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flētum: a prayer for X

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Abstract:

Somewhat hesitantly, this paper asks ‘what place for you and me in assemblage?’ What, if anything, remains of the ‘you’ and the ‘me’ after ‘assemblage theory’? As, with this new material imaginary, subjects are once again subject to dispersal and decentring, fading into flickering networks and multiplied across orders and orderings, this paper seeks to recall the singularity of the other. To do so the paper reflects on the all too fragile difference between ‘him’ and ‘it’, and on how and why we should try to remember this difference (a recalling that may well constitute the ‘we’ in the first place). At the same time, the paper seeks to cite and perform specific ‘relations of address’– belief, doubt, vow, dis-agreement, hesitation, promise, weeping, mourning, prayer – relations that are, arguably, specific to that between the I and Thou, and that demand a specific form of grammar, exposure and existential commitment. Finally, the paper suggests, albeit implicitly, that the forms of speech and rationalisation that we are involved in here, in papers and journals such as this, only take on sense when they are addressed to or owed to an other and that this corporeal, ethical and existential fact underwrites all other claims.

Keywords: grammar; mourning; prayer; relations; singularity; you

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-4762.2011.01009.x

Affiliations: Department of Geography, University of Durham, Durham DH1 3LE, Email: paul.harrison@durham.ac.uk

Publication date: June 1, 2011

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