Combat-Débat: Parataxis and the unavowable community; or, the joke
Philosophy and Rhetoric , Volume 52 - Issue 1 p. 78- 85
Invoking the work of Maurice Blanchot, this text is situated in the (im)possibility of contemporary debate and the impossible, but necessary, question of (un)avowable community. Arguing that identity politics today forecloses debate in the syntactical closures of the named name, we follow Blanchot to open onto a paratactical politics of community. The parataxis (polysyndeton) is here the key trope of community and communication: the side-by-side arrangement of fragments that puts into play the seeming self-evidence of contemporary conjunctions, relations of subordination, and temporal sequence. The parataxis configures relations of alterity, radicalized in death, where the (non)being-in-common of self-other and self-self are exposed. Taking as instance the disaster of Donald Trump's presidency and the digital conveyances of identity, we explore this joke, its common currents, and the possibility for a paratactical politics of community when the joke is on us.
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Murray, S.J, & Lemieux, T. (Tad). (2019). Combat-Débat: Parataxis and the unavowable community; or, the joke. Philosophy and Rhetoric (Vol. 52, pp. 78–85). doi:10.5325/philrhet.52.1.0078