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'How shall I say it...?' : relating the nonrelational.

Harrison, P. (2007) ''How shall I say it...?' : relating the nonrelational.', Environment and planning A., 39 (3). pp. 590-608.


As the ideas of the relational and relationality become part of the everyday conceptual make-up of human geography, in this paper I seek to recall the insistent and incessant importance of the nonrelational. In dialogue with nonrepresentational theory, as well as its critics, I suggest that any thought or theory of relationality must have as its acknowledged occasion the incessant proximity of the nonrelational. The occasion for this discussion is a consideration of the relationship between suffering, pain, or passion and the thematising actions of representation, communication, narrativisation, and theorisation. Such affections, it is claimed, present social science with a particular problem, a problem which revolves around an irreducible nonthematisability within these dimensions of corporeal existence. Drawing on the writings of Butler, Derrida, and Levinas I offer an account of how this problem or impasse allows for a rethinking of the ethical within social analysis and of the nature of representation, corporeality, and intersubjectivity.

Item Type:Article
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Date of first online publication:February 2007
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