Unhinged: difference and agonism at things and the threshold at space and place

Authors: Nick Patin*, University of Colorado - Denver
Topics: Political Geography, Cultural Geography, Social Theory
Keywords: agonism, agnosticism, killing, unseen, hidden, invisible
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2020
Start / End Time: 11:50 AM / 1:05 PM
Room: Governors Square 15, Sheraton, Concourse Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The presumption of a seamless and unified Being, as enunciated by Heidegger’s (1971) presence, gives rise to a logical conclusion of harmonious consensus. Whereas such agreements do in fact occur, the unified passivity of Being was deconstructed by Derrida (1976), as he argues an elision of presence vis-à-vis absence, which constitutes a pre-established difference between one and other. As far as one assumes Derrida’s arguments base in both the linguistic and spatial relationships of things, the contention between thing differentiations requires some agonistic struggle in the established enunciation of each quality in each thing. Homogeny thereby crumbles into heterogeneity with the conditions of non-consensual aggressive negotiation.

This paper aims to embrace the agonistic contention at the basis of each differential thing, in both the qualities and the spatial and placial practices enacted at each thing. By relying on various spatial thinkers (geographers, critical theorists, and philosophers) this paper outlines a political consideration of agonism at the base of absence, nothing, and pre-consensual negotiation. The peaceful negotiation implied in the participation of consensus becomes struggle via elision. This paper argues that the poetic participation of things, of space, place and landscape, are rife with acts of everyday killing – acts that ablate qualities of things to the unseen, hidden, and invisible. Rather than security and certainty at the base of the Being of each thing, this paper proposes an alternative approach of non-theological agnosticism at each thing. Such agnosticism provides an indeterminate quality of each thing that base in nothing.

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