October 17, 2009

Theory and Event 12.3 Introduction 12.3 Jodi Dean and Michael J. Shapiro The articles in 12.3 suggest a political-theoretical topography marked by the prominence of Freud and Deleuze and traces of Benjamin and Derrida. Screened of proper names, the features contouring the political are swamps and fissures, shifting edges, unstable sprawls and impossible spaces without centers. There are subterranean forces threatening to rupture or exceed the unstable structures unsuccessfully attempting their containment. How one or how we—itself the name of a problem and an aspiration—might make it through or even reside in such a terrain thus becomes the question (dis)orienting this issue of Theory & Event. In "Freud and the Political," Mladen Dolar opens with an anecdote about Freud in a cave, a hidden encounter with political resonance. Rather than coinciding with the social surface, the political takes the form of a more fundamental fissure. Psychoanalysis describes and dissects this crack of the political, a point Dolar explores in relation to the psychoanalytic institution, drive, and the opposition between the artificial and the primary masses. Too often, Dolar explains, psychoanalysis's relation to the political is misread as the Oedipal familial drama (as in the critique presented in Anti-Oedipus). He offers an alternative reading that addresses the subversion of roles and positions, the untying and undoing of relationships, central to psychoanalysis's circumscription of the political. James Martel ("The Messiah who Comes and Goes: Franz Kafka on Redemption, Conspiracy and Community") argues that we only clumsily make our way through the political. Most of the time...

Jodi Dean

Jodi Dean is a political theorist.

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