- Le cercle mythique: Walter Benjamin sur la politique et son interruption
- Anthropology & Materialism
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA)
This contribution starts from the idea that it is not so much pre-modern political orders that appeal to mythical logic, but contemporary ones. Lacking an external authority, contemporary political orders cannot but erect themselves in an act of auto-constitution. With reference to Walter Benjamin’s ‘Critique of Violence’, one could conceive of this act as the mythical encirclement of foundation and conservation. Although democratic regimes famously encourage ongoing debate about political affairs, this mythic circle seems to shut the door on fundamentally contesting the given order. This is why the interruption of the mythic logic is situated by Benjamin not in another political order, but in the other of politics. This article will however examine the possibility of interrupting the mythic circle not by opening or referring to a beyond of the legal order, but by making use of an originally accepted practice in this order. This possibility concerns a train of thought developed by Benjamin himself but largely neglected by the numerous commentators of his text : his digression on the impunity of the lie as an example of non-politicized form of communication within the political order.
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