Ref. :  000017766
Date :  2005-02-19
Language :  English
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Exception as Space & Time : Borders and Partitions

Author :  Rada Iveković

Keywords : 

In her book No Woman’s Land. Women from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh Write on the Partition of India, Ritu Menon and her authors have confirmed that the Modern Nation has no place for women, and that citizenship was not really meant for them. Various writers and scholars have shown that these do not include colonised populations, different disadvantaged groups (“inward colonisation”), migrant and refugee populations. Or rather, that nation and citizenship apply to women, to the colonised, to the conquered and variously downtrodden – in a subordinating way. Borders on the land or boundaries in the minds – partages de la raison - are lines drawn to produce difference, then to hierarchise it and finally to render it normative. In that sense, the view of the “delay” of female citizenship in time (some 150 years, in France, against “universal” i.e. male suffrage) or of the “backwardness” of Third World countries compared with the West, which are as many attempts to set a boundary in time between the Modern and the pre-Modern, are themselves normative viewpoints. They will now have to be revised if we want to move away from a Eurocentric perspective towards diverse sconfinamenti, transbordering. What may substantially correct the more traditional Eurocentric approach to borders and boundaries is “positioning oneself there where thinking is a vital necessity”. We might want to meditate on that: not rooting the “subject position” or rather the “process that the subject is” in the ego-position (individual or collective), but rather building it on the side of vital necessity: there, where thinking is the last recourse to survival and to the existential (not only in the material sense), because there is nothing else. We also want to reflect on the building en creux of citizenship in a positive way, even there where it is not recognised, or where it is only a hope for the future. In situations of displacement, homelessness, refuge, of fleeing populations or migrant movements. This involves changing view of borders and of partitions: these are not necessarily only those rigid territorial, spatial lines: they open up everywhere and in hitherto unexpected ways. On the other hand introducing the dimension of time as here, permits to reflect on (dis)continuities and on transmission from generation to generation. Isn’t the laïcité (“secularism”) which, in France, was thought historically as the basis of the Republic, of the state of law, and transmitted over a centralised system of public & free of charge schools, now in danger of becoming the exact opposite of its own secular ideal - when it yields to the generation conflict which dismantles the political dimension by the prevailing of authoritarianism and of conformism? The paper would attempt reflecting on con-stitution/in-stitution as a way of establishing “ex-stitutions” (exceptions) too, those externalised “areas” or “times” that are without the scope of thinking and left unreflected, thus reproducing the normative rift of - reason and its opposite. We have seen plenty of those taking shape in the construction of Europe lately, but elsewhere too. As Samaddar says, « this spatial-temporal resolution [through globalisation] of current history is based on attempts to iron out historically specific politics of war and peace with trans-historical explanations »(1) This ironing out of a temporal and historical dimension (in favour of a “historicizing” one) which confiscates the political dimension, characteristic of the palanka(2), is itself very violent(3). We want to keep in mind both the conjunction and the displacement of the temporal and spatial aspects. One such big event of « ironing out » was for example the year 1989. For the inhabitants of the former Yugoslavia, it compressed time – they were supposed to step over, or rather to step « back » into capitalism («seen in a falsely restorative perspective as « normality » all of the sudden, since the doublespeak of reason was forgotten). It produced only greater violence, but also greater costs for Europe. But 1989 was one such moment of suspense on a larger scale. It produced erased memories(4), conflicting memories, as much as other “critical events”(5) do, at least as much as World War II did in the same area(6).

Countries, Minds, worldviews, cultures can be split in different ways. We started working on geographical, territorial partitions (certainly because these were also otherwise painful, as families are partitioned etc.), and then found out that partitions can happen along many other dividing lines (and indeed, some of us talked about “partitions of states, minds”(7) and also over time, condensing time). There is an interesting book by the Spanish historian Santos Julia’, who says « The intellectuals have reflected in the XIX & XX centuries the permanent tension of the two Spains»(8). The last in line of the divisions of Spain is the one over the Civil War, reflected in the silence thereafter on its victims, on the republican project, and in a whole generation of people, our contemporaries, who grew up ignorant of it. The divisions in the past continue to produce new divisions in the present and in the future. The roots of the modern division of the two Spains go back to the XIXth century. The dichotomy regards the construction of the nation and the different ways the latter can be seen : it was always represented as a duality, says the author : true or false, new or old, official or real. Spain has always been and remains a fragmented nation. « The historic representation of the countries has been shaped as a permanent duality, like two visions not only mutually exclusive, but antithetical. (…) This situation is prolonged from the XIXth century up to the Franco era which represents the exasperation of this conflict because the end of the Civil War is still felt as the elimination of an anti-Spain by the true Spain. » He says further that the Catholics were foremost in the fabrication of the myth of Span and anti-Spain. The military dictatorship of 1923 in Spain, supported by the Church, eliminated all liberal traditions. Since Francoism, any rebellion against dictatorship could only be expressed through the claim for democracy, but that was heavily repressed. The gradual but decisive return to democracy after the Franco era was however itself strongly embedded in the division of the two Spains and in the evacuation of the republican memory and of any alternative history. At the same time, quite before these Modern times, a profound partition had already been operated through colonial history, and the split ran as we saw over different lines and also between continents. One of them is the rift established also by the first modern constitution of Spain (Cádiz 1812) which introduces discontinuity and new sovereignties in Spain itself while disguising them into an acceptable continuity and departing from the past(9). That dichotomy lends itself as an argument by the way today to the Euskadi or Basque separatist claims. The wounds are deep, and they are more than one. The Spanish exemplary partage de la raison points back to the pêché originel of the Cádiz dismantlement and replacement of the Hispanic monarchy by a global Spanish constitutional monarchy. The first Spanish constitution of Cádiz in 1812 initially imagined a tricontinental Spanish nation constituted of “nationalities”, resulting from a Cádiz Cortes with approximate “representatives” from as far away as the Philippines and the Americas claiming to come to some arrangement (mainly, commercial and economic) with the centre. But the centre didn’t hold: subsumed political autonomies (among which, the Basque, the Catalan etc.) of domestic nationalities (pueblos) within the framework of the Spain were not only accepted but also co-constitutive and co-substantial of the Spanish nation, while overseas nationalities, whose colonial Creole elites claimed only relative home rule at first, did not get any political support for autonomy or independence. “European territories endowed with a peculiar constitution could be said to be independent” and to enjoy some status as exceptions (Portillo Valdés, op. cit.), but not transatlantic. Their exceptional status (ex-stitution) paradoxically institutionalised both them and their counterparts. Portillo Valdés calls this the “Atlantic revolutions”. Starting from that fatidic year of 1812, independences were declared, and “nations” established, without a people in Spanish American colonies one after the other, by the colonial Creole elites looking for free trade and the right to exploit for themselves, emancipated from the Spanish crown, the resources of the countries. Those nations were constituted on the condition of the exclusion of their people, or of the indigenous population from citizenship, much as modern European constitutionalism (for Spain, 1812) meant excluding overseas populations from one’s own colonial constitutions as well as from access to fair constitutions of their own. As B. Clavero will show in much of his writing, constitutions were then imported into those countries again from Europe, barring the autochthonous population from the right to equal citizenship (the weight of which is still badly felt, politically, in the juridical systems of formerly colonised countries)(10) and producing inner partitions in time and space. As both Clavero and José M. Portillo Valdés point out, this first Atlantic partition operated by Spain has also its European flipside and is in tune with the earlier Enlightenment tradition of not recognising indigenous overseas populations any autonomous destiny or independence, not even within a liberal project (where colonies were only destined to satisfy European appetites). This colonial partition of the world is certainly spatial, but it clearly has its time effects the waves of which bounce onto our shores today and may have some lasting effects. After all, those indigenous populations in many former colonies, and especially in older ones such as the Americas, are still not being included into the nation, or are only starting to be included into it with great juridical and political difficulties because of the initial preclusion: namely the nation there was constructed to exclude the population (or to include it as subordinate), this exclusion being the very condition of its fusion, homogenisation and emancipation. What was freedom for the ones (coloniser at first, Creole elites then) implied the loss of freedom for others (the indigenous people).

The political conflicts of opposed nationalisms in Spain can probably partly be traced back to the emergence of the nation itself linked to doing away with the colonies, since that nation embraced all the others into its españolidad (rather than hispanidad). And it is exactly the embracing of the (European Hispanic) nacionalidades and their articulation as pueblos that offered this opportunity. Elsewhere, the non-recognition of an all-Yugoslav nation within the former Yugoslavia by its founding fathers worked in a similar way – impeding a gathering around a common project(11). The “exceptional” inner autonomies or independencies, tolerated for local populations (the Basques or Catalans for Spain) in the form of “repúblicas provinciales” were actually inbuilt into the construction of the dominant nation and also of the state. Over the past decades, especially the Basque historic constitutional “exception” and autonomy gave rise also to local violent claims, considered terrorist by the state and libratory by the claimants. In the former Yugoslavia, “exceptions” of “nationalities” were partly and unequally inbuilt into the federal construction (calling for a “constitutional patriotism”), but also appeared as numerous local claims of various nationalistic factions in the recent series of war of dismantlement. Several “autonomous” regions and minuscule autonomous “republics” emerged over the region, pretending to statehood and independence. What the latter example has shown, as much as the historic example of India’s partition, is that partition is a never-ending process the possibility of which is inbuilt into the instituting and constituting process itself. And also, that it spreads its effects over time, like a time bomb. When the history of its doing is concentrated in time, we have acute violence and wars. Spread over times, its effects may become less visible, and its links to its constitutional origin may also become blurred. This blurring is responsible for loosing sight of some of the effects of the old colonial history on the shape of the contemporary world and in the making of Europe.

Along similar lines, the French will remember the concept of “Les Deux Frances”, which recalls the domestic history of the republic, and especially the concept of laïcité , i.e. the split of France in clericals and seculars, but also the split between Catholics and Protestants. But that internal rift points out at and hides another one. What remains hidden behind this divide, is the colonial one: the fact that colonies were considered extraterritorial and of course extra-constitutional too.

A similar deduction of successive divisions could be worked out for France as is mentioned by S. Julia’ for Spain. It could also refer, not only in France, but at a more general level, to the divide Left/Right and, of course, to the great divide of the Cold War, and it could even be consequently shown to boil down to the profound contemporary division in the West/North itself (and in the making of Europe), between the USA and a certain Europe, or between pros- and cons- of the second war on Iraq. This is a split that the East-European newcomers to the Union do not perceive at all – as they speak of their wishful “Euro-Atlantic integration”. That split runs down the whole of the West/North itself. But it refers also back to where some of its major roots are, directly or indirectly (depending on the author(12)), to the great colonial divide of the world, which is a colossal historic partition in itself. The question can be asked as to how much of it is being built into the new Europe today?(13)

It is possible to say of any society, quite beyond the state, that it is divided over a variety of matters. The state may deepen, try to defuse those divides, it may maintain them or feed them. It does not seem able any more, in spite of its restorative policies (Samaddar), to mend the social rifts, whereas society, civil society, to a great extent governed or limited by the state, is not able to smooth them out and reproduces them, often while defending itself from the state. An innocuous French example linked to the social turmoil regarding the state’s research and education policies (whereby scholars ask for more means whereas the state introduces cuts at all levels and tends to even formally separate teaching and research): « Our country lives with the idea that there are two academic Frances, one that teaches, the other doing research. »(14)
Not only are states subject to partitioning (from the nation to partition, from partition to the nation), but societies also suffer profound divisions constantly reconfigured and negotiated.

It seems increasingly obvious that we cannot separate state partitions, social cleavages and partitions of the mind, or partage de la raison.
Political instituting in itself, as Nicole Loraux has shown so well on the paradigmatic ancient Athenian examples, already proceeds from and with minds partitioned. This partitioning of the minds is usually called by French philosophers “the political”. Nicole Loraux shows how, with the ancient Greeks and according to the city’s self-mythification, men were considered (by themselves) as always already “there” in Athens since and within the “origin”, but not women, who were introduced at some later point as really a disruptive element difficult to fit. As a necessary evil. So women are not “autochthonous” as men are, and are therefore unfit to be citizens. While instituting the city and constituting a political community, men construct themselves as the norm and build themselves into the dominant position. Women, slaves and metecs, but women expressedly, are attributed the role of the inassimilable exception. Here, it is the sex-and-gender divide that operates as the paradigm of partitioned minds and as the first form of the political.(16)

We had started however from territorial partitions of countries felt by their inhabitants as historically or culturally one, and felt by them as irreparably wounded once partitioned. Today, we could introduce the new elements of the new migrations, on which R. Samaddar has been working, and also Sandro Mezzadra, to show new rifts and partitions, new borders running both within and without, and we can show them in the construction of Europe. How European borders tend to be exported and to become extra-territorial (Libya, Turkey etc.) thus exporting divisions and creating new ones. We must also be reminded, as Balibar says, that borders are a European invention, and mainly colonial at that. The new globalised situation has indeed produced new borderlines inside Europe itself, areas out of reach by its citizens, areas where the law does not apply, before the migrants and refugees even have a chance to ask for asylum. New poverty borders, and lines of division of the various new camps or indistinct airport areas where refugees are removed from our sight. Here, I would like to refer to Balibar (Europe as Borderland), Daho Djerbal, Mohamed Harbi, Benjamin Stora, Ranabir Samaddar, Marie-Claire Caloz-Tschopp, and Bartolomé Clavero for Latin America.

Speaking about partitions and transitions implies a modern Western episteme which may be inadequate in the sense that it pretends to apply to other parts of the world according to Western criteria. It is self-understood for example that it is the Western type of Modernity that is being globalised, and that is not wrong in a self-critical Western perspective, or in another way, in a critical post-colonial perspective too. This certainly depends on the way Modernity is defined, but overcoming the paradigm of the Western episteme alone asks for opening the definitions of Modernity to other directions (points cardinaux) : not binding it by its origin but defining it also independently in order to open it to the future.(17)

The partage de la raison, or the partitions of the mind produces exclusions. Reason is, namely, normative. It makes itself into a norm when it excludes madness designating it as heterogeneous. Those that are then labelled with madness (or with the opposite of reason : passion, immaturity, primitivism, underdevelopment etc.) are the excluded. Declared unreasonable, they are deemed negligible or deserving elimination.

“C’est un secret bien gardé que l’Europe, comme cet ensemble de valeurs politiques et morales revendiquant une portée universelle, writes Eleni Varikas, n’a acquis son identité moderne que par un processus de suppression réelle et symbolique du non-identique à l’intérieur et à l’extérieur de ses frontières...”(18)

The Western concept of universality (a certain historically marked universalism, because, needless to say, there are other universalisms too) has always been linked to Europe’s history and to the West and had been an instrument in colonial expansion, in various conquests as well, but also in the propagation of Western modernity, which is achieved in globalisation. It has been the ally of hegemony and of domination.

In a recent article the philosopher Giacomo Marramao(19) compares reason and identity and enters discussion with philosophers that set, depending on the case, the one before the other. Was reason or was identity « first » ? He shows the futility of the question put in such a way, because none of the two solutions allows departing from the vicious circle. He speaks about it in his book Passaggio a Occidente. Filosofia e globalizzazione (2003). But the concept of “partage de la raison” has the advantage of cutting transversally through reason and identity, these two ill-assorted concepts that pose the question in a more complicated and less clear way. Reason already proceeds, inasmuch it is dynamic, to a concatenation of divisions. It is the moment of its freeze, of immobilisation, that creates “identities”. Without “identities”, there are no pariahs, no exclusions. The self-constituting gesture of excluding from « madness » from « reason » jams the genealogies of reason (inseparable in its origin from madness) and allows to designate all that is rejected as exterior to the self. Some historical periods have been more readily prone to this projection onto the other of all the negativity accumulated in the self: diverse pariahs, witches, Jews, Blacks, indigenous populations, women etc. could thus be demonised as the unacceptable and infréquentable alterity that would individually or collectively become the scapegoats of the « good society (i.e. of the dominant)(20). We cannot really separate reason from madness, the one being constitutive of the other, both being co-substantial of each other. How much madness for one reason, and what is the price in oblivion of a memory ? Each is but a selection, and all selection is « fatally » practiced from a position of force, also when the latter is diffused or is not assignable to a definite agency (Foucault).

So reason comes neither « before » nor « after » identity, but it always operates distinctions, bifurcations, divisions, partitions and oppositions which are its only way of moving ahead – and it also reelaborates and overcomes them when it is alive. When it remains “crooked” or “folded”, that is when the straight line has not triumphed. Identity crystallises there where reason stops through laziness, stopping histories, narrations (constitutive of identities) prematurely closed (but any closure is always premature in the sense that it means death), forbidding alternative histories, other scripts, and political imagination; creating stereotypes, “identitariran” madness etc. The dynamics between the inertia of reason putting on the brakes (raison freinante) and its momentum, its movement (needing to be maintained open and fluid as much as possible) is inevitable. Therefore, let’s maintain the partage de la raison as its movement, but let’s not stop at reason divided (partitioned) which distributes identities, because this distribution immediately establishes hierarchies, value, a hegemony, and through it a domination. Isn’t reason fundamentally normative ? We need to doubt of the character always and in all things “conscious and individual-projectal” of rationality (il carattere "conscio e individualistico-progettuale" della razionalità, Marramao, “Ragione e identità”). Partition traverses reason as much as identity, and both; in the same way as it traverses everything, allowing for the production of difference. The production of differences is the condition of life. But discrimination - and violence – that is established and « justified » by it though not dictated by it – is lethal. The agenda Samaddar writes about ( “Empire after…”, op. cit.) – of establishing/restoring states in order to keep peace, also influences, according to him, the form of the state as source of partition. Which the nation is…too. The state & the nation or identities” (ethnicity etc.) take turns and have a continuity in this.

If(21) we add to this the fact that violence is the outcome of every act of self-founding of selfhood whether individually or collectively – what Baudrillard calls the "law of equivalence"(22) – and that this violence is a reaction to the "scandalous" truth that we are not self-generated (the fundamental suffering of the dominant subject)(23), the importance of lineage – of genealogy as a form of the split/sharing of reason – simply cannot be ignored: lineage sets sexual difference in the first rank of the differences entailing, via a process of calculated misapplication, inequalities in every field. Itself a form of identification, this violence arises out of the principle of maintenance of the identical. To defuse it we must move towards de-identification, which blunts divided, inactive reason; we can then move towards split/sharing(24). The felt need for a legitimacy, conceived as a supreme value, comes from the fact that the established legitimacy is not "natural,” that is to say the paternal function is indirect. In a matriarchal system – as Glissant points out, laconically emphasising this vital fact – "the legitimacy would have been 'natural' and so could not have been posited as a value"(25). What interests him is how all this brings us to literature – literature always being the (officially excluded) other of reason, a founding fiction that enables us to advance. The discrepancy between the (conservative) linguistic system and the living language constitutes our opportunity(26).

The Socratic injunction(27) « know thyself », permanently rerouted or hijacked by the Christian West, according to Foucault in the sense of obedience and submission, actually rather invited for a « doing » originally ; doing something out of yourself, or making a work of art out of one’s life. Foucault after all wants to re-establish this both ethical and aesthetical dimension, or this aesthetical-existential aspect of ethics, without however evacuating the political(28). What is at stake according to him is freeing oneself from the framework of attributed subjectivities. It is significant that European renaissance replaces god by the human (masculine) subject and makes the ego evolve in arts, while the development both of the portrait and of perspective in European visual arts, that follows it, accompanies the process of colonisation. A deep cleavage is at the same time instituted between the rational subject, agency, « man » ; - and his object, meaning irrational nature, the object of cognition and manipulation. « Woman » will find herself by the side of the nature to be mastered. All of this is concomitant with the suffocation of affectivity, of the feminine within the self, with self-censorship and with the separation between and interior and an exterior, all of this both in painting and in the edification of morals and psychology. The masculine is confirmed as the opposite of nature and of those that are officially assigned to it (the “savages”, women, children) through a slice of the divine and of « knowledge », remarks Ashis Nandy, and it is so that sciences and technologies become in their turn the secular instruments of divine power(29). This increasing masculinisation is contemporary with colonisation. It is not by chance that the process of a first modern and industrial individuation (for the male) is contemporary of the great territorial conquests, and that it is moreover expressed in painting through the development of the portrait. In philosophy, Descartes’ (1596-1650) cogito, parallelly, puts at the centre of reflection the self-observation of the subject, the already established ego. It is contemporary of Rembrandt (1606-1669), the author of intimistic portraits and of individualistic self-portraits(30). But the ego presupposes the partage of sexes (genders) and reproduces that of reason in constituting itself as subject. The enlargement of the limits of the known world is followed by the discovery of new freedoms, of the valorisation of the body (in favour of the witches, which are however persecuted at the same time), and of its opening up. Protestantism will react to that through an inner closure and introducing into man a god with virile and hierarchical values, at the same time as the New World is discovered(31). But Foucault signals that already St. Augustin had introduced the inner line, the “consciousness”(32) part of religion announcing the same cleavage way before Renaissance, since the latter will only accentuate already existing features of European thought. While the Jews are driven out of Spain, and the Arabs are chased away more or less at the same time (the last ones maintain themselves in Granada up 1492), Spain conquers the New World. Europe will go towards the others in the mode of appropriation while it hunts other ones away from itself – and from themselves driving deep new forms of borders and boundaries. The bourgeois society and capitalistic relations both of the market and of the Nation-state will be constructed on that basis. Europe produces its others both at the external level as well as on the internal level. As far as women are concerned, they are divided between these two levels. Many forms of resistance – though women may stand best at this - merely reproduce the binary relationship not allowing it to escape the violent conflict.

Geographical conquests pretend to reconstruct a whole, reach out for « restoration » in our times or are executed under that guise (R. Samaddar, “Empire…” op. cit.), while they also proceed through the amputation of the inner other – which they themselves produce. This turning the clock back produces new cleavages expressed as ethnicisation but also expressed as a more conservative attitude all of a sudden to women, let alone to migrants etc. Divisions in giving different groups of the population different expectations regarding citizenship, produces profound cleavages not only between states, but within societies, and between different communities. It also contributes to new forms of communalism. This forced reconstruction opposes the partitioning that threatens the « identity principle » from all sides (including by women, dangerous classes, « wild » people, indigenous populations, « primitives », children, senior citizens, migrants, refugees, the non–documented etc.). These exclusions are constructed, moreover, on a specific rational order not necessarily shared by all cultures, and especially not necessarily shared by “savages”, the indigenous, the colonised – with whom it is often the conquerors that brought in, with a brutal Modernity, the dubious differentiation between working and playing(33), between the private and the public, as well as a fractioned schizophrenic temporality together with enforced historicisation(34). The Socratic gnothi seauton, as shown by Foucault, culminated in the Western suicidal conversion to itself alone, suicidal because narcissistic(35).

It is also a detour towards oneself through the other by the means of an appropriation, and having oneself as the aim of one’s relation to the other. The same can be said of "protection" of those « minors », minorities and the second-graded, of a « domination in their own interest »(36). The subject must constantly produce antibodies (anti-corps) against this corrosion. The excessive utilisation of force by the conquistadores was fundamental: it is the excess of violence that operates appropriation, that renders legitimate and that recognises arrogance. The brutality, which alone can hitherto guarantee survival escalates(37). It leaves to the victorious only the choice between death and - life thanks to violence, with no space for negotiation. Nietzsche stressed well and with passion this threshold in philosophy, by showing the rapport existing between violence and self-violence of the subject in The Genealogy of Morals. It is his greatest merit to have understood that dichotomies limit thinking and prevent a breakthrough, even when through a counter-position, when the latter doesn’t interrogate the whole. It is with the « death of god » and the sudden and irreparable responsabilisation of the human subject (agency), split over himself and become completely insecure, that the great division is manifested. Because the death of god that sets man on the stage as an epi-subject is at the same time a promised end of the latter through the scission introduced in him. The cæsure is certainly presented as, on one hand, rationality and, on the other, as religion or as interior/exterior, while reproducing the dichotomy. But that may not be the greatest of surprises. The surprise comes rather from the fact that reason from there on presents itself as partitioned and therefore as less reliable. There is then no possible recourse that isn’t itself an escalation, unless we accept the division of reason in order to operate a deconstruction of appropriative and self-founding thinking. At the same time, the “biological gets statalised”(38). This « statalisation » is a translation in territorial and geo-political terms of life processes involving time, a process of maturing, and it involves a certain freeze aimed at classifying, mastering, subduing and control. We see it for example in the way new border dispositions are introduced within Europe or on its behalf, which differentiate between grades or levels of citizenship(39) producing thereby both spatial and time divides ; on an international level, we see it at the debate about the entry or not of Turkey into Europe is one such example. The way goods and capital are free to transit, while individuals and threatened populations are not, shows this paradox : it is now often rightist governments or officials (in France the former interior minister , and Chirac’s rival, Sarkozy) that can practically have a transnational view and largesse, while trade-unions and leftist parties are more entrenched on conservative nationalist positions wanting to prevent Turkey from entering Europe or foreign workers from immigrating, out of fear for competition. The historic movement of subordination of continents, coming from the dominant position of (Western) man, was parallel to the efforts of cultivating the inner man(40) as well as to those of "affining" the ideal bourgeois woman, constructed so as to express the subtlety of man, of the life-style, and in order to give a happy picture of a self-satisfied society while brutality reigns elsewhere.

The elegance, the sophistication of woman, expression of the same cleavage, is obtained (since the Renaissance lady) by her always greater sexual training (dressage) and by the prohibition, for her, much as for the indigenous populations in the colonies, of intelligence, of freedom and of citizenship tout court. Two parallel “technologies” in the constitution of the subject are then available, at least since Renaissance (XVe et XVIe centuries). The one that takes into account the « external » dimension, and the one that will invest the « intimate » dimension “ : the one constructing man, and the one constructing women, the latter parallel and concomitant with those constructing the Extra European Other.

Parallel to the conquering optimism at the end of the XIXth and at the beginning of the XXth centuries (until the end of the great economic crisis followed by WWI, in any case), appears European nihilism : the collapse of certainties and values, the exhaustion of great systems, revolutionary insecurity, the dissolution of the subject, the discovery of the abyss of language as the landscape of its deficit, the loss of totality (and of the universal), the consolidation of a bourgeois class (and its intrinsic insecurity due to the working class, its other), the end of dynasties and empires. Super-man (le surhomme) and the underdog are their twin forms. God’s death and the subject’s crisis, the loss of certainties, of values, of aims and of foundations, announced since the collapse of foundations and the reconfiguring of sciences ever since the XIVth centuries and further by the construction of capitalism, followed by the mentioned evolution, have all prepared the way for Nietzsche. It is not by change that his work presents itself in fragments. Nothing will assemble the bits and pieces any more. Life takes more and more its distance from human experience, to that extent that we can feel it elsewhere of suffer from the lies of the present situation. That is already part of our daily experience in a constant manner. Radomir Konstantinović has well described this type of mechanism and has found the metaphor of the palanka in order to express it in a general manner: it is the malaise of Modernity. This partition of Modernity cuts through the individual in every sense: woman separated from man, the subject (agency) separated from the citizen, etc. hence, we are also ready for a meditation, for ex-centration, for the dispossession of the self (more or less enforced), for the separation(s) of consciousness.

From now on, when there is no, or when there is less ”exterior”, when the barriers of the Cold War have collapsed and when we cannot project our evil onto the other… what will be of the figures of the pariah ? Can we reach out to the others on another mode than that of appropriation ? If and when we can, we overcome borders and partitions as an obstacle, and we prevail over the freezing construction of lethal and constituted exceptions, while letting us however be in the constituting mode, through the exceptional and different as a constant defiance.


(1)Ranabir Samaddar : “Empire after Globalisation : Some Comments”, in Economic and Political Weekly, November 6, 2004.

(2)The concept by the philosopher Radomir Konstantinovic, in Filosofija palanke, Nolit, Belgrade 1981, denoting a state of mind as a void, a possible turning point, capable of all violence, but also open to choice: a situation common to different crisis of Modernity. I have written about this in my book Autopsia dei Balcani. Saggio di psico-politica, Raffaello Cortina, Milan 1999

(3)Rada Ivekovic, ARTICLES: - "Nations et raisons", Confluences. Méditerranée" 6, Printemps 1993, pp. (97-109). - "Nationalism and Trans-National Identity. From Auschwitz to Sarajevo", Erewhon 1, 1994 (Amsterdam), pp. 42-53 ; - "L'autisme communautaire", Transeuropéennes, 9, 1997, pp. 65-71. - "L'espace public et la transition. Vers quoi?", La Mazarine no. 0, mai 1997, pp. G, 7-18. -"Exil et mondialisation", Transeuropéennes 12/13, 1998, pp. 63-68 ; -"Identitet, zajednica i nasilje", Treća 1, Vol.1, 1998 (Zagreb), pp. 21-29 ; -"La violenza della partizione", aut-aut 293-294, settembre-dicembre 1999 (Milan), pp. 68-78 ; -"Nazione e identità nella transizione postsocialista", Pluriverso 2/99 (Milan), pp. 33-44 ; -"Penser après 1989 avec quelques livres", Transeuropéennes 17, 2000, p. 152-162 ; BOOKS : La balcanizzazione della ragione, Rome : Manifestolibri, 1995; Autopsia dei Balcani. Saggio di psico-politica, op. cit. ; S. Bianchini, S. Chaturvedi, R. Ivekovic, R. Samaddar, Partitions. Reshaping States and Minds, Routledge 2005.

(4)R.Ivekovic, “Erased Memories”, in: Counter-Hegmony 3, 2000, pp.61-68.

(5)Veena Das, Critical Events: an Antrhopological Perspective on Contemporary India, OUP India 1996.

(6)Leonardo Paggi (ed. by), Storia e memoria di un massacro ordinario, manifestolibri, Roma 1996.

(7)Bianchini, Chaturvedi, Ivekovic, Samaddar, op. cit.

(8)Entrevista por Miguel Angel Villena, El Pais, « Babelia », p. 2-3. The review is by José Alvarez Junco, « Historias des las dos Españas, Santos Julia’», Taurus. Madrid, 2004.

(9)See José M. Portillo Valdés, “HOW CAN A MODERN HISTORY OF THE BASQUE COUNTRY MAKE SENSE? On Nation, Identity, and Territories in the Making of Spain”, manuscript; Bartolomé Clavero, “Nacionalismos en la Unión Europea. Un aporte reflexivo en torno al hecho nacionalista y a cómo abordarlo en pleno siglo XXI”, in El Diario Vasco de Donostia-San Sebastián, 24-04-2004; “Entre desahuicio de fuero y quiebra de estatuto: Euskadi según el doble plan de Lendakari”, in Revista de estudios políticos, abril-mayo 2003.

(10)B. Clavero, “FREEDOM’S LAW AND OECONOMICAL STATUS: THE EUROAMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL MOMENT IN THE 18TH CENTURY (A PRESENTATION TO THE EUROPEAN UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE)”, Seminar in the Department of History and Civilisation of the European University Institute, Fiesole, Toscana, Italy, European Union, 28 February 2002. See also: Ranabir Samaddar, “Dreams of the Colonised”, manuscript; by the same author: “The Last Hurrah that Continues”, in Transeuropéennes 19/20, 2001, pp. 31-49; “The Destiny of a Translated Constitutional Culture”, in Transeuropéennes 22, 2002, pp. 75-87; “Utopia and Politics in Muslim Bengal”, in Transeuropéennes 23, 2003, pp. 193-219.

(11)See the difference between the Indian and the Yugoslav construction : no Yugoslav nation was supposed to emerge, and thus no Yugoslav nation was encouraged by the authorities, while linguistic and other comparable regional differences in India were all, more wisely, subsumed and inbuilt into the nation. R. Ivekovic, “From the Nation to Partition, Through Partition to the Nation”, in Transeuropéennes 19/20, 2000-01, pp. 201-225.

(12)Cf. Samaddar : “Empire after Globalisation”, cit.

(13)Etienne Balibar, Droit de cité. Culture et politique en démocratie, Eds. l’aube, La Tour d’Aigues 1998; Nous, citoyens d’Europe? Les frontières, l’Etat, le peuple, La découverte, Paris 2001; L’Europe, l’Amérique, la guerre. Réflexions sur la médiation européenne, La découverte, Paris 2003 ; J. M. Portillo Valdés, op. cit.; B. Clavero, Genocidio y justicia. La Destrucción de las Indias, ayer y hoy, Marcial Pons Historia, Madrid 2002; R. Ivekovic, “The Split of Reason and the Postcolonial Backlash”, forthcoming.

(14)Words of Michel Laurent in an interview « Recherche : la mise en garde des présidents d’université », in Le Monde, December 17, 2004, p.12.

(15)Ref. my paper R. Ivekovic, “From the Nation to Partition, Through Partition to the Nation”, in Transeuropéennes 19/20, 2000-01, pp. 201-225; De la nation à la partition, par la partition à la nation, Europe and the Balkans International Network, Bologne & Longo Editore, Ravenna 2001, “Occasional Papers” n. 18.

(16)Loraux, Nicole, Les enfants d’Athena. Idées athéniennes sur la citoyenneté et la division des sexes [Edition augmentée d’une postface, La Découverte 1990; Seuil 1990 pour la postface; 1ère éd. Maspero 1981] (Paris: Seuil, 1990²); La Cité divisée. L’oubli dans la mémoire d’Athènes (Paris: Payot & Rivages 1997).

(17)ref. my papers -"Dynamisme ou staticité dans la pensée indienne", Les Cahiers de philosophie 14, mai 1992; -"Voir/entendre", Les Cahiers du GRIF 46, printemps 1992, pp. 89-97; -„The Individual and the Collective vs. (Post-)Modernity and ‘Tradition’” in Kuckuck. Notizen zur Alltagskultur, n° 2, 2002, Freiheit, pp. 8-11; -„Rodnost same subjektivacije“ in Dijalog n° 1-2, 2002, pp. 84-98; -"Horizons de l'entre-deux. Temps et (dis)continuité', Détours d'écriture 17, "Nomades", pp. 247-258, N. Blandin 1992.

(18)E. Varikas, «Le “paria” ou la difficile reconnaissance de la pluralité humaine», in Revue des deux mondes, novembre-décembre 1999, p. 353.

(19)“Ragione e identità”, manuscript.

(20)Hans Mayer, Outsiders. A Study in Life and Letters, The MIT Press, Cambridge, Ma. 1982; Esther Cohen, Le Corps du diable. Philosophes et sorcières à la renaissance, Lignes/Léo Scheer, Paris 2004; Tumultes n° 21/22, « Le Paria : une figure de la modernité », novembre 2003, Tumultes n° 23, « Adorno. Critique de la domination. Une lecture féministe », novembre 2004.

(21)The following section comes from my paper “On Whether to Acknowledge the Split/Sharing of Reason” in Transeuropéennes N° 23, 2003, pp. 259-278.

(22)Jean Baudrillard, « La violence de la mondialisation », in Le Monde diplomatique, novembre 2002, p. 18.

(23)R. Ivekovic & J. Mostov (eds.), From Gender to Nation, Zubaan 2003.

(24)Zalkind Hourwitz, Apologie des Juifs (1789), Introduction de Michael Löwy et Eleni Varikas, Syllepse, Paris, 2002.

(25)Edouard Glissant, Poétique de la Relation, Gallimard, 1990.

(26)Arild Utaker, La philosophie du langage. Une archéologie saussurienne, PUF, Paris, 2002, pp. 139.

(27)The following section comes from my book Dame Nation. Nation et différence des sexes, Longo Editore, Ravenna 2003, p. 19 ff, “LE PRINCIPE D’IDENTITE ET D’AUTOGENERATION. LES IDENTITES”.

(28)Concretely, Foucault situates it in different social movements he witnesses and is interested in.

(29)A. Nandy, Traditions, Tyranny and Utopias. Essays on the Politics of Awareness, Delhi, OUP 1987, p. 81.

(30)Perspective and the portrait reach their maturity in Europe at Renaissance and translate the arrival of a Modernity both bourgeois and urban, and soon industrial. This is not denying the beginnings of perspective, to say nothing of its stammerings at Pompeii, and later in Giotto who preceded Dürer and Brunelleschi. Also, the XIVth century sees the beginning of portrait in Italy, in Bohemia and in France, to say nothing of its old antecedents in ancient Egypt, Greece or in Rome and later in court portraits. But in painting, Rembrandt as well as Dürer precede and represent together the equivalent of what Descartes is in philosophy.

(31) In the proliferation of evangelical churches today in the Third World, women frequently collaborate to the introduction of a new rigid structure of society and of a neo-communalisation. These churches can also organise ethnicisation. It apparently brings to womenfolk some order in oppression "which is there anyhow" in that it protects them from the male arbitrary "individual" will, the enemy of each woman. The evangelical churches forbid drinking, it is therefore welcome (the neo-zapatistas as well as the Maoist guerrillas in Nepal do the same). That evangelical churches have also fomented counter-insurgent violence is not the least of the contradictions of Guatemala and other countries.

(32) M. Foucault, Dits et Ecrits 1954-1988, t. IV, and the whole chapter “Sexualité et solitude”. I thank Arild Utaker for signalling it to me. See also J.-F. Lyotard, La Confession d’Augustin, Paris, Galilée 1998.

(33)Ashis Nandy, “Towards a Third World Utopia”, in Traditions, Tyranny and Utopias, p. 42.

(34)By “historicisation” I mean the historicism of a “historicising history” privileging an oriented “progressive” history line and distributing labels of “modern” and “premodern”, the latter meaning “underdeveloped”. The idea is of only one possible historic scenario.

(35) Fabio Ciaramelli, La distruzione del desiderio. Il narcissismo nell’ epoca del consumo di massa, Bari, Dedalo 2000.

(36)M. Spensky, in M. Spensky (ed.), Universalisme, particularisme et citoyenneté dans les Iles Britanniques, Paris, L'Harmattan 2000, p. 138.

(37)R. Konstantinovic, op. cit.

(38)« Le biologique s’étatise », M. Foucault, “Il faut défendre la société”. Cours au Collège de France. 1976, Gallimard/Seuil 1997, (cours du 17 mars 1976) pp. 213-235.

(39)From the non-citizenship and refoulement of migrants and refugees, to the differed European citizenship of the inhabitants of new member states, who have the right to travel within Europe, but will not have for some years the right to work elsewhere; except for subleased work organised and state-controlled for whole groups /by the way of Poles as much as of Maghrebians!/ of people who have no rights, no benefits whatsoever etc., not to count all those drowned in the Mediterranean in their passage.

(40)Some, indeed, like L. Wittgenstein or like all those that, in the West, reach out for Buddhism etc., will look at it for therapeutical remedies.

(This article has been synthesised. It can be found in the Critical Dictionary at the following entry : Partage de la raison)

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