Certainty in the Coming Community
Jane Mummery & Vijay Devadas
University of Ballarat and Otago University
2008 marks a rethinking of some of the certainties through which we have engaged with issues of war, terror, indigenity, economics, and the state of the planet. This rethinking points to both a social present that is less certain, less sure and more open, and perhaps to the potential of what Agamben calls the ‘coming community’. This, he describes as the situation where the condition of belonging, or more precisely the co-belonging of humans, is not premised upon or built through ‘any representable condition of belonging’ (1993: 86), since all representable conditions of belonging, operate through a violent inclusion/exclusion logic (the divisive ‘us’ versus ‘them’ logic common to the policies of both the Howard and Bush governments, for instance). More crucially, the representable conditions of belonging are built upon particular certainties—about identity, the environment, terrorism and so on—that can hinder the possibility of change and transformation. This is why, for Agamben, the coming community is a community that ‘do[es] not possess any identity to vindicate or any bond of belonging for which to seek recognition’ (1993: 86). Rudd’s apology and the ratification of Kyoto, Obama’s impending intervention and reorganisation of the US’s position on climate change, the war on terror and domestic policies, are marks of the possibility of forming and forging such a community, one that is less concerned with marking tropes of inclusion and exclusion and more concerned with dismantling these very regimes of regulation.
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© borderlands ejournal 2008