The Precarious Dialectic of Border Regimes: On the Relationship between the Construction of Borders and the Dismantling of Democracy in the Trump Era

This entry is part 11 of 26 in the series Vol 6-2021

Abstract: In her book Walled States: Waning Sovereignty (2010), the American political theorist Wendy Brown shows that today’s massive wall-building projects – whether in the United States, Israel, or Europe – are not primarily protective measures but rather must be understood as the expression of a fundamental crisis of the modern state. In her view, the erection of barricades is a desperate act of resistance of national sovereignty against its unavoidable demise in a globalized world. Therefore, according to Brown, the current border regimes represent but a final stage act that reflects the desire for clearly defined identities and must be deciphered as fear of a world that becomes ever more complex.
In my paper, I agree only in part with Brown’s theory of a ‘ruse of reason’ – that the building of border walls signifies, all appearances to the contrary, the demise of the sovereignty of the nation state. As convincing as her analyses may be, the staging of border regimes, which comprises not just the factual control of borders but also the bellicose political rhetoric surrounding the building of walls, is also a consciously used political instrument to transform democratic conditions, legal institutions, and social policy achievements within nation states. In my paper, I probe into this peculiar dialectic between, on the one hand, building walls at the borders and, on the other, dismantling borders of political discourse, both theoretically and by means of empirical examples.
To underpin my argument, I shall first focus on the United States under Donald Trump to show that the concentration on the building of a border wall between the United States and Mexico is accompanied by a weakening of security services vis-à-vis right-wing terror. After that, I shall demonstrate that Sebastian Kurz’s talk of shutting the Balkan route for migrants and shielding Austria from third-country migration implies a focused attack on the social partnership and the welfare state.

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Vom Außen

This entry is part 12 of 26 in the series Vol 6-2021

Abstract: This paper reassesses the critical function of philosophy in a globalized world gripped by recurrent crises. What does it mean to orient oneself in thinking? The paper suggests that philosophy is the diagnosis of becomings and transformations. Philosophy cannot be restricted to a closed field or discipline since it is discussion, experimentation. Philosophy relates to the street, to society, to the struggles that bring life to existence: it relates to non-philosophy, to its outside. Starting with Marx in the 19th century, philosophy has taken a new trajectory: the critique of the present has become critique of capitalism, that is to say of the kind of temporality to which we belong. Throughout the 20th and the 21st century there is a conspicuous number of non-philosophical experiences that have radically contributed to transform and enrich the philosophical discourse. They have permitted the emergence of new objects of inquiry, of new problems and problematizations: among them we can count the importance of feminism, of the Italian Operaism, of the French philosophies of Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze, to only name a few ones.

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Entgrenzte Grenze: die Anomalie des Kinos nach Badiou

This entry is part 13 of 26 in the series Vol 6-2021

Abstract: For Alain Badiou, “impurity” is the central feature of cinema. As this paper argues, this definition gives effect to a particular concept of boundary which is an anomaly not only in Badiou’s thinking of the arts but in his entire philosophical system: Instead of a dividing line the frontier becomes a field that brings together what is adjacent in a zone of impurity rather than separating it.

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A fronteira entre o olhar e o agir

This entry is part 14 of 26 in the series Vol 6-2021

Abstract: This article is about the difficult relation between theory and practice in Theater, about how theory is historically taken for granted or even considered an obstacle for practice. What we ignore, by naturalizing the perspective that Theater or acting is defined as action, is that Theater is etymologically related to theory as an activity installed by a look that beholds a phenomena that appears before it.

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Le frontiere tra le arti performative e la filosofia

This entry is part 15 of 26 in the series Vol 6-2021

Abstract: Boundaries between the Performing Arts and Philosophy – Apparently philosophy has nothing to do with the performing arts, because its environment is purely theoretical and eminently abstract, while the term performance refers to the notions of operation, execution, action. I propose here the reoccupation of the frontiers between philosophy and performance arts through a reflection on the following points: 1. What is the performance of philosophy?; 2. What can philosophy say about performance?; 3. What are the possible forms of composition between philosophy and the performing arts?

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Evoluzionismo e storicismo nelle scienze sociali: l’intenzionalità dell’azione umana contro il postulato di razionalità

This entry is part 19 of 26 in the series Vol 6-2021

Abstract: this essay aims to describe the difference between intentional action and rational action, in order to criticize the Misesian postulate of economic rationality identifiable with the metaphor of homo oeconomicus. In his intellectual production, Karl Popper exposed the conjectures and confutations theory to build a solid scientific approach to the study of human actions, resorting to the Darwinian evolutionary theory, underlining its limits and its possible compensation with the Lamarckian one. He reached the conclusion that the rationality of human conduct is never total, approaching (unconsciously) much more the Weberian canons than those of the Austrian school of economics.

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Per un’ontologia della soglia: note su natura e cultura in Philippe Descola

This entry is part 20 of 26 in the series Vol 6-2021

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to clarify the philosophical implications of the role that the conceptual dichotomy between nature and culture detains in Philippe Descola’s anthropological works. Descola has shown that both the concept of nature and culture result from a process of systematization of the experiential data that he has called worlding (mondiation). The process of worlding arires a specific way of perceiving the environment and entertaining relation with it, shaping the form of an universe of collective existence, or, according to Descola, an “ontology”. Descola exploited this hypothesis by developing a “grammar of ontologies”, which means an inventory of the fundamental results of process of worlding. This paper will firstly discuss the early positions in Descola’s thought, such as the “classificatory” schema he adopted in La nature domestique in order to interpret the phenomena of “nature’s socialization”. Then, it will explore how Descola has changed his theoretical framework in the passage of his major work, Par-delà nature et culture (2005). This passage, as it will be shown, is based on a new epistemological conception of the relation between subject and object made possible through the introduction of the husserlian concept of “antepredicative”. Starting from these points, the paper will develop some relevant consequences that can be drawn from Descola’s anthropology, analysing how the overcome of the difference between nature and culture could be useful in order to get through many problems raised by the ecological crisis.

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