Edelman and our last two authors touch on death as crucial to the thinking of a new order (or, for Edelman, to the opposition to our current social order). Butler asks, "What would it mean for a subject to desire something other than its continued 'social existence'? If such an existence cannot be undone without falling into some kind of death can existence nevertheless be risked, death courted or pursued, in order to expose and open to transformation the hold of social power on the conditions of life's persistence?" (28). Death, therefore, might be a necessary risk to interrupt the "conditions of life's persistence" or the reproduction of the same political system. Agamben similarly handles death in the cases of his limit concepts on the last few pages that could be the key to our revisioning of life. The overcoma woman is the definition of "death in motion" and her limit concept pair, Wilson, is death in motion in that his diagnosis with a deadly (terminal?) disease affirms the "bare life" in him (onto which he pulls bios). Additionally, the concept of a "man who is sacrificed but not killed" was discussed in class (I sort of forget the context as to why--was this another possible limit concept?)--how are such examples also like "death in motion"? And now there's Edelman's envisioning of death as the radical other. While Butler and Agamben held out hope for the creation of a new social order through the risk or possibilities of death, Edelman from the outset defines his project as hopeless, impossible, and leading to No Future. Can these differing concerns with death be related or weaved together? Is death or a rethinking of death the radical alterity needed to expose the gap in the Symbolic order reproduced in our social system and open it to transformation?
courting and pursuing death
By oh brother - Posted on 3 December 2007 - 8:20am.