Relations of the Third Kind: Crisis, Critique and Politics


  • Jelisaveta Blagojević Faculty of Media and Communication, Singidunum University, Belgrade
  • Mirjana Stošić Faculty of Media and Communication, Singidunum University, Belgrade



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.


Blanchot, Maurice. 1993. The Infinite Conversation. Minneapolis, London: University of Minnesota Press.

Deleuze, Gilles. 1988. “Bartleby ili formula.” U Herman Melville, Perovođa Barlteby. Novi Sad & Zagreb: Multimedijalni institute.

Derrida, Jacques. 1981. Dissemination. London, New York: Continuum International Publishing Group.

Derrida, Jacques and Anne Dufourmantelle. 2000. Of Hospitality: Anne Dufourmantelle invites Jacques Derrida to respond. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Derrida, Jacques. 2007. Pisanje i razlika. Sarajevo: Šahinpašić.

Derrida, Jacques. 2008. The Animal That Therefore I Am. New York: Fordham University Press.

Esposito, Roberto. 2012. The Third Person: Politics of life and philosophy of the impersonal. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Foucault, Michel. 1979. “The Life of Infamous Men”. In Power, Truth, Strategy, ed. by Meaghan Morris & Paul Patton. Sydney: Feral Publication.

Foucault, Michel. 1996. “What is Critique?”. In What is Enlightenment? Eighteenth Century Answers and Twentieth-Century Questions, ed. James Schmidt. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press.

Gasché, Rodolphe. 1999. Of Minimal Things: Studies on the Notion of Relation. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Lévinas, Emmanuel. 1979. Totality and Infinity: an Essay on Exteriority. Hague, Boston, London: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.

Lévinas, Emmanuel. 1988. Existence and Existents. Dordrecht, Boston, and London: Kluwer Academic Press.

Levinas, Emanuel. 1998. Među nama. Sremski Karlovci, Novi Sad: Izdavačka knjižarnica Zorana Stojanovića.

Lok, Džon. 1962. Ogled o ljudskom razumu. Beograd: Kultura.

Nancy, Jean-Luc. 1983. La communauté désoeuvrée. Paris: Christian Bourgois.

Nancy, Jean-Luc. 1991. The Inoperative Community. Minneapolis, Oxford: University of Minnesota Press.

Nancy, Jean-Luc. 1997. The Sense of the World. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Nancy, Jean-Luc. 2008. Corpus. New York: Fordham University Press.




How to Cite

Blagojević, Jelisaveta, and Mirjana Stošić. 2018. “Relations of the Third Kind: Crisis, Critique and Politics”. Etnoantropološki Problemi / Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 13 (3):805-23.