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Mark Bahnisch Phd Final Seminar


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Slides for my PhD final seminar at QUT - 13 November 2008.

Slides for my PhD final seminar at QUT - 13 November 2008.

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  • 1. Mark Bahnisch Final Seminar – PhD 13 November 2008 The Phenomenology of Utopia: Reframing Political Sociology Humanities Program, Queensland University of Technology
  • 2. Contexts I
    • The end of the Cold War political imaginary
    • Globalisation – not a useful social scientific concept – an ideologeme but also a social fact
    • Constatives and performatives – the closure of the political imaginary
    • Francis Fukuyama’s “end of history” as a symptom
    • But there is a real question – the question of universals and anti-systemic action
    • Reframing political sociology – a phenomenology of the limits of the political and of performative invocations or injunctions
  • 3. Contexts II
    • A sociological question – the relation between the discursive field of the political and the possibilities of social action
    • Walter Benjamin’s Theses as a parable
      • A Weberian question – living for and off politics
      • Political desires and affects
    • Teleology, time, meaning, history
    • Not universal laws but quasi-transcendental structures of experience (and action)
    • The gesture towards utopia and the novum as a horizon of present (im)possibility
  • 4. Method and epistemology
    • Performativities of the text
      • The positioning/s of the researcher
      • Value-neutrality but an engaged critical sociology
      • Montaigne, Simmel and Benjamin as exemplars – shards and constellations of meaning
    • Tikkun and the labour of the social theorist
    • A prolegomena not a closed thesis
    • Reading theorists as sociology and as sociological artifacts
    • The role of the hypothesis or the wager
    • Truth, adequation and concepts
  • 5. Thinking the political imaginary
    • Cornelius Castoriadis and the social imaginary
    • Claude Lefort – the political foundation of the social – the political problematises the social
      • The universal is a socially-instituted mediation which gives sense to the fragments of the social – a representation or an imaginary signification.
    • Temporalising the political – maintaining history as iterative rather than progressive
    • The utopian imaginary – an elective affinity
    • Castoriadis – the autonomy of imagination is the precondition of radical creativity
  • 6. Quasi-transcendentals I
    • “Religion without religion”
    • Political concepts as secularised theological concepts
    • Against secularisation theory – Charles Taylor’s “disembedding” – “the greater the gods are, the freer humans are” (Gauchet)
  • 7. Quasi-transcendentals II
    • The ghosts of Jacques Derrida
      • Derrida and the lineages of phenomenology; deconstruction as a “Jewish science”
    • Thought at its limits
      • The work of the negative – no sublation, no synthesis but a forcing of concepts together into a constellation
      • A double movement of veiling and unveiling – a revelation, an apocalypse
  • 8. Minor traditions
    • Jewish utopics at the beginning of the short Twentieth Century
    • The excarnation of Christian soteriology
      • The fissure between the political and the social – the “always already there” and the “yet to be realised” – an originary oscillation
    • “ An infinite hope, but not for us” – Kabbalistic messianisms
    • Walter Benjamin and the particular universal – against the Hegelian determinate universal
    • Zakhor! Benjamin’s Katechon – flashes of light dispelling the darkness – diachrony in time and history
  • 9. Introducing intersubjectivity
    • Benjamin’s poetics of politics, Derrida as the “Last Jew” or as a Marrano
    • But what of intersubjectivity?
    • Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s political theory
    • The necessity of a philosophical anthropology
    • Contingency, subjectivity, history – the modern subject as turning away, forgetting
      • An escape from Marxism
      • And thus the necessity for the political decision
  • 10. Recovering the political at the end of history
    • Carl Schmitt and Jacques Derrida – a sociology of the political concept and a symptomatology of the times (out of joint)
    • An agonistic political and the undecideability of political signifiers; and intersubjectivity
    • Weaving together the threads – temporalising the political through articulating minor traditions to the empty place of the universal
  • 11. Contributions of the thesis and directions for future research
    • The contribution of the method
    • The contribution of the argument and the readings
    • Towards applying a phenomenological sociology to the “global political”
    • Lines of flight…
  • 12. Thank you!
    • Discussion