Installing a “New Cosmopolitics”: Derrida and the Writers

  • Gene Ray
Part of the Studies in European Culture and History book series (SECH)


If, even now, we could still hope to place the non-place or impossible place of “utopia” within a space of its own or a territory proper to it, what would or could its placement or realization mean? If, despite everything, despite the bitter catastrophes and transgressions of a traumatic century, we still found ourselves willing to hope at all, could or would we want to give that hope a mis-en-scène, a setting or location? Would we still want to try, that is, even today and even if more modestly, to install a utopian promise or demand in the scene, “on the ground,” somewhere, in this or that “theater of operations”? Or would we be more inclined to displace that topos into a zone of unsettled, de-territorialized action: a mobile set of practices, perhaps, or a way or form of thinking and responding? Can the impossible place, the un-place that can’t take its place on the historical stage or in the scheme of things, nevertheless, even now, somehow urge us on, “beyond the place we find ourselves” or what is merely the case, beyond the borders of the status quo and in the direction of an undeconstructible “justice”?—“if,” as Derrida says, “such a thing exists, outside or beyond law” (FL 14). Can we, could we, nonviolently or at least without too much discursive or interpretive violence, “cut to the chase,” cut through or across all of these spatial tropes and metaphors, all of these Derridean inflections, cadences, and resonances, all of this “discrete irony”?


Critical Practice Double Movement Traumatic Century Originary Force Paradoxical Relation 
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  1. 6.
    Jacques Derrida, Cosmopolites de tous les pays, encore un effort! (Paris: Editions Galilée, 1997); in English as “On Cosmopolitanism,” Mark Dooley, trans., in OCF.Google Scholar
  2. 8.
    Derrida, Of Hospitality: Anne Dufourmantelle invites Jacques Derrida to respond, Rachel Bowlby, trans. (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000), p. 77. 9. Ibid.Google Scholar
  3. 10.
    Ibid., p. 27.Google Scholar
  4. 11.
    Ibid., p. 47. 12. Ibid., p. 45.Google Scholar

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© Gene Ray 2005

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  • Gene Ray

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