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The Subject of Coexistence

The Subject of Coexistence: Otherness in International Relations

Series: Borderlines
Volume: 28
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    The Subject of Coexistence
    Book Description:

    Louiza Odysseos argues that debates about ethnic conflict, human rights, and the viability of multicultural communities all revolve around the question of coexistence. She traces the institutional neglect of coexistence to the ontological commitments of international relations as predicated on conceptions of modern subjectivity. Here, Odysseos opens up the possibility of a coexistential ontology in which selfhood can be rethought beyond subjectivism.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-5443-7
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction: Subjectivity, Coexistence, and the Question of Heteronomy
    (pp. xi-xxxvi)

    Coexistence could be said to be paramount for international politics. Exploring what coexistence might mean and what it might entail, however, has not been directly addressed by the discipline of international relations (IR). That is not to say that IR scholars have not turned their attention to specific and diverse issues of cohabitation or living in common, but rather to suggest that what is considered tobecoexistence has yet to receive proper questioning. “Coexistence,” in other words, is not presently regarded as a question for world politics; it is, instead, a term whose meaning is considered to be self-evident....

  5. 1 Manifestations of Composition
    (pp. 1-28)

    How does coexistence come to be articulated through the logic of composition, as a condition of joining distinct, previously unrelated units? The equating of coexistence and composition, it is argued here, becomes possible when political thinking is based on modern subjectivity. It is necessary, therefore, to examine in greater detail the historical emergence of “the subject,” in order to better illustrate the ontological commitment of international relations to modern subjectivity and how this determines coexistence according to the logic of composition. On the ground of modern subjectivity, as described briefly in the introduction, a number of accounts of political coexistence...

  6. 2 Toward a “Hermeneutics of Facticity”
    (pp. 29-56)

    The subject of modern politics is the subject of certainty and mastery. As was shown in relation to Hobbesian subjectivity, this subject is assumed to voluntarily enter into arrangements of regulated sociability, such as the mechanism of the social contract. Yet, on the basis of this kind of subject, coexistence is reduced to mere copresence, to the fragile composition of already constituted selves. Therefore, coexistence can only be rethought beyond this logic of composition if the subjectivist understanding of human existence is challenged; only then, moreover, will it be possible to illuminate the constitutive role of the other.

    How might...

  7. 3 An Optics of Coexistence: Dasein’s Radical Embeddedness in Its World
    (pp. 57-94)

    The previous chapter outlined Heidegger’s critical engagement with phenomenology and traditional ontology in search of a method that would access lived experience while, at the same time, avoiding the prevalent assumptions related to the modern subject. It also examined the critique of Emmanuel Levinas that phenomenology and ontology are “philosophies of violence,” part of the Western philosophical tradition in which the other is reduced to the same. The remaining chapters of the book are all specifically motivated by Levinas’s critique; rather than dismissing Heidegger, however, they (re)turn to his thought critically and explore the ways in which such a critical...

  8. 4 Becoming-Proper: Authenticity and Inauthenticity Revisited
    (pp. 95-118)

    In the previous chapter I outlined Heidegger’s analysis of the existential structures of Dasein inBeing and Time¹ and suggested that the existential analytic contains a number of elements, grouped together as an “optics of coexistence,” which reveal that coexistence is the proximal fact of Dasein’s existence. These elements both “unwork” modern subjectivity by challenging its most prominent features and also advance a substantively different account of the self with which to rethink coexistence within politics and international relations.

    Specifically, the elements contained in the optics of coexistence exemplify a coexistential heteronomy in a variety of ways: first, in Dasein’s...

  9. 5 Recovering the “Ethical” Self: Global Ethics in Question
    (pp. 119-152)

    The optics of coexistence, discussed in chapters 3 and 4, has sought to unwork modern subjectivity. Returning to Martin Heidegger’s phenomenological investigations of the facticity of existence inBeing and Time, the elements of the optics of coexistence illustrated that, far from being an innately autonomous and sovereign subject, Dasein is coexistentially heteronomous. Its existence is coexistence: in the proximal and average way in which it finds itself in the world, Dasein is radically embedded Being-with, although it flees in the face of its worldliness. Dasein’s efforts to become proper for its Being are but negotiations of how to take...

  10. 6 Coexistence, Community, and Critical Belonging
    (pp. 153-176)

    The theoretic construct of the self-sufficient subject, and its relations of mastery over world and others, presents one of the main obstacles hindering the disclosure of the “irreducibly plural worlds”¹ in which the self finds itself. The recovery of an “ethical” selfhood explored in the previous chapter indicated the ways in which the “ethical” self becomes open to, and in a sense embodies, its innate otherness by cultivating silence and hearing. Its contribution lies in illustrating that itispossible to move away from the self-sufficiency of the modern subject and to enable a proper consideration of how a non-self-sufficient,...

  11. Conclusion
    (pp. 177-186)

    Why is coexistence such a neglected concept in the discipline of international relations—a body of thought that claims to haverelationsat its center, and at a time when issues of coexistence remain at the forefront of international praxis? Can such institutional neglect be reversed and coexistence accorded its proper place as a question-worthy topic, as anaporiaof world politics? These two questions provided the impetus for the exploration of coexistence undertaken in this volume. In the introduction and chapter 1, I mapped the historical evolution of this neglect through cold war and contemporary international theorizing, suggesting that...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 187-240)
  13. Index
    (pp. 241-256)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 257-257)