The Politics of Friendship
OverviewJacques Derrida is known primarily, and until recently, as the major proponent of deconstruction; always somewhat disengaged from the central political questions of the day. Derrida's "political turn" was marked by the appearance of "Specters of Marx". In this study, Jacques Derrida renews this orientation through an examination of the political history of the idea of friendship pursued down the ages. Derrida's thoughts are haunted throughout the book by the strange and provocative address attributed to Aristotle, "O my friends, there is no friend", and its inversions by later philosophers, such as Montaigne, Kant, Nietzsche, Schmitt and Blanchot. The exploration allows Derrida to recall and re-stage the ways in which all the oppositional couples of Western philosophy and political thought - friendship and enmity, private and public life - have become dangerously unstable. At the same time, he dissects geneology itself, the familiar and male-centred notion of fraternity and the virile virtue whose autority has gone unquestioned in the Western culture of friendship and modern models of democracy. The future of the political, for Derrida, becomes the future of friends, the invention of a radically new friendship, of a deeper and more inclusive democracy.
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