Borderlands e-journal logo All issues all issues Guidelines rollover Guidelines for contributors
Debates rollover About rollover About borderlands e-journal
Reviews Reviews rollover Editorial team rollover Editorial team
last ethical frontiers Arrow vol 6 no 2 contents
About borderlands volume 6 number 2, 2007


Of Political Bottom Lines and Last Ethical Frontiers:
The Politics and Ethics of "the Other"

Simone Drichel

University of Otago


Observing the great currency the "post mark" has in a range of theoretical discussions - "poststructuralist, postfeminist, postcolonial, postmodern" - postcolonial critic Homi Bhabha asks why this triumphal march of the "post" has as yet failed to claim "the other": "Was the other the political bottom line, the last ethical frontier?" This essay takes Bhabha's question as a starting point to argue that " the other" is both politically and ethically fundamental to postcolonial studies and so negotiates two realms that all too often are believed to be separate in this field. Engaging specifically with Aotearoa/New Zealand's official government policy of biculturalism - a policy which implicitly renews a commitment to Maori identity politics - the essay argues it is in fact only because "the other" is also "the last ethical frontier" that it can remain "the political bottom line" in postcolonial studies. The essay illustrates how a Levinasian ethics of alterity challenges a Hegelian politics of recognition, such as it is theorized by Charles Taylor with reference to multicultural Canada, by calling into question the representational presuppositions upon which multiculturalism (and, by implication, biculturalism) is based. The essay proceeds to argue, however, that Levinas's critique of representation is so radical that it threatens to undermine "the other" in its function as postcolonialism's "last political frontier." A more successful negotiation of politics and ethics come into view with Derrida's ethical politics of iterability, which promises to retain the political effectiveness of representation without buying into its violent presuppositions. The essay concludes by cautioning, however, that while iterability bears great political and ethical promises, more attention needs to be paid to its paradoxical "double logic" to prevent it from replicating the representational paradigm it purportedly displaces.



1. Observing the great currency the "post mark" has in a range of theoretical discussions - "poststructuralist, postfeminist, postcolonial, postmodern" - postcolonial critic Homi Bhabha asks why this triumphal march of the "post" has as yet failed to claim "the other": "Post- this, post- that, but why never post- the other? Was the other the political bottom line, the last ethical frontier?" (1997: 433). A consideration of either part of the latter question would be worthwhile in itself; but what is perhaps of even greater interest in what constitutes, for Bhabha, an "originating question," is the comma between "the political bottom line" and "the last ethical frontier." This comma holds apart - but also connects - politics and ethics. The parallel construction of that question, controlled by the comma, suggests the equivalent status of politics and ethics. It insinuates that the other is both politically and ethically fundamental and so assumes a relationship of negotiation between two realms that all too often are believed to be separate. The lynchpin of that negotiation is "the other." But who or what is "the other"?

2. In the context of postcolonial studies, "the other" is a highly charged concept, evoking, as it does, exoticised and stereotyped images of cultural difference. Given the violent colonial heritage of this concept, it seems perhaps surprising that "the other" should now function as postcolonialism's "political bottom line [and] last ethical frontier." What assumptions about otherness do we need to make if we want to understand it not as a colonial relic but as a concept that is politically and ethically fundamental, foundational, or, to use Derrida's more appropriate term, undeconstructable? For Derrida, what remains undeconstructable, and so "founds" deconstruction, is ethical justice. Can we go as far, then, as to say that "the other" is justice? And if "the other" is justice, does that mean that justice, as undeconstructable foundation, necessarily has both political and ethical dimensions? That the very pairing of ethics and politics in Bhabha's phrase is the condition sine qua non of undeconstructability, is what makes "the other" the undeconstructable "bottom line" of postcolonial studies? Assuming this were the case, what would be the consequences for postcolonial studies, a field that owes its very emergence to, and remains overwhelmingly dedicated to, decidedly political and not ethical concerns?

3. Given the explicit concern with otherness in (Levinasian) ethics, it is perhaps surprising that ethical questions remain largely unexplored in postcolonial studies, particularly when political echoes of the ethical concerns raised by Levinas's philosophy are frequently found elsewhere: whether it is in questions of globalisation and its effect on local communities or in questions of hospitality to asylum seekers - questions of ethical responsibility for others seem to have gained unprecedented political currency. It seems curious, then, that these ethical concerns are only slowly finding a similar resonance in postcolonial debates and are rarely discussed on a theoretical level. [1]

4. My aim in this essay is to address some of these questions and illustrate in what sense "the other" should indeed not be gone post. Unlike some other conceptions of otherness which, as I shall argue, have a tendency to offer justification for why "the other" is either "the political bottom line" or "the last ethical frontier," [2] Bhabha's pairing of ethics and politics in his "originating question" not only reminds us of the necessity of addressing ethical questions in a postcolonial context but also, and importantly, refuses to treat politics and ethics in isolation. This refusal, I suggest, offers a promising solution to what remains a crucial problem in postcolonial debates, namely the political and discursive representation of otherness in a (reputedly postcolonial) discourse which has a long colonial history of either containing this otherness in stereotypes or cancelling it out altogether. In other words, what I am arguing here is that postcolonialism's engagement with political questions (questions of representation, resistance, etc.) cannot - on its own - fully redress the wounds inflicted on "the other" by colonialism. It is only because "the other" is also "the last ethical frontier" that it can remain "the political bottom line" in postcolonial studies.

5. I want to launch this discussion from within the context of Aotearoa/New Zealand. The reason for focusing on this particular postcolonial country is simple: New Zealand's official government policy of biculturalism maintains a binary distinction between the two parties involved in the original colonial project - settlers and natives - and therefore structurally preserves, in perhaps purer form than elsewhere, a sense of the original colonial distinction between self and other in postcolonial times. Because "the other" so very evidently constitutes the "political bottom line" in postcolonial New Zealand, the question of how to think about, or conceptualise, a postcolonial otherness distinct from its undesirable colonial antecedents is pressing here. New Zealand's indigenous Maori population, in close correspondence with the identity politics of other postcolonising countries, is fiercely protective of their "otherness" from the Pakeha mainstream. [3] And the country's official government policy of biculturalism offers Maori, superficially at least, the necessary protective framework in which to defend their own separate and distinct identity as guaranteed by the Treaty of Waitangi. Yet the appeal of biculturalism is not unequivocal. The distinction between two cultures, Maori and Pakeha, certainly allows for a sense of Maori otherness to be articulated. But a significant problem with biculturalism is its structural overlap with binary oppositions - giving rise to concerns that this structural complicity between biculturalism and binary oppositions might also translate into ideological complicity. In other words, my concern (or question) here is how the postcolonial distinction between Maori and Pakeha can be prevented from falling back into the colonial distinction between self and other: how, I ask, can the self/other relationship be rethought in a way that detaches colonial violence against the other and opens up a space of non-violent interaction? This only becomes possible, I suggest, once the political questions of biculturalism and identity politics are supplemented by ethical concerns.

The Politics of Recognition

6. Perhaps the most immediately relevant model for a bicultural space of non-violent interaction is offered by its multicultural predecessors. In what has become a landmark essay, 'The Politics of Recognition,' Charles Taylor, philosopher and eminent Hegel scholar, translates Hegel's idea of mutual recognition into the concrete situation of debates over multiculturalism in Canada. As such, the article functions as the closest precedent for a sustained attempt to counteract colonial violence within the parameters offered by a politics of "culturalism." A Hegel scholar, Taylor is profoundly influenced by Hegel's dialectics of mutual recognition as developed in the Phenomenology of Spirit. Pursuing the idea of a multicultural critique of the literary canon, Taylor argues that other cultures - "the other" - need to be represented in this exclusive circle of "dead white males" not out of benevolence, but rather due to a recognition of equal worth. In this emphasis on mutual recognition, Taylor focuses on the conclusion of the Phenomenology, rather than its more famous master/slave situation.

7. For Hegel, the master/slave (self/other) situation - the very situation that will in time become the focus of Alexandre Kojève's notorious "creative 'strong reading'" of the Phenomenology of Spirit (Yar, 2001: 58) , which is said to have "bequeathed [. . .] a terrorist conception of history " to an entire generation of French intellectuals (Descombes, 1980: 14) - describes an early, and imperfect, stage of development on Spirit's long journey to the truth of self-certainty. This truth of self-certainty promises to free the self from solipsism and is attained only when the self's own sense of itself and the world is intersubjectively validated by another self. This is only possible if the other self is "free," that is, not immediately reduced to a piece of inventory within the first self's solipsistic view of the world. The master/slave situation remains imperfect for Hegel because in it, one self has taken away the other self's independence and translated the pure otherness of the other self into the dependent otherness of a "slave." It therefore offers only "a recognition that is one-sided and unequal" (Hegel, 1977: ¶191). The implications of this are clear. To assure the truth of self-certainty, the other self-consciousness needs to be as free and independent as the first self-consciousness. In other words, it cannot be an encounter between subject and object but must be one between two subjects because "we achieve certainty of ourselves only when we are recognized by another whom we recognize as free in turn" (Houlgate, 2003: 20). "True subjectivities," Judith Butler therefore reminds us, "come to flourish only in communities that provide for reciprocal recognition" (1987: 58).

8. It is precisely this idea that underpins Charles Taylor's 'The Politics of Recognition.' In this essay, which pursues the question of whether, in Robert Gooding-Williams' words, "multiculturalism should be embraced for the reason that it advances the self-esteem of individuals belonging to socially oppressed groups by enabling them to discover the reflection or representation of their identities in a reformed canon" (2001: 237), Taylor argues that the corrosion of minority identity is directly linked to the lack of recognition given to minority culture within the mainstream. What a multiculturalist revision of "the canon" therefore offers is precisely the conditions for reciprocal recognition that enable "true subjectivities" to flourish:

Enlarging and changing the curriculum is therefore essential not so much in the name of a broader culture for everyone as in order to give due recognition to the hitherto excluded. The background premise of these demands is that recognition forges identity, particularly in its Fanonist application: dominant groups tend to entrench their hegemony by inculcating an image of inferiority in the subjugated. The struggle for freedom and equality must therefore pass through a revision of these images. Multicultural curricula are meant to help in this process of revision. (Taylor, 1992: 65-66)

It is important to emphasise here that Taylor is careful to counterbalance what could be seen as a patronisingly benevolent - "politically correct" - move with the quintessentially Romantic idea that every authentic voice has something of value to contribute to the wider community. For this value to become apparent, he suggests, self and other need to undergo "what Gadamer has called a 'fusion of horizons'" (1992: 67). Only once mainstream standards have been transformed through an encounter with their "others" can a value judgment be meaningful rather than patronising:

For real judgements of worth suppose a fused horizon of standards [. . .]; they suppose that we have been transformed by the study of the other, so that we are not simply judging by our original familiar standards. A favorable judgement made prematurely would be not only condescending but ethnocentric. It would praise the other for being like us. (1992: 70-71)

In other words, the recognition that passes between self and other cannot be one-sided (such as in the master/slave situation) but must be mutual. For it to be mutual, the other must be accepted as another self against what for Hegel is the shared horizon of conceptual thought afforded by absolute Spirit.


9. On the face of it, it is hard to see what might be objectionable in Taylor's model. In fact, what is objectionable is perhaps the very element one would least suspect - the idea of representation itself. Representation, the representation of other cultures in the canon, gives voice to those who were previously excluded. In this sense, representation has a clear political function: it represents those previously unrepresented. However, while this might initially appear purely beneficial for "the other," the issue of (post)colonial representation is of course a vexed one. For too long - so Edward Said has shown us in Orientalism - representation was complicit in empire building by translating incomprehensible differences into exotic images of "the other" that could be consumed at the empire's leisure. These images of otherness not only guaranteed that the other was known (and thereby rendered "safe") but also that empire had its (inferior) other which would reflect its own superiority. In an essay on the ethics and politics of representing otherness in J. M. Coetzee's fiction, James Meffan and Kim Worthington point to some of these problems. With a nod to Said, they argue that "it is representation that objectifies the Other, reducing the Other to an object available to and constituted in the processes of colonial observation." The result, as they see it (in distinctly Levinasian terms), is "a violent reduction of the Other to the order of the same" (2001: 133). Representation is therefore a highly problematic concept for postcolonialism:

The problem for postcolonialism [. . .] is how to represent histories alterior to European colonialism without reenacting and reinscribing colonial representational violence. How does one write of and for the Other without representing the Other as an object knowable to and interpretable by the colonial gaze, the imperial eye/I? (2001: 133)

This question of how "the other" can be represented in a non-violent way is indeed crucial for postcolonialism. In fact, I would broaden the scope of Meffan and Worthington's question by omitting the "and for" and restating it as, "How does one write of [. . .] the Other without representing the Other as an object knowable to and interpretable by the colonial gaze, the imperial eye/I?" The question is not merely that of "'assimilation,' 'appropriation,' and 'silencing'" (2001: 133), but - more fundamentally - how the other can be represented at all , be that by the (former) coloniser or by the (former) colonised. In a lot of naïve postcolonial criticism dedicated to furthering the cause of identity politics - I am not including Meffan and Worthington in this group - there is an implicit assumption that the problem of colonial representation can be solved if the means of representation are put into the hands of the colonised. The assumption here is that if the colonised were to represent themselves, the violence inherent in (colonial) representation would dissipate. However, I would like to suggest that the problem of representational violence runs much deeper than this assumption leads us to believe. It is my contention that - aside from the danger of "'assimilation,' 'appropriation,' and 'silencing'" - representation of the other by the other is not really substantially different from that of representation by the coloniser.

10. To explain the logic behind this claim, let me refer to Gayatri Spivak's much-anthologised essay 'Can the Subaltern Speak?.' In this essay, Spivak reminds us that two different senses of representation need to be distinguished: representation as Vertretung (in the sense of political representation or "proxy") and representation as Darstellung (in the sense of discursive representation or "portrait"). [4] In other words, every representation necessarily represents in two ways; it simultaneously "stands in for" (the real thing) and "portrays" (the real thing). This means that in any representation of otherness, problems potentially arise on two levels. In The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte Karl Marx famously asserted - quoted by both Said and Spivak - that "Sie können sich nicht vertreten, sie müssen vertreten werden" (They cannot represent themselves, they must be represented). In a colonial context, this of course means that the colonised cannot represent themselves and that it is the colonisers - and their representations - that are doing this for them. The problem here is that this infringes on the first sense of representation, for the colonisers (and their representations) are said to "stand in for" the colonised; problematically, the coloniser thus acts as a proxy for the colonised. It is this problem that Worthington and Meffan point to when they express their discomfort at putting the discursive power for the representation of otherness into the hands of the colonisers. Their articulation of the problem - "how to represent histories alterior to European colonialism without reenacting and reinscribing colonial representational violence" - is indeed aptly stated, for it is, after all, hard to imagine how the coloniser can ever act as a proxy for the colonised without violence.

11. Spivak takes her critique further when she highlights - in an interview published the same year as 'Can the Subaltern Speak?' - the epistemological violence inherent in the second sense of representation:

Representing: proxy and portrait, as I said, these are the two ways of representing. Now, the thing to remember is that in the act of representing politically, you actually represent yourself and your constituency in the portrait sense, as well. You have to think of your constituency as working class, or the black minority, the rainbow coalition, or yet the military industrial complex and so on. That is representation in the sense of Darstellung. So that you don't ever "simply" vertreten anyone [. . .]. The relationship between the two kinds of representation brings in, also, the use of essentialism because no representation can take place - no Vertretung, representation - can take place without essentialism. What it has to take into account is that the "essence" that is being represented is a representation of the other kind, Darstellung. (1990: 108-09)

What happens in any representation, in other words, is not only that someone (or something) stands in for someone (or something) else, but that a certain "portrait" is painted which then acts as a fixed - essentialised - proxy for the represented. Unlike the first problem, this latter one is not limited to colonial representations of otherness but arises equally in representations of otherness by the other.

12. To bring this discussion back to Taylor and the "politics of recognition," I want to suggest that his vision of mutual recognition within the parameters provided by a "fusion of horizons" is highly problematic; in not paying tribute to the two meanings of representation, it ultimately leads us back to a renewed essentialism of minority identities. In demanding representation ("proxy") in the canon for those hitherto excluded, a politics of recognition disregards that every political representation ("proxy") also is discursive representation ("portrait"), and consequently falls back into the trap of essentialism which accompanies the "portrait." As such, a politics of recognition cannot but violate what Emmanuel Levinas would call the irreducible singularity of the other.

Levinas's Critique

13. Levinas's philosophy for the main part predates the publication of Taylor's essay and so cannot be said to respond to it in any direct way; however, in its general anti-Hegelian thrust, a Levinasian ethics certainly calls into question some of the presuppositions upon which Taylor relies. Though the name Hegel hardly appears in Totality and Infinity - the book is more explicitly a critique of Husserl's phenomenology - Hegel, or rather the attack on Hegel, is clearly visible between the lines. This attack, launched in the name of the unassimilable other, most immediately is an attack on the primacy of "ontology" in Western philosophy. In an oft-repeated phrase, Levinas states that "Western philosophy has most often been an ontology: a reduction of the other to the same by interposition of a middle and neutral term that ensures the comprehension of being" (1969: 43). Simon Critchley points out that ontology thereby comes to resemble a "digestive philosophy" [5] where the other is consumed by "the same" - a term Levinas appropriates from Plato - and assimilated to its own structures through the concept, or Begriff:

[. . .] ontology is the movement of comprehension, which takes possession of things through the activity of labour, where conceptual labour resembles manual labour. Ontology is like the movement of the hand, the organ for grasping and seizing, which takes hold of (prend [greifen]) and comprehends (comprend [begreifen]) things in a manipulation of otherness. (2002: 16)

"To know ontologically," according to Levinas, means to manipulate otherness so as "to surprise in an existent confronted that by which it is not this existent, this stranger, that by which it is somehow betrayed" (1969: 43). Through the mediation of the Begriff which grasps it, this existent, or stranger, "surrenders, is given in the horizon in which it loses itself and appears, lays itself open to the grasp, becomes a concept" (1969: 43-44). [6] What Levinas alludes to here is that the concept functions as a "third term" which mediates between the same and the other by way of bringing incomprehensible otherness within reach (and under control) of the same. He asserts:

This mode of depriving the known being of its alterity can be accomplished only if it is aimed at through a third term, a neutral term, which itself is not a being; in it the shock of the encounter of the same with the other is deadened. This third term may appear as a concept thought. The individual that exists abdicates into the general that is thought. (1969: 43)

To know ontologically, then, is to violate alterity because such knowing "amounts to grasping being out of nothing or reducing it to nothing, removing from it its alterity" (1969: 43-44). In one of his later essays, 'Ethics as First Philosophy,' Levinas renews his emphasis on the idea of appropriation through grasping, describing knowledge as a process "of seizing something and making it one's own, of reducing to presence and representing the difference of being, an activity which appropriates and grasps the otherness of the known" (1989: 76, emphasis in original). This "grasp," again, is a conceptual grasp - and the implicit critique of Hegel is impossible to miss: "as an entity, being becomes the characteristic property of thought, as it is grasped by it and becomes known. Knowledge as perception, concept, comprehension, refers back to an act of grasping" (1989: 76).

14. Levinas dates this "ontological imperialism" as far back as Socrates and, in particular, Socrates's idea of freedom, which is essentially a freedom from otherness, from externality: "to receive nothing of the Other but what is in me, as though from eternity I was in possession of what comes to me from the outside - to receive nothing, or to be free" (1969: 43) . The "shock of externality" can be buffered only by translating alterity into the categories of the same which receives it - the third term of the concept. Jeffrey Dudiak notes that for the "neutral third to do its job, for mediation to be effective, the other must surrender, must cease to be genuinely other" (1997: 161) . Western philosophy - seen through the Levinasian lens - thus emerges as a philosophy of violence. This violence is, above all, conceived of as a conceptual violence that denies the alterity - the singularity - of the other. In Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, this form of conceptual violence is at work in self-consciousness's coming to itself in that which for Hegel (and Taylor) enables "mutual recognition," i.e. absolute Spirit. Spirit reveals the isomorphic structure of knowing and being in intelligibility and thus brings self-consciousness into the realm of truth. Simon Critchley points out that consciousness - the knowing ego - for Levinas therefore represents "the Same [. . .] par excellence." Consciousness is the "melting pot of Being" and as such the very "site for the transmutation of otherness" (1992: 6). Through what Levinas calls a process of "adequation," the knowing ego reduces the structures of the world to the structure of the self, thus "consuming" exteriority and abolishing alterity. Critchley's lucid summary of that process is worth quoting in full:

Now, Levinas claims, the ego desires liberty and comprehension. The latter is achieved through the full adequation or correspondence of the ego's representations with external reality: truth. The ego comprehends and englobes all possible reality; nothing is hidden, no otherness refuses to give itself up. Liberty, therefore, is simply the assurance that no otherness will hinder or prevent the Same and that each sortie into alterity will return to self bearing the prize of comprehension. Philosophy is defined by Levinas as the alchemy whereby alterity is transmuted into sameness, by means of the philosopher's stone of the knowing ego. (1992: 6)

We can see here how the traditional definition of truth as adequatio rei et intellectus - the correspondence theory of truth - becomes intertwined with the idea of representation: if being is thought of as ideal presence then a concept can perfectly re-present it. In fact, we can go further than that: re-presence allows being to appear in that idealised "presence" in which it is never actually encountered in the world. Adriaan Peperzak thus comments, "Being is inseparable from its being said [. . .]. Being and wording belong together, the active essence cannot be separated from a verbally pronounced meaning. If beings appear as identities, they owe it to a noun that encloses them in a horismos of a (fore)word which has already been announced" (1993: 216) . Concepts hence not only allow re-presentation; they constitute beings in their (imagined) full presence. Levinas explicitly links the "grasping" of the other to idealisation when he says that consciousness is therefore "always the grasping of a being through an ideality. Even an empirical, individual being appears through the ideality of the logos" (1996: 80). In a turn of phrase that harks back to Nietzsche, Levinas remarks on representation's "temptation to idolatry" which turns the singular other - what Levinas calls the "face" - into Spivak's "portrait." It is in this reduction of the "face" to its "portrait" or, in Levinas's terminology, to its "plastic form," that the violence of representation lies:

Here we have thought, approaching even the uniqueness of the unique that is expressed in the face, in the same way as visible and plastic forms. [. . .] Now, in the image, thought reaches the face of the other reduced to its plastic forms, exalted, fascinating, and proceeding from an exacerbated imagination, though they may be. Though they may be a work of art! (1999: 122-23)

As a result of this portrayal the unique other becomes an individual, one of a species, and dies a certain "death" [7] where its living specificity is stripped of him/her in life-like representation:

From a certain point of view, in the plasticity of pure appearance, there emerges the caricature of "eyes that do not see," "ears that do not hear," "noses that do not smell" of Psalms 115. We catch a glimpse of an inanimate idol in these verses, but especially the inanimate resembling the face, which allows itself to be "portrayed," to go into "copies," "exempla": shadows that destroy the uniqueness of the unique and return it - an individual - to the generality, the extension of a genus. Opening of the very "order" in which resemblance reigns or is disseminated. (1999: 123)

This "empty form," as Levinas also calls it, is an "'unreally' or ideally present thing" (1999: 123) . In this "presence," and consistent with the logic of grasping and appropriation, this "empty form" therefore also takes hold of temporality - as that which for Levinas represents the ultimate other. Time loses its alterity and becomes "thought of as presence [. . .], immediately interpreted on the basis of a re-tained or pro-tained, remembered or anticipated presence" (1999: 124). Past and future, in other words, are only meaningful in relation to presence, as former or future presence.

15. Political representation, such as it is demanded by identity politics and provided in a Hegelian model of bi- or multicultural recognition, would therefore for Levinas inevitably lead to ethical violations because any representation not only "stands in for" but also presents a certain "portrait" of this other. As a result of this portrayal, the unique other loses his or her alterity. According to Levinas, the portrait painted in thought (i.e. representation) inevitably abstracts from, and therefore violates, the ethical singularity of the other. Political representation - the representation of "the other" in a bi- or multiculturally refracted mainstream - is therefore achieved only at the cost of ethics. Because this is too high a price to pay for Levinas, he privileges the (metaphysical) "face" over the (ontological) "portrait" and thereby deals a substantial blow to the kind of conceptual "ontology" still assumed by identity politics. The ethical encounter is pre-conceptual, and the other can therefore not be "understood" or "recognised" against a shared conceptual "horizon." In other words, a "politics of recognition" is not possible in a Levinasian account. The other cannot be recognised and re-presented because the "face of the other is an inviolable resistance to structure, to violence, to the necessary violence of my structures" (Dudiak, 1997: 164). As such, Levinas offers an important ethical corrective, or "last ethical frontier," to the epistemic violence "the other" experiences in the name of the "political bottom line." Without this corrective, I suggest, no bi- or multiculturalism could ultimately hope to have anything productive to offer to postcolonial articulations of cultural otherness.

16. The question arises, however, whether Levinas, in critiquing the "portrayal" inherent in representation, does not also lose the powerful other side of the representational coin, that is, "proxy," or political representation. Beatrice Hanssen's observation - though directed at thinkers other than Levinas - aims at a similar critique when she says:

Altering Spivak's remarks on the polyvalence of the term "representation," which can refer to political representation (Vertretung) as well as epistemological (re)presentation (Vorstellung , Darstellung), one might ask whether such variants of antifoundationalist pragmatism, in relinquishing the second meaning of the word on epistemological grounds, do not also risk giving up reflections on the status of political representation, that is, on who exactly is the subject of the performative utterance and in whose name it is tendered. (2000: 177)

This is a valid point. In Levinas's case, I would go even further and say that one risks not only giving up reflections on the status of political representation but giving up political representation per se , which, in a postcolonial context, is clearly too high a price to pay, for to relinquish the political representation of "the other" would ultimately mean to give up postcolonialism's "political bottom line." [8]

Ethical Politics: The Friendship "to Come"

17. Is the other "the political bottom line, the last ethical frontier"? So far it appears that the other can only be either one or the other, can only be either "the political bottom line" or "the last ethical frontier." But in his "originating question" Bhabha clearly imagines a form of otherness that carries both political and ethical demands. How, then, can we bring together the ethical singularity of the other person and the universality of concepts operative in the realm of politics, representation and ontology? How can we imagine a bicultural relationship in Aotearoa/New Zealand without a violation of singular otherness? Further, how can we imagine this relationship of a partnership between two peoples - as the official rhetoric has it - outside the parameters of the appropriative binary logic it structurally resembles?

18. For Derrida, a model for such non-violent relating is found in friendship or, more specifically, the promise of "a certain experience of friendship." Thus he says:

I do not believe in non-violence as a descriptive and determinable experience, but rather as an irreducible promise and of the relation to the other as essentially non-instrumental. This is not the dream of a beatifically pacific relation, but of a certain experience of friendship [. . .]. This is a friendship, what I sometimes call an amiance , that excludes violence; a non-appropriative relation to the other that occurs without violence and on the basis of which all violence detaches itself and is determined. (1996: 83)

What this passage suggests - importantly, in a postcolonial context - is that an ethical "friendship" does not ignore an obvious history of colonial violence. Neither does it simply state an ideal of a perfectly non-violent future. Instead, just as the bicultural "partnership" between Maori and Pakeha promises to redress the legacy of colonial violence in Aotearoa/New Zealand, Derridean "friendship" opens up a promise of non-violence. This promise brings about a critical engagement with the present; it "determines" the violence of the present in view of the promise of a "non-appropriative relationship to the other."

19. In his essay on 'The Politics of Friendship,' Derrida - clearly in close agreement with Levinas - describes friendship as a relationship of ethical response to, and responsibility for, the other person. But as the title of the essay - 'The Politics of Friendship' - suggests, Derrida, unlike Levinas, is specifically concerned with locating this ethical relationship with the singular other within the realm of politics, which is the realm of representation and the universal. Thus he says:

One answers to the Other who can always be singular, and who must remain so in a certain way, but one answers before the law, a tribunal, a jury, some agency (instance) authorized to represent the Other legitimately, in the form of a moral, legal, or political community. Here we have two forms or two dimensions of the respect implied by any responsibility [. . .].

Of these two dimensions of the relation to the Other, the one maintains the absolute singularity of the Other and of "my" relation to the Other, as well as the relation of the Other to the Other which I am for him. But the relation to the Other also passes through the universality of the law. This discourse about universality which can find its determination in the regions of morality, law, or politics, always appeals to a third party, beyond the face-to-face of singularities (1988b: 640-41).

We can see in this passage how Derrida draws on the language of representation while at the same time insisting on the irreducibility of the singular other to the structures of representation, that is, to politics and the law. Derrida's understanding of friendship with the other in this section is clearly a close precursor to Bhabha's understanding of otherness as both politically and ethically undeconstructable. But what exactly makes this conjunction of politics and ethics possible?

20. The question of time is crucial in this context, because time is associated with an exteriority so absolute that it cannot be reduced to the metaphysics of presence. Time is the absolute other. Derrida asserts:

Friendship is never given in the present; it belongs to the experience of waiting, of promise, or of commitment. Its discourse is that of prayer and at issue is that which responsibility opens to the future (1988b: 636).

Friendship, as Derrida sees it, always remains "to come." Derrida's idea of the "to come" is distinct from the future, which is a modality of the present. Reflecting on the unique temporality of the "to come," Derrida emphasises that it is a "future" marked by an "absolute opening" and "non-determinability." Thus the "appeal of the future [ l'avenir ]" - as that "which overflows any sort of ontological determination, which overflows everything that is and that is present, the entire field of being and beings, and the entire field of history" - is that it is "committed to a promise or an appeal that goes beyond being and history" (Derrida and Ferraris, 2001: 20). Derrida explicitly distinguishes his idea of l'avenir (future) as à venir (to come) from the type of future assumed by Hegel - a teleological movement towards Spirit - and its more recent reinvention as a "fusion of horizons" in Taylor's politics of recognition. Whereas, in Caputo's words, "Hegelian time lacks what is truly proper to time: contingency, freedom, exposure to the future" (1987: 18), Derridean time seeks to embrace precisely those qualities in his idea of the "to come." Thus Derrida explicitly rejects the ideas of horizon (from which the future is "pre-comprehend[ed]") and teleology (which amounts to a "negation of the future"):

It is perhaps necessary to free the value of the future from the value of "horizon" that traditionally has been attached to it - a horizon being, as the Greek word indicates, a limit from which I pre-comprehend the future. I wait for it, I predetermine it, and thus I annul it. Teleology is, at bottom, the negation of the future, a way of knowing beforehand the form that will have to be taken by what is still to come. (2001: 20)

From such a negation of time's alterity Derrida differentiates his own "emptied out" idea of the eschatological or messianic - what he calls the "kenosis of the eschatological and messianic" (2001: 20) - whose hallmark is precisely the radical openness and indeterminacy that is lacking from Hegelian time. He continues:

Here, what I call the eschatological or the messianic is nothing other than a relation to the future so despoiled and indeterminate that it leaves being "to come" [ à venir ], i.e., undetermined. As soon as a determinate outline is given to the future, to the promise, even to the Messiah, the messianic loses its purity, and the same is true of the eschatological in the sense we are giving it now. (2001: 20)

What comes into view here - or rather what does not come into view - in Derrida's idea of the "to come," with its connotations of radical openness and indeterminacy, is an idea of ethical singularity derived from Levinas. In an important passage, Derrida emphasises:

What has to be "saved" by this kenosis, if it is the irruption of a future that is absolutely non-reappropriable, has to have the shape of the other, which is not simply the shape of something in space that cannot be reached. That which defies anticipation, reappropriation, calculation   - any form of pre-determination - is singularity . There can be no future as such unless there is radical otherness, and respect for this radical otherness. (2001: 21, emphasis in original)

Justice, for Derrida, lies in an attentiveness to the singular other which defies the modality of the present and presence, and which cannot be re-presented or conceptualised but is forever deferred as the "to come." Justice therefore lies outside the law, for the law only ever operates on the level of "presences" - that is, on the level of (ontological) conceptuality and politics. Derrida emphasises that justice is precisely that which "overflows law":

It is here - in that which ties together as non-reappropriable the future and radical otherness - that justice, in a sense that is a little enigmatic, analytically participates in the future. Justice has to be thought as what overflows law [ droit ], which is always an ensemble of determinable norms, positively incarnated and positive. But justice has to be distinguished not only from law, but also from what is in general. (2001: 21)

So justice is "the singular event of engagement" which disrupts, or overflows, the rule of politics and the law (Derrida, 1996: 83) . As such, justice - the other - always remains "to come" and is what keeps a postcolonial politics of otherness vigilant; vigilant, that is, for the sake of the "last ethical frontier" of the singular other.

21. But what is the logic that ties together the given and the yet "to come"? How can these two opposing impulses be articulated in conjunction? What is implicit in Derrida's idea of the "to come" is a much older idea - the idea of what he calls the "strange alogical logic of [. . .] iterability," which for him "entails the necessity of thinking at once both the rule and the event, concept and singularity" (1988a: 119). As the logic that allows for politics and ethics - the "political bottom line" and the "last ethical frontier" - to be negotiated rather than kept separate, iterability disrupts the logic of representation that is responsible for their separation. In a reversal that fundamentally disrupts the logic of representation, Derrida asserts that an object is not simply present in the world and then re-presented but that, on the contrary, the "presence-of-the-present is derived from repetition and not the reverse" (1973: 52). This is possible because a sign necessarily needs to be repeatable to work as a sign. However, by the same token, because a sign does not have an ontological foundation, the effect of ontology - the "presence of the present" - comes to depend on this very repeatability.

22. The important next step in Derrida's argument is that, because it depends on repeatability, the sign is open for continuous re-inscription. Consequently, "iterability does not simply signify [. . .] repeatability of the same, but rather alterability of this same idealized in the singularity of the event, for instance, in this or that speech act" (1988a: 119). In other words, iterability has a double function: repeatability of the same and alterability of the same - something Derrida calls identificatory and altering iterability. While identificatory iterability repeats the same as the same, altering iterability repeats the same differently. The moment of repetition upon which the maintenance of "the same" depends therefore introduces a break - or what Bhabha calls a "time-lag" (1994b: 247) - that suspends the simple continuity of "the same." Because the "presence-of-the-present" is being continuously established and re-established, presence - "the same" - is denied ontological closure. Each repetition brings "the same" face-to-face with the other - an encounter which renders "the same" radically open and indeterminate. The moment of repetition, then, is the moment, or the event, when politics is reinscribed through ethics, when the political other is reinscribed through the encounter with the singular alterity of the ethical other.

Iterability Between Iteration and Alteration

23. Can a postcolonial political formation such as biculturalism be "founded" on a non-violent logic? This is a difficult question. On the face of it, Charles Taylor's invocation of a "dialectical" alternative to binary logic in the service of a multicultural solution - mutual recognition against a "shared horizon" - might have offered a promising model for biculturalism. However, as Levinas's critique clearly shows, a Hegelian-inspired philosophy such as Taylor's cannot but replicate the violation of the other it was supposed to redress: transcending the otherness of "the other" in dialectical Aufhebung within a "shared horizon" reduces the absolute otherness of "the other" to the conceptual structures of the same. And yet, if we renounce the solutions Taylor offers us, what are we left with? Is it possible to maintain, rather than transcend, a distinction between self and other without inevitably replicating the colonial violence of binary logic that this distinction structurally resembles? Or, as Bhabha puts it, "Can there be life without transcendence?" (1993: 120). Concretely, is biculturalism's maintained distinction between Pakeha and Maori a feasible postcolonial solution for redressing the legacy of colonial violence in Aotearoa/New Zealand?

24. For Bhabha, "the non-dialectical moment of Manicheanism suggests an answer" (1993: 120); in other words, he proposes that a maintained rather than transcended "binary" distinction between self and other indeed carries the promise of a solution. It is the logic implicit in this promise that my essay has explored, and it is ultimately in defence of this promise that it has invoked philosophical arguments. Like Bhabha - and like Derrida, upon whom Bhabha relies in this suggestion - I am also inclined to think that it is a maintained, rather than transcended, "binary" opposition that might offer a solution. Specifically, I suggest that in affirming, with Bhabha, that "the other" cannot be gone post because it is both politically and ethically foundational we need to assume that the logic of representation has been replaced with iterability. "The other" can only be the "political bottom line" and the "last ethical frontier" when representation is neither embraced (as in Taylor's politics of recognition) nor rejected (as in Levinas's ethics of alterity) but rethought as iterability. Iterability allows for the articulation of otherness within given representational structures while at the same time keeping the articulation of this otherness open for the "to come." The moment given structures are interrupted and re-instated a "time-lag" emerges in which the path of the singular other is crossed. The definition of otherness is thereby held open for the unforeseen - for the absolute other (alterity) to cross the path of reified otherness and thus make possible an ethically refracted politics of "the other." The ethical supplement is crucial here because only an other that is both the "political bottom line" and the "last ethical frontier" can give rise to a postcolonial self/other relationship that is distinct from it colonial antecedents; and only iterability can bring this ethical supplement to a politics of representation that in itself cannot but replicate the very violations it set out to redress.

25. The hope generally associated with iterability in postcolonial contexts - and the case of New Zealand biculturalism is no exception here - is therefore that the repetition of the self/other binary, having crossed the path of the absolute other, returns as "almost the same, but not quite" (Bhabha, 1994b: 86, emphasis in original), thus introducing ambivalence into the heart of stable power relationships and displacing the logic upon which they rely. Biculturalism, in this reading, would therefore attach itself to binary logic like a parasite and repeat it ethically, as " almost the same, but not quite." Iterability, in other words, offers biculturalism, and postcolonialism more generally, the promise of alterability. This promise hinges on the element of risk which iterability instils into discursive practices for, as Judith Butler puts it with reference to the related concept of performativity, the "established discourse remains established only by being perpetually re-established, so it risks itself in the very repetition it requires" (2000: 41).

26. And yet, while I thus clearly agree with Bhabha that a suitable solution might be found in "the non-dialectical moment of Manicheanism," I would hesitate to call my agreement more than tentative. This hesitation finds its justification in a concern I habour that he paradoxically presents his celebration of ambivalence that arises in the "time-lag" between repetitions in a rather non-ambivalent way. Similarly, while I certainly do not want to quibble with the value of this element of risk Butler observes - which does, after all, bear the promise of emancipatory change - I would like to draw attention to the reverse side of this claim, which is that repetition risks reinscribing the established discourse. Thus Kevin Hart, for example, emphasises, with reference to Derrida, that it "is important to recognise that the [. . .] claim is not that a sign does change its meaning if repeated but that a sign's meaning is always open to change" (1989: 13 .

27. It is my contention that this proviso is not often enough attended to in the debates that have issued forth from Derrida's theory of iterability. Thus when Bhabha claims, for example, "that no repetition is the same as the preceding one" (1994a: 198), he collapses Derrida's important distinction between identificatory and altering iterability and attributes a degree of power to iterability which it might not have, or at least might not have in such unequivocal terms. It seems to me that Bhabha tends to underestimate the power of identificatory iterability to re-inscribe a hegemonic discourse. Despite Bhabha's optimism, then, a maintained Manicheanism also always risks replicating exactly the binary logic it seeks to displace. This is what Judith Butler calls the "risk of reinscription":

[. . .] this is the risk of any "reinscription," that it will mime too closely the terms it seeks to displace, reproduce the credibility of the ground, and that the displacement will, under the force of hegemonic reinscriptions, become reversed and domesticated, thereby restoring the concept to the very grounding that, through repetition, it was supposed to put into question. (1993: 8-9)

Butler's acknowledgement of this second "risk," however, remains a relatively isolated occurrence; a vast majority of critics tend to (over)emphasise that a discourse risks itself in the constant repetition from which it emerges. It is obvious why this risk (posed by altering iterability) should be privileged over the second risk (posed by identificatory iterability), associated, as it is, with the very ambivalence and agency that allows for a hegemonic discourse and its (in this case) violent dualities of self and other to be challenged. It should be obvious from my discussion that I clearly sympathise with this emphasis on altering iterability; however, while I share the hope that Bhabha associates with it, I want to caution rather more than he does that the power of identificatory iterability should not be underestimated.

28. The wide-scale disregard of this second risk results in a precipitous celebration of the destabilising power of iterability where closer investigation of precisely what makes iterability identificatory in one instance and altering in another is mandatory. In its repetition of the colonial distinction between self and other, Pakeha and Maori, a bicultural "partnership," for example, may well offer the promise of a "non-appropriative relation to the other" that Derrida calls "friendship," but the question to be asked with each re-instatement of this "binary" distinction is whether the "presence" it produces is informed by the spirit of this promise or whether it constitutes a simple repetition of an all too well-known colonial logic in a new guise. [9] For while the promise of alteration, of non-violence, might be part of every repetition, iterability can never guarantee that this promise will be kept; if it did, it would foreclose the very opening and indeterminacy of the "to come" that allows this encounter with alterity in the first place. An ethical politics is therefore a politics without guarantees. While this might appear a very questionable "foundation" for any politics, it seems to me that if the "promise of non-violence" is to be taken seriously, this is the only politics worth having.


Simone Drichel (MA Freiburg; PhD Vic) teaches New Zealand and postcolonial literature in the English department at Otago University. She has research interests in the area of continental philosophy and critical & cultural theory, with a particular focus on questions of ethical subjectivity and deconstruction in a postcolonial context. She has an article on 'The Time of Hybridity' forthcoming in Philosophy & Social Criticism and is working on a book-length study on the intersection of postcolonial theory and continental ethics. She is also currently co-editing Frameworks, a new volume of critical essays on New Zealand writer Janet Frame. Email:


[1] A notable exception to this general trend is found in Gayatri Spivak's work. See especially Spivak, 1994 and Spivak, 2002 . For explicit attempts to render ethically driven questions politically relevant in a postcolonial context, see also Rosello, 2001 and Gandhi, 2006 .

[2] I am thinking here of Charles Taylor's "politics of recognition" and Emmanuel Levinas's "ethics of alterity," both of which are discussed below.

[3] "Pakeha" generally refers to New Zealanders of European origin. New Zealand's founding national document, the Treaty of Waitangi (signed in 1840), established a contract between two signatories - representatives of some (not all) Maori tribes, on the one hand, and the British Crown, on the other. Though the question over appropriate forms of reference for contemporary descendents of those signatories is far from settled, it is common practice in New Zealand to distinguish, simply, between Maori and Pakeha.

[4] See Spivak, 1993: 70 .

[5] The term itself is Sartre's. See Critchley, 2002: 6 .

[6] Note the use of the word "horizon" here. Levinas draws an explicit connection between "horizon" and "concept" - both of which rely on a metaphysics of presence which sacrifices singularity on the altar of an idealised presence - when he says that "Since Husserl the whole of phenomenology is the promotion of the idea of horizon, which for it [an existent] plays a role equivalent to that of the concept in classical idealism; an existent arises upon a ground that exceeds beyond it, as an individual arises from a concept" (1969: 45). In "Violence and Metaphysics," his long essay on Totality and Infinity, Jacques Derrida similarly links the two terms and, in a move which implicitly challenges the whole thrust of Hegel's Phenomenology, asserts that alterity, the absolute other, escapes both: "Concepts suppose an anticipation, a horizon within which alterity is amortized as soon as it is announced precisely because it has let itself be foreseen. The infinitely-other cannot be bound by a concept, cannot be thought on the basis of a horizon; for a horizon is always a horizon of the same, the elementary unity within which eruptions and surprises are always welcomed by understanding and recognized" (1978: 95) .

[7] Cf. also note 6 above for Derrida's related observation that alterity is being "amortized" by the delimiting horizon of the concept.

[8] It is hardly a new observation that Levinas was decidedly less interested in politics than he was in ethics. Much recent Levinasian scholarship has engaged specifically with the complex question of the relationship between politics and ethics in Levinas's work. While it is beyond the scope of this essay to offer an account of this debate here, I want to draw attention to the "problem" Jacques Derrida first identified in the work of Levinas, namely "how to think the other, if the other can be spoken only as [. . .] nonalterity?" (1978: 116). In other words, what makes Levinas's thought resistant to straightforward adoption in a political context is precisely his critique of representation in the name of the singularity of the ethical encounter. In this encounter, the other is utterly unique, as Levinas emphasises in unmistakeable terms: "in ethical peace, the relation is with the inassimilable other, the irreducible other, the other, unique. The unique alone is irreducible and absolutely other!" (1996: 166). Such uniqueness cannot be expressed in language because, to quote John Caputo, "as soon as language has arrived on the scene the singular has already fled, already slipped out the back door" (1993: 202).

[9] This question might be very productively directed at the Foreshore and Seabed Act, passed by the New Zealand government in 2004. Was this act passed in accordance with the "promise of non-violence" that the official rhetoric of bicultural "partnership" seems to make? Or does this promise not rather allow us to determine this Act as violent, and thus as complicit with New Zealand's legacy of colonial violence? In other words, the Foreshore and Seabed Act repeats colonial logic - and this repetition seems to re-instate and corroborate this logic, rather than alter and displace it.


Bhabha, H. K. (1993) 'Remembering Fanon: Self, Psyche and the Colonial Condition.' In Williams, P. & Chrisman, L. (Eds.) Colonial Discourse and Post-Colonial Theory. A Reader. Hemel Hempstead, Harvester Wheatsheaf, 112-23.

Bhabha, H. K. (1994a) 'Between Identities. Homi Bhabha Interviewed by Paul Thompson.' In Benmayor, R. & Skotnes, A. (Eds.) Migration and Identity. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 183-99.

Bhabha, H. K. (1994b) The Location of Culture, London and New York, Routledge.

Bhabha, H. K. (1997) 'Editor's Introduction: Minority Maneuvers and Unsettled Negotiations.' Critical Inquiry, 23, 431-59.

Butler, J. (1987) Subjects of Desire: Hegelian Reflections in Twentieth-Century France, New York, Columbia University Press.

Butler, J. (1993) 'Poststructuralism and Postmarxism.' diacritics, 23, 3-11.

Butler, J., Laclau, E. & Zizek, S. (2000) Contingency, Hegemony, Universality: Contemporary Dialogues on the Left, London and New York, Verso.

Caputo, J. D. (1987) Radical Hermeneutics: Repetition, Deconstruction, and the Hermeneutic Project, Bloomington and Indianapolis, Indiana University Press.

Caputo, J. D. (1993) Demythologizing Heidegger, Bloomington, Indiana University Press.

Critchley, S. (1992) The Ethics of Deconstruction: Derrida and Levinas, Oxford and Cambridge, Blackwell.

Critchley, S. (2002) 'Introduction.' In Critchley, S. & Bernasconi, R. (Eds.) The Cambridge Companion to Levinas. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1-32.

Derrida, J. (1973) Speech and Phenomena and Other Essays on Husserl's Theory of Signs, Evanston, Northwestern University Press.

Derrida, J. (1978) Writing and Difference, London, Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Derrida, J. (1988a) Limited Inc, Evanston, Illinois, Northwestern University Press.

Derrida, J. (1988b) 'The Politics of Friendship.' The Journal of Philosophy, 85, 632-44.

Derrida, J. (1996) 'Remarks on Deconstruction and Pragmatism.' In Mouffe, C. (Ed.) Deconstruction and Pragmatism: Simon Critchley, Jacques Derrida, Ernesto Laclau and Richard Rorty. London and New York, Routledge, 77-88.

Derrida, J. & Ferraris, M. (2001) A Taste for the Secret, Cambridge, Polity.

Descombes, V. (1980) Modern French Philosophy, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Dudiak, J. M. (1997) 'Structures of Violence, Structures of Peace: Levinasian Reflections on Just War and Pacifism.' In Olthuis, J. H. (Ed.) Knowing Other-Wise: Philosophy at the Threshold of Spirituality. New York, Fordham University Press, 159-71.

Gandhi, L. (2006) Affective Communities: Anticolonial Thought, Fin-de-Siècle Radicalism, and the Politics of Friendship, Durham and London, Duke University Press.

Gooding-Williams, R. (2001) 'Race, Multiculturalism and Democracy.' In Bernasconi, R. (Ed.) Race. Oxford, Blackwell, 237-59.

Hanssen, B. (2000) Critique of Violence, London and New York, Routledge.

Hart, K. (1989) The Trespass of the Sign: Deconstruction, Theology and Philosophy, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Hegel, G. W. F. (1977) Phenomenology of Spirit, Oxford, Clarendon Press.

Houlgate, S. (2003) 'G. W. F. Hegel: The Phenomenology of Spirit.' In Solomon, R. C. & Sherman, D. (Eds.) The Blackwell Guide to Continental Philosophy. Oxford, Blackwell, 8-29.

Levinas, E. (1969) Totality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority, Pittsburgh, Duquesne University Press.

Levinas, E. (1989) 'Ethics as First Philosophy.' In Hand, S. (Ed.) The Levinas Reader. Oxford, Blackwell, 75-87.

Levinas, E. (1996) Basic Philosophical Writings, Bloomington and Indianapolis, Indiana University Press.

Levinas, E. (1999) Alterity and Transcendence, New York, Columbia University Press.

Meffan, J. & Worthington, K. L. (2001) 'Ethics Before Politics: J. M. Coetzee's Disgrace.' In Davis, T. F. & Womack, K. (Eds.) Mapping the Ethical Turn: A Reader in Ethics, Culture, and Literary Theory. Charlottesville and London, University Press of Virginia, 131-150.

Peperzak, A. (1993) To the Other: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas, Indiana, Purdue University Press.

Rosello, M. (2001) Postcolonial Hospitality: The Immigrant as Guest Stanford, Stanford University Press.

Spivak, G. C. (1990) The Post-Colonial Critic: Interviews, Strategies, Dialogues. Ed. S. Harasym. London and New York, Routledge.

Spivak, G. C. (1993) 'Can the Subaltern Speak?' In Williams, P. & Chrisman, L. (Eds.) Colonial Discourse and Post-Colonial Theory. A Reader. Hemel Hempstead, Harvester Wheatsheaf, 66-111.

Spivak, G. C. (1994) 'Responsibility.' boundary 2, 21, 19-64.

Spivak, G. C. (2002) 'Ethics and Politics in Tagore, Coetzee, and Certain Scenes of Teaching.' diacritics, 32, 17-31.

Taylor, C. (1992) 'The Politics of Recognition.' In Gutmann, A. (Ed.) Multiculturalism and "The Politics of Recognition." Princeton, New Jersey, Princeton University Press, 25-73.

Yar, M. (2001) 'Recognition and the Politics of Human(e) Desire.' Theory, Culture & Society, 18, 57-76.

© borderlands ejournal 2007



To top of page to top of page spacer
ISSN 1447-0810