A Question on “Infrapolitical Action.” (Rubria Rocha de Luna)

In “Infrapolitical Action,” posted below in the blog, it is stated that Lacan considers that men can never completely understand the law. This lack of knowledge or stupidity is part of being human; proof of this is neurosis. The impossibility of knowing the law is caused by censorship which, in Freudian terms, would be an instance of the super-ego. Sovereignty passes through the same process, since it also “belongs in the domain of the unknown.”  Is sovereignty to be associated to the Freudian “navel of the dream,” which nevertheless, as “the point where the relation of the subject to the symbolic surfaces,” is the very name of being (“what I call being is that last word,” says Lacan in Ethics [105])? It is in that very sense that sovereignty is apotropaic and katechontic: either we uphold sovereignty through our very unbelief in it, through our very lack of understanding and rejection of it, or we lose our head, which is cut off” (Infrapolitical Action).  Can anything else be contemplated?

For Nancy, 1968 is the year when the structure of democracy and its subject were about to change. Nancy considered that “European democracies at the time were democracies without demos,” and an epochal crisis is felt concerning the subject of the political. Then the notion of subject changed its meaning: “Nancy critiques modern democracy as having been always occupied by a notion of a subject with mastery in terms of “representations, volitions, and decisions’” (25): “the subject . . . presupposed by a self-producing and autotelic being-for-itself, subject of its own presuppositions and of its own anticipations . . . whether individual or collective, was now overwhelmed by events” (24). Nancy, for the post-1968 period, that is, for the present, “proposes a democracy without a figure” and the “return of the originary moment when the city forfeits the formative-figurative principle in the renunciation of the common as general equivalence”. (Infrapolitical action)

According to this, is the demos that is lacking in 1968, the site of the infrapolitical? How could we understand Nancy’s subject after 1968? Does this subject follow the same structure proposed by Lacan? If so, how does the infrapolitical work within that structure?

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One thought on “A Question on “Infrapolitical Action.” (Rubria Rocha de Luna)

  1. Quick reply, Rubria: yes, for Nancy that missing demos (not really missing, simply disavowed politically by post-WWII liberal democracies) is the site from which the historical call for infrapolitical action comes (Nancy does not use the expression, he simply calls it Action, with a capital A.) But no, infrapolitical action, or Action, is no longer the work of a subject of history. For all the reasons given. Whether there is a connection between the non-subject of infrapolitical action and the Lacanian subject, that is, the Lacanian notion of the subject of the unconscious, is a very complex question. After many discussions my answer would be that yes, at the limit the non-subject and the subject of the unconscious are two conceptualizations that respond to a similar demand. But the question should remain open, I think.

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