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Revista de Estudios Sociales

versión impresa ISSN 0123-885X


MANRIQUE, Carlos Andrés. Sharing the Secret: Between Law and Fiction (Literature and Politics in the Thought of Jacques Derrida). rev.estud.soc. [online]. 2010, n.35, pp.88-100. ISSN 0123-885X.

To understand Derrida's conception of the relationship between literature and politics, one needs to begin with his reflection on the connection between the production of meaning in language, on the one hand, and the demarcation of borders in socio-political space, on the other. For Derrida, literature is a specific kind of writing that, by intensifying the limits of meaning, suspends or de-stabilizes the socio-political borders erected by all institutional normativity. This article reflects on the mutual entanglement, thus emphasized by Derrida, between a certain idea of "literature" and a certain idea of "democracy." What is at stake here is the possibility of configuring the political community by other means. This possibility implies the challenge of re-thinking the exercise of freedom and the affirmation of an unrestricted universality, no longer in the transparency of a fully-accountable subject or in the space of intelligibility of discursive rationality, as we are used to thinking about them. But rather, it is a freedom associated with an irreducible opacity of the subject, and a universality associated with an instance of excess (the "secret'), which dislocates the structure of discursive meaning. By pointing out suggestive points of convergence between several late Kantian texts and some works by Derrida on the apophatic writing of medieval mysticism, the article attempts to show how Derrida's meditation on the political function of literature prompts us to question and de-stabilize the opposition between "Enlightenment" and "mysticism", and a series of dichotomies tied the latter that have become dogmatic in our understanding of politics.

Palabras clave : Derrida; literature; deconstruction; mysticism; Enlightenment; Kant.

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