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From Resistance to Invention in the Politics of the Impossible: Bernard Stiegler’s Political Reading of Maurice Blanchot

Turner, Ben (2019) From Resistance to Invention in the Politics of the Impossible: Bernard Stiegler’s Political Reading of Maurice Blanchot. Contemporary Political Theory, 18 (1). pp. 43-64. ISSN 1470-8914. E-ISSN 1476-9336. (doi:10.1057/s41296-018-0212-9) (KAR id:65668)

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In Bernard Stiegler’s Automatic Society Volume 1: The Future of Work ‘the impossible’ and ‘the improbable’ appear as explicit parts of his political project. In his philosophy of technology, the impossible highlights the structural incompleteness that technics imparts to human existence. This article will trace how Stiegler draws on the work of Maurice Blanchot to produce this conjunction between technics and indetermination, and explore its political ramifications. This will show that rather than being a recent aspect of Stiegler’s work, the political use of the impossible brings Blanchot’s subterranean influence to the fore. After briefly reconstructing Blanchot’s understanding of language, impersonality, and writing, it will be shown that Stiegler shifts Blanchot’s emphasis from the impossible to technical practices of the improbable. Stiegler follows an anthropological line where the experience of the impossible becomes a more general understanding of the experience of improbability through technical structures. Stiegler’s reading of Blanchot is central in his break with the place of the impossible in the politics of resistance advocated by post-structuralism, allowing him to support a politics of invention which makes space for the improbable within a large scale politics of technicity, rather than privileging indeterminacy itself.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1057/s41296-018-0212-9
Uncontrolled keywords: Bernard Stiegler; Maurice Blanchot; the impossible; resistance; invention
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: Ben Turner
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2018 13:27 UTC
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2021 10:22 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Turner, Ben:
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