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Late Derrida: The Politics of Sovereignty

Author(s): Vincent B. Leitch
Source: Critical Inquiry, Vol. 33, No. 2 (Winter 2007), pp. 229-247
Published by: The University of Chicago Press
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Late Derrida: The Politics of Sovereignty
Vincent B. Leitch

1. Derrida’s Last Decade
During the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, Jacques Derrida published numerous
books, approximately two dozen in French, virtually all translated into English, but in the 1990s and thereafter up to 2004, the year of his death and
the year in which I am writing, he brought out roughly three dozen more
books in France, not including the revised editions of earlier works, coauthored works, and introductions to books. In this period, which I here label
late Derrida, about two dozen books by Derrida appeared in English translation, without counting three substantial Derrida readers.
Not surprisingly, recent introductions to Derrida have found it especially
challenging to systematize this sprawling corpus. The preferred approach
is to foreground key Derridean concepts (so-called undecidables or quasitranscendentals) such as the early standbys—diffe´rance, iterability, margin,
supplement, text—and later ones like gift, hospitability, forgiveness, democracy to come, justice, messianic, responsibility, spectrality. This, for
example, is how Geoffrey Bennington organized his well-known “Derridabase” in Jacques Derrida, coauthored with Derrida and published in
French in 1991, in English in 1993, and revised in 1999 with an updated,
supplemented bibliography.
A second popular approach is the exegesis of controversies such as Derrida versus structuralism (Saussure and Le´vi-Strauss), phenomenology
(Husserl and Gadamer), psychoanalysis (Freud and Lacan), speech-act
All titles in the text are listed with date of publication for the original language edition following
in parentheses. In cases where an English translation exists, its year of publication is listed second.
All translations unless otherwise indicated are my own.
Critical Inquiry 33 (Winter 2007)
䉷 2007 by The University of Chicago. 0093–1896/07/3302–0006$10.00. All rights reserved.

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Le´vinas. expending copious energy systematizing. two lengthy addresses focusing on contemporary politics. literature. and critical encounters. and Genius] (2003). L e i t c h is Paul and Carol Daube Sutton Chair in English at the University of Oklahoma.hydra. De quoi demain .248. The many books by and about Derrida. Yet. also offering the usual detailed subdivided bibliographies of his works as well as works on him. a few months before Derrida’s passing in early autumn. Kant. Rousseau. communications theory (Habermas). et le ge´nie [Geneses. numerous and sometimes recurring. contemporary philosophy. . Voyous [Rogues] (2003). especially during the 1990s. genres. reason. 4 Sep 2014 03:22:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . no matter their approach.230 Vincent B. and de Man. an appreciation of the literary work 1. Genealogies.umn.9. . religion. The present article is part of a book nearing completion entitled A Defense of Theory. At that time I encountered several not yet translated texts by Derrida. Genres. ranging from the death penalty and anti-Semitism to the changing family and animal rights and to more expected topics like psychoanalysis.1 This. Leitch / Politics of Sovereignty theory (Austin and Searle). Foucault. and politics. A third way of managing while introducing Derrida’s immense body of work mixes and matches key concepts. taking up the issues of rogue states. art. set the context for a visit I made to Paris in 2004.edu/derrida/jdind. and Gene`ses. This content downloaded from 132. Global Flows (1996). is how Nicholas Royle’s Jacques Derrida (2003) proceeds.” www.html Vi n c e n t B . and orthodox Marxism. Nietzsche. Postmodernism— Local Effects. and theories of identity and liberty. a wide-ranging and lively dialogue with Elisabeth Roudinesco covering nine topics in nine chapters. Literary Theory. for example. where he teaches criticism and theory. Marc Goldschmit employs this method in his Jacques Derrida: Une Introduction (2003). among others. He is author of Cultural Criticism. Blanchot. Derrida’s scholarly readers. deciphering. see Peter Krapp. standing by attentively. with major figures like Plato. and Theory Matters (2003). genealogies. ethics. namely. democracy. edited by Jack Reynolds and Jonathan Roffe. A Dialogue] (2001). ventriloquizing. . Hegel. “Bibliography of Publications by Jacques Derrida. controversies. There are also his conflictual one-on-one encounters. . as does the substantial concluding chapter of Understanding Derrida (2004).8 on Thu. Heidegger. risk becoming disciples rather than critics. an introductory book containing eleven chapters by different hands on standard topics such as language. For the best bibliographical source. Dialogue [For What Tomorrow . Marxism. international law. and served as the general editor of the Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism (2001). given the scope and complexity of his corpus. and especially sovereignty. Poststructuralism (1992).

4 Sep 2014 03:22:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions 231 . 1974–1994 (1992/1995). a small book in French published earlier in English as a lengthy final essay addressed to his leftist critics in Ghostly Demarcations: A Symposium on Jacques Derrida’s “Specters of Marx” (1999). though in a more concise form. Sur parole: Instantane´s philosophiques [On my Word: Philosophical Snapshots] (1999). The political concerns of the first two books also appear. The texts published in the opening years of the new century followed an immensely productive prior decade that included a spate of books gathering Derrida’s many interviews. in the contemporaneous English-language casebook Philosophy in a Time of Terror: Dialogues with Ju¨rgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida (2003). 62. . his dialogues with Maurizio Ferraris. plus one between Gianni Vattimo and Derrida in January 1995. Specters of Marx (1993/1994). and Catherine Malabou. performances that amble sometimes loosely. This content downloaded from 132.248.9. 1971–2001 (2002). I have never planned to write a text. 2003]. for some occasion.’ occasional. Derrida declared. Interviews. everything I’ve done. 2001). and Negotiations: Interventions and Interviews. trans. were ‘occasioned’ by a question.8 on Thu. About writing systematic treatises in Kantian fashion. Rapaport’s book focuses on a range of topics. “Each time I write a text. 26). his many pieces on education and pedagogy in Who’s Afraid of Philosophy? (1990/2002) and Eyes of the University (1990/2004). “It is no longer possible to write a great philosophical ‘machine. hereafter abbreviated ATS. A Taste for the Secret. and Marx & Sons (2002). p. and the provocative The University without Condition (2001). Derrida’s tendency to write in outline became even more pronounced as he delivered bits and pieces of [for example] a thesis on hospitality that one had to glean from a number of different texts” (Herman Rapaport. On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness (2001) (two late 1990s addresses joined in this English-only book). even the most composite of my books. “Starting in the 1990s. p. At a key point in the conversation with Ferraris. . A Taste for the Secret (1997/2001). which contains a revealing interview with Derrida (as well as Habermas) by Giovanna Borradori. My concern with the date and the signature confirms it. . many of Derrida’s texts give the appearance of being thrown together like preliminary thinking exercises. Politics of Friendship (1994/1997). Giacomo Donis. lacking editing. . La Contre-allee´. [Counterpath] (1999). especially for economy and careful organization. I always operate through small oblique essays” 2. Later Derrida: Reading the Recent Work [New York.Critical Inquiry / Winter 2007 of He´le`ne Cixous that briefly sketches an account of genius. a short book in French available in Derrida’s English-language collection of addresses Without Alibi (2002). Donis and David Webb (Cambridge. Of Hospitality (1997/2000). Jacques Derrida and Maurizio Ferraris. In the realms of politics and ethics there were such late texts as The Other Heading (1991/1992). specifically Points . it is ‘on occasion. This book contains five dialogues between Ferraris and Derrida from July 1993 to November 1994. though not politics.’ .”2 Indeed. sometimes stunningly. Derrida looked back over his career and revealed. ed.

“There is no easy way to distinguish logical concerns from epistemological ones in Derrida. Derrida puts the concept of sovereignty in question at the outset. Bennington (Chicago.” the first lengthy address. always as an exception. 12. particularly rogue states. 5. 197). p. nor these from ethical or political ones” (Bennington. shorter lecture.”3 and Royle observes that “all of Derrida’s work is concerned with the appearance or apparitional effects of digression. bringing into view Derrida’s infrastructure. p.248. 96. 2003). Derrida is quoted from an unpublished 1982 interview that sets improvisation against stereotypical discourses as saying “I believe in improvisation” (Derrida. p. Derrida This content downloaded from 132. Jacques Derrida. for example. 2001].” in Jacques Derrida and the Humanities: A Critical Reader. Leitch / Politics of Sovereignty (ATS. 169. Jacques Derrida (London. 4 Sep 2014 03:22:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 4. was delivered on the occasion of a conference on “The Democracy to Come” in July 2002 at Cerisy-la-Salle. “The ‘World’ of the Enlightenment to Come (Exception. his pharmacy.” took place at the University of Nice during August 2002 at the twenty-ninth Congress of the Association of French Language Societies of Philosophy. ed.9. p. 81). Nicholas Royle. and sovereignty in relation to democracy. Derrida explores several main topics. Meanwhile. What happens in contemporary politics plays a leading role here. 2003]). 6. reason. This much is clear about the book’s title and topic from the preface: the rogue state “does not respect its state duties before the law of the world community and the obligations of international law.6 3. as Derrida illustrates in this and a dozen other late texts. while the second.”4 And yet concepts do regularly recur from one text to another and on occasion cluster in nodal points and condensations. at the very moment it claims precisely to establish it?” (V. p. p. Geoffrey Bennington and Derrida. an ensemble of quasi-transcendental concepts. Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering Kofman [Zeitgeist Video. 1999).”5 A footnote to this definition immediately questions: “Does the reason of state always submit to the condition of law? Does sovereignty itself relieve it of the condition of law? Or else does it exceed and betray it. trans. a topic neither examined nor assessed with care elsewhere in the scholarly literature on late Derrida. Sovereignty Deconstructed In Voyous. Tom Cohen [Cambridge. Bennington notes.8 on Thu. hereafter abbreviated V. In a recent documentary. Bennington notes kindly that “deconstruction happens more in the journey than the arrival.232 Vincent B. Concerning this generic obliqueness. Richard Beardsworth observes that “the domain of politics is not a privileged object of reflection for Derrida. dir. as in the case of sovereignty. 2. Calculation. 12n). and Sovereignty). Derrida. “Derrida and Politics. Derrida notes scrupulously. although recent work of the 1990s has mobilized and reworked the term more immediately than that of the past” (Beardsworth. 2003). and the rogue state has everything to do with it. the state scoffs at the law—and mocks the condition of law. Titled “The Reason of the Strongest (Are There Rogue States?). Voyous (Paris. DVD.

and Contemporary French Thought [London. 96). This four-volume work reprints sixty-five articles and book chapters of critical reaction to Derrida dating from the 1970s to the new century. It is also what will always have grounded the death penalty. Kamuf states that “perhaps the book’s essential trait common to all its chapters [is] the trait of sovereignty” (WA. a state’s “monopoly on violence is of a piece with the motif of sovereignty. Finally. the right of the state. the harder it is to find any substantial difference between earlier and later work” (Critchley. Without Alibi. and Politics (Brookfield. Morag Patrick defends Derrida against charges of ethicopolitical nihilism. p. 4:221–28. 151. Politics. “The Place of the Political in Derrida and Foucault.8 on Thu. in his otherwise excellent book Simon Critchley unconvincingly declares. Moreover. (London. xi). Robert Litwak’s Rogue States and U. will). 2003).. 2000): 675– 89. 8. when interference in other states’ governing prerogatives became unacceptable. Foucault and the Political (London. nothing is said about sovereignty. the critical legacy is highly selective. This book contains five late addresses and essays plus a foreword by Derrida. which is a review of Beardsworth. “Democracy and Difference: Reflections on the Metapolitics of Lyotard and Derrida. 1999]. and in the process he reviews many political criticisms launched against Derrida during his career. Derrida points out that “a sovereign is defined by his capacity to decide the exception [and he has] the right to suspend the law. hereafter abbreviated WA. the later work appears both more haphazard and more preoccupied with politics and ethics. the right of the sovereign to punish by death. Subjectivity: Essays on Derrida. Insofar as this nuclear state stands arrogantly above and disregards international laws and treaties. Calif. for instance. linked with a historical sequence of sovereigns (God. a key concern of Derrida’s late work. “In my experience of reading Derrida.” in Jacques Derrida. p. xiii). Despite its 1.S. On the contrary. hereafter abbreviated DQD. Derrida confirms “the most perverse. Vt. Dialogue (Paris. often in the name of a supremacist nation-state sovereignty. 2001). p. sovereignty among nation-states dates from the time of the Peace of Westphalia (1648). Le´vinas. 1995). ed.” Political Theory 28 (Oct. 4 Sep 2014 03:22:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions 233 .”8 and the Political [London. and ed. see David C. and William Blum’s The Rogue State (2001). privileging philosophers and philosophy. Preliminary observations on the politics of sovereignty appear in Seyla Benhabib. Foreign Policy (2000). .. However. the United States and occasionally its allies” (V. violent.600 pages and 22 topics.”7 During modern democratic times this ontotheological right passes to the governing body or leader. p. king. Christopher Norris and David Roden. this hegemon simultaneously relies on and yet undermines the concept of sovereignty.9. Derrida and the Political and Jon Simons.. Derrida.S. Peggy Kamuf (Stanford. In his Derrida.Critical Inquiry / Winter 2007 Citing Noam Chomsky’s Rogue States: The Rule of Force in World Affairs (2000). 7. 268. nation. 139). p. and destructive of rogue states would thus be. Durst. the closer one looks. . first. 1996]. Responsibility. esp. people. For a useful discussion of Derrida’s thinking on violence. Can there be several hundred fully sovereign nations in the world? Are limitations necessary? How do things stand with the politics of sovereignty? Usually defined as supreme authority within a territory. it manifests itself in the right of the president to grant amnesty from judicial judgments. De quoi demain . Following Carl Schmitt.248. Derrida and Elisabeth Roudinesco. trans. p. 4 vols. This content downloaded from 132. 2002). Ethics. In the U. 1997).

For democracy to be real. Leitch / Politics of Sovereignty In addition to the death penalty. [V. and the fact that “only small states ever see their sovereignty contested and disputed by powerful states. But if the constitution of this force is indeed destined in principle to represent and protect this global democracy. Calif. 2002). p. . in special nondemocratic.S.8 on Thu. these two principles. ed. and to become actual. Negotiations: Interventions and Interviews. he has a right to the silence of this asymmetry. . Marie-Louise Mallet [Paris. but in limited and shared forms. hereafter abbreviated N. There are paradoxical nondemocratic features of sovereignty. the concept of exception (being above the law). This essay consists of extracts from two sessions of Derrida’s seminar “The Beast and the Sovereign” in Paris in 2001–2. This extensive collection.” Among the most paradoxical features of sovereignty are the dynamics of time and language. “La Beˆte et le souverain. democracy and sovereignty. The essential “indivisibility” of sovereignty is undermined by temporality and history as well as by discourse’s soliciting of the other and its dividing of authority (V. Derrida aimed to preserve it. Philosophy in a Time of Terror: Dialogues with Ju¨rgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida (Chicago. 144). it requires a sovereignty.248. are at once and by turns indissociable and in contradiction with each other. In its practice. it in fact betrays and threatens it at the outset. 10. the notion of the death penalty (contravening the right to life of the citizen). it requires the cratie [power] of the demos [people]—in this case of the global demos. This content downloaded from 132. exercising there a sovereign unilateralism: As always.” La De´mocratie a` venir: Autour de Jacques Derrida. Here is another vexing trait of sovereignty: “The sovereign has the right not to respond. sovereignty enables a state to control its borders and exclude noncitizens as well as to protect itself from outside threats (today that includes forces of globalization and terrorism).. 472).234 Vincent B. 1971–2001. 2003). Derrida. contradictory ways not only “plays a virtually sovereign role among sovereign states”10 but dominates the elite inner circle of the United Nations (the nondemocratic Security Council). Such 9.9. 94. notes the back cover. “encompasses the political and ethical thinking of Jacques Derrida over thirty years. Elizabeth Rottenberg (Stanford. as Derrida’s various deconstructions strikingly demonstrate. 4 Sep 2014 03:22:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Thus. 385. Derrida does not follow up on these provocative disruptions.”9 Additionally. p. namely a force stronger than all others in the world. p. p. trans. He has a right to a certain irresponsibility” (Derrida. the U. Giovanna Borradori. 143] Despite the terrible aporias of sovereignty in its modern democratic forms. hereafter abbreviated PTT. 2004]. sovereignty remains connected with the use of force and the principle that might is right. p. Powerful states never allow their own sovereignty to be challenged. . and ed. in order to grant space to a right to assert its idea. Consider the contradictory idea of a sovereign (one over many).

p. however contradictory to its very concept. freedom. equality. or those of power or force. its liberty. which are inseparable from the very idea of law. the modern citizen-subject. concludes Derrida.Critical Inquiry / Winter 2007 deconstructive questioning and sharing is. . juridical. Thus. political) are grounded on the sovereignty of the subject. self-determined)” (V. for we neither can nor should renounce purely and simply the values of autonomy or freedom. and it will have no end. It will not take the form of a suppression of the sovereign state at one particular moment in time but will pass through a long series of still unforeseeable convulsions and transformations. the intentional auto-determination of the conscious self (which is free. what is in any case happening. The deconstruction of sovereignty has thus already begun. that is. of the ideal of emancipation and of freedom. through as yet unheard-of forms of shared and limited sovereignty. force (they are essential). has been accepted for a long time now. . imposes itself upon all unconditional hospitality worthy of this name? [PTT. and so on. he realized. etc. is going on (and will continue to do so). Furthermore. xix). and so on) and the hetero-nomy that . .9. active. p. and it will continue for a long time. free. Here is Derrida assuming the role of political prophet in the context on the “war on terror”: This movement of “deconstruction” did not wait for us to begin speaking about “deconstruction”. one cannot simply jettison the sovereign self. (More in a moment about this brow-raising “and so on. of the sovereignty of the subject. 4 Sep 2014 03:22:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions 235 . This content downloaded from 132. 128). 131–32] In Derrida’s nuanced account. It is not just the modern system of nation-states and its international components that depends on sovereignty but also ethics. including.)” (WA.”) In its very operation. The idea and even the practice of shared sovereignty. of a limitation of sovereignty. which is a good though risky thing. Each sovereign exhibits such traits. and human relations. the limiting and sharing of political sovereignty. law.248. sovereignty functions through and with autonomy. And yet such a divisible or shared sovereignty already contradicts the pure concept of sovereignty.8 on Thu. . and power any more than the sovereign nation-state. autonomous. How are we to reconcile unconditional auto-nomy (the foundation of any pure ethics. importantly. . that is. pp. The Derridean deconstruction of sovereignty is at once simple and complex. “All the fundamental axiomatics of responsibility or decision (ethical. it has been under way for a long time. “Human rights pose and presuppose the human being as sovereign (equal. law. Part of the complexity has to do with sovereignty’s bearing on ethics. responsibility.

we can put in place the idea of a differentiated. of a heteronomy” (DQD. literature.. as he does with the sovereign nation-state. Conditional or ordinary hospitality. esp. 66). responding sovereignly by itself before the law. reason. In Derrida’s late texts.236 Vincent B. p. 4 Sep 2014 03:22:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . On the necessary sovereignty of the university. and its scope remains unknown. choice. The significance of “and so on” is that the deconstruction of sovereignty—the double gesture of its erosion yet critical maintenance—is underway. 206– 7. ruler. and the unconscious as well as with language in a contretemps. by definition. Among innumerable statements on this topic. subject. though Derrida omits mentioning the copious scholarship on the topic. having conditions stabilized—that is. Leitch / Politics of Sovereignty Many others have reached the same unsurprising conclusion. but it invariably finds itself in a struggle of contending sovereignties (as those who work in universities know all too well). the asylum city.11 Significantly. particularly concerning the unconscious and the other (as well as the other in me). This content downloaded from 132. 235–36.’ not to be reduced to a conscious. p. here is a very telling one: “Instead of a subject conscious of itself. 202–37.248.9. 232. forever and essentially unstable—for its autonomy: on the ground. and domicile. requires breaking with the horizon of subjectivity. agency—to a constitutive alterity that precedes it and that it cannot comprehend. pp. 12. 286). others. especially pp. see Derrida’s address to the International Parliament of Writers at Strasbourg in 1996 in Derrida. and elsewhere. 4–8. On the sovereignty of future cities of refuge and asylum. but” to the sovereign subject). trans. not natural. Derrida abruptly juxtaposes unconditional and conditional hospitality in his discussion of sovereignty. although his de Manian attribution of alterity ultimately to language (rhetoric. And a ‘subject’ established progressively. Others and their traces are always working within us already. hereafter abbreviated OCF. or fable) is too restrictive. egological intentionality. text. in fact. people. On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness. In the citation above from Philosophy in a Time of Terror. . Heteronomy multiply grounds autonomy. nation-state. laboriously. pp. offers welcome on condition that the other respects my rules and my way 11.8 on Thu. sovereignty extends to God. . in a space and time that cannot be reduced to that of a consciousness or self-presence” (Thomas Keenan. or at least referring the experience of subjectivity—decision. Derrida developed his position on the sovereign subject while realizing full well that the self of the citizen is.12 The concept of sovereignty reaches into many areas. Derrida has it both ways here (“yes. divided ‘subject. the other. inexhaustible and invincible. 2001). Calif. then. starting with God and reason as sovereign. Fables of Responsibility: Aberrations and Predicaments in Ethics and Politics [Stanford. . Not only does the principle of sovereignty pop up in unexpected areas. nevertheless imperfectly. Mark Dooley and Michael Hughes (London. “To come to terms with responsibility. divided and multiple. see WA. Keenan’s deconstructive discussions of subjectivity and alterity are lucid. Alterity arrives with time. university. 1997]. with the idea of sovereign asylum cities and sovereign universities.

14. conditional hospitality limits welcome while retaining control “over the limits of my ‘home. In the closing pages of Voyous. 1986). p. he pointed out. Playing ironically off the title of Heidegger’s famous interview in Der Spiegel. most prominently in The Other Heading: Reflections on Today’s Europe. Derrida asked rhetorically. or a democracy that takes into account the singularity of each existent beyond the social while respecting the social bond and legal equality. or an autonomous and democratic. 190 n. justice. “quasitranscendentals. with absolute force. for example. p. including the gift. Of Hospitality: Anne Dufourmantelle Invites Jacques Derrida to Respond. 15. “How could you deny that the name ‘god to come’ just might be suitable for an ultimate form of sovereignty that would reconcile absolute justice with absolute law and thus. Ind. Is it perhaps possible to think a sovereign without sovereignty? Yes. all-European force. and the other is inconceivable without the one.. the impossible. pp. 4 Sep 2014 03:22:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions 237 . p. 76–80. esp. an international court of justice complete with its own autonomous force. with their unconditional (transcendent) and conditional (ordinary) forms. Derrida often speaks from the perspective of European politics. trans. 128). Rodolphe Gasche´. trans. Unconditional or pure hospitality opens itself fully to the unexpected and the unassimilable. p.9. is transcendent to the other. and so on. with an absolute saving power?” (PTT. Rachel Bowlby [Stanford. “are situated at the margin of the distinctionbetween the transcendental and the empirical. like all sovereignty and all law. of a democracy to come. Rodolphe Gasche´ long ago named similar doubled concepts. the pardon. In the late works. of messianicity without messianism (to use the terminology of Specters of Marx). reason. the domicile is sovereign. answers Derrida. In practice. Derrida looks back and helpfully observes..15 or a New In13. For an unsympathetic account of Derrida’s politics that is particularly dismissive of his messianic view of This content downloaded from 132. and he quickly lists others. that of unconditional hospitality” (V. The political form of this impossible messianic democratic sovereign without sovereignty might be.”14 Unconditionality without sovereignty in Derrida’s late work injects hope and idealism into politics. p. 129). unified. Sovereignty pertains to the domicile: “No hospitality. 2000]. 204).Critical Inquiry / Winter 2007 of life.248. wholly other. This book contains an address from May 1990 to a colloquium on European cultural identity and an interview from January 1989. in the classic sense. “Among the figures of unconditionality without sovereignty that have come to me to privilege in recent years would be. Calif. p. Naas (Bloomington.13 Like the self. following Derrida.8 on Thu. without sovereignty of oneself over one’s home” (Derrida. 1992). Pascale-Anne Brault and Michael B. 317. Here it is a matter of belief in the impossible. 14). This book contains two seminar lectures by Derrida from January 1996 accompanied on facing pages with commentary by Dufourmantelle. the one is the condition. my ‘I can’” (PTT. “These two hospitabilities are at once heterogeneous and indissociable” (PTT.’ my sovereignty. Derrida remained resolutely and self-consciously Eurocentric in philosophy and politics.” which. 55). the event. The Tain of the Mirror: Derrida and the Philosophy of Reflection (Cambridge.

it regularly develops the well-known double strategy/gesture signaled by the recurring deconstructive formula.248. are absolutely heterogeneous.” Lilla does not mention sovereignty. etc. that decisions and responsibilities are to be taken. not least for immigrants. as should be pointed out for other Derridean quasi-transcendental concepts. It is a matter of the conditionality of the unconditional. Derrida resolutely declared.8 on Thu. the latter entailing an ideal noncalculating and gracious forgiving of the guilty as guilty without request or repentance: These two poles. Here he takes off from the instance of forgiveness.” New York Review of Books. dissociated positions. What characterizes such vertiginous Derridean utopian politics is destatification and internationalism as well as perfectibility and extravagance. “The Politics of Jacques Derrida. he is committed to seeing Europe become a more open. for instance. p. But insofar as Derrida was not an unconditional sovereigntist. to happen by changing things. throwing sovereignty into question. an affinity or alliance without nation-state. sovereigntist and antisovereigntist are not two separate. forgiveness to be effective. or class (and steadfastly critical of these things). party.9. a key pragmatic feature of Derridean deconstruction. 153). where he concludes that “Derrida is some vague sort of left democrat who values ‘difference’ and. and must remain irreducible to one another. These are not remarkable ideas. In any case. 44] Simon Critchley and Richard Kearney cogently explain Derridean “negotiation” in their preface to On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness: “responsible political action and decision making consists in the negotiation between these two irreconcilable yet indissociable demands. There is a Derridean political pragmatism that operates under the name negotiation. see Mark Lilla. In the address “On Forgiveness” a surprisingly stark moment occurs when the paradoxical dynamic of Derridean negotiation becomes clear. 4 Sep 2014 03:22:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . historic. citizenship. he tipped his wily deconstructive hand. the unconditional and the conditional. I am antisovereigntist or sovereigntist—and I claim the right to be antisovereigntist here and sovereigntist there” (DQD. hospitable place. Leitch / Politics of Sovereignty ternational. 20. pragmatic political or legal action has to be related to a moment of justice. as his recent short pamphlet on cosmopolitanism shows. On the one hand.238 Vincent B. p. both conditional and unconditional. “According to the situation. it is necessary that this purity engage itself in a series of conditions of all kinds (psychosociological.). [OCF. They are nonetheless indissociable: if one wants. concrete. About the matter of nation-state sovereignty. sometimes too pat. irreconcilable but indissociable. rather they haunt one another. on the one hand/on the other. 25 June 1998. p. if one wants it to arrive. This content downloaded from 132. It is between these two poles. and it is necessary. political.

to all theoretical or reportive determination. Here is a strikingly blunt statement from Derrida: “since we are speaking of forgiveness.” Is there. This content downloaded from 132. George Collins (1994. arrogance. who makes an impossible mad leap. responsible decision must bear antinomies and double binds. and sovereignty (law. pp. parts of which appeared prior to book publication as addresses and printed articles. without depriving it of what makes it a sovereign and free decision. 1997). Such pure decision starkly opposes the ordinary variety. What’s it going to be? Sometimes a sovereigntist. 58. 59). Deconstruction is on the side of uncon16. Yet for me it lacks materialist grip. 59. “Each time forgiveness is effectively exercised.248. then. London. On the one hand/on the other. what makes the ‘I forgive’ you sometimes unbearable or odious. absolute forgiveness. such as pure hospitality.9. Derrida insists. according to Derrida. is the affirmation of sovereignty. here he projects an ideal responsibility dependent on sovereignty. “The instant of decision must remain heterogeneous to all knowledge as such. such unconditionality cannot. sometimes an antisovereigntist: “Deconstruction begins there. It entails good conscience. a difficult topic amplified here and there across the late work. a forgiveness without sovereignty? Derrida’s dream was precisely a pure “forgiveness without power: unconditional but without sovereignty” (OCF. . Conversely. or democracy to come. 219.” The issue is condescension. it seems to suppose some sovereign power. .8 on Thu. silencing. when knowledge points the way. Politics of Friendship. 4 Sep 2014 03:22:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions 239 . Double bond and double duty. It demands a difficult. . Nota bene: Derridean unconditionals.Critical Inquiry / Winter 2007 unconditionality or infinite responsibility if it is not going to be reduced to the prudential demands of the moment. might). morality. to follow a program and calculation. but indispensable dissociation between unconditionality . To make a decision when the path is clear. on the other hand. Whereas earlier Derrida dreamt of forgiveness without sovereignty. work on and in the future. . There is a further dimension to negotiation and forgiveness in the context of sovereignty. not in fact to make a decision at all. but also irresponsibility. almost impossible. pp.”16 A responsible decision stems from the sovereign subject. Politics explicitly operates there. trans. The Derridean double bind of political pragmatics often raises the issue of responsibility in decision making (as above). . . leaving us in a jam (each time permanently). xi–xii). even if it may and must be preceded by all possible science and conscience. Derrida. The latter are unable to determine the leap of decision . p. must not. even obscene. power. . be permitted to programme political action” (OCF. But. when a rule applies is. This book grew out of a 1988–89 seminar of the same title.

hegemony. 3. including market economics. Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt. a French Hegel scholar. especially in cases where it fends off the global hegemony of one language. A good biographical source is Catherine Malabou and Derrida. the concept of crimes against humanity. socialist form. fifteen postcards and letters sent from him to Malabou.240 Vincent B. Derrida said yes to the modern sovereign nation-state in its democratic. but that presence can be vital. even where it appears impossible. trans. as little as possible” (N. to defend the rights and potential of (national and international) culture. Riverside. the end of the death penalty (outlawed in the European Union). he was not forthcoming on what democratic socialism might look like. and not of sovereignty. “We should salute what is heralded today in the reflection on the right of interference or intervention in the name of what is obscurely and sometimes hypocritically called the humanitarian. someone who expected contemporary globalization. Derridean Politics All indications are that Jacques Derrida. entitled “Whither Marxism?” This content downloaded from 132. however. This book originated as a two-part plenary address to an April 1993 conference at the University of California. Derrida. 67). without. 84.17 Instances of good erosions of sovereignty for late Derrida include humanitarian interventions. monopolization. p. thereby limiting the sovereignty of the State in certain conditions. hereafter abbreviated SM. of weapons proliferation. “The presence of the state must be limited. and the New International. in 1997–8. to liberate space and forces to that end. 1994). But in no case could Derridean politics have been communitarian.8 on Thu. 4 Sep 2014 03:22:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .248. and the work of certain nongovernmental organizations. but also a rich sampler of Derrida’s work. p.”18 This nuanced praise of sovereignty’s erosion is sometimes balanced by Derrida’s defenses of the sovereign democratic nation-state. U. and a concluding curriculum vitae of Derrida. the Work of Mourning. programming. 18. 153). Leitch / Politics of Sovereignty ditionality. of terrorism. a secular Algerian SephardicJew. was a democratic socialist with libertarian leanings as well as a strong cosmopolitan. including four dozen photos (mostly from his personal collection). After 17. the International Criminal Court. media. and standardization. Under certain conditions.9. This can stand as a summary statement on Derrida’s vexing deconstruction of sovereignty. inducing. of one neoliberal market. of capital concentration.S. 1999). La Contre-alle´e (Paris. Unfortunately. Peggy Kamuf (New York. technology. even where it appears possible” (DQD. nonauthoritarian. And it can take only a contradictory form in constant readjustment: to struggle against structures of violent and abusive appropriation. orienting—in any case. p. and European integration to alter the world in many ways that compromise the sovereign democratic nation-state for good and ill. which provides an uncritical overview.

indeed to any ‘nationality. p. pp. Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe. see Immanuel Wallerstein. My relation to these seemingly communal structures is one of expropriation. And unlike Wallerstein. “I am. 20. 16). In the dialogue with Ferraris. “Place. as it were.” ed. Derrida responds to his nine critics (pp. dates the feeling. Derrida. While I sympathize with Derrida’s query in 1989. attentive response filling hundreds of pages (that is. to Vattimo he very poignantly declared. nationalism. see Corlett. for solitude. the wish. pp.’ . For a concise comparison of Derrida’s politics with those of Deleuze and Guattari. moreover.. During the dialogue with Roudinesco. easy to see—rather insensitive to any ‘sense of comradeship. on my own initiative and in my name. . 159–60. complaining at midpoint. 182–85). but I have not been allotted the space)” (p. of disownership. 4 Sep 2014 03:22:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions 241 . family. always: this. no doubt. This content downloaded from 132. “Need I remind people that I’ve always been on the left?” (N. Mass. Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics (London. p. ed.”19 His corrosive critique of fraternity is underwritten by an almost instinctive distrust of community. 28. Derrida demanded. and Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri. “From that moment. 21. is the condition not only for being singular and other. 2000). Geopolitics and Geoculture: Essays on the Changing World-System (New York. what is called for. 1999].8 on Thu.’”21 Not surprisingly. 27). Patton and John Protevi (London. 1999). On the vitality for contemporary politics of the new social movements versus party politics. 213–69. equality. pp. .C. “I shall have to step up the pace if I am to avoid making a detailed. which includes ninety notes). .’ I want to keep my freedom. 265 n. Michael Sprinker (London. Moreover. for me. My point of departure is there where this belonging has broken” (ATS. According to Derrida. 1991). he admitted. but also for entering into relation with the singularity and alterity of others” (ATS. “Marx & Sons. for withdrawal in relation to any community. Hardt and Negri. 1–2. 15–29. “Future Politics. 164). Politics of Friendship. . Derrida. pp. language.’ ‘don’t count me in.” in Ghostly Demarcations: A Symposium on Jacques Derrida’s “Specters of Marx. 85). 22.9. and other leading contemporary Left political thinkers.Critical Inquiry / Winter 2007 examining at length the democratic notion of fraternity (liberty. 2003). are not my own. . pp.” Between Deleuze and Derrida. party politics. I was and 19. Laclau and Mouffe. 272–76. 1989). Derrida revealed “I was wondering why the word ‘community’ . “Do not consider me ‘one of you. why I have never been able to write it. I must confess—this is. I understand people’s perplexity. “Taking Time Out for Community.22 which in the contemporary period arguably displace party and class as innovative political forces. N. Empire (Cambridge. p. Compare this to William Corlett’s “community without unity” framed in the context of social democracy.20 In Marx & Sons. . Derrida remained suspicious of such key political categories as social class. 304–5. p. he did not put stock in the new social movements. Derrida connected his discomfit about community to childhood experiences of being identified and typed with hostility as a Jew (see DQD. see Paul Patton.. culture. 1985). 229–30.’ and the sentiment of suspicion in regard even to this word ‘community’” (Derrida. there are no places that ‘belong. Sur parole: Instantane´s philosophiques [Paris. pp. . fraternity). p. 87. even today. 233). 140–41. indeed.” Community without Unity: A Politics of Derridian Extravagance (Durham.248.

energy. the contradictions between the values of the free market and protectionist barriers and interventionist policies. the multiplication of ethnic wars guided by irredentist dreams of original homelands and fears of territorial displacements. which commands disproportionate international resources. And while I concur with Derrida’s self-assessment. and workers’ interests such that its suspension would entail major economic dislocations. Second. p. Eighth. pp. 1996). This content downloaded from 132. economic. the external debt holding large segments of humanity in thrall.” Postmodernism: Local Effects. most significant in the present context.. the spread of profit-maximizing virtual states. feminization of poverty. immigrants. I treat Derrida’s early works at length. in retrospect.. and the bombing of civilians. the massive exclusion from political participation of the homeless and the widespread expulsion of exiles.” I find more telling yet coy the rider. “Global Poststructuralism and Virtual Economics. Europe. Leitch / Politics of Sovereignty am perplexed. (With its admission during the late 1990s into the World Trade Organization. Tenth. “I am not an anarchist. He stood by this sweeping indictment until the end. secret bases. include. and increasing privatization and uneven distribution of basic resources. worsening conditions in and spread of urban ghettoes and racial enclaves. notably. and military might (see SM. China should now be added. 1983). water. backed by technical. the proliferation of atomic weapons beyond state and market controls. the economic warfare between the U. systematic exploitation. Sixth. commerce. 22). “Deconstruction is undoubtedly anarchic” (N.242 Vincent B. particularly food. and stateless persons. pp.S. In summary. and social inactivity. the unequal application of international law in the interests of certain powerful states devoted to national sovereignty.his condemnation of the ten plagues of the post–cold war New World Order in Specters of Marx. and Japan. N. underemployment. speedups. environmental degradation. that worldwide infiltrate economic and social systems as well as political institutions. Third. organized by drug consortia and mafia.) Fourth. 3–24. short-term goals. contradictorily excluding them from the market.248. dedication to quick profits. education. militarized states. See my analysis and critique of Specters of Marx in Leitch. Ninth. Fifth. Global Flows (Albany. familiar from leftist work. first. and credit.8 on Thu. In Deconstructive Criticism: An Advanced Introduction (New York. 81–84). Seventh.Y. The intensity of broken belonging and the strength accorded the sovereign self cast a long rightward-leaning libertarian shadow over Derrida’s left-wing democratic politics. the spread of national security apparatuses. medical care. 4 Sep 2014 03:22:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . often resulting from calculated deregulation. Derrida should have listed other evils of globalization. spreading unemployment.23 Wide-ranging and detailed critiques of Specters of Marx appear in 23. the massive arms trafficking that links scientific research. Derrida’s most well-known political statement remains. these evils. land.9.

Stanford. and Hobbes up to the present. “Les Figures de la souverainete´. Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life. Schmitt famously opens with the declaration. How does one characterize this vision. sometimes religious. The key notions of Derrida’s inventive political philosophy in the late works remain. vol. just opening which renounces any right to property. trans. for a critical overview of his thinking about sovereignty. where nine critics. even humanity).9. The History of Sexuality: An Introduction.248. pp. Cambridge. and exploitation. 65). 1 of The History of Sexuality [New York. Jameson. figured as a guest. Guillaume le Blanc and Terrel (Pessac. territory. France. “Sovereignty. State. These Derridean ideals. such as Carl Schmitt.There is a rich history of sovereignty as a political concept dating from Machiavelli. Eagleton. ed. phantoms. Macherey. some sympathetically. specters. p. trans. and utopian ideas?24 How do things stand with sovereignty in Recall that Foucault criticized theories of power based on sovereignty as wrongheaded and blind to modern capillary biopower: “At bottom. and the messianic without messianism. appearing to be antipolitics. 1998). among them Ahmad. This content downloaded from 132. a peculiar assemblage of libertarian. cosmopolitan. the representation of power has remained under the spell of monarchy. Hence the importance that the theory of power gives to the problem of right and violence. as Philpott makes clear. thinking. unconditional justice. in my judgment. and Negri. a foreigner “who or which will not be asked to commit to the domestic contracts of any welcoming power (family. native soil or blood. pp. freedom and will. although he omits some influential texts. nation. culture in general. 1985). Political Theology. Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty. George Schwab (1922. 88–89).8 on Thu. law and illegality. base/superstructure. 101– 29. the incalculable and unexpected (although much anticipated and hoped for) impossible messianic democracy to come. this eccentric political projection. and right in general” (SM. There is a peak moment in Specters of Marx when Derrida summons the coming of a singular other.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.Critical Inquiry / Winter 2007 Ghostly Demarcations (1999). we still have not cut off the head of the king.” Foucault au Colle`ge de France: Un Itine´raire. 1978]. and especially the state and sovereignty” (Michel Foucault. 4 Sep 2014 03:22:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions 243 . famously first assembled in Specters of Marx and featured regularly thereafter.edu/entries/sovereignty. A Foucauldian critique of Derridean politics would require a separate essay. respond. 5). others carefully and critically. democracy to come. Several criticisms aptly recur in this revealing casebook: Derrida reads Marx too selectively.. Calif. an event calling for unconditional hospitality. social class. language. see Jean Terrel. Robert Hurley. http://plato. liberal. See Dan Philpott. 2003). p. a feature mentioned unfortunately only in passing by Derrida. “Sovereign is he who decides on exception” (Schmitt. trans. 24. Luther. despite the differences in epochs and objectives. The concept of sovereignty quietly presupposes ownership of private property. stemming from or shared by the Enlightenment and modernity. not revolutionary. he jettisons the useful concepts of ideology. and Giorgio Agamben. he skirts practical politics. haunt the present. pure hospitality. he lapses into philosophically idealist mystical. Bodin. In political thought and analysis. socialism. he is voluntaristic and advocates reform. Daniel Heller-Roazen (Stanford. communist. orienting critique and doing political work. some dismissively.

nation-state. 260. Bush’s doubtlessly comforting. it seems just so much speculation. pitting the “infinite promise” against “the determined. The State is roguish” (V. for example. Leitch / Politics of Sovereignty this scenario? Clearly. . p. despite President George W. and faith in the modern form of the state appears paper thin at this moment. on occasion glibly reduced by him to formulas like unconditional/ conditional. and chapter 6 of DQD. Derrida in the late work equated the messianic event. notably superpowers with supersovereignty who unilaterally break international laws and agreements. by saying that “the States waging war on rogue States are themselves. pragmatically speaking.248. See. p. 277). the sovereign subject as spectral foreign guest precedes and outweighs the usual sovereignties of home. Yet revolution appears unlikely under such conditions. however. that it must. justice. “L’Esprit de la re´volution. That sums up Derridean politics. on the one hand/on the other that generate toopredictable paradoxes. in their most legitimate sovereignty. pp. WA. and democracy to come with revolution depicted as an interruption. and cultural belonging. negotiate the non-negotiable that has remained non-negotiable. What is most shocking in Derrida’s generalization is the severity of his critique of political sovereignty and the nation-state. As soon as there is sovereignty. insofar as the recent “war on terrorism” is not state-based. the era of rogue states appears behind us. necessary. The final tableau I want to evoke occurs in Voyous when Derrida generalizes. . 138–39. a radical break in the ordinary course of history.244 Vincent B. is misleading and should be scrapped.25 Derrida believed in “revolution. This content downloaded from 132. calculate with the unconditional as such. pp. a suggestive yet troubling mix. but also necessarily inadequate forms of what has to be measured against this promise” (SM. esp. “come to terms with the impossible. 25. 129–74. quite shockingly at first. but misleading reactivation of the category. with the inflexible unconditionality of the unconditional” (WA. Thus there are only rogue States. 242. 251. Because it is in the nature of sovereignty to seek supremacy and use force.) In any case. The telling tableau from Specters of Marx begins with Derrida self-consciously bracketing political pragmatics and negotiation. rogue States abusing their power. pp.” foreseeing. a rupture with a system of dominant norms or programs.8 on Thu. In more than one place. 65). 145–46). there is abuse of power and rogue State. ideal/practical.9. (No doubt some states are more roguish than others. The category of the rogue state becomes useless as well as hypocritical. Derrida argues. the special epithet rogue state. 4 Sep 2014 03:22:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . . Potentially or actually.” pp.

9. justifying with renewed vigor continued psychoanalytical research in an increasingly discouraging environment. Finally. fraternity. The readings of Kant scattered across the late works. Judging Derrida Having read more than a dozen volumes of Derrida’s late works. unnoticed. though often too broad. while his ubiquitous nuances and qualifications displayed a seasoned skepticism alert to conscious and unconscious deceptions. These are useful caveats. forgiveness. and the nation-state in politics.Critical Inquiry / Winter 2007 4.8 on Thu.248. in retrospect surprisingly. 45–56 and “Research and Education at the Crossroads: Report on the Colle`ge International de Philosophie. and Philosophy in a Time of Terror in mind. the end of the cold war and the rise of the U. usually to characterize expansive U. I appreciate Derrida’s warnings. The specters uncovered in Marx’s works are astonishing. It goes without saying that Derrida was a uniquely gifted reader of texts—very often canonical works—and was capable of finding motifs previously. the messianic. but I am not so sure about his dabbling in religion. and internationalism showed him a politicaloptimist. should be gathered in a Derrida on Kant sampler under such political headings as cosmopolitanism. manifested readily in such suggestive. and spectrality. Derrida’s creative application of psychoanalysis to politics significantly shaped his accounts of otherness. justice. Derrida’s commitments to democracy. not to mention many of the early works.reason (that is. party.” SubStance 15. the way I see things. and democracy to come. force. Many of the dozens of late works by Derrida respond directly to this epochal transformation. The well-known Derridean critique of traditional binary concepts and the eccentric focus on margins remain today powerful tools of analysis. even though after September 11 it is difficult for secularists like me to continue simply dismissing religion. This content downloaded from 132. pp. 4 Sep 2014 03:22:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions 245 . 2 (1986): 101–14. Cary Nelson (Urbana. awakened academics to the role of the public intellectual..” Theory in the Classroom. 1986).S. Ill. decision. ed. power in the plural (hegemonies). community.26 26. It was not the Heidegger or de Man affairs of 1987 that actually did so. Negotiations. particularly with De quoi demain. incisive and productive. “reason of state”). See my “Deconstruction and Pedagogy. though spectral.S. much as I want to. Early on I was a follower of Derrida’s public intellectual work with the Group for Research on Philosophic Teaching and the International College of Philosophy in Paris. Although suspicious of the concept of hegemony as too homogenizing. justice. no. plus the culture wars that started during the 1980s. responsibility. comradeship. Voyous. I am most appreciative. subjectivity. of his originality and inventiveness. as is their linkage with Shakespeare’s ghost in Hamlet. quasi-transcendental political concepts as hospitality. he applied it helpfully and judiciously in the late works. about the roles of family. empire. Derrida’s adamant secularism should be admired. all created in the course of his deconstruction of their ordinary forms. justice.

ed. K. she complains. including those missing in Derrida’s work— such as popular culture. Beyond the points I have already made and cited. it is “monolingual. For Spivak.248. language. Of cultural studies. deconstruction needs to migrate and transform globalization studies.9. 2001). disembodied. 4 Sep 2014 03:22:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . I would mention several key matters. 20). Spivak depicts the end of comparative literature in her Wellek Library Lectures of May 2000 published under the title Death of a Discipline (New York. In a recent article.” a` la area studies). How can one talk effectively about long-standing systematic social inequalities in the absence of some such categories? The Derridean notion of logocentrism that covers the period from Plato to Le´vi-Strauss will not do. p. she critically assesses the nation-state (in her case. a (dis)respect for tradition. mode of production. presentist.S. 28. Late capitalism works better. thoroughly counterintuitive.. 35. flat. and Richard D. like Derrida. it is ahistorical. agonistic and heterogeneous. There is more to criticize in Derrida’s work.8 on Thu. Leitch / Politics of Sovereignty In this light the famous invocation of the emerging New International in Specters of Marx. where the author set out “to reject globalization as the inevitable inscription of capitalism. The End of Capitalism (as We Knew It): A Feminist Critique of Political Economy (Cambridge. Mass. capillary power. figures collectivity. Wolff (Durham. remains heartening. It is a question here primarily of pragmatically oriented historical materialism. like culture. narcissistic. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Here. ideology. 170: “We would like to deploy our language of class in a project of undermining capitalocentrism and unmaking This content downloaded from 132. and the literature in this area is voluminous.” Deconstructions: A User’s Guide.” and also Re/Presenting Class: Essays in Postmodern Marxism. background of an atrophying comparative literature and a thriving. The welfare state is a significant achievement of human civilization. I’ll take the World Social Forum while I await the arrival of Derrida’s New International. 2003). everyday life. it is fully historicized. 2000).”27 Against the U. 1996). ed. Finally. and an antinomian and anarchistic sensibility given to internationalist political criticism and work. addresses deconstruction both as Derridean philosophyand as an interdisciplinary movement characterized by a dissident deportment.. tellingly. “Deconstruction and Cultural Studies.28 Of course. though often shallow and overextended cultural studies. for example. p. Royle (New York. broadly explanatory. undetermined and performative. the feminist post-Marxist deconstructions of politics and economics in J. vis-a`-vis globalization and the “region. See. p. materially grounded. yet too abstract. Stephen Resnick. I am surprised and disappointed by the absence of defenses of the welfare state that one would have expected from Derrida and that the Left so obviously very much needs to mount in these times of triumphant neoliberal capitalism. not practiced enough in close reading even to understand that the mother tongue is actively divided” (ibid. Gibson-Graham.’ to let it loose in ‘Cultural Studies’ so that it can transform its nice nursery of hybrid plantings to reveal the saturnalia of an imagined counter-globalization. Gayatri Spivak concludes that a key task is “to wrench deconstruction from its proper home in ‘Comparative Literature. Spivak 27. corporeality—and matters avoided—social class. 139. p.246 Vincent B. Gibson-Graham. This scenario.

This content downloaded from 132. 153). What is encouraging here for Spivak.Critical Inquiry / Winter 2007 has long been a poster person for this project while remaining critical of its Eurocentrism and its (mis)handling of subalterns. Bataille’s anti-Hegelian project nicknamed sovereignty. 29. “The Principle of Reason: The University in the Eyes of Its Pupils. trans. 2004]. the arche and anarchy” (Derrida. “we have here all the ingredients for a counter-concept of sovereignty.” In his famous 1983 lecture “The Principle of Reason. pp. Alan Bass (Chicago. 4 Sep 2014 03:22:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions 247 . p. even going beyond the ‘profound’ and the ‘radical.” Writing and Difference. With this roguocracy. [Stanford. one step further toward a sort of original an-archy risks producing or reproducing the hierarchy.” Eyes of the University: Right to Philosophy 2. economics. a` la Bataille” (V. the arche. and international relations. is deconstruction’s movement in Derrida’s late works not only to politics but to social science—a trajectory followed by cultural studies.248.29 For good and ill. is examined early on and with admiration in Derrida. trans. 251–77. the global capitalist economy as a discursively hegemonic entity. one of the many forms of counterglobalization evoked by Derrida is an archipelago of rogue groups. Meanwhile. and for me.8 on Thu. history. which transgresses nation-state power and poses a countersovereignty to the sovereign state. 1978). Deconstruction’s reckoning with sociology is for the future perhaps.. ‘Thinking’ requires both the principle of reason and what is beyond the principle of reason.’ the principial. 100). Calif. Jan Plug et al. p. a precursor to deconstruction and more properly named antisovereignty (subversion and disorder). although the latter foregrounds sociology more than political science. “From Restricted to General Economy: A Hegelianism without Reserve. a roguocracy to use his term.9.” Derrida sounds a revealing note of caution at one point: “We are in an implacable political topography: one step further in view of greater profundity or radicalization.