Relations of the Third Kind: Crisis, Critique and Politics
Keywords:politics, autrui, relations of the third kind, unthinkable, crisis, critique, alterity
The paper discusses the concept of Maurice Blanchot of the relations of the third kind and its political implications. These relations are not characterized by some specific quality, but rather the absence of these qualities. In this manner, autrui evades all traditional dichotomies characteristic of the West European tradition of thought: being and nothingness, subject and object, me and others, presence and absence, etc. In the words of Roberto Esposito, Blanchot’s autrui is perhaps best defined as situated “on the intersection where one is constantly translated into the other: nothingness is translated into being, presence is void by absence, interior spills into exterior”.
Thinking and politics that are not the tools of power, authority and maintenance of status quo, now more than ever, seem to be in the hands of the relations of the “third kind”, places where they intersect, intertwine and negate the positions of subject and object, “dishonourable men”, Locke’s parrot, Derrida’s cat, Jean-Luc Nancy’s “hearts”, Herman Melville’s scribe Bartleby etc. Only from these locations it is possible to pose the necessary different questions – the questions whose answers are still unthinkable from today’s perspective.
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