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Thinking from the ban? Rebellious Third Worlds & theory

By Jayan Nayar

Abstract

Peoples of the ‘Third World’, from the origins of the colonial encounter to the present, have too long been the objects of theory; thought about, thought against, thought for, as the ‘Other’. But who is this Other? To whom is s/he Other? Implicit in Eurocentric thinking about the Other is a particular assumption of the sovereignty of location. This essay begins from the position that the Other is only Other-ed by theory. A different location of rebellious thought is present and possible; one that does not obsess with the inclusion of the Other into theory, but rather, begins with and from the Ban (adapting Agamben), as ‘border thinking’. From this beginning, the essay traces the historic and contemporary contexts of Bans, from the pasts of colonialism to the presents of global totalitarianism. A reconfigured ‘Three Worlds’ under the contemporary contexts of global totalitarianism is presented, comprising First Worlds of ‘sovereign-citizens, Second Worlds of subject-citizens, and Third Worlds of rightsless citizens; they represent radically demarcated locations of theory not inviting of easy resolution. The essay then follows to suggest the implications of ‘thinking from the Ban’, of thinking from locations of rightslessness, on the three pillars of Eurocentric theory - History, Justice, and Legality - arguing instead for their abandonment for memories, judgements and illegalities

Publisher: University of Warwick
Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:43046
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