Workshop, University of Amsterdam, January 10–11, 2013
Some of the ‘grand theories’ of contemporary cultural analysis ascribe a prominent position to love in its relation to politics. In Commonwealth Michael Hardt & Antonio Negri have paradigmatically conceived of love as the creation of the common. The cooperative logic of love, its capacity to joyfully potentiate the power of the multitude, defines the ontological ground for the construction of alternative communities. In Alain Badiou’s ontology of the event love is of central importance as well. If not directly linked to politics, then it is at least of a similar structure as politics: love and politics are processes of truth that are equally initiated by an event.
The links between love, politics and truth are not unproblematic however. The discussion of love touches upon elementary desires and the very formation of the subject. Especially therefore the emancipatory value of a discourse of love is highly questionable. According to Sara Ahmed the rhetoric of love does not only introduce a normalizing structure, where diversity would be most necessary. A political discourse of love also narcissistically tends to re-affirm social identities by generalizing idiosyncratic usages of a highly loaded term.
Love, however, is politically coded from the very beginning. The sociologist Eva Illouz has inquired the institutional practice that mediates and shapes the self-perception, the desires and relations of individuals. Commercialized forms of mediation (dating sites etc.), she claims, transform the very nature of emotions, of love and affectionate relations. But how can and should love be distinguished from politics if it is socially determined through and through? How is it connected with political desires and strategies? Is love a useful concept for critical theory or does it rather obscure the political struggles that are at stake?
Thursday January 10
Doelenzaal, University Library, Singel 425
Cecilia Sjöholm, Södertörn University, Sweden
The Time of the Phallus? Object and Desire in the 21st Century
Rainer Just, University of Vienna, Austria
“In the name of love”. Adorno vs Badiou
Henk van der Liet, UvA
Negotiating Genre and Love: Jørgen Leth’s autobiography, morality and public indignation
Marie Beauchamp, UvA
Universal Political Ideals vs Loving the Patrie: Olympe de Gouges’ Trial
Naomi Combrink, UvA, Love stories and the Bovarian Reader
Friday January 11
Potgieterzaal, University Library, Singel 425
Johan Hartle, UvA
Armed Love. From Gramsci to Negri
David Boothroyd, University of Kent, UK
Nguyen Vu Thuc Linh, UvA
“This Circus Wasn’t that Scary, Now I feel I Can Dance”
The Politics of Love and Precarity in Jacek Kuroń’s Prison Letters
Marjolein Platjee, UvA
Denying Impending Widowhood: The Denial of the Death of the Husband Out of Self-love
Anders Johansson, Umeå University, Sweden
“I love you!”. The Politics of a Cliché
- ASCA, Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis
- NICA, Netherlands Institute for Cultural Analysis
- Department of Philosophy, Cluster Critical Cultural Theory
- Department of Scandinavian Literature
You are all invited to participate in the discussion.