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The personal is political

In the context of trying to briefly describe the nearness of Derrida and Levinas in my contemporary philosophy course and having in mind especially Derrida's "En ce moment même dans cet ouvrage me voici", I was drawing a distinction between interruption - an element of the articulation of a text, of its texture, of its engineering - and intettuption - an element of the personal that intrudes the text, as if an author or an addressee is suddenly made explicit. In the latter, the personal element in a text is brought up through the trace of the Other, the person who wrote "cet ouvrage" is made explicit not by a signature, but by an break. This is reminiscent of the Celan distinction (in Gespräch im Gebirg) between the language of the it, of the this on the one hand and that of me and you (thou). To intettupt is to address a second person - and therefore to be addressed by her.

My doctoral student Gabriela Lafetá, who succeeded in her Viva last Wednesday, discusses in her thesis Badleh's book (De Derrida a Levinas, la dette et l'envoi) where he seems to hold that deconstruction is a political and not an ethical gesture. In "En ce moment même dans cet ouvrage me voici", Derrida makes clear the personal character of the deconstructive interruption (an intettuption, in my terms). I was wondering that this personal character - this intettuption - is political. It doesn't make it less responsive to justice - and in a sense to the ethical - but it is where the personal is political, in the appeal brought in by a responsible reading, that is, the reading that finds authorship through the text. To be sure, because the personal is political, it brings to politics an element of the non-negotiable - it brings the impossible into the realm of politics, makes it personal.

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