You are on page 1of 19

dragan kujundz ˇ ic ´

vEmpire, Glocalization, and the Melancholia of the Sovereign 1

The multitude is the real productive force of our social world, whereas Empire is a mere apparatus of capture that lives only off the vitality of the multitude—as Marx would say, a vampire regime of accumulated dead labor that survives only off the blood of the living. —Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire, 62. What is thus put at risk by this terrifying autoimmunitary logic is nothing else than the existence of the world, of the global itself. —Jacques Derrida, Le ‘‘concept’’ du 11 semptembre, 98–99.2

Who or what will come out of going global? Who or what is going global, and who or what is going to come out of it? From the word go, the questions multiply. There are several regimes that one can hear in the phrases ‘‘go global’’ or ‘‘going global.’’ One is the admonition to go global, now that everybody or everything else has. An encouragement, an invitation, a welcome: go global, release yourself from national or other boundaries of identity, be free! A shipment, an envoi, is going global, a letter without destination or a preprogrammed itinerary and without assured delivery. Going global might be precisely this possibility of never arriving or never arriving properly; but also going global might be never having departed from a certain, designated space in the first place. The other sense, the other direction, of going global, is quite the opposite, a warding-off of the global: Go, go away global! The global should go away with all its misery, the political and ecological devastation that follow globalization like a shadow. No less a figure than Hannah Arendt warned, almost sixty years ago, in The Origins of Totalitarianism, that ‘‘The danger that [is] a global, universally interrelated civilization may produce barbarians from its own midst by forcing millions of people into conditions which, despite all appearances, are the conditions of savages’’ (302). That danger of going global will be or will have been a reverse potential of any going global. Is ‘‘going global’’ good to go? Who or what will come out of it? One should hear in ‘‘going global’’ an almost poetic beauty, an alliteration of g/gl, gl/g, go, go, goo, goo, gl, gl, al/la, la/al, la/la, a poetic equivalence, to speak
82

meanings. as Heidegger would have it. or globalization: La création du monde ou la mondialisation (2002). free to go anywhere. English. The benefits of global communication are sometimes celebrated. It would entail the transformation of the so-called global sphere into a space of globalized exchange under the banner of English. which is. this glottic repetition. The standardizing power of globalization is a cause for celebration. a sovereign globality of the one. and directions open to it. of course. Glocalization. towards what Jean-Luc Nancy calls the creation of the world. and. an enjoyment in and of the words. One should be mindful that universalism may be blind to the fact that if anything is worth ‘‘communicating. ‘‘Notes on Globalization as a Philosophical Issue.in Roman Jakobson’s terms: a language in its infancy. globetrotting experience that is almost literary—poetic. and idiomaticity. thus. Going global sentences other cultures not to a poetic but to a generalized equivalence. one should not forget that this alliteration. as the slogan of a generalized erasure of all alterity. going global as the going of and dissemination of the global. even a secret one. my native SerboCroat. since it allows us to communicate with each other. combinations. globe. Going global may be seen. a pleasure of a glossa. a glottal-global. is possible only in English. with all the future and the potentiality of senses. a jouissance of going global. You cannot go global in French. But there is a great risk. in Jameson’s view.’’ from The Cultures of Globalization. and if we talked vEmpire. g-o-o-o-o global!. Fredric Jameson writes that ‘‘we are now in a position to benefit from globalization in the activation of a host of new intellectual networks and the exchanges and discussions across a variety of national situations which have themselves become standardized by globalization to the degree to which we can now speak to each other’’ (65). unpredictable. In his essay. Russian. of words. going global. idioms. of the Other.3 This going global would be the name of an erasure of alterity. Going global would be the becoming of the totality of senses. singular difference. and the meaning for which it stands and as it stands. ‘‘as an exercise of an infinitely finite and insatiable signification which is the act of being in a sense of being placed in the world’’ (l’exercice insatiable et infiniment fini qui est l’être en acte du sens mis en monde) (64). By the same token. and that going global is going on at the expense of other languages and cultures. that such standardized communication would take place in English. a forced translation of an English-dominated globalization. and the Melancholia of the Sovereign 83 .’’ it is an irreducible difference. Going global would be the very glottic opening of language and into language. by the best interpreters of the global condition. ultimately money. by means of a universal equivalence. the global is/as going global. or any other language. which is going global at the expense of all other possible global folds. according to Marx. senses and meanings that go in every direction. going global as the smoothing of the global surface. German. the world worlds. Going global as a pleasure.

That inclusion marks the death of a certain political. taking a slightly different direction. one always a neighbor. Western other can live on and keep the death’s memory. one the reverse side of the other. and the twinning of the world. The extent to which such a potential erasure is remembered and warded off will be the measure of the success of going global in a sense of creating the world. We will be encountering such intertwining and twinning. And the 360- 84 the comparatist 29 : 2005 . that the global dominance of English should or could be used as a vehicle enabling minority discourses to preserve and disseminate whatever might yet be archived or saved of their irreducible but ever-diminishing difference. At the opening of the world there will be an erasure and a forgetting of the Other.only after every difference had been erased. the Polish twin of Veronique. or the twin of the other. the other of a force of globalization that obliterates national and particular difference) constitute the double structure of any going global. such a doubling of the world. The globalization of English brings with it a certain impoverishment of English or American cultures and idioms from within. Let’s admit at once: the opposing possibilities (one of the preservation of local identity in the face of a need to globalize. a double. One could certainly argue. standardized. It is a world of twins. as Thomas Kuhn has it. the twin fangs of a glottic opening. In a similar way. in every sense: the twin shadow left at the origin of the word and of the world. so that the French. but also diminishes the very English culture from which it detached itself in its going global. democratic modes of political representation and integration. with a 360degree revolution of the camera. one has to bear in mind that the standardization of English on a global scale not only diminishes and erases the specificity of other cultures and languages and reduces the range of political and religious options. the Copernican revolution. mediated and mediatic. going global and biting both ways. The scene also inscribes Poland (in 1990) within the orbit of the Western world. The inclusion of Poland in the West takes place by means of a death of one double. one the reverse or erasure of the other. then no communication would take place. by the time its effects reached the eighteenth century (in itself a revolutionary century). ii The central scene in Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Double Life of Veronique (1991) takes place on the square near Jagiellonian University in Krakow. ‘‘the common property of Western man’’ (227). finally became. This originary erasure would be the condition of going global. Nevertheless. communal immediacy and of a national identity and the birth of prosthetic.

second. Nancy exposes precisely such an ambivalence in the conjoining proposed by the title.S. almost exactly 500 years before. and the Melancholia of the Sovereign 85 .5 A messianic and religious undertone of the current aspirations of going global couples the sovereignty of ideological or economic capital with the sovereignty of one God (of which Rome is but an em- vEmpire. first in trying to make itself the religious leader of the world and then the leader of all the proletariat. Nancy goes on to say: . a choice between the creation of the world. the creation of the world. in Moscow. an empire that was not truly global but subsumed under the dominance of a sovereign state.R. At the beginning of his The Creation of the World. an indifference: either the creation of the world or globalization will come to the same thing. Here. now the Historical Museum. third. in 1491.S. since it is not a question of prophesying or of mastering the future. how should we open up in order to look ahead of ourselves where nothing is visible. Glocalization. But that unification.degree shot takes place at the Jagiellonian university where. is not far from an aspiration that Derrida calls mondialatinisation (globalatinization). an attempt to unify the workers of the world.4 Global displacement is not something that occurs without historical or technoideological precedents. or. The Creation of the World. . Copernicus started attending. there was a display of a globe with a hammer as a telephone receiver and a sickle as a cradle. a gift from the Polish workers in 1950. otherwise called ‘‘globalization’’) (10). or. Globalization. . Globalization. The globe-phone also provides an occasion to remind ourselves of attempts since the fifteenth century to make Moscow ‘‘the third Rome’’ and to remind us that a certain self-assumed messianism on the part of Moscow. or its other. creates three possible relations between the two: first. however admirable and desirable (in this day and age superseded by the Internetional ). This gift in the shape of the globe should remind us that Moscow and Russia were also the cradle of a global aspiration of a different kind: the Third International. was thwarted by the fact that this was an attempt at establishing a false empire. globalization. In a recent exhibit of the gifts to Stalin in the former Museum of the Revolution. otherwise known as globalization. ‘‘mondialisation’’ (until now reserved for technical and economic matters. with our eyes guided by two terms the sense of which escapes us— ‘‘creation’’ (until now reserved for theological mysteries). the U. the birth of a certain global redrawing of European identity is achieved at the expense of the commemoration of the death of the Other.

political. there is no more place for depositing garbage and the refuse of the history of modernity. on the last page of The Possessed. the world that is its own waste. as Zygmunt Bauman argues. or ignores established national borders.)? Who or what am I—a puppet. out of the reach of those who work for capital’s proliferation. and economic accumulation and its benefits accrue outside. for comparative literature. the work of technē and technicity. etc. keeping us suspended and hanging in the air. Negri and Hardt have given this global phenomenon the name ‘‘empire. The state does not know where or how to ground itself. is an enormous energy at work that turns the world into the site of a circulation of goods. SwissCom—where are my words. from which. sociologists warn that we live on a planet which is full and without space. mobile. often desperately and with inadequate means. The global phone is an index of displacement that transforms the ground on which we communicate. proletarian monotheism). cellular. 86 the comparatist 29 : 2005 . or not for fun only.blem that stands for all Christian monotheism or. when using the phone. One. what Nancy calls écotechnie (ecotechnics). obliterates. not unlike the hanging Stavrogin. whereby the former sovereign power of the nation-state becomes an emptied-out shell and a memory. in such a world? iii Going global—who or what will come out of it? Nancy’s analysis pursues two possibilities of going global. Accumulation of capital becomes the sovereign of the world. problems created globally have to be treated locally. work. merchandise. Having gone global. Quite literally. And indeed.6 The radical mobility of capital undermines. There is a price to pay. There is a decoupling between the power and structure of political representation. hanging as if from a string. the citizen of the canton Uri. situational. the work taking place in the world that works toward the world’s destruction. we live on a globe in which modernization as mondialisation in its devastating effects have come full circle. But the refuse is overwhelming. talk. or teach. a machine ventriloquized by a phone corporation.’’ The world in this sense of globalization is the world dominated by an instinct toward death: to follow Nancy. in the case of Moscow. This piece of technology keeps a person attached to the global telecommunications network. More and more. which could be called globalization proper. and into a universal equivalent (money). as a subject (national. we hang like a puppet or a doll. The global phone is mentioned here not for fun. global? And what is the ground for comparison. plenary and planetary. and the coupling between the sovereign state and capital gives way to a dehiscence (Nancy 164). where am I.

which he signed in the middle to give his approval. The building is famous for having an asymmetrical facade. The myth has it that Stalin was given two blueprints of the hotel. a left and right section of the elevation. And the film turns that loss into a source of a post-historic. melancholic sovereignty. and the Ark of the Covenant). reinforcing the suggestion of the movie’s title that the Hermitage is a ship. shot in one take. In a move that was not without scandal. As a result.’’ The camera then pans onto the misty waters of the Neva and the Baltic Sea. The hotel interior is a masterpiece of high Stalinist architecture. the hotel was built with an asymmetrical facade. The very symbol of an epoch and of the city of Moscow is to be vEmpire. two modern-day sailors in military uniforms confront the Marquis de Custine (Sergei Dreiden) and get into an argument with him. the Winter Palace (now the Hermitage Museum). the hotel was recently sold by the Moscow city council and Mayor Yuri Luzhkov for scrap. built by Alexei Shchusev. the Bible. we have to throw the same kind of ball in the spring. as a track shot follows the crowd descending the Jordan Stairwell (named after the River Jordan. Glocalization. But it is a ship which is not hermetically sealed. filling itself with the memory of its own loss—not least the loss of Russia’s supreme. The Russian Ark is a ship that leaks. marking his importance for Russian and Soviet architecture). hermetically sealed behind its Iron Curtain. Mukhina. the sovereignty of melancholia. Toward the end of the movie. and the Melancholia of the Sovereign 87 . thus making additional connections between the Russian Ark. Deneika. The reference to Kursk inserts a hole in the ark by invoking the worst Russian submarine disaster ever: the sinking of the Kursk. Discreet but insistent sounds of grinding metal remind one throughout the movie of the noises a ship or a submarine would make under distress. (There is to this day in Moscow an architectural museum that justly bears Shchusev’s name. Another example can testify to a similar melancholic displacement or loss of national sovereignty. The Russian Ark leaks the lack that it tries to contain. and a veritable gallery of invaluable works of art by some leading painters and sculptors of the Soviet era: Gerasimov. the same architect who built Lenin’s mausoleum and for a while— before they kicked him out—Stalin’s.Alexander Sokurov’s Russian Ark (2002) takes place entirely at the foremost site of Russian sovereignty. And in one scene. it is said. we overhear an exchange between a governor and his wife: ‘‘When we get back to Kursk. known also as Stalinist baroque. At the very center of Moscow there is the Hotel Moscow. sinking. and no one dared to come back to ask him which façade he preferred. Messianic national sovereignty.

in the Russian language. with a menacing look. as is well known. of two buildings in the center of Moscow. but more about that a bit later). and next to it. brought President Putin into power and keeps him there. even a return of certain Stalinist aspirations. His first elections were preceded and assured by the explosions. even the legality of the democratic electoral procedures. attributed to Chechen terrorists. the young consumerist paradise with the world in its name. and it is stretched the entire length of the façade. Detski mir (the world of children). Political analysts have noticed a return of the figure of the leader. that. the Duma. this self-proclaimed gaze of the future. And in a nearby store for children. The Hotel Moscow.’’ The sovereignty of the lawgiving state institution is emptied out by the gaze (of all things in Russia) of a German car. in Putin. ‘‘Give war a chance. with an inscription: ‘‘This is what the future looks like’’ (tak vygliadit budushchee). The tension at the heart of Moscow’s and Russia’s identity. The advertising is reflected in the windows of the house of the Russian parliament and even clearly visible as a reflection in the plaque fixed on the building that bears the institution’s name. who is beyond criticism. is accented by the fact that the menacing gaze of the machine. a melancholic state which often turns to violent compensations: war. according to some political analysts. bmw. Going to war is a favorite compensatory mechanism to cover the internal weakening of a nation-state: a lack of investment in the supporting structures of sovereignty. 88 the comparatist 29 : 2005 . baring its fangs (one would be tempted to say the twin fangs of capital. such as education. that also privileges a gaze. proclaims the future: ‘‘this is what the future looks like.’’ And Russia. rented the façade of the still-standing building as the place to display an ad for a new bmw. As a graffito on the campus of the University of California at Irvine said in the days preceding the war in Iraq. a grand display of a globe. a Nokia telephone.’’ And to the left there is an ad for another symbol of global techno-mobility. all these are replaced by a compensatory bellicosity. the Führer of the nation. internal and external repression.’’ the condition of a sense of loss of sovereignty. two football fields. health care. nationalism at the place of the disappearance of the nation-state. one can buy an electric miniature version of a bmw. for some reason was not on the list of the buildings protected by the state. on another façade. ‘‘The State Parliament. pension funds. An effect of globalization? Not long ago (in the summer of 2003) an automobile company. the state now fills itself with something we could call ‘‘sovereignism.torn down. the solidifying of a police state. In lieu of sovereignty. invented a war in Chechnya (and declared it finished three years ago. in the year 2000): a standing exercise of compensatory violence that. a building built to last ages. covered over and traversed by a techno-economic monopoly. looks directly at the Russian state parliament. and therefore a monument by any measure has been slated for destruction. another ad. The ad has the front grill of the car.

Glocalization. by Charlie Chaplin (1940). who overthrew Milošević. or in the makeshift detention camps. One could give some more examples of the effects of globalization on a nationstate by analyzing the dissolution—the collapse—of Yugoslavia. The Jewish barber and the dictator. Muslim others. and culture). pauperizing the population and leaving the nation in the dark. which it did in Milošević’s favor. as its scapegoat. the last elections of Milošević were forged. is a masterly example of the ways in which a certain globalizing aspiration has at its origin a repression of the twin other (in this case the obliteration of German Jewry. after immense devastation. one leader. particularly in oil and electricity. The regime stayed in place until it ran out of scapegoats. This autoimmune turning of the nation against itself 7 finally. and the Melancholia of the Sovereign 89 . stay in power? By inventing an enemy. while a few businessmen in oil and energy got rich beyond belief at the expense of the rest in a devastated country. of which the recent killing of the prime minister Zoran Djinjdjić is but a last. the government. monopolized the media. the new government was marked by corruption and numerous falsifications in electoral procedures. or in cities like Sarajevo. Milošević’s trial in the Hague takes an immense and vEmpire.’’ In the film. And how did such a regime. political or literal body that wants to climb above all others. in every sense of the word. and the people themselves for a brief moment became sovereign. as the German anthem to this day proclaims: ‘‘Deutschland über alles in der Welt. economy. one sovereign. or Djakovica in Kosovo. who were left to rot in the common graves in Srebrenica in Bosnia. the rule of Milošević was marked by malversations in the energy industry. Hinkel. belated spasm. That is not to say that the Jewish barber and the dictator are one and the same (twins are never the same) but that the construction of sovereign national identity always entails a destruction of otherness in the very social. if you prefer). turned out also to be a stroke of luck: it provoked a revolt of the population. are both played by Chaplin. the Muslim other. reduced to rubble—and then the regime turned openly against its own populace.The Great Dictator. coupled with corrupt capital (the liberalized market. which was in many instances the most exemplary and most ‘‘integrated’’ contributor to ‘‘German’’ art. such sovereign global aspirations are brought to their radical consequence when the globe with which the German dictator plays bursts in his hands. and used them to whip up a bellicose frenzy. The establishment of sovereign globalizing power here takes place by means of the obliteration of the twin within the one: one nation. and the Supreme Court was called in to decide the election. literature. The government of Slobodan Milošević was efficient in dismantling the social and material infrastructure of the old Yugoslavia.

In his ‘‘Perpetual Peace. ‘‘Hospitality is culture itself and not simply one ethic among others. without which the general ethical imperative of hospitality would be an empty word. violence gone postal and global. In Theo Angelopoulos’s Ulysses’ Gaze (1996).’’ which would be another name for ethics. to others as our own or as foreigners. Eventually.’’ Kant writes famously that ‘‘the right to visit. . etc. he finds it in modern-day Sarajevo. Harvey Keitel. legal systems. for example contracts among states. for since the earth is a globe. a future. a modern-day Ulysses. as envisioned by Kant. searches for the undeveloped reels of a movie made by the Manakis brothers. Kant’s reflections have been taken up recently and systematically in several works by Jacques Derrida which reflect on the ‘‘future of democracy. Both unconditional hospitality and the legal formalization of hospitality into the law. In On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness. and most recently in Voyous. during the last war. Between the two appears an opening for something or someone to arrive. . it gives a possibility to the future.’’ in the essays On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness (2001) for example. This corruption is always a possibility and even a necessity. the turning of hospitality into the law.’’ The reflection is not new that modernization and mondialisation are each other’s obverse and are part and parcel of what is called ‘‘modernity’’ with all its violent contradictions. with the film being kept by a Jew- 90 the comparatist 29 : 2005 . ethics is hospitality’’ (2001. that is. international laws. . should be unconditional: it gives space and place to the Other. in the age of globalization. democracy to come. one’s home. This ethics of hospitality.unprecedented step towards establishing forms of international legal protection by providing a recourse to international justice. Derrida posits something called ‘‘unconditional hospitality. subsuming hospitality under the governance of sovereignty. make space for the entire practice of the political. For example. because originally no one had a greater right on earth than anyone else’’ (118). iv Going global: what will come out of it? Recent violent accelerations in world history. tolerate living in close proximity. they cannot scatter themselves infinitely. which is a tautology. to associate. 16–17). It should be what unconditionally precedes and informs its other potentiality. belongs to all men by virtue of their common ownership of the earth’s surface. the first movie ever made in the Balkans. force a reflection on the possibilities of peaceful coexistence in the condition called ‘‘global. but must. the manner in which we relate to ourselves and to others. Insofar as it has to do with ethos. finally.. the residence. the familiar place of dwelling.

substituting a specific GrecoJewish ethics of space. . la pensée du monde à venir et d’abord de ladite terre humaine traverse la terreur. of the sovereignty of the indivisible nation-state (aujourd’hui . the fears and the trembling of an earthquake whose every shake is in some way overdetermined and marked over by the forces of evil and of sovereignty—of sovereignty in general but more visibly. . precedes any gazing. The states losing their sovereignty close themselves off from the Other. Derrida asks questions about the future (à-venir) of reason and about its becoming (de-venir) (in short. facing the tremors of a singular and unconditional event that goes under the name of globalization. if you wish. according to which the ‘‘face of the Other’’ (pace Levinas). the thinking of the world to come and. in fact. spacing. Ulysses’ Gaze thereby contests the privileging of sight and gazing. and the war vEmpire. of the so-called world of humankind is passing through terror. particularly.ish curator. and therefore. or temporality. is not given to visibility. as the very conditions of the nation-state. which is published as the concluding chapter of his Voyous. Yugoslavia was never at war. of comparative studies as well): . . the alien. plus lisiblement. increasing in numbers in the current desedimentation of the nation state. les craintes et le tremblement d’un séisme dont toutes les secousses sont en quelque sorte surdéterminées et surnommées par des forces en mal de souveraineté—de souveraineté en général mais plus visiblement. Ulysses watches the empty reels of the first films projected before his eyes. today . The Kantian call for an enlightened cosmopolitanism between nation-states is put to the test. there was no declaration of war. The desedimentation of the sovereign nation-state in the spasms of what I have called ‘‘sovereignism’’ paradoxically undermines the possibility of waging wars in the classical sense or mutates wars into another form. first. find themselves in crisis. Milošević’s regime was not. at war with anyone. and the Melancholia of the Sovereign 91 . the foreign. more readably. de souveraineté état-national indivisible) (2003. the future of studies. . the ethical. . 196). In his essay ‘‘Arriver—aux fins de l’Etat (et de la guerre et de la guerre mondiale)’’ (To Arrive—At the End of the State [and the End of War and of World War]). After the curator and his family are killed. Glocalization. that which. . and those in need of political protection—the last group. if we turn to the example of Yugoslavia. and the sovereignty of reason. And indeed. stricto sensu.

not even virtually). as an undertow of global capital. Dracula is therefore an avenger against or defender from the Muslim other. waged by Serbian troops who lost to the Ottoman forces but at the same time stopped them and constituted by the loss the southern border between the Christian and Muslim worlds. and latched onto it like a virus. It is necessary therefore to purge him from the very empire that produced the vampire as its guardian at the border in the first place. war’s reverse. vampirelike. Dracula is someone who avenges. mostly civilian casualties and suffering. in Iraq. constituting and defending Europe and Christianity.really never took place (not in Baudrillard’s sense. lives off the living. This coming-to-the-end of war. a gramophone. it is a vEmpire shadow of an empire. using it as a host for transporting money or killing bodies. but a phonograph. finds its doubling in the spread of terror and terrorism. freely waging war on other sovereign soil. as a fight for a territory or rights of a minority.’’ Nor is it possible to wage a ‘‘war’’ against terrorism. as its resentful shadow. as a partisan war. starts impaling his enemies just as the Turks did (whence his name. as Derrida calls it. unrepresentable. Yes. equipped with the technological means of destruction: not only weapons. Globalization has not only produced mutations in the configuration of the nation-state and therefore a mutation of the right to wage war as a sovereign decision. Van Helsing and the techno-brotherhood. evading the exposure to light or enlightenment. global double. But how did the vampire get to be the figure of universal abjection? What precisely are we trying to purge? In Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992). It is not possible to define terrorism in its most devastating and therefore exemplary instantiations by any classical definition or denomination. the Battle of Kassova. there was devastation and the exercise of nothingness—immense and senseless destruction. 92 the comparatist 29 : 2005 . it is its ubiquitous. human. In the course of mounting the defense from the Other. some fifty years after the event. accumulated dead labor which. unconscious doubling. No less an authority than Marx likened capital to a vampire. Prince Vlad avenges the fall of Constantinople and the advent of the Muslim world in Europe. In Bram Stoker’s novel. and eventually threatens the tranquility and insularity of the heart (threatens also the veins) of the empire. going global in the center of the world and in the World Trade Center. Spreading rhizomatically. and therefore reaching everywhere in the world. London. arguably. typewriters. he becomes like the Other. or a struggle for any other ‘‘cause. exported elsewhere and used to legitimate a certain power and to put the former Yugoslavia in a perpetual state of emergency—but there was no war. The same might now be the case. twin. but also a mutation in terrorist reactions to state violence. or Kosovo (in 1389). neither dead nor alive. Vlad the Impaler). Enter Dr.

he is wounded by light. one the obverse and the twin of the other. the techno-brotherhood on the side of globalization. making the vampire. Dracula’s own trademark tool. the biopolitical figure and the pre-eminent figure of diseases of autoimmunity. Dracula on the side of the sovereignty of the nation-state. the Kodak camera—making its first appearance in literature—drugs. Dracula is also a figure of crumbling sovereignty. photography. we can only hint at that even more sinister interpretive possibility. Dracula is tied to blood and soil (the proverbial nationalist Blut und Boden). and the capacity to transfuse blood. media. trains. In contrast. as Nietzsche would say.8 One should also consider Dracula in general to be the literal believer in transubstantiation. a purging best representing at the same time the Enlightened West in the figure of Lucy Westenra (sic). the techno-brotherhood is equipped with the interiorized Protestant faith symbolized by the Dutch doctor Van Helsing. by the way. the weapons of the technocrats parallel and appear as twins of the capacities of Dracula. who carries with him a cross and a stake. blood. someone who cannot get enough of that Sunday mass wine or blood. the cinema. and money close to him when he travels. Prince Dracula lives the life of the living dead in Romania (more precisely. Dracula is therefore also an epitome of Irish Roman Catholicism (the Fenian nationalist uprising cloaked in the guise of a Romanian prince. (We cannot go here into another terrible European tradition which likened European Jews to vampires and purged them with fire. all put to techno-militaristic purposes. He keeps his soil. But. and the Melancholia of the Sovereign 93 . He has a capacity to mesmerize. an obscurantist and exorcist who purges by fire. living on the top of a mountain in a ruined castle (‘‘the sovereign’’ means the one who lives on the summit. In the movie he cries black tears. a vampire and a vEmpire. the very emblem of cinematic production. Unlike the members of the techno-brotherhood. and testifying to the great analytic and anticipatory capacities of the novel. Walachia’s capital (and therefore the capital of Dracula’s vEmpire.the telegraph. conveyed to the very heart of the British-English empire by the closeted Irishman Bram Stoker). pertaining to the conversion of blood to oil.) And at the center of the battle is blood. they have telephones that work at a distance. and so is their Kodak film. Glocalization. the very figure of the nation-state of the second industrial revolution and the accumulation of capital in a nation-state. metonymy for black bile (μελαν ξολια). who freely roam the globe with weapons and means of telecommunication. Bram Stoker’s Dracula allows further interpretive turns. You could call it love at first bite. Dracula carries his own crypt around and so his own church—churches are the sepulchers of god. and he is someone who keeps internalized the memory of the destruction and disintegration of his own sovereignty. in Walachia). Van Helsing is a combination of scientist and Protestant fundamentalist. chemical weapons like morphine and sulfa. interestingly. the one who is the summit itself ) in eternal melancholia.

It is therefore necessary. for example.10 During the nato bombing of Belgrade and Serbia a few years ago. and of universities and education in particular’’ (225). hyperidentifications with national identities.princely. was likened to a vampire. Morris. globalization carries with it ‘‘a fundamentally political redefinition of the social value of public services. representative. It was about blood. The latter practice has been pursued for quite a while.9 That war was of course not about oil either. (American history books call the raid ‘‘Black Sunday’’). sovereign domain). in the works of Jacques Derrida. let us not forget that the latter also has at his side a faithful gun-toting Texan: Quincey P. which it is necessary to maintain but which is not fully capable of analyzing the events that constitute globalization.11 There you have it. And Ploesti is just a skip away—the area shares the same Black Sea—from some middle Eastern countries in which capitalism sank its twin fangs in search of economic life-blood a long time ago. Van Helsing. one set the double or twin of the Other. That date saw the largest number of American planes and men lost in any single raid: 540 American airmen died and 54 planes were lost. was the site of the largest European oil refinery during the Second World War and the target of one of the war’s largest air raids. The advantage of such discursive or analytic practice over that inherited from the Enlightenment is the capacity to give an account of the unconscious movements of the death wish that are the shadow of the living. while bombing in Ploesti the blood of the economic life of another. the then Yugoslav president. who started his political career with a speech to some half-million Serbs on the field of Kosovo and was supported by the West as a source of stability in the region for quite a while. from media to capitalism. 2002). Longinović. with a politicized psychoanalysis that would be able to give account of spectral. on 1 August 1943. which precisely refuse to be exposed to light (and are precisely created as an effect of the Enlightenment). the German empire. If some may see in the figure of Tony Blair a slightly nutty and hysterical modern-day Dr. 1998. amid a euphoria of nationalist or colonialist. Any future comparative studies will have to investigate this 94 the comparatist 29 : 2005 . Slobodan Milošević. to couple the thought of Enlightenment. As Sam Weber points out in his essay ‘‘The Future of the University. ecotechnic figures. and visible forms. Goldsworthy. hauntological. one-third of the raiding fleet. v Going global: who or what will come out of it? Current world political configurations combine a certain obscurantism and irrationalism with a hypertechnical conclusion that universalism and the Enlightenment will triumph. in order to think the world. capital and the vEmpire hard at work (Cf.’’ in his Institution and Interpretation. Ploesti. but in any case imperialist.

and so forth from any phantasm of indivisible sovereignty and of sovereign mastery’’ (Derrida. as Derrida says. of the Humanities. ‘‘The Future of the University. But the protests themselves initiated and invigorated new debate on the conditions of labor and have revitalized the movement for the so-called alter-mondialisation. and practices. of justice. of deconstruction.difference at work in what is considered to be selfsame in identity and in comparative analytic practice itself. And unless a space for justice is opened before the new comparative studies are undertaken. and in their totality. or turns the work into a network. 219). Without Alibi. operational. As Jacques Nikonoff. for libertarians and some leftists. 2002. of the university. The university should be the place where the ethics of work turn work into an oeuvre. oriented toward the Other. which is steeped in the language of mondialisation. where such a reworking of work in the direction of ethics. and no world will come out of them. the alter-mondialiste movement attempts to surpass the old movement of antimondialisation. the state represents the power of the ruling class. one has first and foremost to reassert already-existing and hard-won democratic institutions. uncompromisingly. wrote in Libération on 18 August 2003. And he goes on to conclude: ‘‘These two currents join each other in the same spasm. The work should be turned into an opening to the world. to vEmpire. And new forms of economic distribution have to be invented. (Weber. and heterogeneity. liberties. the state is an impediment to the free market. one of the leaders of the movement.’’ 2001. Nikonoff writes that ‘‘‘no other world’ (aucun autre monde) will be possible if millions of people remain without jobs. In the summer of 2003. He notices a strange alliance in that regard: for the economic liberals.’’ And he makes an interesting plea for reinvestment in the state. In order to counter some of the terrifying variants of globalization. since the division of the world between so-called democracy at home and war abroad is not sustainable in the conditions called global. we saw France forget some fifteen thousand elderly left to die in the heat.’’ in Derrida. 235). Glocalization. and effective proposals. Derrida writes: ‘‘It would be necessary to dissociate a certain unconditional independence of thought.’’ In his analysis. Both Derrida and Weber point to the ethical demand to change the university itself. for example. 220–235). as Sam Weber proposes in the new edition of Institution and Interpretation. which adds to the always-necessary contestation of globalized capital some concrete. such studies will be only be more of the same. and the Melancholia of the Sovereign 95 . Such processes are in some instances well-advanced and give hope for the future. a vicious regress. unconditional: unconditional but without sovereignty. hospitality. But reassert them radically. and we saw France ravaged by the social and economic turbulence that devastated the working conditions of so-called intermittents—part-time workers—whose just protests resulted in the first-ever cancellation of the festival in Avignon. pace Derrida (‘‘The University Without Condition. is. ‘‘This change corresponds to a profound evolution.

000. but ‘‘it is given with the world. recently in Larzac. and as the 96 the comparatist 29 : 2005 . 63). without this call for justice. and probably foremost. a breath that is spent for it. for example. At the same time. the demand for justice: a protest and a demand against injustice. in it. ‘‘although without presence. . the State is what the citizens make of it. ‘‘will be marked by a certain passivity. industrial and technological flux.deny a positive role that could be played by the State. Under this banner the alter-mondialiste movement today gathers hundreds of thousands of followers at its meetings. le hic et nunc de l’urgence. the outline of the ‘‘planetary’’ organization. of an injunction as an absolute urgency’’ (L’à-venir de la démocratie. 210). the power of multinational corporations. to what will come and to who will come—and therefore has to remain incalculable’’ (exposition à l’autre. de l’injonction comme urgence absolue) (2003. The movement attempts to invent new types of global solidarity. and the extension of capitalism through the entire social body are forming a huge abstract machine that overcodes the monetary. à ce qui vient et à qui vient—et doit donc rester incalculable) (2003.’’ Yes. is nonetheless the hic et nunc of urgency. Nancy echoes that reflection when he writes. c’est aussi.’’ says Jacques Derrida in Voyous. . The State no longer possesses the political. says Nancy. points of contact made possible by the heightened global mobility through which such solidarity will spread. in some way more molecular. ‘‘Democracy to come. institutional or even financial means that would enable it to parry the social counter-attacks on the machine. The workers of the wealthy countries participate necessarily in the looting of the third world. the bureaucracy (even unionized). control and surveillance are becoming more and more subtle and diffused. there is a future and a promise of the world of the future: the world to come will have to be one that exercises democracy. and a thinking that is not that of opposites but democratic alternatives: What characterizes our situation is both beyond and on this side of the state: the development of the world market. It is doubtful it can rely forever upon older forms such as the police. a call that cries for justice.’’ Such justice does not come from outside the world. an opening and exposure to the Other. France. avenir. collective equipment. and nothing will happen. or there will be none. Going global: the world of the future and the future of the world will not come. the means of exploitation. there were some 300. The advent and therefore the future of what is to come. more permanent forms of the global organization of labor. ‘‘Justice is always also. quoique sans présence. the army. . schools or families (Deleuze and Parnet 111–112). In reality. and it should become an instrument of common interest and the object of social struggles for its democratization.

‘‘Autoimunity: Real and Symbolic Suicides. with a number in Switzerland. Most of us. and create the world! u University of California. . 48. . So everyone. it is only just: go global. de l’éthique et du bien-vivre-ensemble s’est désagrégée. l’appel qui crie pour la justice. 3 ‘‘A movement that suspends the assurance of a historical progress. 18–20 September 2003. and since it threatens what is supposed to sustain the world order. by Giovanna Borradori (see list of works cited). Going Global—the Future of Comparative Literature. 7 In a recent interview. Irvine notes 1 Plenary presentation delivered on 20 September 2003. or another character. A published English translation exists. camp. Elle est donnée avec le monde. which works everywhere in the world. though. Acts of Religion. c’est d’un même mouvement que l’assurance d’un progrès historique s’est suspendue. 6 Globalization and waste are extensively analyzed in the chapter ‘‘To Each Waste Its Dumping Site. unfortunately. 15). a movement which affirms an empire that joins technological domination with pure economic reason’’ (Au contraire. 2 Translation mine. et que s’est affirmée la domination d’un empire conjoint de la puissance technique et de la raison économique pure) (Nancy. . en lui et comme la loi de sa donation. the concept of globalization: ‘‘And since this absolute threat will have been secreted by the end of the Cold War and the ‘victory’ of the U. Prince Myshkin. 4 This ‘‘technical and economic evidence. In a word. le souffle qui s’épuise pour elle. and the Melancholia of the Sovereign 97 . Minor changes include an updated list of works cited and stylistic revisions to accommodate the written format. One can obtain it through Swiss Telecom. can say that he or she is a citizen of the canton of Uri. Glocalization.’’ as Nancy has it. which is a desedimentation of an ethics of living together. in Foi et Savoir (Paris: Editions du Seuil. or. que la convergence du savoir. is exemplified by something that is called a global telephone. vEmpire. This very essay should be understood as a phone call for thinking that came from the global phone.) (178). at the Southern Association of Comparative Literature Annual Conference. The Waste of Globalization. just like Dostoevsky’s Idiot. 5 For example.S. Samuel Weber translates ‘‘mondialatinisation ’’ (italicized by Derrida in the original) as ‘‘globalatinization’’ (Derrida. 67).law itself of its being given. Derrida elaborates on the concept of ‘‘autoimmunity’’ and its relationship to what is discussed here. edited and translated by Giovanna Borradori. University of Texas at Austin. without the attendant Swiss bank account. 1996).’’ in Zygmunt Bauman’s Wasted Lives (2004).’’ (La justice est toujours aussi—et peut-être d’abord— l’exigence de justice: la réclamation et la protestation contre l’injustice. Nikolai Stavrogin from the Possessed. 2002.’’ in Philosophy in the Time of Terror: Dialogues With Jürgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida.

The name of the unfortunate raid. 98–99). accessed 1 February 2005). which depicts Slobodan Milošević.8 9 10 11 the very possibility of a world and of any world-wide effort [mondialisation] (international law.af. Borradori. a universal language. no. For the relationship between Bram Stoker’s Dracula and British–Irish colonial tensions. Hannah. dir.’’ Liberation. the caricature by David Levine in the New York Review of Books. vol. 1995. works cited Angelopoulos. New York: Harcourt Brace. of the worldwide [i. Bauman. ‘‘Black Sunday. Pub. in Dracula’s Crypt (2002). Lestat and his apprentice Louis (as in Louisiana) are directly related to the colonial expansion of the U.htm. 2004. among other places. For the ‘‘blood-for-oil’’ economy of the battle. 15. and so on). 3. see Stout. in Louisiana more precisely. Giovanna. global—D.K.] itself ’’ (Derrida. In French the title of the book is Le ‘‘concept’’ du 11 septembre: dialogues à New York (octobre–décembre 2001). what is thus put at risk by this terrifying autoimmunitary logic is nothing else than the existence of the world. ‘‘Une planète pleine et sans espace.’’ with blood dripping from his mouth. the August 1943 Raid on Ploesti’’: ‘‘The most inviting oil target was at Ploesti which was thought to produce a third of Germany’s liquid fuel requirements’’ (http:// www. MA: Blackwell. Jean. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Zygmunt. biopolitical and economic domination. at or around the time of the Louisiana Land Purchase from France in 1803.mil/PopTopics/ploesti. See. 224–247) and of a book (Hill). Philosophy in the Time of Terror: Dialogues With Jürgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida. ‘‘the butcher of the Balkans. Ulysses’ Gaze. 2003.’’ In The Gulf War Did Not Take Place. We could call this episode a Domino-sugar effect. 2003. 1976 [1948]. in an article titled ‘‘Tidalwave. The vampiric and economic hegemony of the United States is explored in Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire. Baudrillard. 2004. and trans. The Origins of Totalitarianism. as the title of a chapter (Dugan and Stewart. The official military history website run by the Pentagon’s Air Force History Support Office gives the following justification for bombing Ploesti. Theo. ed.hq. 5. Fox Lorber Studio.’’ is to be found. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. . ‘‘The Gulf War Will Not Take Place. (les Etats Unis): the economic exploitation of the sugar-cane plantations sucking the sweet excess from colonial expansion. a world market. for example. in French as Le ‘‘concept’’ du 11 septembre: dialogues à New York (octobre– décembre 2001). 98 the comparatist 29 : 2005 . 39. Thus. Paris: Galilée.airforcehistory. embodied in the vampire Lestat (a thinly veiled reference to Les Etats Unis. the United States in French). 1997. 23–28. see the excellent analysis by Joseph Valente. Cambridge. The novel situates this vampiric / vEmpiric etatist-economic expansionism in the American South. Arendt. Wasted Lives: Modernity and Its Outcasts. 30 January 1992.e.. The origin of the economic vampire is directly related to the issues of the unavowable and therefore forever melancholic racial and colonial domination at the origin of the United States. racial.S. 21 July 2003.

Jameson. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Politics. Derrida. Nancy. New York: Semiotext(e). La création du monde ou la mondialisation. Paramount. Tomaz. Krzysztof. Paris: Galilée. the Muslim World. Coppola. Hardt. The Idiot. New York: Ballantine Books. and Antonio Negri. Egoli Tossell Film AG and Hermitage Bridge Studio. Longinović. Foi et savoir. Immanuel. 2002. Dušan I. Sokurov. James. 1999. Fredric. New York: Norton Critical Edition. Washington. . 2003. ‘‘Notes on Globalization as a Philosophical Issue. Michael. Crusading Peace. 1976. and Western Political Order. In On the Line. Kant. Jacques. Ploesti: The Great Ground–Air Battle of 1 August 1943. and the Melancholia of the Sovereign 99 .Chaplin. 1971 (1872). ‘‘Après le Larzac. MA: MIT Press. David Magarshack. The Russian Ark [Russkii kovcheg]. 2002. Empire. The Double Life of Veronique. Rice. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company. de nouveaux défis.3 (30 Jan. Trans. Kuhn. Trans. 1994). D. Hill. Francis Ford. 2002. dir. Christendom. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Ed.’’ Carricature. Mark Dooley and Michael Hughes. Stoker. 2002. 2002. Paris: Galilée. Trans. London and New York: Routledge. Levine. . Nikonoff. Dostoevsky. Jacques. Bram Stoker’s Dracula. 1996. David. ‘‘Vampires Like Us: Gothic Imaginary and ‘the Serbs. Fyodor. dir. Glocalization. 1992). Cambridge. Cambridge. Gilles. Kieslowski. MA: MIT Press. 1999. Samuel Weber. Interview With the Vampire. On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness. 1998. Acts of Religion. Dracula. 2001. 1996. John Johnston. vEmpire. Inventing Ruritania. 2003. Ed. Cambridge. Trans. . Alexander. PA: Schiffer. The Copernican Revolution: Planetary Astronomy In the Development of Western Thought. The Possessed. New York Review of Books 39. dir. Black Sunday: Ploesti (Atglen. . 54–81. Without Alibi. The Great Dictator.’’’ In Balkan As Metaphor: Between Globalization and Fragmentation. Mastnak. . Nina Auerbach and David J. Berkeley: University of California Press. 1992. Trans. Bjelić and Obrad Savić. Skal. MA: Harvard University Press. 1957.C. 1940. 1991. and Carroll Stewart. 1998 (1868). Charles. 2001. Alan Myers. 1983. 2002. Thomas. 1992. Voyous (Rogues). New York: Penguin. 15. dir. New York: Routledge. Deleuze. . Anne. Columbia/Tristar Studios.’’ Libération. Tomislav. 6. Dugan. Jean-Luc. Fredric Jameson and Masao Miyoshi. Trans. New Haven: Yale University Press. Twentieth Century Fox. Paris: Seuil. Bram. Perpetual Peace and Other Essays. Michael.: Brassey’s. 18 Aug. Ed. 2002. Ted Humphrey.’’ In The Cultures of Globalization. Goldsworthy.’’ In Balkan As Metaphor: Between Globalization and Fragmentation. Color. Peggy Kamuf. ‘‘Slobodan Milosevic. Trans. Dušan Bjelić and Obrad Savić. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Durham and London: Duke University Press. 1998. eds. ‘‘Invention and Intervention: The Rhetoric of Balkanization. and Claire Parnet. Vesna.

Irishness. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press. Fortress Ploesti: The Campaign to Destroy Hitler’s Oil. and the Question of Blood. 2003. Institution and Interpretation. Joseph. 100 the comparatist 29 : 2005 . Valente. Dracula’s Crypt: Bram Stoker. Havertown.Stout. Stanford. Samuel. Expanded Edition. 2002. 2001. Jay A. PA: Casemate. CA: Stanford University Press. Weber.