Derrida: Aporias of otherness

Aradau, Claudia (2010). Derrida: Aporias of otherness. In: Moore, Cerwyn and Farrands, Chris eds. International Relations Theory and Philosophy: Interpretive Dialogues. London: Routledge, pp. 107–118.



This chapter is structured around two ideas that are defining of a deconstructive approach to alterity: the ‘impossible’ and aporia. Deconstruction pays close attention to the remainder, tensions and the différance that the relation to the other presupposes.The aporia, according to Derrida, is the experience of responsibility that emerges from the impossible.

The first part of the chapter offers a brief account of alterity, aporia and the impossible in Derrida’s work. The second part focuses on the work of IR scholars who have drawn on Derrida’s insights about the ethico-political relation to the other. The final part of the chapter considers the limitations of deconstruction for political transformation. It argues that a double ‘lack’ can be located in many writings from a deconstructive
perspective: the lack of engagement with security and ‘dangerous others’ on the one hand and the lack of theorising social struggles on the other.

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