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Politicizing Theory

Author(s): Adriana Cavarero


Source: Political Theory, Vol. 30, No. 4, What Is Political Theory? Special Issue: Thirtieth
Anniversary (Aug., 2002), pp. 506-532
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
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POLITICIZING THEORY

ADRIANACAVARERO
University
ofVerona

1.

The expression "politicaltheory" is something ofan oxymoron. Etymo-


logically,bothtermsarederivedfromancientGreek."Political"is an adjec-
tivethatcomesfrom polis,which,according toHannahArendt, "is theorga-
nizationof thepeopleas it arisesoutof actingand speakingtogether."' It
corresponds to thehumanconditionof plurality inasmuchas "plurality is
specificallythecondition ... ofall politicallife."2"Theory"is derivedfrom
thenountheoria,whichsignifies contemplation andpertains to thehuman
experience ofseeing,tothefieldofvision.In itsPlatonicdeclension, which
wassubsequently passedontotheentire Western theoriais a vision
tradition,
oftrueanduniversal objectsorideas("idea"literally signifies"thevisible")
withtheeyesofthemind(nous).As Arendtpointsout,thisnoetictypeof
visionis considered byGreekphilosophy tobe theattitude thatcharacterizes
theonlytruly freewayoflife:thebiostheoretikos, translatedintoLatinas the
vitacontemplativa. Itis distinguishedfromthebiospolitikos, inLatinthevita
activa,which"denotedexplicitly onlytherealmofhumanaffairs, stressing
theaction,praxis,neededtoestablish andsustainit."3Thetraits oftheory and
politicsaretherefore opposedto one another. Consisting in contemplative
thought, thefirstentailsa solitarythinker whowithdraws fromtheworldof
humanplurality to enjoythe noeticvisionof desensitizedand therefore
abstractand universalobjects.The secondis a sharedandrelationalspace
generated bythewordsanddeedsofa plurality ofhumanbeings.Giventhat
"onlyactionis dependenton the constantpresenceof others,"4 politics
belongstotheworldly sphere, alwaysparticular andcontingent, whereplural
interactionproducesa seriesof unpredictable and uncontrollable events.
Theorydealsinsteadwiththesolitary visionofanotherworldly, abstract,uni-
versal,and,mostof all, stableorderofobjects.Because oftheseopposing
characteristics,theoryand politicsare incompatible. The factthatthey

POLITICAL THEORY,Vol.30 No. 4, August2002 506-532


? 2002 Sage Publications

506

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Cavarero/POLITICIZING THEORY 507

appeartogether in theexpression "politicaltheory,"thelabel ofa scientific


disciplinepracticed inouruniversities, depends,as Arendt suggests, ona for-
midablemetaphysical lie thatowes itsexistencesymptomatically to Plato.
Thehistory ofpoliticaltheory andthemortification ofthegenuinesense
ofpoliticsbeginwiththemythofthecave,whichis atthecenterofPlato's
Republic(514a-516e). Thereis a twofolditinerary inthesceneofthemyth:
one routeascendsandtheotherdescends.Withtheascent,thephilosopher
leavesthecaveofhumanaffairs tocontemplate ideas,orratherhe abandons
theuncontrollable worldof actionto takerefugein thereassuring worldof
theory.Withthedescent,thephilosopher returnstothesphereofthepolisto
imposetheprinciples he has derivedfromtheobjectsoftheory:"theideas
becometheunwavering, 'absolute'standards forpoliticalandmoralbehav-
iour."5Thejustpolis oftheRepublicconsistsin a politicalorderbuiltupon
andgoverned bytheorderofideas.Platois explicitinthisregard: thephiloso-
pheris a painterof constitutions (politionzographos)who,once he has
clearedhiscanvasofanyeffectively existing featureofthepolis(inthiscase,
contemporary Athens),designsthejustcitytakingas hismodeltheidea of
justicehecontemplated inhismind(500e-50lc).Sinceitwasdesignedbythe
philosopher, whoalonecontemplates (theorein)ideas,thejustcityhas phi-
losophersforitsrulers.Philosophers arein a positionto order:bothin the
sensethattheyconstruct thepoliticalorderand in thesensethattheygive
ordersto others, theycommand.Fortunately, theWestern traditiondoesnot
inheritthisPlatonicconviction thatbestowson philosophers thescepterof
command, butitdoes inherit fromPlatothecanonsofpoliticaltheoryas a
specificdisciplinethatappliestheprinciples oftheoriato politics.
One couldalso call itpoliticalphilosophy, buttheissuedoes notchange.
Philosophy, fortheWestern traditionthatbeginswithPlato,is theoresis par
excellence.Theoriaandphilosophiacoincide.Politicalphilosophy andpolit-
icaltheory, frombothanetymological anda conceptualstandpoint, raisethe
sameoxymoronic problem, thecruxof whichis alwaysthefollowing: the
characteristicsof theory, derivedfromexperiencepertaining to realmof
sight,are transferred, as foundational to theregisterof politics.
criteria,
Although itsprincipleis action,politicsbecomesa spherethatis constructed
andregulated byprinciples ofvision.
In "The Nobilityof Sight,"an essay of phenomenological derivation
greatly admiredbyHannahArendt, HansJonasdemonstrates howthechar-
acteristicsoftheoriadependonthetypically Greekprivileging ofthesenseof
sight.6Sightperceives objectsthatareinfront oftheonewhoseesandare,for
themostpart,characterized bya permanence inspaceandtime.Theyaresta-
ble, enduring, present.Moreover,sightperceivesseveralobjectssimulta-
neously, anditseesthemas distinct fromoneanother intheirdiscrete differ-

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508 POLITICAL THEORY /August2002

ence.Sightpertains tothedimension ofspace,and"realspaceis a principle


of co-temporaneous, discretepluralityirrespective of qualitativediffer-
ences."7Sightimplies,furthermore, anactivepositionofthesubject,whonot
onlycanopenandclosehereyeswhenshewantstobutis notaffected bythe
objectsofhervision.Objectsdo notlookatthesubjectand,mostofall,they
do notconstrain thesubjectto look.The objectthatI see "is presentto me
without drawing meintoitspresence."8 Sightsecures,inotherwords,a posi-
tionthatis detachedanduninvolved. Theworldis there, itis visible,butitis
uptous whether we lookatitornot.Seen froma distancewithdetachment,
thingsacquirean objectivestatusofstability andpermanence, guaranteeing
therealityofbeingas presence.
The entirephilosophical lexicon,whichsincePlatoconceivestheoriaas
thecontemplation ofreal,lasting, immobile, andtrueentities, insofaras they
arevisibleorinasmuch as theyareideas,is founded ontheeffect ofobjectiv-
ityand presenceproducedby thisdetachedgaze. The decisiveelementis
presence;a presencethatbelongsbothto thespatialdimension concerning
theobjectthatstandsbeforethecontemplator andtothetemporal dimension
of an instantaneous nowthathe eternalizes. Transferring theexperienceof
thebodilyeyetothatofthemind,theoriaabsolutizestheself-contained cir-
cuitbetweenthispermanence oftheobjectandthenowofthegaze.Frozenin
animmobile presence, mentalimagescome,inthisfashion, toconstitute the
specificspectacleof theoria.Contrary to Derrida'sclaim,Westernmeta-
physicsis videocentric, notphonocentric.9
Alongtheselines,HannahArendt reminds us that,according toPythago-
reandoctrine, lifeis a festival to whichthebestpeoplecomeas spectators
(theatai).'0Theoriaandpassionforviewingspectaclessharethesamelexical
root.EventheOlympicgodslovethespectacleoftheworld.In Homer,they
watchwhathappensfromaboveand,attimes,go downtoearthtooffer them-
selvesas a portentous spectacleforthemortals, who repaythemwithan
astonishedstare.The lifeof thephilosopher, forthePythagoreans as for
Plato,is thebestlifeprecisely because,as biostheoretikos, itfallswithin the
categoryof spectacles.The objectsof thephilosophical spectacleare not,
however, tangiblethings,persons,events,or evenportentous apparitions.
Theyareinsteadideascontemplated bythemindthat,eternalized inthenow
oftheirpresence, return thedivineprivilege ofthiseternity tothecontempla-
tor.Enviedbymortal creatures, thegodswhoenjoythespectacleoftheworld
areimmortal. Thephilosopher imitatesthemandsurpassesthembyconquer-
ingan expandedpresent, thefruit ofimmaterial visions,whichsuggeststhat
thesphereofthought is eternal. Eternity,understood as a dimension immune
tothemovement oftemporality, thusbecomesthemarkoftruth.

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Cavarero/POLITICIZING THEORY 509

Thespectacular markoftruth findsitsdefinitive foundation inthePlatonic


doctrine ofideas,butit originates in theattitude oftheIonicphilosophers.
Struckbythetotality ofthingsappearing totheirgaze,orrather bya physis
that presentsitself as an all, they inauguratethe spectacular and
prelogocentric phaseofphilosophy. BeforeHeraclitus andParmenides, phi-
losophersarenotconcerned withlogos.Astonished, theyadmirethemulti-
formtotality ofnature,andtheyattempt togivea singlenametoitsprinciple:
water,apeiron,air,atoms.Thisastonishment stillleavestracesintheworkof
PlatoandtheyoungAristotle; theyreferto wondering (thaumazein) as the
experience thatgivesbirth tophilosophy." Forthosewhoknowhowtoview
it,thespectacleoftheworldis a beautiful order,a kosmos,thatcapturesthe
onlooker'sattention andprovokes wonder.In thephilosophy oftheclassical
period,whichtransforms thiswonderinto the contemplation of noetic
objects,thequestionoforderis shifted from theworldofphysistotheregister
oftheoria.Theoria,infact,regards objectsthatarecharacterized byanorder
(kosmos,taxis,harmonia);an order,specifically, thatbindsobjectstogether
andthusproposesitselfas a system.
ina totality "Tobind"is legeininGreek,
a verbthatalso means"tospeak"precisely becausediscourseis a connection
ofwordsthatbindsthem,onetotheother, ina certain objectiveorder, thatis,
inaccordancewiththerulesofthesystemofsignification we call language.
Thus,one can understand whylogos-as themoderntranslations of Greek
textsattest-can mean both discourseand reason,both languageand
thought. However, thesignificanceoflogosforthephilosophers oftheclassi-
cal periodliesnotinthephonicaspectofspokenwordsnorintheregister of
signifiersbutintheobjectiveorderofmentalsignifieds (theideaiofPlatoand
thenoemataofAristotle) contemplated bytheoria.As theentirehistory of
philosophy proclaims, despitethevariety ofitsauthors andtheconflicts ofits
factions,thesesignifieds and,obviously, theorderthatorganizesthemmust
be clear anddistinct. Even science,understood in themodernsenseofthe
word,is convinced ofthis.Thelexiconofvisionrelatestotheory whether we
intendtheoryas metaphysics or we intendit as science.Consequently, in
spiteof ourscrupulousefforts to distinguish disciplinary specificitiesthat
haveas theirobjectpolitics,theoxymoronic problemthatconcerns political
theory regardsnotonlypoliticalphilosophy butalso politicalscience.
Certainly, in contemporary debates,thisdistinction has precisemethod-
ologicalexplanations, anditgoesbackto themodernseparation of science
andphilosophy. Thedisputeovertheregimeoftruth, whichcharacterized the
twentieth century and whichcontinues today,adoptsscienceas a trueand
incontrovertible modelofknowledge. Thecanonsofsciencethusbecomethe
criteria
ofmeasurement forverifyingthescientific characterofthediscursive
traditionthatWestern culturehas handeddownunderthenameofphiloso-

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510 POLITICAL THEORY /August2002

phy.Theresultofthisoperation is thata largeportion ofthisdiscursive tradi-


tion,or rather,thepartthatis notincludedwithinthecanonsof science,is
negatively brandedas metaphysics: a sortof literary production lackingin
scientificrigorand,forthisreason,untrustworthy. The problemis farmore
complexthanthisbrieftreatment suggests,and it leads to thewell-known
distinctionbetweenanalyticphilosophy andcontinental philosophy, among
otherthings. As complexas thematter is,however, itstilldoesnoteliminate
theconstitutive adherence ofscience-andphilosophy broadlyintended-to
thesphereofnoeticvision.To putitanother way,eventhough sciencecharac-
terizesitself,
particularlyinmodernity, as a rigorous formofknowledge that
fromcertain"metaphysical"
is distinct stylesofphilosophy, itsrootsarein
theoria.Significantly enough,intheclassicalperiodofancientGreece,this
problemdoes notexist(andnotsimplybecausetheterm"metaphysics" is a
posthumous labelgivento whatAristotle calls "first philosophy").
FortheGreeks,thereis onlyone formofobjectiveknowledge-certain
andrigorous, trueandincontrovertible-whose stability is guaranteed bythe
features oftheoria:itsname,episteme, signifies precisely"thatwhichstays
still,stableandis alwaysthesame."Epistemeincludesphilosophy, mathe-
matics,geometry, astronomy, andphysicsinsofar as theyareforms ofknowl-
edgefoundedon thenoeticvisionofuniversal, stable,incontrovertible, and
trueprinciples. Thisdoesnotimplythat,alreadywiththeGreeks,within the
sphereofsomeofthesedisciplines, empirical verification is excludedorthe
processesofinduction, deduction, orevenoffalsification aredevalued.Butit
does entailthat,notwithstanding thespecificity ofthesefieldsofinvestiga-
tion,theregimeoftruth alwaysbelongsto thenoeticsphereoftheoria.To
think, toreason,toargue,toclassify, toverify is alwaysa noeticactivity that
impliestheorein. The adherenceof theoryto "seeing"is nota metaphoric
accidentduetotheGreeketymology oftheterm, itis theoriginalmarkofits
conceptualsubstanceand its historical inheritance. As theEnlightenment
taught tomakeclear,toilluminate
us,toreasonis toclarify, obscurepoints, to
seebetter,tobringtolight, tofreetheinvestigation fromthedarkness ofigno-
ranceanderror.

2.
FromPlatoonward,notesHannahArendt, "thedichotomy betweensee-
ingthetruth insolitudeandremotenessandbeingcaughtintherelationships
of humanaffairsbecameauthoritative
and relativities forthetradition of
2
politicalthought."'Thisdichotomyalso a
established or
hierarchy, rather,a
firmbeliefin thesuperiorityoftheprinciplesoftheory,insofaras theyare

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Cavarero/POLITICIZING THEORY 511

true,evident, stable,andcertainwithrespecttotheunpredictable anduncer-


tain,mobileand contingent, worldof humanaffairs. Consequently, as the
Platonicmythofthecave wellillustrates, to "save"politicsfromtheunpre-
dictabilityandcontingency ofaction,thetaskofdiscovering universal princi-
plescapableofregulating politicswasentrusted totheoria.Theprinciples of
theory werethenappliedtopolitics.Stripped ofitsowncharacteristics, that
is,ofplurality,action,andthedirectinvolvement ofagents,politicswascon-
ceivedin accordancewithcharacteristics pertaining to thesolitary experi-
enceofcontemplation insteadoftherelational andpluraloneofaction.One
ofthemostnoteworthy resultsisthatpoliticsis subsumed bythecentral prob-
lemoforder, orrather,itbecomes"anyformofactionnecessary tokeepmen
together in an orderly fashion."'3 Thisis evidentin thepoliticaldoctrine of
Plato'sRepublic.Contemplating ideas,thephilosopher sees howtheybind
themselves to one anotherin accordancewitha harmonic order-in which
each thingplaysitspart-thatcorresponds tojustice(dikaiosyne) (443c-d,
500c). Symptomatically, therefore, within thePlatonichorizon, justiceis not
simplyan elementof order,a value amongothers,it is orderitself.This
explainswhythejustpolis, constructed on theidea ofjustice,reflects the
orderof ideas. The celebratedroleof analogyin thephilosophy of Plato,
accordingto whichtheharmony of thecosmoscorresponds to thatof the
polisandtheindividual soul,is nomorethananhomagetotheorderofideas
takenfromtheoriaandappliedtoeveryotherrealmofinquiry.
Thisinherence oforderto theoria,whichis thecruxofthepoliticalpro-
posal of Plato'sRepublic,constitutes a lastinginheritance thatwenton to
characterize thedisciplinary statusofpoliticaltheory. As thetradition attests,
politicaltheory identifies thequestionofpoliticswiththequestionoforder.
Authors andepochssetforth theproblem andresolveitindifferent ways,but
theproblemitselfcontinuesto centeron theessenceof politicsas order.
HobbesandLocke,forinstance, constructing theStateonthetheoretical fic-
tionofnaturalindividuals andthesocialcontract, do nothing butreturn, the
specificityofpolitics,onceagain,tothequestionoforder.Theyconfirm that
politicaltheoryrecognizesitsspecificobjectin an order-governable and
predictable, convenient andreassuring, justandlegitimate-that neutralizes
thepotentially conflictive disorderinscribedin thenaturalor prepolitical
condition ofhumanbeings.The "stateofnature," insofar as itis an imageof
disorder on whichpoliticaltheory imposesa remedy, in factcorresponds to
thesphereofhumanaffairs thatPlatoplacedatthebackofthecave.No dif-
ferentlythantheGreekphilosopher, modempoliticalthought continues to
thinkofjusticeas order.A booklikeJohnRawls'sA Theory ofJustice offers
proofofthisas, forRawls,justicealwaysrefers to theformaldimension of
rulesandprocedures.'4Order,thegenuineobjectoftheoria-ofphilosophy

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512 POLITICAL THEORY /August2002

andscience-is affirmed bytheentiretradition as thefundamentalissueof


politics.Ignoring
theoxymoron at itscore,politicaltheory
thuscancelsthe
unpredictability
ofpluralinteractionthatconstitutes
thepropriumofpolitics
andreplacesitwiththepredictability oforder.

3.
Thus,accordingto tradition, politicaltheory consistsin theorizing poli-
tics,orrather inthereduction ofpoliticstotheprinciples oftheoria.Itseems
necessary, therefore,tooverturn thisassumption andtofinally think political
theoryin termsofpoliticizing theory.It is noteasy forpoliticaltheoryto
breakawayfromtheconstitutive oftheoria.Thereis,infact,
characteristics
something ofa paradoxinexpecting thattheory wouldrepudiate theoria.The
presentpoliticalcrisis-forthemostpart,a conceptualcrisisthatdemon-
strates theobsolescenceofthecategories ofthenation-State withrespectto
thephenomenon ofglobalization-can,however, encourageus to radically
rethink politicaltheory. Wedo notneedtofindan alternative expression that
names,in a less compromising fashion, thelegitimacy of a disciplinethat,
againstitsowntradition, finallydecidestothink theproprium ofpolitics.We
needinsteadto dedicatetheworkofthinking, orifoneprefers, theworkof
theory, tounderstanding thisproprium. To use a formula thatis reminiscent
ofSpinoza,politicsaskstobe studiedaccording toitsownprinciples insofar
as politicsis a fieldof pluralinteraction and henceof contingency. These
principles, exemplarily illustratedbyHannahArendt, havetodo withtheplu-
rality ofhumanbeingsinsofar as theyareuniquebeingsrather thanfictitious
entities liketheindividual ofmodern andtheyhavemostof
politicaldoctrine,
alltodo witha relational dimension ofreciprocaldependency, whichexposes
as falsetheautonomy andself-sufficiency on whichindividualism insists.A
politicaltheory thatfreeditselffromtheprejudicial characteristicsoftheoria
wouldtherefore havetorenounce theprimacy oforderand,consequently, the
disposition to conceiveuniversal, homogenous, andorderablesubjects.
Inthehistory ofpoliticalphilosophy, politicalorderandthepoliticalsub-
ject appearas coherent aspectsofthesameconstruction. Each construction
ofpoliticalorderas a givenformis also a construction ofitssubject,orbetter,
oftheonewhomthisformconstructs andsubjectstoitself:a subjectthatis,
notoriously, maleandphallologocentric. Forthejustpolis ofPlato,thissub-
ject is substantially thephilosopher; forthepolis ofAristotle, as we readin
hisPolitics,itis,moredemocratically, man(anthropos) who,insofar as heis
a rational animal(zoonlogonhechon),is,forthatveryreason,a politicalani-
mal (zoonpolitikon)(1253a 1-18).The founders ofthemoderndoctrine of

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Cavarero/POLITICIZING THEORY 513

theStateinsteadconceiveofthepoliticalsubjectas an atomizedindividual,
freeandequal.Thisis precisely theindividual thatstillworksas thefunda-
mentalcategory forthecontemporary debateon politics,bothfortheposi-
tionsthatfocuson theindividualandforthosethatopposethem,eitherby
complicating theindividual withthepostmodern versionoffragmented iden-
tityorbydrowning itin communitarian substance.It remainsnevertheless
truethat,fromtheGreekstothepresent day,toeachpoliticalformconceived
bytheoria,therecorresponds a subject.To avoidtheall-tooCartesiansound
of theterm"subject,"we couldalso say thateach politicalformimpliesa
politicalapproachtothequestionofontology. In otherwords,sincepolitics,
however oneunderstands it,concerns itselfwithhumanbeings,eachconcep-
tionof politicsraisestheontologicalquestion,or rather, it presupposesa
politicalontology.The connectionis so tightthat,as GiorgioAgamben
affirms, one could also say thereverseis true:"Each ontologycannotbut
implicatea politics."'5
Convincedofthiscloseconnection, HannahArendt claimsthatthepoliti-
cal ontology oftheWestern traditionis,fromitsGreekoriginsonward, mani-
festlyfalse.Man,whomthecelebrated Aristotelian formula definesas zoon
logonhechonandzoonpolitikon, contradicts thebasicprinciples ofpolitics:
"Manis a-political. Politicsis bornamongmen,andliestherefore decidedly
outsideofMan."16Arendt meanstounderscore thefactthat,sinceitcombines
andneutralizes theplurality ofall men(andall women,itmustbe added)in
itsconcept, Mancannotbepoliticalbecause,within thehorizonofMan,there
is no pluralityand,consequently, thereare no relations.In thelogicofthe
One,themirror imageof thelogicof theSame,thereis no in-between, no
relational spacegenerated byaction.Andconsequently thereis no politics.
ThatwhichtheWesterntradition calls "politics"is in realitya modelof
depoliticization that,beginningwithAristotleand, even moreso, Plato,
expelsthepluralandrelational dimension ofpolitics;infact,itreactstothe
contingent and uncontrollable characterof thisdimension.Accordingto
Arendt, eventhemodernformofdemocracy is partofthisdepoliticization.
Andin pointof fact,itcontinuesto declinethelogicof theOne through a
notionoftheindividual thatconsistsinthe"moreorlesssuccessful repetition
ofthesame."'7Although itallowsfora pluralism ofopinionsandtheparties
thatrepresent them,thefundamental lexiconof equalitynegatesplurality
and,consequently, politics.
Itis important to stressthattheArendtian horizonofplurality shouldnot
be confusedwiththethemeofpluralism addressedbythebranchofcontem-
porary thought thatdefends thefreedom ofexpression andtherespect forcul-
turaldifferences. Plurality, forArendt, is firstof all a characteristicof the
humancondition, theincontrovertible factofa fundamental ontologyor,if

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514 POLITICAL THEORY /August2002

oneprefers, ofa radicalphenomenology. Eachhumanbeingappearstoothers


"in sucha waythatnobodyis everthesameas anyoneelse whoeverlived,
livesorwilllive."18 Frombirth, whichannounces thenewborn as a newbegin-
ning,onward, eachexistent appearsas uniqueandcapableofbeginning new
things. Itis precisely thisthathumanbeingshaveincommon:uniquenessin
plurality,orrather theuniquenessthatrenders thempluralandtheplurality
thatrenders themunique.Rejectingthefoundational anduniversalistic logic
of thesubjectand anyotherfictitious entityconstructed by thetradition,
Arendt takesthisontology as herpointofdeparture forthinking politics.She
therefore definespoliticsas thesphereof pluralinteraction where"with
wordsanddeedswe insert ourselvesintothehumanworld,andthisinsertion
is likea secondbirth, inwhichwe confirm andtakeuponourselvesthenaked
factofouroriginalphysicalappearance."'9 Wordsanddeeds,bothincluded
in theArendtian categoryof action,correspond in factto theability, pos-
sessedonlybythehumanbeing,toexpresshisuniqueness, orrather, todis-
tinguishhimself, to "communicate himselfand notmerelysomething."20
Insofaras itis thesphereofaction,politicsadoptsandfulfills theontology of
pluraluniqueness.In traditional politicaltheory, theontologyof fictitious
entities-man,theindividual-isfunctional to thecentrality oftheissueof
orderor,touse Foucault'sterm, ofdiscipline,insofar as itis subjection, nor-
malization. In Arendtian politicaltheory,theontologyofpluraluniqueness
insteadgeneratesa conceptionof politics,whichis intrinsically undis-
ciplinable,characterized bythefragility andcontingency ofpluralinterac-
tion,namely, actionas pluralaction,thatis,as interaction "actsintoa medium
whereeveryreaction becomesa chainreaction andwhereeveryprocessis the
causeofnewprocesses."''Thismeansthatboundlessness andunpredictabil-
ityare inherent to politics.In Arendtianterms,politicsdoes notconsistof
formsthatputsubjectsinorderbysubjecting themtoa normandexcluding
thosewhodo notbelong-insofaras theyconstitute thefigureoftheother,
the stranger, thealien-withinthisnormalization. Politicsis a relational
space-fromwhichno one is excludedbecauseuniquenessis a substance
withoutqualities-thatopens whenuniqueexistents communicate them-
selvesreciprocally tooneanother withwordsanddeedsandcloseswhenthis
reciprocal communication ceases.
Consequently, we can saywithArendtthatwherever thispluralunique-
nessis notplacedintheforeground (wherever itis notwelcomed, respected,
setdownas a valueofprimary andinalienableimportance) thereis no poli-
tics.Politics,as envisionedby thetradition, whereorderpresupposesand
organizesfictitious entities,betraysthatwhichis mostpropertopolitics.In
thissense,totalitarianism, whichamassedin thecampshumanbeingswho
werekillableinsofar as theywerealreadyreducedtobarelife,thatis,dehu-

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Cavarero/POLITICIZING THEORY 515

manizedindividuals byreducing themto therealityofan automaton, is the


utmostnegationofpolitics.
Although itis notas barbaricandabsolute,thereis,according toHannah
Arendt, a negationofpoliticsineachoftheformsoforganization thatkeep
mentogether in an orderlyfashionwithout leavingroomforwhatshecalls
action.It is,infact,worthmentioning againthat,inArendtian terms, action,
beyondbeinga capacityforinitiative, is a relationaleventthatgenerates
space forreciprocalself-revelation. Withwordsand deeds,humanbeings
communicate theiruniquenessfirst ofall,activelyandreciprocally,ina fun-
damentally sharedspace.Theycommunicate themselves insofaras theyare
uniqueandplural.Theycommunicate theirincommensurability inasmuch as
it is absolutedifference. This is whypoliticsdemandsto be conceivednot
onlyas a realmthatplacesthevalueofuniqueness beforethetraditional issue
of orderbutthattargetsanyresidualformof order-norms,rules,agree-
ments-toguarantee theopeningoffreespacesforaction.Inthisview,then,
politicalorderdoes notcoincidewitha generalformofdisciplinethatneu-
tralizestherisky,unpredictable, contingent, and unrulyeffectsof plural
relationality;rather, itbecomesthatwhichprotects andguarantees thespaces
openedbythisrelationality.

4.
Theamendment ofpoliticaltheoryproposedthusfar,interms ofpoliticiz-
ing theoryratherthantheorizing politics,makesexplicitreference to the
positionofHannahArendt, anditadoptsbothhervocabulary andconceptual
framework. It is, however,worthnotingthatthoughArendtis thefirstto
denouncethetraditional subjection ofpoliticstotheprinciples oftheoria, she
is notaloneinconceiving politicsinterms ofanontology thatinsistsona plu-
ralityofuniqueexistents inrelation tooneanother. Wefinda similarposition
todayin thespeculativethought of Jean-LucNancy.In his lexicon,which
derivesthenameandconceptofplurality fromArendt, uniquenessbecomes
singularityandrelation becomesknot.To "democracy's empty truthandsub-
excessivesense,"heopposes"a politicsoftheincessant
jectivity's tyingupof
singularitieswitheachother, overeachother, andthrough eachother, without
anyend otherthantheenchainment of (k)nots."22 Such a politicsconsists,
"firstofall,intestifying thatthereis singularity onlywherea singularity ties
itselfupwithothersingularities."23 Thisis,therefore, a politicsthatcoincides
immediately withtheontologicalstatusofthebeing-in-common ofsingular
existents:because"thesingularis primarily each one and,therefore, also
withandamongall theothers. Thesingular is a plural."24
Contrary toArendt,

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516 POLITICAL THEORY /August2002

whatNancycallspoliticsdoesnottherefore implyaction,thatis,itdoesnot
consistintheinteraction ofwordsanddeeds,itis insteadsimplythewayof
being,thefundamental ontological condition ofsingular existents whoarein
commonbecausetheyappeartooneanother. Ratherthanexhibit themselves
actively,theyarepassivelyexposed:"being-in-common meansthatsingular
beingsare,arepresented, appearonlyinsofar as theyappeartogether (cum),
areexposed,presented andoffered tooneanother."25 Thepolitical, forNancy,
corresponds preciselyto thein ofthisbeingin common.Favoring, particu-
larlyinlessrecentworks, theterm"community," heinfactgrounds politicsin
thewith,theamong,thein-which correspond, intheArendtian lexicon,to
thein-between-that is,inanywordparticle thatalludestotheoriginalonto-
logicalrelation inscribed intheplurality ofsingular beings.Thus,according
to thismeaning, politicsdoes notregarda certain, historicallydetermined,
typeofrelation, knot,orbond,suchas,forinstance, theAristotelian koinonia
orthecontract ofthedoctrines ofnatural law,or,moregenerally, thelaw.Pol-
iticsisthebond:a bondinscribed intheontological statusofsingularity, inso-
faras singularity entailsplurality andtherefore therelation, thetyingup of
onetotheother. Thethreecategories thatproduceoneanother reciprocally-
uniqueness, plurality, andrelation-determine, according toNancy,thecoin-
cidenceofontologyandpolitics.
This coincidenceis, precisely, absolute.Althoughhe conceivesit,like
Arendt, inspatialterms, Nancydoesnotunderstand politicsas a spacethatis
producedcontextually bythewordsanddeedsofagentsandthusas anactive
scenethathas a local andtemporal dimension. He understands itinsteadas
therelationalgivenof theontologicalcondition. Thisrelationality has the
characteristicsofa tyinganda spacingthatextendthemselves as faras the
ontologicalfactofhumanplurality. Politicsis already, atonceandimmedi-
ately,theexistenceof singularbeings,tiedone to theother,who sharethe
commonspaceoftheirplurality. Anditis notonlypolitics,inNancy'stexts,
thatgetsflattened intoontology. Everydisciplinary sphere-ethical,politi-
cal, aesthetic,
gnosiological, andso on-is infactsubstantially reducedtoa
variableoftheperspective declining indifferent waystheontological theme
oftheknot.The questionthatdrawsin thevariousdisciplinary horizonsis
precisely theamongandthewithofa singularity thatis a plurality,or,toputit
inArendtian terms, itis thein-between that"relatesandseparates menatthe
sametime."2 In thelexiconof Nancy,however, thisseparation becomesa
sharing. Existence,in fact,"is,onlyifitis shared."Whatbindsus together,
thepoliticalorthecommunity, is thesamethingthatsharesus.
It sharesus is, at thesametime,itsharesitself.Symptomatically, thisis
also trueoflogos.

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Cavarero/POLITICIZING THEORY 517

The themeoflogosis obviouslynotirrelevant tothetradition ofpolitical


theory. Thelogocentrism ofpoliticsis oneofthemostwell-known aspectsof
Western culture.Concerning this,one can,in fact,pointoutthatthetradi-
tionalcorpusofpoliticaltheory begins,in classicalGreekphilosophy, with
twovariants that,emphasizing indifferent waystheambiguous meaning that
thetermlogoshas in theGreeklanguage,helpto construct twoextremely
influential models:one ofPlatonicandtheotherofAristotelian inspiration.
Botharelogocentric butwhileintheformer logosis identified
witha system
ofthought, inthelatter thegeneralmeaningoflogosas speechis preserved.
WithPlato,infact,logoswindsup coinciding withtheorderofsignifieds, or
rather, ideasinsofar as theyarethevisibleandsilentobjectsoftheoria.Aris-
totle,instead,dwellson logosinsofaras it signifies speech,discourse,lan-
guage,andthushe stressesitscharacter ofverbalcommunication. In other
words,contrary to Plato,Aristotle does notderivethecriteriaof political
orderdirectly fromtheprinciples oftheoria;instead,he takesthefictitious
entity "Man"fromtheoriaanddefinesitas a zoonlogonhechonthatis,for
thisreason,a zoonpolitikon. Accordingto thePoliticsofAristotle, Man is
politicalbecausehe speaksand,moreprecisely, becausehe signifies with
wordsthatwhichis good,useful,harmful, right,orwrongforthecommunity
(koinonia),thatis,becausehe signifies thevaluesthatproducethecommu-
nityas order(1253a 10-18).One canunderstand, therefore,whythelabelof
"neoaristotelianism" is appliedto theworkof contemporary supporters of
democracy, whounderstand politicsas dialogue,as anexchangeofopinions,
or,to use Habermas'sterms,as communicative action.27Symptomatically,
preciselyforherattention to thepoliticalessenceof speech,Arendtis also
sometimes numbered amongtheneoaristotelians.
It is important to stress,however, thattheintrinsicpoliticalcharacter of
speechdoesnotconsist, forArendt, initsfunction ofexpressing thatwhichis
good,right, useful,andharmful forthecommunity butinsteadconsistsinthe
abilityto expressandcommunicate to otherstheuniquenessofthespeaker.
Speaking,eachhumanbeingcommunicates himself,theirreplaceable char-
acterofhisuniqueness, theincommensurability ofhis singularandcontin-
gentexistence. Thus,theArendtian conception ofpoliticsfunctions as a radi-
cal critiquebothofthePlatonicpoliticaltheory thatemphasizestheroleof
theoriaandtheAristotelian one thatinsteadvalorizestheroleof logos.In
otherwords,theoriginality ofArendt'sontology, whichfoundsitselfon the
pluralityof unique existents, lies in her proposalof a new,absolutely
antitraditional,formulation of a politicaltheoryfinallyunderstoodas a
politicizationoftheory.
As toNancy,despitehisundoubtedly antitraditional
stance,theobjection
raisedtohissuggestion thatontology andpoliticsareimmediately coincident

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518 POLITICAL THEORY /August2002

surfacesagainwithregardto his reflections on logosas knotand sharing.


Glossinga famousverseofHolderlin's-"eversincewe area dialogue"-
Nancyexplainsthatwe areourdialogue:"we arethisamong-us, thatis lan-
guage,andreciprocally, languageis theamong-us."28 Language"itselfis the
insubstantial tie"29wherethemeaningofspokenwordsis onlya secondary
andconsequenteffectof thetieitselfinsofaras it is theoriginalmeaning.
Everyothermeaning, everyotherprocessofsignification, presupposes this
meaning. LikeArendt, Nancytherefore privileges therelationality ofsaying
withrespecttotheuniversal horizonofthesaid. He can thusaffirm thatthe
eventofpolitics"couldbecalledtheseizureofspeech,"30 whichshouldnotbe
understood either as thedemocratic principle ofthefreedom ofspeechoras a
plurality of"multiple willscompeting to definea Sense."'"It is, in fact,the
singular entry-alwayssingular precisely becauseitis spokenbysomeone-
intotheconcatenation ofspeech,intothelegeininsofar as itis a bond.This
concatenation is indissoluble, reticular,infinitelyinterrupted andtiedagain.
Ittends"towardthemostnakedfunction oflanguage,towardwhatonecalls
itsphaticfunction: themaintenance ofa relation thatcommunicates nosense
otherthantherelationitself."32
Nancy'spoliticsof theseizureof speechdistancesitselfsignificantly,
therefore, notonlyfromtheHabermasian horizonofcommunicative ethics
butalso fromtheArendtian horizonthatinsistson theactiveandcontextual
character ofrelationality, ofthepoliticalsubstanceofspeechinsofar as itis
thecommunication ofuniqueness. In Nancy'sview,speech-thepracticeof
speaking, ofengagingin dialogue,ofcommunicating-is also reducedto a
verbalfigure oftying, thatis,tothefigure ofa purerelationality that,insofar
as itis thefundamental ontological condition, doesnotconsider theconcrete-
nessofthecontext anddoesnotneedtobe actualized.In otherwords,Nancy
adoptstheArendtian claim thatpoliticsconsistsin therelationbetween
uniqueexistents, buthe emptiesit of its constitutive characters of plural
actionandthusofinteractive space.ForArendt, politicsis notsimplya rela-
tion,as itis forNancy:itis a certaintypeofrelationthatis interactive and
contextual. Toputitanother way,politics, understood intheArendtian sense,
does notcoincidewithontology; itis insteada wayofactivelyresponding,
thatis, oftakingcharge,withwordsanddeeds,oftheontologicalstatusof
uniqueness, plurality,andrelationality.
Rescuingpoliticaltheory fromthemetaphysical fallaciesofitsPlatonic
foundation anditsAristotelian variant, Arendtallowsus to radicallyrefor-
mulatetheconceptofpoliticaltheory itself.In thissubversion ofpolitical
theory, theory andpoliticstakeon a newmeaningthrough a politicizing of
theory. Theorynowconcernsthevisionofan ontology thatfreesitselffrom
thetraditional primacy offictitiousentities.Politicsstressesthatthisontol-

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Cavarero/POLITICIZING THEORY 519

ogy,farfromcontradicting thecharactersofthepluralsphereofaction,con-
cordswiththemandfindsinthema fullrealization. a politi-
Thisis,therefore,
inwhichthevisualfeatures
cal theory oftheoriado notperform themeaning
ofpolitics.Ifanything, theoppositeoccurs.Whatis atstakehereis a politics
that,insofaras itis thepluralsphereofactionandthereforetherealmofcon-
tingency,orientstheperspective fromwhichtheory "regards"ontology.

5.

Giventhatthetradition ofpoliticaltheory, applying theprinciples ofthe-


oryto politics,has depoliticized politics,theproposalof a politicaltheory
thatfinally politicizestheory can also be understoodas a repoliticizationof
politics.Thisproposalmayappearmoreorless interesting ormethodologi-
callyplausiblebut,likeall proposalsthatinvolvea rethinking ofpoliticalthe-
ory,itrisksremaining a merespeculative exerciseifitis notconfronted with
theneedsofthepresent. To deconstruct thehistoryofpoliticaltheory makes
senseonlyifthecategories usedforthisdeconstruction aspiretorespondto
thecurrent crisisinpolitics.Symptomatically, forHannahArendt, thiswas
trueaftertheexperience oftotalitarianism.33 Anditis trueagainforus today
inanepochinwhichthecategories ofmodempoliticalthought seemincapa-
ble,notonlyofcomprehending, butevenofdescribing contemporary scenar-
ios. Whathashappened, forinstance, tothesovereign andterritorialStatein
theera of globalization? Whathas happenedto thedisciplinary powerof
order,aspiring tocontrol andhomogenize intheplayoftheWeb?
individuals,
Whathashappenedtotheconceptoftheenemyinthe"war"againstaninter-
nationalterrorism thatis omnipresent? Theseandotherquestions,moreor
lesstragicandpressing, do nothing butconfirm todaytherapiddeclineofthe
politicalcategories onwhichmodernity wasfounded. Theyprovetobe obso-
lete,cumbersome, useless;thewordsofa scriptwritten fora pastepoch.One
perceives, attimeswithdismayandpainfulanxiety, thattodaya newdisloca-
tionofpoweris inplay.Butpoweritself, thecentrallemmaoftheentirehis-
toryofpoliticalthought, nowassumesformsandmodesthatthelexiconof
thetradition no longerknowshowto express.
Weneeda newpoliticallexicon,a conceptuality thatrejectsthecategories
inscribed in thefamiliar andthusreassuring modelofthemodemState.As
regards politicaltheory, itis nottherefore a matter
ofupdating thecanonsof
itsdisciplinary paradigms, ofperfecting themethodological premises,orof
adjusting theargumentative framework torigorousprinciples thatguarantee
theirscientificity.
Itis insteada matter ofseizingtheopportunity, inscribedin
thepresentcrisis,to radicallyrethink politics,freeing itfromitstraditional

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520 POLITICAL THEORY /August2002

subjection tothedepoliticizing effects oftheoria.To putitanother way,we


needa newpoliticaltheory thatdoes notlimititselftoreorganizing modem
categories ina different waytoadaptthemtonewscenariosbutthatregisters
theircollapseto radicallyrethink thematrixof politicsitself.Hence,the
foundational rolethat,onthesuggestion ofHannahArendt, thisnewpolitical
theoryrecognizesin the ontologyof pluraluniqueness,insofaras it is
opposedtotraditional ontology.
Thisopposition is crucial.In Arendtian terms, itcorresponds totherejec-
tionoftheontology thatcentersitselfon thequestionofwhat-ness ofbeing
andfocusesinsteadonthequestionofwhoeachoneis.Itis usefultopointout
thatthequestionof what-ness does notonlyregardand producefictitious
entities-Man,thesubject,theindividual, theperson-butitalso concerns
theproblemoftheso-calledculturalidentities basedon ethnicity, religion,
sexuality,class,andso on.Thequestion, inherent totheproblemofidentity,
asks:Whatdoesitmeantobe anAfrican American, a Muslim,a lesbian,and
so forth?In thepasttwodecades,themodempoliticaldebatehashadtocon-
frontsymptomatically thecontradiction betweentheparadigm oftheuniver-
salindividual andthepluralidentities ofa multiethnic andmulticultural soci-
ety.How does one reconcileuniversality withdifferences? The question,
especiallyin feminist theoryandpostcolonialstudies,oftenleads to a cri-
tiqueoftheuniversalistic paradigm inasmuch as itis thehistorical
product of
animproper universalization ofWestern man,understood as whiteandmale.
Inthisdebatewithin theEnglish-speaking poststructuralist horizon,theposi-
tionofJudith Butleremergesas particularly originalandwidelyhegemonic.
She thematizes identities in accordancewiththeirinclusiveor exclusive
power,as effects ofa performativity that"accumulates theforceofauthority
through therepetition orcitation ofa prior,authoritative setofpractices"; she
proposesa politicalstrategy thatmobilizesthese naturalizedidentities
through a parodicandsubversive repetition thatmakesthemproliferate inan
uncontrollable manner.34 Theeffect ofstabilization doesnot,infact,concern
onlyhegemonic identities-likethosethatdefinethesubjectas white,male,
andheterosexual-but anyidentity thatnormalizes itselfthrougha processof
repetition.Each typeofidentity, as a reiteratedandtherefore stableresponse
tothequestionofwhatsomeoneis,arisesagainas a system ofinclusionand
exclusion, thatis,itconfirms theobsessionofpoliticaltheory withorderand
discipline.
Aimedat a politicsofdisordering subversion, Butler'sontology is there-
foreanontology ofpermanent mobility. Itnevertheless risksrendering a final
and irreverent homageto thegrammar of thewhat-ness, outof whichthe
entirehistory ofWestern ontology hasemerged. TheArendtian ontology that
focusesinsteadon thequestionof whosomeoneis therefore appearsmore

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Cavarero/POLITICIZING THEORY 521

convincing, especiallynowwhenthepoliticalmodeloftheWestis atitscri-


thepoliticalcharac-
thisquestionthatdetermines
sis.Itis,afterall,precisely
terofactioninasmuchas itis thepluraldisclosureofuniqueness.

Actionandspeechareso closelyrelatedbecausetheprimordial andspecifically


human
actmustat thesametimeanswerto thequestionaskedof everynewcomer: "Whoare
you?"Thisdisclosureofwhosomebodyis, is implicitin bothhiswordsanddeeds.
In actingandspeaking, menshowwhotheyare,revealactivelytheiruniquepersonal
identitiesandthusmaketheirappearanceinthehumanworld,whiletheirphysicaliden-
titiesappearwithout oftheirownintheuniqueshapeofthebodyandsound
anyactivity
ofthevoice.Thisdisclosure of"who"incontradiction
to"what"somebody is-his qual-
whichhe maydisplayor hide-is implicitin
ities,gifts,talents,and short-comings,
everything somebodysaysanddoes. 5

The sphereof what-ness, hereexemplified by Arendtas personalqualities


andtalents, canbe usefully extended tothequestionofcultural identities.As
BonnieHonignotes,"FromArendt's perspective, a politicalcommunity that
constitutes itselfonthebasisofa prior, sharedandstableidentity threatens to
closethespaceofpolitics,tohomogenize orrepresstheplurality andmulti-
plicitythatpoliticalactionpostulates."36 Theontology ofthewhodoesnotdo
away withculturalidentities and community belonging, butit does keep
themfrom becomingthefoundation ofpolitics.Thewho,infact,underscores
theprimary value of an existentwithoutqualities,memberships, cultural
identities.Aboveall,politics,as an interactive relation, is calledon to take
responsibility forthisvalue.Politicsis therefore a relational space-contex-
tual,contingent, andgroundless-that openseverywhere foreveryone. The
permit forentry intothisspacedoesnotrequiremembership ina groupthat
sharesan identity. Identity,infact,mustbe leftbehindorsubordinated tothe
genuinepoliticalcharacter ofmererelation. Itis thosewhoarepresent, inso-
faras theyactivelyexposethemselves to one anotheras existents clothed
onlyintheiruniqueness, whoproducethelocalpoliticalcharacter ofthecon-
text.Responding withwordsanddeedstothe"truth" ofontology, theplural
relationdecidestheproprium ofpolitics.
Claimingthattheprincipal category ofthepoliticalis relationality should
not,however, appearas an arbitrary and,evenless,a scandalousact.Froma
certainpointof view,everything thatthetradition calls politicsis in facta
transfigured or,better,a disfiguredformofrelation. Platocallsitharmonia of
ideas: a justconjunction concerning thenoeticorder,whichfunctions as a
criterion fortheconstruction ofthebestpolis.Employing thetermkoinonia,
Aristotle understands itbothas a natural aggregative processand,mostofall,
as thesphereofcommonmeanings. Thecontract ofnatural lawphilosophers
represents a bondthat,ingivingbirthtotheState,counters thelackofrela-

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522 POLITICAL THEORY /August2002

tionshipinscribedinthebellumomnium contraomnes(Hobbes)orthepoten-
tiallypeacefulbutpractically conflicting
relationship
inscribed inthestateof
nature(Locke).Theseare,however, typesofrelationsthatare,precisely,dis-
figured:negating theplurality ofuniquebeings,theyfailto recognizethat
pluralrelationality
that,as anontologicalgiven,constitutestheirverymatrix.
Theseare,thatis,figures ofcommunity thatimmunize themselves tothecon-
tagionof relationality.
The relation, in fact,farfromprotecting, ordering,
reassuring,ordisciplining, expressesthatuniquenesswithout qualitiesthat
bindeachonetotheother. Itplacesthem"facetoface":itexhibits thenaked
bond,notyetcladincultural protections,
thateachtime,contextually,locates
uniquebeingsinrelationto one another, enactingthemas plural.

6.

Globalizationis one of thenamesgivento thecurrent crisisofpolitics.


Oneshouldinsteadcallitdeterritorialization. Froma certain, letus saystatic,
pointofview,theStatestodaystillconservetheirterritorial dimension, well-
defined byborders: a spacedetermined bypoliticalandjuridicalsovereignty.
Fromanother, letus call itdynamic, pointofview,at presentsuchborders
nevertheless tendto disappear:thehomogenizing processof globalization
renderstheminoperative, obsolete,superfluous. As Seyla Benhabib,who
exploresin depththedifferent sidesoftheproblem, notes,"territorialityis
fastbecomingan anachronistic delimitation of materialfunctions andcul-
Intheglobalizedworld,thespatialimaginary
turalidentities."37 changesrad-
ThemodemState,insofar
ically.38 as itis a territorial
state,dealswithborders
thatproducean "inside"and an "outside."The globalworlddoes nothave
any"outside," ifnototherplanetsstilltobe globalizedandyetalreadysym-
bolicallypreglobalized bythesatellites thatilluminate ournights likemetal-
lic heavenlybodies.WithinthehorizonoftheState,distancesrendersome
Statesclose and othersremote.Withinthe global horizoneverything is
insteadnearandsimultaneous. Modeledon theworldofbusiness(themar-
ket,finance, thetrademark,or,to use a termof NaomiKlein's,thelogo),
globalizationtravels attelematicvelocitiesina realmwithout distances,lim-
its,or boundaries.39 The simultaneous timeof theglobalcontracts space,
annihilatingitsdimensions.
In a much-debated filmof 1940,"The GreatDictator," CharlieChaplin
impersonates a Jewishbarberwho,because of his resemblance to Hitler,
findshimself intheshoesofthedictator. In themostfamousscene,he plays
withtheglobe:improvising a sortoftotalitarian dance,he dribblesandrolls
it.The sceneis usefulforillustrating thedifference betweentotalitarianism

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Cavarero/POLITICIZING THEORY 523

andglobalization. Chaplin/Hitler, whoincarnates thenecessary figure ofthe


headofstateinthetotalitarian movement, conceivesoftheworldas histerri-
toryofconquestandexpansion:therearecountries to annexandbordersto
level.In theend,ifthetotalitarian warsucceeds,therewillbe nomoreStates
ofdifferent colorson theglobebutonlyone color-black,one imagines-
thatcoversall ofthelandsonthesurface. Instead,inthecase ofglobalization,
theStatesarenotconqueredandtheborders arenotleveled.Theysimplyare
nolongereffective, although theyremaintodecoratethesurface ofourexist-
ing globe. Territorial and sovereign, theStatesstillexist,we knowtheir
namesandborders, we speakofthemeveryday,butthepowerthatis inplay
in globalizationno longerrestsin sovereignty or in any otherfeature
inscribedin territory. In theglobalera thatcomesnotafterbutbeyondthe
Leviathan, theconceptofsovereignty seemstohaveexhausted evenitssym-
bolicreserve. As tothefigure oftheheadofstate,theglobalizing power,even
withitsactorsinplainview,doesnotrequireit,justas itdoesnotrequirethe
willfulandprojective subject.Thispoweris pervasive, diffuse,
decentered,
reticular, andimpersonal. Itsmachine, notbychanceessentially technologi-
cal, appearstorunbyitself.
Eludingall univocaldefinitions, thepowerthatis in playin whatHardt
andNegricall thecapitalist imperialmachineofglobalization alludesfirstof
all to a triumph ofeconomyoverpolitics.40 "Economy"-thistoois an old
wordofGreekorigin-isperhapsnotthemostadequateterm, butitservesto
synthesize aninterlacement ofheterogeneous andcomplexphenomena, such
as themarket without bordersand,ideally,without laws,theextraterritorial-
ityofthemultinational corporations,theelectronic instantaneousness ofthe
stockmarket, themarketing ofimageinthespectacular eraofconsumerism,
thedislocation oftheproductive processesinthesouthern partoftheworld,
the exploitation of laborin impoverished countries, thepollutionof the
planet,andso forth. Itis insteadmoredifficulttodaytoindicateindetailthe
variousphenomena thatwouldappearundertherubricofpolitics.In fact,in
theeraofglobalization, theincongruous substance oftheterritorial Statealso
renders thepoliticallexiconthatis founded onitobsolete.Democracy, equal-
ity,liberty,rights,andall thecategories thatbelongtothislexiconnecessarily
presuppose a territorialdimension. Citizenshipitselfmakesno senseoutside
thisdimension. A globalcitizenship is unthinkable, insofaras it is a State
without borders.
Globalis,notbychance,a neologism fromthepointofviewoftraditional
politicaldiscourse,whichoffers thetermnationalas an adjectivalformof
State,forcomparisonwiththesupranationaland the international. The
politicalhorizonof modernity goes fromthesmallto thelarge,fromthe
nationaltothesupranational, avoidinghowever, theriskofpassingfrombor-

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524 POLITICAL THEORY /August2002

dertoborderless: thislasttermbeing,traditionally, nothing otherthananaes-


theticattribution forareasofgreatexpanse-thedesert,forexample-that
nevertheless belongto a Stateor aredividedbetweenStates.Fromtheper-
spectiveofa politicsfoundedon territorial sovereignty,space without bor-
dersis inconceivable. Beyondeveryborderthereis alwaysanother State.The
politicalmapofmodernity doesnotallowfora "noman'sland."Western car-
tography makesa coherent system oftheworld:perhapsbipolar, dividedinto
thetwoblocksthatuntilthefalloftheBerlinwallorganized Statesinclusters,
butnevertheless coherent; thatis,legibleinaccordancewithonelogiconly,
thatoftheterritory boundedbyborders.
To tellthetruth, a certaindichotomous divisionoftheEarthalso appears
in thelanguageof globalization. The mostnotablefiguredistinguishes the
NorthfromtheSouthoftheworld,describing themas areasofwealthand
poverty. Theimpliedmessage,verymuchinkeepingwiththespirit ofunifor-
mityoftheglobal,thatunfaithful mirror ofuniversalism, is thatwithtimethe
impoverished countries will also becomewealthyor,as one says,emerge
fromtheircurrent stateof underdevelopment.4 In themeantime, theyare
exploitedas productive suppliesofcheaplabor.Symptomatically, thisturns
outtobe anopportunity forexporting themodelofthemodemStateinzones
thatarefarawayfromtheWestern onesthatgavebirthtoit.Organizedas a
kindofcampfortheexploitation ofslavelabor,thefactories oftheimpover-
ishedzonesoftheworldneed,infact,a centralized, possiblystrong, political
powerthatcontrols themanddisciplines them.In certaincircumstances and
insomeregions, theglobaleconomyneedssovereign Statesandborders but
notdemocratic governments, or,toparaphrase Weber,thelegitimate monop-
olyofforcewithout theextenuating circumstance ofdemocracy. A different
needregards insteadtheroleofborders intheWest.Here,so faras theregula-
tionofthemigratory flowis concerned, theviewpoint oftheglobaleconomy
doesnotalwayscoincidewiththatofa rigorously liberalanddemocratic pol-
itics.Itdependsonthecircumstances. ThemodeloftheStateis rigid;thatof
globalization tendstobe elastic,uprooted, andmobile.The successofglob-
alizationcannotbe separatedfromthemobility ofcommodity, capital,and
people.TheStateiscalledtoadaptitselftothismobility. Thecurrent scenario
foresees thatpolitics,inthecourseofitsinevitable demise,willfinditsraison
d'etreagainin an adaptation, increasinglyless negotiable andmoreservile,
tothedictatesofeconomy.
The declineoftheterritorial Statecontinues, however, especiallyin the
Westwhereitwas born.Theextraterritoriality ofglobalization weakensthe
formandsubstanceoftheterritorial State.Thisexplainswhy,inthedebate
overthequestionofglobalization, theglobalis notopposedtoterritory butto
local. It concernsthewell-known, apparently paradoxical, phenomenon of

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Cavarero/POLITICIZING THEORY 525

theso-calledglocal:theglobalization ofthemarket andtechnologies sees a


resurrection of identity localismthatappealsto ethnicandreligiousroots.
The identity negatedby theprocessof deterritorialization of theglobalis
rediscovered within a mythologization oftheterritorial
history oflocalcom-
munities. A narrative thatis, essentially,anti-State,or rather,antimodern,
performing islandsthataspireto assertthemselves exclusively and thusto
fightone another. Globalization andlocalization,through thedoublemove-
mentof inclusionand exclusion,seemtherefore to worktogether forthe
definitiveliquidation oftheState:theonebyfrustrating theterritorial cartog-
raphyofsovereignty, theotherbyemphasizing theterritorialrootsofcom-
munity identity.
To respondto the crisisof the present,avoidingthe resurrection of
premodern myths thatconstitute itsmostuncanny aspect,itwouldbe neces-
sarytothink thespatiality ofthelocalindifferent terms.42 Itwouldbe neces-
saryto thematize a localitywithout The adventoftheglobal,pre-
territory.
cisely because it defeatsthe State's logic of territory, finallyfreesa
deterritorialized perspective on locality.Thisdoes nothavetobe thought of
as a smallerportionof nationalterritory or evena transnational "region."
Mostofall,itis nota zoneoftheworldthatis unified bya culture, a religion,a
language,a tradition, ora belief.Localityis neithertribalnorcommunal. Itis
insteada place,without anyhomogenousor territorial substance, thatcan
ariseor disappearin anypartof theglobe. It is therelationalspace that
HannahArendt callsprecisely politics.Ithasbeennotedthatthisis "a space
inwhichthetermsofpoliticalrepresentation andagencyaremobilized, dis-
placedfromtheirlocusofrigidinscription intocategories,conceptsanddefi-
nitions;a space ... constantly re-enacted, re-narrated."43
re-told,
"Wherever yougo,youwillbe a polis,"saysHannahArendt, quotinga
famoussentencethatdemonstrates, inheropinion,howthepoliticalforthe
Greeksconsistsofthespacethatlies"betweenpeoplelivingtogether forthis
purpose,no matter wheretheyhappento be."4'Thepolis,accordingto the
Arendtian interpretation, is notphysically situatedina territory.Itis instead
thespace ofappearance,alwaysandeverywhere capableofbeingenacted,
wherehumanbeingsactivelyshowwhotheyare.Wecouldtherefore referto
thispolis as absolutelocality:"absolute"insofaras it is "freed"fromthe
territorialityofplace andfromthehistorical dimension oftimethatwe call
tradition.Absolutelocalityhas neitherpredefined bordersnor,even less,
fixedorsacredborders. Itextendsas faras theinteractive spacegenerated by
thosewhoshareit.Itis a relational spacethathappenswiththeeventofthis
interaction and,together withit,disappears.Itsplaceandtimearetherefore
contingent andunpredictable. "Wherever yougo,youwillbe a polis":wher-
everthereis an interactive space betweenuniquebeings,whopreciselyas

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526 POLITICAL THEORY /August2002

suchdisclosethemselves toeachother, thereis politics.Politicspertains toa


localitythatconsistsoftheappearance ofuniqueexistents intheiractiveself-
exhibition, whichis also a displayofanincommensurable plurality.
Locality
demandsplurality. Indeed,localityis madeoftherelational contextof this
plurality thatopposesthevalueofuniquenesstotheissueofidentity.
Thehorizonoflocalityis notthedirectfruit oftheglobalbutis whatglob-
alization,insofar as itis a deterritorializingandextraterritorial force,allows
todaytoopen.To putitanother way,sincethecartography oftheStatesthat
makesof theworlda coherentsystemhas explodedand thetopographic
parameters thatmaketheworlda geography of bordershas imploded,the
worldfinally presentsitselfas a spaceavailableforthecontextual andcontin-
gentadventofabsolutelocality.Emptiedof communitarian substanceand
unboundfromterritory, localitycan nowtakeplaceanyplace.Thisdoesnot
meanthatlocality,liketheknotof Nancy,is immediately everywhere, as
though itwerea globalcondition ofhumanplurality that,forthatveryreason,
is a politicalcommunity. Localityis thereandonlytherewhere,inanypartof
theglobe,humanbeingsactivelyshowthattheiruniquenessis thematerial
given,ifnottheabsolutevalue,oftheirrelation.To say itagainin thelan-
guageofHannahArendt, localityas a relational spacedoesnotconcernwhat
thosewhoshareitarebutwhotheyare.
Freed,atlast,fromthecartography ofnations, thepoliticsoflocalitypro-
hibitsplacingcultural identities beforetheunrepeatable uniqueness ofevery
humanbeing.Faithful to theontologyofthewho,localityputsuniqueness
without belongingintoplayandentrusts to itonlythesenseofrelation. Far
fromevokinga passivity, thisimpliesfirstofall thepreliminary activityof
stripping awayourWestern, Eastern, Christian, Muslim,Jewish, gay,hetero-
sexual,poor,rich,ignorant, well-educated, cynical,happy,unhappy, and
evenguiltyorinnocent being.The strategy ofa politicaltheory thatreflects
onabsolutelocalityincludesinfact,as itspreliminary act,thedeconstruction
of belonging,themarginalization of qualities,thedepoliticization of the
what.Whatremains, becauseithasalwaysbeenthere, is "whoareyou?"as a
questiondirected toward"youwhoarehere":here,in thespaceoflocality,
contextual andeverywhere capableofbeingenacted,a spaceopenedbythis
questioninwhichthegoverning principleofpolitics,thatis,theprimacy of
thewhowithrespect tothesecondary statusofthewhat,is alreadyatwork.
Despiteappearances, thisis nota utopianpoliticsorevenanethicsofgood
will.It is insteadthereconfiguration of a politicaltheory that,inspiredby
HannahArendt, locatesthegenerative andsymbolic nucleusofpoliticsinthe
ontologyofpluraluniqueness.Besidesoffering a critiqueofglobalization,
thispoliticaltheory paysa debttothetrauma ofthedestruction thattheterror-
istattacksof September11 inflicted on thevaluesand thesecurity of the

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Cavarero/POLITICIZING THEORY 527

West.Itdoesnot,however, respondtotheneedforan antiterrorist strategy.It


ratherlooksfora newsenseofpoliticscapableoftaking from terrorism-and
fromitspossiblemotivesas wellas fromthelogicofretaliation-allsense.
Thereis a sociological,so tospeak,andundoubtedly poignant proofofthisin
thebehavioroftheNew Yorkers who,following thedestruction, putup pic-
turesoftheirfamily members killedintheTwinTowersdisasteronthewalls
of thecity.To theenormity oftheterrorist attack,theyrespondedwiththe
expositionof a picture:thesimplefaceof uniqueness.In thefallof 2001,
whichwasalsothedefinitive symbolic falloftheterritorial State,thewallsof
New Yorktoldus firstof all thatthethousands whodiedon September11
diedonebyone,andaremissedonebyonebytheirfamilymembers andby
thosewho,lookingattheirfaces,sharetheirloss.Apparently, itwas anemo-
tionalresponse, butnevertheless, froma different perspective, itwasnotonly
a farmoreeffective politicalresponsethantheappealtotheflag,butitwas
perhapsthemostpoliticaloftheresponses yetoffered. Itunderscored thefact
thatthefragilevalueofuniquenessrequiresa sensethatcontrasts withall of
thesenses-distortedor correct,monstrous or plausible-thatthedebate
overtheevent,flagsincluded, hasso farproduced ontheideaofpolitics.This
sense,itis true,is notyetthepoliticsofabsolutelocality, butitis thefigure,
unfortunately tragic,oftheontological principlethatconstitutes thispolitics.
On thewallsofNew York,forsomeweeks,a mapofuniqueness, plural
andirreducible toanysystematic reason,replacedtheold orderofStatecar-
tography. Therewerepropernames,in manylanguages,pronounced with
differentaccents.Behindeach,a uniquepersonthatwasandis nowmissing.
Theofficial registershavenotevenbeenabletorecordthedeathsofsomeof
thevictimsbecausetheirexistencehad neverbeenregistered. These were
illegalimmigrants: a categorythatis inherent to deterritorialization in the
globaleraofthejob market. TheoppositeoftheState,globalization doesnot
wantto deal withbordersandnationalterritories at all, norwithbelonging
andcultures. Calledorrepulsedbythesirensoftheglobal,everyone is wher-
ever,atthemoment, theyfindthemselves. The idealpoliticalprotagonist of
thepoliticsofabsolutelocalityis alreadyprecisely inthissituation, beyond
theethnicghettos thatthemetropolises stillprovide.
Without rootsinterritory,absolutelocalityis contextual. Itdoesnotsim-
plywanttofounditselfintheontology ofuniqueness nordoesitwanttocoin-
cidewithit.Absolutelocalityalwaysrefers touniqueexistents whointeract
andarecontextually present: hereandnow,witha face,a name,a story. Abso-
lutelocalityconvokesthem,orrather, itis bythemconvoked, putintobeing.
Generated as a relationalspace,absolutelocalityimpliestheproximity, of
onetotheother, ofthosewhogenerate it.Thisproximity is a distancethatis
neither too smallnortoo great.It has thephysicaldimension of gazes and

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528 POLITICAL THEORY /August2002

forlookingandspeaking
voices.Itis sufficient tooneanother. Contrary tothe
global,localitydoesnottherefore contract spaceinthealmostsimultaneous
velocityofcommunication afforded byelectronic means.Itinsteadtakesits
timeforcommunicating. In thepoliticsof locality,beforecommunicating
specificmeanings-touse Arendt'stermsagain-thosewhoarepresent in
factcommunicate, onetotheother, firstofall theiruniqueness. Thissignifies
thatthevalueofuniquenessis theprimary principle ofthepoliticalsceneif
nottherulethatdecidesitsspatialandtemporal disposition.
Whenabsolute
localitytakesplace, it designsa web of pluralproximities in its space.
Thoughtheyappeartogether, theseproximities communicate onetoone,one
each timeand one at a time.Politics,and,at thesame time,its symbolic
power,consistsofthisdiscrete oflocality.
relationality Thisis tosuggestthat
locality,
preciselyforthecontagion thatpertainsessentially
tothesymbolic,
hasthepowerofmultiplying itself.One,onehundred, onethousand absolute
localitiescouldbe,a bitironically
butcertainly notnostalgically,theslogan.
Freedalso fromthelogicofterritory, whichmaskeditundertheconceptof
theindividual, theontology ofuniquenesshas a globalextension. The poli-
ticsof localitycan takeplace everywhere: unpredictable and intermittent,
uncontrollable andsurprising.

7.
Politicizing theory meansto overturn thetradition thatinsteadtheorized
politics,butitdoesnotmeaneliminating thesphereofsightthatis implicit in
theory. Politicaltheory, eventhatwhichorients itsconceptual axisinaccor-
dancewiththeontology ofpluraluniqueness, is alwaysa disciplinethatcon-
sistsofa visionandmobilizestheimagination. Thevisionturns, however, in
thiscase,nottofictitious buttothedatumofthehumancondition:
entities, it
darestopresent itselfas a radicalphenomenology ofthefundamental materi-
alityof humanbeingswho are incarnated existinghereand
singularities,
now,in thiswayand nototherwise. The imagination turnsto an absolute
localitythatis notthecanonicalformofthepresent butonlya possiblefigura-
tion,a simplehermeneutic principleforthepoliticalhorizon, notyetpresent
andyetalreadyrequired, thatcomesafter theepochoftheStates.Obviously,
politicaltheory does notcoincidewithpolitics;itdoes notconsistin acting
politically.Politicaltheoryis theory:its disciplinary statusconsistsin
observing, seeing,andimagining. Inauguratingit,Platoconstrained political
theory to lookupward,thatis, tofreeitselffromtheproprium ofpoliticsto
remedyitsconstitutive contingency withthesecurity oforder.The crisisof
theStatemodelintheeraofglobalization-thelatestfigure forthecrisisof

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Cavarero/POLITICIZING THEORY 529

theWestern politicalhistory oforder-facilitates insteadthetheoretical ges-


tureoflookingdownward. Namely,itfacilitates thegesture oflookingatthe
contingency ofanagencyinwhichplurality is thedisclosure ofa uniqueness
thatpresents itselfas absolute,unclassifiable, andnonorderable difference.
Thisdifference appearsas disorderandchaosonlyfromtheperspective of
thetraditional obsessionwithorder. Nevertheless, froma wiserpointofview,
it is a categorythatenablesthinking theinsubstantial realityof a political
bond,capable of beingenactedanywhereand suppliedwitha rule that
affirms theprimacy ofthewho.Thisinsubstantial bondhasthemeritofneu-
tralizing boththewell-known conflictingpotentialities oftheidentity bond
andthenormalizing effect ofsociallyconstructed identities.
Theterm"identity," centralinmanycontemporary debates,hasinfact,at
least,a doubleacceptation thatconcernsdifferent areasofproblematization.
On onehand,thereis theproblemofcommunity identity.Thiskindofiden-
tity, whenittakesan exclusionary formon thebasisofreligionorethnicity,
raisesnotso muchtheusualquestion,typicalofmultiethnic societies,of a
democratic safeguard ofdifferences, butrather thequestionofpreserving the
spirit ofdemocracy itselfagainstfundamentalism. On theotherhand,thereis
theproblem-focusedon mainlyby thepostmodern and poststructuralist
theories thatinsistontheperformativity oflanguage-ofthevarioussocially
constructed identities thatstabilizeandnaturalize, inaccordancewitha hier-
archicalorder,themeaningofbeingman,woman,heterosexual, homosex-
ual, white,black,and so on. To thistwofolddeclination of thequestionof
identity correspond different strategic
approaches. Theapproachconcerning
thecase ofcommunity identities dealswithcomplexissues:ononehand,the
community bond,whenitis notexclusiveandtherefore inprinciple reconcil-
able withuniversalism, is safeguarded; on the otherhand,the bond of
exclusionary and fundamentalist communities, insofaras it contrasts radi-
callywiththedemocratic principleandthemodernpoliticaltradition ofthe
West,is opposed.The approachconcerning thesociallyconstructed identi-
tiesdealswithissuesofa different type:as itis wellexemplified bytheposi-
tionofJudith Butlermentioned above,theemphasisis puton a subversive
strategy thatattempts to mobilize,confound, and dismantle thenormative
matrix ofidentity.Theinspiring ofthissubversive
principle strategy is there-
forea kindofperpetual disordering oforder:perpetual becauseitis indebted
to theconstitutive mechanism of self-consolidation of order.Ancientand
alwaysnewprotagonist ofthescene,thelogicofordertherefore decidesthe
dynamics ofitsotheras infinite subversion.
Withrespecttothetwovariants-heresimplified intheextreme-ofthis
problematic framework, theimagination ofabsolutelocalityhas theadvan-
tageofhinting ata theoretical horizonthatrethinks thebond,bothfreeing it

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530 POLITICAL THEORY /August2002

fromanyidentity-based substanceand opposingorderwithout payingthe


debtto a perpetual subversion. The interactiverelationthatrespondsto the
ontology ofpluraluniqueness, in fact,consistsin a bondthatdoes nothave
eithera foundation in identity ora disordering aim.Thereare,indeed,rules
andprinciples inscribed inthisrelation: theprimary valueofuniqueness with
respecttoanycommunity belonging, themultiple andhorizontal structure
of
thebond,thecontingency of itsarisinganddisappearing in anyplace,the
bareexposition ofa selfwithout qualitieswhodepends,inthematerial con-
textofabsolutelocality, on everyother.The onlyidentity permitted,in this
economyofpoliticalrelation, is therefore theonethatonecouldcallanaltru-
Theotherappearshereneither
isticidentity.45 as an intellectual
category nor
as a collectiveentity;instead,it alwayshas thefaceand theunrepeatable
storyofsomeone.
Thisis,afterall,theradicalchallengeofa politicaltheory that,abandon-
ingthetraditional visionoffictitious finally
entities, politicizestheoryand,
as Levinaswouldsay,compelsittolookinthefaceoftheother. Theproprium
ofpoliticsconsistspreciselyin theregulative canonofan agencythatdoes
notbetraythearmlessobjectofthisgaze.

NOTES

1. HannahArendt,TheHumanCondition(Chicago:The University of ChicagoPress,


1958),198.
2. Ibid.,7.
3. Ibid.,13.
4. Ibid.,23.
5. HannahArendt, BetweenPastand Future(New York:Penguin,1977),110.
6. Hans Jonas,The Phenomenon ofLife(Evanston,IL: Northwestern UniversityPress,
2001), 135-36.
7. Ibid.,138.
8. Ibid.,146.
9. JacquesDerrida,Speechand Phenomenaand OtherEssays on Husserl'sTheoryof
Signs,trans.David B. Allison(Evanston,IL: Northwestern UniversityPress,1973); see also
AdrianaCavarero,"Regarding theCave,"trans.Paul Kottman, Qui Parle 10 (1996): 1-20.
10.HannahArendt, TheLifeoftheMind(New York:Harcourt Brace,1978),93.
11.Ibid.,129-51.
12.Arendt, BetweenPastand Future,1 5.
13.Arendt, TheHumanCondition,13.
14.JohnRawls,A Theory ofJustice MA: BelknapPressofHarvardUniversity
(Cambridge,
Press,1971).
15. GiorgioAgamben,"Introduzione a EmmanuelLevinas,"in Alcuneriflessioni sulla
(Macerata,Italy:Quodlibet,1996),14.
filosofiadell'hitlerismo

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Cavarero/POLITICIZING THEORY 531

16.HannahArendt, Checos'e la politica?,trans.MarinaBistolfi(Milano,Italy:Edizionidi


ComunitA, 1995),7.
17. Ibid.,7.
18. Arendt, TheHumanCondition, 8.
19. Ibid.,176.
20. Ibid.,176.
21. Ibid.,190.
22. Jean-LucNancy,TheSenseoftheWorld, trans.Jeffrey (Minneapolis:Univer-
S. Librett
sityofMinnesotaPress,1997), 111.
23. Ibid.,112.
24. Jean-LucNancy,BeingSingularPlural,trans.RobertRichardson and AnneO'Byrne
(Stanford: Stanford UniversityPress,2000), 32.
25. Ibid.,91.
26. Arendt, TheHumanCondition, 52.
27. JurgenHabermas,The Theoryof Communicative Action,trans.ThomasMcCarthy
(Boston:Beacon,1984).
28. Jean-Luc Nancy,LuoghiDivini.Calcolodelpoeta,trans.LuisaBonesio(Padova,Italy:il
poligrafo, 1999),71.
29. Nancy,TheSenseoftheWorld,115.
30. Ibid.,115.
31. Ibid.,115.
32. Ibid.,117.
33. HannahArendt, TheOriginsofTotalitarianism (NewYork:Harcourt BraceJovanavich,
1951).
34. Judith Butler,Bodies ThatMatter(New York:Routledge,1993),227; see also idem,
GenderTrouble(New York:Routledge,1990).
35. Arendt, TheHumanCondition, 178.
36. BonnieHonig,"TowardanAgonistic Feminism: HannahArendt andthePoliticsofIden-
tity,"in FeministsTheorizethePolitical,ed. JudithButlerand JoanW. Scott(New York:
Routledge,1992),227.
37. SeylaBenhabib,"Dismantling theLeviathan:CitizenandStateina GlobalWorld,"The
ResponsiveCommunity 11 (2001): 15.
38. Zygmunt Baum,Globalization(New York:ColumbiaUniversity Press,1998).
39. NaomiKlein,No logo (New York:Picador,2000).
40. MichaelHardtandAntonioNegri,Empire(Cambridge, MA: HarvardUniversity Press,
2000).
41. DipeshChakrabarty, ProvincializingEurope(Princeton,NJ:Princeton UniversityPress,
2000),37-46.
42. See EdwardS. Casey,Getting Back intoPlace: Towarda RenewedUnderstanding of
Place-World(Bloomington: IndianaUniversity Press,1993).
43. OliviaGuaraldo,Storylines (Jyvaskyla,Finland:SophiAcademicPress,2001),234.
44. Arendt, TheHumanCondition, 198.
45. AdrianaCavarero, RelatingNarratives, trans.PaulKottman (London:Routledge, 2000),
81-93.

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532 POLITICAL THEORY /August2002

AdrianaCavareroteachespoliticalphilosophyat theUniversity
ofVerona,Italy.She is
theauthorof In Spiteof Plato(Routledge),RelatingNarratives
(Routledge),Stately
Bodies (UniversityofMichiganPress),and otherbooksand articleson ancientand
modern politicalthought.

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