|What the face communicates, which is different from what any face may speak, is the precariousness of life.|
In some of what he [Levinas] writes, the face is said to communicate the sound of agony, and though the face is a visual phenomenon, it works primarily through displacement, gaining its effectivity through the sound it conveys or through the sense of human frailty it bears. It follows, then, that not every face is a face, and many things that are not faces nevertheless serve as the face.
If we consider the use of the face within the media in the last year and a half, we see that the face of the enemy is produced time and again as one forecloses the apprehension of the precariousness of life. The figures that come to represent either the spoils of war or the targets of war are not quite human faces, but neither do they serve as the condition for humanization. They do not constitute a norm for human-ness, but they nevertheless produce a frame within which the human is negotiated. (link)
.. trips from and to Berlin even within Germany just take time .. at least if one goes by train or alike .. anyway finally it made me buy the just published german version of Judith Butler’s ‘Precarious Life‘ (as I had not made it yet to order the original version, eventhough mentioned here earlier) and read like through major parts ..
Despite the time factor – as the book was published still during the ‘aftermaths’ of 9/11 on intellectual life – and that the theme became renewed or extended in a certain sense, the book to me is much more than just a reflection and reaction on the immediate influences on intellectual life through global terror and the discovery of vulnerability. It reaches out against a certain attitude of retreat from analysis coming hand in hand with a narrow re-establishment of first-world arrogance to consolidate positions constructed along a one-sided access of historical processes .. not questioned at all ..
There would be much more to say – some of the essays reach from a personal experience of identity opening to a border extending definition of nation … quite interestingly also defining precariousness as an opening opportunity … though to keep it up to the level some good reviews which have been published already earlier:
.. from salon the demand for theory: Who says theory is dead? via the chutry experiment
.. via flakmag
german: excerpts / taz