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Derrida and the Inheritance of Democracy

Samir Haddad

Publication Year: 2013

Derrida and the Inheritance of Democracy provides a theoretically rich and accessible account of Derrida's political philosophy. Demonstrating the key role inheritance plays in Derrida’s thinking, Samir Haddad develops a general theory of inheritance and shows how it is essential to democratic action. He transforms Derrida’s well-known idea of "democracy to come" into active engagement with democratic traditions. Haddad focuses on issues such as hospitality, justice, normativity, violence, friendship, birth, and the nature of democracy as he reads these deeply political writings.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Series: Studies in Continental Thought

Title Page, Series Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7

Table of Contents

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pp. vii-viii

List of Abbreviations

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

First, thanks to David Michael Kleinberg-Levin, who, from the very beginning, provided excellent guidance and support, giving extensive feedback on everything he read. I owe an enormous amount to Penelope Deutscher, an inspiring philosopher whose influence on me is hard to measure ...

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Introduction: Derrida’s Legacies

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pp. 1-6

Upon Jacques Derrida’s death in October 2004, obituaries appeared, memorials were held, conferences were convened, and at least twenty-eight academic journals in disciplines across the humanities published special issues dedicated to his memory. Surveying the published record, one is struck by two dominant themes. ...

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1: The Structure of Aporia

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pp. 7-22

Despite the many different topics on which he writes, and the large diversity of authors he reads, Derrida’s texts return the reader with insistence to what seems to be the same logical structure. This structure goes by various names, including undecidable, double bind, double constraint, aporia, contradictory injunction, antinomy, and process of autoimmunity. ...

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2: Derridean Inheritance

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pp. 23-44

Providing a general account of Derrida’s understanding of inheritance is not straightforward, for although the theme appears across the entirety of Derrida’s oeuvre, it does so with varying degrees of importance and weight. In the majority of Derrida’s texts it operates subtly, lightly—the words “inheritance,” “heritage,” “heir,” “legacy,” and so on are found in all sorts of discussions, ...

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3: Inheriting Democracy to Come

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pp. 45-72

Although it is plausible to read an implicit negotiation of political themes across Derrida’s oeuvre, as he and many commentators have claimed, this is harder to maintain for the specific case of democracy.1 For democracy was absent in name from Derrida’s writings for a long time. It only started appearing regularly in his work in the early 1990s, ...

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4: Questioning Normativity

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pp. 73-99

I have advanced an interpretation of Derrida’s writings arguing that inheritance can be understood as a democratic action. Inheritance here is taken not to mean just any reception of the past, but a particular strategy of engagement in which the aporias in traditional democratic thought are exposed and amplified. ...

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5: Politics of Friendship as Democratic Inheritance

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pp. 100-118

I argued in Chapter 3 that Derrida theorizes democracy such that inheritance is a democratic act. To be democratic, one needs to inherit. This interpretation, however, left certain questions unanswered. First, given the tension between Derrida’s diagnosis of a fundamental ambivalence in the structures underlying democracy and his simultaneous support for democracy, ...

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6: Inheriting Birth

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pp. 119-139

In “The Reason of the Strongest,” Derrida again takes up the question of fraternity, this time in relation to the work of Jean-Luc Nancy. The possibility of this reading had been raised in a long footnote in Politics of Friendship, where Derrida questioned the appeal to brotherhood in the inheritance of the Nietzschean understanding of community by Bataille, Blanchot, and Nancy (PF, 46–48/PA, 56–57). ...

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Conclusion: Inheriting Derrida’s Legacies

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pp. 140-142

The point that my analysis reaches at the end of the last chapter may seem far from the central concern of this book. On the face of it the themes and figures of maternity and the mother, of matricide and the monstrous child, have little connection to democracy. ...


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pp. 143-166

Works Cited

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pp. 167-174


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pp. 175-178

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About the Author

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p. 192-192

Samir Haddad is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Fordham University.

E-ISBN-13: 9780253008435
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253008367

Page Count: 192
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: Studies in Continental Thought