Mark Bahnisch Phd Final Seminar

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

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Mark Bahnisch Phd Final Seminar

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

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