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The Democratic Promise

The Individual Within the Community

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Constance Goh

The Democratic Promise engages Slavoj Žižek’s psychoanalytic and cultural reading of politics and terror, Jacques Rancière’s concept of the partition of the sensible, Alain Badiou’s ethics and politics, and Jacques Derrida’s thoughts on philosophy in a time of terror in order to radically rethink politics in and through aesthetics as analogies of political subjectivity. This book interrogates the a priori rights of an individual as universally declared and what these mean in terms of human agency. By revisiting the philosophical writings of the Western continental tradition through the eyes of contemporary political thinkers, it not only delves into the current debate on democracy but also investigates the connection between exceptionality and democracy. Constance Goh asserts here that inter-national or intra-national conflicts persist despite the global emphasis on cultural diversity and consideration because of the politics of recognition. The Democratic Promise also examines the media politics of China and Tibet’s fraught relations so as to argue that Derrida’s democracy-to-come necessitates an-other principle, an extra-normative tolerance he calls «hostipitality,» a host (un)intentionally transporting a singular other via the vehicle of aesthetics.

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Chapter One. Mission Impossible....................................................................... 1 Chapter Two. The (Im)possibility of Justice as the Messianic.......................... 29 The Schmittian Universe of Friend–Enemy Distinction........................... 42 Derrida and Levinas: The Enemy as Friend............................................... 47 The Play within the Same: Repetition-in-Difference Given by Anachronistic Time.............................................................................. 54 The Messianic Promise as a Promise in and of Language.......................... 70 The Issue of Power and Subjectivity in Politics.......................................... 78 Chapter Three. The Terra/Terror of Time in Political Action........................ 92 The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: How Universal Is It?....... 103 Tibetan Politics: A Retaliatory Turn to Democracy? ...............................109 The Old as the New: Derrida and Žižek’s Vision of Radical Politics................................................................................................. 113 The Trace of the Other in Space and Time: Rancière’s Two Worlds on One Stage ......................................................................... 120 Deconstruction: (In)Ethics as the Transition from the Political to Politics ............................................................................................ 131 Derrida’s and Levinas’s Responses to Rancière and Žižek: The X of the Fraternity and Sorority ................................................. 145 Chapter Four. The Soul of Ethics in the Writing of Politics ......................... 171 Rights and Rites in the West and the East............................................... 183 Truth and Its Place in Politics................................................................... 192 Derrida and Badiou: The Politics of a Singular Thought........................ 196 Chapter Five. Sky Burial: Neither the Last Word nor the First ..................... 217 Bibliography .....................................................................................................231

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