fricker’s concept of epistemic power provides us the conceptual means to more precisely describe the struggle for a common world depicted by Arendt. As we now know, two forms of power must be overcome in such

The Struggle for a Common World 293 a struggle: those of epistemic injustice and epistemic ignorance. Both exclude the perspectives of marginalized subjects from consideration when thinking about the world we share. In the case of epistemic injustice, the voices of marginalized subjects may be heard and comprehended but not granted credibility. Their utterances simply lack weight and are therefore not taken into account. The opposite case is true for epistemic ignorance, where the epistemic resources of the privileged are structured in such a way that the claims of the resisting subjects are unintelligible. Here as well, the words of the marginalized subjects are comprehended, but their meaning is turned upside down so that once more the perspective of the speaking subjects remains invisible. Both epistemic silencing und epistemic ignorance, therefore, leave the marginalized subjects worldless since their genuine perspective on the world is not adequately acknowledged by others. The question I would now like to ask is: What political means do marginalized subjects have recourse to in order to make their voices heard? How can epistemic empowerment of subjugated subjects be brought about and how can privileged subjects be made to listen? I would like to develop an answer to these two questions in this section based on an analysis of the political struggles of Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter The Black Lives Matter movement was created in response to the death of 17-year-old Treyvon Martin, who was shot in 2012 on his way home from a convenience store, because of his hoodie and skin color, by a white community watch member in a California suburb. Although Martin was unarmed, the shooter claimed that he felt threatened and acted in self-defense. In the subsequent trial, he was acquitted by the jury in July 2013. The verdict led three political activists – Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi – to express their outrage with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter (Khan-Cullors and Bandele 2018). Thanks, in part, to its wide distribution on various social-media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, the hashtag quickly gained resonance, reaching a large number of like-minded people. The hashtag soon turned into an online campaign used by activists to address racist police violence, racial profiling, and broader social discrimination against African Americans. In August 2014, the protests spilled from the virtual into the analog world following the death of 28-year-old Michael Brown, shot 6 times by a policeman in Ferguson, Missouri. Black Lives Matter called for a freedom ride and bused over 600 protesters to Ferguson. The #BlackLivesMatter hashtag was written on posters held by demonstrators and became the emblem of the protests but also of a powerful social movement. In the following years, Black Lives Matter organized more than 1000 protests nationwide against racist violence and discrimination (Lowery 2017). Protesters carried posters and banners but also staged

294  Steffen Herrmann racist police violence. For example, they called out “Hands up!” “Don’t shoot!” reenacting the shooting of Martin Brown, said to have been shot with his hands up, or “I can’t breathe,” the last words uttered by the asthmatic Staten Island resident Eric Garner before he was crushed by the weight of several policemen. On other occasions, the activists performed die-ins appropriated from ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), where participants lay down on the ground, pretending to be dead. To this day, the movement is well organized and continues to realize its protests in both virtual and real space. For example, on the fifth anniversary of Martin’s death, activists created the hashtag #TalkAboutTrayvon to commemorate the continuing violence against blacks. In this context, Black Lives Matter has published a toolkit aimed at both blacks and whites that contains different templates for use on social media. The templates for Twitter include the following phrases: “Trayvon wanted to be a pilot” or “What would Trayvon have been like in his 20s? We’ll never know.” For other media, such as Facebook, longer entries have been provided, for example: I want to take a minute to #TalkAboutTrayvon on the fifth anniversary of his death. Trayvon Martin loved his family so much that he got tattoos of their names on his body. He was in honors English, but he liked math better. He dreamed of becoming a pilot. Trayvon was a 17-year-old son, student, and boyfriend. Yet he was murdered five years ago because someone decided he didn’t belong in their neighborhood. And his murderer was not punished, because people think it’s justifiable to be afraid of Black boys. So let’s #TalkAboutTrayvon so we can remember that being afraid of Black people is a lie that we are taught is “normal,” but that we can absolutely unlearn. (Black Lives Matter 2018) Arendt has emphasized that political action does not push for the enforcement of particular interests of special groups but fights for the realization of equality. Just as the Civil Rights Movement fought for the effective implementation of racial integration, especially in the southern states, following the 1954 judgment on the abolition of racial segregation, Black Lives Matter fights for the implementation of equality before the law. The cases of Trayvon Martin and others suggest that there are systematic distortions in the implementation of the law, since whites can apparently kill blacks with impunity. Evidence of this is provided by the criminal justice system’s historical participation in racial discrimination. This discrimination begins with the Thirteenth Amendment to the American Constitution to abolish slavery. It reads: “Neither slavery nor forced servitude shall exist, except as punishment for a crime . . . in the United States or in any territory under its jurisdiction.” The inconspicuous insertion “except in punishment for a crime” resulted in the mass

The Struggle for a Common World 295 arrests of African Americans for minor offenses soon after the abolition of slavery, who were then imprisoned and turned over as forced laborers to the very plantation owners they had just escaped (Alexander 2012). Discrimination by the police and courts continued under Jim Crow laws, which enforced racial segregation. State apparatuses in the South facilitated the exclusion of blacks from social participation while turning a blind eye to violence and lynchings by whites and the Ku Klux Klan. The disproportionate police violence against blacks continued in the late twentieth century with the “war on drugs”: Black drug dealers and consumers became the prime target of police investigations, providing cheap prison labor amid the commercial expansion of the prison system (Alexander 2012). Considering that every third black American man is incarcerated at least once in his lifetime while the same is true for only every seventeenth white American man, there is a very clear connection between slavery, Jim Crow legislation, and the current criminal justice system, which continues to systematically discriminate the black population (Davis 2003; Blackmon 2008; Alexander 2012). This connection is evidence that the disproportionate number of black deaths during or following police arrests (which was, e.g., in 2015 nine times higher for young black men than for other Americans [The Guardian 2015]) are not coincidental but the expression of systematic, unequal treatment. In keeping with Arendt and Fricker, in order to address this unequal treatment one must acknowledge the prejudices and background convictions that lead to such an unequal realization of the law, thus overcoming the burdens of epistemic power. How does Black Lives Matter challenge epistemic power? The Power of Direct Action Black Lives Matter borrows some of its political strategies from the Civil Rights Movement, which conceptualized political action as direct action where marginalized people use their collective power to question domination by mainstream society. In his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Martin Luther King sees direct action as guided by two principles. Direct action aims to produce a “tension” that helps people “rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood” (King 1964, 80). King makes it clear that a mutual process of understanding, and thus an argumentative exchange between blacks and whites, is only possible when the shackles of prejudice have been removed to such an extent that communication between them is possible. Such equality cannot itself be achieved again by means of understanding, only by direct action. Accordingly, he states: “The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation” (King 1964, 80). Thus, before the communicative power of the more compelling argument can take

296  Steffen Herrmann hold, the equality of the speakers must be established. This can happen through two means. First, black people should force the white majority population to acknowledge their concerns through public protests, boycotts, or occupations. Second, black people should engage in political practices that challenge the prejudices of the white majority population. The best strategy to do so is to stage the violence of the existing order, thus addressing the majority population’s moral sensibility. So in contrast to the politics of the Black Panthers, the Civil Rights Movement did not try to counter existing violence with counterviolence but attempted to reveal racial injustice. Its aim was therefore an epistemic one: to overcome epistemic ignorance by forcing white subjects to listen while challenging epistemic silence by questioning common patterns of prejudice. The moment of force comes into play when it comes to getting the white majority population to deal with the problems of blacks, which they tend to overlook or ignore. Their privileged perspective allows them to neglect the perspective of the underprivileged and assume that the actions of the prosecuting authorities, like police and courts, are carried out in an appropriate and just manner. The first task of Black Lives Matter was to force the white majority population to acknowledge the existence of a very different perspective on this matter, by addressing unjust police violence. To this end, the people were either directly confronted with these concerns through protests and blockades or indirectly by the movement’s media presence. In any case, they were forced to respond in some way. This last point makes clear that resistant action needs to be in some way spectacular. Often it is the only way to exceed the everyday attention span of the population, so that they are compelled to comment on the events. In the words of King, direct action must “dramatize the issue [so] that it can no longer be ignored” (King 1964, 79). While the force of direct action ensures that whites acknowledge the existence of a black perspective, the second moment of challenge aims at encouraging moral outrage over existing conditions of oppression. Black Lives Matter’s restaging of violent scenes – “Hands up!” “Don’t shoot!” and “I can’t breathe” – that resulted in the deaths of black lives illustrated that the deceased were not aggressors but victims of violence. The vulnerability of black bodies to white police violence was made visible, showing how these lives, during their very last moments, were wholly in the hands and responsibility of others. This performing of vulnerable bodies is not intended to persuade the audience argumentatively but to transform white prejudice by exhibiting black vulnerability and a perspective on the world commonly overlooked due to epistemic silencing. Instead of looking at black bodies and perceiving them as a source of danger, the white gaze should be enabled to perceive the endangerment of black bodies and the violence that is inflicted upon them. As King describes it: “Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure

The Struggle for a Common World 297 creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured” (King 1964, 85). Break on Through to the Other Side I would like to close by arguing that direct action is constituted by a third moment. When force is used to make white people listen to overcome epistemic ignorance, and moral challenges rattle their prejudices to overcome epistemic silencing, the foundations are laid for an epistemic process that allows the takeover of perspective. This process, Arendt argues, should not be confused with empathy. It is not about putting ourselves in other people’s shoes but taking their place, meaning that rather than trying to adopt their perspective, we should think and judge within their circumstances. This strategy is also enacted by Black Lives Matter in their online campaign that speculates about what Trayvon’s life might have been, thus emphasizing the fact that this life that was extinguished had dreams for its future – had value – just like any other life. This becomes even clearer in the Facebook post template that portrays Trayvon as a member of a family to which he was closely connected, a teenager who liked to go to school, and the boyfriend of someone who loved him. Arendt allows us to understand such representations as mini-narrations whose task it is to break through prejudices and stereotypes about black criminality by giving the victims a human face. For her, narratives must bring to the fore what she calls “who-one-is” (Arendt 1998, 86). Story­ telling is thus the solution to what Arendt calls the “impossibility to solidify in words the living essence of the person” (Arendt 1998, 181). This impossibility derives from the fact that at the moment we try to say who someone is, we can only ever grasp one trait. For example, when we call someone friendly, narcissistic, or shy, we are always describing what someone is thereby failing to describe who she is by reducing her to certain qualities, character masks, or stereotypes (Arendt 1998, 181). It’s different with storytelling. Stories do not just reduce complex facts to a series of traits: They report actions. And this productively shows who we are. How a person deals with a particular claim in a particular situation reveals more about her than a simple attribution describing the outcome of that action. So stories are capable of absorbing the failure of language because they speak of actions and constellations rather than just qualities. Furthermore, stories not only literally express what constitutes a person but bring to the fore who-one-is between the lines, avoiding a reduction to linguistic attributes in another way. Thus, Arendt writes: “Who somebody is or was we can know only by knowing the story of which he is himself the hero – his biography” (Arendt 1998, 186). As emphasized in the beginning, narratives should contribute to the expansion of our common sense. They make available the diversity of perspectives through which we can, first of all, speak of a common world. If the Black Lives Matter protests are now understood as a performance

298  Steffen Herrmann of mini-narrations, then it becomes clear that they do not simply serve the purpose of expressing anger about injustice. These protests address themselves to an audience that is forced to listen and that via performances and mini-narrations will be enabled to “break on through” to other perspectives. The protests endeavor to expand the common sense of white mainstream society and to create a common world in which existing conflicts can be dealt with in a controversial manner. The handling of such conflicts, of course, requires a different form of altercation: Protests alone do not provide sufficient political arguments but, rather, the political means that make political disputes possible in the first place by uncovering all those perspectives that are part of our common world.

Notes 1. The idea of a minipopulus was firstly formulated in Robert Dahl’s seminal study Democracy and Its Critics (1989). For a recent discussion see Fung 2003; Smith 2009; Wright 2010; Grönlund, Bächtiger, and Setälä 2014. 2. Husserl’s concept of Stiftung has been translated as “institution,” “foundation,” and “establishment.” I am using the translation of Dorion Cairns (Husserl 1960) who translates Stiftung as “institution.” See Bedorf’s chapter in this volume. 3. For Arendt’s use of the terms common sense and sensus communis see Borren 2013, 251. 4. The political system and public debate as depicted by Arendt is not at issue here. For a recent interpretation of her idea of a political system based on a republic of councils see Lederman 2018. For a reading of political communication see Zerilli 2016.

Bibliography Alexander, M. (2012). The new Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. New York: The New Press. Arendt, H. (1969). “Civil Disobedience,” in The Crisis of the Republic. New York: Harcourt Brace, 49–102. Arendt, H. (1970). On Violence. New York: Harcourt Brace. Arendt, H. (1976). The Origins of Totalitarianism. New York: Harcourt Brace. Arendt, H. (1998). The Human Condition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Benhabib, S. (1996). The Reluctant Modernism of Hannah Arendt. New Edition. London: Sage. Black Lives Matter (2018). Talk about Trayvon: A Toolkit for White People on the Fifth Anniversary of Trancon’s Death [online]. Available from: https:// blacklivesmatter.com/resource/talkabout-trayvon-a-toolkit-for-white-people/ [Accessed 7 March 2019]. Blackmon, D. (2008). Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black People in America from the Civil War to World War II. New York: Doubleday. Borren, M. (2013). “A Sense of the world. Hannah Arendt’s Hermeneutic Phenomenology of Common Sense,” International Journal of Philosophical Studies 21(2), 225–255. Dahl, R. (1989). Democracy and Its Critics. New Haven: Yale University Press.

The Struggle for a Common World 299 Davis, A. (2003). Are Prisons Obsolete? New York: Seven Stories Press. Fricker, M. (2007). Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press. Fung, A. (2003). “Recipes for Public Spheres: Eight Institutional Design Choices and Their Consequences,” Journal of Political Philosophy 11(3), 338–367. Gadamer, H.-G. (2004). Truth and Method. New York: Continuum. Grasswick, H. E. (ed.) (2011). Feminist Epistemology and Philosophy of Science: Power in Knowledge. Dordrecht: Springer. Grönlund, K., Bächtiger, A. and Setälä, M. (2014). Deliberative Mini-Publics: Involving Citizens in the Democratic Process. Essex: ECPR Press. The Guardian (2015). “Young Black Men Killed by US Police at Highest Rate in Year of 1,134 Deaths,” [online], Available from: www.theguardian.com/ us-news/2015/dec/31/the-counted-police-killings-2015-young-black-men [Accessed 7 July 2019]. Held, K. (2012). “Towards a Phenomenology of the Political World,” in Zahavi, D. (ed.). The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Phenomenology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 442–459. Husserl, E. (1960). Cartesian Meditations: An Introduction to Phenomenology. Transl. by D. Cairns. The Hague: Nijhoff. Khan-Cullors, P. and Bandele, A. (2018). When they Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir. New York: St. Martin’s Press. Kidd, I. J., Medina, J. and Pohlhaus, G., Jr. (2017). The Routledge Handbook of Epistemic Injustice. New York: Routledge. King, M. L., Jr. (1964). Why We Can’t Wait. New York: Harper & Row. Lederman, S. (2018). “Hannah Arendt, the Council System and Contemporary Political Theory,” in Muldoon, J. (ed.). Council Democracy: Towards a Democratic Socialist Politics. New York: Routledge, 150–167. Lowery, W. (2017). They Can’t Kill Us All: The Story of Black Lives Matter. London: Penguin. Marchart, O. (2007). Post-Foundational Political Thought: Political Difference in Nancy, Lefort, Badiou and Laclau. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Merleau-Ponty, M. (2012). Phenomenology of Perception. Transl. by D. E. Landes. New York/London: Routledge. Pohlhaus, G., Jr. (2012). “Relational Knowing and Epistemic Injustice: Toward a Theory of ‘Willful Hermeneutical Ignorance,’ ” Hypatia 27(4), 715–735. Schmitt, C. (1997). The Concept of the Political. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Smith, G. (2009). Democratic Innovations: Designing Institutions for Citizen Participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Taminiaux, J. (1997). The Thracian Maid and the Professional Thinker: Arendt and Heidegger. Albany: State University of New York Press. Villa, D. R. (1996). Arendt and Heidegger: The Fate of the Political. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Wright, E. O. (2010). Envisioning Real Utopias. London: Verso. Zerilli, L. M. G. (2016). A Democratic Theory of Judgment. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

16 Doing Gender Differently? The Embodiment of Gender Norms as Between Permanence and Transformation Maren Wehrle Introduction Feminist theory has long investigated the impact of social norms and power relations on human embodiment and experience – more specifically, the impact of gender norms on the bodies and bodily experience of women. These norms are far from neutral or, indeed, natural; instead, they represent patriarchic forms of power. In fact, most analyses refer to Michel Foucault’s descriptions of power and discipline as normalizing practices and technologies (cf. Foucault 1995; see, for example, Bartky 1997; Butler 1990, 1993; Weiss 2015; Oksala 2016). In the field of Phenomenology, Simone de Beauvoir was the first to explicate the embodiment of gendered norms in the now-classic text, The Second Sex (2011, orig. pub. 1949). Iris Marion Young followed with the famous essay “Throwing like a girl” (2005, orig. pub. 1980). Both thematize the ability of power relations and social norms to shape and to constrain the movements, behaviors, experiences, and desires of women and girls. Moreover, both brought to light the peculiar absence of physical force and even mental manipulation in the implementation of such norms. Instead, they revealed how we appropriate gender norms by way of linguistic and bodily practices partaken in on a daily basis. The aim of this chapter is to investigate how gender norms enter human bodily experience. My focus is not on the explicit ways in which social norms affect and constitute our relation to knowledge and the world but how these epistèmes become embodied, that is, become an assimilated part of our bodily experience. Gender, as a specific social norm, is of particular interest for a number of reasons. First, gender structures all domains of human social life: from matters of family, education, profession, and public life. Second, gender is a norm that structures life not only in explicit ways (e.g., when one is directly addressed as or identifies oneself assertively as female, male, or other) but also in implicit ways and thereby operatively defines our sense of normality. Third, gender norms typically mirror existing power relations insofar as they represent forms of socio-political organization. Gender is not a norm that we are

Doing Gender Differently? 301 necessarily forced to obey or even naturally identify with, but it remains incorporated and acquired within concrete and repeated bodily experiences and practices. In this way, the following analysis is inspired by Judith Butler’s theory of performativity. For Butler, gender is performative, meaning that it may not be defined a priori (e.g., in terms of some natural essence), rather, one’s gender depends on the various ways (e.g., historical, cultural) they enact, live, and thereby express the gender given to or chosen by them. While Butler is well-known for her analysis of the discursive, I will probe the phenomenological potential of performativity by applying the analysis to the human body (cf. Käll 2015; Bedorf 2015). Butler’s theory of gender performativity, with which this chapter will begin its analysis, opens up the picture of social norms as a two-way street – not only do norms effect our language and discursive behaviors, but language must also enact (take up or appropriate) norms in order for them to be effective. This applies, as I will argue, also in the case of the human body. As material and lived bodies, we are situated in a historically and culturallyinformed world, wherein norms manifest as well-ordered and typified social practices according to which we live. Yet, at the same time, we are practical agents insofar as we must bodily enact certain norms for them to be effective. Developing upon this line of argument, the following seeks to first highlight how norms are bodily habituated, and so render the idea of someone’s gender as something “permanent,” before turning to discuss how norms can be, through repeated bodily performance (what Butler, at the level of language, characterizes as citation), modified and changed, thereby potentially transforming our understanding of gender. Phenomenological descriptions and concepts like “situation,” “lived” and “material body,” as well as “habit” can help to illustrate the concrete material and cultural conditions and operations of the embodiment of norms. The following will hence draw on three approaches to female gendered embodiment: (1) Simone de Beauvoir and her emphasis on the importance of bodily situatedness, (2) Iris Marion Young and her focus on female comportment, and (3) Pierre Bourdieu (albeit, not a phenomenologist in the strict sense) and his concept of habitus. These approaches explicate why traditional gender norms are still so able to structure human behavior, experience, as well as judgements, despite far-reaching changes on the deliberative level of societal debate, public policy, and law. However, to shed light on the ways normalized gendered embodiment is subverted and so can be transformed, I propose we turn to some alternative scholarly resources. With Alia Al Saji, I will inquire into the potential for norm subversion on the level of bodily affection, while, with Merleau-Ponty, I will investigate the transformative aspects of habit formation. From this phenomenological perspective, I argue (in accordance

302  Maren Wehrle with Butler’s own intentions) that the process of embodying norms has two effects, namely, of permanence and of transformation. That is to say, the bodily incorporation of social norms, which contributes to their endurance, inherently retains the capacity for their transformation.1 As such, human embodiment may be conceived as inherently ambivalent (or unstable). This point should motivate, as I will conclude, transformative practices: While intellectual reflection on our linguistic practices could provoke thinking gender differently, the inherent subversion of our felt and habitual body could provoke performing gender differently.

1. The Performativity of Gender Inspired by J. L. Austin, Judith Butler (1990) was the first to link the notion of “performativity” (i.e., the functionality of language) to gender.2 Instead of viewing it as a fixed nature that predefines us and our bodies, gender is something we do. To this end, Butler demonstrates how a binary heterosexual order produces a certain intelligibility, thereby defining what matters – in this case, easily-identifiable cis-women or men – and what does not. Definitive gender is, in this sense, the successful result of repetitious and continuous interpellations: We are literally “called” into (a gendered) being from our first naming – “is it a boy or girl?” – to continuous gender significations throughout our lives. As such, Butler does not speak of a specific historical situation but of a symbolic “heterosexual matrix” identified by her as the symbolic order of Western civilizations, namely, the U.S.A. and those of Europe. Gender is thus materialized (and further consolidated) through the repeated performative acts of naming and of signification.3 These practices of signification may begin even before the birth of a child and they continue by way of repeated acts of naming their gender, achieving in turn a stabilization of the gender identity. Stabilization has been achieved if the child is perceived as a (legal) subject within the sexual order. The fact that materialization is not a singular act but must be repeated to achieve certain stabilization, goes to show that gender signification is inherently fragile – indeed, unstable. Repetition not only serves to preserve the prevailing normative matrix, but it also has the potential to transform it. This is because the repetition of naming in everyday practice operates like the repetition of citation in language. As Butler explains, when we cite something (e.g., a sign), we necessarily “cut” it out of its original context, transferring it to a new one. Thus, with every citation, a “break” from the original context occurs, which incurs a slight (or even radical) change of meaning (Butler 1997, 148). The use of language, including each specific act of naming, never signifies something in absolutely the same way, rather, it transforms pre-established rules and meanings. It is in this sense that linguistic discourses are neither stable nor fixed but remain always fragile and open to transformation. It is here, for

Doing Gender Differently? 303 Butler, that the possibility of subversive practices of parody and thereby certain social freedom arises. Core to Butler’s argument is its emphasis on both the determining factor of norms within a strict heteronormative order and their inherent fragility. When the materialization of gender norms fail and their fragility is hence revealed, there are two implications on these bodies: They are either socially excluded (i.e., they do not matter) or they may provoke a positive challenge to the normative matrix (i.e., they could change what does matter).4 In this latter regard, gender performativity can be transformative. As Butler puts it: At first, language acts upon us prior to our own actions; later, however, language “continues acting in every instant in which we act.” We are thus “gendered” or “called a name” prior to any possible understanding about how norms shape us. But, in the second stage, we might have the capacity “to reproduce those norms in ways we might choose” (Butler 2015, 63). Performativity thus describes both the “process of being acted upon” and the “conditions and possibilities for acting” (Butler 2015, 63). Although Butler admits that the aspect of choice arrives late to one’s performance, it is important to ask: How is one made aware of the effects of gender norms insofar as they remain a member of the social body which produces these norms? Butler’s reduction of the social to the linguistic or discursive realms renders social change a rather superficial matter for discourse (i.e., narratives and images) may presumably be transformed, but embodiment of gender itself may not. But, this point risks overlooking the ways in which norms effect experience insofar as they are embedded and instantiated in social institutions but also are imitated and embodied through daily practices. Therefore, due to their mutual influence, bodies in terms of discourse and material lived experience must be investigated alongside each other. In so doing, we may delve deeper into how exactly social norms are scripted onto bodies and bodily experience. With regard to the impact of norms, Butler’s idea of gender performativity and the materialization of norms may be deemed not radical enough, for her analysis stops at the level of discourse and does not sufficiently take their materialization into account.5 However, with regard to the transformative possibilities of performativity, it might be deemed too radical as it underestimates the permanent traces left by those norms on subjects’ bodies and experiences (Herrmann 2015, 74ff.). Indeed, how may the permanence of norms be explained if the analysis remains on the surface level of discourse or linguistic practices? The permanence of a respective political episteme lies not only in the fact that it defines how we think, classify/are classified, and evaluate/are evaluated but also in that it seems to crawl deeper into our bodies, deeper by way of affects and experience. This aspect of permanence is central to the following approaches to gendered embodiment by Simone de Beauvoir and Iris Marion Young, which both find radicalization, in the work of Pierre Bourdieu.

304  Maren Wehrle

2. The Permanence of Embodied Gender Norms Becoming a Woman In 1949, Simone de Beauvoir famously writes, “one is not born, but rather becomes, woman” (Beauvoir 2011, 223). With this, she subversively applied the existentialist paradigm – that an individual’s existence is defined by their concrete doings and materialist circumstances but not some pre-fixed essence (cf. Sartre 2007) – to the marginalized subject of woman. Her claim can be seen as the precursor to the later differentiation of (biological) sex and (sociocultural) gender, as well as the theory of performativity and materialization developed by Butler in Gender Trouble (1990) and Bodies that Matter (1993).6 Despite its room for different interpretation (and translation), Beauvoir meant neither that being a woman is a voluntary or arbitrary performance, nor that one is (forcefully) made into a woman by society or culture. Rather, she meant to show that there is no such thing as “woman” but only concrete, living, acting, and situated women. In the first part of The Second Sex, Beauvoir critically investigates how the mythical, religious, literary, scientific, and philosophical discourses of the last few centuries have postulated the universal nature of woman – what she calls the myth of the “eternal feminine” (Beauvoir 2011, 19, 20, 25). This eternal feminine is associated with a variety of often contradictory characteristics: from sensual, passive, natural, irrational, seducing, and dishonest to weak, caring, fragile, and gracious. For Beauvoir, the postulation of such a pre-fixed essence, supposed to define certain people prior to and independent of their concrete existence, functions as a crime against the existential freedom of those subjects. Although a follower of existentialism, against its proponent Jean-Paul Sartre, Beauvoir argues that such a freedom can never be absolute. Freedom is always a situated freedom; as existent subjects, we are embedded, shaped, and defined by the situations in which we are born and live. One’s situation is characterized by their material and economic, cultural and historic conditions, which shape their quotidian activities and define their possibilities as well as limits. Situation is a concept inspired by her French colleague, Merleau-Ponty. In Phenomenology of Perception (1945), he showed that our perception and most of our daily doings are neither reflective nor intellectual, nor can they be reduced to simple stimulus response conditions. Instead, we are through our embodiment directed toward the world; that is to say, we acquire and create meaning or sense within this bodily interaction or communion with the world, before we even reflect on it or establish linguistic meaning. Our body is our “anchor,” so to speak, in the world. Thus, not only are we situated within but also actively inhabit the world. A situation is thus not merely natural or defined by material aspects but simultaneously a matter of

Doing Gender Differently? 305 norms and discourse which are the result of one’s specific society, culture, and history.7 Beauvoir applies this concept of situation to a concrete existential case study: namely, middle class and white French women during the 1940s. By and large restricted to the domestic sphere, the activities and projects of French women were reduced to the daily repetition of household tasks. Because of their economic dependence and lack of respective experience, skills, knowledge, or cultural capital needed to enter the public domain, women could not easily escape or transform this domestic-bound situation. Key to Beauvoir’s argument is the observation of the differences between men and women as rooted in their situation. Gender differences were shaped, not by biology or some God-given essence but by monotonous daily actions and the environments in which they took place (i.e., public vs. private/domestic). In this sense, the claim that “one is not born, but rather becomes, woman” is substantiated by the observation of what is expected of women. These expectations are slowly incorporated so as to materialize the idea of woman. Akin to Aristotle’s own argument that one is only virtuous by doing virtuous things, Beauvoir contends that one is only a woman (in the assumed sense) when one repeatedly does “womanly” things. For Beauvoir, womanly things concern a life lived in immanence: This includes never-ending domestic tasks or the decoration of herself and her immediate surrounding. This situation is, in turn, reinforced by a culture which defines women in terms of beauty and their capacity as a wife, as well as of their aptitude for sensitivity, idleness, superficiality, and even hysteria. Although Beauvoir does not introduce a theory of the body or embodiment, as Merleau-Ponty did, she does stress the extent to which our lived body and experience is permanently shaped by the respective material and cultural aspects of such situations, which themselves are historically relative. Therefore, one could read Beauvoir’s descriptions of women’s situation as a description of the embodiment of gender norms. This embodiment is not neutral in that the respective norms express specific power relations and represent a historical political episteme (cf. Bedorf and Herrmann’s introduction to this volume), which is patriarchal in nature. These norms are, on the one hand, materialized in the economic, spatial, temporal, and practical determination of the situation and activities of women. On the other hand, the discourse of the “eternal female” (i.e., how women should look and behave) cause, justify, and stabilize this situation, thereby shaping women’s experiences and evaluations of themselves as well as their possible aims and desires. Woman’s situation is characterized by Beauvoir as specifically oppressive, for to become a woman inheres a form of social determination. Although women do create their essence through their activities, and so gender is in this sense performative, the performance itself (i.e., the types and scale of their doings) are strictly determined by the binary social

306  Maren Wehrle order and division of labor.8 Beauvoir teaches her readers that gendered embodiment, although performative, is socially determinant and leads to permanent social effects in the bodily subject by shaping experience, desires, and character traits. These practices are thus never purely individual, voluntarily, or even rationally chosen: What we are able to do, in which practices we can or even must participate to be a recognized, accepted, social or legal subject; these practices are determined by the very situation that we are in. Throwing Like a Girl Thirty years later, Iris Marion Young took over the mantel of Beauvoir in applying supposedly universal phenomenological-existential concepts to the specific and concrete situation of women. In doing so, she revealed that the “lived body” as a conceptual expression of kinesthetic possibilities, or practical intentionality – the “I can,” as defined by Husserl (Husserl 1989) and further developed by Merleau-Ponty (Merleau-Ponty 2012) – does not apply the same to everyone. According to Merleau-Ponty, bodily subjects appear as actively directed toward the world that dispose of a motoric intentionality: While engaged in a bodily movement, we are “here” but also already “there;” to wit, we already anticipate the thing or the action that drives our intentional project of activity. The lived body has in this sense a transcending as well as unifying function. It forms an intentional arc that brings together past and presence within a transcending movement toward a future goal: “The gesture of reaching one’s hand out toward an object contains a reference to this object, not as a representation, but as this highly determinate thing toward which we are thrown, next to which we are through anticipation, and which we haunt” (Merleau-Ponty 2012, 140). From such a perspective, the body enables us to orientate ourselves in and practically engage with the world without the interference of thematic consciousness or thinking. However, in concrete bodily experience, the supposed “I can” may in fact turn out to be an “I cannot.” This is because the situated body is far from the ideal, eidetic, or universal body that Merleau-Ponty describes. Instead, concretely-lived bodies are always already an expression of “gender, race, class, ability, and other social and spatial privileges that some bodies enjoy more than others.”9 Although the “I can” is able to serve as some ideal for bodily (human or non-human) beings, in its concrete form, it is an expression of “embodied agency” intertwined with “cultural agency.” In her seminal essay “Throwing Like a Girl,” Young shows that a female style of bodily comportment in patriarchal societies is quite different from the active, transcending picture Merleau-Ponty draws of human bodily intentionality in general, whereby one is thrown toward their goals. Conversely, Young argues that female comportment is characterized by its restrictions and inhibitions. The typical style of

Doing Gender Differently? 307 female bodily comportment can thus be depicted by three main features: an inhibited intentionality, an ambiguous transcendence, and a discontinuous unity.10 With critical reference to Erwin Strauss, Young illustrates female bodily comportment through a particular activity: the throwing of a ball. In throwing a ball, girls seem not to throw their whole body into the movement and toward their desired goal; rather, this movement and intentionality appears inhibited. As the intentional arc lacks tension, the arm’s movement stops halfway and the throw itself is hesitant. This inhibition is explained by the ambiguity of the girl’s transcendence. Young argues that the body is not fully absorbed in its movement or “fluid action,” and thus it does not transcend itself. Rather, the body remains partly in its immanence as if the girl did not want to let go of herself (and her movement) so completely. In addition, discontinuous unity points to the fact that girls or women typically do not throw their whole body into motion but instead, they seem to concentrate singularly on one body part, for instance, the movement of one’s arm over the rest of the body, which remains relatively immobile. It is not that the “I can” of the body dissolves entirely, rather, that it is interrupted by an intervention of thinking, indeed, an overt awareness of one’s body as object of concern.11 Confronted with doable tasks, apart from just doing, there mingles a nagging doubt that “maybe ‘I cannot’ undertake them successfully” (Weiss 2015, 79) and a concern with how one’s body looks (specifically, to others) takes over. The fact that girls throw in this specific way can thus be explained, not by hardwired biological dispositions or pre-scribed anatomical differences but by the gender practices, scripts, and images within a society. Mediated through education, socially-guided experience, imitation, and reinforcement through positive or negative feedback, the female character of the body is socialized, learned, rehearsed, and habituated. Girls acquire, in this sense, typical habits of female behavior: “Walking like a girl, tilting her head like a girl, standing and sitting like a girl, gesturing like a girl” (Young 2005, 43), and so on. This female style of comportment is thus neither merely anatomically or biologically determined nor is it a voluntarily developed style of female comportment. Rather their situation, which reflects patriarchal power relations, leads to the inhibited bodily behavior that defines what it means to “throw like a girl.” Within a patriarchal society, women learn from the start that they are potential objects for the gaze, intentions, and manipulations of others. Under these circumstances, embodying a female gender is in no way enabling but rather constraining, as the girl “learns actively to hamper her movements”: She is told that she must be careful not to get hurt, not to get dirty, not to tear her clothes, that the things she desires to do are dangerous

308  Maren Wehrle for her. Thus she develops a bodily timidity that increases with age. In assuming herself to be a girl, she takes herself to be fragile. (Young 2005, 43) Gender norms are embodied here through repeated imitation and femaleconnotated social practices that shape movement and experience from within, as well as an internalized female image or ideals of beauty and fragility by which girls evaluate their own bodies and behaviors from without. Reflecting on her essay 20 years later, Young states that most of her female students, in spite of an increasing participation of women in (competitive) sports and changing gender roles, can still identify with her description of female bodily comportment. Gendered embodiment is not something these girls “consciously think about, but rather, something they just do” (Weiss 2015, 82). Because of this, the feminist raising of consciousness, explicit reflections instigated by debate on gender roles may not be enough. These “roles” are not something we can decide to play or not to play but rather, they constitute us as social beings. Thus, even though Young’s students may reflect upon their sitting and moving “like a girl,” they find great difficulty in changing their habits. These habits are part and parcel, not only of daily routines but also of bodily identities and desires. On an intellectual level, we may create some kind of a distance from our experience and thereby reflect on the relativity and historicity of those norms. Yet, the incorporated norms remain persistent; they still constitute our everyday experience, our interests, needs, and experience, as long as we do not only try to think but also repeatedly try to do otherwise. The Alignment of (Gendered) Habitus and (Gendered) Field As we have seen in the descriptions of Beauvoir and Young, bodily experience cannot be equated with a universal “I can,” nor can it be a private or individual matter alone, but it is always already historical and social, our movements, gestures, and behaviors have themselves social meanings and are expressions of social norms. An example of this is the gesture of tipping one’s hat in greeting. The gesture, although in principle acquired through individual imitation, pertains to a social meaning embedded and developed in a particular history. Nonetheless, while taking off their hat, one can remain totally unaware of this socio-cultural heritage as well as their means of acquiring it. Moreover, in this gesture lies a specific social affiliation of gender and class: namely, being a man of middle or upper class. That does not mean that women (or people from other classes) cannot wear hats and proceed to tip them but that, in such cases, the gesture would lose its self-evident function and character. It would become either a sign of subversion (and hence, not simply a greeting) or perceived simply as “not fitting” in the context.

Doing Gender Differently? 309 For Bourdieu, the habitus is precisely this: the result of the embodiment of historical and social structures. Against the view that the social is something externally imposed on a formerly a-social or merely individual body, the habitus is not a medium between structure or individual agent but “the social made body” (Bourdieu and Wacquant 1992, 127). Thus the habitus represents both the structural realm and the individual agent. The latter incorporates the former rendering structures and histories personal, as if they belonged to him or her. In this sense, the habitus is structured (by the social) as well as structuring (the social). With respect to social bodies, this can be understood in at least two ways. Either it means that although bodies are structured by historical circumstances they also actively structure (in the sense of transform) their actual social situation, or this could mean that bodies are structured by (past) incorporations of structures that then in turn structure their future experiences. In the first way, the habitus is an inventing and dynamic force, whereas, in the latter, the habitus merely reinforces existing structures. This tension between an overly deterministic and an open, fluid model of the habitus runs through Bourdieu’s work (cf. Krais 2006; McNay 1999; Lovell 2000). Bourdieu provides his readers with a number of definitions in regard to the habitus, but these could be collected into two types: namely, a general sense and a more specific one. In the general sense, the habitus appears as embodied history – “it is the active presence of the whole past of which it is the product” (Bourdieu 1990, 56). The habitus thus represents the personal past of the individual and, at the same time, functions as a generative principle that hands over, preserves, and actualizes past social actions, traditions, and skills. In the more specific sense, not only is the habitus the incorporation of a non-specified history, but it also represents the social field in which it is developed and engaged. A social field can be a social class or milieu, such as the French bourgeoisie, which Bourdieu investigates in his book Distinction (Bourdieu 1989), as well as a specific vocational area, like academia. Such fields are defined by specific, mostly implicit, rules, hierarchies, and roles. People who share the conditions in which a habitus primarily develops, that means the same social field, also share the same habitus. Although it is impossible for two members of the same class to have the same set or order of experiences, they still share situations typical of a specific social group. According to Bourdieu, the habitus is acquired in early childhood experiences through mimesis, to wit, through imitation of parents’ or peers’ behavior. Because this habitus is formed within a specific class or social field, what is acquired are specific social skills or, as Bourdieu puts it, a cultural capital. To guarantee that this capital aligns with the class or social field, one adopts a “feel for the game” in a process of co-option and initiation. In turn, one gains an expression of embodied agency as well as social agency, ensuring smooth interaction and tacit understanding between people in everyday situations. As such, the habitus functions

310  Maren Wehrle like an inventing principle, providing people with context-based skills, practical reasoning, and resources (cf. Krais 2006, 129f.). Bourdieu points out that the embodiment of social norms, understood as an acquired habitus, is not inhibitive or oppressive per se. In fact, it is a necessary process of socialization. The habitus provides a person with generative meaning and skills, thereby enabling them to become a social actor. With regard to gendered embodiment, this means that feminine embodiment provides women with the skills and meanings to successfully participate in society. But, again, only in the context of their limited, pre-defined, and assigned social field(s) and roles. This reveals that their embodiment is dependent on a specific socio-historic context in at least two ways. First, social contexts and their respective norms define the conditions for the embodiment of movements, behaviors, and gestures from an early age. Second, the current contexts in which we live and engage define whether these embodied behaviors fit or not into their respective environments. Depending on the socio-cultural context, embodiment can thus reflect an “I can” or an “I cannot” – that is to say, they can be both enabling and constraining. Embodiment that results in a permanent habitus, as Bourdieu would define it, is thereby strictly limited to the particular conditions of its production. That means the habitus enables and generates social meaning and common-sense behaviors but only those which are possible and reasonable within the specific limits of their fields. Moreover, the regularities of the production of a habitus are adjusted to a particular field and, therefore, likely to be sanctioned. Thus the habitus tends to reproduce the regularities that were immanent within its production, and the perfect alignment of habitus, and its respective field, seem to stabilize and reinforce each other mutually. The logic of habitus and field produces “its own confirmation, by inducing a ‘vocation’ for the tasks to which one is assigned, an amor fati, which reinforces beliefs in the prevailing system of classification by making it appear to be ground in reality” (Bourdieu 1990, 71). Put into concrete terms, this means not only are the behavior or possibilities of an individual limited to a particular social field, but these particular conditions define the limits of what we can experience, think, and desire. As Bourdieu puts it, “The agents shape their aspirations according to concrete indices of the accessible and the inaccessible, of what is and is not ‘for us’ ” (Bourdieu 1990, 64). But, this seamless adaption comes at a price, namely, an illusion so to speak – the more you are part of the game, the less you are consciously aware of its rules and your own investment in it, indeed, the less you are motivated or able to change it. This illusion becomes particularly problematic in situations of domination or restricted and pre-defined social fields that oppress certain individuals. This is, for example, the case for women in a system of male domination which Bourdieu investigates in his book with the same

Doing Gender Differently? 311 name. To demonstrate how powerful gender as a classification system is, Bourdieu draws on material from his early ethnographic research in Algeria among the people of Kabylia – a society that appears to divide all of the world’s objects, activities, and spaces according to the malefemale dichotomy: This includes one’s physical posture (i.e., one’s way of moving), instilling a strict division of labor, and understanding of social space and roles. The Kabyle function for Bourdieu is an “ideal” case to demonstrate how male domination plays out, because gender is the main ordering category of their society. The respective binary order creates or continues to (re)instantiate its own point of reference, at the same time hiding its genealogy and hence appearing natural. Thereby, this social order shapes the habitus of the dominant men as well as that of the dominated women. Like the men who explicitly benefit from these structures, Kabyle women help to stabilize and reinforce this order, even desire it, and “cannot but identify themselves as inferior subjects” (Krais 2006, 122). Both men and women share, in this sense, a common habitus and corresponding worldviews. Despite the many problems inherent in Bourdieu’s analysis of male domination regarding his methods, not reflected male and racial biases, and ambivalent usage of the concept gender (cf. Mottier 2002; Lovell 2002; Krais 2006), this can be read as an extreme example of a rigid embodiment of gender that leaves nearly no room for creative aspects of performativity. But, Bourdieu’s study leaves us with a lot of unresolved questions: In the Kabyle society, there seem to be no class differentiations except that of gender – does this mean, then, that there is only one social field and thus one (or two, male and female) habitus? Especially in modern Western societies, there are a variety of social classes, fields, and cultural milieus in which gender is realized and expressed differently. Bourdieu himself agrees that gender is something that affects all social fields, but he leaves the question unanswered as to how this is concretely the case. Still, Bourdieu’s theory of habitus can help to illustrate the permanence of implicit gender norms, effective despite changing public opinions, beliefs, and legal systems. The interrelated concepts of habitus and field are instructive for their inclusion of social fields and classes into the discussion of gender. This could explain why women stick to the social fields that fit neatly with a certain habitus and are associated with typical female talents and traits (e.g., care and intimacy), or how female traits correspond to a cultural capital (cf. Skeggs 1997). Moreover, Bourdieu offers us an explanation as to why women have problems entering certain social fields that are typified by male attributes. Due to socialization, women lack the “feel for the game” and thereby the cultural capital advantageous in these contexts. Given further the aspect of social class, it becomes clear why it is so difficult for, say, people of color and those from working-class backgrounds to enter a social field like academia and, more specifically, a discipline like philosophy, which is predominantly

312  Maren Wehrle characterized by white, male attributes of the educated middle-class. However, in its focus on the alignment of social fields and bodily agents lies the weakness of Bourdieu’s theory. When the fields provide themselves with agents “equipped with the habitus needed to make them work,” and exclude others (Bourdieu 1990, 67), how then is gender-change or crossing possible?12 In line with Butler, Bourdieu understands the workings of the habitus as performative. But, against Butler, he does not believe that utterances or performativity can be completely dislodged from the social fields or material institutions that lend them their authority. More akin to the phenomenological approaches of Beauvoir and Young, Bourdieu argues for the crucial role of not only linguistic performance but the permanent material or bodily aspects of socialization (cf. Lovell 2000, 31). While Butler’s notion of performativity perhaps overestimates the impact of symbolic or linguistic agency and subversion and hence does not sufficiently account for the permanent material aspects, Bourdieu’s understanding of performativity arguably underestimates its dynamic fluidity and transformative aspects (cf. Bedorf 2015). As such, he tends to reduce both linguistic and bodily practices to pre-given social relations. This reduction risks the limitation of the habitus to the regularities whereby it was first produced or began to be developed. But, a habitus consists of a variety of habits, and is not a unified, static, or fixed substance. Rather, it has to be actualized and constantly changes throughout a person’s life; this is especially the case when external circumstances change and new experiences are formed upon entering a new culture or social field. To explain how a habitus and its corresponding field may not only conflict but still have mutual influence, a closer look at how such a habitus is concretely acquired, sustained, complemented, or changed over time is important.

3. Gendered Embodiment: Ambivalence, Subversion, and Transformation Fragile Embodiment and the Subversion of Touch Why is it that lived and material bodies are so vulnerable to the permanent impact of social norms, while still open, creative, and subversive in their feeling and acting? As bodily subjects, we are extended into space; we are material objects located in and causally effected by the world. But, precisely because we are also living subjects (i.e., sensing, moving, and experiencing), this materiality makes us open and vulnerable to the world. Crucially, we are not passively located, affected, moved, or molded from the outside as if we were an indifferent object, rather, we feel external affects, so to speak, inside-out; we subjectively relate to them. While we are actively directed toward the world (e.g., we touch, we see and hear),

Doing Gender Differently? 313 we are also responsive toward it (e.g., we are touched, seen, and heard). This is what Husserl meant when he spoke of human embodiment as simultaneously the subject of experience and object of experience, lived body and material body. He illustrated this by the well-known example of touching your right hand with your left hand, thereby provoking a double sensation: Either one feels the “objective” characteristics of the right hand being touched or the subjective “sensings” (Empfindnisse) of the left hand touching (Husserl 1989, 152ff.). These two sensations are not (nor can they be treated as) one and the same sensation, merely transferring back and forth. Rather, it is a doubling of sensation, something “localized in two sites of the lived body” (Al Saji 2010, 22). It is, indeed, a “felt two-ness.” Moreover, not only do we sense that our bodies are objects, but we also experience ourselves as bodies. That is to say, there is a certain awareness of our own bodily experiences. This pre-objective way of feeling one’s sensations (sensings) or the felt affection of being touched by others conditions our ability to explicitly address or thematize ourselves as objects – it is why we both are and have a body. Such a two-ness or “corporeal difference” (Bedorf 2017, 69f.) is not to be understood as an either/or experience, as if we were either a subject or an object. Rather, Leib and Körper can be understood as two poles or aspects of lived human embodiment that can sometimes be dissociated (cf. Fuchs 2007). The openness and vulnerability of human embodiment is precisely this intertwinement of a sensing and sensed as well as experiencing and experienced body. While the material aspect of our existence seems relevant only because we are subjectively experiencing it, subjectivity necessarily involves this material or objective aspect in order to “be lived”: “Being-touched or sensed from without makes a difference to my body, affects it, as it is sensed from within” (Al Saji 2010, 23). Because we are not indifferent to the impacts of the world, they are vulnerable and open to its affections and influences. We are thus forced to react and integrate – to incorporate, appropriate, and enact – these experiences into their bodily life. This point runs counter to the representation of humans as only goal-directed, as actively exploring or thinking subjects, something akin to pure intention. In fact, our openness to the world and subsequent experience of vulnerability reveals our doubled complexity. As Alia Al-Saji points out, in re-reading of Husserl’s theory of touch, touching and being touched are not so simply a matter of respective activity and passivity; the reverse is also true. Though we are constituted through the touch of others (as a passive, touchable body), we may also feel an “active” enjoyment in being touched (that is being responsive toward the other’s touch). Thus, gender (as well as other social constructs) does not enter bodies by way of a top-down inscription or a bottom-up causality, rather, bodies are “the encumbered and thick nexus of meaning (often implicit) though which sociality, historicity, materiality and

314  Maren Wehrle subjectivity intertwine” (Al Saji 2010, 33). As such, we are affectively differentiated and intersubjectively constituted within social interactions. These interactions and performances are, as we have already seen, concretely situated in existing social orders. This means that our affection is itself socially constituted (cf. Wehrle 2010). This social positionality is thereby embodied through habit. These habits function at once as a kind of localization within different systems of oppression, and are “generative of my concrete embodiment as receptivity, felt capacity (‘I can’), and style” (Al Saij 2010, 33). For example, in many Western cultures, women are perceived to be more touchable insofar as they are perceived as passive objects for the transgressive and sexualizing masculine touch. Therefore, they are habituated to a “certain defensive, tactile self-containment,” for, within their social field, they maintain the constant expectation of intrusion and of an unwanted touch. They develop a comportment that occupies a narrow and enclosed space, and hesitate to infringe upon the space of others (cf. Al Saji 2010, 33). As Al Saji argues, such a specific gendered embodiment can lead to gestures of protection and conformity, but they can also motivate “empathy, feminist reflection and activism” (Al Saji 2010, 33). In this sense, discourses or a history of concepts alone will not “provide any motivation for radical politics that would attempt to instigate profound social transformation,” indeed, for social change to happen we have to understand how these concepts affect the lives of real people, “how they restrict, oppress, and impoverish the experience of the individuals to whom they are attached” (Oksala 2016, 46f.). A change or revolution in the economy of touch as well as gender norms requires substantial social change – one which is motivated by felt disturbances or experienced oppression. It is our embodiment, and its ambivalence in relation to the inherent “power of touch,” that allows us to unsettle the binary schemas of subject/object and active/passive and thereby destabilize the influences of social structures from within: “Gestures that seek to touch against the grain of dominant and objectifying norms” (Al Saji 2010, 35). Nonetheless, it should be noted that such “touching” only has effect when it moves from the private sphere (i.e., bodily) to that of the public (i.e., intersubjective) of social life, developing its full political potential as a social movement. Gendered Embodiment as Transformative Habit Formation For a concrete description of how norms come to be embodied, it is worth taking a look again at Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology of the body, specifically his concept of habit. Here, he notes that a body is only an “I can” insofar as it represents its past – that is, a habitual layer of former experiences and acquired skills, which are specifically social. This habitual layer of the body is part of the body-schema,13 an operative

Doing Gender Differently? 315 know-how of my position, capacities, and practical possibilities, through which I relate to the world. The body-schema can thus be understood as the concrete vehicle of Bourdieu’s habitus. Following Merleau-Ponty, one can differentiate this from the body-image, that is, the way I perceive and relate to my body or other bodies thematically. In this regard, we can differentiate the ways in which gender norms affect how we perceive and evaluate our bodies (i.e., the body-image) from how they affect our actions and relation to the world (i.e., the body-schema). This is important because the first refers to discourses and norms that are internalized in and form our interpretative schemes, whereas the latter affects us in an even more fundamental way as it becomes embodied, hence habituated. This is a difference often overlooked by Bourdieu, Young, and Beauvoir, among other commentators. For Bourdieu, everything seems to belong equally to the habitus, bodily gestures, comportment, and behavior, as well as internalized world views or interpretative schemes. In turn, he fails to differentiate between bodily and doxic (common sense) aspects of habit. Phenomenologically, one could investigate how internalized discourses frame our perception, attention, and our affective relief, or, how specific norms are directly embodied through the imitation and repetition of behavior and comportment. Furthermore, if we focus on embodiment in the strict sense of the term, Merleau-Ponty’s descriptions highlight that our body-schema is not something that is once produced and then stays the same but changes constantly through interactions with our environment and each other. For this reason, we can acquire new skills and extend the range and horizon of our experience; the body-schema also extends beyond its own corporeal limits. Because of the attuning and adjusting capacities of our bodies, it is possible to incorporate technical tools into one’s bodyschema. Through repeated usage and moving, a blind man can incorporate his walking stick so neatly into his body-schema such that it ceases to be an object he experiences and instead it becomes something through which he experiences. As Kristin Zeiler argues, we could understand the incorporation of gender norms in the same way: through imitating and rehearsing the respective female norms that are getting incorporated into our body-schemas (Zeiler 2013). Every kind of skill we acquire in a bodily way, every space we inhabit and tool we use, represents a specific social situation, milieu, or field with specific gender norms and scripts. By incorporating them into our body-schema, their permanence seems guaranteed. However, as Merleau-Ponty reminds us, acquiring a habit means not merely incorporating the social structures of a particular practice but also acquiring a new motoric and even social meaning, a new practical possibility, that can be then applied to various different contexts or performed in different social fields. Under non-restrictive conditions, habit formation includes the exploration of one’s surrounding space and bodily

316  Maren Wehrle capacities, in other words, trial and error or playing around. In this process, variations take place and even new forms of movement can be created. The very process of habit formation, also in its disciplinary form as pre-defined, fixed, or supervised form of norms and power relations, is thus characterized by the permanent but also transformative force of performativity (cf. Wehrle 2016; Jansen and Wehrle 2018); it brings something into being through its repeated enactment. In the same sense that every signification is performative and not merely a repetition of the same, this holds even more true for every movement and interaction of bodies. Habit can, in this regard, not be reduced to definite instincts, purely mechanical behavior, or social conditioning (cf. Crossley 2013). Our nature, as Merleau-Ponty states, is not an “ancient custom”, since this presupposes already the very passivity as well as activity of our bodily being. The body, as a “general means of having a world,” must represent both aspects, the permanent and the transformative, created (naturé) and creative (naturant) (Merleau-Ponty 2012, 383): Sometimes it restricts itself to gestures necessary for the conservation of life . . . sometimes, playing upon these first gestures and passing from their literal to their figurative sense, it brings forth a new core of signification through them – this is the case of new motor habits, such as dance. (Merleau-Ponty 2012, 147/8) The very fact that the embodiment of gender norms relies on constant repetition and acts of stabilization, and thus on moving, gesturing, and experiencing bodies, opens up a space for change, resistance, and creativity. Through the act of appropriation and enactment, the motoric and normative meanings, as dominant and strict as they may be, become individualized, and their meaning and execution shifts and even changes. To this end, the inherent instability of performativity can be used explicitly in practices of subversive embodiment, such as Butler’s example of drag and cross-dressing, whereby female or male attributes are exaggerated and thus shown to be artificial. Gendered embodiment as performative does not only reproduce conventional movements but always has the possibility to take these movements out of their context, add other movements from different contexts, and hence change their overall style and meaning. To what extent, then, does the development of bodily habits function similarly to the process of citation? While an embodied norm or social structure does not have to be tied to the original context of its acquirement, it also cannot break free of its historicity (cf. Butler 1997, 148). In other words, an embodied norm or social structure cannot be “cut off” from its origins but stays related to the sedimentation of its usages. Unlike linguistic performativity (i.e., linguistic signs), which are not highly dependent on their original context for their meaning, bodily

Doing Gender Differently? 317 performativity (habits, skills, or gestures) is arguably more dependent on its origins. Skills, gestures, and habits are acquired in respective social milieus and then “belong” to the very bodies (subjects) that have acquired them. Therefore, to “cut off” the meanings or norms from their original context, one would have to move into another social or cultural context. But, even then, one continues to carry their incorporated past such that the meanings and norms embodied can only be transformed slowly and gradually. Nonetheless, during the process of signification or acquiring a skill, there remains room for variation. After all, individuals, although currently within the same social field, never have the exact same experiences. Even in learning how to walk or swim, the skill or techniques are never incorporated in the exact way, for the practice itself is reacted to differently by individuals with different physiques, histories, or (formative) experiences. Furthermore, we must distinguish the social conditions and contexts in which skills are acquired. Dependent on the context, swimming, dancing, or even marching can be an expression of conformity, when it follows fixed rules (as for example in institutional, religious, or disciplinary contexts), as well as a performance of subversion or innovation, if exercised in a different context or manner or by a specific group or person (e.g., women, religious or ethnic groups). Another reason for the inherent fragility, dynamics, and instability of gendered embodiment is that the norm of a female or a male ideal can never be fully incorporated, nor determine concrete bodies. This is to say, no girl and no boy may fully embody an ideal female or male comportment; for instance, there are girls that are not able to walk or tilt their head like the ideal girl should, even if they wanted to; alternatively, there are boys who may not able to throw a ball as expected for the ideal boy, rather, they throw like “girls.” This goes some way to show the artificiality of a strict binary composition of sex or gender, one that never meets the messy reality of experiencing and acting bodily subjects. What happens then when the signification or the embodiment of gender norms fails and a girl or a boy are socially sanctioned for not meeting the expected gender behavior or appearances? This is an aspect of gender embodiment that neither Beauvoir nor Young explicitly addresses. It is Butler who shows that the failure of a complete embodiment of norms can be the reason not only for immense suffering but also for an epistemological advantage. This “mismatch” creates a distance between oneself (habitus) and the respective social fields and dominant norms, enabling better reflection of them even as it causes great pain and constrains one socially. The embodiment of gender norms is thus not as fixed or total as Bourdieu’s descriptions of the habitus might suggest. Rather, it is dynamic and thereby, to a certain extent, also reversible. As Zeiler highlights with regard to a fictitious case of transgender in the novel Middlesex, gender norms can also be to some extent be ex-corporated when the respective

318  Maren Wehrle social field or one’s body (identity) changes. Identifying as a boy instead of as a girl in the middle of her puberty, the respective character engages in different gender practices. In acquiring male perspectives and habits, the female gender norms are ex-corporated or substituted with male ones (Zeiler 2013). This is possible – albeit slowly – because processes of incorporation are not purely a passive repetition or imitation but require the active participation of the body. Bodily performativity can thus be the cause for its own gender troubles. The fact that structures have to materialize themselves into bodies to be effective reveals their temporality and fragility. Gender norms are ideals, but the ideal of the Female or Male must be constantly incorporated, personalized, and adjusted to the circumstances. The ideal or norm itself is thus unattainable: Even if one strives to be the perfect woman, at a certain point, if it goes above and beyond to a point of supra-femininity, this risks turning into its opposite and hence exposing its artificiality. The concrete processes of incorporation, in the same sense as speech acts, never represent their underlying norms completely and, because they are dependent on experiencing and speaking individuals, they are never fully controllable. Here, a leeway manifests in subversive embodiment and transformations can take place. This goes to show, due to the implicit function and bodily incorporation of gender norms, that, while important, it is not enough to explicitly problematize these norms in political or academic contexts or change the respective laws. The lesson one can learn from (feminist) phenomenology is that we must look to the ways in which these norms are embodied, and then try to extend and pluralize these norms through everyday practical enacting. The body may thus not by itself be called political, but it is of political relevance due to its “worldliness,” its “historicity” and “stubbornness” (cf. Herrmann 2015). Stubborn not only because of the sustainable way it incorporates norms that makes it impossible for us to be rid of them but also stubborn in terms of its inherent subversive “nature” that can motivate transformation and change.

Conclusion Certainly, one cannot argue that embodied experience stands outside of social power relations, that it is pre-discursive or somehow “natural.” Still, this perspective has a subversive potential of its own. Despite standardized or forced habituation, the body gains a certain potential and set of skills which can be used in purportedly unusual or new ways. Even in the most violent, dominating cases of discipline, a certain sense of activity can be ascribed to one’s body. After all, the body takes part in the process of habituation. Even though gender norms shape our bodily comportments, needs, and experiences in an anonymous way, the skills that we acquire in this process are not fully bound to its conditions of formation.

Doing Gender Differently? 319 Indeed, we can use them in different contexts: For example, we can use “marching” skills (to take Michel Foucault’s example) in non-militarized contexts, like a dance choreography whereby it may attain a different or even parodic meaning. Skills learned in the context of marching, like the practical and timely coordination of movements, can be re-enacted in various other contexts and might even facilitate other forms of creative movements or bodily expressions. The body’s potential notwithstanding, reflection on the specific conditions of performances and doings must not be forgotten for they are defined by one’s situation, social field, or class, and the place and values they assign to gender. It is indeed easy to critically discuss gendered embodiment or female comportment from the ivory tower of academia, whereas these experiences may be different for a women in, say, a white working class environment in Rotherham Great Britain (cf. Skeggs 1997). Here, what’s typical to female comportment and behavior might be the most advantageous or the only possible strategy to achieve a sufficient standard of living. In Skegg’s study of young working class girls in a “caring course,” femininity is the only cultural capital available for women within the respective situation. These young women actively invest in their “respectability” as women by fostering their feminine practices of “caring,” and thereby acquire skills that train them for the (limited) labor market and, in turn, for traditional marital roles (cf. Lovell 2000, 42). These investments made in bodily incorporating habits of “caring” (as well as familial respectability, femininity, and “glamour”) highlight their “veritable resistance to acceptance of most discourses of feminism” (Skeggs 1997, 139). Instead of reflecting on gender and its oppressive consequences, they rather keep these “hard-won-gains,” which make their lives easier in the restricted markets they have to trade: “They have more to lose, after all, than their chains” (Skeggs 1997, 139). How could people then be motivated to do gender differently? Why are we not all satisfied, absorbed, or chained to our matching habitusfield complexes, our, as Bourdieu calls it, amor fati? Change (or revolt) may occur when the situation is so constraining that one has nothing more to lose. For instance, when the investment in one’s gender no longer affords the promises of a better life. One may, in these contexts, be forced to cross genders, leave one’s social situation (if possible), or form solidarity with other women and start a social movement. It can also occur in those situations wherein one cannot fully embody their assigned gender in a way society, and often the individual, would deem acceptable, thus reflecting a mismatch between one’s own experience and the gendered structures and rules of one’s social field. Distance from the ideal motivates a reflection on gender as a whole. In the experience of a mismatch, the self-evidence of one’s own habitus as well as the respective (primary or former) field is unsettled. This (forced) awareness could be an epistemic advantage, motivating critique in turn.

320  Maren Wehrle Such a mismatch forces action: Either one will capitulate and go back to more familiar fields or adjust (and even parody) one’s habitus or the typical habits of the respective fields; they may even try to invent new habits, gestures, and movements. Nonetheless, it would be an illusion to believe that the few exceptional individuals, those who succeed in entering a (desired) different social field, can actually change the rules of the game. Often, the reason they are so successful is due to their capacity to achieve a perfect adaptation of the social structures of the (desired) field. This could change the individual’s habitus but not the field itself or normative matrix. Successful women within the academic discipline of philosophy (or other male dominated fields) have acquired a similar habitus to other (nominally, male) members of the group. That means they evaluate and judge female students and women who want to enter academia according to the same (unequal) criteria as their male colleagues.14 Changes to the field cannot occur when only a few “exceptional individuals” (i.e., of critically diverse backgrounds) enter it. The subversive embodiment and practices of a few exceptional individuals are not sufficient to question the rule and criteria of a field, situation, or normative matrix as a whole; it would neither motivate nor sustain long-term structural change. Both the individual and the structural must mutually motivate and reinforce: Only when people repeatedly experience that things and people can be different do they become so. It is the plurality of gender difference that accustoms the fact of change, rendering unsustainable antiquated gender roles, role models, and strict gender binary in our societal doxa. But, this will only be effective if we are doing gender differently together – shaping new and inclusive social fields, not only for those who identify as male or female but for all embodied and gendered subjects. For this, we need not only creative bodies but rather creative politics to provide us with the necessary social conditions (cf. Oksala 2016, 49f.)

Acknowledgements I would like to express my utmost thankfulness to Ashika Singh for her careful copy editing, critical remarks, and (in)valuable comments on this chapter. I would also like to thank the anonymous reviewer for his helpful suggestions. Finally, I would like to thank the editors for putting this volume together, their careful review, and important suggestions on the topic.

Notes 1. This is also true from the perspective of praxis theory (Alkemeyer 2017, 44). For the relation between phenomenology and praxis theory, cf. Bedorf and Gerlek 2017; Schatzki 2002. 2. In his book Doing things with words, Austin distinguishes different kinds of speech-acts and gives examples for the real-world effects of words. In doing so, he differentiates between three acts that are involved when we

Doing Gender Differently? 321 issue words: While the locutionary act refers to the technical aspect of “saying something,” illocutionary acts refer to the “doings” behind the saying, and perlocutionary acts refers to the real-world effects or consequences of the saying. An example for the illocutionary aspect, or the things we do with words, are spoken or written orders or legal statements, like the Christian minister who joins two people in marriage or the judge who proclaims his juridical decision. Butler develops Austin’s idea further and combines it with Derrida’s theory of language and difference. See (Austin 1952); (Derrida 1988); Butler’s account also draws on Sedgwick (1990). 3. Already Foucault emphasized that processes of “normation” or normalization (as in his example of discipline) do not merely shape or influence a pre-existent natural body retroactively, but actually constitute the bodies of soldiers, pupils, workers, etc. (Foucault 1995). 4. However, perhaps due the abstract and all-encompassing understanding of the heterosexual order, the possibilities for change that Butler points to are characterised rather generally and lie merely in the processes of signification themselves. While the inherent instability of gender performativity is not yet to be called agency, it at least could motivate explicit queering performances. It is questionable whether the task of resistance, change, or subversion should really be assigned to “great individuals” over a focus on institutional changes, i.e., the respective social fields and institutions that instantiate and stabilize the heterosexual order. Nonetheless, Butler alerts us to the dynamics and fragility inherent to performativity, as well as the need to look at the positions of the oppressed and excluded within a respective order. 5. An phenomenological-existential account can be said to be even more radical, here it is not only about the impossibility of an intelligible access to such a domain (i.e., in the sense of a critique of reason), but here the necessary worldliness and historicity of every bodily subject themselves make it ontologically impossible to differentiate between mere natural and cultural aspects, because they are merged in an adult human subject; one could even argue that nature/culture develop together or co-evolve in the long run through the interaction of humans with their (social, cultural, and historical) environment. 6. A strict binary distinction between a biological substrate (sex) and a socially or discursive constructed surplus (gender) makes little sense from either a phenomenological-existential or a discourse-centered perspective (cf. Heinämaa 2003; Butler 1993). 7. Within Merleau-Ponty’s (and Beauvoir’s) account there is thus no distinction between nature and culture, both shape and define and are overlapping layers of our existence that can only be differentiated in limit cases of experience (cf. Merleau-Ponty 2012, 26, 86, 139, 195, 205, 363, 411, 482). 8. This does not mean, however, that women’s situations are not characterized by biological factors: There are specific bodily states and experiences that are specific to the situation of (some) women, such as menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, and activities like breastfeeding, etc. These specific experiences and practices may even lead to different viewpoints regarding presumably “objective” things like time (e.g., due to the recurrent cycle of menstruation) or intersubjectivity (e.g., due to the experience of another body growing in one’s own, cf. Stähler 2017). But, first, one cannot ascribe those states and experiences to all persons who identify as women (e.g., to those who are unable to procreate or menstruate, etc.), while some of them can also be ascribed to those who don’t identify as women. Therefore, it is key in certain contexts to specify for which group of women these activities and experiences would in fact apply. Second, these differences are not

322  Maren Wehrle sufficient to explain and certainly not to essentialize the social division of tasks that reduce women to the immanent sphere of domestic life and associate traits of, for instance, caring-ness only with women. Femininity becomes an imperative; women are not better caregivers by nature or essence, but because they are expected to care. 9. Weiss 2015, 84; for another critique of Merleau-Ponty’s presentation of the body as universal and the underlying masculine bias of such a conceptualization, see Butler 1989. 10. For a critical application of phenomenological concepts by Sartre and Merleau-Ponty to the situation of the colonized subject, see Fanon 2008. 11. Young thereby accepts the ‘” can” as a universal optimum of bodily comportment, as something that does not merely reflect a masculine gender norm. I agree that this focus on merely active, transcendent, or even “penetrating” aspects of the lived body might point to an un-reflected and thus un-bracketed masculine point of view that is then universalized, and I support the argument that the passive, material, receptive, and responsive sides of embodiment must be emphasized more. However, I think there are good reasons to keep a more balanced general optimum of an “I can” over an “I cannot,” as all human and non-human bodily organisms are not indifferent with regard to restrictions of their possibilities of moving or inhabiting space. 12. Bourdieu repeatedly states that the habitus is an open and fluid system that is constantly prone to experience, and therefore affected by them “in a way that either reinforces or modifies its structures” (Bourdieu 1990, 133). Nonetheless, his actual descriptions seem to focus more on the reinforcing part and are at times rather static. 13. For the definition and development of this concept within Merleau-Ponty’s work, from an implicit bodily understanding towards a still implicit but more productive force of sense institution, cf. Gerlek and Kristensen 2017. 14. In the respective empirical literature this is referred to as the Queen B effect (Ellemers et al. 2004).

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Doing Gender Differently? 323 Bedorf, T. and Gerlek, S. (2017). “Einleitung,” Phänomenologische Forschungen 2017(2), 4–7. Bourdieu, P. (1989). Distinction. Transl. by R. Nice. Cambridge/London: Harvard University Press. Bourdieu, P. (1990). A Logic of Praxis. Transl. by R. Nice. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Bourdieu, P. and Wacquant, L. J. D. (1992). An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Butler, J. (1989). “Gendering the Body: Beauvoir’s Philosophical Contribution,” in Gary, A. and Parsall, M. (eds.). Women, Knowledge, and Reality. Winchester: Unwin Hyman, 252–262. Butler, J. (1990). Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York/London: Routledge. Butler, J. (1993). Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex”. New York/London: Routledge. Butler, J. (1997). Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative. New York/ London: Routledge. Butler, J. (2015). Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Crossley, N. (2013). “Habit and Habitus,” Body and Society 19(2–3), 136–161. De Beauvoir, S. (2011). The Second Sex. Transl. by C. Borde and S. MalovanyChevallier. New York: Vintage Books. Derrida, J. (1988). “Signature Event Context,” in Graff, G. (ed.), Weber, S. and Mehlman, J. (transl.). Limited Inc. Evanston: Northwestern University Press. Ellemers, N. et al. (2004). “The Underrepresentation of Women in Science: Differential Commitment or the Queen Bee Syndrome?,” British Journal of Social Psychology 4, 315–338. Fanon, F. (2008). Black Skin, White Masks. Transl. by R. Philcox. New York: Grove Press. Foucault, M. (1995). Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Transl. by A. Sheridan. New York: Vintage Books. Fuchs, T. (2007). The temporal structure of intentionality and its disturbance in schizophrenia. Psychopathology, 40, 229–235. Gerlek, S. and Kristensen, S. (2017). “Körperschema, Praxis, Affektivität: MerleauPonty und die soziale Dimension des Unbewussten,” Phänomenologische Forschungen 2017(2), 113–131. Heinämaa, S. (2003). Toward a Phenomenology of Sexual Difference: Husserl, Merleau-Ponty, Beauvoir. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield. Herrmann, S. (2015). “Politik der Leiblichkeit: Von Maurice Merleau-Ponty zu Iris Marion Young und Judith Butler,” in Bedorf, T. and Klass, T. N. (eds.). Leib-Körper-Politik: Untersuchungen zur Leiblichkeit des Politischen. Weilerswist: Velbrück Wissenschaft. Husserl, E. (1989). Ideas Pertaining to a Pure Phenomenology and to a Phenomenological Philosophy. Second Book. Studies in the Phenomenology of Constitution. Transl. by R. Rojcewicz and A. Schuwer. Dordrecht: Kluwer. Jansen, J. and Wehrle, M. (2018). “The Normal Body: Female Bodies in Changing Contexts of Normalization and Optimization,” in Fischer, C. and Dolezal, L. (eds.). New Feminist Perspectives on Embodiment. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 37–55.

324  Maren Wehrle Käll, F. L. (2015). “A Path between Voluntarism and Determinism: Tracing Elements of Phenomenology in Judith Butler’s Account of Performativity,” lambda Nordica: Tidskrift om homosexualitet, ISSN 1100-2573, 20(2–3), 23–48. Krais, B. (2006). “Gender, Sociological Theory and Bourdieu’s Sociology of Practice,” Theory, Culture & Society 23(6), 119–134. Lovell, T. (2000). “Thinking Feminism with and against Bourdieu,” Sociological Review, 27–48. Lovell, T. (2002). “Thinking Feminism with and against Bourdieu,” Feminist Theory, 1(1), 11–32. McNay, L. (1999). “Gender, Habitus and the Field: Pierre Bourdieu and the Limits of Reflexivity,” Theory, Culture & Society 16(1), 95–117. McNay, L. (2004). “Agency and Experience: Gender as a Lived Relation,” Sociological Review, 175–190. Merleau-Ponty, M. (2012). The Phenomenology of Perception. Transl. by D. E. Landes. New York/London: Routledge. Mottier, V. (2002). “Masculine Domination: Gender and Power in Bourdieu’s Writings,” Feminist Theory, 3(3), 345–359. Oksala, J. (2016). Feminist Experiences: Foucauldian and Phenomenological Investigations. Evanston: Northwestern University Press. Sartre, J.-P. (2007). Existentialism Is a Humanism. Transl. by J. Kulka. New Haven/London: Yale University Press. Schatzki, T. R. (2002). The Site of The Social: A Philosophical Account of the Constitution of Social Life and Change. Pennsylvania: Penn State University Press. Sedgwick, E. K. (1990). Epistemology of the Closet. Berkeley: University of California Press. Skeggs, B. (1997). Formations of Class and Gender. London: Sage. Stähler, T. (2017). “Exploring Pregnant Embodiment with Phenomenology and Butoh Dance,” Yearbook for Eastern and Western Philosophy 2017(2), 35–55. Wehrle, M. (2010). “Die Normativität der Erfahrung: Überlegungen zur Beziehung von Normalität und Aufmerksamkeit bei E. Husserl,” Husserl Studies 26(3), 167–187. Wehrle, M. (2016). “Normative Embodiment: The Role of the Body in Foucault’s Genealogy: A Phenomenological Re-Reading,” Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 47(1), 56–71. Weiss, G. (2015). “The Normal, the Natural, and the Normative: A MerleauPontian Legacy to Feminist Theory, Critical Race Theory, and Disability Studies,” Continental Philosophy Review 48, 77–93. Young, I. M. (1998). “Throwing Like a Girl: Twenty Years Later,” in Welton, D. (ed.). Body and Flesh: A Philosophical Reader. Malden: Blackwell Publishers, 286–290. Young, I. M. (2005). On Female Body Experience: “Throwing Like a Girl” and Other Essays. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Zeiler, K. (2013). “A Phenomenology of Excorporation, Bodily Alienation and Resistance: Rethinking Sexed and Racialized Embodiment,” Hypatia 28(1), 9–84.

17 Filling in the Blank Art, Politics, and Phenomenology Christian Grüny

While the couplings of art and politics, art and phenomenology, and phenomenology and politics seem to make immediate sense, the combination of all three creates a somewhat uneasy impression. Does politics have to come in when phenomenology speaks about art? Is phenomenology the right approach when dealing with the relationship between art and politics? And last, but certainly not least, is art a necessary topic in the phenomenology of the political? In brief, my answers to these questions are as follows: There might be good reason to; yes, with some qualifications; and absolutely, yes. It is true that not all art is overtly political. But there is a political dimension to the very act of making art and to the way it articulates the world and our relationship to it: It is part of our political episteme, the way we shape, reflect, and understand ourselves and our relations to each other and the world. If this is true, any investigation of art should be aware of its object’s (and also of its own) political aspect and any theory of the political should throw more than a side-glance at art. But it is the second of our questions that this chapter will be dealing with explicitly; the qualifications I mentioned will be spelled out in the following sections. The first of these will look at the current situation and discussions in contemporary art, focusing on the problem of artistic intervention and on Peter Osborne’s concept of the postconceptual. The second will try to sketch a flexible, open understanding of phenomenology that relies on Husserl and Bruno Latour. The third will apply these ideas to two case studies, namely the controversy on Dana Schutz’s painting Open Casket and Christoph Schlingensief’s Please love Austria! The final section will return to the opening questions and relate them to Jacques Rancière’s idea of the distribution of the sensible, which phenomenology can complement in an important way. While presenting an elaborate theory or engaging in detailed analyses of the works in question are beyond the scope of this chapter, I hope to open some perspectives that can inspire future investigations.

326  Christian Grüny

1. Intervention and Radical Blankness Once upon a time, there seemed to be a natural affinity between phenomenology and aesthetics. A philosophical discipline that directed its attention to the modes of appearance, analyzed the logic of perception, and stressed the role of embodiment for the experience of the world seemed well fit to deal with objects whose primary purpose is to be perceived and with events that involve and challenge the viewers and listeners. This time appears to have passed. It seems to me that there are two developments today that present the greatest challenge to a phenomenology of art: the recent call for an activist art that intervenes into society and the conceptual dimension that is all-pervasive in the visual arts and is gaining importance in other fields as well. The former has its roots in several artistic movements since the 1960s, among them performance and community art (Jackson 2011; Bishop 2012a), and might be summed up by Tania Bruguera’s call for “useful art,” a type of art that should “enter people’s houses, people’s lives.” From this point of view, the task is “the immersion of art directly into society with all our resources” (Bruguera 2011). We find exactly the same stance in the recently formulated “Ghent Manifesto” by Milo Rau and his team at the NTGent theater: “It’s not just about portraying the world. It’s about changing it. The aim is not to depict the real, but to make the representation itself real” (Awde 2018). A number of artists who would subscribe to these views have found a somewhat unlikely home in the worldwide biennial circuit. The biennials have been associated with a prominent position of the curator, sometimes at the expense of individual artists and artworks; they straddle a somewhat awkward position between a globalized jet set of curators, critics, and capital and an explicitly political stance of “criticality” of many artists and curators who thrive upon the biennials’ at least partial independence from the art market (Brisbin and Thiessen 2018). With the Venice Biennale and Documenta, their oldest and most important incarnations, biennials have been subject to extensive study (Filipovic et al. 2010; Kompatsiaris 2017). The tension between the professed criticality that finds its expression not only in works but increasingly also in talks, conferences, and workshops on the one hand, and the self-contained nature of the biennial-centered art world whose real social effect tends to be gentrification instead of increased equality on the other is hardly resolvable. Klaus Speidel called “the current hype around ‘being political’ as a sine qua non for art-shows, festivals and Biennials, where political artmaking and curating are often substitute gratification in place of real political action” (Speidel 2017), the primary malady of today’s art world. The 7th Berlin Biennale tried to cut this knot by turning itself into an outright activist platform (foreseeably, this move was reversed in the following editions). As curator Artur Żmijewski wrote:

Filling in the Blank 327 Art needs to be reinvented, but not as some crafty option to aestheticize human problems in a novel way by turning them into a formal spectacle. What we need is more an art that offers its tools, time, and resources to solve the economic problems of the impoverished majority. (Żmijewski 2012, 15) It is obvious that this stance has its own problems, among them its dangerous proximity to “the social democratic instrumentalization of art as a mere tool for social work and as an appeasement strategy” (Malzacher 2014, 25). Żmijewski himself recently revised his position on precisely these grounds when he lamented the instrumentalization of art by politics, which only had to take its proclamation of its own usefulness at its word (Żmijewski 2018). But the main effect that concerns us here is, that the presented works or actions will pay less attention to their aesthetic side lest they turn into just another one of Żmijewski’s “formal spectacles.” “Spectacle,” of course, refers to Guy Debord’s famous critique of modern capitalist society as a society of the spectacle that turns its citizens into passive consumers of their lives (Debord 1995); evoking the danger of a “formal spectacle” seems to suggest that any art that remains within the gallery walls or even the art world in the broadest sense is nothing but an aestheticist spectacle. This relative loss of importance of the aesthetic is not confined to activist art but can be observed in other types of critical art as well, and it finds some theoretical justification in Peter Osborne’s concept of the postconceptual state of contemporary art, even though the art Osborne is referring to has little in common with Żmijewski’s activist stance. For Osborne, the postconceptual is not an artistic movement or style but describes the state of things that any art that lays claim to being contemporary must relate to. It is characterized by an acknowledgement and embrace of the conceptual dimension of all art, which precludes any exclusively or even predominantly aestheticist understanding, radical openness as far as materials are concerned, and a peculiar kind of unity of the work that Osborne calls distributive, meaning a historically open network of instances, none of which can claim material originality (Osborne 2013, 48). All of these features will be proven to be important in the analysis of my two examples. The merit of Conceptual art was to show that all art has a conceptual dimension. However, its bold declaration that “objects are conceptually irrelevant to the condition of art” (Kosuth 1991, 24) failed. As Osborne somewhat begrudgingly acknowledges, there is a material and thus an aesthetic dimension to all art but, he continues, while Conceptual art failed to expunge the aesthetic, it succeeded in showing its “radical emptiness or blankness” (Osborne 2013, 49). So while there has to be some sort of material, perceptual realization of the conceptual, without the latter there wouldn’t even be anything to look at, or at least nothing that

328  Christian Grüny would demand further attention. The art that Osborne has in mind does stay within the gallery walls but remains critical in a fundamental way. Indeed, the very idea of the contemporary, as he understands it, guarantees reflection of the geopolitical situation since the projection of a single historical time of the present, which is in fact internally fractured and disjunctive, is designated as a fiction, albeit a necessary one. All contemporary art finds itself situated within this disjunctive temporal unity and must reflect it, and, despite their shortcomings, biennials are the primary locus of this fractured global contemporaneity. While in the case of activist art, phenomenological attention to the perceptual and bodily side of the events seems completely out of place – at best useless and possibly detrimental to its explicit aims – with Osborne’s version of postconceptual art, phenomenology just misses the point. As Arthur C. Danto put it, writing about Marcel Duchamp’s paradigmatic conceptual artwork Fountain: “What would have provoked Duchamp to madness or murder, I should think, would be the sight of aesthetes mooning over the gleaming surfaces of the porcelain object he had manhandled into exhibition space” (Danto 1981, 94). Fountain is a gesture whose physical presence adds little to nothing to its documentation. While contemporary artists might not be as exasperated (and Duchamp himself might have been amused rather than angry), most of them would agree that the analysis of structure, perception, and bodily involvement won’t get the critic or theorist anywhere. Hence a phenomenological approach may seem anachronistic and naïve, insisting on a dimension of art that is absent or irrelevant. But is this the last word? While even in Duchamp’s case the neutral, non-retinal character of his ready-mades may be doubted, in postconceptual art the material and aesthetic dimensions cannot be disregarded even if there is indeed “the critical necessity of an anti-aestheticist use of aesthetic materials” (Osborne 2013, 48). The question would then be whether phenomenology can help elucidate the specific relation the aesthetic and conceptual dimensions assume in particular works. We need to grasp the conceptual in order to make sense of the aesthetic, but could it be that this dependency works both ways? This may even be true for activist and participatory art. As Claire Bishop argues, participatory art . . . has the capacity to communicate on two levels – to participants and to spectators – the paradoxes that are repressed in everyday discourse, and to elicit perverse, disturbing, and pleasurable experiences that enlarge our capacity to imagine the world and our relations anew. But to reach the second level requires a mediating third term – an object, image, story, film, even a spectacle – that permits this experience to have a purchase on the public imaginary. (Bishop 2012b, 45)

Filling in the Blank 329 Even if it proposes to have perceptible or even measurable real-world effects, it will most likely not want to be reduced to these effects. The title of the volume that contains Bishop’s essay seems to capture this particularly well: Living as Form. The point is neither a reduction of life to form nor an obliteration of the dimension of form altogether, and the actions activist and interventionist art performs must always also be understood as exercises or displays of ways of reimagining the world. In order to analyze these displays – Bishop’s “mediating third term” – we might need a phenomenological approach after all, albeit one that does not purport to be able to grasp the work in its entirety: a phenomenology that is flexible and open for other approaches to complement and enrich it.

2. The Principle to End All Principles If a theorist or cultural analyst draws on phenomenology today at all, she is bound to rely on the heretics – be it those within phenomenology, a heterogeneous group that comprises, according to Ricœur, everyone after Husserl (Ricœur 1953), or those who distanced themselves like Derrida or Lyotard. Husserl’s own texts might provide an indispensable background for any phenomenological endeavor but will rarely be referred to directly, with the possible exception of the Phenomenology of Inner Time Consciousness and Phantasy, Image Consciousness, and Memory. In this light, it may come as a surprise that I want to draw on the founding text of transcendental phenomenology, the first volume of the Ideas, as inspiration for an investigation of contemporary art. What is more, the passage I will refer to appears as the epitome of a subjectivist philosophy that bases itself squarely on immediate subjective intuition (Anschauung). It is the paragraph that Husserl entitles “The principle of all principles,” which unambiguously prepares the reader for the fundamental importance of what is to follow. The paragraph starts with the words “but enough of erroneous theories” and offers no transition or further introduction but immediately follows this up with the promised principle itself: No conceivable theory can make us stray from the principle of all principles: that each intuition affording [something] in an originary way is a legitimate source of knowledge, that whatever presents itself to us in “Intuition” in an originary way (so to speak, in its actuality in person) is to be taken simply as what it affords itself as, but only within the limitations in which it affords itself there. (Husserl 2014, 43, italics removed) If this principle is followed, the philosopher can be sure that she starts from an “absolute beginning” that provides a firm base for further

330  Christian Grüny investigation. If it isn’t, her philosophy will be built on sand – in other words, groundless speculation. If we were looking for a passage that captures what Derrida calls the “metaphysics of presence” in a nutshell, this would be it. One might say that almost all of his early writings are directed at deconstructing this principle. While the very idea of a philosophical principle is problematic, Husserl’s formulation can be seen as the epitome of the specifically modern version that bases this principle on contact, immediacy, intuition, experience, in short: presence. As is well known, Derrida proceeds to show that the whole idea of presence is in fact flawed because it is always undermined by a shift that refers any presence to its repeatability: “The presence of the present is thought beginning from the fold of the return, beginning from the movement of repetition and not the reverse” (Derrida 2011, 58). There is thus no categorical difference between experience and signification because there is no originary that can serve as an absolute beginning. Everything relates to and refers to something else, and we make sense of the world from within this web of references and relations, not from some absolute vantage point. Now Husserl’s own casual reformulation of the principle seems to make a much weaker statement: “All knowledge of facts is to be justified by experience” (Husserl 2014, 43), the crucial question being how we understand experience. If we accept Derrida’s criticism, we have to abandon the idea of an absolute originary, which doesn’t necessarily mean scrapping experience as such. Husserl’s important point is that when we deal with a situation as phenomenologists, we cannot rely on unexamined preconceptions, and we have to accept that there is only one level of inquiry. When he insists that we have to accept everything “as what it affords itself as, but only within the limitations in which it affords itself,” I take him to mean that we have to be open to whatever we find within this sphere and not limit ourselves to a specific type of entity or a particular method of dealing with it. Otherwise our ontological and methodological commitments might result in missing something, misconstruing it, and/or tacitly assuming a certain type of relation to be dominant or exclusive. But, in fact, when we approach something, we just don’t know what we’ll find. If Husserl’s “principle of all principles” is a methodological statement, it stipulates an anti-method, really nothing more than a suspension of all preconceptions – a principle without content. There is only the willing suspension of belief, to reverse Coleridge’s famous dictum, coupled with an ethics of attentiveness and the will to carefully describe what is found (Grüny 2012). None of the other tenets of transcendental phenomenology, like the centrality of the ego, the search for essences, and so on, are implied in this minimalist program of phenomenology. Formulated this way, Husserl’s non- or anti-method is very close to one of the most important schools in contemporary sociology, Actor Network Theory (ANT). In his Reassembling the Social, Bruno Latour

Filling in the Blank 331 stages a dialogue between a student and her professor who might well be a phenomenologist: P:  Just describe the state of affairs at hand. S:  ‘Just describe.’ Sorry to ask, but is this not terribly naïve? Is this not exactly

the sort of empiricism, or realism, that we have been warned against? I thought your argument was, um, more sophisticated than that. (Latour 2005, 144) It would indeed be naïve if what the professor was advising were just to continue with one’s everyday casual observations and fragmentary descriptions. Obviously, that is not the point. What is at stake is a rejection of the idea that eventually an explanation would have to supersede the description, and that truly understanding something would mean being able to explain it by moving to another level “behind” or “underneath” the surface that offers itself to description. Latour puts it this way: The explanation emerges once the description is saturated. We can certainly continue to follow actants, innovations, and translation operations through other networks, but we will never find ourselves forced to abandon the task of description to take up that of explanation. (Latour 1991, 129–130)1 Following actants, innovations, and translation operations through networks is certainly a far cry from our quotidian way of regarding the world. Still, it is a kind of observation that abstains from drawing on any preconceived methodological tools and that tailors its “methods” to what it finds. This is how I understand the famous ANT slogan “follow the actors”: not to do as the actors do because they know everything anyway but to follow them, paying attention to their actions and all they involve with a sharper, cooler, less partisan eye. There is no telling what we find when we do this, and Latour’s insistence on suspending all preconceptions concerning the types of objects and relations we may encounter is just as firm as Husserl’s but possibly even more explicit. The decisive move made by ANT was to include entities as possible actants or mediators that aren’t usually granted this status – technological artifacts, concepts, bacteria, architectural features, institutions – since we simply don’t know in advance what kind of entities plays what role in a given situation: “I want to situate myself at the stage before we can clearly delineate humans and nonhumans, goals and functions, form and matter, before the swapping of properties and competences is observable and interpretable” (Latour 1994, 35). A network must then be conceived as a mobile constellation where what something is, and what function it has, is determined by the relations it finds

332  Christian Grüny itself in or assumes and the actions it performs. In short, everything must be taken “as what it affords itself as, but only within the limitations in which it affords itself” (Husserl 2014, 43). I believe we can even find an equivalent to the phenomenological reduction here. As is well known, this strange but fundamental operation leaves everything in place but radically changes its status from self-evident reality to a field of phenomena. One could say that it transforms the questions we ask concerning the world from “what” to “how” – how does something appear? How does it act and how does it interact with others? – without presupposing any kind of ontological commitment. I think that following the actors amounts to exactly this. What the sociologist sees is not something that happens behind the actors’ backs or under the surface of their actions, and in this regard the observation changes nothing; but, on the other hand, following themselves and their fellow actors by meticulously observing how relations are assumed and transformed is precisely not something actors usually do, so there is indeed a fundamental transformation involved. What I am trying to say is not that ANT is really a type of phenomenology or that Husserl’s philosophy is a type of crypto-ANT. My point is that if we read Husserl through Latour, we may discover a different, more flexible way of doing phenomenology that is still in line with his own original impetus. And we may find that ANT (whose proponents have shown little sympathy for phenomenology) may be closer to this impetus than the explicitly phenomenological school of sociology. There will be moments when this flexibility, this process of following the actors, will lead us to ways of observation and theorizing that cannot be called phenomenological even in an extremely generous sense. But so what? In my view, the crucial lesson from phenomenology is the necessity to tailor one’s method of observation and description to its objects. If these objects call for a different type of gaze, so be it. What’s important is that there are no clear boundaries, no radical switch of the field or method of observation.

3. Two Scenes To put some flesh on these meager bones, I would now like to turn to two works and the controversy around them. They are not randomly chosen nor are they paradigmatic. However, they are good examples for the challenges the conceptual and the activist turns in art present to a phenomenological analysis, and they can serve as touchstones of a modified understanding of phenomenological investigation. 3.1. Not Your Casket: Dana Schutz Under Fire The 2017 edition of the Whitney Biennial in New York City included a painting by Dana Schutz, Open Casket, which caused a brief but

Filling in the Blank 333 extremely fierce debate. It depicted the upper part of the body and the disfigured face of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African-American boy who had been brutally maimed and murdered by two white men in 1955 after allegedly harassing one of their wives (which turned out not to be true). Mamie Till Mobley, Emmett’s mother, decided to have an open casket at the funeral service so the world could see what had been done to her son. The images of the face that was hardly recognizable as human circulated widely and helped spark the civil rights movement in the United States. Schutz’s painting referred to these (black-and-white) images, which she rendered in bright colors in a semi-abstract manner. It is more than obvious that no examination of the painting can ignore this background or the context of violence against young black subjects today. In fact, the shootings of unarmed black people and the Black Lives Matter movement were among the motivations for Schutz to choose this image. A strictly phenomenological analysis that exclusively deals with the visual side of the painting would thus be completely misplaced; it is striking, however, that a lot of the critics all but ignored this side completely, exclusively focusing on the question as to whether Schutz, being white, had the right to paint Till in his coffin. As philosopher and art critic David Carrier wrote: “I haven’t yet seen this exhibition. But I do not think that viewing the show or the painting would change this argument” (Behrendt 2017). The most outspoken and radical of these critics was the artist Hannah Black who published an open letter in which she called for the painting to be removed from the exhibition and ultimately destroyed. Black accused Schutz of appropriating Till’s death and turning it into a spectacle for “profit and fun.” If, as Schutz might claim, the motive for the painting were white shame, this was “not correctly represented” because it merely reproduced the “habitual cold calculation” (Black 2017) of the white gaze upon black suffering. Black’s dogmatic and generalizing statement has, in turn, been widely criticized as leading to a “representation monopoly” or “representational segregation” (Speidel 2017), most convincingly by fellow artist Coco Fusco, who also warned against censorship and wrote: “Her argument is laced with an economically reductionist view of artistic practice and completely avoids consideration of the visual strategies employed by Schutz” (Fusco 2017). This does not mean that Fusco or anyone who criticized Black found Schutz’s painting very convincing, and it seems like we find ourselves in a situation “where the choice is between a flawed and misconceived painting and a shrill, almost vicious demand for its destruction,” as David Cohen put it (Behrendt 2017). The harshness of Black’s words may have worked against her intervention because they became an easy target for other critics who could position themselves against censorship without taking Black’s points as seriously as they deserved – including Cohen who in calling her statement “shrill” employs a highly gendered metaphor that points to the disparaging image of the hysterical woman.

334  Christian Grüny It would be preposterous to claim that analyzing the aesthetic qualities of the painting itself would resolve any of this. The discursive and political stakes are clear, and they cannot be reduced to or captured by an investigation of the canvas. But maybe this is precisely the point: Any investigation of the canvas finds itself in this context, part of which can actually be seen by an informed eye – the strategy of the painting and its failure. So maybe it does make sense not to treat it as a merely discursive Duchampian intervention but to return to the painting and see what it does. In order to do this, we have to trace a few historical lines to give it some context in the history of art. We might say that Schutz’s painting reenacts the development from an art that conforms to the Greenbergian idea of medium specificity2 to the postconceptual in a strange and mostly inadvertent way: It presents itself in a very traditional sense as a painting that might well be from the 1960s, and despite its reference and the discursive space it intervenes into, Schutz seems to have no intention of acknowledging this space as a dimension of the work. However, the discursive returns with a vengeance in the discussion that followed it. Open Casket poses as a painting that found itself in a discursive storm it had nothing to do with in the first place, but that is obviously nonsense. Simply ignoring the conceptual will not make it go away. The most basic dimension of this is the very fact of pictorial reference. Schutz’s painting obviously does not stand on its own, so the comparison with the original images of Till is built into it. This may not be so when we view the painting without any hint of what it’s about, but the title should make things clear to most people with some knowledge of American history. Today the uninformed viewer is clearly a fiction. If the painting’s creation of an image is also the transformation of a previous image, there is no sensible way of looking at it that could ignore this pre-image and its history. This afterlife of images is the topic of David Joselit’s After Art, which can provide some important background for our discussion. It is not, contrary to what the title may suggest, yet another proclamation of the end of art; instead, the “after” refers to the fate of images in an era of universal circulation that far exceeds anything Warhol could have imagined, a circulation that art cannot ignore. From this point of view, simply creating new images without any reference to existing ones and without taking into account the subsequent circulation of what one creates could seem increasingly naïve or parochial. If the standard case is that of images being transformations and appropriations of other images, Joselit suggests, in an almost Latourian vein, that “works of art must develop ways to build networks into their form by, for example, reframing, capturing, reiterating, and documenting existing content” (Joselit 2013, 94). We could say that Schutz does exactly that, albeit not in a very reflective way. To clarify this, we might look at two classic examples, namely Andy Warhol and Gerhard Richter. (As far as the question of representing

Filling in the Blank 335 suffering without neutralizing it, ignoring its context, or becoming complicit in the depicted violence is concerned, which is clearly central to a discussion of Open Casket, Haroun Farocki’s work might be even more illuminating [Karambeigi 2018]; I have chosen Warhol and Richter because they were painters, or situated their work in the tradition of painting, and I want to focus on the aspect of reframing that Joselit points to.) In a way, Schutz has very little in common with Warhol and Richter, but it is precisely their differences that are instructive. Warhol, of course, used publicly available images in most of his works. His pictures, with their emphasis on the aspect of mechanical reproduction and its neutrality, cannot really be called appropriations. His techniques, mainly coloring and multiplication, do not so much make the images his but rather put them back into circulation after a few strategic interventions. Traditional categories like artistic technique, sensibility, differentiation, and emotion are hardly applicable to these strategies, and the instant recognizability of his works are those of a brand rather than an artistic personality. This works only because the original images are public domain, as it were; this is true even for overtly political works like the 1963 Electric Chair series and the Race Riot series (1964), which comprise powerful history paintings, as Anne M. Wagner calls them, precisely because of their neutrality or “his brand of deadpan” (Wagner 1996, 104). The images that Richter relies on are different, sometimes more personal but often contain some historical or political reference: His series 18. Oktober 1977 (1988) uses footage of the arrest of the German terrorists known as the Rote Armee Fraktion and police photographs of their dead bodies after they committed suicide (or were murdered) in prison, some of had even been published in Stern magazine. Richter’s paintings use his signature style of blurring, which has a very specific effect: The paintings do not look like technological reproductions as Warhol’s works do, but they don’t exactly invoke the figure of the painter either. They are made by hand but this hand is itself almost impersonal. It steers clear of any expressiveness and remains neutral. Like in Warhol, we do not see the original images through or behind the work but in them, where they seem to hover halfway between extreme proximity and detachedness, between a mass medial image and a memory – not anybody’s memory in particular, just an image that has the peculiar general quality of a distant memory or even a dream. We could say that the obvious conceptual dimension that Race Riot, 18. Oktober 1977, and Open Casket all have in common is that they all reference particular political and discursive contexts and relate to them in a manner that may appear clear on a pictorial level but is nevertheless difficult to interpret. This does not mean that they are all successful examples of postconceptual art (which in the case of Warhol and Richter would have to be avant la lettre) – the existence of a conceptual dimension does not mean that the artist necessarily reflects and controls it. In

336  Christian Grüny the case of Open Casket, it is not the image itself that is dreamlike but the way Schutz approaches her subject: She was seemingly caught off guard by the precariousness of her intervention and the fierceness of the debate. Before the controversy ensued, she seems to have considered the picture a purely personal and emotional reaction instead of a conceptual intervention into an intense and highly charged debate: “ ‘I don’t know if it has the right emotionality,’ she said. ‘I like it as a painting, but I might want to try it again’ ” (Tomkins 2017). The naiveté of this statement is almost shocking, but it is confirmed by the painting. It seems that Schutz did not use a particular photo but rather a memory, which leads to the effect that the picture doesn’t so much reference the original photo but replaces it, as it were. We see a face that is painted in a strangely deformed way that we might identify as disfigured, but we don’t see Emmett Till’s face. The bright colors and the planar character of the clothes and the pillow the head rests on have no counterpart in the black-and-white photo. They create a clearly structured picture that uses very few colors: black and white for the clothes, red for a rose that seems to be placed on the lid of the coffin, brown for the head, yellow for the pillow, pink for a band that stretches across the top of the picture and that may represent flowers or the ruffled inside of the coffin, and a little bit of blue here and there. If this were all there were, the painting would be calm and pleasant. But the most striking feature is, of course, the face, as it was and is the main subject of the picture. Here Schutz used thick brushstrokes of brown, some black, and a little red, which seem to define a landscape rather than a recognizable face. I should note that I haven’t seen the actual painting “in the flesh” (this translation of the Husserlian leibhaftig takes on a strange tone where the disfiguration of black flesh is the object of representation and controversy). Since the reproduction appears to miss a lot at this point, let me quote another observer: “The buildup of paint on the face is a couple of inches thick in the area where Till’s mouth would be. Although there are no recognizable features, a deep trough carved into the heavy impasto conveys a sense of savage disfigurement, which is heightened by the whiteness of the boy’s smoothly ironed dress shirt” (Tomkins 2017). The savagery of the painterly technique is obviously meant to reflect the savagery of the violence inflicted on Till – but it appears violent in itself. What we see are the traces of deeply physical handling of paint, evidence rather than the representation of a disfigurement. The face recalls those of Francis Bacon – although his are made using a different technique – who might be called the twentieth-century master of painterly disfigurement. Again, it is revealing to look at the differences. The models for the faces Bacon paints are not themselves disfigured, even though some of the paintings echo the pictures of terrible mutilations we know from the First World War. In the multiple portraits he painted of people, like his lover George Dyer and his friends and fellow artists Lucian Freud and Isabel Rawsthorne, there is a peculiar balance of brutality and

Filling in the Blank 337 tenderness. Their faces are invariably distorted and deformed, but one never gets the feeling that the artist is doing this to them. He is showing something that may spring from a warped or almost supernaturally acute perception that senses violence where others do not see it but never acts as the agent of that violence. His tenderness and his sense of balance even bring out a certain beauty in the deformations we are presented with. In Till’s case, the violence was very real and has to be dealt with. The question is how – using what technique and, more fundamentally, assuming what relation to it. The painter could adopt the position of a witness who knows that the best way to make a case for the victim is not to display her own involvement but to neutrally record what has been done. That is what the photograph does. Meticulously copying it in paint would convey a completely different message than we have here: It could say “we need to be reminded of this, and I take it upon myself to present a picture of it that is as clear and unambiguous as possible, curbing my own pain and recording all the gruesome details.” The question as to whether a white woman is the right person t