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On UniversalsConstructing and Deconstructing Community$
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Etienne Balibar

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780823288564

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823288564.001.0001

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Constructions and Deconstructions of the Universal

Constructions and Deconstructions of the Universal

(p.19) 2 Constructions and Deconstructions of the Universal
On Universals

Étienne Balibar

, Joshua David Jordan
Fordham University Press

This chapter studies the lectures which the author gave in the United States in 2005. It develops, guided mainly by Hegel and his legacy, the notion of conflictual universality, moving from enunciation to domination and from the latter to the subjectivation of the bearers of the universal, who measure the existing community against the ideal of universality. The chapter considers two types of approaches favored by philosophers who share the belief that the universal is decidedly not a given, but rather a process. A process, furthermore, in which the “opposites” of the universal are continuously affecting or contesting the universal in return. For certain philosophers, the process at issue is a progressive construction of the universal that proceeds by the internalization of its opposites within the concept itself, opposites that are thereby transformed into mediations of its own development until, from the dialectic, a concrete figure of the universal emerges. For other philosophers, however, the process is doomed to lose control of its own idea or question in a dissemination without end. Whether or not Derrida invented the term deconstruction, he remains the key reference here, because he subjected to critical interpretation all the antitheses of the universal.

Keywords:   Hegel, conflictual universality, universality, universal, philosophers, construction, Derrida, deconstruction

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