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Trauma and TranscendenceSuffering and the Limits of Theory$
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Eric Boynton and Peter Capretto

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780823280261

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823280261.001.0001

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The Artful Politics of Trauma: Rancière’s Critique of Lyotard

The Artful Politics of Trauma: Rancière’s Critique of Lyotard

(p.121) Chapter 6: The Artful Politics of Trauma: Rancière’s Critique of Lyotard
Trauma and Transcendence

Tina Chanter

Fordham University Press

Just as Rancière challenges the absolute difference between politics and art, he resists the absolutization of the other that he sees as characteristic of the ethical turn in contemporary aesthetics. The tendency of Lyotard, however, remains turning alterity into the unrepresentable, the unassimilable, and the unthinkable. Its consequences are precisely what Rancière forebodes with the appropriation of the sublime: For all its talk of art witnessing that which is unrepresentable—and the holocaust as the unrepresentable per se—the ethical turn only manages to rejoin a discourse of purism. If everyone is traumatised, what specific meaning remains for trauma? This chapter explores the context of Rancière’s critique of Lyotard, particularly regarding the attenuation of any sense to trauma that accumulates a privileged status for its singular event; it subsequently interrogates the generalization of trauma to such an extent that one evacuates it of any significance.

Keywords:   Aesthetics, Ethics, Lyotard, Jean-François, Politics, Rancière, Jacques, Sublime

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