Saturday, May 02, 2009

Quote of the Day

"And here we can fully apply what we established earlier: if a set of socio-political configurations such as apartheid, for example, are conditions of existence of the economy and capitalist accumulation, then the economy cannot be constituted as an object separate from those conditions since we know that the conditions of existence of any contingent identity are internal to the latter. What we find, then, is not an interaction or determination between fully constituted areas of the social, but a field of relationl semi-identities in which 'political,' 'economic' and 'ideological' elements will enter into unstable relations of imbrication without ever managing to constitute themselves as separate objects. The boundary of essence between the latter will be permanently displaced. The combinatorial games between hypostasized entities—the 'economic,' the 'political,' and the 'ideological'—remind one most of the economic abstractions which Marx described as 'an enchanted, perverted, topsy-turvy world in which Monsieur le Capital and Madame la Terre, who are social characters as well as mere things, do their danse macabre.' This does not mean, of course, that an area of the social cannot become autonomous and establish, to a greater or lesser degree, a separate identity. But this separation and autonomization, like everything else, has specific conditions of existence which establish their limits at the same time. What is not possible is to begin by accepting this separate identity as an unconditional assumption and then to go on to explain its interaction and articulation with other identities on that basis."

—Ernesto Laclau, "New Reflections on the Revolution of Our Time"

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