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Notes

???

1AC Harmony

Contention 1 Is The Harms


When
When
When
When

I
I
I
I

speak
speak
speak
speak

of
of
of
of

time, the fact is it is not yet,


a place, the fact is it has disappeared,
a man, the fact is hes already dead,
time, the fact is it already is no more. 1

1 Jean Baudrillard. On Disappearance, Jean Baudrillard: Fatal Strategies, pg.


24

Contention 2 Is Contention 3, Contention 3 Is


Even More Solvency
2010: A life at ease
A peaceful and stable job
Wishing the great motherland is increasingly thriving and
prosperous
My family is increasingly harmonious and happy
Fitter / Happier / More Productive
2049: There is no war in any corner of the world
There is no discrimination
Peaceful getting along and also wish that when we reach
that time people from every corner of the world can all
profoundly understand China.
And so China disappears, no longer distinct from the
white noise of hyperreal existence.
Welcome to the 2010 Chinese Expo in Shanghai, signifying
its status as the next great world city. Spanning over
5.28 square kilometers with 246 countries all situated in a
unit-based spatial imaginary, the Expo was officially
articulated as an extension of Chinas harmonious world
that seeks to integrate all nations into a holistic celestial
order of one-worldness based on the logic of (Tinxi)
or All-under-heaven - the World Fair was thus read as a
symbol of Chinese rising greatness, classifying both time
and space to restore its place as the origin of civilization.
Finally we achieve our dream: we live in the Hell of the
Same, a cybernetic landscape of depravity with no
meaning. China disappears
Nordin 12
(Astrid H.M. Nordin [Lecturer in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and
Religion at Lancaster University], Time, Space and Multiplicity in Chinas
Harmonious World, 2012, The University of Manchester Library,
https://www.escholar.manchester.ac.uk/uk-ac-man-scw:186417, pages 135149)
Chinas rise is commonly described in terms of inevitable destiny
because of history. Meanwhile, the PRC leadership is strictly managing the imagined
form and significance of such a rise. Since 2008 China has placed new focus on
using mega events to shape the expectations of domestic and international
We have seen how

audiences, and thus to shape the future. Such mega events included the 2008 Olympic
games, the 2009 60th anniversary of the founding of the PRC, as well as Expo
2010 Shanghai China. Expo 2010 was seen as an expression of and tool for
the building of harmonious world by Chinese academics (for example Zou Keyuan, 2011: 11). Yan
Xuetongs Ancient4 Chinese4Thought4was adorned with an image of the Chinese national pavilion at the Expo on its book cover. The Expo was also
associated with harmony by the party- state. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao
stuck closely to the official articulation of harmonious world when he
described the Shanghai Expo as: an encyclopedia lying open on the land and
a magnificent painting showcasing the integration and harmony of diverse
cultures The World Expo is a vivid demonstration of the diversity of human
civilizations. The Shanghai Expo has offered a broad stage for inter-cultural
exchanges and integration, reminding us that we live in a divers and colorful
world (Wen Jiabao, 2010a). He continued to argue that the Expo had fully demonstrated harmony to be
the common aspiration of mankind, and that the Expo was above national,
ethnic and religious boundaries. This, to Premier Wen, was why [i]t is important that countries work together to build a
harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity (Wen Jiabao, 2010a). The Expo was made possible by Chinas
economic rise, but was also part of establishing the story of such a rise as
true, and of narrating a future where China rises to be the benevolent leader
of a new harmonious world order. In this chapter I examine the way ideas of Chinas role as leader of
a harmonious world proliferated at Expo 2010. I go about this examination in two parts. In the first part I trace the
two cosmologies that I outlined in the academic literatures in the previous chapter, unit- based and holistic spatial imaginaries. I continue to argue, now in the context
of Expo 2010, that the two cosmologies are not mutually exclusive. I show how they are deployed at the Expo in ways that reinforce one another by ordering spatial
difference through teleological time. The two cosmologies are worked out in conjunction with one another at Expo 2010, in ways that support a particular discourse on
China and the world, prescriptive of a particular future where China leads a new harmonious world order. Like some of the academic literatures examined in the previous

the Expo worldview portrays itself as from the world or from


everywhere, yet insists on specifically Chinese terms and experience, and
on the singular Chinas Future as the (harmonious) worlds Future. On this
view, there is only one Future, and it does not welcome contestation. Having recognised
this effect of harmony at the Expo, I argue in the second part that we need to move beyond the reading of mega
events as simple representation and ideology and read it also as simulation
and simulacra. Reading the Chinese world fair as a simulacrum of world order
can provide different ways of relating the West to its other country China. I
examine this relation through asking what it means to be the fair: Where is the world fair- When is the world fairWho is the world fair- Reading the world/fair as simulacrum disrupts the fairs
notions of inside and outside, now and then, subject and object to the point
where these terms are no longer workable. What we end up with is not the many turning into the one, with the
chapter,

convergence of others into the self. Instead, what remains is a fragmented plethora of truth, not the unreal but the hyper-real. My reading of Expo 2010 as simulacra
examines some of the distinctions implied in the where,4when4and4who4of the world/fair, and shows that we may be better off not taking our distinctions so seriously.
THE TWO COSMOLOGIES AND HARMONY AT EXPO 2010 Expo 2010 took place in the tradition of scientific and industrial world fairs following on from the

Expo 2010 has been read in China to


symbolise the greatness and international significance of China indeed, it
was the largest, most expensive, and most visited of its kind (Barboza, 2010; Xinhua, 2010d;
Great4Exhibition4of4Industries4of4All4Nations that was held in London in 1851.

2010e). The 73 million visitors who passed through the Expo in Shanghai during the six months it was officially open as world fair would be even greater if one counted the
subsequent visitors attracted to the sites permanent monuments (the Chinese national pavilion for example has been turned into a permanent museum) and to the online
version of Expo 2010, where ones avatar can stroll through a virtual 3D replica of the site, visit pavilions and partake in numerous exhibitions as well as interact with other

Unit-based spatial imaginaries are immediately obvious at the Expo.


Space at the Expo is typically imagined in a modernist manner as a flat
surface upon which humans act, as a stage or platform. As for the unitbased territorialisation of this surface, the Expo site is organised as an
imagined state system, divided into bounded continents of national pavilions.
visitors.

At the online Expo, we can take guided tours of pavilions and exhibitions and get a virtual passport in which we can collect visa stamps from the various territories visited.

Expo visitors, who may never have been abroad and may not own a
passport in the outside world, can get a multitude of visa stamps and play
Likewise, at the

at being well-travelled. It is an enactment of the world that pretends such international life is readily available and unrestricted. It
draws up borders and barriers in order to let them be crossed, but by no
means erased or blurred. Through turning visa collection into a game, border controls appear innocent at the same time as their indisputable
natural existence between states is reinforced. However, it becomes clear that partaking in this game of open borders is conditional. At the Expo, I met a young travel
guide, who visited the Expo with 60 tourists from Beijing. While her group went into the Pavilion of Future (subtitled Dream inspires the future) and had their pretend
passports stamped, she waited ticketless outside, stopped at the border because she did not have the right papers. Simultaneously, the external nation-state system
echoed in citizenship regimes inside the Expo when producing a real passport meant one could jump pavilion queues for the pavilion of the country that had issued it.

This way of conceiving of space in terms of bordered units was marked


throughout the Expo. Chinas own pavilion of regions was no exception,
subdivided into regional containers of culture many even look like boxes
with essentialised culture exhibited inside, like the virtual version of the
Tibetan pavilion below. Although obviously steeped in a unit-based spatial
imaginary, these bounded units are also enveloped in the holistic celestial
order of one-worldness. The key terms in holistic imaginaries are the allencompassing or all-inclusive, that with no outside or no exception,
network, and of course Tianxia. The holistic imagination of everything as
always already connected to everything else appears in the room in
Urbanian4Pavilion themed Connection(). This room is based on the
scientific theory called six degrees spatial theory, which states that no two
people are separated by more than 6 relationships (Xu Wei, 2010: 27). On the
ceiling a film is projected showing selected peoples movements on a map.
Portraits of people appear in circles connected by lines to more and more
other people/circles until they form a web or network on the round screen,
bringing your mind to the Earth and thus the idea that all people of the world
are connected (Xu Wei, 2010: 27). There is no one outside the network.
Moreover, this claim is backed up by science, and thus requires no further
explanation. The Pavilion of City Being describes the city as a living being or organism, focusing on the theme of shengming (), meaning life, being or
bios. The holistic imagination implied in this idea of the city as one body or life is clear from slogans such as city being multiplies endlessly, held together by superseding
cycles and the unceasing adjustment between people and city maintains city life harmonious, healthy city life requires our common protection (Xu Wei, 2010: 40). The
Pavilion4of4Urban4Planet moreover draws on a holistic spatial imaginary to tell us on the Road of Solutions how the resolution to the worlds problems can be found:
[t]he seasons change, settlement becomes cities and trading routes develop into a completely4networked4world Only with open mind and allWinclusive4view can we
bring the hope of sustainable growth to our planet Earth (emphasis added). These references to the organically connected single organism or body, the web of
connections with no outside and the completely networked world with an all inclusive view all provide the basis of a holistic spatial imaginary. Moreover, the comments

From
the above we see that imaginations of China in the world at the Expo draw on
both unit-based and holistic notions of space. This instance shows the two spatial imaginaries coexisting in
above indicate that this holistic imaginary is taken to demand the harmonious balance of all and our common protection. Classification in time and space

contemporary China, and so refutes the idea that one would be superseding the other. I next look closer at how they work in tandem at the Expo. Throughout the Expo,
classification of space is marked. We have seen it above in the unit-based form of mapping state units, as well as that of regions as containers of culture. The

holistic Tianxia concept does not refer to the jigsaw-puzzled space of the unitbased imaginary, but nonetheless classifies and sequentialises through a
centre/periphery, civilised/barbarian divide. Tianxia ordering is similar to the
Expo site centred on the Chinese pavilion. Similarly, the comparison and contrasting of East and West is ever
present. In a film screened at the Pavilion of City Being we are watched from the screen by the eyes of Eastern people, the eyes of Western people (Xu Wei, 2010: 49).
Likewise, Pre- show Hall in the Pavilion4of4Footprint shows ideal cities as they have been imagined in the East and in the West. Dreaming of a better future is

The division of space into


civilisational/regional/national units is aligned with division of time into eras,
often in its ancient/modern guise. This is where, just as in much academic
discourse, we see evidence of the alignment of dichotomized here/there,
modern/ancient and subject/object (cf. Fabian, 1983). As a number of developing countries could not fund their own
described as universal, or eternal (), but similarities end there and juxtaposition takes over.

participation in Expo 2010, Chinese subsidies to these countries ensured there were more state and organisation pavilions, 246, than at any previous Expo (Xinhua,

The vastly different budgets and scales meant pavilions gave the
impression of a developmental or aspirational classification, in a visual
display of global inequality. As in global development, China financially
supported less-developed states in a way that visually emphasised the
impressive scale and central location of the Chinese pavilion and reaffirmed
2010e).

China as a helper and developer ahead of the helped and developing


states at the Expo site periphery, such as the African Joint and Pacific Joint
pavilions. This convening of others differentiated in space through time is crystallised in Urbanian4Pavilion, which shows the morning rituals of families taken
to represent five continents. It shows the similarities of getting up, washing, brushing teeth and so on of people from these different spatial/cultural units. However, the
sequentialisation in time is obvious. The man from Rotterdam has an electric toothbrush and the Chinese middleclass office worker wears new pyjamas in his modern
bathroom, whereas the bathroom in Rio de Janeiro looks worn and dirty. In this way spatial difference is aligned in temporal sequence. We all do the same thing; it is just

Spatial division is thus not only conceived


as classification of space, but also as classification in time. This classification
is moreover conceived of in a time that runs towards a particular end. Clock
time running out or towards the future is emphasised at the Shanghai train
stations Expo clock tower, as well as throughout the Expo itself by feature
clocks, ticking pendula and hourglasses. The intertwining of temporal notions with strong assertions as to what Chinese
that some are a bit behind on the road to Modernisation and Development.

identity is in world affairs is clear from an introduction to the Expo on its official website, ringing with familiarity with the official party-line: [w]ith a long civilisation, China
favours international exchange and loves world peace. China owes its successful bid for the World Exposition in 2010 to the international communitys support for and
confidence in its reform and opening-up. The Exposition will be the first registered World Exposition in a developing country, which gives expression to the expectations the
worlds people place on Chinas future development We count on the continuing attention, support and participation of all the peace-loving countries (Expo 2010

In this context, depicting China as original confers on it a status as


fore-runner of developing countries, conveniently forgetting the 1949 Haiti
Expo (Expo 2010 Shanghai China, 2006a; Bureau International des
Expositions, 2011).4 Chinas present and future direction is frequently
depicted in terms of a return to an original or always intended state. The
Expo itself is typically portrayed as the fulfilment (led by the PRC/CCP partystate) of an ancient Chinese dream. This portrayal appears in articles (Expo 2010 Shanghai China, 2006b), in books such as
Shanghai China, 2008).

1004 years4of4Expo4dream4()4(Shanghai shibohui shiwu xietiaoju, 2009), and in the World Expo Museum that looks back at more than 150 years of historical

I believe
in Chinas actual strength, a country that has 5000 years of civilisation must
be able to produce glory once more (Expo Shanghai Online, 2010c). Finally, the feature film of the Xinjiang regional pavilion
demonstrates how classification of time and space come together into a particular,
goal-oriented progress under PRC leadership : [Xinjiang is] the communication
land of four great civilisations of the world ... It once was the road of bonze
Xuanzang, the silk road, the road of western expedition and the road of
eastern return The great transformation of 60 years is the evidence of our
diligence and intelligence Today, the assistance from the motherland also
lights up the passion in Xinjiang (Expo Shanghai Online, 2010g) .104 This quote brings together
preparation for the Shanghai Expo. Online commentators echo such narratives, and one commentator on the Expo online Dream Wall comments that

the numerous elements that make possible the problematic imagination of self-other relations that is under discussion in this thesis. A separation between civilisations is
posited. Xinjiang is subsequently conceived of as a place where these separate civilisations meet. Progress is imagined as a return to a state that once was, and that is
now returning through Chinese diligence in its (re)civilising mission. One can only wonder at the irony as the motherlands assistance lights up the passion in Xinjiang
after the brutal ethnic clashes in the years running up to the Expo (Xinhua, 2009d). 104 Bonze Xuan Zang is a Buddhist sage from Chinese literary classic Journey to the
West. Metaphors of lines, circles, spirals and pendula may be used to describe this temporality, but may be misleading as they change significance in their combined use
(cf. Gell, 1992). Analogue clock time, for instance, may be circular if used as for example a toy, but indicates linear time flow when allied with other concepts, such as
civilisational progress and development. The point of Chinas progress/return (to its rightful place as world leader) is not whether we describe it using the metaphor of the

key importance is instead the way it operates through a


classification of time and space: and there is no doubt as to where we
are/should be heading. The point is that these temporalities support each
other and lead towards the same ultimate endpoint. The Future is one where
China leads a new harmonious world order Chinese discussions surrounding
the Expo typically conferred on it one central meaning it was a sign of
Chinas legitimate rise to world leadership. Wishes for Chinese superiority similarly appeared in the online VankePavilion, the corporate pavilion for a large Chinese property developer. One commentator wished that in 2049 China is in leading position
in the world () and another exclaimed that by then China has really changed into a great cultural country, ten thousand countries come to
circle or the line. Of

pay tribute ()105 (Expo Shanghai Online, 2010f). A majority of participants in the Expos Dream wall expressed love for the motherland, the Expo and Shanghai,
with one exclaiming,

Go Expo, China is invincible (Go Expo ) (Expo Shanghai Online, 2010c). Key to justifying this Chinese

world leadership is depicting such a world as harmonious, in accordance with the harmonious world discourse. The Expo is steeped in this language of harmony. Chinas

the lotus flowers


blossom, symbolising the harmonious and glorious future of Chinese cities
national pavilion begins with the film Harmonious China (hexie4Zhongguo4 ) and concludes with telling us

(Expo Shanghai Online, 2010a). The Xinjiang pavilion is labelled Xinjiang a 105 This set formulation is commonly used to indicate great power. - 146 - harmonious land.
We go to the Expo on a harmonious train, to visit Harmony Tower, and if we hurt ourselves we can have a band-aid from the harmonious first aid kit. Figure 5: Harmonious

2010: A life at
ease A peaceful and stable job Wishing the great motherland is increasingly
thriving and prosperous My family is increasingly harmonious and happy
2049: There is no war in any corner of the world There is no discrimination
Peaceful getting along and also wish that when we reach that time people
from every corner of the world can all profoundly understand China (Expo
Shanghai Online, 2010f). We see here a mixing of ideas of harmony with
notions of a good personal life, a thriving China, and an image of peacefully
connected world citizens who comprehend China. Again, there is an emphasis
on making foreigners understand China. A blurb for Pavilion4of4Futures harmony sculpture similarly personalizes
first aid kit (Source: Astrid Nordin) The language of harmony is also prevalent among the wishes of Vanke4Pavilion. One participant wishes:

world harmony: core concept of traditional Chinese culture: only the harmony of the world and all things constitute the harmony of humans spirit. Just as in Zhaos

. There can be no outside to the system, or it will fail. All


things must be incorporated. This, the claim is, is a distinctly Chinese idea of
world order. Throughout all of these imaginings of China in the (harmonious) world, the two spatial imaginaries combine in ways that repeat the problems
outlined with regards to academic discourse, making difficult the imagination of others as coeval. The unit- based spatial imaginary
provides a condition of possibility of Chinese particularism. Throughout the
Chinese pavilions at the Expo, China is the very origin of civilisation and of
the world it is where the first fire burnt, the first bird flew, and the superior
values of Confucian harmony originated. The holistic spatial imaginary becomes key to imagining the need for spreading
this civilisation, and for the Chinese civilising mission we currently observe around the world (Nyri, 2006). The holistic idea of space is
core to construing the rise of China to leadership of a harmonious world as
peaceful and beneficial to all. In actuality, there is no outside, everything is
always already connected to everything else, and the view of the Chinese
party elite is a view from nowhere, or a view from the world. Many of these themes are
Tianxia, we require the harmony of all things

echoed through non-Chinese pavilions at the Expo, including the two spatial imaginaries, the goal-oriented notion of time, East-West juxtaposition and a reliance on blurry

many foreign states, organisations and enterprises used the


Expo to exhibit their willingness to buy into the Chinese discourse on
harmonious world, allowing it prominence of place in the way they name,
speak of and write of their own pavilions. Harmony in particular is given
legitimacy through frequent use in foreign pavilions, such as Harmonious
relations (Pacific joint pavilion), Feel the harmony (Austria), Harmony of
the heart, harmony of the skills (Japan), and so on. While some academic analyses of Chinese foreign policy
notions of civilisation. Notably,

argue that the PRC is being socialised into values and norms of international society (Johnston, 2008), the Expo showed the opposite: outsiders competing to be most

Non-Chinese corporate pavilions too helped


reinforce and legitimate this particular version of harmony with reference to
Chinese history. One example was the pavilion called Tianxia yi4jia (): Tianxia one
family. This pavilion was German multinational Siemens corporate pavilion, showcasing its technology through the aspirational middle class future of interactive
attentive to and accommodating of Chinas purported self- image.

games and wine coolers that will apparently be available to Chinese people in 2015. Entering Siemens harmonious and commercialised rendition of Tianxia we are

As in a miracle of scientific development our faces appear on a film


screen at the exit, manipulated to sing together in harmony with the Expo
theme tune. The simulation is explained at a sign at the pavillion entrance: [a]fter scanning and
capturing the users facial features, the image will be recorded and
transformed into an avatar allowing users to feel as if they are starring in a
pre-programmed movie or video How will this technology better our livesProvides an entertaining experience for people to play a role in a movie or
become a star. Everyone has the chance to stand in the spotlight. Chinas
Future, in this commercialised version as in its official one, provides the time
and space for us all to be stars in the spotlight . It is worth recalling here the organisers own reading where the
photographed.

Expo took place because of the international communitys support for and confidence in [Chinas] reform and opening-up, expressing the expectations the worlds
people place on Chinas future development with China sternly counting on the continuing attention, support and participation of all the peace-loving countries (Expo

2010 Shanghai China, 2008). In this version of the Future World we are allowed into the spotlight on the condition that we become avatars that sing simultaneously in one
voice to the Chinese melody. Foreclosing futures at Expo 2010 In this part of the chapter I have argued that the holistic and unit-based cosmologies, or spatial imaginaries,
were prominent at Expo 2010, aligning classified units of time/space in sequence. They are simultaneously deployed in ways that support a particular discourse on China
and the World, prescriptive of a particular future where China leads a new harmonious world order. World fairs were from the outset an exercise where self/other relations
were heavily tinted by imperialism (Rydell, 1984). Today, although the specific selves and others reproduced by the Expo may be somewhat different their fundamental
manoeuvre is the same. The articulation of time/space with the narrative of harmony is problematic, again and despite itself, because it marginalises concepts of coeval

Just like Zhaos Tianxia, the Expo


worldview portrays itself as from the world or from everywhere, yet
insists on specifically Chinese terms and experience. This is reinforced as
the Expo shows an already nationalistic domestic audience a China that
rightfully rises to the place of world leader and the folly of anyone imagining
that such a rise would be less than beneficial to all. This is buttressed by
readings of foreign involvement and investment in the Expo as endorsements
of the Chinese model for its rise, and is taken as a showcase for how
harmonious the world is under Chinese leadership. The Expo worldview portrays itself as from the world,
multiplicities and difference. Others are not properly different, they are just behind.

yet insists on the singular Chinas Future as the (Harmonious) Worlds Future. On this view, there is only one Future, and it does not welcome contestation. I propose that
we can refuse scripting our songs in the pre-programmed manner suggested by predominant imaginings at the Expo. It can indeed be possible to meet the challenge of
coeval multiplicities that time and space should present us with. In the next section I begin to unsettle the dominant rendition of time, space and China in the world by way
of reading it through the work of Jean Baudrillard.

As the fair went on people noticed the Chinese


promotional tune Waiting For You sounded remarkably
similar to the Japanese hit Stay the Way You Are. As
accusations of plagiarism were thrown about, the world
missed a fundamental uniqueness question reality is
hyper-real, a plagiarized totality, a copy without an
original, a signifier without a signified, a sign without a
referent. For as Credible News Source has told us time
and time again, Nothing becomes wholly transparent
without becoming entirely enigmatic. We take leave of
the real world, endlessly encased within the sad shell of
communication like an over-exposed photograph.
The world no longer operates through the logic of nation
building, but the over proliferation of simulations models,
marketing the consumption of empty signifiers under the
illusion of authenticity. The expo was not isolated to
Shanghai, the entire globe is a world fair a harmonius
simulation of international coherence where countries are
isolated spatial and cultural totalities, where the
distinctions between visiting the expo and being the expo
are blurred until all notions of subject are rendered
incoherent, copies of copies without originals, simulacra
avatars in a virtual hyper-reality.
This is the expo; have fun at the American pavilion! China
is reduced to an economic signifier, a simulations model
projected as a consumerist fantasy after the death of the
real, when language became orbital and took leave of this
world.
When we ask where is China,

Nordin 12
(Astrid H.M. Nordin [Lecturer in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and
Religion at Lancaster University], Time, Space and Multiplicity in Chinas
Harmonious World, 2012, The University of Manchester Library,
https://www.escholar.manchester.ac.uk/uk-ac-man-scw:186417, pages 149168)
TAKING BAUDRILLARD TO THE FAIR Above, I have examined different ways in which China is imagined as ahead in the historical queue that is posited at Expo 2010. However, as explained in the introduction to this
thesis, a most common way of imagining China elsewhere in discourse on the countrys relation to the world is as behind, or catching up. This way of understanding Chinas role in international politics has its roots

In recent years a key


Chinese strategy for negotiating both its claims to particularism and to being
a modern great power has been through the public diplomacy of mega
in an imagination of Chinese experience as radically different to that of Western modernity as the other country (Chow, 1991: 81).

events, including Exp 2010.


As
symbols of a changing Chinese identity and outlook they have nonetheless
come to be understood as an important aspect of Chinese image
management
we need to take the next step
and understand Chinas mega events not only on the level of representation
and ideology, but also on the level of simulation and simulacra .
such a reading is that we need to stop imagining China as the other
country.
Roche has connected mega events as a phenomenon to a temporal
world view framed in terms of progress , the assumed responsibility to build
a diffuse western civilisation, and the assumed capacity to do so by actively
making history
mega-events are potentially
memorable because they are a special-kind of time-structuring institution in
modernity
time and modernity are negotiated by a
mega event, but rather than looking for this time-shaping capacity in the
scale and cyclical occurrence of events I examine one particular event, that is
Expo 2010.
The success of Chinese mega events in altering international opinion is debatable (Manzenreiter, 2010: 29-48).

(Xin Xu, 2006; Brownell, 2008; Price and Dayan, 2008). In this section I argue that

106 I moreover argue that a

consequence of

Mega event genres came about in Western industrialising capitalist countries engaged in nation building and imperial consolidation of the late 19th century (Rydell, 1984: 8, 236; Roche,

2003: 100). Maurice

(Roche, 2003: 103, see also Roche, 1999: 1-31). He has further suggested

(Roche, 2003: 102, emphasis in original). Like Roche, I examine how

World fairs have been described as instrumental in creating the distinction between reality and representation, a dualism that has become central to the way we capture the modern

world (Mitchell, 1988; Harvey, 1996). In the remainder of this chapter I 106 Penelope Harvey has begun the work of reading world fairs as simulacra in Hybrids4of4Modernity:4
Anthropology,4the4Nation4State4and4the4Universal4Exhibition (1996). Recent publications have hinted at the possibility of such a reading of Chinese mega events. Most notably, Price and Dayans Owning4the4
Olympics4takes off in an imaginary of the Beijing Olympics as spectacle, festival, ritual, and finally as access to truth and concludes: Or should we rewrite MacAloons sequence in a style inspired by Baudrillard:
spectacle, festival, ritual, and finally simulacrum- (Dayan, 2008: 400). To my knowledge none have followed through with an empirical analysis of what such a reading may look like in the Chinese case. explore

I suggest that we read Expo


2010 not only as an exercise of nation-building, but as shaping also the
imaginary of the world as a holistic unit. Expo 2010 could easily be read as a
representation of the world, as mimicry or a fake version of the real world
beyond its gates. I read it instead as simulation.
the world fair is
everywhere, that in fact the world is a fair,
reading of
the world fair as simulacrum
we may be mistaken to imagine Chinese
experience as radically other to that of Western modernity, or postmodernity
for that matter. It provides a different way of thinking about space, time and
subjectivity.
what happens when we read the world fair symbol of modernity through the work of Jean Baudrillard symbol of postmodernity.

My key claim is that

and that this has serious consequences for the study thereof. The

shows how

Importantly, I argue that Baudrillard, who is often accused of being intellectually uncritical or irresponsible (for example by Norris, 1992), can help us think differently about

intellectual strategy in our study of such a simulacral harmonious world fair. I first outline Baudrillards discussions of the simulacrum and use this discussion to interrogate the being of the world fair. I argue that

the fair is not a fake copy of a real world, but that as simulation it marks the
breakdown of the distinction of the copy from the original, of the fair from the
world. Having asked where the fair is, arguing that fairness is everywhere,
anywhere and nowhere
, I next ask when the fair is. I show that the fair works through recycling, revival and reuse. I thereafter ask who is the fair through an exploration of

what happens to subjectivity in the interactive technologies of the fair. I examine how our simulation as subjects and objects of interactive technologies breaks both of these categories down. I argue that

being in the world fair turns us into simulacral avatars, circulated in virtual
hyper-reality.
the world we live
in has passed into the hyper-real, the generation by models of a real without
origin or reality
As a consequence the real will never again
have a chance to produce itself, but is replaced by a hyper-real where there
is no distinction between the real and the imaginary, leaving room only for
the orbital recurrence of models and for the simulated generation of
differences
I finally conclude through asking how to be fair in such a simulacral world fair. I argue that thinking the world in terms of its simulacral fairness does not need to rob us of

intellectual strategy, but that we can draw on Baudrillard to think of theory as challenge. To be simulacral, or where is the fair- Let us return to Baudrillards claim that

(Baudrillard, 1994 [1981]: 1). What has been lost, he argues, is metaphysics: [n]o more mirror of being and appearances, of the real and its concept (1994 [1981]: 2).

Crucially, this is not a question of imitation, duplication or even parody, but of substitution.

(1994 [1981]: 3). What is at stake in Baudrillards analysis, then, is the reality principle: [t]o dissimulate is to pretend not to have what one has. To simulate is to feign to have what

one doesnt have. One implies a presence, the other an absence. But it is more complicated than that because simulating is not pretending Therefore, pretending, or dissimulating, leaves the principle of reality

In few
places is the question of the real and the imaginary, the true and the false,
the original and the fake as pertinent and as sensitive as in contemporary
intact: the difference is always clear, it is simply masked, whereas simulation threatens the difference between the true and the false, the real and the imaginary (Baudrillard, 1994 [1981]: 3 ).

China. The lack of respect in China for copyright

is a frequent bone of contention in its foreign relations. Domestic relations have

been shaken in recent years by the tainted milk scandal, where a number of infants were killed and hundreds of thousands fell ill from ingesting fake milk powder containing melamine (Barriaux, 2011). In IR,

underestimating the China threat because China may be


faking it, a wolf in sheeps clothing (
Expo 2010 was a highly
controlled space, yet it too had its own associated scandals of fakery
The Chinese national
pavilion was exposed to similar allegations of plagiarism, facing claims that it
looked a lot like the Japanese pavilion
The
biggest diplomatic scandal, nonetheless, surrounded the promotional tune
Waiting for You which was officially written for Expo 2010, its video featuring
all-Chinese superstars like Jackie Chan and Yao Ming. A scandal erupted as it
was revealed to bear an uncanny resemblance to Mayo Okamotos 1997
Japanese hit Stay the Way You Are.
voices are raised that worry about Westerners

Gang Lin, 2005: 1).

. Some suggested that

Expo 2010s mascot, Haibao, was a resurrection of American cartoon character Gumby, dubbing it The Gumbygate scandal (V Saxena, 2010).

from the 1992 Seville Expo, and equally similar to the Canadians pavilion at Montreal in 1967.

The irony was not lost on foreign commentators, with one commentator noting: [i]f the Shanghai Expo is the ultimate

showcase of an economy roaring to world dominance, then the organizers have selected a theme song that perfectly captures China on the cusp of the 21st century: strident, stirring and ripped off (Lewis, 2010).
The composer of the fair tune first strongly denied plagiarism allegations. Expo 2010 organisers thereafter suspended all use of the song citing copyright reasons and after a flurry of face-saving efforts Expo
2010 organisers, without admitting any problematic recycling, asked if they could please use Okamotos work. The songwriter, whose practically forgotten tune had suddenly returned to the top of Japanese charts,
selflessly acquiesced (Lewis, 2010). These revelations of scandalous fakery, whether on the low level of song writing or the high level of lethal state violence, are typically understood as a form of resistance. They
are taken to reveal the real4state of affairs. Some commentators extrapolate fakery to a Chinese characteristic, portraying resistance to elite-led fakery as a resistance to power. In a short film on Chinese netizens
and state power, blogger Wang Xiaofeng comments on Chinese fakes, with video shots of the Expo interspersed: China is a country who likes to make fake things. Lying is a virtue () of the Chinese. This is
evident in all kind of matters. Statistical numbers are fake () and whatever we create, even the good things, are fake. They [the PRC government] must say that some other countries are worse than China, to

The existence of mainstream media is based


on this process of the never-ending creation of fake. the government itself is
constantly creating this fake.
The
claim of the denouncers of scandalous fakery is that reality is being masked
the distinction between
the real and the fake of the harmonious world is disappearing in a system of
self- referential signs.
the whole system becomes weightless , it is no
longer itself anything but a gigantic simulacrum not unreal, but a
simulacrum, that is to say never exchanged for the real, but exchanged for
itself, in an uninterrupted circuit without reference or circumference
make common people () think that China is the best place to live in ().

And

If you go to remote places in China you discover very shocking realities, people cant even find something to eat, but you still

think this country is a great country. So when you want to know the facts and get information you are actually challenging power. They are afraid of this (Wang Xiaofeng in Marianini and Zdzarski, 2011).

, and

the purpose of denunciation is to reveal this reality through exposing fakery. My claim in the reminder of this chapter, and in this thesis, is that

Through this process:

(Baudrillard, 1994 [1981]:

5-6). In this respect, simulation is very different from representation.107 The way the latter is often used implies an equivalence of the sign and the real even if it is a utopian equivalence. Simulation, on the
contrary: stems from the Utopia of the principle of equivalence, from the radical negation of the sign as value, from the sign as the reversion and death sentence of every reference. Whereas representation
attempts to absorb simulation by interpreting it as a false representation, simulation envelops the whole edifice of representation itself as a simulacrum (Baudrillard, 1994 [1981]: 6). As outlined in chapter 2,
Baudrillard explains this in terms of successive phases of the image that I reiterate here:108 [1] it is the reflection of a profound reality [2] it masks and denatures a profound reality [3] it masks the absence of

The shift from signs that


dissimulate something to signs that dissimulate that there is nothing is
crucial because the real is no longer what it once was. This
a profound reality [4] it has no relation to any reality whatsoever: it is its own pure simulacrum (Baudrillard, 1994 [1981]: 6).

is the 107 Problematising the dichotomizing

relationship between the sign and the real is, of course, by no means originary with Baudrillard, but has a long and varied tradition from Friedrich Nietzsche (1999 [1872]) to Derrida (1981 [1972]). 108 As explained

we need not read Baudrillards successive phases of the image as


aligned in linear time. The era of simulation
need not be understood
as temporally fixed or discreet.
in chapter 2,

(1994 [1981]: 2)

significance of simulation, and its key effect is that in place of the truth we have a myriad of truths taking the shape of signs

of reality and myths of origin (Baudrillard, 1994 [1981]: 6). Baudrillard uses the example of Disneyland to model the entangled orders of simulacra because he sees it primarily as a play of illusions and fantasy

The adults parallel to Disneyland in the contemporary era is the


world fair, the most recent, the biggest, the most expensive and the most
visited of which, again, was Expo 2010.
Expo 2010 is built up of
fantasm and as one of its feature books announces 100 years of Expo
dream
Expo 2010 was constructed as a
simulacrum of the world in ways that mix dreams with truth claims
(Baudrillard, 1994 [1981]: 12).

4Like Disneyland,

(Shanghai shibohui shiwu xietiaoju, 2009). At the same time, as will be seen in this chapter, Expo 2010 involved truth claims in an explicit way that Disneyland never has, which makes it

pertinent to examining both 1st and 2nd phase images and those of the 3rd and 4th phase.

(and, as I have argued above,

the claims that the dreams are indeed the true dreams of humanity and that these dreams will come true). Just like Disneyland, the Expo is ideological: digest of the Chinese way of life, panegyric of Chinese values,

the Chineseness of Expo 2010 can be


overemphasised in a format that is all about recycling.
idealised transposition of a contradictory reality. Nonetheless,

109 As Penelope Harvey writes: [i]n many ways the form of the

great exhibitions has been maintained despite the changing economic, social and political circumstances. Nation states displayed cultural artefacts and technological expertise in their individual pavilions, seeking to
educate and entertain the visiting public. The obligations of the organizers of a fair with universal status are less concerned with the actual bringing together of exhibitors from all over the globe than with enacting a

The nation state has been the


key cultural, political and economic unit through which both IR and world fairs
theme that simultaneously promotes the unity of mankind and the uniqueness of individual societies (Harvey, 1996: 35).

have traditionally told the tale of global community, and Expo 109 Indeed,
this paper, too, works through recycling
and intentionally so.
the spatial organisation of the Expo sites, in Shanghai and
online, is a starkly visual simulacrum of the purported organisation of the
international state system. Essentialised culture is encapsulated in the spatial
containers that are Expo pavilions, which in turn are encapsulated in
continents or regions, which in turn are a subdivision of the neatly bounded
and mapped world fair. These mappings are presented as neutral and
innocent, helpful and real some lines on a surface, fair and square
(of Baudrillard, Harvey, Expo 2010)

2010

recycles this conceptualisation. As I argue above,

(Expo Shanghai Online,

2010d). This particular model depends on a metaphor of scale by which the international community reproduces the form of its constituent parts: [b]oth part and whole function as self-contained, coherent,

This imaginary
reproduces units that differ from each other, but through a difference that is
one of equivalence. Whether we think of these units as natural or culturally
constructed, they are defined by precise boundaries in temporal, spatial and
cultural terms, they are distinct but equivalent entities.
bounded entities which are mutual transformations of each other through simple principles of aggregation and disaggregation (Harvey, 1996: 50).

This model of equivalence by difference was highly visible at

Expo 2010 as at previous world fairs (Harvey, 1996: 51). The world fair appears as a taxonomisation of equivalent national units with their own pavilion, listing in official guidebooks and dedicated day of cultural
display. The official Opening Celebration of Expo 2010 saw the parading of national flags, carried by Chinese youth made up to look as repetitions and copies of each other (CCTV Documentary, 2010). In this way
Expo 2010 recycled the form of Expo 1992 in Seville on which Harvey writes: [t]he Expo provided a concrete instance of endless replication, a cultural artefact built as if to demonstrate the possibilities and
limitations of an entirely consumerist world. Thus there was the appearance of choice, of multiple perspectives, yet the cultural forms on show were nevertheless clearly reformulations and repetitions of each other
and of previous events. Sameness and familiarity undermined the promise of difference (Harvey, 1996). What we learn from Baudrillard is that this second phase ideology moreover functions as a cover for a

The world fair,


in this vein, exists in order to hide that it is the real world, all of the real
world that is the fair.
The world fair
takes us further than Disneyland does, as it is not content with a country, but
must simulate the world always striving to be more inclusive, with Expo
2010 priding itself on including pavilions of more countries than ever before,
an inclusion which cost the PRC government large sums in the form of
subsidies
simulation of the third order [or phase]: Disneyland exists in order to hide that it is the real country, all of real America that is Disneyland (Baudrillard, 1994 [1981]: 12).

The presentation of the Expo world as imaginary and as a dream functions to make us think that the rest is real.

(Xinhua, 2010e). In this way Expo 2010 marks a shift from ideological nation-building to worlding by simulation. Shanghai, China and the world that surround the Expo are no longer real,

but hyper-real, belonging now to the order of simulation: [i]t is no longer a question of a false representation of reality (ideology) but of concealing the fact that the real is no longer real, and thus of saving the
reality principle (Baudrillard, 1994 [1981]: 12-13). The relation between Baudrillards different phases or orders those that dissimulate something and those that dissimulate that there is nothing comes to the
fore in the hyper-awareness and self-reflexivity of Expo 2010, as it had begun to do in previous world fairs (Harvey, 1996). There were frequent references to the self- representations of previous world fairs, in TV

In many instances of its


replication, the world fair reflected on itself as the exhibition of the exhibition
of the exhibition without end, as world fair exhibiting world fair.
programs, books and in the Expo museum at Expo 2010 (see for example Shanghai shibohui shiwu xietiaoju, 2009).

Key emblems, monuments and mascots

of previous fairs were brought together with the effect of appearing as self-referential signs, as copies of copies, representations of representations without original, signifiers of signifiers without signifieds, ad4
infinitum. In this way: [t]he exhibition represents the world, provides contexts and connections for an understanding of external realities, but its reflexivity simultaneously confuses or confounds the distinction of
insider/outsider, representation and reality (Harvey, 1996: 37). The implication is one of implosion of the careful construct and of moving to the fourth phase: it has no relation to any reality whatsoever: it is its
own pure simulacrum (Baudrillard, 1994 [1981]: 6). Therefore, we must take the step beyond understanding how the exhibition represents the world and grapple with how the harmonious exhibition is the world,

Reading the Expo through Baudrillard thus turns the world into
fair and the fair into the world.
and the harmonious world the exhibition.

As I will continue to show throughout this chapter, the distinction between one as real or original and the other as fake or copy

can no longer be upheld. All4we4 have4are4versions4or4layers4of4the4harmonious4world/fair,4all4simulacra. This is why I argue with this chapter that we4need4to4take4the4step4and4study4it4as4such, rather
than limit ourselves to reading Chinas mega events purely on the level of representation and ideology, upholding the reality principle. The layers of simulacra are all world/fair, but cannot be4the fair in a fully
present way because Baudrillard, and others with him, have upset the dichotomisation of presence and absence.110 For this reason, the relation between the layers of simulacra is not that of a coherent system, of
stable exchange or of dialectics. The world/fair is simultaneously nowhere and now here. To be recycled, or when is the fair- I have asked in the previous section where the fair is and argued that fairness is
everywhere and anywhere that the world/fair is simultaneously nowhere and now here. I turn next to the temporality of simulacra in this formulation to ask when the fair is. Looking for the world/fair somewhere
and sometime beyond the dichotomisation of presence and absence I argue that the fair works through recycling, revival and reuse, that as a rem(a)inder, it is not new. What better place to start than with
beginnings and origins- We require a visible past, a visible continuum, a visible myth of origin, which reassures us about our end. 110 This problematique has been discussed among others by Jean-Luc Nancy (1991

Beginnings
were certainly important to displays of China at Expo 2010. Throughout the
Chinese national pavilion and dozens of Chinese regional pavilions, China is
described as the origin of the world, echoing wider media and academic
discourse in China.
[1983]), Giles Deleuze and Felix Guattari (1988 [1980]) and Derrida (1976 [1967]). - 159 - Because finally we have never believed in them (Baudrillard, 1994 [1981]: 10).

Various Chinese regional pavilions also pride China for figuring as the origin of (Chinese) civilisation. I use brackets here because there is some discrepancy or

ambiguity in terms of communicating such messages to Chinese speaking and English speaking audiences. In the Gansu province case, for example, which circles around its long history of more than 8000 years

This
kind of slippage between these terms appears throughout Expo 2010 and
makes Chinese civilisation appear coterminous with civilisation as such.
an ideological tool that served to make the
5000 years of uninterrupted Chinese civilisation appear real. This
uninterrupted history of harmony is part of the shift in legitimisation of CCP
rule from socialism to nationalism and Chinese characteristics (
of civilisation, a sign that reads in English Dadiwan Site in Qinan County Believed to Start the Chinese Civilization in Chinese language simply reads Civilization begins Qinan Dadiwan ().

This exhuming

of Chinese civilisation functioned as a cover for a simulation of the second phase, as

Cheung, 2012; Billioud, 2011).

Most importantly, however, this exhumation took pride of place because of a dream, behind this defunct power that it tries to annex, of an order that would have had nothing to do with it, and it dreams of it

because it exterminated it by exhuming it as its own past (Baudrillard, 1994 [1981]: 10). IR scholars are performing this same exhuming ritual when we dream of the emerging Chinese school of IR theory as a

The fascination with this Chinese school resembles that which


Baudrillard describes of Renaissance Christians with American Indians. At the
beginning of the Christian colonising movement existed an instance of
bewilderment at the very possibility of escaping the universal law of the
Gospel
radical alternative to the West.111

(Baudrillard, 1994 [1981]: 10). In this 111 This West, on my understanding, is not real in the first place and the breakdown of any hard line between inside and outside makes such radical

dichotomization fall apart. - 160 - bewilderment we could either admit to the lack of universality of the Law, or exterminate the evidence to the contrary. The conversion or simple discovery of these different beings

This tactic of discovery and conversion as


a form of violent extermination of others has been acknowledged elsewhere
in IR scholarship
and it remains a tactic in PRC policy towards its
internal others in areas like Tibet and Xinjiang. Chinese policy towards its
ethnic minorities is presented as proof of the superiority of Chinese
civilisation: it produces more ethnics than the ethnics themselves were able
to do since the PRC state provides modern healthcare and scientific
development and exempts ethnic minorities from the one child policy.
Moreover the PRC state produces more ethnic ethnics than they themselves
had mustered. This promotion
is usually enough, for the Renaissance Christians as for scholars of IR, to slowly exterminate them.

(Inayatullah and Blaney, 2004)

112

of Chinese ethnic minorities through their regional pavilions lies at the heart of Expo 2010, a base from which the Chinese national

pavilion rises. Everywhere, the ethnic is exotically reproduced, recycled and rescreened. Everywhere happy, colourful and anachronistic ethnics sing, dance and rejoice in the greatness of the motherland, as in the
Xinjiang pavilion (a harmonious place). This overproduction is a means of destruction, a promotion and rescue which forms another step to their symbolic extermination. Nonetheless, the Expo is highly self-

As described above, it frequently uses clocks, hourglasses and


pendula to mark the countdown to horror scenarios of planetary destruction
in order to drum home its purported message of Better city, Better life. In
places it moreover explicitly favours recycling over linearity.
aware in its use of time.

112 This is particularly the case in

current PRC policy towards the Western Autonomous Regions of Tibet and Xinjiang where splittism is considered a challenge to the integrity of the PRC state (Barabantseva, 2011). - 161 - Figure 6: A linear
model will result in excessive pollution and waste (Source: Astrid Nordin) The theme pavilion City4being uses similar metaphors to Baudrillard to conceive of time, that of biological life cycles, metabolism,
circulation and recycling. These are said to be key to the proper functioning of the system. This pavilion is evocatively constructed as a sewerage system interspersed with circulating billboard messages of

It is explicit about its rejection of linear models


A cyclical model will feature greater recycling
and less waste.
[h]istory will not come to an end since the leftovers, all the leftovers
the Church, communism, ethnic groups, conflicts, ideologies are
indefinitely recyclable History has only wrenched itself from cyclical time to
fall into the order of the recyclable
In places, the world/fair appears
unreflexive, as attempting to reinstate the reality of its teleological progress.
In other aspects, however, its reflexive hyper-aware recycling seems to show
how it has no relation to any reality whatsoever: it is its own pure
simulacrum (Baudrillard, 1994 [1981]: 6). Not only, then, can the world no
longer be represented by the fair, but more importantly it can no longer be
fairly re-presented, it can no longer be made present in time and space as
some full or complete presence.
we need to take the next step and start analyzing Chinas mega events also
as simulacra. The world/fair is simultaneously nowhere and now here. The
world/fair is recycled. To be screened, or who is the fairthe interactive technologies of the world/fair
in
an order of recycling, the technologies that make us simultaneously subjects
and objects make the distinction between subject and object untenable with
the effect of making these categories unworkable.
interconnection.

, as in a pair of diagrammatical signs of which the first reads A

linear model will result in excessive pollution and waste, and the second reads

Figure 7: A cyclical model will feature greater recycling and less waste (Source: Astrid Nordin) In this way Expo 2010, like Baudrillard, engages directly with claims to

the end of history:

(Coulter, 2004). Through these examples we can see the world/fair engaged in different phases of simulation, which

can be understood as dissimulating something, but also as dissimulating that there is nothing.

As such, it is not enough to remain within a simple framework of representation and ideology in our analyses thereof, but

Having asked in previous sections where and when the fair

is I turn to the question of who is the fair. What happens to subjectivity in

- I argue that

It is clear that our embodiment matters in the world fair as it differentiates

between ways of being in the world/fair along lines of class, race, gender and so on. At the Shanghai Expo, where well over 90% of visitors were Chinese, the ability to identify me as a fair-skinned visitor from the
outside made me an immediate part of the exhibited exotica (my being fair made me the fair, so to speak. And simultaneously the reverse was true, my fairness positioned me as though outside the fair, observing
it/them). But Expo 2010 goes much further in making us part of the fair, through the layers of interactive technologies by which the fair itself emerges. In the first instance, we are an active part of this emergence,
we can plan, steer and shape the world/fair, we are the subjects of its emergence. Visitors are often asked to actively participate in Expo 2010. Indeed, interactivity is a key feature of many pavilions and different
layers of the world/fair, and one pavilion is expressly dedicated to displaying it. Here, photographs from Expo 2010 and its preparation, submitted via the Expo 2010 website, are circulated on screens. Participants
can also send blessings and wishes for Expo 2010 from various websites and have them screened in the pavilion, surrounded by cards with wishes and blessings written by its visitors. In a wishing tree we are
encouraged to write wishes on colourful paper, fold it into airplanes and throw it into an artificial tree. In parallel, the Online Expo 2010 has many venues where ones avatar can leave wishes, such as the Vanke
pavilion or the Expo4dream4home discussed above. On a multimedia display stand visitors to Expo 2010 can arrange various building models and simultaneously a 3D image of its layout will appear on a
background wall, surrounded by previous excellent works. In this way, a sign for the multimedia display tells us, You could become one of the designers of a future city. In Shanghais own pavilion at Expo 2010

the Shanghai forever image wall, consisting of revolving triangles and more than 15000 photographs featuring Shanghai, is a product of mass participation and joint creation ( ) intended to

Images of images are


everywhere and we can be their creators. Nonetheless, in subjecting the
world/fair to our gaze and our actions, we are simultaneously subjected by it.
Our bodies are not only in the world/fair, they are the world fair, as the fair is
our bodies, simultaneously watching and watched, displaying and displayed.
expound the design conception of New horizons forever (or in Chinese Shanghai eternally marches towards a new horizon, ).

Often our recognition as participants rests on our willingness to take on specific subject positions tellingly, the English title of the pavilion for popular participation is Citizens initiative pavilion, interpellating us
as citizens of the mapped state system on display. It is through such citizenship that we are allowed recognition in the world/fair. Indeed, the different layers of simulacra share citizenship regimes as a key feature,
invoked through the passport. At previous world fairs, at the Shanghai Expo, and at the online version of Expo 2010 we can have a passport in which we collect visa stamps from the pavilions visited. At points, we
have to actively change ourselves to make us acceptable as subjects in order to have our fair share. Passing through the world/fair we are screened and tested. This screening echoes for the subject/object
dichotomy (the who) the collapse we saw in previous sections of the here/there (the where) and the now/then (the when). As Richard Lane has observed with regards to Baudrillard: there is an interpenetration of the
screen metaphor with the notion of everything being on the surface here, including the friendly surveillance which simultaneously shows the people under surveillance on television screens, which leads to a
collapsing of perspectival space (the removal of the gap or distance both spatially and temporally between the viewer and the viewed) (Lane, 2000: 42). Here interpenetration is total, including of architectural and
geographical space. The layers of simulacra cannot be separated. All of Expo 2010, the Shanghai Expo and its virtual replica, Shanghai, China, all of the world/fair are indistinguishable as a total functional screen of
activities (Baudrillard, 1994 [1981]: 76). In this way all of the world/fair operates through screening, in every sense of the word. The example above of the excluded travel guide moreover exemplifies how our
participation in the citizenship regimes of the world/fair is conditional she was stopped at the border because she had not paid the fare. Indeed, the world/fair is most helpful in persuading us that we can (and
should) adjust our selves to pass its screening. In a book dedicated to Expo etiquette prospective visitors to the world/fair are most helpfully taught how to modify their behaviour and their bodies (Xu Bo, 2009).
Chinese readers can learn amongst other things how to greet, walk, shake hands, sit, queue and care for their personal hygiene in a polite manner. They can read about how to go to karaoke, drink coffee with
foreigners and host them in their home according to global decorum. In an appendix we find a taxonomy of etiquette, outlining customs country by country, from the US to Egypt (2009: 147-71). One drawn image,
for example, shows one man (who we can assume, from the big nose in profile, is a Westerner) who sits nicely at his table with one glass and one plate on which he is attacking a square (perhaps a piece of toast)
with his knife and fork. He looks with bewilderment and a hint of fear at another man or boy who smiles a big smile as he carries his second plate to the table, where he has already assembled two glasses, various
fruits and one more plate overflowing with food (in the mish-mash of which we can identify various fruits, a whole fish, a crab and some shrimp). The pictures caption instructs its Chinese readers the civilised
manner of partaking of the fare of the fair through a rhyming slogan: big eyes, small stomach, cannot finish the delicious fare (yan4da4duzi4xiao,4meiwei4chi4bu4liao ) (2009: 62). The
concluding chapter of the book, on how to be a refined and well mannered Expo person, clearly conceives of such politeness in terms of the return to an original state. We are encouraged to utilize the Shanghai
Expo as a historical turning point, to make - 166 - every one of us change into politely speaking Expo people and after being told about the Expos demand on the etiquette of the people of the host country to
through the Expo make elegant etiquette return to China (2009: 141-6, emphasis added). Thus, being a civilised citizen of the world/fair is not about being more like somebody else, but about being more like your

moving through the world/fair our bodies are more explicitly


hi- jacked by screening, made to do things potentially against our will
proliferated, taken apart.
self; it is a question of recycling. At other points,

(and indeed through or

in advance thereof),

The Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region case for example shows visitors images captured and repeatedly displayed on

screens. As citizens of the world/fair our bodies are captured and displayed as copy upon copy throughout Expo 2010, media and academic work, including this thesis. Figure 8: Screened in Ningxia autonomous
region case (Source: Astrid Nordin) This hijacking technology is not simply in the hands of states. Siemens powerfully commoditised Chinese cultural heritage and the Chinese national modernisation project in its
Tianxia4yi4jia pavilion discussed above. To English language audiences the pavilion was marketed through the name We4are4the4world, a name which aptly brings out the recycling nature of the fair through

which also showcases the ambiguity of the question who is


the world/fair. The we is ambiguous and inside the pavilion the capacity in
which we become the world/fair is telling
reviving Michael Jacksons old hit song, but

as described above, our faces pass through a computer program and are recycled on screen

as avatars, transformed, singing along with the Expo 2010 theme tune. Our avatars in the virtual version of Expo 2010 are, to some extent at least, a consequence of our volition and choice, albeit screened and

Our
avatars are exposed as pre-programmed, as playing a pre-scribed role, and
this play has only one script, one where we all sing along with the Chinese
tune.
monitored with a mandatory Chinese ID number registration. In Siemens corporate version of All- under-heaven we are the world/fair without being told in what our stardom will consist.

From these examples we can see two kinds of technologies operating in the world/fair: ones that represent the world and ones that operate through simulation, provoking a reflexive awareness of

artificiality and simulacra: [t]he first of these conceives of technology as enabler, and is the concept that lies behind the notion of the Expo as a technology of nationhood. Technology enables a perspective that can
produce wholeness from fragmentation. Expo enables the appearance of the world as a whole, through the revelation of the fragments that are cut from it and the apparent celebration of their differences (Harvey,

Expo 2010s use of interactive technologies moved away from


representations of the world as we know it to be. It celebrated instead the
possibility of producing a simulated world, copies of copies (dis)interested in
an original: a world of images more real than the real, a fascination with the
hyper-real, pretensions to realities that were never there in the first place or
at least not in such perfect form, concrete manifestations of abstract
possibilities [that] produce the essence of life itself as outcome not origin
w]e are living through a movement from an
organic, industrial society to a polymorphous, information system from all
work to all play, a deadly game
1996: 123).

(Harvey,

1996: 123). The examples discussed here reaffirm a rather sinister side to simulation: [

(Haraway, 1991: 161). Through these technologies of the world/fair, not only our concepts of spatiality and temporality, but

also our notions of subject and object, are displaced. Being in a simulacral world/fair is simulacral being. As such, we need to move beyond analyses of Chinese mega events through concepts of simple

We are copies of copies without


original, simulacral avatars in virtual hyper-reality. The Expo is us: our bodies,
our dreams, our future.
representation and reality, and work to understand how they operate through simulation and simulacra.

War strategist Sun Tzu once wrote Your aim must be to


take All-under-Heaven intact. Thus your troops are not
worn out and your gains will be complete. This is the art
of offensive strategy."2
(Tinxi) has posited itself as the peaceful antithesis
of American hegemonic warmongering, but the All-underHeavens holistic notions of space means that all
encounters with the Other are encounters with the Self,
replacing war with the pornography of non-war a will to
transparency the blurring of allusion and reality that
allows China to simultaneously claim military success and
no military aggression
Nordin 14
---Not quite as important for 1AC could be 2AC if you need time.
(Dr. Astrid Nordin, Lecturer in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and
Religion at Lancaster University, Radical Exoticism: Baudrillard and Others
Wars, International Journal of Baudrillard Studies, Volume 11, Number 2,
Special Issue: Baudrillard and War, May, 2014,
http://www2.ubishops.ca/baudrillardstudies/vol-11_2/v11-2-norden.html)//AG

In contemporary China, the


official rhetoric on war focuses on pre-emption and the claim that China will
never be a hegemonic or warmongering power unlike the US. In this
rhetoric, the Chinese war is by nature a non-war. Official documents emerging
in the last decade repeatedly stress that China is by nature peaceful, which is
why nobody needs to worry about its rise. In the 2005 government whitepaper Chinas Peaceful
(ii). Contemporary PRC rhetoric on pre-modern Chinese thought on war

Development Road, for example, we are told that: [i]t is an inevitable choice based on Chinas historical and cultural
tradition that China persists unswervingly in taking the road of peaceful development. The Chinese nation has always
been a peace-loving one. Chinese culture is a pacific culture. The spirit of the Chinese people has always featured their

numerous other
official and unofficial publications) posit an essentialised Chinese culture of
peacefulness as prior to any Chinese relations with the world. This rhetoric of
an inherently non-bellicose Chinese way has also echoed in Chinese
academic debates, where Chinese pre-modern philosophy has come back in fashion as a (selectively sampled)
longing for peace and pursuit of harmony (State Council of the PRC 2005b). The whitepaper (and

source of inspiration. The claims and logics that have come out of these debates are varied. One significant grouping of
Chinese academics directly follow the government line and claim that choosing peaceful rise is on the one hand Chinas
voluntary action, on the other hand it is an inevitable choice (Liu Jianfei 2006: 38). That peacefulness and harmony is
something that Chinese people have always valued is an implication, and often explicitly stated fact in these literatures.
Zhan Yunling, for example, claims that from ancient times until today, China has possessed traditional thought and a
culture of seeking harmony (Zhang Yunling 2008: 4). This claim to natural harmony is mutually supportive of the claim
that the Chinese nation has always been a peaceful nation, to authors such as Liu Jianfei (2006), or Yu Xiaofeng and

A related set of commentators further stress the significance of


militarily non-violent means to China getting its (naturally peaceful) way in
international relations. For example, Ding Sheng draws on the Sunzi quote mentioned above: to subjugate
Wang Jiangli (2006).

2 Sun Tzu, The Art of War, Chapter III, Line 11

This line of
argument typically sees what some would call soft power tools as a way of getting others
the enemys army without doing battle is the highest of excellence (Ding Sheng 2008: 197).

to become more like yourself without any need for outright war or other forms of physical violence. In a discussion of the
official government rhetoric of harmonious world under former president Hu Jintao, Shi Zhongwen accordingly stresses
that the doctrine opposes going to extremes, and therefore contradicts what Shi calls the philosophy of struggle (Shi
Zhongwen 2008: 40, where struggle implies Marxist ideology). Qin Zhiyong similarly argues that China needs to steer

At the same
time, few Chinese academics question the direction of the merging of
cultures discussed above clearly it is other cultures that should merge into Chinas
peaceful one. In a common line of thought that draws on the historical
concept of Tianxia, or All-under-heaven, it is argued that the Chinese
leadership can thus bring about a harmonious world through voluntary
submission [by others] rather than force simply through its superior morality
and exemplary behaviour (Yan Xuetong 2008: 159). On this logic, the leadership will
never need to use violence, because everybody will see its magnanimity and
will want to emulate its behaviour (Zhao Tingyang 2006: 34. See Callahan 2008: 755 for a discussion).
Much of these debates have come to pivot around this concept of Tianxia, an
imaginary of the world that builds on a holistic notion of space, without
radical self-other distinction or bordered difference. To some thinkers, this imagination is
away from collisions and embrace the aim of merging different cultures (Qin Zhiyong 2008: 73).

based on a notion of globalisation (for example Yu Xiaofeng and Wang Jiangli 2006: 59) or networked space (Ni Shixiong
and Qian Xuming 2008: 124) where everything is always already connected to everything else in a borderless world. In
these accounts, Tianxia thinking is completely different from Western civilisation, since Chinese civilisation insists on its
own subjectivity, and possesses inclusivity (Zhou Jianming and Jiao Shixin 2008: 28). Despite this apparent binary, it is
claimed that Tianxiaism involves an identification with all of humankind, where there is no differentiation or distinction
between people (Li Baojun and Li Zhiyong 2008: 82). A thinker whose deployment of the Tianxia concept has been
particularly influential is Zhao Tingyang, who proposes the concept as a Chinese and better way of imagining world order
(Zhao Tingyang 2005; 2006), where better means better than the Western inter-state system to which Tianxia is
portrayed as the good opposite. In opposition to this Western system, he argues that Tianxia can offer a view from
nowhere or a view from the world, where [w]orld-ness cannot be reduced to internationality, for it is of the wholeness or

as a consequence of a
prioritisation of order over the preservation of alterity, any inconsistency or
contradiction in the system will be a disaster (Zhao Tingyang 2006: 33). As a corollary of this
totality rather than the between-ness (Zhao Tingyang 2006: 39). However,

prioritisation, Zhao comes to insist on the homogeneity of his all-inclusive space, which aims at the uniformity of society
(Zhao Tingyang 2006: 33, emphasis in original) where all political levels should be essentially homogenous or
homological so as to create a harmonious system (2006: 33). The aim of the Tianxia system is thus to achieve one single

Clearly, for such homogeneity to be born from a


heterogeneous world, someone must change. Zhao argues that: one of the principles of Chinese
homogeneous and uniform space.

political philosophy is said to turn the enemy into a friend, and it would lose its meaning if it were not to remove conflicts
and pacify social problems in a word, to transform () the bad into the good (Zhao Tingyang 2006: 34). Moreover, this
conversion to a single good homogeneity should happen through volontariness rather than through expansive
colonialism: an empire of All-under-Heaven could only be an exemplar passively in situ, rather than positively become

However, when we are given clues as


to how this idea of the good to which everyone should conform would be
determined, Zhaos idea of self-other relations seems to rely on the possibility
of some Archimedean point from which to judge this good, and/or the
complete eradication of any otherness, so that the one space that exists is
completely the space of self (Zhao Tingyang 2006: 33). Thus, Zhao confesses that [t]he
unspoken theory is that most people do not really know what is best for
them, but that the elite do, so the elite ought genuinely to decide for the
people (2006: 32). As explained by William A. Callahan: By thinking through the world with a view from everywhere,
missionary (Zhao Tingyang 2006: 36, emphasis in original).

Zhao argues that we can have a complete and perfect understanding of problems and solutions that is all-inclusive.
With this all-inclusive notion of Tianxia, there is literally no outside. Since all places and all problems are domestic,

This complete
and perfect understanding is hence attainable only to an elite, who will
achieve homogeneity (convert others into self) through example. Eventually,
Zhao says that this model guarantees the a priori completeness of the world (Callahan 2007: 7).

then, there will be no other, the many will have been transformed into the
one (Zhao Tingyang 2005: 13, see also 2006). It is through this
transformation and submission to the ruling elite that the prevention of war is
imagined. If Baudrillard had engaged with these contemporary Chinese redeployments of pre-modern thought on
war (which, to my knowledge, he never did), I think he would have recognised many of the themes that interested him in

Most strikingly, this is a way of talking about war


that writes out war from its story. Like deterrence, it is an imagination of war
that approaches it via prevention and pre-emption. What is more, we
recognise an obsession with the self-image of the self to itself in this case, a
Chinese, undemocratic self rather than a Western, democratic one. In this
Chinese war, like in the Persian Gulf of which Baudrillard wrote, there is no space for an Other
that is Other. In the Tianxia imaginary, Others can only be imagined as
something that will eventually assimilate into The System and become part of
the Self, as the Self strives for all-inclusive perfection . There is no meeting
with an Other in any form. Encounter only happens once the Other becomes
like the Self, is assimilated into the One, and hence there is no encounter at
all (for an analysis that reads Baudrillard and Tianxia to this effect in a Chinese non-war context, see Nordin 2012). (iii).
Contemporary Chinese war and its various modes As was the case with the first Gulf War, the war that we are
waiting for here in the Chinese case is thus a non-war. If by war we mean
some form of (symbolic) exchange or some clash of forms, agons, or forces (as
we tend to do even in the current cutting edge research in critical war studies, see Nordin and berg 2013) we
cannot expect it to take place. In China, we see not only a participation in the
Western system of (non)war through the war on terror, but also another
system that precisely denies space for imagining an other as Other, which in
turn makes the idea of exchange impossible. In this sense, the Ancient
Chinese approach to war through the Tianxia concept at least as it is reflected by
current Chinese thinkers like Zhao Tingyang and Yan Xuetong is not a Clausewitzean war
continuing politics by other means, but precisely a continuation of the
absence of politics by other means. It arguably shares this aspect with both the first and the second
Gulf Wars. This, however, is certainly not to say that there are not those who fear
a Chinese war or that we have no reason to fear it. In various guises, the war
that is imagined through a Clausewitzean ontology of agonistic and reciprocal
exchange returns and is reified also in China. It is not uncommon for authors discussing the
Western approaches to the first Gulf war.

Chinese traditions of thinking war that I describe above to begin their discussion by explicitly drawing on Clausewitz and

it is clear that
this building of a harmonious world is directed against others whose
influence should be smashed (Fang Xiaojiao 2008: 68). From this line of thinkers, the call to
build a harmonious world has also been used to argue for increased Chinese
military capacity, including its naval power (Deng Li 2009). Although Chinese policy
documents stress that violence or threat of violence should be avoided, they
similarly appear to leave room for means that would traditionally be
understood as both hard and soft in Joseph Nyes dichotomisation (See for example State
Council of the PRC 2005a). Indeed, many of Chinas neighbours have voiced concern
with growing Chinese military capacity over the last few years, and a Chinese
non-war is no less frightening to its neighbours than a war be it labelled
just or unjust, real or virtual. This Chinese war past, present and future
is acted out in various different modes. Violent war is reified through the
take his war as their point of departure (for example Liu Tiewa 2014). For several Chinese writers,

spectacle of computer games, art, online memes, cartoons and not least
dramas on film and television (Diamant 2011, 433). The Chinese state claims success
in all of its wars, and simultaneously claims that it has never behaved
aggressively beyond its borders (which is also, of course, a convenient way of
glossing over all the violence perpetrated by the Chinese state within those
borders, the violence with which they are upheld and with which they were
established in the first place, and the clear contradiction between the states
fixation on territorial integrity and its borderless and holistic Tianxia rhetoric).
Popular cultural renditions of war paint a more varied picture, but all contribute to a
reification of war. Recent Chinese productions that reify war on the screen
through what we may call war porn are numerous indeed , it has been claimed that
China produces what is probably the highest number of dramas set in wartime in
the world (Diamant 2011: 433). One example accessible to a non-Chinese audience is Feng Xiaogangs Assembly
(Jijiehao ) from 2007, which recreates horrifically violent and realistic battle
scenes from the Civil War between Guomindang nationalists and Communist
troops. The Second Sino-Japanese war is another popular setting for these
reifications of war, providing the backdrop for another large budget film by Feng Xiaogang, the 2012 Back to 1942
(Yijiusier ), and international star-director Zhang Yimous The Flowers of War (Jinling shisan chai ).

Life and Death (Nanjing! Nanjing! ) which became a box office


was criticized for its portrayal of a Japanese soldier as a fully
formed and sympathetic person in its narration of the Nanjing massacre. Off screen China
has, in the reform era since Maos death, seen a new and related wave of commemorations
of the Civil and Anti-Japanese wars in museums throughout China, which play
a central role in national education campaigns to never forget national
humiliation. Examples that house both permanent exhibitions and temporary special exhibits commemorating
Another example is Lu Chuans City of
hit in China in 2009, but

particular war events include the Rape of Nanjing Memorial/Nanjing Massacre museum in Nanjing; the Military Museum,
the Museum of Revolutionary History and the Memorial Museum of the Chinese Peoples War of Resistance to Japan in and
outside Beijing; and the September 18th Incident Memorial and Museum of the Manchurian Crisis in Shenyang, to name
but a few (these museums and their exhibits of war have been studied for example by Mitter 2000, 2003 and Waldron

these museums include vivid reconstructions , often as waxworks


with sound and motion, of horrific battlefield scenes for its audience to
consume. Reifications of war on screen and in museums moreover tie in with a new
remembering by academic and popular publications since the late 1980s,
which commemorates and fetishizes Chinas past experiences of war as well
as projects that experience into the present and the future through the everpresent rhetoric of National Humiliation (guochi.For articles tracing this new remembering, see
Coble 2007 and Mitter 2003). Masses of propaganda are devoted to the commemoration
of the Anti-Japanese war, particularly relating to various Campaigns to Support the Peoples Liberation Army
1996). Many of

and Military Dependents, and in annually recurring celebrations of the Spring Festival, the Anniversary of the founding of
the Peoples Republic, Army Day and the National Humiliation Day which has received much academic attention in recent

the state-led reification of war, and particularly


its treatment in academic publications and governmental speeches, has
centred on the numbers game of claiming high death tolls and economic
costs of the battle histories of the Anti-Japanese war, rather than fore-fronting
the all-too-human element that may be found in for example memoir
literature (Coble 2007, 406). Accordingly, other scholars have argued and I agree with them here that
[a]lthough Chinese movies and television often feature military-related
themes, it is rare to find frank and politicized depictions of Chinas military
conflicts (Diamant 2011: 431). As in the Tianxia narrative discussed above, politics is
years (Callahan 2004, 2009; Wang Zheng 2008). Much of

paradoxically eradicated from these versions of war, together with an other


understood as a human other. However, the literatures critiquing this de-politicization typically criticise
the intellectual elites in various cultural and propaganda offices for producing an artificial rendering of Chinas wars

It is not a
question of creating an image of false representation, or what we may call a third
order simulation, a masking of the reality of war. Rather, the point is that
reality and illusion can no longer be distinguished, but have collapsed into
one another. There is no longer a real war behind these narratives which can
be uncovered (cf. Nordin 2012). Through these other modes, the Chinese non-war is
reified as war. Like the Gulf War of which Baudrillard wrote, it appears seamless, yet is riddled
with contradictions. If what took place in the Persian Gulf was the spectacle of war, what is taking
place in contemporary China is perhaps better understood as the spectacle of non-war.
Like the spectacle of war it has a range of strategic and political purposes for everyone
involved. Like the pre-emptive narratives of Tianxia, the reifications of war that
hark back to a Clausewitzean ontology relay a war that is scripted or coded in
advance, disallowing alterity. And to those who fear the possibility of the
Chinese war, we might indeed see reasons to fear, but also provide a reminder
that it is stupid to be for or against this war, if we do not for a moment
question its probability, credibility or level of reality.
denying veterans an authentic military voice (Diamant 2011: 431, 461). My point here is different.

The will to transparent geopolitics is self-defeating.


Information is futile the attempt to render the whole
world transparent transposes the global way of war on
the level of representation. The moment geopolitics
appears, it immediately disappears, swamped by media
indeterminacy. This confusion produces constant
implosive violence as we attempt to impose meaning onto
the map of the globe. We cannot but subject the world to
absolute truthiness.
Artrip and Debrix 14. Ryan E. Artrip, Doctoral Student, ASPECT,
Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and Francois Debrix, professor of political
science at Virginia Polytechnical Institute, The Digital Fog of War: Baudrillard
and the Violence of Representation, Volume 11, Number 2 (May, 2014)

The story that needs to be told is thus not about the undoubtedly deplorable
truth or fact of explosive and warlike violence, but about a violence of
another sort. In the radical digital transparency of the global scene, we
(members of the demos) often have full or direct exposure to explosivity, as
we saw above with the image of terror. Bu t what still needs to be thought and
problematized is implosivityor what may be called implosive violence.
Implosive violence is a violence for which we do not, and perhaps will never,
have much of a language (Rancire, 2007: 123). Although, not having a
language for it or, rather, as we saw above, seeking to find a language to talk

about it and, perhaps, to make sense of it is still sought after. This is,
perhaps, what digital pictures of war/terror violence seek to capture or want
to force through. Implosive violence, often digitally rendered these days, is in
close contact with media technologies and representational devices
and techniques because it seeks representation and meaning. This is why
implosive violence insists on calling in wars (against terror, for example) and
on mobilizing war machines (against terrorist others, against vague enemy
figures), but wars and war machines that no longer haveto the extent
that they ever hada clearly identifiable object and subject, or a
clear mission/purpose. As such, this implosive violence and its wars
(the new Western/global way of war, perhaps) must remain uncertain,
unclear, foggy, inwardly driven, representational, and indeed virulent.
They must remain uncertain and confused even as they are digitally
operative and desperately capture events/images to give the
impression that meanings/significations can and will be found. Yet, as
we saw above, it is not meanings exactly that must be found, but
information and the endless guarantee of its immediate circulation.
As information occupies the empty place of meaning, certainty, or truth,
images must be instantaneously turned into appearances that search
for meanings that will never be discovered because, instead, a
proliferation of information-worthy facts and beliefs will take over
(perhaps this is what US fake pundit and comedian Stephen Colbert
famously referred to as truthiness). Or, as Baudrillard puts it, free
from its former enemies, humanity now has to create enemies from
within, which in fact produces a wide variety of inhuman
metastases (Baudrillard, 2003). Thus, this implosive violence is destined
to be a global violence since it "is the product of a system that tracks
down any form of negativity and singularity, including of course death
as the ultimate form of singularity. [] It is a violence that, in a sense,
puts an end to violence itself and strives to establish a world where
anything related to the natural must disappear [] Better than a
global violence, we should call it a global virulence. This form of violence
is indeed viral. It moves by contagion, produces by chain reaction, and little
by little it destroys our immune systems and our capacities to resist" (2003;
our italics).

One attempt to doom Chinese radicalism employed


domestically is that of the Great Firewall, a
complementary strategy of media bombardment and
ideaotainement alongside massive censorship of any
word or text deemed subversive. The cyberscape has
been harmonized in response to specific words. The
online culture known as (go) effectively plays
slightly on these linguistic codes to subvert meaning,
converting the critique of Chinese harmony and
harmonization with the word river crab, forming a poetic
revolution of meaning inflection in the effusive play with
language.
Our 1AC is a cancerous counter-simulacra within the
communicative infrastructure of meaning-making,
metastasizing as a linguistic onco-operativity of
meaninglessness that forces the system of
communication to lash out against itself in a suicidal
autodestructivity. The Great Firewall has firewalled itself:
it is incapable of responding.
Nordin 12
(Astrid H.M. Nordin [Lecturer in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and
Religion at Lancaster University], Time, Space and Multiplicity in Chinas
Harmonious World, 2012, The University of Manchester Library,
https://www.escholar.manchester.ac.uk/uk-ac-man-scw:186417, pages 174213)

Chinese discourse on harmony


operates by way of exclusion of discord, and through the violent spatiotemporal double-act of inclusion into sameness and exclusion as behind.
ITERATION AND LANGUAGE PLAY: RESISTNIG HARMONISATION Previous chapters of this thesis have examined how the

If such

attempts at harmonisation of others have been traced in various times and spaces, this is not to imply that they are not crucially linked to the sovereign power of the policy discourse, by way of which we began the

This version of harmony has bordered its national space in


many ways, including by the insistence on territorial sovereignty so closely
associated with Hus harmonious world policy. This insistence on
sovereignty and non-interference has been deployed precisely to legitimate
in the international arena the various forms of harmonisation that have come
to be associated with harmonious worlds policy twin, harmonious society.
One key tactic employed by the state for containing dissidence and
making resistance more difficult has been through harmonising expression on
the Internet.
state has been active in
trying to include the public through e- governance and guidance (), and
exploration of harmony in this thesis: Hus harmony.

Being harmonised online

Where some may initially have imagined the Internet to provide the space for near-unlimited freedom of expression and provide a tool to hold government accountable, more

empirical studies soon resulted in more sober analyses (Chase and Mulvenon, 2002; Kurlantzick, 2004; Lagerkvist, 2005). On the one hand, the

by shaping opinion through overt or covert propaganda online


Officials have portrayed the implementation of information and
communications technologies in police and security organs as a necessary
strategic choice,
One example of such propaganda is the anonymous participation in online
fora by what netizens call the 50 cent party, individuals paid to tow the
party line and steer online discussion so as to be favourable to the party.
Another example is the increasing amount of what Johan Lagerkvist has
called ideotainment. This term denotes the juxtaposition of images,
symbolic representations, and sounds of popular Web and mobile phone
culture together with both subtle and overt ideological constructs and
nationalistic propaganda, which may be exemplified by the Online Expo
examined in the previous chapter
(Lagerkvist, 2005: 206).

echoing Hus view of the future in terms of an inevitable choice (Minister of Public Security, Jia Chunwang, in Huliang - 175 - zhoukan, 2002, cited in Lagerkvist,

2005).

(Lagerkvist, 2008: 121). The desired outcome of such e-governance, according to Lagerkvist, is installing a machine

that can provide scientific and correct knowledge among citizens and state officials (2005: 197). The success of the state in achieving the goals of its inclusionary thought work ( ) nonetheless remains

state has been simultaneously active in trying to exclude


the public, through deleting posts and blocking the Internet
about the work of their harmony makers
and to pre-empt the spread of splittism.115 A parallel strategy deployed to
keep the flow of information harmonious and pure throughout China has been
to surround Chinese virtual space by a Great Firewall, a programme that
blocks many sites based outside China from being accessed from within
China
and to simultaneously demand extensive
policing and censorship of sites located inside this walled space . An
important part of this exclusionary censorship practice has been the
widespread blocking of specific words in online communication. A message
that includes one of the thousands of characters that at any particular
moment is deemed sensitive can be instantly deleted by censorship
software.
questionable (Lynch, 1999). On the other hand, the

. Border regions like Xinjiang have been without

Internet access for long periods as a way to hinder communication and spread of information

(including Google+, Facebook, Twitter and other social media),

The line between acceptable and unacceptable expression remains elusive and shifting (Breslin and Shen, 2010: 266). In drawing it, however, explanatory emphasis is on a language of

health, with censorship purported to 115 The blackouts were noted in the Western mainstream press (Blanchard, 2009; AFP, 2011). For a fuller explanation of exactly what this blockage entailed in terms of access,

In response to the
governmental policing of the Internet, and to its harmony makers in off-line
conflicts, the notion of having been harmonised
has grown popular
as a way of expressing discontent. The use of this passive grammatical voice
dubbed by one commentator the passive subversive
indicates that
one has been coercively made to (appear to) do something. The term gained
such popularity that the passive tense era
made the top of the list
see Summers (2009) - 176 - cleanse pollution and unhealthy elements in favour of health and hygiene (Lagerkvist, 2008: 123, 134).

(bei4hexie4le )

(bei ),

(Kuhn, 2010),

(beishidai4 )

of

Southern4Metropolis4Weeklys 2009 list of most popular neologisms (Southern Metropolis Weekly, 2009), and bei4was made quasi-official when an arm of the Education Ministry elected it the Chinese character of
the year in 2009. Lei Yi, one judge of the event and a historian of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the term won by a landslide by popular Internet vote: [w]e felt we should recognize this result so
we named bei as the character most representative of Chinas situation last year (in Kuhn, 2010). Doubleleaf, a Beijing-based blogger who had his blog harmonised, meaning shut down, emphasised in an

[f]or centuries weve been told that the emperor represented


the peoples interests or that some organization or some leader
represented our interests. People did not realize that they had been
represented. This word of the year signals the awakening of citizens
consciousness
Chinese netizens have made use of this language in
particular to criticise the Chinese censorship of the Internet to shut down any
uncomfortable discussion. For example, one Flash animation, found at an
online competition to raise awareness about scientific development and
harmonious society, features a Bulletin Board System (BBS) comment thread
that gets harmonised. It shows the BBS thread of net jargon, discussions of
a famous person, people trading insults and the posts being suddenly
interview the subversive nature of bei:

(in Kuhn, 2010).4

deleted. When one netizen asks what happened the answer is they have
been harmonised. Finally, a smiling Hu Jintao appears alongside the slogan
Everyone is responsible for a harmonious society
The Flash animation that has been harmonised
is part of a wider form of online culture known as egao4(), which has
become popular since the launch of the harmonious policies and received
international attention since around 2006. The term is made up of characters
e (), which means bad or evil, and gao ( ), which means to change or deal
with, leading to translations of the word as evil jokes
reckless
doings
or simply spoofing
This spoofing culture uses
irony and satire to mock power holders as well as government policies and
practices. Scholars have almost universally described egao as a form of
resistance, subversion or contestation.
[e]very
joke is a tiny revolution
it is moreover
based on an understanding of a discrepancy between on the one hand PRC
party-state language, including tifa like harmonious world and harmonious
society, and on the other hand an alternative political discourse (
hidden transcript
(renren4you4ze4hexie4shehui4 ) (Martinsen, 2007;

Zhuru cilei, 2007). Egao: Resistance in the sphere of politics and the political

(Li Hongmei, 2011: 71),

(Meng Bingchun, 2009: 52),

(Lagerkvist, 2010: 150).

116 Many base their claim on George Orwells comment that

(for example Li Hongmei, 2011: 72; Tang Lijun and Bhattacharya, 2011: 2.4). To a number of commentators,

Meng Bingchun, 2009: 39)

or

(Perry, 2007: 10; Esarey and Xiao Qiang, 2008: 752; Meng Bingchun, 2009: 39), including expressions like having been harmonised.117 The most pervasive

scholarly interpretation of this relation between official and unofficial discourse has been in terms of Bakhtinian carnival an unruly and fantastic time and space in medieval and renaissance Europe. One volume
characterizes the entire Chinese cyberspace as a quasi-separate space of the carnivalesque (Herold and Marolt, 2011). On this understanding, the carnival is an event in a time and space 116 For example Sverine
Arsne (2010), Larry Diamond (2010: 74), Nigel Inkster (2010: 7.2), Tang Lijun and Yang Peidong (2011: 680, 682, 687), Seth Wiener (2011: 156) and Xiao Qiang (Xiao Qiang, 2011a: 52). 117 Scholars have discussed
this discrepancy in various contexts. See for examples Perry Link, Richard Madsen, and Paul Pickowicz (2001), He Zhou (2008), Esarey and Xiao Qiang (2008), Patricia Thornton (2002). - 178 - where rules are
suspended, separate from normal constraints (Herold, 2011: 11, 12). It is the antithesis of normal life, free and unrestricted (Bakhtin cited in Herold, 2011: 12). Similarly, to Li Hongmei, this space marked the
suspension of all hierarchical rank, privileges, norms, and prohibitions (Bakhtin, 1984 [1965]: 10, cited in Li Hongmei, 2011: 72). Meng Bingchun reads a collective attempt at resistance (2011: 44) in the

egao virtual carnival


resistance is said to be directed against the
official
or established
order
in such online
spoofs the potential to generate a chain of related satirical work, which can
create a satire movement and subject power to sustained shame and
ridicule
(2011: 45, 46). This

(Meng Bingchun, 2011: 46)

(Li Hongmei, 2011: 71)

. Tang Lijun and Syamantak Bhattacharya, despite reading egao as

carnivalesque, take it to reveal a widespread feeling of powerlessness, rather than offering the general public any political power (2011). Nonetheless, they see

(Tang Lijun and Bhattacharya, 2011). One scholar who has remained decidedly skeptical to such claims about resistance is Johan Lagerkvist, who asks with regards to egao: [i]s it a

weapon4of4the4weak, or is it a rather feeble expression among well-heeled and largely apolitical urban youth- (2010: 151). Lagerkvist explains egao as [p]ermeated with irony and an ambivalence that
occasionally resembles, or indeed is, resistance (2010: 146). Nonetheless, to him, [t]he crux of the matter is only what larger influence you have on politics, if that is at all desired, if your critique is too subtle

[i]nstead of viewing the egao phenomenon as politically


subversive, at least in the short term, it may make more sense to view it as
the growth of an alternate civility, more indicative of social and generational
change, building up ever more pressure against the political system in the
long term
Egao is neither
performed to be, nor perceived as, a direct threat against the Party-state
This claim in itself, however, says
little about what it does do (or undo), but simply leaves the question open. In
previous analyses of egao, the focus is clearly on potential for changing
politics, but none of the authors sustain any discussion about what they
mean by this politics.
(2010: 146). Therefore, he concludes:

(Lagerkvist, 2010: 158). To Lagerkvist the point of egao then, for now at least, is to vent anger in a non- revolutionary manner.

(Lagerkvist, 2010: 159). In this chapter I take Lagerkvists point that irony is not by4definition radical or revolutionary.

In order to understand their disagreement, we can benefit from returning to the distinction made at the outset of this thesis between politics in the

narrow sense, or politics,4and politics in the wider sense, or the4 political. I have taken the latter to be concerned with the establishment of that very social order which sets out a particular, historically specific

depoliticization is equal to a
reduction to calculability or the application of rules
To repoliticize,
again, is instead to interrupt discourse, to challenge what have , through
discursive practices, been constituted as normal, natural, and accepted ways
of carrying on
account of what counts as politics and defines other areas of social life as not politics (Edkins, 1999: 2). On such a reading,

(Edkins, 1999: 1, 11).

(Edkins, 1999: 12). In view of this differentiation between politics and the political, Lagerkvists evaluation of egao with regards to what larger influence it has on politics

seems to refer to politics in the narrow sense, rather than the political. Tang and Bhattacharyas judgment of egao4with reference to its potential to create a satire movement seems to be concerned with the same

These accounts, then, dismiss egao as not political unless it can achieve
some movement or influence with regards to politics (in the narrow sense).
This makes the scholars readings of egao themselves depoliticizing.
narrow politics.

My concern, by contrast,

is rather with the question of the political, and I will comment on this in more detail at the end of this chapter.118 It is in this realm of discourse and the political that I ground an understanding of resistance. The

previous chapter pointed to the problems of conceptualizing resistance as revealing realities, the facts, when what we are dealing with is a hyperreal system. Rather, I argued, we need to think about theory and
resistance as a challenge. What does this mean- Roland Bleiker has written about the type of resistance that occurs in this realm of the discursive, a resistance that revolves around interactions between different
types of speech. To him: 118 My discussion of the literatures on egao in relation to politics and the political here draws on Nordin and Richaud (2012), where we discuss the distinction as perceived by the young

Aesthetic
politics, by contrast, has to do with the ability of artistic engagements to
challenge, in a more fundamental way, how we think about and represent the
political. Here the political content lies in the aesthetic form itself, which often
is not political in an explicit and immediately recognisable manner
engaging with language is engaging in social struggle
Alternative forms of language, he argues, can challenge the states
promotion of a black-and-white, one-dimensional and teleological approach to
history by celebrating multiplicity and making ambivalence part of language
netizens who produce and consume it, based on ethnographic fieldwork and interviews. [o]vertly committed art forms often do no more than promote a particular position.

(Bleiker, 2009: 8). On this

understanding, Bleiker has shown that

(2000: 43).

2000: 43). He moreover shows that this is part of global politics through drawing on David Campbell to the effect that the everyday life in which these forms of
linguistic resistance are deployed is not a synonym for the local level, for in it global interconnections, local resistances, transterritorial flows, state politics, regional
(Bleiker,

Alternative forms of speech


and writing, then, show how political change can be brought about by forms
of resistance that deliberately and self-consciously stretch, even violate
existing linguistic rules because in doing so they can provide us with
different eyes, with the opportunity to reassess anew the spatial and political
[and, I would add, temporal] dimensions of global life
Rather than
seeking a quick-fix by revealing the scandalous truth, or forming a mass
movement explicitly aimed at intervening in narrow politics , this discursive
form of resistance works through pushing gradually at the terms in which we
can conceive of the world. It thereby resists the temptation to provide
concrete answers to concrete questions
dilemmas, identity formations, and so on are always already present (Campbell , 1996: 23, cited in Bleiker, 2000: 44).

(Bleiker, 2000: 45).

(Bl

eiker, 2000:

45). In the rest of this chapter I examine egao as one particular instance that can help

us think further about such linguistic resistance in/to harmonious world. Resisting harmonisation and deconstructive reading The above example of having been harmonised shows how Chinese netizens are

By reciting official language and reinscribing it in other chains of meaning, Chinese


netizens are turning its purported message against itself. Where Hus
harmony purports to be inclusive, peaceful and open, its re-iteration with a
simple grammatical modifier, bei, reads this official take on harmony as being
exclusive, violent and working to close down possibilities for difference. This
shows us that language is indeed a crucial part not only for the government
to try to harmonise dissidents, but also for these to negotiate (or possibly
resist) such harmonisation. This language play is thus made possible by
iterability, which means we can remove the repeatable meaning of a term
like harmony from the specific context in which it was first deployed and
recognize other possibilities in it by inscribing it or grafting4it onto other
chains
harmony does not have one fixed meaning, but
we can play with it, graft it into other chains of signification that can reveal
meanings that were always already there in harmony in the first place.
being harmonised by the government, but also how they are negotiating such harmonisation through language and grammar. This is what I mean when I write that tifa are iterative.

(Derrida, 1988: 9, cf. Massey, 2005: 19). For this reason

This possibility is

exploited by netizens. We can read deconstruction taking place in the term harmony in many places. What dissident use does is precisely shake it loose from its intended meaning in Hus policy documents,
reversing and displacing its meaning, without therefore separating it from that policy discourse. Below I illustrate how this takes place in various tactics of resisting harmonisation in China. The point is to not simply
accept harmony as having one straightforward meaning, to obey, avoid or bin the term. Instead, we can, as Baudrillard would have it, recycle it in potentially subversive ways. Recycling4harmony4(
)41:4Close4reading4of4the4radicals4that4make4up4a4character4 - 182 - Figure 9: Close reading the radicals of harmony (Source: Danwei.org) Derridas way of reading a text is often termed close reading,
which involves paying attention to the details of structure, grammar and etymology of a term or text. This is a tactic we often use in academia when we discuss the meaning of Chinese terms through a close
reading of the radicals that make up a character. This is also a common practice among netizens, in online discussions and in other media, like the above logo from the Economic4Observer for its feature section on
the 2006 NPC and CPPCC Sessions (Martinsen, 2006). The English term harmony comes from Greek harmos or harmona, meaning joint, agreement, concord.119 is usually translated as harmonious or
concordant, the individual characters carrying the same meaning. is composed of radicals () words and all.120 With the mouth radical the character, pronounced h, can signify singing in
harmony, or talking together.121 If what we see in Chinas current harmonising of dissidents is a harmonious society or harmonious world, harmony here retains only its meaning of singing in harmony (as we
saw through the example of Expo avatars singing the Expo song in harmony), its talking together is only in agreement or concord. 119 According to dictionary definition (Hoad, 1993; Oxford Dictionaries,
2011c: 6.3996.3910). 120 According to dictionary definition (Karlgren, 1974 [1923]: 364; Hanyu4da4zidian4weiyuanhui, 1995). 121 According to dictionary definition (Wieger, 1965 [1915]: Lesson 121a; Karlgren,
1974 [1923]: 70; Lindqvist, 1991: 187; Hanyu4da4zidian4weiyuanhui, 1995: 1.602.601). - 183 - Recycling4harmony4()42:4Differently4pronounced4Chinese4character4gives4alternative4 meaning4 Figure 10:
pronounced h1is the battle cry when winning a game of mah\jong (Source: Zhang Facai, 2008) This, however, takes us to another tactic of bringing out and playing with the differently pronounced alternative
meanings that Chinese characters often have. can also be pronounced h, a battle cry of victory when completing a game of mah- jong. Through this battle cry competition or conflict returns to visibility in
harmony, as the excluded term on which it relies. This disruption acknowledges the antagonism involved in play, unsettling the notion of permanent harmonious win-win purported by the party-state. It reminds us
of the violence we have traced in previous chapters of a dominant Chinas turning other into self. What goes on in this reading is in a sense the first of the two moves of Derridas deconstructive double gesture. We
have read Hus harmony in a way that is faithful to its purported meaning, where the end-state of harmony rests on the exclusion of violence, discord and conflict. His harmonious world, as we saw in chapter 1, is
one that has done away with misgivings and estrangement, where everyone wins and no one loses. The inevitable choice (or what if we were nasty we could call the single prescribed future without responsibility
of choosing) is a future harmonious world order where China will always stand for fairness and justice. Anyone who disagrees with this sense of justice is simply wrong and irrational, euphemised as unscientific.
- 184 - What the pronunciation h does is acknowledge the excluded other of Hus harmony, namely discord and competition. H can only be achieved after vanquishing the opponent, there is no win-win here.122
The h of mah-jong, just like the harmonious Tianxia utopia, is premised on the superiority of the self to the other. Only this hierarchy can establish order, harmony or h. Acknowledging that competition is always
already there in harmony, implied in the alternative pronunciation h, I propose that we can acknowledge a third tactic of resistance, the play with homonymous characters. Recycling4harmony44(
)43:4Rivercrab4(hxi)4as4a4nearWhomonym4for4harmony4 (hxi)4 Derridas first deconstructive move is reversal, identifying an operational binary such as harmony/discord and showing how the
exclusion of the second term from the first is artificial and that in fact the first is reliant on the second. An equally important move is displacement, the creation of a term that is not fully contained within the old
order. We can get at such a displacement through paying attention to rivercrabs (hxi4 ), a near homonym for harmony (hxi4 ). Before I go on to discuss these rivercrabs in more detail, I should point
out that these two deconstructive moves are not separate, chronologically or otherwise. My discussion of them here in turn is for the benefit of my reader, in order to illustrate more clearly what this dissident

language play can do for us. Similar sounding characters are often used to replace sensitive words as a way to get through the keyword searches of censorship software that has been bolstered as a way to
simultaneously avoid and criticise being harmonised. When netizens are blocked by harmonising government software from writing harmony (hxi ), they can replace the term by the similar sounding
characters for rivercrabs (hxi ).

of resistance.

In recent years, the rivercrab has become popular as a signifier

In 122 Indeed, the very game of mah-jong is itself involved in contestation as a battle ground for politics, where popular practice has been shown to resist official campaigns to

regulate and sanitize a popular mah-jong () and promote healthy mahjong ( 4or , meaning no gambling) as a competitive national sport and a symbol of Chinas distinctive cultural
legacy (Festa, 2006: 9). - 185 - popular Chinese language a crab is a violent bully, making its image a new playful and satirical, but heavily political, way of criticising the harmonising rivercrab society (Xiao
Qiang, 2007).123 Figure 11: Insist on three watches, establish rivercrab society (Source: Xuanlv, 2010) One popular satire on it can be seen in the above rivercrab with three watches. The caption overhead reads:
insist on three watches, establish rivercrab society (jianchi4 san4ge4daibiao4,4chuangjian4hexie4shehui4 ). The first phrase is a nonsensical mockery of the party slogan insist on the
three represents (jianchi4san4 ge4daibiao4 )124 and the second is a mockery of the slogan establish harmonious society (chuangjian4hexie4shehui4 ). The political tactic here is one of
intentional (mis)reading of official discourse, an iteration of party-state language against itself in order to reveal aspects of harmony that remain hidden from view in official discourse. Again, the acknowledgement
of the purported message and its hierarchical binary as well as the first deconstructive move of reversing that hierarchy are here in this picture, this is not a separate stand-alone symbol or event. 123 As a simple
indication of the popularity of satirical depictions of the rivercrab, a Google image search for the Chinese term rivercrab society () gave ca 212 000 hits on 3 March 2011. 124 The three represents is
previous General Secretary Jiang Zemins legacy tifa, which became a guiding ideology of the CCP at its Sixteenth Party Congress in 2002, together with Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, and Deng Xiaoping
Theory. It stipulates that the CCP should be representative to advanced social productive forces, advanced culture, and the interests of the overwhelming majority. The tifa was part of the shift to Chineseness as a
legitimising force of the CCP as a ruling party representative of the majority of Chinese people as opposed to its original legitimisation as a vanguard revolutionary party driven by the proletariat. It also helped

rivercrab also displaces this binary and functions


as a new term which does not obey that order in any simple manner, but
rather shakes it up and brings to the fore the irresolvable contradiction
between these terms.
legitimise the inclusion of capitalist business elites into the party. However, the

To clarify the position of my analysis here in relation to Derridas, I speak of the rivercrab as a second term which displaces the harmony/discord binary

implied in Hus harmonious world and society. As such, it does not obey the order of that binary in a simple manner. However, it also does not necessarily function as a new master term in the way Derrida often

This mockingly reiterative form of resistance is not confined


to the Internet egao culture, but has spread beyond its online origins to
impact both on official state media and on forms of resistance offline. Artist Ai
Weiwei staged one such example that received attention in the West some
time before his infamous detention by the authorities. When his newly built
Shanghai studio was to be demolished by the authorities, Ai threw a grand
farewell party in November 2010, to which he invited several hundred friends,
bands and other supporters to feast on a banquet consisting of rivercrabs. Ai
was put in house arrest in Beijing to prevent him from attending the banquet,
but the event took place nonetheless with supporters chanting: in a
harmonious society, we eat rivercrabs (
The official party-state
strategies of responding to such resistance take the form of harmonising it,
ignoring it, or on occasion acknowledging its presence whilst attempting to
again re-read its meaning, significance and implications in an effort at
downplaying its critical potential.
seems to understand the role of a new term.

Branigan, 2010). Party\state response

With respect to the passive subversive bei making the top of lists of neologisms in 2009, a Xinhua article displays the

latter tactic. The article stresses state tolerance through emphasising that the poll, which resulted in bei4being elected character of the year, was jointly conducted by a linguistic research centre under the Ministry
of Education and the state-run Commercial Press. The tense was said to convey a sense of helplessness in deciding ones own fate and to reflect dissatisfaction over the abuse of official power (Xinhua, 2010c).

The example of being suicided


was discussed, explaining that the
abuse of official power concerned was perpetrated by a local official, who was
duly sentenced to death by higher authorities.
(bei4zisha4 )

Other examples were being volunteered (bei4ziyuan ) and being found a job

(bei4jiuye4 ). From the passive subversive bei4the article turns into proof of how good and improving the government is: [b]ei was not censored in the government-run poll of buzzwords, and grassroots
voices are finally being heard and even recognized by the government The government is beginning to respond to inquiries from the public, instead of dodging them as it did before (Xinhua, 2010c). Yet much
resistance is still treated with violence or silence by Chinese official sources. According to interviews by Tessa Thorniley at Ai Weiweis rivercrab banquet over 40 domestic media sources were invited and none
showed up, and amongst the over 50 media outlets that interviewed Ai in house arrest regarding the event the only domestic media that spoke to him was the English language edition of conservative paper
Global4Times4(Goldkorn, 2010). Within half a year of the rivercrab banquet, Ai had been detained by Chinese police, accused of a number of crimes. After 81 days in detention he was released on bail (),
on the condition that he did not speak (Branigan, 2011; Committee to Protect Journalists, 2011; US Asia law NYU, 2011). During his disappearance Chinese Internet sites such as Sina Weibo blocked searches on Ai
Weiwei (), a number of his nicknames and puns on his name, including (Ai Wei), (Wei Wei), (Ai), (Wei), (Fatty Ai), (Fatty) and (Moon Half Son). They also blocked
writing including the term , meaning future, which is built up of characters similar to Weiwei (Xiao Qiang, 2011b). ONCO\OPERATIVE HARMONY From the above analysis we see that there are similarities
between Derridean approaches to reading deconstruction in academia and practices of subversive iteration of harmony amongst dissident netizens in contemporary China. The possibilities for alliances that reside
within such shared tactics are potentially valuable to both parties and may help us here to bridge the theory/practice divide. - 188 - Derrida and Baudrillard were both masters of language play, frequently building
on the various meanings that can be drawn out of words by way of their etymological roots, their different pronunciations, by playing with homonyms and near-homonyms and by combining words into new ones to
reverse and displace previous binaries. Such techniques pervade the writing of both thinkers.125 However, this is not to say that the similar practice of Chinese language that I outline above is an entirely new
phenomenon created by recent practices of Internet censorship and/or influences from some Western postmodernity. On the contrary, the struggles and practices that I have outlined have a long and rich history

Linguistic play with characters and homonyms has been a sensitive topic
in China for millennia. Such practices have also been known to academics in
the Anglophone world for decades. For example, a 1938 article argues that
literary persecution was especially cruel during the Qing dynasty
and continues with a description that could just as well be of
contemporary Chinese censorship regimes on the Internet: under the
circumstances they [Chinese scholars, artists, intellectuals and others] could
do nothing but resort to veiled satire. This being the situation, their words
and writings were spied on and scrutinized; if they did not use every care
they suffered the severest punishments
But, the author
continues, although the Qing were the worst offenders, similar practices of
harsh censorship had taken place since the Qin
and Han
the first
in China.

(1644-1911 AD) (Ku Chieh-Kang,

1938 [1935]: 254),

(Ku Chieh-Kang, 1938 [1935]: 254).126

(361-206 BC)

(206 BC-8 AD),

two dynasties of what is typically considered imperial China.

125 In Derrida, some such terms that I have

touched upon in the course of this thesis include iterability, which plays on reiterate and combines the Latin iter (again) with the Sanskrit itara4(other) (Wortham, 2010: 78), and diffrance, which combines the
two meanings of French diffrence, difference and deferral, changing an e to an a adds time to space (Massey, 2005: 49). It also includes terms such as artifactuality, activirtuality, circonfession, avenir/4venir,
hauntologie and so on. Despite what may be interpreted as a dismissal at points of Derridas deployment of word play (as discussed in chapter 1. See also Baudrillard, 1996 [1990]: 25), Baudrillard uses very similar
tactics in his deployment of terms such as seduction, drawing on the original Latin sense of seducere, to lead away, and semiorrhage, semiotic haemorrhage (Baudrillard, 2002 [2000]: 208). 126 I should be noted
that this article was written by a Chinese author at a time when the 1911 nationalist revolution had recently thrown the Qing dynasty from power, which may have affected this commentary. - 189 - The article goes
on to list numerous death sentences during the Ming dynasty (1368- 1644 AD), occasioned by the homophonic nature of certain words employed (1938 [1935]: 262). As in contemporary PRC, although
misreading set texts could be very dangerous (1938 [1935]: 296-301), the attempt to provide set phrases and pre- structured models for expression could not prevent such double meanings from seeping through
text (1938 [1935]: 263). There is thus Chinese historical precedent of interplay between violent oppression of speech and the kind of linguistic resistance that builds on reiterative, mocking punnery in ways similar
to the contemporary deployment of rivercrabs. Crabs as cancerous disease Where associations emerging from Chinese language aligns crabs with harmony, bullies and competition, most European languages
associate it with the disharmony of the body that shares its name: cancer.127 In what follows I introduce the European roots of this term in order to foreground my subsequent analysis of the above
harmony/rivercrabs, where I argue that these rivercrabs operate precisely according to a cancerous logic. The term cancer is originally Latin, meaning crab or creeping ulcer, with its etymological roots in
Greek karkinos, said to have been applied to such tumours because they were surrounded by swollen veins that looked like the limbs of a crab (Demaitre, 1998: 620-6; Oxford Dictionaries, 2011b). Although the
European term, like the Chinese one, has mythological connotations,128 a contemporary dictionary entry for cancer describes it as a malignant growth or tumour resulting from an uncontrolled division of cells,
but also as an evil or destructive practice or phenomenon that is hard to contain or eradicate (Oxford Dictionaries, 2011b). 127 Scandinavian languages have interpreted cancer to equate a crayfish, rather than a
crab, to give the Swedish krfta, Norwegian kreft4and Danish krft. 128 In astronomy, the Cancer constellation represents Hercules crushing a crab with his foot. This tale derives from Greek mythology, where
the crab nipped Heracles when he was battling the monster Hydra and was crushed. The mother deity Hera who was at odds with Heracles at the time honoured the crabs courageous efforts by placing it in the
heaven. In astrology, the cancer/crab is the fourth sign of the zodiac, which the sun enters at the northern summer solstice, about 21 June (Oxford Dictionaries, 2011a). The term also has spatial connotations,
indicating the direction south, as in the tropic of cancer. - 190 - In this second capacity, cancer is not separate from contemporary understandings of international politics and visions of a harmonious world. Rather,
the language of cancer and tumours has long been common in IR and politics, and cancer is frequently used as a metaphor for moral and political ills on the body politic to be cured or removed.129 At the same
time, descriptions of biomedical cancer often resort to metaphors or similes borrowed from societal relations130 and from military conflict and battle.131 In Chinese language, the close link between security in the
medical and political realms is explicit in the character zhi (), which refers to both therapy (zhi4 liao ) and governance (zhi4li ) (Unschuld, 2010: xxvi; Cheung, 2011: 7). Many studies have shown how the
knowledge systems of Western biomedicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) reflect the intellectual and political landscape in which they respectively developed.132 As such, many have understood the
spatial distance between China and Europe as a foundation for an epistemological difference in understanding of their medical bodies, which directly parallels that which is claimed to underpin the understanding of
the 129 Hobbes gave a detailed analysis of dangers to the state as illnesses to the body politic (Hobbes, 1996: 221-30), building on an established metaphor of societies as bodies (Hale, 1971). For another example
of early European use, Italian thinker Francesco Guicciardini, writing in the 16th century, constantly repeats the metaphors of medicine and cure. Guiccardini identifies the disease with the Italian city states
willingness to ally with outside states that are more powerful than themselves, and cautions against ignoring how dangerous it is to use medicine which is stronger than the nature of the disease (Guicciardini,
1984: 20-1). The French Revolution saw the use of illness/therapy metaphors to justify the terreur as a cure for societal illness (Musolff, 2003: 328). In contemporary scholarship, Susan Sontag in her famous
Illness4as4Metaphor singled out cancer as a type of master illness that is implicitly genocidal (Sontag, 1991: 73-4, 84). Otto Santa Anna describes how the American civil rights movement used cancer as a
metaphor for racism in the 1960s (Santa Anna, 2003: 215-16, 222). In contemporary IR Kevin Dunn has written at length about the how Mobutus cancer-ridden body led to a recasting of him as a cancer on the
body politic of the Republic of Zaire, and Zaire in turn as a tumour on the region (Dunn, 2003: especially 139-42). See also Deborah Wills (2009) for recent use of cancer terminology in English language IR, and
Wang Yizhou (2010: 11) for similar use in Chinese language IR. 130 For a good overview of such metaphorical use in patients and media, see Lupton (2003). For a good overview of other forms of cultural and artistic
expression relating to the narrativisation of cancer, see Stacey (1997). 131 For such military metaphors, see for example Annas (1995: 745), Clarke (1996: 188), Stibbe (1997), Clarke and Robinson (1999: 273-4),
Lupton (2003: 72), Reisfield and Wilson (2004) and Williams Camus (2009). 132 For its treatment in recently discovered Chinese medical literature, see Lo and Cullen (2005). For commentary on the parallel
emergence of political and medical epistemologies in imperial China, see Unschuld (2010). For commentary on parallel developments of political and medical knowledge in Europe, see Have (1987) and Stibbe
(1997). - 191 - Chinese geo-body, examined in previous chapters.133 Western biomedicine, it is thus said, follows Descartes and builds on the idea that parts of the body are discrete and can be calculated,

Chinese medicine is said to build instead on a


holistic idea of the body where illness is explained in terms of a pattern of
disharmony
measured and cured in isolation (Have, 1987; Kaptchuk, 2000).

(Kaptchuk, 2000: 4). Just as a bounded notion of space is typically portrayed in terms of an imposition on China by Western imperialism, so too is a biomedical imaginary and

representation of discrete body parts portrayed as an imposition by the West and a catching up by a China that had fallen behind (Cheung, 2011: 9; Gilman, 1988: 149, 151, 154). With regards to the geo-body, I
have argued throughout previous chapters that its two spatial imaginaries (that of discrete units and that of a holistic system) are not mutually exclusive, but rather coexist in practices in contemporary China. The
scope of this thesis does not allow for a thorough deconstruction of the parallel epistemology that is applied to debates over the medical body.134 Suffice it to say at this point that contemporary literature on
Chinese medicine typically reflects on how biomedicine and TCM are complementary.135 Most importantly for my argument here, and as I will explain in what follows, TCM and biomedicine have produced strikingly
133 This imagination of the human body is particularly clear in writing on pictorial representations thereof. The negotiation of Chinese-Western power relations and self/other hierarchisation through modes of
pictorial representation has been traced in the mid-19th Century medical paintings of Lam Qua, who focused on depicting tumours on Chinese bodies for Western consumption. Discussions of these can be found in
Gilman (1988) and Heinrich (2008), as can some of Lam Quas pictures of tumours and abscesses (Gilman, 1988: 150; Heinrich, 2008: 50, 54, 55, 81, 82, 83, 84, 86, 87), as well as earlier and later Chinese images
of such growths (Heinrich, 2008: 57, 91, 92; see also Barnes, 2005: 292). 134 Such an endeavour might point to the early exchange and hybrid nature of information, and to similarities of TCM and early forms of
European medicine: the inner body as masculine (or Yang) and the outer body as feminine (or Yin) (for expression in European tradition, see Erickson, 1997: 10, for expression in Chinese tradition, see Liu Zhanwen
and Liu Liang, 2009: 12); the focus on balance of a holistic system (for expression in European tradition, see Turner, 2003: 2, for expression in Chinese tradition, see Unschuld, 2010: xxve); the focus on bodily flows
and the understanding of blockage of flows as cause for disease (for expression in European tradition, see Turner, 2003: 2, for expression in Chinese tradition, see Liu Zhanwen and Liu Liang, 2009: 28), the
discursive parallels to the societal body and the need for governance of both societal and medical body (for expression in European tradition, see Porter, 1997: 158; Turner, 2003: 2, for expression in Chinese

There are many examples of this


similar responses to the appearance of cancer:
to cleanse and purge in conjunction with studied manipulation of the immune
system. Reading cancer and the autoimmune in Baudrillard
His interest in
the coding of the human body also extended to the replication and
transmission of data on the micro level, in the form of genetic code and
cellular regeneration. As pure information, the human body is not understood
as the source of selfhood, but rather as an effect produced by the code
Embedded in this code is the potential for cancer and
autoimmune disease
According to Baudrillard, consumer
society or European democracy is driven by a perverse logic
where
a range of phenomena terrorism, fascism, violence, depression, and so on
are the outcome of an excess of organization , regulation and rationalization
within a system
These societies tend to suffer from an excess of
rationality and logic, surveillance and control, which in turn leads to the
emergence for no apparent reason of internal pathologies strange
dysfunctions unforeseeable, incurable accidents anomalies, which
disrupt the systems capacity for totality, perfection and reality invention
This is the logic that Baudrillard reads of an excessive system that fuels
the growth of anomalies just like cancer and autoimmune disease
tradition, see Unschuld, 2010), and so on. 135

(for example Cui Yong et al., 2004; Bao Ting et al., 2010; Chiaramonte and

Lao Lixing, 2010; Dorsher and Peng Zengfu, 2010; Wong and Sagar, 2010). - 192 -

and Derrida The previous chapter drew on

Baudrillards interest in the pre-programmed character of contemporary culture to examine the (re)production of human bodies as computer coded avatars on the Expo screen.

(Baudrillard,

1994 [1981]: 98, see also Toffoletti in Smith, 2010: 28).

(Baudrillard, 2002 [2000]: 98, 207).136

(2002 [2000]: 97, 207),

(2002 [2000]: 97).

(2002

[2000]: 97).

(Baudrillard, 2002 [2000]).

What characterises these anomalies in Baudrillards theorising is that they have not come from elsewhere, from outside or from afar, but are rather a product of the over-protection of the body be it social or
individual (Smith, 2010: 59): 136 Like cancer, the question of immunity reinforces the close link between the governance of the socio- political and the bio-medical body, as immunity was originally a legal
concept in ancient Rome (Cohen, 2009: 3). For my analysis of cancer and autoimmunity in Baudrillards work, I focus on the various articles collected in Screened Out (2002 [2000]), and particularly the essay Aids:

[e]very structure, system or social body which ferrets out its


negative, critical elements to expel them or exorcise them runs the risk of
catastrophe by total implosion and reversion, just as every biological body
Virulence or Prophylaxis- (2002 [1997]).

which hunts down and eliminates all its germs, bacillae and parasites in
short, all its biological enemies runs the risk of cancer or, in other words, of
a positivity devouring its own cells. It runs the risk of being devoured by its
own anti-bodies
the systems overcapacity to protect,
normalise and integrate
is shown throughout society as
natural immunity is replaced by artificial systems of immunity like preprogrammed firewalls (Baudrillard
(Baudrillard, 2002 [1997]: 3). On this reading,

(Smith, 2010: 60) (we could say harmonise)

, 2002 [2000]: 98). This replacement happens in the name of science and progress (or perhaps a scientific outlook on

development). Derrida developed a strikingly similar deployment of the autoimmune, where for example the West since 9/11 is producing, reproducing, and regenerating the very thing it seeks to disarm (2003a:
99).137 Derrida analyses this perverse logic in terms of an autoimmune process (2003a: 99); that strange behaviour where a living being, in quasi-suicidal fashion, itself works to destroy its own protection, to
immunise itself against its own immunity (2003a: 94). This term recalls previous Derridean terms,138 but particularly reinforces Baudrillards claim about cancer and immunity: [i]n an over-protected space, the
body loses all its defences (Baudrillard, 2002 [1997]: 3). In this way, to Baudrillard and Derrida, in cancer and autoimmunity it is the systems own logic that turns it against itself; the code works too well in its
overzealous cleansing, integrating, normalising logic. Derrida reads in this process a double and contradictory discourse of concurrent immunity and auto-immunity in endless circulation, where the system
conducts a 137 For Derrida, I draw mostly on his reading in Autoimmunity: Real and Symbolic Suicides on 9/11 (2003a) and in Rogues:4Two4Essays4on4Reason (2005 [2003]-a), rather than on earlier mention of
autoimmunity in texts such as Faith and Knowledge (1998) or Resistances4of4Psychoanalysis (1998 [1996], for some comments on the use of the "autoimmune" in this volume, see Wortham, 2010: 160). 138 As
expressed by one commentator: [u]ndecideability, aporia, antinomy, double bind: autoimmunity is explicitly inscribed in Rogues into a veritable best of collection of Derrideo-phemes or deconstructo- nyms
(Naas, 2006: 29). - 194 - terrible war against that which protects it only by threatening it (1998: 46).139 The immune and the autoimmune may not, then, be easily distinguishable: murder was already turning into
suicide, and the suicide, as always, let itself be translated into murder (Derrida, 2005 [2003]-a: 59). Derrida and Baudrillard and others who have since deployed this aspect of their analyses140 tend to describe
autoimmunity as generated by the current Western system, although they sometimes indicate the more general nature of such praxis (Thomson, 2005). I have argued in previous chapters that other phenomena
they bring to our attention (such as the deconstructibility of language, or simulacra) cannot be confined in time and space to a bounded notion of the West, late capitalism, postmodernity or some other unit to
which we posit China as the other country. In the same way, the observed unfettered process of a techno-metastatic production of value, the hyperinflation of meaning and signs is not confined to
democracy/capitalism/the West/America that they take as the primary focus of their analyses (I. C. R., 2007). Rather, this cancer has its parallel in contemporary China, precisely in the form of rivercrabs. Reading
cancer and the (auto)immune through biomedicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine To explain this point, and to dispel any understanding of my argument in terms of a Chinese catching up, let me elaborate
slightly on how biomedicine and TCM have understood cancer. 139 Derrida sometimes takes the term to denote a specific targeting of a bodys defence mechanisms, its protecting itself against its self-protection
(Derrida, 1998: 73, note 27), which is closer to the biomedical definition of autoimmunity and further from its description of certain forms of cancer. At other times, the autoimmune involves an attack against any
part of the body, in short against its own (son4propre4tout4court) (Derrida, 1998: 44). We note here the numerous meanings of French propre, translated here as own, but which also means self-possession,
propriety, property and importantly cleanliness, stressing again the cleansing that I emphasise in this chapter (cf. Spivak's translation in Derrida, 1976 [1967]: 26). Where some have found this ambiguity
problematic (Haddad, 2004: 39-41), I think it points to an important aspect of autoimmunity that is the impossibility of separating a part that defends a (geo)body from one that simply is. It acknowledges the
malleability of the system. For this reason I also allow for (auto)immunity and cancer to denote the same process, as they do to Baudrillard. 140 For example Bulley (2009: 12, 25-29), Vaughan-Williams (2007: 18392), Osuri (2006: 500), Thomson (2005), and Haddad (2004: 30). - 195 - The disease that in English is called cancer is called ai () in modern TCM terminology, and cancerous tumours can also be referred to as liu
().141 TCM philosophy is based on the idea that a body is healthy when it is in harmony, and illness and pain occur when harmony fails to be achieved, manifest in a pattern of disharmony (Bao Ting et al., 2010:
171).142 Cancer/ai/liu is on this view a systemic disease from the start (Schipper et al., 1995; Wong and Sagar, 2010: 3). Cancer and tumours are understood as the manifestation of disharmony (Bao Ting et al.,
2010: 170; Chiaramonte and Lao Lixing, 2010: 344), and more specifically of the relative lack of Zhengqi4(), a concept analogous to the biomedical notion of immune system competency/strength (Abbate,
2006; Dorsher and Peng Zengfu, 2010: 57). The understanding of TCMs potential to aid the body in restoring harmony is similarly centred on immunity.143 Biomedicine, which has been associated with the West
and with the imagination of body-parts as discrete and calculable, explains cancer in a very similar way, emphasising the role of immunity. In this school of thought, cancer is a development where transformed cells
acquire the ability to disregard the constraints of its environment and the body normal control mechanisms [sic] (Wong and Sagar, 2010: 3), or the abnormal and uncontrollable proliferation of cells which have
the potential to spread to distant sites (Chiaramonte and Lao Lixing, 2010: 343). Like TCM, biomedicine thus understands cancer as immune system failure (Chiaramonte and Lao Lixing, 2010: 349). Microscopically,
cancer cells display features indicative of a faster proliferative rate and disorganised alignment in relation to other cells, and 141 The first known description of ai comes from Wei4Ji4Bao4Shu circa 1171 AD, in the
Song Dynasty (Pan Mingji, 1992, in Bao Ting et al., 2010: 57). Cancerous tumours were also referred to as liu in inscriptions on oracle bones over 3,500 years old (Pan Mingji, 1992, in Bao Ting et al., 2010: 57). 142
For a more thorough explanation for the lay person of the philosophical foundations of TCM as well as an outline of its foundational texts, see Liu Zhanwen and Liu Liang (2009). 143 This is a marked trait throughout
contemporary TCM literatures (Abbate, 2006; Lahans, 2008; Chiaramonte and Lao Lixing, 2010: 342, 349; Dorsher and Peng Zengfu, 2010: 57; Wong and Sagar, 2010: 3, 4, 15). TCM scepticism of biomedical forms
of treatment such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy stems from their collateral damage, the killing of normal cells along with the malign cancer cells, which leads to further immune suppression and hence
further reduction of zhengqi. TCM treatment focuses on strengthening zhengqi in order to maximize the immunity of the system beset by cancer. Herbal medicines used to treat cancer are thus (partly) focused on
strengthening the bodys general immunity (fuzheng) (Lahans, 2008; Dorsher and Peng Zengfu, 2010: 57). - 196 - differences between cancer cells and normal cells are increasingly understood at the level of
genetic code (Marcovitch, 2005: 111). The very code that is pre-programmed in the system thus has the capacity to produce the cells that threaten it, and the spread of malignancy in the system is a result of its
failed attempts at regulation and cleansing. Like cancer/ai/liu, the Chinese crab has early associations with cleaning and purification of spaces, with one legend having the emperor using the crab to rid his palace
of the scorpions, fleas, mosquitoes, and mice that disturbed his harmony and caused dis-ease.144 In Europe, like in China, cancer has a long history of association with insufficient cleansing, since its description in
pre-modern pathologies that attributed it to insufficient purging of black bile.145 One contemporary cancer self-help book likewise describes cancer in terms of societal disorder strikingly reminiscent of disruptions
to the harmony conveyed by Hu Jintao and Zhao Tingyang respectively: [c]ancer growths are made up of cells which belong to our body but which have stopped behaving in a co-operative and orderly fashion
(Reynolds, 1987: 26, cited in Lupton, 2003: 71). It further observes that the multiplication of cancer cells has no purpose unlike normal body cells we can think of cancer cells as unco-operative, disobedient, and
independent [n]ormal cells exist peacefully side by side with their neighbours (Reynolds, 1987: 27, cited in Lupton, 2003: 71). This description is certainly fitting to characterise the Chinese rivercrabs described
above. Crabs/cancer disturb and threaten the harmony of the system. They are truly malignant in the sense that they disregard normal mechanisms of control and cleansing (they are unco-operative), and they
are capable of spatio-temporal spread into secondary deposits or metastases. As such, we may understand crabs/cancer in terms of the European medieval rendition as a parasitic animal (Pouchelle, 1990: 169;
Demaitre, 1998: 624), pervasive also in contemporary society (Herzlich and Pierret, 1987). 144 Renditions of this lore can also be found online (The Vanishing Tattoo, 2011). 145 On this understanding, breast cancer
for example was caused by insufficient cleansing by menstruation of the blood from the dregs of spoiled black bile (Caulhiaco and McVaugh, 1997: n. 9, 94, see also Demaitre, 1998: 618 and notes 37, 38). An
overview of the development of European ideas of cancer can be found in Demaitre (1998). - 197 - Yet, crabs/cancer are indeed a systemic disease from the start (Wong and Sagar, 2010: 3), their malignancy is a
direct product of the code. The possibility for drawing out the various meanings of hexie4 explored at the outset of this chapter was always already there in the character through its pictographic make-up, its

Moreover, the ironic critique displayed by these


iterations was provoked by Hus policy of overzealous harmonisation and
the online deployment of rivercrabs came about as a way to simultaneously
avoid and criticise being harmonised by the great firewall and other
government censorship software. In this way, it is the harmonious system
itself that produces that which leads to disharmony. As such, rivercrabs are
not simply unco-operative, but onco-operative: they operate like cancerous
metastases that derive from the code of the system itself to cause disharmony and dis-ease.
the
Chinese harmonious system
suffer from the same
autoimmune problems. Its symptoms may be different, but the oncooperative character of its dis-ease is the same.
alternative pronunciation as h and through its homonym the rivercrab.

THE COEVAL MULTIPLICITIES OF ONCO\OPERATIVE HARMONY The claim I have made up to this point of the chapter is that

is not so different from what Derrida and Baudrillard describe in contemporary Western democracy or late capitalist consumer

society. Although China is often recast as the opposite of these systems and their logic the other country it seems to

What, then, are the implications of such an illness and how do we deal with it-

Looking for cures in an onco\operative system Biomedical and TCM treatments of cancer/ai/liu do, as I have indicated above, follow a similar pattern to those commonly prescribed for dealing with unco-operative

The lack of precision of


these therapies give them a quasi-suicidal nature through which the parts of
the body deemed healthy or normal become collateral damage.
elements of the geo-body. Biomedicine typically resorts to screening, surgical strikes, chemo- and radio-therapies (Marcovitch, 2005: 112).

This in turn often further

endangers the system through weakening its immune system. The alternative approach, of strengthening the systems own immune capacity or zhengqi, urges the - 198 - system to auto-harmonise, to turn the bad
qi into the good another form of cleansing, or purging the excessive and ousting evil Qi (Liu Zhanwen and Liu Liang, 2009: 30). Both these ways of dealing with unco-operative elements of the medical body

In this
way, the onco-operative character of the system means its over-zealous
attempts at cleansing through therapy
and governance (
actually come
to threaten the system itself. This, in turn, exposes an aporia at the very
heart of the system, in that the dis-ease must be cured, but cannot be cured
thus echo the problems seen in relating to others in the geo-body: we eliminate through radical separation (cutting off) or through radical harmonisation (turning the bad into the good).

(zhi4liao)

zhi4li)

without sacrificing the system itself: there is no effective prevention or


therapy; the metastases invade the whole network virtually He who lives
by the same will die by the same
(Baudrillard, 2002 [1997]: 2). Or, in Derridas words: there is no absolutely reliable prophylaxis against the

autoimmune. By definition (Derrida, 2005 [2003]-b: 150-1). To Baudrillard, the fact that cancer is a reflection of the bodys victimisation by the disruption of its genetic formula is thus what makes it impossible for
conventional medicine to cure it: [t]he current pathology of the body is now beyond the reach of conventional medicine, since it affects the body not as form, but as formula (2002 [1997]: 1). To put it a different
way, the fact that the system itself produces, through its own code, that which threatens it means there is little use looking to the rationality of the system to combat its excrescences: [i]t is a total delusion to think
extreme phenomena can be abolished. They will, rather, become increasingly extreme as our systems become increasingly sophisticated (Baudrillard, 2002 [1997]: 7). On Baudrillards reading,

spontaneous self-regulation of systems is something well- known: systems


produce accidents or glitches in their own programme, interfering with their
own operation
enables systems to survive on a basis contrary to
their own principles, against their own value-systems: they have to have such
a system, but they also have to deny it and operate in opposition to it. But
it is entirely as though the species were producing through cancer,
which is a disruption of the genetic code and therefore a pathology of
information, a resistance to the all-powerful principle of
cybernetic
control. With cancer, we might be said to be paying the prize for our own
system: we are exorcising its banal virulence in a fatal form
Again,
this is precisely how rivercrabs operate: they metastasise and spread through
a disruption of the code that lets them slip through its pre-programmed
screening/fire- wall/censorship.
(Baudrillard, 2002 [1997]: 5). This

- 199 -

(Baudrillard, 2002 [1997]: 5).

This is indeed a resistance to cybernetic control, but one generated by the system itself. If we bring this analysis back to the

discipline of IR, this way of understanding cancer complicates things. Within Chinese IR, Wang Yizhou has argued that analysing terrorism in terms of cancer calls for the question of how cancer comes into being. He

military action can only cure the symptom but


not the source, harmonisation or re- balancing of the system will prevent
radicalism from breeding
reads it as a symptom of structural imbalance (Wang Yizhou, 2010: 11). Where

(2010: 16). In view of the above explanation of cancer, we may concur with both him and Baudrillard that traditional treatment may only serve

to aggravate the problem through weakening the system and causing collateral damage. However, having excavated the forms of therapy suggested by the alternative of harmonisation by TCM or Chinese IR, it

There is no use looking


to the systems own rationality to combat the crabs it produces .
appears that it stands equally powerless. Increasing harmonisation is unlikely to curb cancer/crabs, but may rather contribute to spurring them on.

Spatiotemporal bordering in an

onco\operative system What, then, are the spatio-temporal implications of these crabs, as metastases of an (auto)immune and onco-operative system- Nick Vaughan-Williams (2007) has productively drawn on
Derridas notion of autoimmunity to discuss spatial and temporal bordering. The temporal bordering he discusses draws on Brian Massumis description of flashes of sovereign power as a particular form of pre-

parallels what Baudrillard thinks of


as a pre-programmed instantaneous operation. Understanding borders in
terms of this decisionist ontology highlights the specificity of contemporary
wordplay and rivercrabs, in relation to previous historical deployment of
homonyms to avoid censorship in China
programmed decision making in the space of a moment (Massumi, 2005: 6; Vaughan-Williams, 2007: 187-8). This

, as described earlier in this chapter. Previous forms of bordering decisions with regards to such

homonymous wordplay involved a deliberative process of human interpretation. In this era of the virtual and the hyper-real, the bordering decision is pre-programmed and instantaneous. Vaughan-Williams, following

When it arrives, it
always seems to have preceded itself. Where there is a sign of it, it has
always already hit
This form of decision is accordingly a
foregone conclusion
because it sidesteps or effaces the
blurriness of the present in favor of a perceived need to act on the future
without delay, in the face of a threat of an indefinite future yet to come
Massumi, argues that this approach is the temporal equivalent of a tautology: [t]he time form of the decision that strikes like lightning is the foregone conclusion.

(Massumi, 2005: 6, cited in Vaughan-Williams, 2007: 188).


(or following Hu perhaps an inevitable choice)

(Vaughan-

Williams, 2007: 188; Massumi, 2005: 4-5). Both authors read this as a temporal shift, from prevention to pre-emption, from the temporal register of the indefinite future tense to the future perfect tense: the

In parallel to the autoimmune, this politics


induces rather than responds to events: [r]ather than acting in the present to
avoid an occurrence in the future, pre- emption brings the future into the
present. It makes present the future consequences of an eventuality that may
or may not occur, indifferent to its actual occurrence. The events
consequences precede it, as if it had already occurred
The Chinese practice of censoring/harmonising specific terms through its
Great Firewall works through this form of pre-programmed code, which
sensors in a flash of sovereign power. Terms are censored pre-emptively to
harmonise some not-yetalways-will-have-been-already (Massumi, 2005: 6-10; Vaughan-Williams, 2007: 188).

(Massumi, 2005: 7-8, cited in Vaughan-Williams, 2007: 188).

isting but possible future dissident deployment of a once unthreatening term


(such as the term future itself, as seen earlier in this chapter in relation
to Ai Weiweis detention). In this manner, PRC Internet censorship policy acts
as a temporal bordering process: it pre-empts threats to the governments
version of harmonious world/society that come from the future, thus
securing time and the future as something that belongs to the state and not
to the crabs or dissidents
As an actual wall, the form of
electronic bordering that is exercised by the Great Firewall is also a form of
spatial bordering, in that it is intimately connected to questions of
sovereignty, territory and governmental power
in contemporary China another term for having been harmonised by
the Great Firewall is having been GFWed
(c.f. Vaughan- Williams, 2007: 189).

. Vaughan-Williams draws on William Walters to refer to this spatial bordering as

firewalling

(Walters, 2006, for examples see Calon, 2007; Chow, 2010). The self-attacking or autoimmune

logic of such GFW-ing is clear in the blocking of Internet and telephone access that was used in attempts to harmonise Xinjiang during the 2009 riots. This firewalling was intended to prevent splittism from

This, too, is the spacing by which


the Great Firewall operates to maintain a harmonious space, that space
must be sealed off as a (virtual) geobody from the rest of the world
spreading, yet could only do so by splitting Xinjiang as a spatial unit off from the rest of China, in virtual/physical space.

. Again, what is described in

Vaughan-Williams as innovations in the ways sovereign power attempts to secure the temporal and spatial borders of political community could refer to something less localised in time and space than may at first

The practices of Internet harmonisation in China can thus be


described in terms of a bordering of time and space that has parallels in
contemporary expressions of (auto)immunity in the European system. Having
said this, the particular practice of using homonymous characters like the
rivercrab, to simultaneously criticise and avoid being harmonised on the
Chinese Internet, is a locally specific way of negotiating this particular kind of
virtual bordering in time and space. This particular form and double function
differentiates it from other forms of satire or political irony that can be found
in other systems around the world. Moreover, in attempting to secure time
and space as belonging to the state, these harmonising Chinese censorship
regimes effectively provoke the kind of critical wordplay that I exemplify here
through rivercrabs. In this way, cancer/crabs work within the system and yet
repeatedly escape it: where harmonisation may be understood as an
attempt at temporal bordering, the experience of cancer has been described
as a disturbance to such temporality, a falling out of time
appear (Vaughan-Williams, 2007: 191).

(Stacey, 1997: 10). The more the Chinese

government attempts to secure, cleanse and harmonise, the more creative and subversive are the iterations that use its language against itself. Rivercrab metastases and heterotemporalities As a consequence of
this (auto)immune logic of the onco-operative system, rivercrabs, like cancer cells, increasingly display features indicative of a faster proliferative rate and disorganised alignment in relation to other cells

In the here-now, crabs, like cancer, are marked by the way they
spread and metastasise through mutation of the code. In this way, we can
understand how Chinese crabs similarly migrate, multiply and change in what
is precisely an iterative manner.
(Marcovitch, 2005: 111).

Every crab draws on previous iterations of harmony and crabs, but also mutates into something different. One example

of such a metastasis can be seen in the figure below. It shows a replica of the logo for the computer game World of Warcraft, saying instead Rivercrab World (hexie4shijie ). The text at the top means
do things others could never do (), and the one below means the late arrival of the battle expedition (). The links to themes discussed throughout this thesis are marked, including
the direct link to Hus harmonious world policy, the competition inherent in games and play and the violent military underpinning of harmonious world. Figure 12: Rivercrab world of warcraft (Source: Heifenbrug,
2008) - 203 - The rivercrab metastasises in similar ways into numerous constellations some very close copies, some with more creative distance. The rivercrab recurrently appears on blogs and can be found in an
online dictionary compiled by China Digital Times (Xiao Qiang, 2010; China Digital Space, 2011a), where it appears together with dozens of other characters and expressions that have metastasised from similar
homonymic wordplay and in reaction to governmental harmonisation. It also appears as a permanent feature on the cap of another Internet meme, the Green Dam Girl ( ). The Green Dam Girl is an
anthropomorphism of the Green Dam Youth Escort software () that was developed under the direction of the Chinese government to filter Internet content on individual computers.146 The Green Dam
Girl and rivercrab also appear in merchandise (Xu Yuting, 2009; Gaofudev, 2011; Lotahk, 2011), numerous cartoons (Hecaitou, 2009a; Hexie Farm, 2011) and music videos (Stchi, 2009; Tutuwan, 2009; DZS manyin,
2010) that typically work through copies of copies, interweaving the themes and symbols discussed throughout this thesis. In one such music video, the connection between rivercrabs, harmony and Tianxia is once
more highlighted (Tutuwan, 2009). This cover-song called Harmony or die features the chorus Green dam, green dam rivercrab/harmonise your entire family (lv4ba,4lv4ba,4hexie4ni4quanjia4
), sometimes writing the same- sounding lyrics as harmony (), sometimes as rivercrab () in the subtitles. The second verse begins: Green dam - green dam, will kill you in the bud. Rivercrabs all
under heaven, arrogant attributes erupt [She] has asked you not to open your eyes too wide Is it possible that [she is] envious and jealous-147 146 According to China Digital Space: Pre-installation of Green Dam
software was originally intended for all new computers; however, because the proposed policy proved deeply unpopular, mandatory pre-installation has been delayed to an undetermined date. Green Dam girl first
appeared sporadically in June 2009 on Baidus online encyclopaedia (China Digital Space, 2011b). Some, however, suggested that the actual reason for the governments about-face was the many security flaws
within the software that allowed hackers to take over computers (jozjozjoz, 2009), and that it was built on copyright and open sourcecode violations (Koman, 2009). Popular Chinese blogger Hecaitou ( ) says
the Green Dam Girl shows the creativity of the post-80s generation in resisting Internet regulation (Hecaitou, 2009a). 147 (lv4ba4W4lv4ba,4ba4ni4meng4sha) - 204 - This kind of video typically
brings together numerous key elements discussed here with reference to the onco-operative nature of contemporary Chinese society: the Green Dam Girl, rivercrabs, harmony, Internet censorship, cleansing and
Tianxia.148 This mixing of online lingo and symbols is reiterated also in art off-line. In a 2011 art exhibition at the Postmaster Gallery in New York, Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung exhibited his mixed media installation The
Travelogue of Dr. Brain Damages (Hung, 2011). The installation was a response to the increasing harmonisation of artistic and netizen dissidence in China, and explored the role of the Internet in facilitating both
freedom and suppression (Hung, 2011). The Chinese title Naocan4youji4() is a wordplay on Lao4Can4youji (), The Travelogue of Lao Can, a late Qing dynasty novel attacking the injustice and
hypocrisy of government officials at the time. The project thus questioned whether the Internet in China is an effective tool for social change, through remixing Chinese netizens meme languages with Western
icons. The installation consisted of 10 framed digital prints, a 6-minute long video and a ping-pong table sculpture, seen in the figure below. Several of the prints in this installation include replicas of one or more
rivercrabs, often copied from images circulated on blogs. For example, in the piece titled Justice Bao faces the Red Sun everyday (), Bao4Zheng (), a Song dynasty judge who is a symbol of justice in

On the walls
behind the prints were written in large red characters: You are not a real
man until you have leaped the Great Wall of China
which is
China, is holding a laptop of the Great Firewall brand displaying a copy of the rivercrab with three watches that was discussed at the beginning of this chapter (Hung, 2011).

(Bu4fan4changcheng4fei4haohan ),

one character from the original quote from Mao: You are not a real man until
you have been to the Great Wall of China

(Bu4dao4changcheng4fei4 (hexie4Tianxia,4aojiao4shuxing4de4baofa)

(baituo4le4nimen,4yan4bie4zheng4tai4da) - (mofei4xianmu4duji4le4ma-) My translation. Full video with Chinese subtitles can be found online (Tutuwan, 2009). 148 See for example
(Hrehnr, 2009b; Stchi, 2009, which later got a avatar dancetroop found at Hrehnr, 2009a; DZS manyin, 2010). - 205 - haohan ). The calligraphic style recalls the hand-painted signs that forbid
uncivilised behaviour (like spitting) and promote harmonisation in Chinese cities, but also the signs that appear on walls to be demolished. Figure 13: Ping, ping, no pong artwork by Kenneth Tin\Kin Hung (Source:
Kenneth Tin\King Hung) The central sculpture of the installation, seen in the figure above, was titled Ping, ping, no pong (Ping,4ping,4wu4pang4 ) and consisted of a ping-pong table with a whole cut out in
the shape of a rivercrab on the Chinese side panel. The net was replaced by a sculptured wall, symbolising the Great Firewall of China, and accompanied by a ping-pong ball to symbolise the exchange of information
(Hung, 2011). The sculpture highlights how the purported harmonious win-win of mutuality is undermined by harmonisation, in the form of the rivercrab. Through depicting the rivercrab as a clearly visible and

The metastasising,
hybridising, prostheticising, mutating displacement of harmony
/rivercrabs goes so far as to penetrate and reformulate the very
characters themselves
distinct hole or void, this installation also highlighted the undecidable nature of rivercrabs as neither present nor absent, but simultaneously both.

, as can be seen in the images below. The mutating of characters into new ones became popular after Chinas Ministry of Education unveiled a list of

standardised Chinese characters in common usage, including 44 characters that were - 206 - slightly revised in their print formats in the Song style, a popular Chinese character style in book printing format (Jiang
Aitao, 2009). This re-formation of characters has grown in popularity since 2009, and can be seen in off-line art such as Hungs (on the ping-pong racket above) and on blogs and webpages on the Internet.149
Figure 14: Hybrid hexie1shehui, rearranging the characters for (Source: Keso) The image above shows a T-shirt printed by critical blogger Keso. The print displays a rearrangement of the classical Chinese
characters, used in Hong Kong and Taiwan, for rivercrab society (hexie shehui ). The characters below similarly display an amalgamation of the characters for harmony (hexie ) and rivercrab (hexie
). 149 The first instance of this trend may be when on August 31 2009, netizens created three new Chinese characters together with other digital artwork within twelve hours. These new characters can be seen
on Hecaitous blog and include a character pronounced nan, which combines the characters for brain damage (naocan4 ), which is online lingo used to describe someone incapable of thinking straight
because they have been crippled by party ideology; wao combining the characters for fifty cents (wumao ) in a reference to the Fifty cent party which is an online term for online commentators paid and
trained by the government to anonymously spin online debate in favour of the Party Line; and diang, combining the characters for the CCP Central Committee (dangzhongyang ) interpreted to mean the
ultimate, sacred, absolutely correct, cannot be questioned; you get the shit beaten out of you but cannot say a word ( ) (Hecaitou, 2009b, for English

This hybridisation
of crabs has clear parallels to Baudrillards alignment of metastases and
prostheses, where the fractal (geo)body, fated to see its own external
functions multiply, is at the same time doomed to unstoppable internal
division among its own cells. It metastasises: the internal, biological
metastases are in a way symmetrical with those external metastases, the
prostheses, the networks, the connections
Having examined the hybrid nature of the metastasising
crabs, the final point I want to argue is that this hybridity, in combination with
the autoimmune logics of which they are part, imbues them with a radical
undecidability
language commentary at China Digital Times, see Xiao Qiang, 2009). - 207 - Figure 15: Hybrid hexie, combining the characters and (Source: Alison, 2010)

(Baudrillard, 2002 [2000]: 3). In this way rivercrabs, too, metastasise in time and space.

Heterotemporalities and the undecidability of rivercrabs

. Derrida too emphasises this link between the autoimmunitary and undecidability: suppression in the name of the (harmonious) system may be legitimate in protecting it from

those who threaten it, but is simultaneously autoimmunitary in exposing the immune system by which the system defends itself as an a4priori abusive use of force (Derrida, 2005 [2003]-a). In this final section I

The undecidable
nature of cancer/crabs is visible in an aspect of the lore surrounding them,
that refers to the way the crab moves in time and space , in a forward and
backwards motion that has been connected to threatening dishonesty, but
also to the inability to decide something one way or the other, or to predict
where it is going
thus want to emphasise the links between cancer/crabs and undecidability of the future against which harmonisation attempts to secure harmonious world/society.

(Demaitre, 1998). This undecidability embodied in the crab is also emphasised by the Chinese interpretation of harmony that sees its roots in cooking. The crab can at

times be poisonous and as a bottom-feeder it often includes contaminated substances. At the same time, however, it is considered a delicacy and is believed to nourish the marrow and semen, making it a symbol of
male potency and virility (The Vanishing Tattoo, 2011). As crabs are considered exemplary salty they can in the logic of TCM either disturb or restore harmony of the body through their effect on the kidneys, and
can thus cause or treat cancer (Lu, 1986: 52, 125-6; Wong and Sagar, 2010: 16).150 Like Derridas reading of the pharmakon in Platos Pharmacy, the crab, then, is simultaneously potential poison and potential
cure indeed Derrida says that [t]he pharmakon is another name, an old name, for this autoimmunitary logic.151 Again, the interpretation of the crab as alimentary poison/cure as always already central to the
concept of harmony can be seen in the building blocks of the harmony concept itself. An alternative explanation of the character reads the radical to the left , which depicts standing grain,152 with the radical to
the right , which depicts an opening or mouth.153 Together they link harmony to eating, or having plenty of grain to eat .154 David Hall and Roger Ames accordingly argue that harmony is the art of
combining and blending two or more foodstuffs so they come together with mutual benefit and enhancement without losing their separate and particular identities, and yet with the effect of constituting a
frictionless whole (Hall and Ames, 1998: 181, cited in Callahan, 2011: 259). Callahan also draws on this metaphor in a famous passage from the Spring4and4Autumn4Annals (Lshi4chunqiu ), where a
minister uses it to explain to his king the art of empire building: [y]our state is too 150 For one example of such a cure: Bake one male crab and one female crab and grind into powder, take the powder with wine
all at once to facilitate healing of breast cancer (Lu, 1986: 126). 151 Derrida (2003a: 124, see also, Derrida, 1976 [1967]: 292; 1981 [1972]; 1995 [1989]-a: 233; Derrida, 2005 [2003]-a: 52, 82, 157). This is also
how Chinese lore traditionally conceives of poisons/cures more generally, as is clear from the Five Poisons (wu4du ), incidentally near-homonymous with no poison (wu4du4 ). These are, like the crab,
actually five animals that have traditionally been held to counteract harmful influences through counteracting poison with poison. They also had corresponding medicines made from five animals or corresponding
herbs, used to treat ulcers and abscesses, probably through active ingredients such as mercury and arsenic (Yetts, 1923: 2; Williams, 1976). 152 According to a dictionary definition (Hanyu4da4zidian4weiyuanhui,
1995: 4.2588.1). 153 According to a dictionary definition (Hanyu4da4zidian4weiyuanhui, 1995: 1.566.14). 154 This etymology can be found in a number of dictionaries and books on Chinese characters (Wieger,
1965 [1915]: 121a; Karlgren, 1974 [1923]: 70; Lindqvist, 1991: 187; Hanyu4da4zidian4weiyuanhui, 1995: 1.602.1). small and is inadequate to have the full complement of the necessary ingredients. It is only once
you are the Emperor that you would have the full complement (Lvshi4 chunqiu, 1996, cited in Callahan, 2011: 260). To Callahan, this shows the constructed nature of harmony, built through an active political
process, and judged from a particular perspective in this case the kings perspective (Callahan, 2011: 260). In Chinese mythology, the crab is similarly associated with sovereign power and violent might, as well
as with guarding and screening the passage into secured spaces. For example, in Chinese mythology and popular fiction, the Chrystal Palaces of the Dragon Kings of the Four Seas are guarded by shrimp soldiers
and crab generals (Mythical Realm, 2011). This stands as a parallel to the guarding of Chinese sovereign space by the Great Firewall, and the Green Dam Girl with her crab sign of repressive authority. At the same
time, however, this crustacean army is parodied in the Chinese idiom of shrimp soldiers and crab generals (xiabing4xiejiang4 ), which is used to denote useless troops, a connotation which remains with
contemporary Internet users, as can be seen in the image below, which depicts shrimp soldiers and crab generals as precisely ineffective troops (Lee, 2011). Figure 16: Shrimp soldiers and crab generals:

What is clear from these metastases and their association is the


undecidability of these crabs of the onco-operative Chinese system. They are
simultaneously poison and cure, effective harmonisers and useless troops, a
consequence of sovereign bordering of time and space and that which falls
through or escapes such confines. This undecidability is inseparable from
the mutual contamination
It is this mutual contamination that I think makes
these rivercrabs and their peers step up to the challenge of coeval
multiplicities
Ineffective troops (Source: Sean Lee)

seen above in the crabs interaction with their environment and with other species of the zoology that has emerged as part of netizens

play with humorous homonyms in the face of Internet harmonisation.

that was outlined in chapter 2 of this thesis, which Hutchings articulated as the attempt to think heterotemporality which refers to ultimately neither one present nor many

presents, but a mutual contamination of nows that participate in a variety of temporal trajectories, and which do not derive their significance from the one meta-narrative about how they all fit together
(Hutchings, 2008: 166). These diffrantial metastases, differentiated and deferred through spacing, are of the system yet fall through the cracks of its time and space to engage in a mutual contamination of

Their very undecidability means that we have to


take responsibility in the here-now for which of their possible readings, or
temporal trajectories, we chose to put across. In this chapter I have chosen to
put across one such narrative, of crabs as (auto)immune metastases of an
onco-operative harmony. Their significance, however, cannot be ultimately
decided or locked in by this narrative it is not a meta-narrative from which
we can judge how they all fit together. It is indeed impossible to do justice to
the excess of meaning embodied in these crabs . Nonetheless, I have traced
some of them here and pointed to some of their significance, in a way that I
believe can emphasise their radical undecidability as a plurality of
trajectories or simultaneity of stories-so-far.
egao word play that works through deploying
official language against itself. These redeployments make visible how Hus
harmony has come to work through violent harmonisation of others
I
have moreover argued that these forms of resistance are inherently linked to
Hus harmonious world/society through the autoimmune logic of what I
have termed an onco-operative system: a system that in seeking to protect
and cleanse itself actually violates itself as the consequence of a violent nonrecognition of the other in the self. In exploring this quasi-suicidal interplay
of harmony and rivercrabs, I have shown how they are intimately linked to
party-state attempts at spatial and temporal bordering as a means to
maintain a cleansed/harmonious timespace.
nows that each incorporates undecidable futures in the here-now.

CONCLUSION In this chapter I have explored how Hus version of a harmonious

world is being challenged and reproduced by a particular form of Chinese

. I have argued that

these forms of wordplay draw on tactics similar to Derridas in particular, but also to Baudrillards, thus providing for a resonance here between academic scholarship and dissident practice in China.

Deconstruction highlights the impossibility of ever making a clear-cut division between

inside and outside, self and other and thus brings out a key feature of the logics of harmonious world (or perhaps any system). Resistance to4harmony/harmonisation can in this way not be thought outside the

it is impossible
for harmony to acquire the conceptual unity or self-identity which would be
needed in order for it to be placed as a secure object to be
straightforwardly resisted, critiqued or condemned. In this manner I have
insisted on the impossibility of succeeding in creating such a purified space or
object, and on the undecidability of both harmony and crabs: like harmony,
the crabs are simultaneously poison and cure, they are intimately linked to
the possibility of the system in the first place, yet threaten it with
murder/suicide.
resistance of4harmony/harmonisation, the resistance of the system itself to itself, of and to its self as other, a resistance of the other of itself to itself. For this reason,

Because of a tendency of any community to close in on itself and exclude the outside on which it relies for survival works according to an autoimmune logic, [t]his

tendency is not a perversion of proper community (whether inoperative, unavowable, - 212 - or coming, as for Blanchot, Nancy, Agamben), but the condition of its existence (Thomson, 2005). This is certainly the

[t]his self-contesting attestation keeps the auto-immune


community alive, which is to say, open to something other and more than
itself
Returning to the question of the political in harmony/rivercrabs, it
seems the claim that the online world of egao4offers a free and
unrestricted time and space of Bakhtinian carnival is premature. Rivercrabs
are used to circumvent constraints, not abolish them, and constraints are
certainly still in place. The descriptions of this culture as a separate sphere or
the antithesis of normal life seem similarly exaggerated.
case for Hus harmonious world. In this way

(Derrida, 1998: 51). Finally, then, I have argued that this undecidability is what makes it possible to think of this onco- operative system of metastases in terms of the heterotemporalities or

coeval multiplicities.

However, Lagerkvists idea that egao4is for venting

anger as4opposed4to offering the public political power hinges on a focus on politics in the narrow sense, which is seen throughout prior analyses of egao. Much previous scholarship rests on the assumption that
egao4should be judged on its potential to influence politics, to contest the legitimacy, accountability or policy of the PRC government. Others imply that it should be measured against its potential to cultivate

They
make us laugh, but offer no way out, no alternative telos towards which a
movement of mass resistance can be directed. They even refuse to adapt a
single meaning and always oscillate they are simultaneously harmony and
collective resistance, collective empowerment or grassroots communities. If measured against such standards, rivercrabs certainly appear as ineffective troops in battling out Chinese politics.

rivercrab, resisting and perpetuating the proliferation of harmony. Precisely


herein lies the political potential of rivercrabs. Previous scholarship has aimed
to understand the meaning of egao, to pin down its potential significance in
terms of a resisance/not resistance divide of politics. I suggest instead that
we can approach such phenomena by way of interrogating the political,
where repolitcization involves a disruption of the regular proliferation of
allochronically organized harmony, a challenge to what have, through
discursive practices, been
constituted as normal, natural, and accepted
ways of carrying on
Through repeatedly deploying expressions like
having been harmonised or rivercrab world the meaning of the official
harmonious world discourse is hollowed out or disrupted, rather than
contested head on. The point is not necessarily to resist or not resist, but to
make strange. This is what pushes rivercrabs into the political, where
multiple meanings or doings of words and purported significance leads to
instances of openness where we need to make impossible decisions with
regards to their use and interpretation. It is only if we shift the focus from
politics to the political that it makes sense to conceive of this language play
as alternative political discourse
repoliticisation is not stable, but egao too is repeatedly depoliticised, by being
designated as unimportant or as meaning only one thing (only revolution,
only apolitical escapism, only4a potential to become a proper political
movement). The point of this chapter is not to designate to egao another
correct4meaning, but to indicate the undecidability of this meaning-making
process.
Because of the
onco-operative logic of the system our solutions to problems, our attempts
to perfect the world are but a step on the way to worse viruses developing
- 213 -

(Edkins, 1999: 12).

(Meng Bingchun, 2011: 39) or alternate civility (Lagerkvist, 2010: 158). With this said,

The point, precisely, is to open back up the question of egao as potentially political even if it does not lead to a revolutionary politics.

(Coulter, 2004). The question, then, has to be asked: [w]hat is cancer a resistance to, what even worse eventuality is it saving us from- (Baudrillard, 1993 [1990]: 10). It is thus to the question of eventualities that
I turn in my conclusion, to the (im)possibility of openness to this Other to come.

We obviously dont have to defend meaning. The meaning


is always unhappy. Any attempt to impose meaning
paradoxically terminates in its own disappearance. Reality
is too obvious to be real. We should engage in the
felicitous and happy form of language to push debate
through to its own disappearance. You should prefer our
effusive form of emptying out language. This is the only
political act left. Bet on radical illusion.
Baudrillard 96. Jean Baudrillard, The Perfect Crime, pg. 96
So, too, the value of thought lies not so much in its inevitable
convergences with truth as in the immeasurable divergences which
separate it from truth.

It is not true that, in order to live, one has to believe in one's own
existence. Indeed, our consciousness is never the echo of our existence in
real time but the `recorded' echo, the screen for the dispersal of the
subject and its identity (only in sleep, unconsciousness and death do we
exist in real time, are we identical to ourselves). That consciousness results
much more spontaneously from a challenging of reality, from a bias towards
the objective illusoriness of the world rather than its reality. This
challenging is more vital for our survival and the survival of the
species than the belief in reality and existence, which is of the order
of otherworldly spiritual consolation. Our world is as it is, and it is no
more real for that. `Man's most powerful instinct is to come into conflict with
the truth and, therefore, with the real.'
Belief in reality is one of the elementary forms of religious life. It is a
failing of the understanding, a failing of common sense, as well as the last
refuge of moral zealots and the apostles of rationality. Fortunately, no one
lives by this principle -- not even those who profess it. And with good
reason. No one believes fundamentally in the real, nor in the selfevidence of their real lives. That would be too sad.
But surely, say these good apostles, you aren't going to discredit reality in the
eyes of those who already find it difficult enough to get by, and who surely
have a right to reality and the fact that they exist? The same objection for the
Third World: surely you aren't going to discredit affluence in the eyes of those
dying of starvation? Or: surely you aren't going to run down the class struggle
in the eyes of those who haven't even had their bourgeois revolution? Or
again: you aren't going to discredit feminist and egalitarian demands in the
eyes of all those who haven't even heard of women's rights, etc.? You may
not like reality, but don't put others off it! It's a question of
democratic morality: you must not demoralize the masses. You must
never demoralize anyone.
Underlying these charitable intentions is a profound contempt. First,
in the fact of instating reality as a kind of life insurance or a burial plot held in
perpetuity, as a kind of human right or consumer good. But, above all, in
crediting people with placing their hope only in the visible proofs of
their existence: by imputing this plaster-saint realism to them, one
takes them for naive and feeble-minded. In their defence, it has to be
said that the propagandists of reality vent that contempt on themselves
first of all, reducing their own lives to an accumulation of facts and
evidence, causes and effects. Well-ordered resentment always begins
at home.
Say: This is real, the world is real, the real exists (I have met it) -- no one
laughs. Say: This is a simulacrum, you are merely a simulacrum, this
war is a simulacrum -- everyone bursts out laughing. With forced,
condescending laughter, or uncontrollable mirth, as though at a childish
joke or an obscene proposition. Everything to do with the simulacrum is

taboo or obscene, as is everything relating to sex or death. Yet it is much


rather reality and obviousness which are obscene. It is the truth we should
laugh at. You can imagine a culture where everyone laughs
spontaneously when someone says: `This is true', `This is real'.
All this defines the irresolvable relationship between thought and
reality. A certain form of thought is bound to the real. It starts out from the
hypothesis that ideas have referents and that there is a possible ideation
of reality. A comforting polarity, which is that of tailor-made dialectical and
philosophical solutions. The other form of thought is eccentric to the real, a
stranger to dialectics, a stranger even to critical thought. It is not even
a disavowal of the concept of reality. It is illusion, power of illusion, or, in
other words, a playing with reality, as seduction is a playing with desire, as
metaphor is a playing with truth. This radical thought does not stem from a
philosophical doubt, a utopian transference, or an ideal transcendence. It is
the material illusion, immanent in this so-called `real' world. And thus it
seems to come from elsewhere. It seems to be the extrapolation of
this world into another world.
At all events, there is incompatibility between thought and the real.
There is no sort of necessary or natural transition from the one to the other.
Neither alternation, nor alternative: only otherness and distance keep
them charged up. This is what ensures the singularity of thought, the
singularity by which it constitutes an event, just like the singularity of the
world, the singularity by which it too constitutes an event.
It has doubtless not always been so. One may dream of a happy conjunction
of idea and reality, cradled by the Enlightenment and modernity, in the heroic
age of critical thought. Yet critical thought, the butt of which was a certain
illusion -- superstitious, religious or ideological -- is in substance ended. Even
if it had survived its catastrophic secularization in all the political
movements of the twentieth century, this ideal and seemingly necessary
relationship between the concept and reality would, at all events, be
destroyed today. It has broken down under pressure from a gigantic
technical and mental simulation, to be replaced by an autonomy of the
virtual, henceforth liberated from the real, and a simultaneous autonomy of
the real which we see functioning on its own account in a demented -- that is,
infinitely self-referential -- perspective. Having been expelled, so to speak,
from its own principle, extraneized, the real has itself become an extreme
phenomenon. In other words, one can no longer think it as real, but as
exorbitated, as though seen from another world -- in short, as
illusion. Imagine the stupefying experience which the discovery of a real
world other than our own would represent. The objectivity of our world is a
discovery we made, like America -- and at almost the same time. Now what
one has discovered, one can never then invent. And so we discovered
reality, which remains to be invented (or: so we invented reality,
which remains to be discovered).

Why might there not be as many real worlds as imaginary ones? Why a single
real world? Why such an exception? Truth to tell, the real world, among
all the other possible ones, is unthinkable, except as dangerous
superstition. We must break with it as critical thought once broke (in
the name of the real!) with religious superstition. Thinkers, one more
effort! 1
In any case, the two orders of thought are irreconcilable. They each
follow their course without merging; at best they slide over each other like
tectonic plates, and occasionally their collision or subduction creates fault
lines into which reality rushes. Fate is always at the intersection of these two
lines of force. Similarly, radical thought is at the violent intersection of
meaning and non-meaning, of truth and non-truth, of the continuity
of the world and the continuity of the nothing.
Unlike the discourse of the real, which gambles on the fact of there being
something rather than nothing, and aspires to being founded on the
guarantee of an objective and decipherable world, radical thought, for its
part, wagers on the illusion of the world. It aspires to the status of
illusion, restoring the non-veracity of facts, the non-signification of the world,
proposing the opposite hypothesis that there is nothing rather than
something, and going in pursuit of that nothing which runs beneath the
apparent continuity of meaning.
The radical prediction is always the prediction of the non-reality of facts, of
the illusoriness of the state of fact. It begins only with the presentiment of
that illusoriness, and is never confused with the objective state of things.
Every confusion of that kind is of the order of the confusion of the messenger
and the message, which leads to the elimination of the messenger
bearing bad news (for example, the news of the uncertainty of the
real, of the non-occurrence of certain events, of the nullity of our
values).
Every confusion of thought with the order of the real -- that alleged
`faithfulness' to the real of a thought which has cooked it up out of nothing -is hallucinatory. It arises, moreover, from a total misunderstanding about
language, which is illusion in its very movement, since it is the bearer of
that continuity of the void, that continuity of the nothing at the very
heart of what it says, since it is, in its very materiality, deconstruction of
what it signifies. Just as photography connotes the effacing, the
death of what it represents -- which lends it its intensity -- so what lends
writing, fictional or theoretical, its intensity is the void, the
nothingness running beneath the surface, the illusion of meaning,
the ironic dimension of language, correlative with that of the facts
themselves, which are never anything but what they are [ne sont jamais que
ce qu'ils sont]. That is to say, they are never more than what they are and
they are, literally, never only what they are [jamais que ce qu'ils sont]. The
irony of the facts, in their wretched reality, is precisely that they are only

what they are but that, by that very fact, they are necessarily beyond. For
de facto existence is impossible -- nothing is wholly obvious without
becoming enigmatic. Reality itself is too obvious to be true.
It is this ironic transfiguration which constitutes the event of language.
And it is to restoring this fundamental illusion of the world and language
that thought must apply itself, if it is not stupidly to take concepts in their
literalness -- messenger confused with the message, language confused with
its meaning and therefore sacrificed in advance.
There is a twofold, contradictory exigency in thought. It is not to analyse the world in order to extract from
it an improbable truth, not to adapt to the facts in order to abstract some logical construction from them,
but to set in place a form, a matrix of illusion and disillusion, which seduced reality will spontaneously feed
and which will, consequently, be verified remorselessly (the only need is to shift the camera angle from
time to time). For reality asks nothing other than to submit itself to hypotheses. And it confirms them all.
That, indeed, is its ruse and its vengeance.
The theoretical ideal would be to set in place propositions in such a way that they could be disconfirmed by
reality, in such a way that reality could only oppose them violently, and thereby unmask itself. For

reality is an illusion, and all thought must seek first of all to unmask
it. To do that, it must itself advance behind a mask and constitute itself
as a decoy, without regard for its own truth. It must pride itself on not being
an instrument of analysis, not being a critical tool. For it is the world which
must analyse itself. It is the world itself which must reveal itself not as
truth, but as illusion. The derealization of the world will be the work of the
world itself. 2
Reality must be caught in the trap, we must move quicker than
reality. Ideas, too, have to move faster than their shadows. But if they
go too quickly, they lose even their shadows. No longer having even the
shadow of an idea. ... Words move quicker than meaning, but if they go too
quickly, we have madness: the ellipsis of meaning can make us lose
even the taste for the sign. What are we to exchange this portion of
shadow and labour against -- this saving of intellectual activity and patience?
What can we sell it to the devil for? It is very difficult to say. We are, in fact,
the orphans of a reality come too late, a reality which is itself, like truth,
something registered only after the event.
The ultimate is for an idea to disappear as idea to become a thing
among things. That is where it finds its accomplishment. Once it has
become consubstantial with the surrounding world, there is no call for it to
appear, nor to be defended as such. Evanescence of the idea by silent
dissemination. An idea is never destined to burst upon the world, but to be
extinguished into it, into its showing-through in the world, the world's
showing-through in it. A book ends only with the disappearance of its
object. Its substance must leave no trace. This is the equivalent of a
perfect crime. Whatever its object, writing must make the illusion of that
object shine forth, must make it an impenetrable enigma -- unacceptable
to the Realpolitiker of the concept. The objective of writing is to alter its
object, to seduce it, to make it disappear for itself. Writing aims at a

total resolution -- a poetic resolution, as Saussure would have it, that


resolution indeed of the rigorous dispersal of the name of God.
Contrary to what is said about it (the real is what resists, what all hypotheses
run up against), reality is not very solid and seems predisposed, rather, to
retreat in disorder. Whole swathes of reality are collapsing, as in the collapse
of Baliverna (Buzzati), where the slightest flaw produces a chain
reaction. We find decomposed remnants of it everywhere, as in Borges's `Of
Exactitude in Science'. 3
Not only does it no longer put up any resistance against those who denounce
it, but it even eludes those who take its side. This is perhaps a way of
exacting vengeance on its partisans: by throwing them back on their own
desire. In the end, it is perhaps more a sphinx than a bitch.
More subtly, it wreaks vengeance on those who deny it by paradoxically
proving them right. When the most cynical, most provocative hypothesis is
verified, the trick really is a low one; you are disarmed by the
lamentable confirmation of your words by an unscrupulous reality.
So, for example, you put forward the idea of simulacrum, without really believing in it, even hoping that
the real will refute it (the guarantee of scientificity for Popper).
Alas, only the fanatical supporters of reality react; reality, for its part, does not seem to wish to prove you
wrong. Quite to the contrary, every kind of simulacrum parades around in it. And reality, filching the idea,
henceforth adorns itself with all the rhetoric of simulation. It is the simulacrum which ensures the
continuity of the real today, the simulacrum which now conceals not the truth, but the fact that there isn't
any -- that is to say, the continuity of the nothing.

Such is the paradox of all thought which disputes the validity of the real:
when it sees itself robbed of its own concept. Events, bereft of meaning
in themselves, steal meaning from us. They adapt to the most fantastical
hypotheses, just as natural species and viruses adapt to the most hostile
environments. They have an extraordinary mimetic capacity: no longer is it
theories which adapt to events, but the reverse. And, in so doing, they
mystify us, for a theory which is verified is no longer a theory. It's
terrifying to see the idea coincide with the reality. These are the death-throes
of the concept. The epiphany of the real is the twilight of its concept.
We have lost that lead which ideas had over the world, that distance which
meant that an idea remained an idea. Thought has to be exceptional,
anticipatory and at the margin -- has to be the projected shadow of
future events. Today, we are lagging behind events. They may
sometimes give the impression of receding; in fact, they passed us long ago.
The simulated disorder of things has moved faster than we have. The reality
effect has succumbed to acceleration -- anamorphosis of speed. Events, in
their being, are never behind themselves, are always out ahead of their
meaning. Hence the delay of interpretation, which is now merely the
retrospective form of the unforeseeable event.
What are we to do, then? What becomes of the heterogeneity of thought
in a world won over to the craziest hypotheses? When everything conforms,

beyond even our wildest hopes, to the ironic, critical, alternative, catastrophic
model?
Well, that is paradise: we are beyond the Last Judgement, in
immortality. The only problem is to survive there. For there the irony, the
challenging, the anticipation, the maleficence come to an end, as inexorably
as hope dies at the gates of hell. And it is indeed there that hell begins,
the hell of the unconditional realization of all ideas, the hell of the real. You
can see why, as Adorno says, concepts prefer to scupper themselves rather
than reach that point.
Something else has been stolen from us: indifference. The power of
indifference, which is the quality of the mind, as opposed to the play of
differences, which is the characteristic of the world. Now, this has been stolen
from us by a world grown indifferent, as the extravagance of thought has
been stolen from us by an extravagant world. When things, events, refer one
to another and to their undifferentiated concept, then the equivalence of the
world meets and cancels out the indifference of thought -- and we have
boredom. No more altercations; nothing at stake. It is the parting of the dead
sea.
How fine indifference was in a world that was not indifferent -- in a different,
convulsive, contradictory world, a world with issues and passions! That being
the case, indifference immediately became an issue and a passion itself. It
could preempt the indifference of the world, and turn that pre-emption into
an event. Today, it is difficult to be more indifferent to their reality than the
facts themselves, more indifferent to their meaning than images. Our
operational world is an apathetic world. Now, what good is it being
passionless in a world without passion, or detached in a world
without desire?
It is not a question of defending radical thought. Every idea one
defends is presumed guilty, and every idea that cannot defend itself
deserves to disappear. On the other hand, one must fight all charges of
irresponsibility, nihilism or despair. Radical thought is never depressive. On
this point, there is total misunderstanding. Ideological and moralistic critique,
obsessed with meaning and content, obsessed with the political finality of
discourse, never takes into account writing, the act of writing, the
poetic, ironic, allusive force of language, of the juggling with
meaning. It does not see that the resolution of meaning is to be found there
-- in the form itself, the formal materiality of expression.
Meaning, for its part, is always unhappy. Analysis is, by definition,
unhappy, since it is born of critical disillusionment. But language, for its part,
is happy, even when referring to a world without illusion and without hope.
That might even be the definition of a radical thinking: a happy form
and an intelligence without hope.

Critics, being unhappy by nature, always choose ideas as their battleground.


They do not see that if discourse always tends to produce meaning, language
and writing, for their part, always create illusion -- they are the living
illusion of meaning, the resolution of the infelicity of meaning by the felicity
of language. And this is surely the only political -- or transpolitical -act that can be accomplished by the person who writes.
As for ideas, everyone has them. More than they need. What counts is
the poetic singularity of the analysis. That alone can justify writing, not
the wretched critical objectivity of ideas. There never will be any resolving
the contradictoriness of ideas, except in the energy and felicity of language.
`I do not paint sadness and loneliness,' says Hopper. `What I wanted to do
was to paint sunlight on the side of a house.'
At any rate, better a despairing analysis in felicitous language than an
optimistic analysis in an infelicitous language that is maddeningly tedious
and demoralizingly platitudinous, as is most often the case. The absolute
tediousness secreted by that idealistic, voluntaristic thought is the secret sign
of its despair -- as regards both the world and its own discourse. That is
where true depressive thought is to be found, among those who speak only of
the transcending and transforming of the world, when they are incapable of
transfiguring their own language.
Radical thought is a stranger to all resolving of the world in the direction of an
objective reality and its deciphering. It does not decipher. It
anagrammatizes, it disperses concepts and ideas and, by its reversible
sequencing, takes account both of meaning and of the fundamental
illusoriness of meaning. Language takes account of the very illusion of
language as definitive stratagem and, through it, of the illusion of the world
as infinite trap, as seduction of the mind, as spiriting away of all our mental
faculties. While it is a vehicle of meaning, it is at the same time a
superconductor of illusion and non-meaning. Language is merely the
involuntary accomplice of communication -- by its very form it appeals
to the spiritual and material imagination of sounds and rhythm, to the
dispersal of meaning in the event of language. This passion for artifice, for
illusion, is the passion for undoing that too- beauteous constellation of
meaning. And for letting the imposture of the world show through, which is
its enigmatic function, and the mystification of the world, which is its
secret. While at the same time letting its own imposture show through -- the
impostor, not the composteur [composing stick] of meaning. This passion has
the upper hand in the free and witty use of language, in the witty play of
writing. Where that artifice is not taken into account, not only is its charm
lost, but the meaning itself cannot be resolved.
Cipher, do not decipher. Work over the illusion. Create illusion to
create an event. Make enigmatic what is clear, render unintelligible
what is only too intelligible, make the event itself unreadable.
Accentuate the false transparency of the world to spread a terroristic

confusion about it, or the germs or viruses of a radical illusion -- in other


words, a radical disillusioning of the real. Viral, pernicious thought,
corrosive of meaning, generative of an erotic perception of reality's
turmoil.

Contention 4 Is More Solvency


No more other: communication.
No more enemy: negotiation.
No more predators: conviviality.
No more negativity: absolute positivity.
No more death: the immortality of the clone.
No more otherness: identity and difference.
No more seduction: sexual in-difference.
No more illusion: hyperreality, Virtual Reality.
No more secret: transparency.
No more destiny.
The Perfect Crime. 3

3 (Baudrillard, 1996 [1995]: 10910)

1AC Hyperreality Thesis


Why is there nothing instead of something? We live in an
age of hyperreality, where the map precedes the territory
and all of metaphysics is lost. The real no longer needs to
be rational because it no longer measures itself against
an ideal. It is only operational. The hyperreal acts like
holographic reproduction, a transgressive truth where
each fragment can become the matrix of a new hologram.
Stolze 16 (Ted Stolze, Professor of Philosophy at Cerritos College, International
Journal of Zizek Studies, Contradictions of Hyperreality: Baudrillard, Zizek, and
Virtual Dialectics, Volume 10, No. 1,
http://zizekstudies.org/index.php/IJZS/article/view/92/373, LD)
1. From Leibniz to Baudrillard In section eight of his Discourse on Metaphysics2 (1686) G.W. Leibniz asserts that all true
predication has some basis in the nature of things and that, when a proposition is not an identity, that is, when the
predicate is not explicitly contained in the subject, it 89 must be contained in it virtually (virtuellement). That is what the

inesse, when they say that the predicate is in the subject. Thus
the subject term must always contain the predicate term, so that one who
understands perfectly the notion of the subject would also know that the
predicate belongs to it.3 Several sections later Leibniz specifies that
everything that happens to a person is already contained virtually
(virtuellement) in his nature or not, just as the properties of a circle are
contained in its definition.4 In other words, using the classical logic available to Leibniz,5 we may formalize
philosophers call

the logic of predication as consisting of statements having the following structure: S is P. (Here S stands for a given
subject and P stands for a given predicate.) Using a modern example, one could note that 1. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
was murdered on April 4, 1968. From a Leibnizian perspective, the fact of Kings assassination was virtually contained in

ontologically speaking, for Leibniz


whatever is actual is only the realization of virtual possibilities that
have always existed in the mind of God. In this sense, we can say Leibniz
held a position that the actual arises from, and is dependent on, the virtual.
Let us call this the hyporeality thesis.6 By contrast, as Ernst Bloch argues in The Principle of
Hope, the underlying structure of hope is not S is P (nor S is not P) but S is not yet P.7 For Bloch, S is
not yet P is a properly dialectical assertion not an in-esse but a
trans-esse in which a given predicate (P) is not already virtually
contained in the subject (S) of a proposition but opens up in a
forward direction that may in fact never be actualized, and that even
God could not know in advance of its actualization.8 To give a variation on the
his soul from the beginning of time and space. Indeed,

example above that conveys the sense of S is not yet P as the propositional structure of hope, we might propose that 2.

As opposed
to Leibniz, Bloch argues that knowledge itself becomes
transformative only in a dialectics of events, which are not
contemplated, not enclosed within contemplated history. It is not
applied merely to the knowable past, but to a real becoming, to that which is
occurring and not yet finished, to a knowable and pursuable future content. S
is not yet P, the proletariat has not yet been sublated (aufgehoben), nature is
not yet a home, the real is not yet articulated reality: this Not Yet is in
process, indeed it has attained or is beginning to carve out its skyline here
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.s vision of economic justice has not yet been realized in the United States.

and there (Bloch 1976: 8). 90 Bloch sets forth a perspective that,
ontologically speaking, holds that the virtual is what emerges from, and
exceeds, a singular arrangement of actually existing tendencies in the
objective world-process. In other words, he defends a position that the
virtual arises from, and is dependent on, the actual. Let us call this the
surreality thesis.9 Bloch observes that for Leibniz the choice between
infinitely numerous logical possibilities is left spread out before his God (as
realizer). Even inside the existing world, as one which is realized by its
creator out of infinitely many possible ones, Leibniz still recognizes possibility
as propensity, even though as one which cannot develop anything that is in
reality new either, i.e. anything not contained in the whole of the previous
world. And even if Leibniz, the only great philosopher of the Possible
since Aristotle, also gives space to an infinite number of other
possible world-contexts, these primae possibilitates once again
only live in the reason of the creator and not as possibilities still
capable of realization projecting into this world now realized for
once. (Bloch 1986, vol. 1: 243-44) In light of the respective theses of Leibniz and Bloch, I would like to situate and
make sense of Jean Baudrillards writings regarding hyperreality and then to consider Slavoj ieks insistence on the

Baudrillard has offered a


contemporary, inverted variation on Leibnizs classical idealist
position (hyporeality having become hyperreality),10 whereas iek
has followed the dialectical materialist course charted by Bloch. 2.
Baudrillard on Hyperreality Baudrillards most fully elaborated account of
hyperreality may be found in his essay The Precession of Simulacra (in
Baudrillard 1994: 1-42). Baudrillard writes that Today abstraction is no
longer that of the map, the double, the mirror, or the concept.
Simulation is no longer that of a territory, a referential being, or a
substance. It is the generation by models of a real without origin or
reality: a hyperreal. The territory no longer precedes the map, nor does it
survive it. It is nevertheless the map that precedes the territory
precession of simulacra that engenders the territory, and if one must return
to the fable, today it is the territory whose shreds slowly rot across the extent
of the map. It is the real, and not the map, whose vestiges persist here and
there in the deserts that are no longer those of the Empire, but ours. The
desert of the real itself It is all of metaphysics that is lost. No more mirror of
reality of the virtual as opposed to virtual reality. As I shall argue below,

being and appearances, of the real and its concept. No more imaginary coextensivity: it is genetic miniaturization that is
the dimension of simulation.

The real is produced from miniaturized cells, matrices, and


memory banks, models of control - and it can be reproduced an indefinite
number of times from these. It no longer needs to be rational, because
it no longer measures itself against either an ideal or negative
instance. It is no longer anything but operational. In fact, it is no
longer really the real, because no imaginary envelops it anymore. It
is a hyperreal, produced from a radiating synthesis of combinatory
models in a hyperspace without atmosphere. (Baudrillard 1994: 1-2) 91
In order to explain what he means by hyperreality, Baudrillard also offers an
image of the hologram: A segment has no need of imaginary mediation in
order to reproduce itself, any more than the earthworm needs earth: each

segment of the worm is directly reproduced as a whole worm, just as each


cell of the American CEO can produce a new CEO. Just as each fragment of a
hologram can again become the matrix of the complete hologram: the
information remains whole, with perhaps somewhat less definition ,
in each of the dispersed fragments of the hologram (Baudrillard 1994: 97).
Moreover, Baudrillard contends, holographic reproduction, like all fantasies of
the exact synthesis or resurrection of the real (this also goes for scientific
experimentation), is already no longer real, is already hyperreal. Not an
exact, but a transgressive truth, that is to say already on the other side of the
truth. What happens on the other side of the truth, not in what would be false, but in what is more true than the true,
more real than he real? (Baudrillard 1994: 108). Baudrillard has effectively inverted Leibniz by proposing that the latters

Why is there nothing instead


of something?11 Moreover, Baudrillard has cut loose Leibnizs hyporeality
thesis from its mooring in Gods necessary existence. Indeed, as the real
has disappeared, all that remains is contingent hyperreality.
Moreover, hyperreality has somehow escaped or exceeded negation
and contradiction: Thus, the modern world foreseen by Marx, driven on by the work of the negative, by the
engine of contradiction, became, by the very excess of its fulfillment , another world in which
things no longer even need their opposites in order to exist, in which
light no longer needs shade, the feminine no longer needs the masculine (or
vice versa?), good no longer needs evil and the world no longer
needs us (Baudrillard 2011: 16). For Baudrillard this is a world from which
human beings have tendentially, at least disappeared and in which there
has occurred a dissolution of values, of the real, of ideologies, of ultimate
ends (Baudrillard 2011: 21). Yet not everything vanishes at once;
traces remain; there is a clandestine existence [that] exert[s] an
occult influence (Baudrillard 2011: 26); indeed, there remains an
artificial survival, a prolongation to perpetuity of something that
has disappeared, but just keeps on and on disappearing.
Consequently, what remains requires a whole art to know how to
disappear before dying and instead of dying (Baudrillard 2011: 25). At this point Baudrillard
question Why is there something instead of nothing? has become

evokes the trace of God as akin to the frightening smile left over from Lewis Carrolls vanished Cheshire Cat: And Gods

Baudrillard
describes this as an overall hegemonic process in which there is a 92
reabsorption of any negativity in human affairs, the reduction to the
simplest unitary formula, the formula to which there is no alternative, 0/1 pure difference of potential, into which the aim is to have all conflicts
vanish digitally (Baudrillard 2011: 44-45). Not only the world is
disappearing but the subject, too, as agency of will, of freedom, of
knowledge, of history (Baudrillard 2011: 27). Only the subjects ghost or
narcissistic double is left behind by this process of disappearance: The
subject disappears, gives way to a diffuse, floating, insubstantial subjectivity,
an ectoplasm that envelopes everything and transforms everything into an
immense sounding board for a disembodied, empty consciousness all things
radiating out from a subjectivity without object; each monad, each molecule
caught in the toils of a definitive narcissism, a perpetual image-playback. This is
judgment is terrifying in itself, but the judgment of God without God (Baudrillard: 25-26).

the image of an end-end-of-world subjectivity, a subjectivity for an end of the world from which the subject as such has
disappeared, no longer having anything left to grapple with.

The subject is the victim of this

fateful turn of events, and, in a sense, it no longer has anything


standing over against it neither objects, nor the real, nor the Other
(Baudrillard 2011: 27). Digitalization of images in turn leads to a
disappearance of the entire symbolic articulation of language and
thought: Soon there will no longer be any thought-sensitive surface of
confrontation, any suspension of thought between illusion and reality. There
will be no blanks any more, no silences, no contradiction - just a
single continuous flow, a single integrated circuit (Baudrillard 2011: 40). It would be
difficult to find a more revealing account of Baudrillards inverted Leibnizianism: the reassertion of windowless monads,
the invocation of a holographic universe in which each individual expresses the totality of all individuals but only from

the outside has effectively dissolved. External relations between and


among individuals have folded into, been exhausted by, internal relations
alone. In short, as Warren Montag has perceptively noted, Baudrillard
celebrates a silent world, a world that has rid itself of every hint of
conflict or contradiction (Montag 1988: 101).12
within

1AC Nordin Thesis


Solvency for Egao/Framework Prempt proper tags can be
found on the previous Nordin 12 ev they basically say
the same thing, but this card is from 14 so. Baudrillard
ups.
Nordin and Richaud 14
(Astrid Nordin [Lecturer in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion
at Lancaster University] and Lisa Richaud [PhD student at Universit Libre de
Bruxelles], " Subverting official language and discourse in China?: type river
crab for harmony," Lancaster University: China Information Issue 1 Volume
28, 2014, www.research.lancs.ac.uk/portal/en/publications/-(44c2557b-374442c2-bdcf-8a172ca44f8f).html, Pages 48-63)
standardized Party language remains an important aspect of the
regimes propaganda, albeit incomparable to the linguistic engineering of the Mao years.1 During the Mao period, the Partys
efforts to instil Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought entailed a
thorough systematization of political language .2 Language reached an
unprecedented level of uniformity, visible in official written productions and political speech. As ideology was thought to yield
In post-reform China,

action consequences,3 Maoist rhetoric also pervaded everyday life.4 In todays China, since the relative erosion of ideological uniformity, political language appears to be

Emphasis put on harmony () and its


reference to Confucianism illustrate these changes in the making of official
discourse. This Chinese Newspeak ()5 relies on an interplay between
positive processes the diffusion of new slogans or terms endowed with new meanings and negative practices, namely, the censorship work
restricting the use of words at different levels, be it a priori or a posteriori.6 Students of political slogans in China have
emphasized the role of Party language in remolding the Chinese mind and
facilitating ideological change,7 thus depicting an image of individuals as
passive and compliant recipients. Our analysis of the reappropriation of Party language by ordinary young people somewhat
contradicts, or at least moderates, such representations. The famous homonymic transformation of harmony
(hexie ) into river crab (hexie ) offers a significant illustration of such
a process. The set phrase harmonious society ( ) has received
considerable attention in scholarly debate since its emergence in 2005 under the former Chinese president Hu Jintao.8
a less systematized set of ideas, articulating varied influences.

Under this slogan, Hu announced that Beijing needed to focus on further strengthening and improving management of the Internet, improving the standard of

In the everyday life of the younger


online generation, Internet censorship is pervasive. It ranges from layers of
blocks that have become collectively known as the Great Firewall to
censorship at the level of words. Online community administrators are
responsible for maintaining filtering systems that block certain sensitive
words, but it is often unclear where the line between acceptable and
unacceptable words is drawn.10 Some characters are always censored, for
example, most sites will permanently block words such as Falun gong (
), June 4th () and Jiangzemin ().11 Others are added or taken off in conjunction with the rise and
management of virtual society, and establishing mechanisms to guide online public opinion.9

fall of different issues on the agenda, political or otherwise. For example, during the Jasmine Revolutions in 2011, the word jasmine () was blocked on SinaWeibo.12

those on the receiving end of this harmonization popularized a new


linguistic form of negotiation to deal with censorship; the term being
harmonized () indicates that someone has been censored online, by
Around 2007,

the processes just described.

Little attention has been paid to date to such instances of reception and redeployment of Party language

among Chinese citizens. It is important to consider this reception and redeployment of slogans such as harmonious society as they are revealing of actors relationships to
imposed official discourse. In this article, we therefore explore some of the ways in which contemporary Chinese university youths have responded to online harmonization.
After explaining our research design, we analyse informants own thoughts and feelings about being harmonized, and we outline two principal ways in which informants

students have reacted


creatively through forms of expression that have typically been understood as
a mode of resistance. We pay particular attention to such expression in the
form of humorous homonyms, as part of the satirical critique that has
become known as egao (). Although previous commentary on egao is varied and
sophisticated, most scholarly analyses of this phenomenon have regarded it
in terms of resistance and Bakhtinian carnival in a free and unrestricted
quasi-separate space. Such approaches, we argue, need to be further nuanced by taking into consideration the actual experience of consuming
have acted on these feelings. In some instances, harmonization leads to resignation and compliance. In others,

and producing egao. We begin to do so by examining the experience of young Chinese who are not explicitly involved in online activism. Based on our interviews with

their presumed repoliticization also involves a


depoliticization, reflecting the complexity and ambiguity of the relationships
they negotiate. Being harmonized and resisting harmonization: Previous research and a new approach In this article we pay particular attention to
those who deploy these tactics, we contend that

censorship at the level of words, and so we focus on the response found at the level of negotiating that particular form of harmonization. One response that has led to

Egao is a form of online culture


that has grown popular and received international attention since 2006. It
uses dark humour, irony and satire, often to mock and ridicule power holders.
A significant part of this culture draws on puns and wordplay to
simultaneously mock and escape the censorship regime. This practice has
almost universally been understood as a form of resistance, contestation or
subversion.13 Among the literature that engages more thoroughly with the phenomenon, resistance is typically
understood as rooted in the oft-noted discrepancy between official Party-state
language (which includes set phrases such as harmonious society) and an
alternative political discourse14 or hidden transcript15 (which may include expressions such as being harmonized).16 Meng
considerable excitement in the academic community is the ironic wordplay popularly called egao.

Bingchun characterizes egao and its associated wordplay in terms of a virtual carnival,17 which represents a collective attempt at resistance.18 In the few texts that
have theorized the egao phenomenon, this particular line of thought has been remarkably dominant. The approach is based on Bakhtins understanding of the carnival a
wild and grotesque time and space in medieval and renaissance Europe. One volume edited by David Kurt Herold and Peter Marolt goes as far as to characterize Chinese
cyberspace as a quasi-separate space of the carnivalesque.19 To Bakhtin and a number of his followers, the carnival is an event in a time and space set apart from normal
constraints, where rules are suspended.20 It is a second life that is free and unrestricted, the antithesis of normal life.21 In Herold and Marolts volume, Li Hongmei reads

the space of egao as carnival, a space that marks the suspension of all
hierarchical rank, privileges, norms, and prohibitions,22 where power
relationships can be temporarily suspended. 23 Tang Lijun and Syamantak Bhattacharya have similarly understood
egao in terms of carnival, but simultaneously take it to reflect a widespread feeling of powerlessness, rather than offering the general public any political power, which

They read in egao the potential to


generate a chain of related satirical work, which can create a satire
movement and subject power to sustained shame and ridicule.25 The
analyses of egao that draw on Bakhtin thus also conceive of the phenomenon
as a form of resistance to the official26 or established27 order. They repeatedly refer to George Orwells claim that
every joke is a tiny revolution .28 Taken together, these studies of egao have contributed a wealth of examples of online wordplay,
nonetheless helps to push the symbolic power of satire to a higher level.24

which has almost unanimously been rendered as a form of or attempt at resistance. These interpretations are based on various sources and examples, but predominantly
draw on data from those who are highly pro-active in making elaborate spoofs,29 or those who work very actively with online censorship.30 However, this type of wordplay

Being censored online, or being


harmonized, has become a common experience of young Chinese both
those who claim an explicit interest in politics and are frequently engaged in
online activity, and those who emphasize their indifference toward politics
and do not seek to express political viewpoints online. Their deployment of
wordplay is part of the egao phenomenon as well as the negotiation of
meaning of the official terms from which they derive. Yet, the Bakhtinian reading of egao as
carnival proves itself insufficient in light of the actual experience of these
young people. Indeed, while carnival entails masked identities, the use of the Internet in China is characterized by the impossibility of anonymity. For
is also deployed by ordinary young people in China on a less spectacular everyday basis.

university students who mostly live inside their campus, Internet access is provided by the establishment, thus rendering students online activities traceable. Nonetheless,
there are no prior studies that to our knowledge convey the way young people experience being harmonized online and negotiating harmonization at the level of language

in such a nonanonymous context. This is the gap that we begin to fill by way of this article. In academic literature that largely conveys egao as carnival and resistance, one

Is it a weapon of the weak, or


is it a rather feeble expression among well-heeled and largely apolitical urban
youth?31 Lagerkvist is inclined towards the latter interpretation. He describes
egao as [p]ermeated with irony and an ambivalence that occasionally
resembles, or indeed is, resistance, but is sceptical about this resistance
because to him [t]he crux of the matter is only what larger influence you
have on politics, if that is at all desired, if your critique is too subtle.32 As
such, we must not be satisfied with simply taking irony as intrinsically
subversive or aligned with a radical politics.33 Lagerkvist concludes: Instead of viewing the
egao phenomenon as politically subversive, at least in the short term, it may
make more sense to view it as the growth of an alternate civility, more
indicative of social and generational change, building up ever more pressure
against the political system in the long term.34 Thus, from this perspective, it makes more
sense to understand irony in China as a way for various societal groups to
vent their anger in a non-revolutionary manner, at least in the shorter term. It
is neither performed to be, nor perceived as, a direct threat against the
Party-state.35 In this article, we address Lagerkvists query about the meaning and significance of egao wordplay, questioning the overwhelmingly common
commentator has remained decidedly sceptical. With regard to this phenomenon Johan Lagerkvist asks,

interpretation of egao as carnivalistic resistance. Lagerkvists point that irony is not by definition a form of resistance is well taken. Nonetheless, this proves nothing about

. Do young people experience their online wordplay


as free and unrestricted, marking the suspension of all hierarchical rank,
privileges, norms, and prohibitions la Bakhtin? Do they indicate that they
understand the Internet as a space where rules are suspended? If not, does
this necessarily mean that egao does not offer the general public any political
power? Most commentary on egao sees in it both potential and limitations for
politics, but how do those who engage in such wordplay on a daily basis
perceive it? Responding to being harmonized: A question of de- and repoliticization? Although
what it does mean, but simply leaves the question open

the question of politics and the political seems to underpin previous interpretations of egao, the implications of this question have been given surprisingly little explicit
attention in these accounts. Tang and Bhattacharya juxtapose a feeling of powerlessness with the general public having any political power. Lagerkvist questions whether

just as it seems
simplistic to read any form of laughter as a revolution, so too does it seem
restrictive not to acknowledge anything but a mass movement as political.
Scholarship on the question of the distinction between politics and the political can provide some clarity here. This scholarship notes that modern
political theory tends to treat politics as a kind of synonym for the state, its
institutions and its activities. Thus, politics is taken to indicate a concern with
deliberative social life mediated through institutions such as government,
policy formation, and diplomacy. From this perspective, an issue is politicized
when it moves from being outside the orbit of the state, and becomes a
matter of public debate and decision. Correspondingly, an issue is
depoliticized when it is considered to have moved into the private realm (and thus
outside of the immediate public concern). The contrast between politics and the political suggests a
wider view of this process. Instead of accepting the realm of politics as a
given, this contrast suggests that there is a prior move to establish or select
what counts as politics in the first place. In other words, politics and the nonpolitical are not givens, but are constructed or created in some sense.36 Jenny Edkins has described the
political as being concerned with the establishment of that very social order which sets out a
particular, historically specific account of what counts as politics and defines
other areas of social life as not politics.37 If this perspective is adopted, the
terms politicization and depoliticization take on an alternative meaning. From the perspective of the political,
egao is a weapon of the weak or a feeble expression among the well-heeled and largely apolitical urban youth. However,

established politics depoliticizes an issue it is, in effect, reinforcing a prior


decision about what counts as politics in the first place. Therefore, from the
perspective of the political, moves that simply label (and exclude) activities
as not politics are depoliticizing moves. They treat their object as the
subject of formula or calculation a decision on its status has already been
made, and now the matter is merely one of implementation. Following the
same logic, when an issue becomes incorporated in public policy and is a
question of simple implementation, this is a depoliticizing move. 38 A
politicizing move, by contrast, would suggest a questioning of the accepted
borders and categories of established politics. To repoliticize an issue in such
a way would be to interrupt discourse, to challenge what have, through
discursive practices, been constituted as normal, natural, and accepted ways
of carrying on.39 Thus, when Lagerkvist evaluates egao according to what larger
influence it has on politics, he appears to be referring to what we here call
politics as opposed to the political. Tang and Bhattacharya similarly seem
concerned with politics in the narrow sense when they judge the success of
egao on its potential to create a satire movement. These accounts, then, are
in themselves depoliticizing (in Edkinss sense of the term), in dismissing egao as not political
unless it can achieve some movement or influence with regard to politics (in
the narrow sense). In our interviews as well as in informal conversations, young Chinese people frequently
mention their indifference to politics. In their view, politics refers to
institutionalized politics and official language, as conveyed through political
education classes40 which, according to many, are boring or uninteresting.
Such a conception of politics is rendered visible by their oft-made distinction
between the social and the political, as some claim to be rather interested in
social issues. On the basis of the purported disinterest of Chinese youth in
politics, should we conclude that their use of irony and satire in language is
devoid of any political significance? In the Chinese context, politicization of ordinary
citizens practices in the concepts most traditional sense, with regard to
institutionalized politics can hardly occur. The realm of politics remains
largely constrained by the state, and actors seldom label their own practices
as politically oriented. For such reasons, and with analyses of
authoritarianism emphasizing popular political apathy and depoliticization,41
we take Edkinss view of politicization (as a process unfolding in the realm of
the political rather than in politics) to highlight actors dissociation vis--vis
institutionalized politics without denying their political significance.
Accordingly, in what follows, we re-open the question of the political.
Although some of Chinas young claim to be disinterested in politics, and
despite some commentators calling them apolitical, can an opening to the
political be read in the way youth negotiate online censorship? Method and sources Because
when

we are interested in students views and perceptions at the level of the political in the wider sense of the term, we seek to understand these experiences through the way
they are conveyed at the level of language. Therefore, we make no claim about the way some subjects truly feel about being harmonized, but rather about the way
language functions in the negotiation of censorship, and the way our informants claim to feel about their experience. In the Introduction to Herold and Marolts volume
discussed earlier, the Internet is posited as a quasi-separate sphere and criticism is levied on studies that attempt to locate the Internet within offline society which is
less than helpful if the goal is to understand what is happening in online China.42 Although we do not claim that the online sphere is located in offline China, we
nonetheless question the inside/outside distinction that Herolds separate spheres imply. In the interviews that form the basis of this article, we found a great overlap
between the lives that our young informants live online and offline. As we will show, the wordplay they deployed online often appeared in offline interaction with peers, and

Granted that censorship works differently on- and offline,


yet the a priori separation of the two seems conducive to little but foregone
conclusions. This article is based on 41 semi-structured interviews with Chinese students from different universities in Beijing. The focus on harmonization
so we study them here as one linguistic field.

emerged inductively, after a first series of 36 interviews was carried out between December 2009 and March 2010 as part of a qualitative investigation of the political

attitudes and behaviours of Beijing university students. Of the original 36 respondents, 17 were contacted through student public discussion groups on the Douban
website.43 Some of the remaining 19 students were encountered during participant observation of student spare-time activities, others with the help of prior informants.
Five complementary interviews were conducted in November and December 2011 with students who, according to a former respondent, had the experience that was
relevant for this research. Despite coming from a variety of backgrounds, the informants interviewed were not representative of Chinese people or society at large, nor
should their experience be generalizable to other young Chinese people. Most immediately, our sample included only young people born between 1980 and 1993, who
studied at universities in Beijing and thus belonged to a privileged class in China. Some 24 per cent were members of the CCP; 61 per cent were male, 39 per cent were
female. All interviews were conducted in Mandarin, and all translations are our own. Being harmonized and resisting harmonization: The experience of Chinese students

Being harmonized online


emerged as a common experience of informants. When asked about the
interference of power in their daily lives, informants rarely described specific
instances other than censorship impinging upon the way they expressed
themselves on the Internet. For example, one student felt that it was hard to
express oneself freely like on the Internet and recounted with a laugh how
she was once harmonized for posting the phrase harmonious society.
Although this example shows that the informant connected being harmonized
to freedom of expression per se, criticism from our informants focused on the
excessive nature of contemporary censorship. The use of expressions such as guo le (), guofen (), guoyan (
Treating the symptoms, but not treating the cause (): Feelings about being harmonized online

) or zuo guo tou (), in which the character guo () refers to the transgression of a limit, indicates that censorship was not necessarily rejected as such, but became
an object of criticism when perceived as excessive. Whereas the acceptable limit of censorship remained abstract and elusive, what was regarded as illegitimate

For example,
one student who was harmonized after posting some pictures by the artist Ai
Weiwei emphasized that these photographs were harmless. When another informant was asked
throughout informants accounts was the absence of reasons for the impossibility of posting words that were censored at a given instance.

about his experience of being harmonized as he was trying to post a comment on the movie Avatar, he told us, I felt anger, why doesnt it let me post? In like manner,
another student asserted, This censorship is unnecessary. To one informant, censorship was nonsensical or inexplicable: The first time I was harmonized, it was very
unpleasant! Because of this nonsense! How can there be such a reason? Can there really be this sort of reasoning? That is to say, this bunch of people are unreasonable.

The practice of censorship was thus regarded throughout the interviews as


either being based on some incomprehensible reason or simply as having no
reasonable basis at all. Moreover, informants experiences of harmonization entailed an emotional dimension conveyed by words connotating
physical or psychological discomfort. Some students described their feelings of anger in the face of censorship. Some found the experience unpleasant or referred to their
feelings in terms of pain. At the same time, the informant mentioned earlier, who commented on the unpleasantness of his first experience of being harmonized, added
that this behaviour on the part of the government was very comical. He found censorship ridiculous, since it could not eradicate the peoples will to express themselves,
and that censorship merely treated the symptoms, but not the cause. Such references to harmonization as something funny were echoed by other students: Its mostly
that its a little funny. I might have had the feeling that its a little bit absurd even though we do not have free expression but perhaps I wasnt particularly angry or
whatever, but I felt that it was unbelievable. Although explaining the students feelings in the face of harmonization from a subjective viewpoint is beyond the scope of this
article, we can nonetheless endeavour to interpret them in light of the context in which they are embedded. These feelings and perceptions arising from the experience of
being harmonized can be attributed to the particular configuration in contemporary China, where the boundaries between what can and cannot be said are blurred by a
growing space for expression. We could assume that in the eyes of university students who are not particularly involved in any form of activism, the scarcity of perceivable
forms of control and direct coercion in everyday life renders any visible interference of power unexpected and even more salient. As they are experienced, constraints thus

Moreover, in a context where educated


youths have not only been kept at a distance from politics by the
authoritarian regime but also seem to have both internalized and contributed
to the stereotype that youth today are pragmatic and uninterested in political
change,44 being harmonized might appear somewhat inexplicable, or, in the
students own words, ridiculous and absurd. In their view, since expression online (and sometimes offline) will
seemingly not have any influence on the political system, why should harmonization be so severe? I erased little by little : Disgruntled
arouse disgruntlement, whether in the form of anger or feelings of bitterness.

compliance with harmonization A first form of reaction in the face of harmonization is disgruntled compliance, by which we mean that young people simply stop trying to
write about sensitive issues or stop using sensitive words. While certain combinations of Chinese characters are known to be permanently forbidden, the list of sensitive
words was thought to be changeable and unpredictable. For instance, one informant told us that during the Jasmine Revolutions, in order to prevent activists from
organizing gatherings, the characters for tomorrow became a sensitive word. Therefore, informants sometimes attempted to identify and change or delete the words that
prevented a particular post from crossing the technicolinguistic barrier of keyword censorship. Although the sensitivity of some expressions is widely known, the
uncertainty surrounding other words has induced young people to make repeated attempts at uploading a particular post. One informant explained that he sometimes had
to make a few tests in order to determine which words prevented him from posting a message. The informant who was harmonized when trying to post on the film Avatar
provided us with details of these trials: I wrote a little comment, and combined [several issues] together China and demolition of houses and land requisition. I
posted it, but the first time it couldnt be posted. Then I checked it once again and couldnt find any words that I thought were sensitive. Then I erased a lot of what looked
like possibly sensitive words, erased or changed them, then finally, finally it was posted. Another student described his exasperation when confronted by numerous,
unknown sensitive keywords that are blocked at a given instance: For example were chatting chatting turns to the Xinhai Revolution, then there are keywords that you
cant post, let me think, isnt Li Dazhao45 a keyword? I change Li Dazhao into pinyin, then, posting it is still not possible, then lets think isnt Xinhai a keyword? Or
is the character for Party a keyword? Or is Sun Zhongshan a keyword? Then after changing [these words], how come I still discover that I still cant post?! Its
inexplicable. So, I dont know how many keywords there are in the end, and [in China] keywords are in fact often changing. The same student then continued to explain the
laborious process of trying to find what word was blocking the message he was trying to post. His tactic was to take a blocked article or message and erase one word at a
time to find out which one(s) was/were the blocked keyword(s): For example, if a message couldnt be posted after erasing some sentences that meant the keyword was
still in the text. I erased little by little [in order to find] this keyword. So, after having erased parts and managing to post it, apparently [the word] was freedom. It was
[because of] this one, this keyword, [that my message] couldnt be posted. Circumventing what appears to be an excessive blocking of innocent posts is a laborious, timeconsuming process and a nuisance. One informant said that he spent such a long time to send so little. Another student who told us that he once had to write into pinyin
several characters related to Tiananmen added, This is very annoying! Despite or because of obstacles and the near impossibility of posting a comment, the painstaking
procedure as described was sometimes thought to be not so necessary or unnecessary, as were other ways such as breaching the Great Firewall by using virtual private
networks or proxy servers. Informants mostly gave what they called pragmatic reasons to justify their compliance with censorship. Some informants told us that their
response could be attributed to apathy, feeling tired or lazy. Some said that they did not have such a strong desire or a strong political consciousness to circumvent

Another purported reason for apparent


compliance was concerns about potential sanction. Given the aforementioned
absence of anonymity online, having ones online activities discovered can
censorship, and that one eventually became accustomed to censorship.

result in an interview with the universitys administration which sometimes


also alerts the students parents. While sanctions may not always carry severe consequences, they remain a form of social sanction
students who transgress norms are singled out and their online activities might be deemed improper given the social role expected of them by the university as well as

Perhaps more important than the fear of retaliation is the political


indifference of peers, which informants described as apathetic and which also
influenced their own behaviour. The expression meibanfa ( ) was
frequently used, meaning that there is nothing that can be done, or no way
out, not specifically referring to censorship, but about changing authoritarian
rule. We can only walk on the side-road: Circumvention of harmonization If a first reaction to censorship is
disgruntled compliance, a second form of reaction in the face of
harmonization is to find ways of sidestepping the hurdles that stand in the
way. Some informants used metaphors and humorous puns as an alternative:
Because the government doesnt let us walk on this road. We cant write
normal words, there are so many sensitive words that we cant write, we can
only change them, turn them into other words. We dont have the main road,
we only walk on the side-road. The same imagery was used by another
informant who stated that everyone is taking another path. Rather than give up on trying to
their family.

tread a forbidden path, these young people find ways of walking on a side-road. Among the various means employed to avoid censorship, our informants mentioned the
transcription of sensitive words into pinyin or nonsimplified Chinese characters, or the addition of symbols such as an asterisk between each character and/or component

Another tactic mentioned, to which we now turn, was the


reappropriation of Party-state language and creation of humorous homonyms.
of these words.

In particular, informants described how they made use of alternative words that in humorous ways expressed what they meant to say and that simultaneously mocked the
Party-state and its efforts at harmonization. These words are the hidden transcript of which other scholars have written.46 Some of these characters are chosen because
of their homophony with sensitive words. One of the most famous examples is river crab, which has become a substitute for the similarly pronounced harmony. In another
combination, one informant adopted the pseudonym harmonious shoe trademark (hexiepai ) on the Douban website. Other instances of these substitutions are the
Great Cultural Revolution () changed into Mosquito Flower Hiccup Mandate (), or the Communist Party () turned into Provide Shovel Party ().
Beside the use of homonyms, some words or famous peoples names are replaced by other terms. For example, carrot ( ) has become a sobriquet for Hu Jintao
because of the character hu (). 35th May ( ) was sometimes used to refer to the utmost sensitive 4th June (). Moreover, these linguistic practices are

The most common illustration of this


phenomenon has been the numerous references to harmony in everyday
language among young people. One instance of such use was described as
follows: A: In your opinion, this word, harmony, is not only an official
expression? B: In fact, in the beginning before the government used this
word, this word was a good word. Now when everyone says harmony,
theres a little bit of a humorous, joking feeling [about it]. A: And when you
use it? B: Um, yes! (laughter) A: How do you use it? B: For instance, being
harmonized! Another example of such offline deployment of online memes is the increasing use of our Party (), especially by non-Party members: A:
redeployed not only online but also in offline interaction with peers.

That is, the meeting that our Party recently held, to reinforce this reform of the cultural system. B: I want to ask you something else, why do you say our Party? A: Our

Our Party, sometimes you can say your Party () when


youre with Party members. Non-Party members say your Party recently this
and that, yes! (laughter). So when we non-Party members say it, we use it
mockingly. As in these quotes, informants described their and others use of Party language as a form of mockery levelled at both censorship and the
Party? Its a mocking way of speaking.

government. What is clear from this section is that at least some young Chinese students make use of egao-style tactics to negotiate censorship and being harmonized.

The fact that students described egao as a form of mockery may be revealing
of how they disengage from egaos potentially radical side. Such a radical
deployment would be aimed at a broader level of politics, rather than the
micro context in which their linguistic practices have direct roots that is,
their online expression and interaction with peers. Both the actors social role
implying limited capacities for action and, again, the complex and somewhat
paradoxical interplay between (relative) openness and pervasive control
specific to the Chinese authoritarian context reduce the likelihood that some
young Chinese would think of egao as more than mockery. Given the limited
scope of these humorous forms of expression, should we conclude that no

political significance derives from these ordinary deployments of egao? Humorous


homonyms: Repoliticizing or depoliticizing harmonious society? Having examined the accounts given by
informants, it is time to return to the scholarly claims about egao and its significance that were outlined at the outset of this article. How did our
informants own conceptions of their online wordplay compare to the
significance assigned to it by scholarship? Did they conceive their use of
these homonyms, and the larger egao culture of which it is part, as a form of
carnivalistic resistance, as a mark of their apolitical status? Most importantly, recalling our
distinction between politics and the political, should we understand this as a form of de- or repoliticization? We found no indication that
our informants viewed the Internet and its world of egao as a free and
unrestricted space.47 On the contrary, in their accounts they singled out the sphere of online censorship as a stark example of government
interference in their daily lives. Informants described their practices as a way to circumvent constraints, not abolish them. Furthermore, if the online world marks some
change in normal prohibitions, it is not perceived as one where all hierarchical rank, privileges, norms, and prohibitions are suspended.48 It is precisely the absence of
clear rules or reasons in online censorship that makes navigation frustrating and painful and that enables the relatively smooth continuation of the offline hierarchy
between authorities and informants to perpetuate online. Moreover, this shows that informants did not conceptualize their online experience as a quasi-separate
sphere.49 Their accounts show how online memes are also used in everyday speech offline. What is more, the restriction on expression online was not conveyed as the
antithesis of normal life,50 but rather as a continuation of the same by other means. Having said this, there is a nuance to this onlineoffline relationship. On some
occasions, informants who claimed an interest in politics used the Internet to express themselves or share articles, and indicated that it was difficult to talk about what
they considered to be politics with a majority of their offline peers who were thought to be apolitical or indifferent to politics. In such cases, the Internet could provide

What about the claim that egao should be understood


as a collective attempt at resistance?51 One informant explicitly rejected
the idea that egao and its associated wordplay constituted a form of
resistance: I feel that it doesnt count as resistance. Because, first, it [the
government] really doesnt know, right? for example, you oppose
someone, then you have to let him know [then its] resistance, but our
government also knows that everyone is opposing it, so this is not about
resistance or non-resistance, the government still has the cheek to stay in
power. Thus, the hidden transcripts do not count as resistance to this
informant, precisely because of their hidden nature. This, then, echoes Lagerkvists scepticism about what
larger influence you have on politics if your critique is too subtle.52 The laughter, here, is not perceived as a
revolution (as it is to Orwell and those who cite him in these debates). The same informant, like Lagerkvist, was of the view that egao is best
understood as a way of venting anger, as opposed to offering the public any
political power:53 Because I feel that this, on the contrary, is a means of venting our feelings for example, everyone is dissatisfied, as soon as a person
access to those with a similar interest in politics.

is dissatisfied, through this sort of funny words very humorous, very egao words, hey, suddenly everyone discusses their own painful life in a very happy way. There is
nothing particularly mysterious look if you say something particularly serious, you can say, everyone is Ah Q, ha! In Lu Xuns 1921 novella The True Story of Ah Q, the
tragicomic character is famous for his spiritual victories: when he falls victim to oppression, violence and ridicule, he comes up with elaborate ways of deluding himself
into thinking he has won or is superior to those who victimize him. He thus sees victory or pride in what is actually horrible defeat. This Ah Q-esque venting was
understood as a good thing by some informants: Um, I think it [the function of egao] is very good. That is, let everyone have a way to give vent to their anger, that is, a
way to vent ones grievances. The same informant, however, continued on the topic, detecting in the venting not only anger and something good, but also the intelligence
of the victims as well as sadness: A: How do you view this sort of words that have a humorous dimension? B: Um, this is China, the intelligence of Chinese netizens. That is,
in such a bad environment as China, Chinese netizens can still bring their intelligence into full play, they can mock. A: Only for the purpose of mocking? B: Because this
sort of mockery is a sort of black humour, a sort of humour with a sad feeling I feel that this is a [way of] venting, just like [on] todays [Sina]Weibo. Another
informant, who did not think that egao amounted to resistance, expressed some contempt for those who thought it did: Using the Communist Partys language for mockery
Resistance does not make any difference, it seems like a kind of superficial resistance. For example, there is a bit of the Ah Q feeling, similar to merely saying, but
everyone is nonetheless following this direction, carrying out their own resistance. Because you really cant go change anything, so you make a few jokes, and then maybe

it is clear that several informants understand egao and its


associated wordplay as unlikely to lead to a social movement that could
cause a revolution or radical politics. In the last quote, however, a reference was again made to Ah Q, whose persona may be
[it has] a little effect. Again, then,

helpful in understanding the informants views and the role of egao in a more sophisticated manner. Ah Q has been read in more ways than one, with different
understandings of his political significance. Gloria Davies has examined the dissonant voices raised about Lu Xuns work at the time of its publication.54 She shows how
Marxist dogmatists attacked the story of Ah Q, because to them the only kind of literature worth engaging in was what they referred to as revolutionary literature or
literature that could fit unambiguously within the normative framework of Communist ideology, whereas Ah Q was unable to show the path towards a better future.55
Davies goes on to show, instead, how the heterogeneity of meanings generated by the text itself eluded attempts by Lu Xuns critics and defendants alike to utter the final
word on Ah Q.56 Lu Xun refuses to provide some hope of redemption for Ah Q. The story uplifts the reader, but provides no relief and no absolute positive value to

Throughout this text,


we have seen evidence of a range of feelings associated with egao and its
associated wordplay: amusement, ridicule, anger, pride, contempt, sadness,
and so on. Egao, like the river crabs, uplift, but offer no way out they merely
curse and snigger. These humorous homonyms even refuse to adapt one
single meaning, but always oscillate they are simultaneously harmony and
river crab, vulgar and political. Ah Q, as a man without personal history or even a real name, produced an ineluctable desire on the
part of his contemporary readers to give meaning to his existence, to invest in the name Ah Q a reality.58 The same treatment has
revolution.57 Given the various accounts of egao, there seems to be good reason to understand these in a similar manner.

befallen egao, with scholars grasping to understand its meaning, pin down its
(potential) significance. Some seem to suggest the potential to influence
politics, to contest the legitimacy, accountability or policy of the government
as the yardstick against which egao should be measured. Others imply
instead the potential to cultivate grass-roots communities, collective
resistance, or collective empowerment as such a yardstick. To Davies, the function of Ah Q, instead,
was to establish a distance between the formidable influences of traditional society and the easy radical solutions sought, or making strange what is commonly
regarded as familiar and mundane.59 His significance, then, was not in the realm of politics, but in that of the political. Returning to such an approach can give us a
different angle from which to examine egao and the question of its potential resistance. Contrary to the accounts reported above, some informants did indicate that
resistance was part of the meaning ascribed to these linguistic creations: there is this component. One informant alluded to the type of view on political tactics implied in

In this kind of expression we call postmodern,


it actually also resembles a kind of deconstruction (jiegou ). This kind of
thing, deconstruction [through mockery], is really to subvert (dianfu ) all
former authority. The term jiegou in this quote can mean to analyse, deconstruct or stir up dissent. Dianfu refers to subversion or overturning. When
the understanding of egao wordplay as a form of Bakhtinian carnival:

asked whether this meant that the regime had already been overturned, the same informant continued: I think that now a youth like me everyone must know in their
heart that it cant be like before. Back then there was a very respectful attitude towards that kind of authority. This informant thus indicates that this new form of mockery
may indeed be a change in register of popular expression, perhaps analogous to what Meng would term an alternative political discourse,60 or possibly Lagerkvists
alternate civility.61 A shift between now and before is perceived, but the shift has taken place on a discursive level rather than in the realm of narrow politics. Scholars

The words
that Chinas young use are indeed not intended to be, or perceived as, a
challenge to the Party-states politics. In that sense, neither subjective nor
objective dimensions of what may traditionally be termed politicization
emerge in informants accounts of egao.62 That is, most informants did not
consider themselves to be involved in politics, nor is their expression
commonly considered to be political in the narrow sense. However, what
traditional scholars call politicization is closer to depoliticization in Edkinss
terminology. Making cartoons about river crabs and tag-names such as
harmonious shoe trademark are not interventions in the realm of politics (in
the narrow sense); it is not politicization in the traditional sense. Perhaps,
however, politicization in the case of egao takes a different shape in bringing
the political back in. This Edkinsian repoliticization has roots in the process
through which students negotiate the meanings of the official terms from
which their wordplay borrows. As outlined at the outset of this article,
repoliticization can be described as a disruption of the dominant discourse, a
challenge to what have, through discursive practices, been constituted as
normal, natural, and accepted ways of carrying on.63 Through repeatedly
using expressions such as being harmonized, river crab society, and indeed
harmonious shoes, the meaning of the official harmonious society discourse
is hollowed out or disrupted, rather than contested head-on. Returning again to Ah Q and our
critical informant, the point is not necessarily to resist or not resist, but to make
strange. The strangeness or undecidability of egao has roots both in the
discrepant meanings assigned by actors to their linguistic practices and in the
very nature of the political itself. The boundaries of what is, to paraphrase
Edkins, not politics remain unstable and fluid, due to the permanent
renegotiation of meanings. The way the young Chinese students in our study described censorship shows how they downplay the
authoritarian aspect underlying this practice. What is originally an infringement by authoritarian power is reduced to something funny. Egao, then, is
simultaneously laughing at censorship and laughing it off. Concurrently, while informants, as we have
seeming confusion and apparent dichotomization of positions perhaps, then, derive from the failure to distinguish politics from the political.

shown, do not always endeavour to circumvent censorship, to simply stay with labelling this absence of efforts against the authoritarian power as compliance would
obscure the complexity of the students attitudes toward harmonization. Indeed, their reflexive gaze on their own resignation, along with their decidedly mixed feelings

Thus, egao is perhaps


best understood beyond the resistance/not resistance dichotomy of politics.
Instead, we can productively examine it through the question of the political,
about being harmonized (described as simultaneously painful and funny) reveals the intricacy of these practices.

where its multiple meanings at the levels of words, feelings and purported
significance lead to instances of openness where impossible decisions have
to be made with regard to their use and interpretation. Downloaded from cin.sagepub.com at UNIV OF
MICHIGAN on June 22, 2016 62 China Information 28(1) Conclusion We then return to one of our initial questions: what do these ordinary
uses of egao tell us about Chinas youths relationships to official language?
Although our informants did not uniformly define their linguistic practices as
resistance, their creative ways of negotiating official language convey a
sense of self-conscious dissociation from the CCPs propaganda messages
and repressive practices. However, although hidden transcripts may be
precedents of open conflict in some cases, we must not ignore the extent to
which hegemony may be tacit and resistance often partial and self-defeating.
It can lead as easily to the reproduction of domination as to revolution .64 Although we
observed little total, passive acceptance of official discourse or censorship, egao does not result in or aim for its
abolition. Instead, it can create the conditions for its perpetuation. Moreover,
if this linguistic creativity enables the circumvention of constraints, sensitive
words simultaneously remain silenced as such. In spite of the actors
alternative discourse, their powerlessness still resides in the impossibility of
naming, as they remain subjected to the rules of authorized language .65 If they do
not speak the language of power, young Chinese students are confined to their own meaningmaking, typing river crab for harmony or 35th May for 4th June. Finally, the
political does not simply emerge at the moment of structural failure, i.e. the
failure of politics-as-state.66 Politics and the political do not endlessly
replace each other.67 Rather, they stand next to one another in a particular
configuration where dissatisfaction is expressed, but without genuine
dialogue with power holders in the realm of traditional politics. In this context, this article has
aimed to moderate the general equation of egao as a straightforward form of resistance to authoritarian power, by focusing on the claims of Chinese students who in their
everyday online and offline practices humorously reappropriate Party language. Given the common description of this segment of society as apolitical, our findings may be
unsurprising to some. Moreover, an examination of egao in the language use of activists is likely to yield a different set of findings. Nonetheless, studies of ordinary
deployments of egao are needed to complement understandings of its more spectacular use. What is at stake here is less whether these practices are labelled resistance
or not, and more the reassertion of political negotiations in the broader sense of such practices, where other commentators have seen burgeoning or potential
revolutionary politics, or where this social group is largely viewed as apolitical. To a large extent, we have built our interpretation of egao on the basis of our informants
claims. Relaying their online practices in the face of censorship has shown these to be varied, complex and imbued with different significance at different instances. We

have argued that with regard to politics, in the narrow sense of government
practice, the use of this mocking wordplay may be perceived as a form of
depoliticization it is typically not understood as, or intended to be, a
challenge to Party politics. In the realm of the political, however, its
ambiguous and multiple meanings can lead to repoliticization, in that it
marks, at times at least, a radical undecidability. We have not found evidence, in the accounts of our informants,
to support the interpretation of the Internet or egao practices as a quasi-separate sphere of non-hierarchical Bakhtinian carnival. Nonetheless, we may
detect in these practices a new way of negotiating official language, what
may be considered a new civility68 or alternative political discourse.69 As
such, it becomes a sphere for instances of repoliticization. Having said this,
repoliticization is not stable, but egao too is repeatedly depoliticized, for
example, by being designated as unimportant or as meaning one thing only
(only revolution, only apolitical escapism, only a potential to become a proper
political movement). It should therefore be clear that the point of this article
is not to designate to egao another correct meaning, but rather to point out
the undecidability of this meaning-making process. The point, precisely, is to
reopen the question of egao as potentially political even if it does not lead to
a revolutionary politics.

1AC Solvency Alternatives


The system of global power is dual. Modernity is at odds,
at war, with itself. Deterrence no longer exists: it now
takes place exclusively through simulations models, which
does not result in peace but a viral proliferation of
conflicts, a fractalization of war and conflict inot everday
life. The disappearance of war into ever fabric of the
social is papered over by simulated non-events such as
the Gulf Wars. Critiques of the system premised on
exteriority miss the point by being far to on the mark:
they only reify the reality principle of a system of global
semiotic militarization. All things are complicit and it is
surely heaven. Every critique fights on terms demarcated
by power in advantage. All attempts to criticize the
system on the plane of the real succumb to a will towards
integral reality. The only option is a radical passivity, a
mimicry of the forms of the system, that accelerates them
to the point of their obvious vacuity. Duality re-emerges:
every attempt at coherence, presence, life and the Good
is met by a concomitant move towards incoherence,
absence, and Evil. We affirm this dualistic ontology in a
moment of semiotic rupture. Nothing becomes wholly
transparent without also becoming enigmatic. Duality
emerges as a fatal strategy, embracing its complicity in a
re-emergent dualistic mocking that maintains the
possibility of mystery, Evil, and radical alterity.
Pawlett 14. William Pawlett, senior lecturer in media, communications,
and cultural studies at the University of Wolverhampton, UK, Society At War
With Itself, International Journal of Baudrillard Studies, Volume 11, Number 2
(May, 2014)

It all depends on the ground we choose to fight on most often we


choose to fight on ground where we are beaten before we begin
(Baudrillard 2001: 119).
This paper examines Baudrillards assertion, made in later works
includingImpossible Exchange (2001), The Intelligence of Evil (2005)
and Pyres of Autumn(2006), that individuals, society and indeed the global
system, are internally and irreconcilably divided , that modernity is at odds
with itself (Baudrillard 2006: 1). In his view dissent, rejection and

insurrection emerge from within, not from external challenges such


as alternative ideologies or competing worldviews, but from within
bodies, within borders, inside programmes. For Baudrillard much of the
violence, hatred and discomfort visible around the globe can be understood
as a latent but fundamental silent insurrection against the global
integrating system and its many pressures, demands and humiliations
(2001: 106). This is anendogenic or intra-genic rejection, it emanates from
within the system, from within individuals, even from within language,
electronic systems and bodily cells, erupting as abreaction, metastasis
and sudden reversal.2
For Baudrillard then, despite the many simulations of external threat and
enmity radical Islam currently being the best example the most
dangerous threat lies within: society faces a far harder test than any
external threat: that of its own absence, its loss of reality (2006: 1). The
global order, conventionally labelled capitalist, is neutralising its values
and structures, its ideologies disappear, its principles are sacrificed. Even
the sense of reality produced by the abstract sign and by
simulation models begin to disappear (2005: 67-73; 2009: 10-15). The
goal is integral reality, a limitless operational project geared towards the
total transcription of the world into virtuality: everything is realised and
technically materialised without reference to any principle or final
purpose (2005: 18). Yet there is an internal war or backlash taking
place between integralist violence which seeks ultimate control by
eliminating all otherness, and duality. Duality, for Baudrillard, is
indestructible and is manifest as the inevitable or destined reemergence of otherness: of death, Evil, ambivalence, the ghosts of
symbolic exchange, the accursed share within the system. The
integrating system then suffers a dissent working away at it from
inside. It is the global violence immanent in the world-system itself
which, from within, sets the purest form of symbolic challenge
against it (2005: 22). This is a war or conflict that does not end, the
outcome of which cannot be predicted or programmed. It is a war that is
quite different from the disappearance of war into simulated nonevents, such as occurred with the Gulf wars (Baudrillard 1995). Indeed,
Baudrillard suggests, the deterrence of world wars, and of nuclear wars,
does not result in peace, but in a viral proliferation of conflicts, a
fractalisation of war and conflict into everyday, local, and ubiquitous
terror (1993b: 27).
This paper will examine Baudrillards position on internal rejection through
two closely related themes: complicity and duality. Complicity, and the closely
related term collusion, are themselves dual in Baudrillards sense. That is,
complicity or collusion express an internal division or duality which is
not a simple opposition of terms. As is so often the case, Baudrillards
position builds on his much earlier studies: Requiem For the Media (orig.
1972, in Baudrillard 1981: 164-184) had already argued that the dominance

of the abstract sign and of simulation models meant that any critique of
the system made through the channels of semiotic abstraction were
automatically re-absorbed into the system. Any meaningful
challenge must invent its own, alternative medium such as the silkscreen printings, hand-painted notices and graffiti of May 1968 or
it will lapse into an ineffectual complicity with the system it seeks to
challenge (Baudrillard 1981: 176). In his later work, Baudrillards emphasis
on duality and complicity is extended much further, taking on global,
anthropological and even cosmological dimensions, and increasingly
complicity and collusion are seen as dual, as encompassing both acceptance
and a subtle defiance. This paper examines the dual nature of complicity and
collusion. It considers the influence of La Boeties notorious Essay on
Voluntary Servitude on Baudrillard, seeking to draw out what is distinctive in
Baudrillards position. The second section turns to the notion of duality,
examining Good and Evil and Baudrillards assertion that attempts to
eliminate duality merely revive or re-active it.
Complicity implies a complexity of relations, and, specifically, the condition
of being an accomplice to those in power. To be an accomplice is to
assist in the committing of a crime. If the crime is murder, the term
accomplice implies one who plans, reflects, calculates but does not strike
the lethal blow. The crime which is of particular interest to Baudrillard is, of
course, the perfect crime: the elimination of otherness, of
ambivalence, of duality, even of reality and of the abstract
representational sign which enables a sense of reality (Baudrillard
1996). The global, integral, carnivalising and cannibalising system ,
which might loosely still be called capitalist, is at war against radical
otherness or duality; yet, for Baudrillard, as duality lies at its heart,
locked within its foundations, it is indestructible and emerges through
attempts to eliminate it. If the system has been largely successful at
eliminating external threats, it finds itself in an even worse
situation: it is at war with itself.
II. Complicity
Complicity is a particularly slippery term. In the 1980s Baudrillards
thought, mistakenly assumed to be Postmodernist, was argued to be
complicit with capitalism, largely because it questioned the ability of
dominant strands of Marxism and feminism to significantly challenge
the capitalist system (Callinicos 1989; Norris 1992). At the same time,
Baudrillard was alleging that the work of supposedly radical theorists such as
Deleuze and Guattari (1984 orig. 1972) and Lyotard (1993 orig. 1974) was,
with their emphasis on desire as productive and liberatory force, complicit
with the mechanisms of advanced consumer capitalism (Baudrillard
1987: 17-20). So which branch of contemporary theory is most complicit with
capitalism? Liberals, humanists and environmentalists who see their clothes
stolen by mainstream politicians? Marxists and Communists who by refusing
to update their thinking provide a slow moving target for right-wing snipers ?

Post- Modernists and Post-Structuralists who attack Enlightenment thought


but refuse to speak of the human subject and so have thrown the baby out
with the bath water? Network and complexity theory which flattens all
phenomena and experience to a position on a grid, producing a very complex
simplification? The list could go on but it is a question that cannot be
answered because all critical theories are complicit with the system
they critique. They fight on a terrain already demarcated by their
opponents, a terrain on which they are beaten before they begin, one
where the most compelling argument can always be dismissed as doommongering or irresponsible intellectualism. This includes Baudrillards
own critical thinking, as he readily acknowledges (Baudrillard 2009a:
39). Further, and even more damaging to the project of critique, in a
hegemonic or integral order the system solicits critique and it criticises
itself, so displacing and making redundant the laborious attempts at
academic critique. The latter continue, even proliferate, but with
decreasing impact.
So, what does Baudrillard mean by complicity with the global order?
Baudrillards concern is primarily with complicity at the level of the form
of the (capitalist) system, not at the level of belief, consent or allegiance to
particular contents of capitalist life (consumer products, plurality of
lifestyles, a degree of tolerance etc.). Complicity is often seen, by critics of
capitalism, as acceptance of consumerism and its myriad choices and
lifestyles, but this is a reductive level of analysis from Baudrillards
perspective. By complicity or collusion Baudrillard means, on the one hand,
the very widespread willingness to surrender or give up beliefs,
passions and symbolic defences (2010: 24), and on the other as the
dual form an equally widespread ability to find a space of defiance
through the play of complicity, collusion, hyperconformity and
indifference (1983: 41-8). That is, while many of us (in the relatively affluent
West) share in the profanating, denigrating and carnivalising of all values,
embracing indifference, shrugging whatever, we do so with very little
commitment to the system, rejoicing inwardly when it suffers reversals : we
operate in a dual mode.
While such attitudes of indifference may seem to accept that there is no
meaningful alternative to capitalism: an attitude that has been called
capitalist nihilism (Davis in Milbank and Zizek, 2009) and capitalist
realism (Fisher 2008), Baudrillards notions of integral reality, duality
and complicity may have significant advantages over those approaches.
Unlike thinkers who remain anchored to critical thinking defined by
determinate negation, Baudrillards approach emphasises ambivalence,
reversal and both personal and collective modes of rejection more
subtle than those envisioned by the increasingly exhausted mechanisms
of critique. The critique of consumer capitalism the consumption of
junk food, junk entertainment and junk information is now integral to
the system; the critique of finance capitalism bankers bonuses, corporate

tax avoidance is integral to the system, yet it fails to bring about


meaningful or determinate social transformation. Indeed, such critiques may
do no more than provide the system with a fleeting sense of reality
real issues, real problems to deal with around which the system can
reproduce its simulacra, perhaps to reassure us that something is
being done, measures are being put into place etc. Reality cannot
be dialectically negated by critical concepts when both reality and the
critical concept disappear together, their fates clearly tied to each other
(Baudrillard 2009b: 10-12).
There is a sense then in which the production of critique is
in complicity with the system, the unravel-able proliferation and excess of
critical accounts of the system has the effect of protecting the system.
Complicity consists in a sharing of the denigration of all values, all
institutions, all ideas, all beliefs: so long as we believe in nothing at least
not passionately then the system has us, at least superficially. For example,
in recent decades we have seen the denigration of religious faiths or their
reduction to cultural identity and world heritage objects; the denigration of
public services and welfare provision accompanied by their marketisation; the
denigration of the poor, the young, immigrants and the unemployed. Yet this
is not only the denigration of the powerless or disenfranchised, there is also
the widespread denigration of those seen as powerful: politicians,
corporations, celebrities. For Baudrillard, it is quite inadequate to focus only
on the power of global neo-liberal policies such as marketisation in
these processes of denigration. This is where Baudrillards position departs
decisively from anti-globalists and from neo-Communists such as Negri,
Zizek, and Badiou. Global power has deliberately sacrificed its values
and ideologies, it presents no position, it takes no stand, it
undermines even the illusion that free markets function and has
made capital virtual; become orbital it is removed from a terrestrial,
geo-political or subjective space. These are protective measures enabling
power to become (almost) hegemonic (Baudrillard 2009a: 33-56; 2010:
35-40).
Baudrillard often emphasises the fragility and the vulnerability to
reversal of the powerful and the distinction between powerful and
powerless is radically questioned in his work. So what is this global
power? Where is it? The answer, of course, is that it is everywhere and it
is in everyone. We have not liberated ourselves from slavery, but,
Baudrillard contends, internalised the masters: [e]verthing changes with
the emancipation of the slave and the internalisation of the master
by the emancipated slave (2009a: 33). We tyrannise ourselves, for
example by demanding that we maximise our opportunities, fulfill our
potential. This is a deeper level of slavery and complicity than any
previous historical system could inflict (Baudrillard 1975; 2009a: 33).
Yet duality always re-emerges, Baudrillard insists: indifference is dual,
complicity is dual. Carnivalisation and cannibalisation are themselves

dual: the global system absorbs all otherness in a forced conversion to


modernity (2010: 5), reproducing otherness within the carnival of
marketable difference, yet cannibalisation emerges as a reversion
and derailing of this process. The world adopts Western models:
economic, cultural, religious or it appears to. Hidden within this complicity
with the West, there is, Baudrillard suggests, a deeper sense of derision
and rejection. The allegiance to Western models is superficial; it is a form
of mimicry or hyperconformity that involves a ritual-like exorcism of
the hegemonic system. Further, such mimicry reveals the superficiality
of Western cultural and economic models: this is not only a superficial
acceptance, but an acceptance of superficiality. Western values are
already parodic, and, in being accepted, they are subject to further
parody as they circulate around the globe (2010: 4-11). The West has
deregulated and devalued itself and demands that the rest of the world
follows: "It is everything by which a human being retains some value in
his own eyes that we (the West) are deliberately sacrificing [o]ur truth is
always to be sought in unveiling, de-sublimation, reductive analysis
[n]othing is true if it is not desacralised, objectivised, shorn of its aura,
dragged on to the stage" (Baudrillard 2010: 23).
Western desacrilisation amounts to a powerful challenge to the rest of the
world, a potlatch: desacralise in return or perish! But who has the power?
Who is the victor? There isnt one, according to Baudrillard. Of the global
order, Baudrillard writes: We are its hostages victims and accomplices
at one and the same time immersed in the same global monopoly of
the networks. A monopoly which, moreover and this is the supreme ruse
of hegemony no one holds any longer (2010: 40). There is no Master, no
sovereign because all the structures and dictates of power have been
internalised, this is the complicity we all share with global order , yet it
is a dual complicity: an over-eager acceptance goes hand-in-hand with a
deep and growing rejection.
Baudrillards discussions of power, servitude and complicity make frequent reference to Estienne La
Boeties essay on voluntary servitude, completed around 1554. The fundamental political question for La
Boetie is: how can it happen that a vast number of individuals, of towns, cities and nations can allow one
man to tyrannise them, a man who has no power except the power they themselves give him, who could
do them no harm were they not willing to suffer harm (La Boetie 1988: 38). It seems people do not want to
be free, do not want to wield power or determine their own fates: it is the people who enslave themselves
(La Boetie 1988: 41). People in general are the accomplices of the powerful and the tyrannical, some profit
directly through wealth, property, favour the little tyrants beneath the principal one (1988: 64), but
many do not, why do they not rebel? Baudrillard takes up La Boeties emphasis on servitude being
enforced and maintained from within, rather than from without. Yet, there are also major divergences. La
Boetie deplores the common people for accepting the narcotising pleasures of drinking, gambling and
sexual promiscuity, while Baudrillard rejects such elitism and celebrates the masses abilities to
strategically defy those who would manipulate them through perverse but lethally effective practices such
as silence, radical indifference, hyperconformity dual modes of complicity and rejection (Baudrillard
1983: 1-61). Though La Boeties essay prefigures the development of the concept of hegemony, he never
doubts that voluntary servitude is unnatural, a product of malign custom that is in contradiction with the
true nature of human beings which is to enjoy a God-given freedom. Baudrillard, by contrast, examines
voluntary servitude as a strategy of the refusal of power, a refusal of the snares of self and identity, as
strategy of freedom from the tyranny of the will and the fiction of self-determination (Baudrillard 2001: 517). For Baudrillard the declination or refusal of will disarms those who seek to exert power through
influencing or guiding peoples choices and feelings towards particular ends. It also allows for a symbolic

space, a space of vital distance or removal, a space in which to act, or even act-out (of) a character
(Baudrillard 2001: 72-3). This is a space where radical otherness may be encountered, a sense of shared
destiny which is a manifestation of the dual form at the level of individual existence (Baudrillard 2001: 79).

It could certainly be argued that modern subjects are confronted by a far


more subtle and pervasive system of control than were the subjects
discussed in La Boeties analysis. In theorising the nature of modern controls
Baudrillard develops suggestive themes from La Boeties work. Speaking of
slavery in the Assyrian empire, where, apparently, kings would not appear in
public, La Boetie argues, the fact that they did not know who their
master was, and hardly knew whether they had one at all, made
them all the more willing to be slaves (1988: 60). Whatever its historical
provenance, this strategy of power is, it seems, generalised in modernity;
particularly after the shift away from Fordist mass production it has become
increasingly hard to detect who the masters actually are. While
workers are persecuted by middle managers, supervisors, team leaders,
project co-ordinators who are the masters of this universe? Who are the true
beneficiaries? Rather than trying to identify a global neo-liberal elite , as
do many proponents of anti-capitalist theory, Baudrillard suggests that the
situation we confront is so grave because we (those in the West in relatively
privileged positions) have usurped the position of masters; we have
become the slave masters of ourselves, tyrannising every detail of
our own lives: trying to work harder, trying for promotion or simply
trying to avoid redundancy. We are all the accomplices of a transcapitalist, trans-economic exploitation. We are all tyrants: a billion
tiny tyrants servicing a system of elimination. But this is not to say that
Baudrillard ignores power differentials altogether: it is, indeed, those
who submit themselves most mercilessly to their own decisions who fill
the greater part of the authoritarian ranks, alleging sacrifice on their
parts to impose even greater sacrifices on others (2001: 60-1). We all
impose such violence on ourselves and on others as part of our daily

Power
itself must be abolished and not solely
because of a refusal to be dominated, which is
at the heart of all traditional struggles but
also, just as violently, in the refusal to
dominate (2009a: 47).
routines, hence Baudrillards injunction to refuse power:

Yet, even on the theme of systemic violence and elimination, Baudrillard


differs sharply from neo-communist theory, while retaining a position of
defiance. Systemic eliminationism should not be conceived in individual or
subjective terms, despite good points made in recent studies of work and
education under neo-liberalism, such as Cederstrm and Flemings Dead
Man Working (2012). At a formal level, neo-liberal eliminationism does not
merely eliminate jobs and also lives (for example in the recent textile factory

fires in Bangladesh), it eliminates meaning, symbolic space and


thought. And it eliminates not by termination but by extermination. That is, by transcribing the world into integral reality,
the system produces a single, meaning-depleted, virtual space which
encourages participation, engagement and campaigning, on condition
that these are produced as part and parcel of an integrated void where
[t]he real no longer has any force as sign, and signs no longer have
any force of meaning (Baudrillard 2001: 4). Most of the developed world
has been conferred the right to blog and to tweet as they please and
they are indebted to the system in a way which far exceeds the paying of a
small tribute or rent to Microsoft or Apple (Zizek 2010: 233). The symbolic
debt imposed by the modern world and its technologies is of a metaphysical
or cosmological order. Through it we take leave of this world
Baudrillard suggests, we become extra-terrestrials. We will
recognise no Other, no singularity, no debt to anyone because we
attempt to cancel everything out in an integral, technological
system that has no outsides because it was, in a sense, created from
the outside.
In making this argument, Baudrillard takes up Hannah Arendts striking suggestion that modern science
and technology, from Galileos invention of the telescope to the launch of the first space satellite in 1957,
enacts a fateful repudiation of the Earth and of the terrestrial human condition. Human beings, Arendt
argues, seek to eliminate their rootedness to Earth and their relationship to all other species on Earth (an
ambition which also drives the science of genetics). There is for Arendt: " a rebellion against human
existence as it has been given, a free gift from nowhere (secularly speaking), which he wishes to
exchange, as it were, for something he has made himself" (Arendt 1958: 2-3).

Economic alienation, as theorised by Marx, is an echo of a far more


fundamental world alienation Arendt suggests. Baudrillards reading of
Arendts work is surprisingly faithful, though he pushes a little further. What
Arendt calls the invention of an Archimedean point outside the world, when
Galileos telescope hardened philosophical speculations that the Earth might
not be the centre of the universe into demonstrable scientific fact, is, for
Baudrillard, the moment the real world began to exist: the moment
when human beings, while setting about analysing and transforming the
world, take their leave of it, while at the same time lending it force of reality
the real world begins, paradoxically, to disappear at the very
same time as it begins to exist (Baudrillard 2009b: 11). Human beings do
not, cannot, live in the real world, they live elsewhere in a space of
symbolic belonging, and the real world can only be posited on
condition that human beings are removed from it, removed to a
vantage point from where they can observe it. Hence the process of
measuring, representation and conceptualisation produces a real
world subject to scientific knowledge and, at the same time,
hastens the progressive disappearance of the real world. Concepts
capture things only as things begin to disappear into concepts: the
real vanishes into the concept (Baudrillard 2009b: 12) and human being,
as products of nature, are progressively eliminated from the real they
have fashioned. Further, Baudrillard suggests, human beings are complicit in

this process, they are unique in inventing a mode of disappearance. The


alienating effects of modern science and technology are not only to
be deplored, they can also be seen as a freeing of human
intelligence to engage in useless, sovereign and radical thought
(Baudrillard 2001: 119-121).
The disappearance of the human being from nature, and then from reality
has dual, irreconcilable consequences. We lead double lives, or we have
a life but also mere sur-vival; a destiny but also a biological, functional,
performative existence. The latter terms appear to be dominant, and to
denigrate all else as meaningless or whimsical. Yet, Baudrillard suggests, life
itself, with its destiny, radical otherness, singularity and duality is
actually the more potent. Performative existence, or integral servitude,
can be diverted, annulled, suspended or even sacrificed in sudden, radically
escalated events: from 9/11 to cases such as that of Jean-Claude
Romans who massacred his family, eliminating his simulated sense of self
and all those who, apparently, believed in his simulation (Baudrillard 2001:
67-70). According to Baudrillard: [as] we break the symbolic pact and the
cycle of metamorphoses, two kinds of violence ensue: a violence of
liberation, and an opposite violence in reaction against the excess of
freedom, safety, protection and integration, and hence against the loss of any
dimension of fate, of destiny a violence directed against the
emergence of the Ego, the Self, the Subject or the Individual, which
takes its toll in the form of self-hatred and repentance (2001: 46).
Two forms of violence emerging from the same source: the breaking of
symbolic obligation and the expulsion of otherness, the foundation upon
which modern society is based (1993a: 1-5; 131-135).

You are a player in the rigorous game of living.


You cant blame the game if you dont believe the rules or
bother to remember them.
The first rule is: every player dies, every player is always
already dying; none knows when its coming and fails to
realize the imperceptible immanence of death in the
everyday; the youngest and best always go first.
Everyone has to play.
The game goes on forever or until you win.
You win by finding death before it finds you.
The prize is life.4
Galloway 07. Alexander Galloway, professor of media, culture, and
communication at New York University, Radical Illusion (A Game Against),
Games and Culture 2:4, pg. 378

In Baudrillard, the ludic is a space that is, as it were, beyond good and
evil. His term is immoral, which I shall interpret essentially as metamoral to
avoid the nor- mative tinge that amoral or immoral must necessarily afford.
Here he writes on the immoral with great reverence:
There might be a moral circle, that of commodity exchange, and an immoral
circle, that of play, where the only thing that counts is the gamic event
itself and the advent of a shared rule. To share a rule is something entirely
different than referring oneself to a common general equivalent. One must be
completely involved in order to play. It creates a type of relation between
the players that is more dramatic than commodity exchange could
achieve. In such a relation, individuals are not abstract beings who can be
swapped one for another. Each has a position of singularity opposite
the stakes of victory or defeat, of life or death.5 (Baudrillard, 2000b, p.
23)
Play generates singularities. Play bucks the corrupting influence of
systems of exchange. Commodity exchange is a moral sphere for
Baudrillard because it creates criteria for winners and losers, not because
the system itself is morally defensible. Thus in entering an immoral, or
metamoral, state, one is able to experience the artifice of the real in all
its seductive beauty.
In this sense, play is a general critical methodology in Baudrillard. As he
says about evil, play it up, play it back, play it out [en jouer, sen jouer
et le djouer] (Baudrillard, 2000b, p. 48). The great game of seduction,
he writes, referring to one of the most important concepts in his entire
4 (Adapted from Brian Long, Seeing Through Death, 1983)

lexicon, is less a play on desire than it is a play with desire. Seduction


does not negate it, nor is it its opposite, but it puts it in play. . . . It is the
sphere in which a beings play-making [mise en jeu putting into play JK
translation] is a sort of professional practice (Baudrillard, 2000b, pp. 3334).6 Play, therefore, is firmly connected to seduction and thus is also at
the heart of the more hopeful, or shall we say, politically progressive,
wing of Baudrillards thought. The play of thinking will destroy the
perfect crime of positivism, he suggests. Yes, theres a violence of
interpretation, he says elsewhere. One must do violence to the facts
and the evidence (Baudrillard, 1997b, p. 128).7 Is this a denialism, an
antirealist delusion? Not exactly. Baudrillard is opposed to the sort of
thinking that fixes everything in advance, such that all uncertainty is
preempted by the logic of a system that desires to know the future as well
as it knows the past. There is in the temporality of words, he writes,
an almost poetic play of death and rebirth (Baudrillard, 2000b, p. 10).
Like Derrida or Roland Barthes, Baudrillard sees language as the seat of
play: Fundamentally, the use of language is how we meet up with, not an
instinctive animality, but a radicality of forms. While belonging to the
domain of illusion, language allows us to play with that same illusion
(Baudrillard, 1997b, p. 84).8 Thus an illusion does not mean that one is
playing with the real, for this would position Baudrillard within an age-old
philosophical tradition of falsehood versus truth, ideology versus
enlightenment. No, illusion for Baudrillard means that one is playing
with play. His notion of play is an internally redundant one. It is
tautological rather than normative. The play of the seducer is with
himself (Baudrillard, 1979, p. 148).
This is essentially the crux of the argument in his book on the 1991
Gulf War: The war was a nonevent not primarily because it was a media
spectacle; it was a nonevent because every move, every outcome,
every drop of blood both spilt and withheld, was already planned,
modeled, and simulated in advance, exterminating all possibility of
the unknown or the unexpected. (His word for this, perhaps
counterintuitively, is a catastrophe; the converse future, open and unplanned,
is a destiny.)9 In other words, the Gulf War was a nonevent because of
the logical precision of the Powell Doctrine, which determines the
outcome of warfare before it even begins, not simply because of the
real-time information of CNNthis point in Baudrillard is often misunderstood.
Elsewhere he christens this meteorological thought, that is, a way of
thinking that works entirely within a logic of statistical modeling,
prediction, risk analysis, preemption, and so on. Instead, Baudrillard
(2000b) suggests that thought must make uncertainty a rule of the
game. But thought must realize that it plays without a possible
conclusion, within a definitive form of illusion or play-making [mise
en jeu] (pp. 101-102). This is precisely Baudrillards quarrel with Michel
Foucault, that the celebrated historians discourse is a fluid objectivity, a
writing that is nonlinear, orbital, and without fault (Baudrillard, 1977, p. 10).

The same power described in Foucault is mirrored by the very rhetoric of


Foucault, majestic and totalizing. In the perfect crime, Baudrillard would
write later, it is the perfection that is criminal (Baudrillard, 2000b, p.
75; emphasis added).10 Foucaults own virtuosity as a thinker returns in the
form of a totalitarian discourse. What could be worse for Baudrillard?
The Computers Melancholia
Here is the philosophers analysis of the series of chess games played in 1996
and 1997 between Garry Kasparov and the IBM computer Deep Blue
(the computer lost the first round of matches but won the second):
For Kasparov there is an opponent, there is an other. But for Deep Blue
there is nothing across the table, no other, no adversary. Deep Blue
progresses within the world of its own programming. . . . Now this is
exactly where one can imagine man to be definitively superior, far beyond
the mental power of number crunching: in this relation of alterity which is
based on giving up his own thought. This is something that Deep Blue will
never know. Its the subtle presupposition of play. It is here that man may
set himself out in terms of illusion, of decoy, of defiance, of seduction,
of sacrifice. The computer understands little of this strategy of weakness, of
a game played below ones skill level, because it is condemned to play
always at maximum capacity. This omission, this ellipsis of presence by
which you bring the other to life, even in the case of a microprocessors
virtual ego, is the real thinking of game play. . . . Obviously with a simulacrum
one must play against nature. (Baudrillard, 1997a, pp. 183-184)
One must play against naturewhat a marvelous formulation. Using
Baudrillards lexicon, Kasparov creates a scene whereas Deep Blue is
forever the obscene. The only response to the perfect catastrophe, the
philosopher suggests, is seduction. It is always mis en scne that must win
out over objective realism. Stage play over power play. Blues promiscuity,
its total machinic immediacy, is only ever countered by a fatal strategy
of otherness, of separation. The pornography of the ultraclose is
countered by a dramaturgy of distancing (or what Martin Heidegger called, in
a twist of the term one degree further, de-distancing).
Baudrillard (1997a) continues,
Now, the machines ultimate end (its hidden ambition perhaps?) is to be
perfect, unbeatable, and immortal. In this the machine understands
nothing of the essence of play, and for this reason it will always get beaten
in the end, if not by an opponent, then at least by play itself. . . . Thus the
machine may be insurmountable in all sorts of tasks, but it is forever
handicappedforever out of playwhen it tries to approach the essence of
play. (p. 185)
Perfect, unbeatable and immortal, this again is what Baudrillard calls a
catastrophe. Etymologically, the catastrophe, as down turning, is not too

far from another concept in Heidegger, that of falling; in Deleuze the word is
territorialization; in Badiou, representation. Each describes the process of
sloughing into a fixity of routine, a known rhythm, or clichd
habituation. As a perfect precision of code, Deep Blue is the perfect
catastrophe. On the other hand, the very essence of game playingwhich
in Baudrillard means seduction, dramaturgy, otherness, distancing,
relinquishment, illusion, sacrifice, metaphor, mis en scneis an
expression of finitude, of withdrawing and submission within a
universe of illusion.
This is why in Baudrillard, simulation is often a metonym for his entire body of
work. There is no clean-versus-dirty binarism in Baudrillard, no hacker hero
who can unplug from the matrix. (My apologies to the Wachowski brothers
who, on this point at least, misread their master.) Yes, there are events and
singularities and voids in Baudrillards cosmos, but his Gnosticism keeps
these firmly at bay, trapped in a messianic kairotope of perpetual deferral.
Both Kasparov and Deep Blue are neck deep in the fog of the hyperreal. They
are both living in a thicket of fictions upon fictions. The difference is that
only Kasparov can seduce Blue; Blue is unable to seduce Kasparov.
Mathematically speaking, Baudillards is the absolute value of the
dialectic.
The trick, though, is that there are different modalities of the
hyperreal. Not negations precisely, they are alternations on an artificial
earth, to ape the elegant expression of Iain Hamilton Grant. First, there is
the short-circuit modality of Deep Blue, the expedient, declarative modality of
pure machinic transparency, pure abstraction, frictionless symbolic exchange.
After all, computers are entirely artificial or simulated. This is true. But
second, there is the artifice of seduction, of psychic complicity and
oblivion, that accompanies any game players experience of illusion
or magic. This, too, is an artifice of simulation. The former is what
Baudrillard calls evil, the catastrophe, the perfect crime, the ecstasy of
communication, lucidity, the banality of the system; the latter is
what he calls aesthetic illusion, seduction, phantasm, singularity, or
in a slightly different context, a fatal strategy. As the philosopher
puts it, we can play with Deep Blue because we invented it, but the
computer will only become a true player when it invents us .
The genius of cybernetics was to drive the Other to extinction. As he
writes, The perfect crime destroys alterity, the other. It is the kingdom
of the same (Baudrillard, 2000b, p. 78). The origin of the word extinction is
delightful in its redundancy: from the Latin prefix ex, meaning out, and the
root stinguere, meaning to put out or quench. One can never simply drive
the Other out, because of the fact that expulsion is the structural genesis
of the Other to begin with. Instead, to make the Other ex-tinct one
must put it out out. Only the redoubling of the sign truly puts an
end to what it designates (Baudrillard, 2002b, p. 12). Or, as Baudrillard
put it once, in the middle of an almost autobiographical litany of hypertrophic

phenomena, Disappearance of the Other into its double (Baudrillard,


2000a, p. 22).
This is why simulation gets so much traction in Baudrillard, even to the point
of clich in the writing of his detractors (who for the most part never
understood a word he wrote): Both sides of the fence are equally
artificial. There is no before and after in Baudrillard. There is certainly
no liberation rhetoric around mystical shells versus rational kernels.
There is only a choice between disenchanted simulation and
enchanted simulation.11 Both are equally irreal, even if the former is
expressive and overt (obscene). The, as it were, moral question in Baudrillard
I only hesitate because the specific term moral is so scarce in his writings,
even if a stern conscience dominates throughoutthe moral question, the
thing that most stokes his undying scorn toward the present state of
the world, is simply that of picking and choosing between two mystical
reals: the perfect crime of positivism on one hand or the fatal
strategy of play on the other. What shall it be, the magic of a pure
economism or the magic of ritual play? Of course, either selection is
equally unreal. The first conjures the unreality of fascism, whereas the second
the unreality of the phantasm. This is also why Baudrillard took so easily to
writing about virtual reality, when his soixante-huit peers never wrote
anything interesting about it. Baudrillard was doing virtual reality
before the fact, and so the advent of the actually existing cyberspace of the
1980s and 90s was nothing more than an obscene extension of his own
familiar critical turf. Schtroumpfland, Gulf War 1, or Second Life are all
equally obscene, equally criminal, equally pornographic, but still at
the same time equally irreal.

The 1AC only increase the speed of production increasing


the spasms inherent in the status quo. Rather than
produce we ought to occupy the space of a Chaoide and
decode the excess chaos caused from semoicapitalism.
Only engaging the chaos inherent to spasms can we
create a new rhythm of life not defined by capital.
Bifo 15. Franco Bifo Berardi, Professor of Social History of Communication at the
Accademia di Belle Arti of Milan, "Heroes: Mass Murder and Suicide", Verso 2015, pg. 216-222

While info-technologies are provoking an acceleration of the rhythm of


information and experience, simultaneously the space for physical movement
is shrinking and the resources for economic expansion are becoming
exhausted. I call this double process of acceleration and exhaustion: the
spasm. A spasm is a sudden, abnormal, involuntary muscular contraction, or

a series of alternating muscular contractions and relaxations. A spasm is also


a sudden, brief spell of energy and an abnormal, painful intensification of the
bodily nervous vibration. In his book Spasm (1993), Arthur Kroker speaks of cyberpunk aesthetics
and of partitioned recombinant bodies, in order to describe the effects of info-technology on the body-

the introduction of electronic devices in the flesh of the


organic body (prostheses, pharmacology) and in the space between organic bodies
(digital enhancement of the bodily interaction, advertising, virtual sex) is the cause of an
acceleration of the nervous vibration up to the point of spasm . In Guattaris
parlance a refrain (retournelle) is the link between the subject of enunciation and the
cosmos, between a body and the surrounding environment, between the
consciousness of a social group and its physical and imaginary territory.
Deterritorialization breaks the chains, and jeopardizes the relation between
subjectivity and its environment. As a reaction, the refrain tends to harden, to
become stiff in order to dam the process of deterritorialization. In the case of
machine. According to Kroker,

neurotic identity the refrain is embodied in hardened representations, as an obsessional ritual or an


aggressive reaction to change. In the current anthropological mutation induced by digital info-technology

the social organism is subjected to an accelerated


deterritorialization that takes the form of a spasm. In his last book, Chaosmosis (1992),
and market globalization,

Guattari writes that Among the fogs and miasmas which obscure our fin de millenaire, the question of
subjectivity is now returning as a leit motiv . . . He first adds: All

the disciplines will have to


combine their creativity to ward off the ordeals of barbarism, the mental
implosion and chaosmic spasms looming on the horizon . Then he writes: We have
to conjure barbarianism, mental implosion, chaosmic spasm .2 This last
expression marks the consciousness of the darkness, and of the pathology
that capitalism is bringing about. In that book Guattari foretold that the millennial
transition was going to be an age of fog and miasmas, of obscurity and
suffering. Now we know that he was perfectly right. Twenty years after
Chaosmosis, we know that the fog is thicker than ever and that the miasmas
are not vanishing, but becoming more dangerous, more poisonous than they
have ever been. Chaosmosis was published just a few months before the death of its author in 1992,
when the world powers met in Rio de Janeiro to discuss and possibly to decide about the pollution and
global warming that in those years was becoming increasingly apparent as a threat to human life on the
planet. The American President George Bush Senior declared that the American way of life was not
negotiable, meaning that the US did not intend to reduce carbon emissions, energy consumption and
economic growth for the sake of the environmental future of the planet. Then, as on many other occasions
afterwards, the United States government refused to negotiate and to accept any global agreement on this

the devastation of the environment, natural life and


social life have reached a level that seems to be irreversible. Irreversibility is
a diffi cult concept to convey, being totally incompatible with modern politics.
When we use this word we are declaring ipso facto the death of politics itself.
The process of subjectivation develops within this framework, which reshapes
the composition of unconscious flows in the social culture. Subjectivity is not
a natural given any more than air or water. How do we produce it, capture it,
enrich it and permanently reinvent it in order to make it compatible with
universes of mutating values?3 The problem is not to protect subjectivity.
The problem is to create and to spread flows of re-syntonization of
subjectivity in a context of mutation. How can the subjectivity flows that we produce be
subject. Today, twenty years later,

independent from the corrupting effects of the context, while still interacting with the context? How to
create autonomous subjectivity (autonomous from the surrounding corruption, violence, anxiety)? Is this at
all possible in the age of the spasm?

A spasm is a painful vibration which forces the

organism to an extreme mobilization of nervous energies. This acceleration


and this painful vibration are the effects of the compulsive acceleration of the
rhythm of social interaction and of the exploitation of the social nervous
energies. As the process of valorization of semiocapital demands more and
more nervous productivity, the nervous system of the organism is subjected
to increasing exploitation. Here comes the spasm: it is the effect of a violent
penetration of the capitalist exploitation into the fi eld of info-technologies,
involving the sphere of cognition, of sensibility, and the unconscious.
Sensibility is invested by the info-acceleration, and the vibration induced by
the acceleration of nervous exploitation is the spasmic effect . What should we do
when we are in a situation of spasm? Guattari is not using the word spasm in isolation .
He says precisely: chaosmic spasm. If the spasm is the panic response of the
accelerated vibration of the organism, and the hyper-mobilization of desire
submitted to the force of the economy, chaosmosis is the creation of a new
(more complex) order (syntony, and sympathy) emerging from the present chaos.
Chaosmosis is the osmotic passage from a state of chaos to a new order, where the word order does not

Order is to be intended as harmony between


mind and the semioenvironment, as the sharing of a sympathetic mindset.
Sympathy, common perception. Chaos is an excess of speed of the
infosphere in relation to the ability of elaboration of the brain. In their last book,
have a normative or ontological meaning.

What Is Philosophy?, which is about philosophy but also about growing old, Deleuze and Guattari speak of
the relation between chaos and the brain. From Chaos to the Brain is the title of the last chapter of the
book: We require just a little order to protect us from chaos. Nothing is more distressing than a thought
that escapes itself, than ideas that fl y off, that disappear hardly formed, already eroded by forgetfulness
or precipitated into others that we no longer master. These are infi nite variabilities the appearing and

They are infinite speeds that blend into the immobility


of the colorless and silent nothingness they traverse, without nature or
thought. This is the instant of which we do not know whether it is too long or
too short for time. We receive sudden jolts that beat like arteries. We
constantly lose our ideas.4 As consciousness is too slow for processing the
information that comes from the world in acceleration (info-technology
multiplied by semiocapitalist exploitation), we are unable to translate the
world into a cosmos, mental order, syntony and sympathy . A transformation is
needed: a jump to a new refrain, to a new rhythm; chaosmosis is the shift from
a rhythm of conscious elaboration (refrain) to a new rhythm, which is able to
disappearing of which coincide.

process what the previous rhythm could not process. A shift in the speed of consciousness, the creation of
a different order of mental processing: this is chaosmosis. In order to shift from a rhythm to a different

we need a chaoide, a living decoder


of chaos. Chaoide, in Guattaris parlance, is a sort of de- multiplier, an agent of resyntonization, a linguistic agent able to disengage from the spasmic refrain .
The chaoide is full of chaos, receives and decodes the bad vibrations of the
planetary spasm, but does not absorb the negative psychological effects of
chaos, of the surrounding aggressiveness, of fear . The chaoide is an ironic elaborator of
rhythm, from a refrain to another refrain, Guattari says

chaos. The ecosophical cartography, writes Guattari, will not have the finality of communicating, but of
producing enunciation concatenations able to capture the points of singularity of a situation.5 Where are
todays concatenations that offer conscious organisms the possibility of emerging from the present

The rhythm that financial


capitalism is imposing on social life is a spasmogenic rhythm, a spasm that is
not only exploiting the work of men and women, not only subjugating
cognitive labour to the abstract acceleration of the info-machine, but is also
spasmogenic framework, the framework of financial capitalism?

destroying the singularity of language, preventing its creativity and


sensibility. The financial dictatorship is essentially the domination of abstraction on language,
command of the mathematical ferocity on living and conscious organisms. This is why we need to
produce and to circulate chaoides, that is, tools for the conceptual
elaboration both of the surrounding and of the internalized chaos. A chaoide
is a form of enunciation (artistic, poetic, political, scientific) which is able to open the
linguistic flows to different rhythms and to different frames of interpretation.
Chaosmosis means reactivation of the body of social solidarity, reactivation of
imagination, a new dimension for human evolution, beyond the limited
horizon of economic growth.

The world is accelerating towards the catastrophe, the


only question we can ask when faced with the current
political sphere is Should We Take Shelter? Our
alternative is one where instead of reaching for survival
and failing we engage the coming apocalypse through a
banishing of hope for the future.
Bifo 15. Franco Bifo Berardi, Professor of Social History of Communication at the
Accademia di Belle Arti of Milan, "Heroes: Mass Murder and Suicide", Verso 2015, pg. 212-215

Curtiss nightmares are frightening. He dreams of a yellow brownish rain and


of a tempest destroying everything, particularly destroying his family, his wife
and daughter, and the house where they live, one of those depressing but
comfortable houses scattered in the fl at landscape of the American Midwest.
Are nightmares life, or is life a nightmare? Curtiss life is happy, he loves his wife Samantha and he loves
his daughter Hannah, who suffers from deafness. The company he is working for gives Curtis a good
insurance plan that will make it possible for his daughter to have surgery to resolve her hearing problems.

Money is tight, but,


thanks to his job, Curtis manages to pay for the mortgage of the house. Yet
during the night Curtiss sleep is troubled by the nightmarish premonition of
catastrophe. He decides to build a storm shelter in his backyard. To build the
shelter he needs money, his salary is not enough for the task, and he goes to
the bank to ask for a loan. Beware my boy, says the good bank director, these are diffi
cult times. You have a family running into debt is dangerous. But Curtis
insists that he needs money in order to build a shelter and to protect his
family from the imaginary tempest. Signifi cantly, Jeff Nichols conceived the plot of the movie
described here, Take Shelter, at the end of 2008, after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers,
during the time in which, in the collective imagination, fi nance came to be
increasingly linked to catastrophic events. Samantha, Curtiss wife, is worried.
Her husbands behaviour is strange. She is alarmed by the loan, and she
understands that Curtis has mental health problems . She knows that his
mother has been suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. Then things take a
turn for the worse. In order to excavate the backyard and make room for the shelter, Curtis takes a
digger from the site where he works. Somehow the boss comes to know about this, and Curtis is fi red. He
Samantha is a stay-at-home mom who tries to supplement the family income.

is now jobless, anguished, on the brink of a nervous breakdown. The shelter


is ready, and one night a tornado warning sends him and his family into the
shelter. They sleep in the shelter, but the tempest is not the fi nal
catastrophe, and the following morning the sky is bright, and the neighbours
are cleaning up some debris. Samantha persuades Curtis to see a therapist. The doctor
suggests that they take a beach holiday before Curtis begins serious therapy,
to return more relaxed and ready to start a new life. They go to the beach for
a few days of vacation and relax. Curtis is on the beach with his daughter
building a sandcastle, when the little deaf-mute girl looks at the horizon and
makes the sign of a storm. Curtis turns his head and looks at the sky:
impressive clouds are announcing the most frightening of all storms. Samantha
comes out of the house running, and the thick brownish rain of Curtiss nightmares begins to fall. She
looks at the ocean, where the tide is pulling back, and a tsunami is growing in
the distance. Take Shelter recalls Alfred Hitchcocks The Birds, not only in the
sequences involving birds attacking humans but also in the inexplicable
premonition of an indefi nable threat. The premonition is the same as that of
the present global unconscious, as the inner landscape of mankind is
assaulted by fi nancial predation and by the coming environmental
catastrophe. Should we take shelter? Should we go to the bank and ask for a loan, and invest
our future in protecting our future? Should we take our premonitions seriously? Should we accept
that paranoia is a reasonable response to a danger that we cannot dispel, or
should we dispel this as a paranoid delusion? Nichols answers our questions: by
investing our energy in building a shelter, we fall into the trap, to accept the
dilemma of depression and catastrophe. When the tempest comes, we wont
be home anyway, well be too far away from the shelter. The European hope is
turning into a nightmare, as Northern Protestants remain reluctant to pay the bill for the perceived laxity of

Goldman Sachs has sown the wind, and now the


harvest of tempest is ripe. The hope of the Arab Spring is turning into a
nightmare too: Syrian civil war is spreading beyond the Syrian borders. The
Islamic State is declared. The implausible idea of the Caliphate is becoming
real and taking hold of a territory. And the Egyptian revolution has been
trashed by the democratically elected Islamist government, subsequently
overthrown by Sisi, Mubaraks avatar. Israel is threatening Iran and Iran is
threatening Israel, while Hezbollah announces the creation of a special force
destined to occupy Northern Israel. Money is our shelter, the only way we
have to access life. But at the same time, if you want money you have to
renounce life. Dont build a shelter, it is surely going to be useless. Furthermore,
building shelters is the job of those who are preparing the storm. Remain
calm. Dont be attached to life, and most of all: dont have hope, that
addictive poisonous weed.
Southern Catholics and the Orthodox.

We affirm a process of seduction, rather than imposing a


specific value criteria by which we understand bodies, we
affirm the affective unknowability present in all object.
We are a refusal of the affirmatives/negatives static
value judgments that destroy singularity
Baudrillard 77. Jean Baudrillard, dead French philosopher, former professor
emeritus at the University de Paris X, Forget Foucault, MIT Press, pg. 37-41

The production channel leads from work to sex, but only by switching tracks;
as we move from political to "libidinal" economy (the last acquisition of '68),
we change from a violent and archaic model of socialization (work) to a more
subtle and fluid model which is at once more "psychic" and more in touch
with the body (the sexual and the libidinal). There is a metamorphosis and a
veering away from labor power to drive (pulsion) , a veering away from a
model founded on a system of representations (the famous "ideology") to a
model operating on a system of affect (sex being only a kind of anamorphosis
of the categorical social imperative) . From one discourse to the other-since it
really is a question of discourse-there runs the same ultimatum of production
in the literal sense of the word. The original sense of "production" is not in
fact that of material manufacture; rather, it means to render visible, to cause
to appear and be made to appear: pro-ducere. Sex is produced as one
produces a document, or as an actor is said to appear (se produire) on stage.
To produce is to force what belongs to another order (that of secrecy and
seduction) to materialize. Seduction is that which is everywhere and always
opposed to pro-duction; seduction withdraws something from the visible
order and so runs counter to production, whose project is to set everything up
in clear view, whether it be an object, a number, or a concept. Let everything
be produced, be read, become real, visible, and marked with the sign of
effectiveness; let everything be transcribed into force relations, into
conceptual systems or into calculable energy; let everything be said,
gathered, indexed and registered: this is how sex appears in pornography,
but this is more generally the project of our whole culture, whose natural
condition is obscenity. Ours is a culture of "monstration" and
demonstration, of "productive" monstrosity (the "confession" so well analyzed
by Foucault is one of its forms) . We never find any seduction there-nor in
pornography with its immediate production of sexual acts in a frenzied
activation of pleasure; we find no seduction in those bodies penetrated by a
gaze literally absorbed by the suction of the transparent void. Not a shadow
of seduction can be detected in the universe of production, ruled by the
transparency principle governing all forces in the order of visible and
calculable phenomena: objects, machines, sexual acts, or gross national
product.5 Pornography is only the paradoxical limit of the sexual, a realistic
exacerbation and a mad obsession with the real-this is the "obscene,"
etymologically speaking and in all senses. But isn't the sexual itself a forced
materialization, and isn't the coming of sexuality already part of the Western
notion of what is real-the obsession peculiar to our culture with "instancing"
and instrumentalizing all things? Just as it is absurd to separate in other
cultures the religious, the economic, the political, the juridical, and even the
social and other phantasmagorical categories, for the reason that they do not
occur there, and because these concepts are like so many venereal diseases

with which we infect them in order to "understand" them better, so it is also


absurd to give autonomy to the sexual as "instance" and as an irreducible
given to which all other "givens" can be reduced. We need to do a critique of
sexual Reason, or rather a genealogy of sexual Reason, as Nietzsche has
done a genealogy of Morals-because this is our new moral system. One could
say of sexuality as of death: "It is a habit to which consciousness has not long
been accustomed." We do not understand, or we vaguely sympathize with,
those cultures for which the sexual act has no finality in itself and for which
sexuality does not have the deadly seriousness of an energy to be freed, a
forced ejaculation, a production at all cost, or of a hygienic reckoning of the
body. These are cultures which maintain long processes of seduction and
sensuousness in which sexuality is one service among others, a long
procedure of gifts and counter-gifts; lovemaking is only the eventual outcome
of this reciprocity measured to the rhythm of an ineluctable ritual. For us, this
no longer has any meaning: for us, the sexual has become strictly the
actualization of a desire in a moment of pleasureall the rest is "literature."
What an extraordinary crystallization of the orgastic function, which is itself
the materialization of an energetic substance. Ours is a culture of premature
ejaculation. More and more, all seduction, all manner of seduction (which is
itself a highly ritualized process), disappears behind the naturalized sexual
imperative calling for the immediate realization of a desire. Our center of
gravity has in fact shifted toward an unconscious and libidinal economy which
only leaves room for the total naturalization of a desire bound either to fateful
drives or to pure and simple mechanical operation, but above all to the
imaginary order of repression and liberation. Nowadays, one no longer says:
"You've got a soul and you must save it," but: "You've got a sexual nature,
and you must find out how to use it well." "You've got an unconscious, and
you must learn how to liberate it." "You've got a body, and you must know
how to enjoy it." "You've got a libido, and you must know how to spend it,"
etc. , etc. This compulsion toward liquidity, flow, and an accelerated
circulation of what is psychic, sexual, or pertaining to the body is the exact
replica of the force which rules market value: capital must circulate; gravity
and any fixed point must disappear; the chain of investments and
reinvestments must never stop; value must radiate endlessly and in every
direction. This is the form itself which the current realization of value takes. It
is the form of capital, and sexuality as a catchword and a model is the way it
appears at the level of bodies. Besides, the body to which we constantly refer
has no other reality than that of the sexual and productive model. It is capital
which gives birth in the same movement to the energetic of labor power and
to the body we dream of today as the locus of desire and the unconscious.
This is the body which serves as a sanctuary for psychic energy and drives
and which, dominated by these drives and haunted by primary processes,
has itself become primary process-and thus an anti-body, the ultimate
revolutionary referent. Both are simultaneously conceived in repression, and
their apparent antagonism is yet another effect of repression. Thus, to
rediscover in the secret of bodies an unbound "libidinal" energy which would
be opposed to the bound energy of productive bodies, and to rediscover a
phantasmal and instinctual truth of the body in desire, is still only to unearth
the psychic metaphor of capital. This is the nature of desire and of the
unconscious: the trash heap of political economy and the psychic metaphor

of capital. And sexual jurisdiction is the ideal means, in a fantastic extension


of the jurisdiction governing private property, for assigning to each individual
the management of a certain capital: psychic capital, libidinal capital, sexual
capital, unconscious capital. And each individual will be accountable to
himself for his capital, under the sign of his own liberation. This is what
Foucault tells us (in spite of himself) : nothing functions with repression
(repression), everything functions with production; nothing functions with
repression (refoulement) , everything functions with liberation. But it is the
same thing. Any form of liberation is fomented by repression: the liberation of
productive forces is like that of desire; the liberation of bodies is like that of
women's liberation, etc. There is no exception to the logic of liberation: any
force or any liberated form of speech constitutes one more turn in the spiral
of power. This is how "sexual liberation" accomplishes a miracle by uniting in
the same revolutionary ideal the two major effects of repression, liberation
and sexuality.

Alternative Cutting of 1AC


Framing/Solvency
Endless analysis of the World Fair, the globes simulation
of harmony, only glosses over the bugs in the system
the 1AC is act of (go), an effusive playing with
language the rendering of (hxi), or harmony, into
(hxi), or river crab not an act of unco-operativity
but rather onco-operativity, giving rise to a cancerous
metastases that the system has no choice but to destroy,
yet cannot destroy without destroying itself the great
firewall has paradoxically been great firewalled
Nordin 12
(Astrid H.M. Nordin [Lecturer in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and
Religion at Lancaster University], Time, Space and Multiplicity in Chinas
Harmonious World, 2012, The University of Manchester Library,
https://www.escholar.manchester.ac.uk/uk-ac-man-scw:186417, pages 174197)
Chinese
discourse on harmony operates by way of exclusion of discord, and through
the violent spatio- temporal double-act of inclusion into sameness and
exclusion as behind. If such attempts at harmonisation of others have been traced in various times and spaces, this is not
ITERATION AND LANGUAGE PLAY: RESISTNIG HARMONISATION Previous chapters of this thesis have examined how the

to imply that they are not crucially linked to the sovereign power of the policy discourse, by way of which we began the exploration of

This version of harmony has bordered its national space


in many ways, including by the insistence on territorial sovereignty so closely
associated with Hus harmonious world policy. This insistence on
sovereignty and non-interference has been deployed precisely to legitimate
in the international arena the various forms of harmonisation that have come
to be associated with harmonious worlds policy twin, harmonious society.
Being harmonised online One key tactic employed by the state for containing dissidence
and making resistance more difficult has been through harmonising
expression on the Internet. Where some may initially have imagined the Internet to provide the space for near-unlimited
harmony in this thesis: Hus harmony.

freedom of expression and provide a tool to hold government accountable, more empirical studies soon resulted in more sober analyses

state has been active in


trying to include the public through e- governance and guidance ( ), and
by shaping opinion through overt or covert propaganda online (Lagerkvist, 2005: 206).
Officials have portrayed the implementation of information and
communications technologies in police and security organs as a necessary
strategic choice, echoing Hus view of the future in terms of an inevitable choice (Minister of Public Security, Jia Chunwang, in
Huliang - 175 - zhoukan, 2002, cited in Lagerkvist, 2005). One example of such propaganda is the
anonymous participation in online fora by what netizens call the 50 cent
party, individuals paid to tow the party line and steer online discussion so as
to be favourable to the party. Another example is the increasing amount of
(Chase and Mulvenon, 2002; Kurlantzick, 2004; Lagerkvist, 2005). On the one hand, the

what Johan Lagerkvist has called ideotainment. This term denotes the
juxtaposition of images, symbolic representations, and sounds of popular Web
and mobile phone culture together with both subtle and overt ideological
constructs and nationalistic propaganda, which may be exemplified by the
Online Expo examined in the previous chapter (Lagerkvist, 2008: 121). The desired outcome of such egovernance, according to Lagerkvist, is installing a machine that can provide scientific and correct knowledge among citizens and state
officials (2005: 197). The success of the state in achieving the goals of its inclusionary thought work () nonetheless remains

state has been simultaneously active in trying to


exclude the public, through deleting posts and blocking the Internet . Border regions
like Xinjiang have been without Internet access for long periods as a way to hinder communication and spread of information about
the work of their harmony makers and to pre-empt the spread of
splittism.115 A parallel strategy deployed to keep the flow of information
harmonious and pure throughout China has been to surround Chinese virtual
space by a Great Firewall, a programme that blocks many sites based
outside China from being accessed from within China (including Google+, Facebook, Twitter and
other social media), and to simultaneously demand extensive policing and censorship
of sites located inside this walled space. An important part of this
exclusionary censorship practice has been the widespread blocking of specific
words in online communication. A message that includes one of the
thousands of characters that at any particular moment is deemed sensitive
can be instantly deleted by censorship software. The line between acceptable and unacceptable
questionable (Lynch, 1999). On the other hand, the

expression remains elusive and shifting (Breslin and Shen, 2010: 266). In drawing it, however, explanatory emphasis is on a language of
health, with censorship purported to 115 The blackouts were noted in the Western mainstream press (Blanchard, 2009; AFP, 2011). For a
fuller explanation of exactly what this blockage entailed in terms of access, see Summers (2009) - 176 - cleanse pollution and unhealthy

In response to the governmental


policing of the Internet, and to its harmony makers in off-line conflicts, the
notion of having been harmonised (bei4hexie4le ) has grown popular as a way
of expressing discontent. The use of this passive grammatical voice (bei ),
dubbed by one commentator the passive subversive (Kuhn, 2010), indicates that
one has been coercively made to (appear to) do something. The term gained
such popularity that the passive tense era (beishidai4 ) made the top of the
list of Southern4Metropolis4Weeklys 2009 list of most popular neologisms (Southern Metropolis Weekly, 2009), and bei4was made quasielements in favour of health and hygiene (Lagerkvist, 2008: 123, 134).

official when an arm of the Education Ministry elected it the Chinese character of the year in 2009. Lei Yi, one judge of the event and a
historian of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the term won by a landslide by popular Internet vote: [w]e felt we should recognize
this result so we named bei as the character most representative of Chinas situation last year (in Kuhn, 2010). Doubleleaf, a Beijing-

[f]or
centuries weve been told that the emperor represented the peoples
interests or that some organization or some leader represented our
interests. People did not realize that they had been represented. This word
of the year signals the awakening of citizens consciousness (in Kuhn, 2010).4 Chinese
netizens have made use of this language in particular to criticise the Chinese
censorship of the Internet to shut down any uncomfortable discussion. For
example, one Flash animation, found at an online competition to raise
awareness about scientific development and harmonious society, features a
Bulletin Board System (BBS) comment thread that gets harmonised. It
shows the BBS thread of net jargon, discussions of a famous person, people
trading insults and the posts being suddenly deleted. When one netizen asks
what happened the answer is they have been harmonised. Finally, a smiling
Hu Jintao appears alongside the slogan Everyone is responsible for a
harmonious society (renren4you4ze4hexie4shehui4 ) (Martinsen, 2007; Zhuru cilei, 2007). Egao:
based blogger who had his blog harmonised, meaning shut down, emphasised in an interview the subversive nature of bei:

The Flash animation that has been harmonised


is part of a wider form of online culture known as egao4( ), which has
become popular since the launch of the harmonious policies and received
international attention since around 2006. The term is made up of characters
e (), which means bad or evil, and gao ( ), which means to change or deal
with, leading to translations of the word as evil jokes (Li Hongmei, 2011: 71), reckless
doings (Meng Bingchun, 2009: 52), or simply spoofing (Lagerkvist, 2010: 150). This spoofing
culture uses irony and satire to mock power holders as well as government
policies and practices. Scholars have almost universally described egao as a
form of resistance, subversion or contestation. 116 Many base their claim on George Orwells
comment that [e]very joke is a tiny revolution (for example Li Hongmei, 2011: 72; Tang Lijun and Bhattacharya,
2011: 2.4). To a number of commentators, it is moreover based on an understanding of a
discrepancy between on the one hand PRC party-state language, including
tifa like harmonious world and harmonious society, and on the other hand
an alternative political discourse (Meng Bingchun, 2009: 39) or hidden transcript (Perry,
Resistance in the sphere of politics and the political

2007: 10; Esarey and Xiao Qiang, 2008: 752; Meng Bingchun, 2009: 39), including expressions like having been harmonised.117 The most
pervasive scholarly interpretation of this relation between official and unofficial discourse has been in terms of Bakhtinian carnival an unruly
and fantastic time and space in medieval and renaissance Europe. One volume characterizes the entire Chinese cyberspace as a quasiseparate space of the carnivalesque (Herold and Marolt, 2011). On this understanding, the carnival is an event in a time and space 116 For
example Sverine Arsne (2010), Larry Diamond (2010: 74), Nigel Inkster (2010: 7.2), Tang Lijun and Yang Peidong (2011: 680, 682, 687), Seth
Wiener (2011: 156) and Xiao Qiang (Xiao Qiang, 2011a: 52). 117 Scholars have discussed this discrepancy in various contexts. See for
examples Perry Link, Richard Madsen, and Paul Pickowicz (2001), He Zhou (2008), Esarey and Xiao Qiang (2008), Patricia Thornton (2002). 178 - where rules are suspended, separate from normal constraints (Herold, 2011: 11, 12). It is the antithesis of normal life, free and
unrestricted (Bakhtin cited in Herold, 2011: 12). Similarly, to Li Hongmei, this space marked the suspension of all hierarchical rank,
privileges, norms, and prohibitions (Bakhtin, 1984 [1965]: 10, cited in Li Hongmei, 2011: 72). Meng Bingchun reads a collective attempt at

egao virtual carnival (2011: 45, 46). This resistance is said to be


directed against the official (Meng Bingchun, 2011: 46) or established (Li Hongmei, 2011: 71)
order. Tang Lijun and Syamantak Bhattacharya, despite reading egao as carnivalesque, take it to reveal a widespread feeling of
powerlessness, rather than offering the general public any political power (2011). Nonetheless, they see in such online
spoofs the potential to generate a chain of related satirical work, which can
create a satire movement and subject power to sustained shame and
ridicule (Tang Lijun and Bhattacharya, 2011). One scholar who has remained decidedly skeptical to such claims about resistance is
resistance (2011: 44) in the

Johan Lagerkvist, who asks with regards to egao: [i]s it a weapon4of4the4weak, or is it a rather feeble expression among well-heeled and
largely apolitical urban youth- (2010: 151). Lagerkvist explains egao as [p]ermeated with irony and an ambivalence that occasionally
resembles, or indeed is, resistance (2010: 146). Nonetheless, to him, [t]he crux of the matter is only what larger influence you have on

[i]nstead of viewing the


egao phenomenon as politically subversive, at least in the short term, it may
make more sense to view it as the growth of an alternate civility, more
indicative of social and generational change, building up ever more pressure
against the political system in the long term (Lagerkvist, 2010: 158). To Lagerkvist the point of egao
then, for now at least, is to vent anger in a non- revolutionary manner. Egao is neither performed to be, nor
perceived as, a direct threat against the Party-state (Lagerkvist, 2010: 159). In this chapter I take
Lagerkvists point that irony is not by4definition radical or revolutionary. This claim in itself, however, says
little about what it does do (or undo), but simply leaves the question open. In
previous analyses of egao, the focus is clearly on potential for changing
politics, but none of the authors sustain any discussion about what they
mean by this politics. In order to understand their disagreement, we can benefit from returning to the distinction made
politics, if that is at all desired, if your critique is too subtle (2010: 146). Therefore, he concludes:

at the outset of this thesis between politics in the narrow sense, or politics,4and politics in the wider sense, or the4 political. I have taken the
latter to be concerned with the establishment of that very social order which sets out a particular, historically specific account of what counts

depoliticization is
equal to a reduction to calculability or the application of rules (Edkins, 1999: 1, 11). To
repoliticize, again, is instead to interrupt discourse, to challenge what have,
through discursive practices, been constituted as normal, natural, and
as politics and defines other areas of social life as not politics (Edkins, 1999: 2). On such a reading,

accepted ways of carrying on (Edkins, 1999: 12). In view of this differentiation between politics and the political,
Lagerkvists evaluation of egao with regards to what larger influence it has on politics seems to refer to politics in the narrow sense, rather
than the political. Tang and Bhattacharyas judgment of egao4with reference to its potential to create a satire movement seems to be

These accounts, then, dismiss egao as not political


unless it can achieve some movement or influence with regards to politics (in
the narrow sense). This makes the scholars readings of egao themselves
depoliticizing. My concern, by contrast, is rather with the question of the political, and I will comment on this in more detail at the
concerned with the same narrow politics.

end of this chapter.118 It is in this realm of discourse and the political that I ground an understanding of resistance. The previous chapter
pointed to the problems of conceptualizing resistance as revealing realities, the facts, when what we are dealing with is a hyperreal
system. Rather, I argued, we need to think about theory and resistance as a challenge. What does this mean- Roland Bleiker has written about
the type of resistance that occurs in this realm of the discursive, a resistance that revolves around interactions between different types of
speech. To him: 118 My discussion of the literatures on egao in relation to politics and the political here draws on Nordin and Richaud (2012),
where we discuss the distinction as perceived by the young netizens who produce and consume it, based on ethnographic fieldwork and

Aesthetic politics, by
contrast, has to do with the ability of artistic engagements to challenge, in a
more fundamental way, how we think about and represent the political. Here
the political content lies in the aesthetic form itself, which often is not
political in an explicit and immediately recognisable manner (Bleiker, 2009: 8). On this
understanding, Bleiker has shown that engaging with language is engaging in social struggle
(2000: 43). Alternative forms of language, he argues, can challenge the states
promotion of a black-and-white, one-dimensional and teleological approach to
history by celebrating multiplicity and making ambivalence part of language
interviews. [o]vertly committed art forms often do no more than promote a particular position.

(Bleiker, 2000: 43). He moreover shows that this is part of global politics through drawing on David Campbell to the effect that the everyday

linguistic resistance are deployed is not a synonym for the


local level, for in it global interconnections, local resistances, transterritorial
flows, state politics, regional dilemmas, identity formations, and so on are
always already present (Campbell, 1996: 23, cited in Bleiker, 2000: 44). Alternative forms of
speech and writing, then, show how political change can be brought about by
forms of resistance that deliberately and self-consciously stretch, even
violate existing linguistic rules because in doing so they can provide us with
different eyes, with the opportunity to reassess anew the spatial and political
[and, I would add, temporal] dimensions of global life (Bleiker, 2000: 45). Rather than
seeking a quick-fix by revealing the scandalous truth, or forming a mass
movement explicitly aimed at intervening in narrow politics, this discursive
form of resistance works through pushing gradually at the terms in which we
can conceive of the world. It thereby resists the temptation to provide
concrete answers to concrete questions ( Bleiker, 2000: 45). In the rest of this chapter I examine egao
life in which these forms of

as one particular instance that can help us think further about such linguistic resistance in/to harmonious world. Resisting harmonisation and
deconstructive reading The above example of having been harmonised shows how Chinese netizens are being harmonised by the
government, but also how they are negotiating such harmonisation through language and grammar. This is what I mean when I write that

By re-citing official language and reinscribing it in other chains of


meaning, Chinese netizens are turning its purported message against itself.
Where Hus harmony purports to be inclusive, peaceful and open, its reiteration with a simple grammatical modifier, bei, reads this official take on
harmony as being exclusive, violent and working to close down possibilities
for difference. This shows us that language is indeed a crucial part not only
for the government to try to harmonise dissidents, but also for these to
negotiate (or possibly resist) such harmonisation. This language play is thus
made possible by iterability, which means we can remove the repeatable
meaning of a term like harmony from the specific context in which it was
first deployed and recognize other possibilities in it by inscribing it or
grafting4it onto other chains (Derrida, 1988: 9, cf. Massey, 2005: 19). For this reason harmony does
tifa are iterative.

not have one fixed meaning, but we can play with it, graft it into other chains
of signification that can reveal meanings that were always already there in
harmony in the first place. This possibility is exploited by netizens. We can read deconstruction taking place in the term
harmony in many places. What dissident use does is precisely shake it loose from its intended meaning in Hus policy documents, reversing
and displacing its meaning, without therefore separating it from that policy discourse. Below I illustrate how this takes place in various tactics
of resisting harmonisation in China. The point is to not simply accept harmony as having one straightforward meaning, to obey, avoid or bin
the term. Instead, we can, as Baudrillard would have it, recycle it in potentially subversive ways. Recycling4harmony4(
)41:4Close4reading4of4the4radicals4that4make4up4a4character4 - 182 - Figure 9: Close reading the radicals of harmony (Source:
Danwei.org) Derridas way of reading a text is often termed close reading, which involves paying attention to the details of structure,
grammar and etymology of a term or text. This is a tactic we often use in academia when we discuss the meaning of Chinese terms through a
close reading of the radicals that make up a character. This is also a common practice among netizens, in online discussions and in other
media, like the above logo from the Economic4Observer for its feature section on the 2006 NPC and CPPCC Sessions (Martinsen, 2006). The
English term harmony comes from Greek harmos or harmona, meaning joint, agreement, concord.119 is usually translated as
harmonious or concordant, the individual characters carrying the same meaning. is composed of radicals () words and all.120
With the mouth radical the character, pronounced h, can signify singing in harmony, or talking together.121 If what we see in Chinas
current harmonising of dissidents is a harmonious society or harmonious world, harmony here retains only its meaning of singing in
harmony (as we saw through the example of Expo avatars singing the Expo song in harmony), its talking together is only in agreement or
concord. 119 According to dictionary definition (Hoad, 1993; Oxford Dictionaries, 2011c: 6.3996.3910). 120 According to dictionary definition
(Karlgren, 1974 [1923]: 364; Hanyu4da4zidian4weiyuanhui, 1995). 121 According to dictionary definition (Wieger, 1965 [1915]: Lesson 121a;
Karlgren, 1974 [1923]: 70; Lindqvist, 1991: 187; Hanyu4da4zidian4weiyuanhui, 1995: 1.602.601). - 183 - Recycling4harmony4(
)42:4Differently4pronounced4Chinese4character4gives4alternative4 meaning4 Figure 10: pronounced h1is the battle cry when winning a
game of mah\jong (Source: Zhang Facai, 2008) This, however, takes us to another tactic of bringing out and playing with the differently
pronounced alternative meanings that Chinese characters often have. can also be pronounced h, a battle cry of victory when completing a
game of mah- jong. Through this battle cry competition or conflict returns to visibility in harmony, as the excluded term on which it relies. This
disruption acknowledges the antagonism involved in play, unsettling the notion of permanent harmonious win-win purported by the partystate. It reminds us of the violence we have traced in previous chapters of a dominant Chinas turning other into self. What goes on in this
reading is in a sense the first of the two moves of Derridas deconstructive double gesture. We have read Hus harmony in a way that is faithful
to its purported meaning, where the end-state of harmony rests on the exclusion of violence, discord and conflict. His harmonious world, as
we saw in chapter 1, is one that has done away with misgivings and estrangement, where everyone wins and no one loses. The inevitable
choice (or what if we were nasty we could call the single prescribed future without responsibility of choosing) is a future harmonious world
order where China will always stand for fairness and justice. Anyone who disagrees with this sense of justice is simply wrong and irrational,
euphemised as unscientific. - 184 - What the pronunciation h does is acknowledge the excluded other of Hus harmony, namely discord
and competition. H can only be achieved after vanquishing the opponent, there is no win-win here.122 The h of mah-jong, just like the
harmonious Tianxia utopia, is premised on the superiority of the self to the other. Only this hierarchy can establish order, harmony or h.
Acknowledging that competition is always already there in harmony, implied in the alternative pronunciation h, I propose that we can
acknowledge a third tactic of resistance, the play with homonymous characters. Recycling4harmony44(
)43:4Rivercrab4(hxi)4as4a4nearWhomonym4for4harmony4 (hxi)4 Derridas first deconstructive move is reversal, identifying an
operational binary such as harmony/discord and showing how the exclusion of the second term from the first is artificial and that in fact the
first is reliant on the second. An equally important move is displacement, the creation of a term that is not fully contained within the old order.
We can get at such a displacement through paying attention to rivercrabs (hxi4 ), a near homonym for harmony (hxi4 ). Before
I go on to discuss these rivercrabs in more detail, I should point out that these two deconstructive moves are not separate, chronologically or
otherwise. My discussion of them here in turn is for the benefit of my reader, in order to illustrate more clearly what this dissident language
play can do for us. Similar sounding characters are often used to replace sensitive words as a way to get through the keyword searches of
censorship software that has been bolstered as a way to simultaneously avoid and criticise being harmonised. When netizens are blocked by
harmonising government software from writing harmony (hxi ), they can replace the term by the similar sounding characters for
rivercrabs (hxi ).

In recent years, the rivercrab has become popular as a signifier

of resistance.

In 122 Indeed, the very game of mah-jong is itself involved in contestation as a battle ground for politics, where
popular practice has been shown to resist official campaigns to regulate and sanitize a popular mah-jong () and promote healthy
mahjong ( 4or , meaning no gambling) as a competitive national sport and a symbol of Chinas distinctive cultural legacy
(Festa, 2006: 9). - 185 - popular Chinese language a crab is a violent bully, making its image a new playful and satirical, but heavily political,
way of criticising the harmonising rivercrab society (Xiao Qiang, 2007).123 Figure 11: Insist on three watches, establish rivercrab society
(Source: Xuanlv, 2010) One popular satire on it can be seen in the above rivercrab with three watches. The caption overhead reads: insist on
three watches, establish rivercrab society (jianchi4 san4ge4daibiao4,4chuangjian4hexie4shehui4 ). The first phrase
is a nonsensical mockery of the party slogan insist on the three represents (jianchi4san4 ge4daibiao4 )124 and the second is a
mockery of the slogan establish harmonious society (chuangjian4hexie4shehui4 ). The political tactic here is one of intentional
(mis)reading of official discourse, an iteration of party-state language against itself in order to reveal aspects of harmony that remain hidden
from view in official discourse. Again, the acknowledgement of the purported message and its hierarchical binary as well as the first
deconstructive move of reversing that hierarchy are here in this picture, this is not a separate stand-alone symbol or event. 123 As a simple
indication of the popularity of satirical depictions of the rivercrab, a Google image search for the Chinese term rivercrab society ()
gave ca 212 000 hits on 3 March 2011. 124 The three represents is previous General Secretary Jiang Zemins legacy tifa, which became a
guiding ideology of the CCP at its Sixteenth Party Congress in 2002, together with Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, and Deng Xiaoping
Theory. It stipulates that the CCP should be representative to advanced social productive forces, advanced culture, and the interests of the
overwhelming majority. The tifa was part of the shift to Chineseness as a legitimising force of the CCP as a ruling party representative of the
majority of Chinese people as opposed to its original legitimisation as a vanguard revolutionary party driven by the proletariat. It also helped

rivercrab also displaces this binary


and functions as a new term which does not obey that order in any simple
manner, but rather shakes it up and brings to the fore the irresolvable
contradiction between these terms. To clarify the position of my analysis here in relation to Derridas, I speak of
legitimise the inclusion of capitalist business elites into the party. However, the

the rivercrab as a second term which displaces the harmony/discord binary implied in Hus harmonious world and society. As such, it does
not obey the order of that binary in a simple manner. However, it also does not necessarily function as a new master term in the way Derrida

This mockingly reiterative form of resistance is


not confined to the Internet egao culture, but has spread beyond its online
origins to impact both on official state media and on forms of resistance
offline. Artist Ai Weiwei staged one such example that received attention in
often seems to understand the role of a new term.

the West some time before his infamous detention by the authorities. When
his newly built Shanghai studio was to be demolished by the authorities, Ai
threw a grand farewell party in November 2010, to which he invited several
hundred friends, bands and other supporters to feast on a banquet consisting
of rivercrabs. Ai was put in house arrest in Beijing to prevent him from
attending the banquet, but the event took place nonetheless with supporters
chanting: in a harmonious society, we eat rivercrabs ( Branigan, 2010). Party\state response
The official party-state strategies of responding to such resistance take the
form of harmonising it, ignoring it, or on occasion acknowledging its presence
whilst attempting to again re-read its meaning, significance and implications
in an effort at downplaying its critical potential. With respect to the passive subversive bei making
the top of lists of neologisms in 2009, a Xinhua article displays the latter tactic. The article stresses state tolerance through emphasising that
the poll, which resulted in bei4being elected character of the year, was jointly conducted by a linguistic research centre under the Ministry of
Education and the state-run Commercial Press. The tense was said to convey a sense of helplessness in deciding ones own fate and to

The example of being suicided


was discussed, explaining that the abuse of official power
concerned was perpetrated by a local official, who was duly sentenced to
death by higher authorities. Other examples were being volunteered (bei4ziyuan ) and being found a job
reflect dissatisfaction over the abuse of official power (Xinhua, 2010c).
(bei4zisha4 )

(bei4jiuye4 ). From the passive subversive bei4the article turns into proof of how good and improving the government is: [b]ei was
not censored in the government-run poll of buzzwords, and grassroots voices are finally being heard and even recognized by the government
The government is beginning to respond to inquiries from the public, instead of dodging them as it did before (Xinhua, 2010c). Yet much
resistance is still treated with violence or silence by Chinese official sources. According to interviews by Tessa Thorniley at Ai Weiweis
rivercrab banquet over 40 domestic media sources were invited and none showed up, and amongst the over 50 media outlets that interviewed
Ai in house arrest regarding the event the only domestic media that spoke to him was the English language edition of conservative paper
Global4Times4(Goldkorn, 2010). Within half a year of the rivercrab banquet, Ai had been detained by Chinese police, accused of a number of
crimes. After 81 days in detention he was released on bail (), on the condition that he did not speak (Branigan, 2011; Committee to
Protect Journalists, 2011; US Asia law NYU, 2011). During his disappearance Chinese Internet sites such as Sina Weibo blocked searches on Ai
Weiwei (), a number of his nicknames and puns on his name, including (Ai Wei), (Wei Wei), (Ai), (Wei), (Fatty
Ai), (Fatty) and (Moon Half Son). They also blocked writing including the term , meaning future, which is built up of
characters similar to Weiwei (Xiao Qiang, 2011b). ONCO\OPERATIVE HARMONY From the above analysis we see that there are similarities
between Derridean approaches to reading deconstruction in academia and practices of subversive iteration of harmony amongst dissident
netizens in contemporary China. The possibilities for alliances that reside within such shared tactics are potentially valuable to both parties
and may help us here to bridge the theory/practice divide. - 188 - Derrida and Baudrillard were both masters of language play, frequently
building on the various meanings that can be drawn out of words by way of their etymological roots, their different pronunciations, by playing
with homonyms and near-homonyms and by combining words into new ones to reverse and displace previous binaries. Such techniques
pervade the writing of both thinkers.125 However, this is not to say that the similar practice of Chinese language that I outline above is an
entirely new phenomenon created by recent practices of Internet censorship and/or influences from some Western postmodernity. On the

Linguistic play with


characters and homonyms has been a sensitive topic in China for millennia.
Such practices have also been known to academics in the Anglophone world
for decades. For example, a 1938 article argues that literary persecution was
especially cruel during the Qing dynasty (1644-1911 AD) (Ku Chieh-Kang, 1938 [1935]: 254), and
continues with a description that could just as well be of contemporary
Chinese censorship regimes on the Internet: under the circumstances they
[Chinese scholars, artists, intellectuals and others] could do nothing but
resort to veiled satire. This being the situation, their words and writings were
spied on and scrutinized; if they did not use every care they suffered the
severest punishments (Ku Chieh-Kang, 1938 [1935]: 254).126 But, the author continues,
although the Qing were the worst offenders, similar practices of harsh
censorship had taken place since the Qin (361-206 BC) and Han (206 BC-8 AD), the first
two dynasties of what is typically considered imperial China. 125 In Derrida, some such
contrary, the struggles and practices that I have outlined have a long and rich history in China.

terms that I have touched upon in the course of this thesis include iterability, which plays on reiterate and combines the Latin iter (again)
with the Sanskrit itara4(other) (Wortham, 2010: 78), and diffrance, which combines the two meanings of French diffrence, difference and
deferral, changing an e to an a adds time to space (Massey, 2005: 49). It also includes terms such as artifactuality, activirtuality,
circonfession, avenir/4venir, hauntologie and so on. Despite what may be interpreted as a dismissal at points of Derridas deployment of word
play (as discussed in chapter 1. See also Baudrillard, 1996 [1990]: 25), Baudrillard uses very similar tactics in his deployment of terms such as
seduction, drawing on the original Latin sense of seducere, to lead away, and semiorrhage, semiotic haemorrhage (Baudrillard, 2002 [2000]:
208). 126 I should be noted that this article was written by a Chinese author at a time when the 1911 nationalist revolution had recently
thrown the Qing dynasty from power, which may have affected this commentary. - 189 - The article goes on to list numerous death sentences
during the Ming dynasty (1368- 1644 AD), occasioned by the homophonic nature of certain words employed (1938 [1935]: 262). As in
contemporary PRC, although misreading set texts could be very dangerous (1938 [1935]: 296-301), the attempt to provide set phrases and

pre- structured models for expression could not prevent such double meanings from seeping through text (1938 [1935]: 263). There is thus
Chinese historical precedent of interplay between violent oppression of speech and the kind of linguistic resistance that builds on reiterative,
mocking punnery in ways similar to the contemporary deployment of rivercrabs. Crabs as cancerous disease Where associations emerging
from Chinese language aligns crabs with harmony, bullies and competition, most European languages associate it with the disharmony of the
body that shares its name: cancer.127 In what follows I introduce the European roots of this term in order to foreground my subsequent
analysis of the above harmony/rivercrabs, where I argue that these rivercrabs operate precisely according to a cancerous logic. The term
cancer is originally Latin, meaning crab or creeping ulcer, with its etymological roots in Greek karkinos, said to have been applied to such
tumours because they were surrounded by swollen veins that looked like the limbs of a crab (Demaitre, 1998: 620-6; Oxford Dictionaries,
2011b). Although the European term, like the Chinese one, has mythological connotations,128 a contemporary dictionary entry for cancer
describes it as a malignant growth or tumour resulting from an uncontrolled division of cells, but also as an evil or destructive practice or
phenomenon that is hard to contain or eradicate (Oxford Dictionaries, 2011b). 127 Scandinavian languages have interpreted cancer to
equate a crayfish, rather than a crab, to give the Swedish krfta, Norwegian kreft4and Danish krft. 128 In astronomy, the Cancer
constellation represents Hercules crushing a crab with his foot. This tale derives from Greek mythology, where the crab nipped Heracles when
he was battling the monster Hydra and was crushed. The mother deity Hera who was at odds with Heracles at the time honoured the crabs
courageous efforts by placing it in the heaven. In astrology, the cancer/crab is the fourth sign of the zodiac, which the sun enters at the
northern summer solstice, about 21 June (Oxford Dictionaries, 2011a). The term also has spatial connotations, indicating the direction south,
as in the tropic of cancer. - 190 - In this second capacity, cancer is not separate from contemporary understandings of international politics
and visions of a harmonious world. Rather, the language of cancer and tumours has long been common in IR and politics, and cancer is
frequently used as a metaphor for moral and political ills on the body politic to be cured or removed.129 At the same time, descriptions of
biomedical cancer often resort to metaphors or similes borrowed from societal relations130 and from military conflict and battle.131 In
Chinese language, the close link between security in the medical and political realms is explicit in the character zhi (), which refers to both
therapy (zhi4 liao ) and governance (zhi4li ) (Unschuld, 2010: xxvi; Cheung, 2011: 7). Many studies have shown how the knowledge
systems of Western biomedicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) reflect the intellectual and political landscape in which they
respectively developed.132 As such, many have understood the spatial distance between China and Europe as a foundation for an
epistemological difference in understanding of their medical bodies, which directly parallels that which is claimed to underpin the
understanding of the 129 Hobbes gave a detailed analysis of dangers to the state as illnesses to the body politic (Hobbes, 1996: 221-30),
building on an established metaphor of societies as bodies (Hale, 1971). For another example of early European use, Italian thinker Francesco
Guicciardini, writing in the 16th century, constantly repeats the metaphors of medicine and cure. Guiccardini identifies the disease with the
Italian city states willingness to ally with outside states that are more powerful than themselves, and cautions against ignoring how
dangerous it is to use medicine which is stronger than the nature of the disease (Guicciardini, 1984: 20-1). The French Revolution saw the use
of illness/therapy metaphors to justify the terreur as a cure for societal illness (Musolff, 2003: 328). In contemporary scholarship, Susan Sontag
in her famous Illness4as4Metaphor singled out cancer as a type of master illness that is implicitly genocidal (Sontag, 1991: 73-4, 84). Otto
Santa Anna describes how the American civil rights movement used cancer as a metaphor for racism in the 1960s (Santa Anna, 2003: 215-16,
222). In contemporary IR Kevin Dunn has written at length about the how Mobutus cancer-ridden body led to a recasting of him as a cancer on
the body politic of the Republic of Zaire, and Zaire in turn as a tumour on the region (Dunn, 2003: especially 139-42). See also Deborah Wills
(2009) for recent use of cancer terminology in English language IR, and Wang Yizhou (2010: 11) for similar use in Chinese language IR. 130
For a good overview of such metaphorical use in patients and media, see Lupton (2003). For a good overview of other forms of cultural and
artistic expression relating to the narrativisation of cancer, see Stacey (1997). 131 For such military metaphors, see for example Annas (1995:
745), Clarke (1996: 188), Stibbe (1997), Clarke and Robinson (1999: 273-4), Lupton (2003: 72), Reisfield and Wilson (2004) and Williams
Camus (2009). 132 For its treatment in recently discovered Chinese medical literature, see Lo and Cullen (2005). For commentary on the
parallel emergence of political and medical epistemologies in imperial China, see Unschuld (2010). For commentary on parallel developments
of political and medical knowledge in Europe, see Have (1987) and Stibbe (1997). - 191 - Chinese geo-body, examined in previous
chapters.133 Western biomedicine, it is thus said, follows Descartes and builds on the idea that parts of the body are discrete and can be

Chinese medicine is said to build


instead on a holistic idea of the body where illness is explained in terms of
a pattern of disharmony (Kaptchuk, 2000: 4). Just as a bounded notion of space is typically portrayed in terms of an
calculated, measured and cured in isolation (Have, 1987; Kaptchuk, 2000).

imposition on China by Western imperialism, so too is a biomedical imaginary and representation of discrete body parts portrayed as an
imposition by the West and a catching up by a China that had fallen behind (Cheung, 2011: 9; Gilman, 1988: 149, 151, 154). With regards to
the geo-body, I have argued throughout previous chapters that its two spatial imaginaries (that of discrete units and that of a holistic system)
are not mutually exclusive, but rather coexist in practices in contemporary China. The scope of this thesis does not allow for a thorough
deconstruction of the parallel epistemology that is applied to debates over the medical body.134 Suffice it to say at this point that
contemporary literature on Chinese medicine typically reflects on how biomedicine and TCM are complementary.135 Most importantly for my
argument here, and as I will explain in what follows, TCM and biomedicine have produced strikingly 133 This imagination of the human body is
particularly clear in writing on pictorial representations thereof. The negotiation of Chinese-Western power relations and self/other
hierarchisation through modes of pictorial representation has been traced in the mid-19th Century medical paintings of Lam Qua, who focused
on depicting tumours on Chinese bodies for Western consumption. Discussions of these can be found in Gilman (1988) and Heinrich (2008), as
can some of Lam Quas pictures of tumours and abscesses (Gilman, 1988: 150; Heinrich, 2008: 50, 54, 55, 81, 82, 83, 84, 86, 87), as well as
earlier and later Chinese images of such growths (Heinrich, 2008: 57, 91, 92; see also Barnes, 2005: 292). 134 Such an endeavour might point
to the early exchange and hybrid nature of information, and to similarities of TCM and early forms of European medicine: the inner body as
masculine (or Yang) and the outer body as feminine (or Yin) (for expression in European tradition, see Erickson, 1997: 10, for expression in
Chinese tradition, see Liu Zhanwen and Liu Liang, 2009: 12); the focus on balance of a holistic system (for expression in European tradition,
see Turner, 2003: 2, for expression in Chinese tradition, see Unschuld, 2010: xxve); the focus on bodily flows and the understanding of
blockage of flows as cause for disease (for expression in European tradition, see Turner, 2003: 2, for expression in Chinese tradition, see Liu
Zhanwen and Liu Liang, 2009: 28), the discursive parallels to the societal body and the need for governance of both societal and medical body
(for expression in European tradition, see Porter, 1997: 158; Turner, 2003: 2, for expression in Chinese tradition, see Unschuld, 2010), and so

There are many examples of this (for example Cui Yong et al., 2004; Bao Ting et al., 2010; Chiaramonte
similar responses to the
appearance of cancer: to cleanse and purge in conjunction with studied
manipulation of the immune system. Reading cancer and the autoimmune in
Baudrillard and Derrida The previous chapter drew on Baudrillards interest in the pre-programmed character of contemporary
culture to examine the (re)production of human bodies as computer coded avatars on the Expo screen. His interest in the
coding of the human body also extended to the replication and transmission
of data on the micro level, in the form of genetic code and cellular
regeneration. As pure information, the human body is not understood as the
source of selfhood, but rather as an effect produced by the code (Baudrillard, 1994
on. 135

and Lao Lixing, 2010; Dorsher and Peng Zengfu, 2010; Wong and Sagar, 2010). - 192 -

Embedded in this code is the potential for cancer


and autoimmune disease (Baudrillard, 2002 [2000]: 98, 207).136 According to Baudrillard,
consumer society or European democracy is driven by a perverse logic (2002
[2000]: 97, 207), where a range of phenomena terrorism, fascism, violence,
depression, and so on are the outcome of an excess of organization,
regulation and rationalization within a system (2002 [2000]: 97). These societies tend
to suffer from an excess of rationality and logic, surveillance and control,
which in turn leads to the emergence for no apparent reason of internal
pathologies strange dysfunctions unforeseeable, incurable accidents
anomalies, which disrupt the systems capacity for totality, perfection and
reality invention (2002 [2000]: 97). This is the logic that Baudrillard reads of an
excessive system that fuels the growth of anomalies just like cancer and
autoimmune disease (Baudrillard, 2002 [2000]). What characterises these anomalies in Baudrillards theorising is that they
[1981]: 98, see also Toffoletti in Smith, 2010: 28).

have not come from elsewhere, from outside or from afar, but are rather a product of the over-protection of the body be it social or
individual (Smith, 2010: 59): 136 Like cancer, the question of immunity reinforces the close link between the governance of the sociopolitical and the bio-medical body, as immunity was originally a legal concept in ancient Rome (Cohen, 2009: 3). For my analysis of cancer
and autoimmunity in Baudrillards work, I focus on the various articles collected in Screened Out (2002 [2000]), and particularly the essay

[e]very structure, system or social body which


ferrets out its negative, critical elements to expel them or exorcise them runs
the risk of catastrophe by total implosion and reversion, just as every
biological body which hunts down and eliminates all its germs, bacillae and
parasites in short, all its biological enemies runs the risk of cancer or, in
other words, of a positivity devouring its own cells. It runs the risk of being
devoured by its own anti-bodies (Baudrillard, 2002 [1997]: 3). On this reading, the systems
overcapacity to protect, normalise and integrate (Smith, 2010: 60) (we could say harmonise) is
shown throughout society as natural immunity is replaced by artificial
systems of immunity like pre-programmed firewalls ( Baudrillard, 2002 [2000]: 98). This
Aids: Virulence or Prophylaxis- (2002 [1997]).

replacement happens in the name of science and progress (or perhaps a scientific outlook on development). Derrida developed a strikingly
similar deployment of the autoimmune, where for example the West since 9/11 is producing, reproducing, and regenerating the very thing it
seeks to disarm (2003a: 99).137 Derrida analyses this perverse logic in terms of an autoimmune process (2003a: 99); that strange
behaviour where a living being, in quasi-suicidal fashion, itself works to destroy its own protection, to immunise itself against its own
immunity (2003a: 94). This term recalls previous Derridean terms,138 but particularly reinforces Baudrillards claim about cancer and
immunity: [i]n an over-protected space, the body loses all its defences (Baudrillard, 2002 [1997]: 3). In this way, to Baudrillard and Derrida,
in cancer and autoimmunity it is the systems own logic that turns it against itself; the code works too well in its overzealous cleansing,
integrating, normalising logic. Derrida reads in this process a double and contradictory discourse of concurrent immunity and auto-immunity in
endless circulation, where the system conducts a 137 For Derrida, I draw mostly on his reading in Autoimmunity: Real and Symbolic
Suicides on 9/11 (2003a) and in Rogues:4Two4Essays4on4Reason (2005 [2003]-a), rather than on earlier mention of autoimmunity in texts
such as Faith and Knowledge (1998) or Resistances4of4Psychoanalysis (1998 [1996], for some comments on the use of the "autoimmune" in
this volume, see Wortham, 2010: 160). 138 As expressed by one commentator: [u]ndecideability, aporia, antinomy, double bind:
autoimmunity is explicitly inscribed in Rogues into a veritable best of collection of Derrideo-phemes or deconstructo- nyms (Naas, 2006: 29).
- 194 - terrible war against that which protects it only by threatening it (1998: 46).139 The immune and the autoimmune may not, then, be
easily distinguishable: murder was already turning into suicide, and the suicide, as always, let itself be translated into murder (Derrida, 2005
[2003]-a: 59). Derrida and Baudrillard and others who have since deployed this aspect of their analyses140 tend to describe autoimmunity
as generated by the current Western system, although they sometimes indicate the more general nature of such praxis (Thomson, 2005). I
have argued in previous chapters that other phenomena they bring to our attention (such as the deconstructibility of language, or simulacra)
cannot be confined in time and space to a bounded notion of the West, late capitalism, postmodernity or some other unit to which we
posit China as the other country. In the same way, the observed unfettered process of a techno-metastatic production of value, the
hyperinflation of meaning and signs is not confined to democracy/capitalism/the West/America that they take as the primary focus of their
analyses (I. C. R., 2007). Rather, this cancer has its parallel in contemporary China, precisely in the form of rivercrabs. Reading cancer and the
(auto)immune through biomedicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine To explain this point, and to dispel any understanding of my argument in
terms of a Chinese catching up, let me elaborate slightly on how biomedicine and TCM have understood cancer. 139 Derrida sometimes
takes the term to denote a specific targeting of a bodys defence mechanisms, its protecting itself against its self-protection (Derrida, 1998:
73, note 27), which is closer to the biomedical definition of autoimmunity and further from its description of certain forms of cancer. At other
times, the autoimmune involves an attack against any part of the body, in short against its own (son4propre4tout4court) (Derrida, 1998: 44).
We note here the numerous meanings of French propre, translated here as own, but which also means self-possession, propriety, property
and importantly cleanliness, stressing again the cleansing that I emphasise in this chapter (cf. Spivak's translation in Derrida, 1976 [1967]:
26). Where some have found this ambiguity problematic (Haddad, 2004: 39-41), I think it points to an important aspect of autoimmunity that
is the impossibility of separating a part that defends a (geo)body from one that simply is. It acknowledges the malleability of the system.
For this reason I also allow for (auto)immunity and cancer to denote the same process, as they do to Baudrillard. 140 For example Bulley
(2009: 12, 25-29), Vaughan-Williams (2007: 183-92), Osuri (2006: 500), Thomson (2005), and Haddad (2004: 30). - 195 - The disease that in
English is called cancer is called ai () in modern TCM terminology, and cancerous tumours can also be referred to as liu ().141 TCM
philosophy is based on the idea that a body is healthy when it is in harmony, and illness and pain occur when harmony fails to be achieved,
manifest in a pattern of disharmony (Bao Ting et al., 2010: 171).142 Cancer/ai/liu is on this view a systemic disease from the start
(Schipper et al., 1995; Wong and Sagar, 2010: 3). Cancer and tumours are understood as the manifestation of disharmony (Bao Ting et al.,
2010: 170; Chiaramonte and Lao Lixing, 2010: 344), and more specifically of the relative lack of Zhengqi4(), a concept analogous to the
biomedical notion of immune system competency/strength (Abbate, 2006; Dorsher and Peng Zengfu, 2010: 57). The understanding of TCMs

potential to aid the body in restoring harmony is similarly centred on immunity.143 Biomedicine, which has been associated with the West and
with the imagination of body-parts as discrete and calculable, explains cancer in a very similar way, emphasising the role of immunity. In this
school of thought, cancer is a development where transformed cells acquire the ability to disregard the constraints of its environment and the
body normal control mechanisms [sic] (Wong and Sagar, 2010: 3), or the abnormal and uncontrollable proliferation of cells which have the
potential to spread to distant sites (Chiaramonte and Lao Lixing, 2010: 343). Like TCM, biomedicine thus understands cancer as immune
system failure (Chiaramonte and Lao Lixing, 2010: 349). Microscopically, cancer cells display features indicative of a faster proliferative rate
and disorganised alignment in relation to other cells, and 141 The first known description of ai comes from Wei4Ji4Bao4Shu circa 1171 AD, in
the Song Dynasty (Pan Mingji, 1992, in Bao Ting et al., 2010: 57). Cancerous tumours were also referred to as liu in inscriptions on oracle
bones over 3,500 years old (Pan Mingji, 1992, in Bao Ting et al., 2010: 57). 142 For a more thorough explanation for the lay person of the
philosophical foundations of TCM as well as an outline of its foundational texts, see Liu Zhanwen and Liu Liang (2009). 143 This is a marked
trait throughout contemporary TCM literatures (Abbate, 2006; Lahans, 2008; Chiaramonte and Lao Lixing, 2010: 342, 349; Dorsher and Peng
Zengfu, 2010: 57; Wong and Sagar, 2010: 3, 4, 15). TCM scepticism of biomedical forms of treatment such as radiotherapy and
chemotherapy stems from their collateral damage, the killing of normal cells along with the malign cancer cells, which leads to further
immune suppression and hence further reduction of zhengqi. TCM treatment focuses on strengthening zhengqi in order to maximize the
immunity of the system beset by cancer. Herbal medicines used to treat cancer are thus (partly) focused on strengthening the bodys general
immunity (fuzheng) (Lahans, 2008; Dorsher and Peng Zengfu, 2010: 57). - 196 - differences between cancer cells and normal cells are
increasingly understood at the level of genetic code (Marcovitch, 2005: 111). The very code that is pre-programmed in the system thus has
the capacity to produce the cells that threaten it, and the spread of malignancy in the system is a result of its failed attempts at regulation
and cleansing. Like cancer/ai/liu, the Chinese crab has early associations with cleaning and purification of spaces, with one legend having the
emperor using the crab to rid his palace of the scorpions, fleas, mosquitoes, and mice that disturbed his harmony and caused dis-ease.144 In
Europe, like in China, cancer has a long history of association with insufficient cleansing, since its description in pre-modern pathologies that
attributed it to insufficient purging of black bile.145 One contemporary cancer self-help book likewise describes cancer in terms of societal
disorder strikingly reminiscent of disruptions to the harmony conveyed by Hu Jintao and Zhao Tingyang respectively: [c]ancer growths are
made up of cells which belong to our body but which have stopped behaving in a co-operative and orderly fashion (Reynolds, 1987: 26, cited
in Lupton, 2003: 71). It further observes that the multiplication of cancer cells has no purpose unlike normal body cells we can think of
cancer cells as unco-operative, disobedient, and independent [n]ormal cells exist peacefully side by side with their neighbours (Reynolds,
1987: 27, cited in Lupton, 2003: 71). This description is certainly fitting to characterise the Chinese rivercrabs described above. Crabs/cancer
disturb and threaten the harmony of the system. They are truly malignant in the sense that they disregard normal mechanisms of control
and cleansing (they are unco-operative), and they are capable of spatio-temporal spread into secondary deposits or metastases. As such, we
may understand crabs/cancer in terms of the European medieval rendition as a parasitic animal (Pouchelle, 1990: 169; Demaitre, 1998: 624),
pervasive also in contemporary society (Herzlich and Pierret, 1987). 144 Renditions of this lore can also be found online (The Vanishing Tattoo,
2011). 145 On this understanding, breast cancer for example was caused by insufficient cleansing by menstruation of the blood from the dregs
of spoiled black bile (Caulhiaco and McVaugh, 1997: n. 9, 94, see also Demaitre, 1998: 618 and notes 37, 38). An overview of the development
of European ideas of cancer can be found in Demaitre (1998). - 197 - Yet, crabs/cancer are indeed a systemic disease from the start (Wong
and Sagar, 2010: 3), their malignancy is a direct product of the code. The possibility for drawing out the various meanings of hexie4
explored at the outset of this chapter was always already there in the character through its pictographic make-up, its alternative

Moreover, the ironic critique displayed by


these iterations was provoked by Hus policy of overzealous harmonisation
and the online deployment of rivercrabs came about as a way to
simultaneously avoid and criticise being harmonised by the great firewall
and other government censorship software. In this way, it is the harmonious
system itself that produces that which leads to disharmony. As such,
rivercrabs are not simply unco-operative, but onco-operative: they operate
like cancerous metastases that derive from the code of the system itself to
cause dis-harmony and dis-ease.
pronunciation as h and through its homonym the rivercrab.

Ours is a playful move towards the redeployment of


language against the harmonious world a language
that the firewall cant censor without censoring itself. For
the world was born of extremes, and to extremes it shall
return. Refuse the harmonious reconciliation of the world
and move towards an felicitous play with language and
meaning.
Nordin 12
(Astrid H.M. Nordin [Lecturer in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and
Religion at Lancaster University], Time, Space and Multiplicity in Chinas
Harmonious World, 2012, The University of Manchester Library,
https://www.escholar.manchester.ac.uk/uk-ac-man-scw:186417, pages 197210/0

THE COEVAL MULTIPLICITIES OF ONCO\OPERATIVE HARMONY The claim I have made up to this point of the chapter is that

the Chinese harmonious system is not so different from what Derrida and Baudrillard describe in
contemporary Western democracy or late capitalist consumer society. Although China is often recast as the opposite

suffer from the same autoimmune


problems. Its symptoms may be different, but the onco-operative character of
its dis-ease is the same. What, then, are the implications of such an illness and how do we deal with itof these systems and their logic the other country it seems to

Looking for cures in an onco\operative system Biomedical and TCM treatments of cancer/ai/liu do, as I have indicated
above, follow a similar pattern to those commonly prescribed for dealing with unco-operative elements of the geo-body.

The
lack of precision of these therapies give them a quasi-suicidal nature through
which the parts of the body deemed healthy or normal become collateral
damage. This in turn often further endangers the system through weakening its immune system. The alternative
Biomedicine typically resorts to screening, surgical strikes, chemo- and radio-therapies (Marcovitch, 2005: 112).

approach, of strengthening the systems own immune capacity or zhengqi, urges the - 198 - system to auto-harmonise, to
turn the bad qi into the good another form of cleansing, or purging the excessive and ousting evil Qi (Liu Zhanwen
and Liu Liang, 2009: 30). Both these ways of dealing with unco-operative elements of the medical body thus echo the
problems seen in relating to others in the geo-body: we eliminate through radical separation (cutting off) or through

In this way, the onco-operative character


of the system means its over-zealous attempts at cleansing through therapy
(zhi4liao) and governance (zhi4li) actually come to threaten the system itself. This,
in turn, exposes an aporia at the very heart of the system, in that the disease must be cured, but cannot be cured without sacrificing the system itself:
there is no effective prevention or therapy; the metastases invade the whole
network virtually He who lives by the same will die by he same (Baudrillard,
radical harmonisation (turning the bad into the good).

2002 [1997]: 2). Or, in Derridas words: there is no absolutely reliable prophylaxis against the autoimmune. By definition
(Derrida, 2005 [2003]-b: 150-1). To Baudrillard, the fact that cancer is a reflection of the bodys victimisation by the
disruption of its genetic formula is thus what makes it impossible for conventional medicine to cure it: [t]he current
pathology of the body is now beyond the reach of conventional medicine, since it affects the body not as form, but as
formula (2002 [1997]: 1). To put it a different way, the fact that the system itself produces, through its own code, that
which threatens it means there is little use looking to the rationality of the system to combat its excrescences: [i]t is a
total delusion to think extreme phenomena can be abolished. They will, rather, become increasingly extreme as our

spontaneous
self-regulation of systems is something well- known: systems produce
accidents or glitches in their own programme, interfering with their own
operation (Baudrillard, 2002 [1997]: 5). This enables systems to survive on a basis
contrary to their own principles, against their own value-systems: they have
to have such a system, but they also have to deny it and operate in
opposition to it. But it is entirely as though the species were producing
through cancer, which is a disruption of the genetic code and therefore a
pathology of information, a resistance to the all-powerful principle of - 199 cybernetic control. With cancer, we might be said to be paying the prize
for our own system: we are exorcising its banal virulence in a fatal form
(Baudrillard, 2002 [1997]: 5). Again, this is precisely how rivercrabs operate: they
metastasise and spread through a disruption of the code that lets them slip
through its pre-programmed screening/fire- wall/censorship. This is indeed a resistance
systems become increasingly sophisticated (Baudrillard, 2002 [1997]: 7). On Baudrillards reading,

to cybernetic control, but one generated by the system itself. If we bring this analysis back to the discipline of IR, this way
of understanding cancer complicates things. Within Chinese IR, Wang Yizhou has argued that analysing terrorism in terms
of cancer calls for the question of how cancer comes into being. He reads it as a symptom of structural imbalance (Wang

military action can only cure the symptom but not the
source, harmonisation or re- balancing of the system will prevent radicalism
from breeding (2010: 16). In view of the above explanation of cancer, we may concur with both him and
Yizhou, 2010: 11). Where

Baudrillard that traditional treatment may only serve to aggravate the problem through weakening the system and
causing collateral damage. However, having excavated the forms of therapy suggested by the alternative of
harmonisation by TCM or Chinese IR, it appears that it stands equally powerless. Increasing harmonisation is unlikely to
curb cancer/crabs, but may rather contribute to spurring them on.

There is no use looking to the

systems own rationality to combat the crabs it produces.

Spatiotemporal bordering in an
onco\operative system What, then, are the spatio-temporal implications of these crabs, as metastases of an
(auto)immune and onco-operative system- Nick Vaughan-Williams (2007) has productively drawn on Derridas notion of
autoimmunity to discuss spatial and temporal bordering. The temporal bordering he discusses draws on Brian Massumis
description of flashes of sovereign power as a particular form of pre-programmed decision making in the space of a

parallels what Baudrillard thinks of


as a pre-programmed instantaneous operation. Understanding borders in
terms of this decisionist ontology highlights the specificity of contemporary
wordplay and rivercrabs, in relation to previous historical deployment of
homonyms to avoid censorship in China, as described earlier in this chapter. Previous forms of
moment (Massumi, 2005: 6; Vaughan-Williams, 2007: 187-8). This

bordering decisions with regards to such homonymous wordplay involved a deliberative process of human interpretation.
In this era of the virtual and the hyper-real, the bordering decision is pre-programmed and instantaneous. VaughanWilliams, following Massumi, argues that this approach is the temporal equivalent of a tautology: [t]he time form of the

When it arrives, it always seems to


have preceded itself. Where there is a sign of it, it has always already hit
(Massumi, 2005: 6, cited in Vaughan-Williams, 2007: 188). This form of decision is accordingly a
foregone conclusion (or following Hu perhaps an inevitable choice) because it sidesteps or
effaces the blurriness of the present in favor of a perceived need to act on
the future without delay, in the face of a threat of an indefinite future yet to
come (Vaughan- Williams, 2007: 188; Massumi, 2005: 4-5). Both authors read this as a temporal shift, from
decision that strikes like lightning is the foregone conclusion.

prevention to pre-emption, from the temporal register of the indefinite future tense to the future perfect tense: the

In parallel to the
autoimmune, this politics induces rather than responds to events: [r]ather
than acting in the present to avoid an occurrence in the future, pre- emption
brings the future into the present. It makes present the future consequences
of an eventuality that may or may not occur, indifferent to its actual
occurrence. The events consequences precede it, as if it had already
occurred (Massumi, 2005: 7-8, cited in Vaughan-Williams, 2007: 188). The Chinese practice of
censoring/harmonising specific terms through its Great Firewall works through
this form of pre-programmed code, which sensors in a flash of sovereign
power. Terms are censored pre-emptively to harmonise some not-yetexisting but possible future dissident deployment of a once unthreatening
term (such as the term future itself, as seen earlier in this chapter in
relation to Ai Weiweis detention). In this manner, PRC Internet censorship
policy acts as a temporal bordering process: it pre-empts threats to the
governments version of harmonious world/society that come from the
future, thus securing time and the future as something that belongs to the
state and not to the crabs or dissidents (c.f. Vaughan- Williams, 2007: 189). As an actual
wall, the form of electronic bordering that is exercised by the Great Firewall is
also a form of spatial bordering, in that it is intimately connected to questions
of sovereignty, territory and governmental power. Vaughan-Williams draws on William Walters
to refer to this spatial bordering as firewalling in contemporary China another term for
having been harmonised by the Great Firewall is having been GFWed
always-will-have-been-already (Massumi, 2005: 6-10; Vaughan-Williams, 2007: 188).

(Walters, 2006, for examples see Calon, 2007; Chow, 2010). The self-attacking or autoimmune logic of such GFW-ing is
clear in the blocking of Internet and telephone access that was used in attempts to harmonise Xinjiang during the 2009
riots. This firewalling was intended to prevent splittism from spreading, yet could only do so by splitting Xinjiang as a

This, too, is the spacing by which the


Great Firewall operates to maintain a harmonious space, that space must be
sealed off as a (virtual) geobody from the rest of the world . Again, what is described in
spatial unit off from the rest of China, in virtual/physical space.

Vaughan-Williams as innovations in the ways sovereign power attempts to secure the temporal and spatial borders of
political community could refer to something less localised in time and space than may at first appear (Vaughan-Williams,

The practices of Internet harmonisation in China can thus be


described in terms of a bordering of time and space that has parallels in
contemporary expressions of (auto)immunity in the European system. Having
said this, the particular practice of using homonymous characters like the
rivercrab, to simultaneously criticise and avoid being harmonised on the
Chinese Internet, is a locally specific way of negotiating this particular kind of
virtual bordering in time and space. This particular form and double function
differentiates it from other forms of satire or political irony that can be found
in other systems around the world. Moreover, in attempting to secure time
and space as belonging to the state, these harmonising Chinese censorship
regimes effectively provoke the kind of critical wordplay that I exemplify here
through rivercrabs. In this way, cancer/crabs work within the system and yet
repeatedly escape it: where harmonisation may be understood as an
attempt at temporal bordering, the experience of cancer has been described
as a disturbance to such temporality, a falling out of time (Stacey, 1997: 10). The
2007: 191).

more the Chinese government attempts to secure, cleanse and harmonise, the more creative and subversive are the
iterations that use its language against itself. Rivercrab metastases and heterotemporalities As a consequence of this
(auto)immune logic of the onco-operative system, rivercrabs, like cancer cells, increasingly display features indicative of a

In the herenow, crabs, like cancer, are marked by the way they spread and metastasise
through mutation of the code. In this way, we can understand how Chinese
crabs similarly migrate, multiply and change in what is precisely an
iterative manner. Every crab draws on previous iterations of harmony and crabs, but also mutates into
faster proliferative rate and disorganised alignment in relation to other cells (Marcovitch, 2005: 111).

something different. One example of such a metastasis can be seen in the figure below. It shows a replica of the logo for
the computer game World of Warcraft, saying instead Rivercrab World (hexie4shijie ). The text at the top
means do things others could never do (), and the one below means the late arrival of the battle
expedition (). The links to themes discussed throughout this thesis are marked, including the direct link to Hus
harmonious world policy, the competition inherent in games and play and the violent military underpinning of
harmonious world. Figure 12: Rivercrab world of warcraft (Source: Heifenbrug, 2008) - 203 - The rivercrab metastasises in
similar ways into numerous constellations some very close copies, some with more creative distance. The rivercrab
recurrently appears on blogs and can be found in an online dictionary compiled by China Digital Times (Xiao Qiang, 2010;
China Digital Space, 2011a), where it appears together with dozens of other characters and expressions that have
metastasised from similar homonymic wordplay and in reaction to governmental harmonisation. It also appears as a
permanent feature on the cap of another Internet meme, the Green Dam Girl (). The Green Dam Girl is an
anthropomorphism of the Green Dam Youth Escort software () that was developed under the direction of the
Chinese government to filter Internet content on individual computers.146 The Green Dam Girl and rivercrab also appear
in merchandise (Xu Yuting, 2009; Gaofudev, 2011; Lotahk, 2011), numerous cartoons (Hecaitou, 2009a; Hexie Farm, 2011)
and music videos (Stchi, 2009; Tutuwan, 2009; DZS manyin, 2010) that typically work through copies of copies,
interweaving the themes and symbols discussed throughout this thesis. In one such music video, the connection between
rivercrabs, harmony and Tianxia is once more highlighted (Tutuwan, 2009). This cover-song called Harmony or die
features the chorus Green dam, green dam rivercrab/harmonise your entire family (lv4ba,4lv4ba,4hexie4ni4quanjia4
), sometimes writing the same- sounding lyrics as harmony (), sometimes as rivercrab (
) in the subtitles. The second verse begins: Green dam - green dam, will kill you in the bud. Rivercrabs all under heaven,
arrogant attributes erupt [She] has asked you not to open your eyes too wide Is it possible that [she is] envious and
jealous-147 146 According to China Digital Space: Pre-installation of Green Dam software was originally intended for all
new computers; however, because the proposed policy proved deeply unpopular, mandatory pre-installation has been
delayed to an undetermined date. Green Dam girl first appeared sporadically in June 2009 on Baidus online
encyclopaedia (China Digital Space, 2011b). Some, however, suggested that the actual reason for the governments
about-face was the many security flaws within the software that allowed hackers to take over computers (jozjozjoz, 2009),
and that it was built on copyright and open sourcecode violations (Koman, 2009). Popular Chinese blogger Hecaitou (
) says the Green Dam Girl shows the creativity of the post-80s generation in resisting Internet regulation (Hecaitou,
2009a). 147 (lv4ba4W4lv4ba,4ba4ni4meng4sha) - 204 - This kind of video typically brings together
numerous key elements discussed here with reference to the onco-operative nature of contemporary Chinese society: the
Green Dam Girl, rivercrabs, harmony, Internet censorship, cleansing and Tianxia.148 This mixing of online lingo and
symbols is reiterated also in art off-line. In a 2011 art exhibition at the Postmaster Gallery in New York, Kenneth Tin-Kin
Hung exhibited his mixed media installation The Travelogue of Dr. Brain Damages (Hung, 2011). The installation was a
response to the increasing harmonisation of artistic and netizen dissidence in China, and explored the role of the Internet
in facilitating both freedom and suppression (Hung, 2011). The Chinese title Naocan4youji4() is a wordplay on
Lao4Can4youji (), The Travelogue of Lao Can, a late Qing dynasty novel attacking the injustice and hypocrisy of
government officials at the time. The project thus questioned whether the Internet in China is an effective tool for social
change, through remixing Chinese netizens meme languages with Western icons. The installation consisted of 10 framed
digital prints, a 6-minute long video and a ping-pong table sculpture, seen in the figure below. Several of the prints in this

installation include replicas of one or more rivercrabs, often copied from images circulated on blogs. For example, in the
piece titled Justice Bao faces the Red Sun everyday (), Bao4Zheng (), a Song dynasty judge who is a
symbol of justice in China, is holding a laptop of the Great Firewall brand displaying a copy of the rivercrab with three

On the walls behind the prints


were written in large red characters: You are not a real man until you have
leaped the Great Wall of China (Bu4fan4changcheng4fei4haohan ), which is one
character from the original quote from Mao: You are not a real man until you
have been to the Great Wall of China (Bu4dao4changcheng4fei4
watches that was discussed at the beginning of this chapter (Hung, 2011).

(hexie4Tianxia,4aojiao4shuxing4de4baofa) (baituo4le4nimen,4yan4bie4zheng4tai4da)
- (mofei4xianmu4duji4le4ma-) My translation. Full video with Chinese subtitles can be found online (Tutuwan, 2009). 148
See for example (Hrehnr, 2009b; Stchi, 2009, which later got a avatar dancetroop found at Hrehnr, 2009a; DZS manyin,
2010). - 205 - haohan ). The calligraphic style recalls the hand-painted signs that forbid uncivilised
behaviour (like spitting) and promote harmonisation in Chinese cities, but also the signs that appear on walls to be
demolished. Figure 13: Ping, ping, no pong artwork by Kenneth Tin\Kin Hung (Source: Kenneth Tin\King Hung) The
central sculpture of the installation, seen in the figure above, was titled Ping, ping, no pong (Ping,4ping,4wu4pang4
) and consisted of a ping-pong table with a whole cut out in the shape of a rivercrab on the Chinese side panel. The
net was replaced by a sculptured wall, symbolising the Great Firewall of China, and accompanied by a ping-pong ball to
symbolise the exchange of information (Hung, 2011). The sculpture highlights how the purported harmonious win-win of
mutuality is undermined by harmonisation, in the form of the rivercrab. Through depicting the rivercrab as a clearly visible
and distinct hole or void, this installation also highlighted the undecidable nature of rivercrabs as neither present nor

The metastasising, hybridising, prostheticising, mutating


displacement of harmony /rivercrabs goes so far as to penetrate and
reformulate the very characters themselves, as can be seen in the images below. The mutating
absent, but simultaneously both.

of characters into new ones became popular after Chinas Ministry of Education unveiled a list of standardised Chinese
characters in common usage, including 44 characters that were - 206 - slightly revised in their print formats in the Song
style, a popular Chinese character style in book printing format (Jiang Aitao, 2009). This re-formation of characters has
grown in popularity since 2009, and can be seen in off-line art such as Hungs (on the ping-pong racket above) and on
blogs and webpages on the Internet.149 Figure 14: Hybrid hexie1shehui, rearranging the characters for (Source:
Keso) The image above shows a T-shirt printed by critical blogger Keso. The print displays a rearrangement of the classical
Chinese characters, used in Hong Kong and Taiwan, for rivercrab society (hexie shehui ). The characters below
similarly display an amalgamation of the characters for harmony (hexie ) and rivercrab (hexie ). 149 The first
instance of this trend may be when on August 31 2009, netizens created three new Chinese characters together with
other digital artwork within twelve hours. These new characters can be seen on Hecaitous blog and include a character
pronounced nan, which combines the characters for brain damage (naocan4 ), which is online lingo used to
describe someone incapable of thinking straight because they have been crippled by party ideology; wao combining the
characters for fifty cents (wumao ) in a reference to the Fifty cent party which is an online term for online
commentators paid and trained by the government to anonymously spin online debate in favour of the Party Line; and
diang, combining the characters for the CCP Central Committee (dangzhongyang ) interpreted to mean the
ultimate, sacred, absolutely correct, cannot be questioned; you get the shit beaten out of you but cannot say a word (
) (Hecaitou, 2009b, for English language commentary at
China Digital Times, see Xiao Qiang, 2009). - 207 - Figure 15: Hybrid hexie, combining the characters and

This hybridisation of crabs has clear parallels to Baudrillards


alignment of metastases and prostheses, where the fractal (geo)body, fated
to see its own external functions multiply, is at the same time doomed to
unstoppable internal division among its own cells. It metastasises: the
internal, biological metastases are in a way symmetrical with those external
metastases, the prostheses, the networks, the connections (Baudrillard, 2002 [2000]:
(Source: Alison, 2010)

3). In this way rivercrabs, too, metastasise in time and space. Heterotemporalities and the undecidability of rivercrabs

Having examined the hybrid nature of the metastasising crabs, the final point
I want to argue is that this hybridity, in combination with the autoimmune
logics of which they are part, imbues them with a radical undecidability . Derrida
too emphasises this link between the autoimmunitary and undecidability: suppression in the name of the (harmonious)
system may be legitimate in protecting it from those who threaten it, but is simultaneously autoimmunitary in exposing
the immune system by which the system defends itself as an a4priori abusive use of force (Derrida, 2005 [2003]-a). In
this final section I thus want to emphasise the links between cancer/crabs and undecidability of the future against which

The undecidable nature of


cancer/crabs is visible in an aspect of the lore surrounding them, that refers
to the way the crab moves in time and space, in a forward and backwards
motion that has been connected to threatening dishonesty, but also to the
inability to decide something one way or the other, or to predict where it is
harmonisation attempts to secure harmonious world/society.

going

(Demaitre, 1998). This undecidability embodied in the crab is also emphasised by the Chinese interpretation of
harmony that sees its roots in cooking. The crab can at times be poisonous and as a bottom-feeder it often includes
contaminated substances. At the same time, however, it is considered a delicacy and is believed to nourish the marrow
and semen, making it a symbol of male potency and virility (The Vanishing Tattoo, 2011). As crabs are considered
exemplary salty they can in the logic of TCM either disturb or restore harmony of the body through their effect on the
kidneys, and can thus cause or treat cancer (Lu, 1986: 52, 125-6; Wong and Sagar, 2010: 16).150 Like Derridas reading of
the pharmakon in Platos Pharmacy, the crab, then, is simultaneously potential poison and potential cure indeed
Derrida says that [t]he pharmakon is another name, an old name, for this autoimmunitary logic.151 Again, the
interpretation of the crab as alimentary poison/cure as always already central to the concept of harmony can be seen in
the building blocks of the harmony concept itself. An alternative explanation of the character reads the radical to the
left , which depicts standing grain,152 with the radical to the right , which depicts an opening or mouth.153 Together
they link harmony to eating, or having plenty of grain to eat .154 David Hall and Roger Ames accordingly argue that
harmony is the art of combining and blending two or more foodstuffs so they come together with mutual benefit and
enhancement without losing their separate and particular identities, and yet with the effect of constituting a frictionless
whole (Hall and Ames, 1998: 181, cited in Callahan, 2011: 259). Callahan also draws on this metaphor in a famous
passage from the Spring4and4Autumn4Annals (Lshi4chunqiu ), where a minister uses it to explain to his king the
art of empire building: [y]our state is too 150 For one example of such a cure: Bake one male crab and one female crab
and grind into powder, take the powder with wine all at once to facilitate healing of breast cancer (Lu, 1986: 126). 151
Derrida (2003a: 124, see also, Derrida, 1976 [1967]: 292; 1981 [1972]; 1995 [1989]-a: 233; Derrida, 2005 [2003]-a: 52,
82, 157). This is also how Chinese lore traditionally conceives of poisons/cures more generally, as is clear from the Five
Poisons (wu4du ), incidentally near-homonymous with no poison (wu4du4 ). These are, like the crab, actually
five animals that have traditionally been held to counteract harmful influences through counteracting poison with poison.
They also had corresponding medicines made from five animals or corresponding herbs, used to treat ulcers and
abscesses, probably through active ingredients such as mercury and arsenic (Yetts, 1923: 2; Williams, 1976). 152
According to a dictionary definition (Hanyu4da4zidian4weiyuanhui, 1995: 4.2588.1). 153 According to a dictionary
definition (Hanyu4da4zidian4weiyuanhui, 1995: 1.566.14). 154 This etymology can be found in a number of dictionaries
and books on Chinese characters (Wieger, 1965 [1915]: 121a; Karlgren, 1974 [1923]: 70; Lindqvist, 1991: 187;
Hanyu4da4zidian4weiyuanhui, 1995: 1.602.1). small and is inadequate to have the full complement of the necessary
ingredients. It is only once you are the Emperor that you would have the full complement (Lvshi4 chunqiu, 1996, cited in
Callahan, 2011: 260). To Callahan, this shows the constructed nature of harmony, built through an active political
process, and judged from a particular perspective in this case the kings perspective (Callahan, 2011: 260). In Chinese
mythology, the crab is similarly associated with sovereign power and violent might, as well as with guarding and
screening the passage into secured spaces. For example, in Chinese mythology and popular fiction, the Chrystal Palaces
of the Dragon Kings of the Four Seas are guarded by shrimp soldiers and crab generals (Mythical Realm, 2011). This
stands as a parallel to the guarding of Chinese sovereign space by the Great Firewall, and the Green Dam Girl with her
crab sign of repressive authority. At the same time, however, this crustacean army is parodied in the Chinese idiom of
shrimp soldiers and crab generals (xiabing4xiejiang4 ), which is used to denote useless troops, a connotation
which remains with contemporary Internet users, as can be seen in the image below, which depicts shrimp soldiers and
crab generals as precisely ineffective troops (Lee, 2011). Figure 16: Shrimp soldiers and crab generals: Ineffective troops

What is clear from these metastases and their association is the


undecidability of these crabs of the onco-operative Chinese system. They are
simultaneously poison and cure, effective harmonisers and useless troops, a
consequence of sovereign bordering of time and space and that which falls
through or escapes such confines. This undecidability is inseparable from
the mutual contamination seen above in the crabs interaction with their environment and with other
(Source: Sean Lee)

species of the zoology that has emerged as part of netizens play with humorous homonyms in the face of Internet

It is this mutual contamination that I think makes these rivercrabs


and their peers step up to the challenge of coeval multiplicities that was outlined in
harmonisation.

chapter 2 of this thesis, which Hutchings articulated as the attempt to think heterotemporality which refers to
ultimately neither one present nor many presents, but a mutual contamination of nows that participate in a variety of
temporal trajectories, and which do not derive their significance from the one meta-narrative about how they all fit
together (Hutchings, 2008: 166). These diffrantial metastases, differentiated and deferred through spacing, are of the
system yet fall through the cracks of its time and space to engage in a mutual contamination of nows that each

Their very undecidability means that we


have to take responsibility in the here-now for which of their possible
readings, or temporal trajectories, we chose to put across. In this chapter I
have chosen to put across one such narrative, of crabs as (auto)immune
metastases of an onco-operative harmony. Their significance, however,
cannot be ultimately decided or locked in by this narrative it is not a metanarrative from which we can judge how they all fit together. It is indeed
impossible to do justice to the excess of meaning embodied in these crabs.
Nonetheless, I have traced some of them here and pointed to some of their
incorporates undecidable futures in the here-now.

significance, in a way that I believe can emphasise their radical undecidability


as a plurality of trajectories or simultaneity of stories-so-far.

Kind of like a thesis claim it might be good just to tack it


on to the previous card because it kind of explains an
argument about over-determining the meaning-making
process in response to egao and makes a lot of good
arguments about hallowing out the harmonious order
(2AC to FW will probably call it a will to harmony)
Nordin 12
(Astrid H.M. Nordin [Lecturer in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and
Religion at Lancaster University], Time, Space and Multiplicity in Chinas
Harmonious World, 2012, The University of Manchester Library,
https://www.escholar.manchester.ac.uk/uk-ac-man-scw:186417, pages 211213)

CONCLUSION In this chapter I have explored how Hus version of a harmonious world is being challenged and reproduced by a particular form

egao word play that works through deploying official language against
itself. These redeployments make visible how Hus harmony has come to
work through violent harmonisation of others. I have argued that these forms of wordplay draw on
of Chinese

tactics similar to Derridas in particular, but also to Baudrillards, thus providing for a resonance here between academic scholarship and

I have moreover argued that these forms of resistance are


inherently linked to Hus harmonious world/society through the
autoimmune logic of what I have termed an onco-operative system: a system
that in seeking to protect and cleanse itself actually violates itself as the
consequence of a violent non-recognition of the other in the self. In
exploring this quasi-suicidal interplay of harmony and rivercrabs, I have
shown how they are intimately linked to party-state attempts at spatial and
temporal bordering as a means to maintain a cleansed/harmonious
timespace. Deconstruction highlights the impossibility of ever making a clear-cut division between inside and outside, self and other
dissident practice in China.

and thus brings out a key feature of the logics of harmonious world (or perhaps any system). Resistance to4harmony/harmonisation can in
this way not be thought outside the resistance of4harmony/harmonisation, the resistance of the system itself to itself, of and to its self as

it is impossible for harmony to acquire


the conceptual unity or self-identity which would be needed in order for it to
be placed as a secure object to be straightforwardly resisted, critiqued or
condemned. In this manner I have insisted on the impossibility of succeeding
in creating such a purified space or object, and on the undecidability of both
harmony and crabs: like harmony, the crabs are simultaneously poison and
cure, they are intimately linked to the possibility of the system in the first
place, yet threaten it with murder/suicide. Because of a tendency of any community to close in on itself
other, a resistance of the other of itself to itself. For this reason,

and exclude the outside on which it relies for survival works according to an autoimmune logic, [t]his tendency is not a perversion of proper
community (whether inoperative, unavowable, - 212 - or coming, as for Blanchot, Nancy, Agamben), but the condition of its existence
(Thomson, 2005). This is certainly the case for Hus harmonious world. In this way

[t]his self-contesting

attestation keeps the auto-immune community alive, which is to say, open to


something other and more than itself (Derrida, 1998: 51). Finally, then, I have argued that this undecidability
is what makes it possible to think of this onco- operative system of metastases in terms of the heterotemporalities or coeval multiplicities.

Returning to the question of the political in harmony/rivercrabs, it seems the


claim that the online world of egao4offers a free and unrestricted time and
space of Bakhtinian carnival is premature. Rivercrabs are used to circumvent
constraints, not abolish them, and constraints are certainly still in place. The
descriptions of this culture as a separate sphere or the antithesis of normal
life seem similarly exaggerated. However, Lagerkvists idea that egao4is for venting anger as4opposed4to
offering the public political power hinges on a focus on politics in the narrow sense, which is seen throughout prior analyses of egao. Much
previous scholarship rests on the assumption that egao4should be judged on its potential to influence politics, to contest the legitimacy,
accountability or policy of the PRC government. Others imply that it should be measured against its potential to cultivate collective resistance,
collective empowerment or grassroots communities. If measured against such standards, rivercrabs certainly appear as ineffective troops in

They make us laugh, but offer no way out, no alternative telos


towards which a movement of mass resistance can be directed. They even
refuse to adapt a single meaning and always oscillate they are
simultaneously harmony and rivercrab, resisting and perpetuating the
proliferation of harmony. Precisely herein lies the political potential of
rivercrabs. Previous scholarship has aimed to understand the meaning of
egao, to pin down its potential significance in terms of a resisance/not
resistance divide of politics. I suggest instead that we can approach such
phenomena by way of interrogating the4political, where repolitcization
involves a disruption of the regular proliferation of allochronically organized
harmony, a challenge to what have, through discursive practices, been - 213
- constituted as normal, natural, and accepted ways of carrying on (Edkins, 1999: 12).
Through repeatedly deploying expressions like having been harmonised or
rivercrab world the meaning of the official harmonious world discourse is
hollowed out or disrupted, rather than contested head on. The point is
not necessarily to resist or not resist, but to make strange. This is what
pushes rivercrabs into the political, where multiple meanings or doings of
words and purported significance leads to instances of openness where we
need to make impossible decisions with regards to their use and
interpretation. It is only if we shift the focus from politics to the political that it
makes sense to conceive of this language play as alternative political
discourse (Meng Bingchun, 2011: 39) or alternate civility (Lagerkvist, 2010: 158). With this said, repoliticisation is
not stable, but egao too is repeatedly depoliticised, by being designated as
unimportant or as meaning only one thing (only revolution, only apolitical
escapism, only4a potential to become a proper political movement). The
point of this chapter is not to designate to egao another correct4meaning,
but to indicate the undecidability of this meaning-making process. The point, precisely,
is to open back up the question of egao as potentially political even if it does not lead to a revolutionary politics. Because of the
onco-operative logic of the system our solutions to problems, our attempts
to perfect the world are but a step on the way to worse viruses developing
battling out Chinese politics.

(Coulter, 2004). The question, then, has to be asked: [w]hat is cancer a resistance to, what even worse eventuality is it saving us from-
(Baudrillard, 1993 [1990]: 10). It is thus to the question of eventualities that I turn in my conclusion, to the (im)possibility of openness to this
Other to come.

Recut splitted up version of the framework


card
We dont defend meaning or definitions framework is an
attempt to impose harmony that destroys itself your
conception of debate is a utiopian fantasy fw = turning
the Otherness of the aff into difference, to pinpoint
exactly where and how we depart from debate is bad
214-231
Thinking about multiplicity has remained a key
conundrum for those who want to think about global politics as truly political.
Conclusion: Futures of harmony and coeval multiplicities

One attempt at managing and grappling with the opportunities and challenges that multiplicity presents us with from beyond the European
imperium has been recent Chinese thinking about harmony and the concept of harmonious world (Inayatullah and Blaney, 2004: ix).

This thesis is to be read in the context of recently undertaken efforts to


understand this and other normative challenges to the way we imagine the
times, spaces and differences of the contemporary world. Its prime task has
been to scrutinise the way assumptions about time, space and multiplicity
play out in this challenge to what is perceived as Western ways of imagining
world order. With such a challenge in mind, this thesis has embarked on a disruptive reading of the multiplicity problematique in the
harmonious world concept. THE CONTINUED PROLIFERATION OF HARMONY Before moving on to discuss the findings of this thesis and their

The term harmonious


world has been written into the CCP constitution and numerous official
strategy documents. Foreign envoys to the PRC have been taken on
Confucius-themed trips by the Chinese state, accompanied by a number of
the academic promoters of harmonious world through whom the envoys
acquired a deeper understanding of Chinas traditional cultural philosophy
such as seeking for harmony but not uniformity, living in harmony with all
other nations (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PRC, 2011a). The PRC establishment has also
urged other countries to be harmonious, recently for example in relation to
Vietnam (Xinhua, 2012d), the Maldives (Xinhua, 2012a) and India (Xinhua, 2012b). Harmonious world has
implications for thinking multiplicity, what for the immediate future of harmonious world-

moreover been well received by a number of foreign dignitaries, and spread into their own language use. Leaders who have recently used it in
ways that resonate with the sinister side we have seen to harmony include Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad (CNTV, 2012). At the same time,
it has not been given positive play only by alleged rogues of the international arena, but by more widely accepted players such as Kevin
Rudd, Australias former minister of foreign affairs. He confidently declared, in a speech given to the Asia Society in New York in 2012: there is
something in Chinas concept of a harmonious world; which the US, the rest of the region and the rest of the world can work with (Rudd,

UN officials, such as Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, have also promoted


harmony in official settings (Xinhua, 2012c). Such endorsement has been played up by Chinese officials, for example Li
2012).

Baodong, Chinese permanent representative to the UN, who refers to the spirit of cultural diversity and harmony in the world advocated by

Harmonious world and the


traditional strategic culture with which it has been associated, then, has not
only been deeply entrenched in PRC policy documents, but has also been
given positive play by other influential individuals and organisations. This supports
Joseph Chengs recent expectation that it will remain a major element of Chinas public diplomacy in the foreseeable future: [a]s
China pursues an increasingly ambitious role in regional leadership and
international institution-building, its publicity work on building a harmonious
world will likely be stepped up (Cheng, 2012: 183). As explained at the outset of this thesis, every generation of
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the United Nations (Xinhua, 2012e).

Chinese leadership has used tifa to stamp their mark on Chinese politics. Xi Jinping, who is expected to take over leadership after Hu Jintao in
2012, is not known as a great friend of Hu (he was not Hus preferred candidate for succession). We can therefore expect that Xi will introduce

However, Xi
has also made use of the language of harmony in the run-up to his take-over,
other tifa during his time in leadership, and some may expect a decline of harmonious world after he comes to power.

for example when he headed a large Central Government delegation to the


Tibet Autonomous Region Between 17 and 22 July 2011, for events to mark
the 60th Anniversary of what the party-state calls the peaceful liberation of
Tibet.155 Moreover, he was responsible for the inauguration ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where harmony played a central
role. For these reasons, it seems reasonable to expect that Hus stepping down from the presidency is not the last we will hear of harmonious

The cat-and-mouse game with online


dissidents also continues. A search for banned terms on Sina Weibo on 2 November 2011 showed
the term (xienongchang) to be censored. The term refers to a series of political cartoons with the English name Hexie farm. This
hexie refers to the double meaning of harmony and rivercrabs, with the
Chinese title using the term for crab (xie ) in this formulation. The
cartoons focus on censorship and violent promotion of harmonious policies
and have become widespread amongst other things through the China Digital
Times project (Hernandez, 2011; Hexie Farm, 2011). New puns are constantly created, then
censored, giving rise to further new terms. The rivercrabs have now morphed
into new humorous national treasure words that are deployed in egao
culture online. One such replacement word for harmony/rivercrabs is
shuichan (), meaning aquatic product. Another is the evocative near-homonym hxi or hxu (
), which means to drink blood, an expression particularly popular in Taiwan. Through such terms,
harmony/rivercrabs continue to morph, metastasise and proliferate. In my
examination of what harmonious world does in terms of imagining time
space and multiplicity, I set out in this thesis to answer three sub-questions. I will now return to each of these questions in turn, and will
world in Chinese policy or academic discourse (see Nordin, 2011: 17).

make three key claims with regards to the doings of harmony. 155 For examples of Xi promoting harmony during the celebration, see the full
text (Xi Jinping, 2011a: 2, 3, 4) or a full length CCTV recording (Xi Jinping, 2011b: 12:27, 24:06, 33:24) of his speech at the anniversary
ceremony . Xis speech was also preceded by others stressing civilizational harmony (wenming4hexie ), and followed by a parade
displaying ethnic harmony and unity under the theme building harmony, as can be seen in additional CCTV recordings of the ceremony. The
broadcast ends by an assertion of the expected harmonious life of ethnic unity under the central government (CCTV, 2011: 19:19, 20:20,
138:50, 147:14). - 217 - HARMONIOUS WORLD REPEATS AN ALLOCHRONISING LOGIC The first question I asked in the introduction to this
thesis was: what are the assumptions behind and political consequences of different ways of articulating harmonious world, particularly in
terms of ordering time and space- With regards to this question, this thesis has found that much of the official and academic discourse on
harmonious world deploys terms drawn from ancient Chinese thought. We have seen particular emphasis on concepts drawn from pre-Qin
texts, such as All-under heaven (Tianxia4 ), the kingly way (wangdao4 ), the hegemonic way (badao ), harmonism

have examined on harmonious world, these


terms are aligned with concepts of traditional Western IR and fall back on
the spatial categories of traditional IR theories. Through these spatial
categories, the debates reflect different ways of imagining the space of a
harmonious world. Some articulations rely on a unit-based political
cosmology, including civilizations, regions and most of all bounded states.
Others are based in holistic assumptions, deploying IR-terms such as
network space, holistic globalisation (specifically quanqiu4yitihua4 ) and an
understanding of Tianxia that similarly conceives of a space where everything
is already connected to everything else. Both of these ways of imagining
space, however, marry their spatialisations with conventional notions of
modernization and progress, or turning the bad into the good, that imply a
linear or teleological time. Such imaginations organise difference in epochs, and binaries such as advanced/behind,
modern/traditional, developed/developing and bad/good. Through these concepts multiplicity is aligned
in a historical queue with Chinese elites at the head. I have shown these
terms and spatio-temporal imaginings to reappear in party-state documents,
academic writing and the visualisations of harmonious world at Expo In all these
(hehe4zhuyi4 ), and so on. Yet, in the texts I

contexts, I have shown some of the things harmonious world does at the level of ideology, as a second order simulacrum. At this level, the
key doing of harmonious world in the contexts I examined is the allochronic organisation of time, space and multiplicity. This is politically
problematic because it reduces not only the challenge, but the opportunity that time and space could and should present us with: coeval
multiplicities. This thesis thus presents a rebuttal of claims that harmonious world and associated concepts such as All-under-heaven and
the kingly way present a better alternative to more conventional ideas of world order.

Despite claims to the

contrary, they fail to escape the problematic organisation of difference that


they criticise in Western thought. Through examining the unit-based and holistic political cosmologies in
academic discourse and at Expo 2010 I have moreover contributed to a rebuttal of the idea that these two imaginaries are mutually exclusive
with one replacing the other. I have shown instead that they are both deployed together in contemporary China in ways that, although in

Therefore, although there is


some tension between different terms and spatialisations used to articulate
harmonious world, the diversity of accounts is undermined in that they all fall
back on allochronising assumptions. In that sense, what they all do is produce
a domesticated form of difference that denies an open future. Through these findings this
certain tension, are mutually supportive in underpinning an allochronic world imaginary.

thesis intervenes in two fields. For students of China and its foreign policy, it provides a rebuttal of some important claims by Chinese scholars
and policy makers. The most important implication is that scholars must stop treating China as the other country. China is not behind as
some infant being socialised, as Johnston and others would have it. Nor is it a radical other to the West that naturally escapes the problems
of allochronic thought, as in Chinese exceptionalist narratives. For scholars interested in time, space and multiplicity in IR, and in the

this thesis provides a detailed study of a concept from


China, a context that has hitherto received less attention in these debates
than it merits. For these debates, it cautions against the allure of China as an
Other or alternative that escapes the traps of allochronic thinking. HARMONISATION
allochrony problematique in particular,

WILL NOT TAKE PLACE The second question I asked in the introduction to this thesis was: what is the overall effect of the proliferation of
harmony in contemporary Chinese society- After officially launching harmonious world in 2005, the PRC party-state has continued spurring

Through the studies of this thesis we have


seen harmonious world amass so much meaning that the possibility of
using it as a meaningful concept has disappeared. Its meaning has been
shown to designate total co-operation, total subjugation, total respect for
difference, total control, totally moral leadership, and so on. Where other
scholars have tried to find out its true meaning, I have shown instead how the
illusion of this possibility has disappeared not into meaninglessness, but
into what we may by Baudrillardean analogy think of as transparent or
obscene hyper-meaning, the more meaningful than the meaningful. As an
effect of this mass proliferation the term has become overripe and collapsed
under the weight of its own meaning to the point where it can no longer
function as an ideal. The fantasy and the reality of harmonious world have
collapsed into one another and the seduction of the concept has been lost.
The proliferation of harmony has made it disappear as an imagined
metaphysical possibility. Harmonization has not taken place, is not taking
place and will not take place. This effect of the proliferation of harmony, as a third order simulacrum of simulation
the concepts proliferation in Chinese and international contexts.

rather than second order ideology, is a key finding. Some scholars have called for caution with regards to the oppressive, homogenising and
depoliticising aspect of Chinese harmonization. In the context of its hyper- meaning, resistance to harmony and harmonious world must be

The threat posed by proliferating harmonisation is not only the


policing of boundaries that I describe on the level of ideology: cracking down
on dissidents, blocking words online, preventing people from tweeting.
Indeed, we might want to reflect on why many of us are so obsessed with
condemning the limitation of communication: will the revolution really be
tweeted- Instead, a more spectacular threat to harmony comes from the
excess of communicating harmony itself, which destroys the illusion of the
real in the harmony concept. In that sense the mass- communication of
harmony is dangerous on a larger metaphysical plane. The CCP is working towards a controlled
thought of differently.

hierarchical harmony, but it becomes something completely different. They are the ones robbing harmony of its illusion. Baudrillard writes
concerning the Gulf War which he famously declared was not taking place that it is stupid to be for or against the war if you do not for one

Therefore, those who promote the truth


of it as a war and historical event are the warmongers, the accomplices
(Baudrillard, 1991; Merrin, 1994: 440). On the same logic, it is misplaced to be for or against
harmony. We have seen various aspects of the hyper- meaning of harmony
moment question its credibility or level of reality (Baudrillard, 1991).

and harmonisation (total co-operation, total subjugation, total respect for difference, totally moral leadership, total control).
None of these things are taking place in contemporary China or its relations
to the world. If something is taking place, it is not harmony or harmonisation.
My task here has not been to promote or oppose this term, but rather to question its credibility and indeed level of reality. This insight and its
implications for resistance is a key contribution of this thesis to both of the fields in which I intervene. Moreover, through reading harmonious
world in terms of both its doing and its undoing this thesis suggests a novel way in which scholars of Chinese international relations may
study foreign policy concepts in general and Chinese set phrases in particular. It thus contributes to the literatures on doing things with
words in Chinese politics through emphasising ways of examining the undoings that doings necessarily imply. It moreover contributes to
literatures on time, space and multiplicity in IR through showing how the thought of Derrida and Baudrillard may help us shake up the manner

That
harmony is not taking place, I stress once more, does not mean it does not
have effects. Two academic commentators claim with regards to its policy formulation that it is implicit that a harmonious world is
in which questions of multiplicity and politics can be formulated, and foreign policy concepts can be studied in terms of excess.

one where supposed heresies are tolerated (Guo Sujian and Blanchard, 2008b: 4). Based on the finding that harmonious world repeats an

Relegating heresies (or


others) to a different time from our own means denying them coevalness in
the here-now. The implication in the texts I have examined is that they will
eventually come around to seeing the world as we do, which in turn has
depoliticising effects.
allochronising logic, I am less certain that such tolerance is implied in - 221 - harmonious world.

FW = go away, causes bad things to happen to harmony


or something
221-224
THERE IS AN APORIA AT THE HEART OF HARMONIOUS WORLD AND COEVAL MULTIPLICITIES The third and final question I asked in the
introduction to this thesis was: are there contradictions in or between different articulations of harmonious world- How are these made
visible- I have argued above that the diversity of more or less official accounts of a harmonious world is undermined in that they all fall back
on allochronising assumptions. However, I have also shown how official language migrates and morphs in different contexts through which
harmonious world is undone resisted, deconstructed and changed by its very own logic. A reading of Chinas mega events as simulacra of
both the second and third order (ideology and simulation) has revealed how notions of inside/outside, now/then and subject/object come apart.
Moreover, dissident play with the concept of harmony makes visible certain contradictions, both between different articulations of harmonious
world and within the concept itself. I began this thesis by outlining the two contradictory imperatives of multiplicity, the threat and the promise
of difference. Throughout the examination of harmonious world, this term has revealed itself as mirroring the aporetic imperatives of coeval

Harmony must by definition be universal, but its universalisation by


definition makes harmony impossible. Bart Rockman has suggested that harmony may be a necessary glue
multiplicity.

without which neither a society nor a polity are sustainable, but that complete social harmony is ultimately suffocating and illiberal
(Rockman, 2010: 207). Jacob Torfing has also taken issue with predominant understandings of harmony in Southeast Asia that he argues

post-political vision of politics and governance that tends to eliminate


power and antagonism (Torfing, 2010: 257). Drawing on Laclau and Mouffe, he understands such a
post-political vision as both theoretically unsustainable and politically
dangerous. It is theoretically unsustainable because power and antagonism
are inevitable features of the political dimensions of politics, as I have
described the political (cf. Baudrillard, 1990 [1983]: 162, 182). Therefore politics: cannot be reduced
to a question of translating diverging interests into effective [win-win] policy
solutions, since that can be done in an entirely de- politicized fashion, for
example, by applying a particular decision-making rule, relying on a certain
rationality or appealing to a set of undisputed virtues and values. Of course,
politics always invokes particular rules, rationalities and values, but the
political dimension of politics is precisely what escapes all this (Torfing, 2010: 257-8).
Politics, then, unavoidably involves a choice that means eliminating
alternative options. Moreover, although we base our decisions on reasons and
may have strong motivations for choosing what we choose, we will never be
able to provide an ultimate ground for any given choice in Derridean terms, such
grounds will always be indefinitely deferred. Therefore, the ultimate decision
will have to rely on a skilful combination of rhetorical strategies and the use
present a

of force (Torfing, 2010: 258). The acts of exclusion that politics necessarily entails will
produce antagonism between those who identify with the included options
and those who do not. For this reason, the attempt by the promoters of
harmony to dissociate harmonious politics from the exercise of power, force
and the production of antagonism, claiming a harmony where everyone wins
and no-one looses, is bound to fail. Moreover, the post-political vision of
politics and harmony is politically dangerous because its denial of antagonism
will tend to alienate those excluded from consideration those who count as
no-one when everyone wins and no-one loses. This, Torfing writes, will tend to displace antagonistic
struggles from the realm of the political to the realm of morals, where conflicts are based on non-negotiable values and the manifestation of

Such non- negotiable values would be the opposite of


the co-operative harmony sought. To both Rockman and Torfing, then,
complete or perfect harmony will defeat harmony and create disharmony. We
authentic identities (Torfing, 2010: 258).

have seen how numerous scholars argue that in order to imagine harmony, we need to imagine heterogeneity and multiplicity. We can now
add that the allochronic organisation of difference eliminates the multiplicity in the here-now that is a prerequisite for harmony. In order to
imagine heterogeneity and multiplicity we need to delineate here and there, now and then in the fathomable aspect of diffrance that enables

to imagine multiplicity we
need borders and boundaries, or else all we have is the unitary One. Such is
language. Rockman goes on to argue that although homogeneity of ascriptive identities like ethnicity, language or
religion may enhance harmony, the more important factor for constructing
harmony is the capacity to assimilate, absorb and integrate perspectives to
a common ground for accommodation of diversity (Rockman, 2010: 207). But the point is
that the idea of a common ground can only be built on exclusion, that such
assimilation, absorption and integration is what reduces the otherness of the
Other to only fathomable, definable and co-operative difference. To Baudrillard, it is
the modern Wests refusal of such alterity that spawns nostalgia for the
Other, who is now always already domesticated, a mass version of what we
saw in presentations of ethnics at Expo 2010 ( Baudrillard, 1990 [1987]: 145, 165). We have
seen the same refusal of alterity in Chinese discourses on harmonious world,
with its focus on proper understanding and the insistence on difference in
order to make the world colourful. It is the same nostalgia and exhuming
ritual that IR scholars perform when dreaming of an emerging Chinese
school of IR theory as a radical alternative to the West. Despite this nostalgia, we must not
try to foster difference. It is counterproductive to call for respecting the difference of
marginalized groups, as this relies on a presumption that they need to have
an Identity and makes the marginal valued as such, thus leaving the marginal
where they are, in place. Difference must therefore be rejected, to some
extent at least, in favour of greater otherness or alterity : otherness [laltrit] is not the same
thing as difference. One might even say that difference is what destroys otherness
(Baudrillard, 1993 [1990]: 127, 131). Thus the other must stay Other, separate, perhaps difficult
to understand, uncontrollable (Hegarty, 2004: 118). In this way, Baudrillard advocates more exoticism, an interest
us to think spacing between multiple trajectories la Massey. In other words, in order

in the other as Other, and as beyond assimilation into proper understanding in the present. To Hutchings this absence of a proper
understanding of the other in the present is no doubt disappointing, because other times are indeed identified with an unpresentable

the Other can only remain Other


insofar as we resist the urge to attempt such assimilation. The alternative
would be to fall back into the One and loose sight of the possibility of
harmony and coeval multiplicities. What we have, then, is an aporia at the
heart of both coeval multiplicities and of harmonious world, despite attempts
to conceal it. I have aimed through this thesis to question little by little the attempts at harmonious organisation of time and space
supplement and thus with that which cannot be known, but only hoped for. But

as belonging to the sovereign that this concealment has implied. I have examined different strategies of reading and using harmony in ways

that reveal the excluded other of Hus harmony discord and competition to be always already there within the political and linguistic system

the harmonious system is not based on co-operation or


non co-operation, but works according to an onco-operative logic: the quasisuicidal logic of cancer and the (auto)immune . Ultimately, the aim and most
important contribution of this thesis has been to bring the onco-operative
uncertainty of the political back into the harmonious world concept in order to
elucidate the negotiation of danger and necessity of multiplicity.
of harmony itself. I have argued that

Definitions bad- Harmony is violent, but even though it


doesnt exist, we still gotta talk about it
224-231
(IM)POSSIBLE COEVAL MULTIPLICITIES; (IM)POSSIBLE HARMONY With regards to the main question of this thesis, I thus make three interrelated

harmonious world does. First, it repeats the allochronising logic that we recognise from Western
disappears as an imagined metaphysical possibility as an effect
of its excessive proliferation. Third, when the aporia at the heart of the harmony
concept is recognised, it allows for a re- politicisation of harmonious world
and Chinas role in world politics. I have argued that these findings make an important contribution to both
scholars of Chinese international politics and to theorists of time, space and multiplicity in IR. But where does this leave us- A key
effect of the onco-operative logic that I have identified in harmonious world
is undecidability. Harmony, as simulation, is paradoxically both totalising and
violent, and impossible (cf. Grace, 2003). To begin, its fetishised perfectability is constantly
undermined: [t]he perfect crime would be to build a world-machine without
defect, and to leave it without traces. But it never succeeds. We leave traces
everywhere viruses, lapses, germs, catastrophes signs of defect, or
imperfection (Baudrillard, 1997: 24). Moreover, contemplating the illusion of the real reveals
the object as neither the static, subordinated other of the subject, nor the
simulated project of an idealist order: the object that is neither one thing nor
the other is fundamentally illusory (Grace, 2003). In Baudrillards terms: [i]llusion is simply the
fact that nothing is itself, nothing means what it appears to mean. There is a
kind of inner absence of everything to itself. That is illusion. It is where we
can never get hold of things as they are, where we can never know the truth
about objects, or the other (Baudrillard in Baudrillard and Butler, 1997: 49). Undecidables, then, cannot be reduced to
claims about what

discourses. Second, it

opposition but reside within opposition, in Derridas words resisting and disorganising it, without4ever4constituting a third term and thus

Such undecidables exist neither


simply inside metaphysical discourse and its constitutive binaries, nor simply
outside them. They work, instead, on their margins and limits, disrupting and
displacing them, as we have seen rivercrabs do. This makes them
[n]either/nor, that is, simultaneously, either/or (Derrida, 1987 [1972]: 43, emphasis in original). We
without becoming dialectical (Derrida, 1987 [1972]: 43, emphasis in original).

can add to the previous discussion about the times and spaces of undecidable harmony, and the potential I have located in it for thinking
coeval multiplicities, through drawing on Derridas discussion of auto-immunity in relation to the term renvoyer, which means re-sending,
sending away, sending back (to the source) and/or sending on (Haddad, 2004: 37). Derrida explains that the autoimmune process: consists
always in a renvoi, a referral or deferral, a sending or putting off. The figure of the renvoi belongs to the schema of space and time, to what I
had thematized with such insistence long ago under the name spacing as the becoming-space of time or the becoming-time of space. The
values of the trace or of the renvoi, like those of diffrance, are inseparable from it (Derrida, 2005 [2003]-a: 35, emphasis in original).

Thus, in onco-operative harmony the (auto)immune topology in space


demands that harmony be sent off elsewhere, excluded, rejected. It must be
expelled under the pretext of protecting it, precisely by rejecting or sending
off to the outside the disharmonious elements inside it (cf. Derrida, 2005 [2003]-a: 35-6). As we

exiling does not take place only in democracy , as Derrida implied, but also in
harmony. It is the expulsion of internal ills that has been promoted by Hus harmony and by both Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
have seen, such

and biomedical approaches to cancer. It has been criticised by theorists of time and space such as Fabian, Inayatullah and Blaney, Massey and
Hutchings. Moreover, since the renvoi operates in time as well, autoimmunity also calls for putting4off [renvoyer] until later elections and the

So too does it postpone the coming of harmony.


Here, truly harmonious behaviour by the sovereign is postponed until later,
until more harmonious times. China needs to become strong first, be in
control of harmony on the inside first, use hard power first. This renvoi reinforces my claim
advent of democracy (Derrida, 2005 [2003]-a: 36).

that there is no essence to harmony, no self with which harmony can be self-same. To paraphrase Derrida, this double renvoi (sending off or

It is inscribed directly in
harmony, directly in or right onto the concept of a harmony without concept,
directly in a harmony devoid of self-sameness. It is a harmony of which the
concept remains free, out of gear, free-wheeling, in the free play of its
indetermination. It is inscribed directly in this thing or this cause that,
precisely under the name of harmony, is never properly what it is, never
itself. For what is lacking in harmony is proper meaning, the very meaning of
the selfsame, the it-self, the properly selfsame of the it-self. It defines harmony, and the very
to the other and putting off, adjournment) is an autoimmune fatality or necessity.

ideal of harmony, by this lack - 227 - of the proper and of the selfsame (cf. Derrida, 2003b: 61; 2005 [2003]-a: 36-7). Again, in a slightly

The onco-operative Chinese


system is not only a process by which harmony attacks a part of itself . This renvoi,
different sense, harmony has not taken place, is not taking place and will not take place.

moreover, consists in a deferral or referral to the other: as the undeniable, and I underscore undeniable, experience of the alterity of the other,
of heterogeneity, of the singular, the not-same, the different, the dissymmetric, the heteronomous (Derrida, 2005 [2003]-a: 38, emphasis in
original). By undeniable, here, Derrida also means that it is only deniable. The only way that it is possible to protect meaning is through a
sending-off (renvoi) by way of denial. Harmony is differantial in both senses of diffrance. It is diffrance,4renvoi, and spacing. This is why
spacing, the becoming-space of time or the becoming-time of space is so important. (Derrida, 2005 [2003]-a: 38). Harmony, like democracy,
is what it is only in the diffrance by which it defers itself and differs from itself. Harmony can never achieve the indivisibility that it claims as
its prerequisite. To the extent that it tries to do so, it must enforce its law with violence (disharmony). In this sense, it is impossible. But, the
perceptive reader may ask, do the traces and cracks that make harmony come apart not also appear in the argument of this thesis- Could the
same not be said about the argument that harmony is impossible- Indeed. A successful failure. And the same is true for coeval multiplicities.
This thesis has questioned whether it is possible to imagine harmonious world in a way that allows for coeval multiplicities. The temptation set

However, the
undoing of harmonious world I have examined exposes the need to think
otherwise about the dichotomy of possibility/impossibility and to displace it.
Following Derrida, both harmonious world and coeval multiplicity are best conceived as both
possible and impossible, never simply one or the other. Any harmonious or
coeval relation to otherness is also always a disharmonious and - 228 allochronising relation. This deconstructive undecidability, as I have argued,
is not negative (as Massey would have it). That harmony or coeval multiplicities are not simply4possible is not an excuse to treat
up by this question is to answer in terms of the dichotomy it implies: it is either possible, or impossible.

them as simply4impossible. The aim of reading deconstruction or reversibility throughout this thesis has been to reveal the contradictions and

The purpose has been to show that the


post-political articulations of harmonious world do not hold up, and to bring
the political back into the harmony concept. COEVAL MULTIPLICITIES AND HARMONY TO COME I have
argued that harmonious world will not take place , I have argued against its possibility, I have used it against
itself, and written an entire thesis with the express strategy to make it disappear. Are scholars then to resolutely
reject harmony and harmonious world as viable concepts in IR- Are students
to retreat back to the comfortable concepts and language that have a more
established history in IR literatures- Although it may appear paradoxical, I want to answer
these questions with a resolute no. Again: that harmony or coeval
multiplicities are not simply possible is not an excuse to treat them as simply
impossible. It calls, instead, for the opposite of abandoning harmony and
coeval multiplicities. The point that harmonious world is not uniquely
liberating, but repeats the politically problematic and allochronising logic of
more established writing in what is referred to as Western tradition, simply
complexity that reside within what we try to enact and make possible.

means that it cannot escape the restraints and problems recognisable in


other terms. Therefore, retreating to other (old, comfortable) terms is not a
solution. There are, however, some good reasons to continue discussing
harmony and harmonious world as important concepts of IR. First, although
harmony has disappeared its proliferation has not . As explained above, I believe that harmonious
world will remain a key concept to Chinese politics for some time yet. This in itself means we should keep
engaging it. Second, I use it in acknowledgement of a tradition and aspiration to a way of doing things differently. Derridas
democracy to come is chosen in acknowledgement of his debt to a historical and intellectual heritage. As he claims in an interview
concerning autoimmunity: [o]f all the names grouped a bit too quickly under the category political regimes (and I do not believe that
democracy ultimately designates a political regime), the inherited concept of democracy is the only one that welcomes the possibility of
being contested, of contesting itself, of criticizing and indefinitely improving itself (Derrida, 2003a: 121). I have shown that Derridas claim that
democracy would be the name of the only regime that presupposes its own perfectibility is highly questionable (Derrida, 2003a: 121).
There seems to be little impetus to call the processes and ideas that I have examined democracy (despite the CCP leaderships insistence
that China is democratic). Yet, they operate on the same (auto)immune or onco-operative logic that Derrida takes as giving democracy its
future, its to come. I have argued that harmony is onco-operative in a similar manner, and its legacy should be recognised. Third, I want to
retain the term harmony because of its universalist implications (cf. Pin-Fat, 2010: 119-20). Its universal claim that all conceivable elements

Despite
itself, it invites questions about what or who has been excluded, why and on
what grounds. I therefore take it as an invitation to question and challenge
the reality, precisely, of the divisions that deployments of harmony have
made visible to us. In the party-states version of harmony, Chinas future is
an active programme, but importantly this future is described through the
oxymoron of inevitable choice (State Council of the PRC, 2005b), legitimised as rational due
to the application of Chinas scientific outlook on development and
prescriptive of a future where China will always stand for fairness and
justice (Hu Jintao, 2007). I have questioned such prescriptive narratives, in order to open up to the undecidability of an unimaginable
future for harmonious world. The reason that I have kept insisting on such openness
(autoimmunity, undecidability, the Other, and so on) is because it makes the
political, and indeed any futures at all, imaginable (albeit in ways I shall qualify below). To Derrida
of a situation need to be in harmony for the situation to be harmonious conjures up the question of exclusions and exceptions.

[a] foreseen event is already present, already presentable; it has already arrived or happened and is thus neutralized in its irruption (Derrida,

[w]ithout the absolute singularity of the incalculable and


the exceptional, no thing and no one, nothing other and thus nothing, arrives
or happens (Derrida, 2005 [2003]-b: 148, emphasis in original). And again, [w]ithout autoimmunity, with
absolute immunity, nothing would ever happen or arrive; we would no longer
wait, await or expect, no longer expect one another, or expect any event
2005 [2003]-b: 143). Therefore,

(Derrida, 2005 [2003]-b: 152, see also 157). This is why Derrida insists on the future to come (avenir/4venir). In accordance with my
argument for (im)possible coeval multiplicities, this places focus on what comes, rather than that which begins from the self or the One.
Chinese language has the same connotations of the future as that which comes, where the character lai , meaning precisely to come, is
part of the term for future, weilai . This places it in a chain of meanings of the to come as future (weilai4 or jianglai4 ), return
(huilai4 ), and originally (yuanlai4 ). This echoes with the spectral temporality discussed in this thesis, where the future is to come as
a return of the other that is also its (non)origin. As we have seen weilai, the future, was itself harmonised in conjunction with Ai Weiweis

Through these ways of rethinking harmony, we


see how the undecidability at work in the very concepts of harmony and
coeval multiplicities leaves open the chance (or threat) of a future, for both
the terms themselves and for responsibility and singular decisions to be
taken beyond masterful sovereignty. This future is not just in the future,
something we can hope for, but it imposes itself with absolute urgency in the
form (or form-beyond-form) that the imperative of harmony takes here and
now. Because of its onco-operative (im)possible character, harmony is
structurally open to the other an other that does not await us as the unified
ideal of a programmable or predictable future, but that presses upon us (with
all the force of its self-difference) in the here-now (cf. Wortham, 2010: 131-2; Derrida, 1994). My
point of retaining the (im)possibility of a harmony to come is partly about
retaining the term harmony, but it is also about opening up to the
detention, making it deferred in more than one sense.

possibility of its continued destruction. By opening itself up to the other,


harmony threatens to further destroy itself, but also gives it the chance to
receive the other in the here-now, in coeval multiplicity. The point of the to
come is a future that cannot be identified in advance, since it would break
with all the old names. Without countries, civilizations, progress, we may ask
whether it would still make sense to speak of harmonious world under that
name, or indeed of coeval multiplicities in world politics. As a term, then,
harmony is not sacred, neither is coeval multiplicity . Some other context, some day, may
demand that we use a different word in other sentences (cf. Derrida, 2002: 181). Just as the PRC state (or indeed
any state) works on an onco-operative logic, so too does language attempt to
remain immune to anything that may threaten its logical syntax . This is a necessity for
language to make sense. The definition of a term, by definition, is a border and immune
protection from what it is not, but we can read its simultaneous autoimmunity through reading deconstruction. Therefore, at the same time as the
future is unpredictable, it is at work today, in onco-operative harmony and
coeval multiplicities: it is what is coming, what is happening. The
responsibility for what remains to be decided or done cannot consist in
following rules, rites or proper conduct of harmony, nor in a prescriptive
theory for how to think and write coeval multiplicities, but must remain within
the realm of the political.

1AC Symbolic Squandering


Exterior critiques of the system miss the point by being
too close to the mark: they only reify the reality principle
of semiotic systems the ground these radical moves
chose to fight on is demarcated in advance and they are
beaten in advance. All are complicit and so attempts to
criticize the system on the plane of the real succumb to
the will towards integral reality.
The only option is a radical passivity, a mimicry of the
forms of the system, one that accelerates them to the
point of their obvious vacuity. Duality re-emerges; duality
will out: every attempt at coherence, presence, life and
the Good is met by a concomitant move towards
incoherence, absence, and Evil. We affirm this dualistic
ontology in a moment of semiotic rupture. For as Credible
News Source Brick Brettner once told us, Nothing
becomes wholly transparent without also becoming
enigmatic. Duality emerges as a fatal strategy, we
embrace its complicity in a re-emergent dualistic mocking
that maintains the possibility of mystery, Evil, and radical
alterity.
You should bet on a subtle mimicry of established
communicative forms, accelerating and pushing them
through to trigger their own symbolic collapse.
Pawlett 14. William Pawlett, senior lecturer in media, communications,
and cultural studies at the University of Wolverhampton, UK, Society At War
With Itself, International Journal of Baudrillard Studies, Volume 11, Number 2
(May, 2014)

It all depends on the ground we choose to fight on most often we


choose to fight on ground where we are beaten before we begin
(Baudrillard 2001: 119).
This paper examines Baudrillards assertion, made in later works
includingImpossible Exchange (2001), The Intelligence of Evil (2005)
and Pyres of Autumn(2006), that individuals, society and indeed the global
system, are internally and irreconcilably divided , that modernity is at odds

with itself (Baudrillard 2006: 1). In his view dissent, rejection and
insurrection emerge from within, not from external challenges such
as alternative ideologies or competing worldviews, but from within
bodies, within borders, inside programmes. For Baudrillard much of the
violence, hatred and discomfort visible around the globe can be understood
as a latent but fundamental silent insurrection against the global
integrating system and its many pressures, demands and humiliations
(2001: 106). This is anendogenic or intra-genic rejection, it emanates from
within the system, from within individuals, even from within language,
electronic systems and bodily cells, erupting as abreaction, metastasis
and sudden reversal.2
For Baudrillard then, despite the many simulations of external threat and
enmity radical Islam currently being the best example the most
dangerous threat lies within: society faces a far harder test than any
external threat: that of its own absence, its loss of reality (2006: 1). The
global order, conventionally labelled capitalist, is neutralising its values
and structures, its ideologies disappear, its principles are sacrificed. Even
the sense of reality produced by the abstract sign and by
simulation models begin to disappear (2005: 67-73; 2009: 10-15). The
goal is integral reality, a limitless operational project geared towards the
total transcription of the world into virtuality: everything is realised and
technically materialised without reference to any principle or final
purpose (2005: 18). Yet there is an internal war or backlash taking
place between integralist violence which seeks ultimate control by
eliminating all otherness, and duality. Duality, for Baudrillard, is
indestructible and is manifest as the inevitable or destined reemergence of otherness: of death, Evil, ambivalence, the ghosts of
symbolic exchange, the accursed share within the system. The
integrating system then suffers a dissent working away at it from
inside. It is the global violence immanent in the world-system itself
which, from within, sets the purest form of symbolic challenge
against it (2005: 22). This is a war or conflict that does not end, the
outcome of which cannot be predicted or programmed. It is a war that is
quite different from the disappearance of war into simulated nonevents, such as occurred with the Gulf wars (Baudrillard 1995). Indeed,
Baudrillard suggests, the deterrence of world wars, and of nuclear wars,
does not result in peace, but in a viral proliferation of conflicts, a
fractalisation of war and conflict into everyday, local, and ubiquitous
terror (1993b: 27).
This paper will examine Baudrillards position on internal rejection through
two closely related themes: complicity and duality. Complicity, and the closely
related term collusion, are themselves dual in Baudrillards sense. That is,
complicity or collusion express an internal division or duality which is
not a simple opposition of terms. As is so often the case, Baudrillards
position builds on his much earlier studies: Requiem For the Media (orig.

1972, in Baudrillard 1981: 164-184) had already argued that the dominance
of the abstract sign and of simulation models meant that any critique of
the system made through the channels of semiotic abstraction were
automatically re-absorbed into the system. Any meaningful
challenge must invent its own, alternative medium such as the silkscreen printings, hand-painted notices and graffiti of May 1968 or
it will lapse into an ineffectual complicity with the system it seeks to
challenge (Baudrillard 1981: 176). In his later work, Baudrillards emphasis
on duality and complicity is extended much further, taking on global,
anthropological and even cosmological dimensions, and increasingly
complicity and collusion are seen as dual, as encompassing both acceptance
and a subtle defiance. This paper examines the dual nature of complicity and
collusion. It considers the influence of La Boeties notorious Essay on
Voluntary Servitude on Baudrillard, seeking to draw out what is distinctive in
Baudrillards position. The second section turns to the notion of duality,
examining Good and Evil and Baudrillards assertion that attempts to
eliminate duality merely revive or re-active it.
Complicity implies a complexity of relations, and, specifically, the condition
of being an accomplice to those in power. To be an accomplice is to
assist in the committing of a crime. If the crime is murder, the term
accomplice implies one who plans, reflects, calculates but does not strike
the lethal blow. The crime which is of particular interest to Baudrillard is, of
course, the perfect crime: the elimination of otherness, of
ambivalence, of duality, even of reality and of the abstract
representational sign which enables a sense of reality (Baudrillard
1996). The global, integral, carnivalising and cannibalising system ,
which might loosely still be called capitalist, is at war against radical
otherness or duality; yet, for Baudrillard, as duality lies at its heart,
locked within its foundations, it is indestructible and emerges through
attempts to eliminate it. If the system has been largely successful at
eliminating external threats, it finds itself in an even worse
situation: it is at war with itself.
II. Complicity
Complicity is a particularly slippery term. In the 1980s Baudrillards
thought, mistakenly assumed to be Postmodernist, was argued to be
complicit with capitalism, largely because it questioned the ability of
dominant strands of Marxism and feminism to significantly challenge
the capitalist system (Callinicos 1989; Norris 1992). At the same time,
Baudrillard was alleging that the work of supposedly radical theorists such as
Deleuze and Guattari (1984 orig. 1972) and Lyotard (1993 orig. 1974) was,
with their emphasis on desire as productive and liberatory force, complicit
with the mechanisms of advanced consumer capitalism (Baudrillard
1987: 17-20). So which branch of contemporary theory is most complicit with
capitalism? Liberals, humanists and environmentalists who see their clothes
stolen by mainstream politicians? Marxists and Communists who by refusing

to update their thinking provide a slow moving target for right-wing snipers ?
Post- Modernists and Post-Structuralists who attack Enlightenment thought
but refuse to speak of the human subject and so have thrown the baby out
with the bath water? Network and complexity theory which flattens all
phenomena and experience to a position on a grid, producing a very complex
simplification? The list could go on but it is a question that cannot be
answered because all critical theories are complicit with the system
they critique. They fight on a terrain already demarcated by their
opponents, a terrain on which they are beaten before they begin, one
where the most compelling argument can always be dismissed as doommongering or irresponsible intellectualism. This includes Baudrillards
own critical thinking, as he readily acknowledges (Baudrillard 2009a:
39). Further, and even more damaging to the project of critique, in a
hegemonic or integral order the system solicits critique and it criticises
itself, so displacing and making redundant the laborious attempts at
academic critique. The latter continue, even proliferate, but with
decreasing impact.
So, what does Baudrillard mean by complicity with the global order?
Baudrillards concern is primarily with complicity at the level of the form
of the (capitalist) system, not at the level of belief, consent or allegiance to
particular contents of capitalist life (consumer products, plurality of
lifestyles, a degree of tolerance etc.). Complicity is often seen, by critics of
capitalism, as acceptance of consumerism and its myriad choices and
lifestyles, but this is a reductive level of analysis from Baudrillards
perspective. By complicity or collusion Baudrillard means, on the one hand,
the very widespread willingness to surrender or give up beliefs,
passions and symbolic defences (2010: 24), and on the other as the
dual form an equally widespread ability to find a space of defiance
through the play of complicity, collusion, hyperconformity and
indifference (1983: 41-8). That is, while many of us (in the relatively affluent
West) share in the profanating, denigrating and carnivalising of all values,
embracing indifference, shrugging whatever, we do so with very little
commitment to the system, rejoicing inwardly when it suffers reversals : we
operate in a dual mode.
While such attitudes of indifference may seem to accept that there is no
meaningful alternative to capitalism: an attitude that has been called
capitalist nihilism (Davis in Milbank and Zizek, 2009) and capitalist
realism (Fisher 2008), Baudrillards notions of integral reality, duality
and complicity may have significant advantages over those approaches.
Unlike thinkers who remain anchored to critical thinking defined by
determinate negation, Baudrillards approach emphasises ambivalence,
reversal and both personal and collective modes of rejection more
subtle than those envisioned by the increasingly exhausted mechanisms
of critique. The critique of consumer capitalism the consumption of
junk food, junk entertainment and junk information is now integral to

the system; the critique of finance capitalism bankers bonuses, corporate


tax avoidance is integral to the system, yet it fails to bring about
meaningful or determinate social transformation. Indeed, such critiques may
do no more than provide the system with a fleeting sense of reality
real issues, real problems to deal with around which the system can
reproduce its simulacra, perhaps to reassure us that something is
being done, measures are being put into place etc. Reality cannot
be dialectically negated by critical concepts when both reality and the
critical concept disappear together, their fates clearly tied to each other
(Baudrillard 2009b: 10-12).
There is a sense then in which the production of critique is
in complicity with the system, the unravel-able proliferation and excess of
critical accounts of the system has the effect of protecting the system.
Complicity consists in a sharing of the denigration of all values, all
institutions, all ideas, all beliefs: so long as we believe in nothing at least
not passionately then the system has us, at least superficially. For example,
in recent decades we have seen the denigration of religious faiths or their
reduction to cultural identity and world heritage objects; the denigration of
public services and welfare provision accompanied by their marketisation; the
denigration of the poor, the young, immigrants and the unemployed. Yet this
is not only the denigration of the powerless or disenfranchised, there is also
the widespread denigration of those seen as powerful: politicians,
corporations, celebrities. For Baudrillard, it is quite inadequate to focus only
on the power of global neo-liberal policies such as marketisation in
these processes of denigration. This is where Baudrillards position departs
decisively from anti-globalists and from neo-Communists such as Negri,
Zizek, and Badiou. Global power has deliberately sacrificed its values
and ideologies, it presents no position, it takes no stand, it
undermines even the illusion that free markets function and has
made capital virtual; become orbital it is removed from a terrestrial,
geo-political or subjective space. These are protective measures enabling
power to become (almost) hegemonic (Baudrillard 2009a: 33-56; 2010:
35-40).
Baudrillard often emphasises the fragility and the vulnerability to
reversal of the powerful and the distinction between powerful and
powerless is radically questioned in his work. So what is this global
power? Where is it? The answer, of course, is that it is everywhere and it
is in everyone. We have not liberated ourselves from slavery, but,
Baudrillard contends, internalised the masters: [e]verthing changes with
the emancipation of the slave and the internalisation of the master
by the emancipated slave (2009a: 33). We tyrannise ourselves, for
example by demanding that we maximise our opportunities, fulfill our
potential. This is a deeper level of slavery and complicity than any
previous historical system could inflict (Baudrillard 1975; 2009a: 33).

Yet duality always re-emerges, Baudrillard insists: indifference is dual,


complicity is dual. Carnivalisation and cannibalisation are themselves
dual: the global system absorbs all otherness in a forced conversion to
modernity (2010: 5), reproducing otherness within the carnival of
marketable difference, yet cannibalisation emerges as a reversion
and derailing of this process. The world adopts Western models:
economic, cultural, religious or it appears to. Hidden within this complicity
with the West, there is, Baudrillard suggests, a deeper sense of derision
and rejection. The allegiance to Western models is superficial; it is a form
of mimicry or hyperconformity that involves a ritual-like exorcism of
the hegemonic system. Further, such mimicry reveals the superficiality
of Western cultural and economic models: this is not only a superficial
acceptance, but an acceptance of superficiality. Western values are
already parodic, and, in being accepted, they are subject to further
parody as they circulate around the globe (2010: 4-11). The West has
deregulated and devalued itself and demands that the rest of the world
follows: "It is everything by which a human being retains some value in
his own eyes that we (the West) are deliberately sacrificing [o]ur truth is
always to be sought in unveiling, de-sublimation, reductive analysis
[n]othing is true if it is not desacralised, objectivised, shorn of its aura,
dragged on to the stage" (Baudrillard 2010: 23).
Western desacrilisation amounts to a powerful challenge to the rest of the
world, a potlatch: desacralise in return or perish! But who has the power?
Who is the victor? There isnt one, according to Baudrillard. Of the global
order, Baudrillard writes: We are its hostages victims and accomplices
at one and the same time immersed in the same global monopoly of
the networks. A monopoly which, moreover and this is the supreme ruse
of hegemony no one holds any longer (2010: 40). There is no Master, no
sovereign because all the structures and dictates of power have been
internalised, this is the complicity we all share with global order , yet it
is a dual complicity: an over-eager acceptance goes hand-in-hand with a
deep and growing rejection.
Baudrillards discussions of power, servitude and complicity make frequent reference to Estienne La
Boeties essay on voluntary servitude, completed around 1554. The fundamental political question for La
Boetie is: how can it happen that a vast number of individuals, of towns, cities and nations can allow one
man to tyrannise them, a man who has no power except the power they themselves give him, who could
do them no harm were they not willing to suffer harm (La Boetie 1988: 38). It seems people do not want to
be free, do not want to wield power or determine their own fates: it is the people who enslave themselves
(La Boetie 1988: 41). People in general are the accomplices of the powerful and the tyrannical, some profit
directly through wealth, property, favour the little tyrants beneath the principal one (1988: 64), but
many do not, why do they not rebel? Baudrillard takes up La Boeties emphasis on servitude being
enforced and maintained from within, rather than from without. Yet, there are also major divergences. La
Boetie deplores the common people for accepting the narcotising pleasures of drinking, gambling and
sexual promiscuity, while Baudrillard rejects such elitism and celebrates the masses abilities to
strategically defy those who would manipulate them through perverse but lethally effective practices such
as silence, radical indifference, hyperconformity dual modes of complicity and rejection (Baudrillard
1983: 1-61). Though La Boeties essay prefigures the development of the concept of hegemony, he never
doubts that voluntary servitude is unnatural, a product of malign custom that is in contradiction with the
true nature of human beings which is to enjoy a God-given freedom. Baudrillard, by contrast, examines
voluntary servitude as a strategy of the refusal of power, a refusal of the snares of self and identity, as
strategy of freedom from the tyranny of the will and the fiction of self-determination (Baudrillard 2001: 51-

7). For Baudrillard the declination or refusal of will disarms those who seek to exert power through
influencing or guiding peoples choices and feelings towards particular ends. It also allows for a symbolic
space, a space of vital distance or removal, a space in which to act, or even act-out (of) a character
(Baudrillard 2001: 72-3). This is a space where radical otherness may be encountered, a sense of shared
destiny which is a manifestation of the dual form at the level of individual existence (Baudrillard 2001: 79).

It could certainly be argued that modern subjects are confronted by a far


more subtle and pervasive system of control than were the subjects
discussed in La Boeties analysis. In theorising the nature of modern controls
Baudrillard develops suggestive themes from La Boeties work. Speaking of
slavery in the Assyrian empire, where, apparently, kings would not appear in
public, La Boetie argues, the fact that they did not know who their
master was, and hardly knew whether they had one at all, made
them all the more willing to be slaves (1988: 60). Whatever its historical
provenance, this strategy of power is, it seems, generalised in modernity;
particularly after the shift away from Fordist mass production it has become
increasingly hard to detect who the masters actually are. While
workers are persecuted by middle managers, supervisors, team leaders,
project co-ordinators who are the masters of this universe? Who are the true
beneficiaries? Rather than trying to identify a global neo-liberal elite , as
do many proponents of anti-capitalist theory, Baudrillard suggests that the
situation we confront is so grave because we (those in the West in relatively
privileged positions) have usurped the position of masters; we have
become the slave masters of ourselves, tyrannising every detail of
our own lives: trying to work harder, trying for promotion or simply
trying to avoid redundancy. We are all the accomplices of a transcapitalist, trans-economic exploitation. We are all tyrants: a billion
tiny tyrants servicing a system of elimination. But this is not to say that
Baudrillard ignores power differentials altogether: it is, indeed, those
who submit themselves most mercilessly to their own decisions who fill
the greater part of the authoritarian ranks, alleging sacrifice on their
parts to impose even greater sacrifices on others (2001: 60-1). We all
impose such violence on ourselves and on others as part of our daily

Power
itself must be abolished and not solely
because of a refusal to be dominated, which is
at the heart of all traditional struggles but
also, just as violently, in the refusal to
dominate (2009a: 47).
routines, hence Baudrillards injunction to refuse power:

Yet, even on the theme of systemic violence and elimination, Baudrillard


differs sharply from neo-communist theory, while retaining a position of
defiance. Systemic eliminationism should not be conceived in individual or
subjective terms, despite good points made in recent studies of work and
education under neo-liberalism, such as Cederstrm and Flemings Dead
Man Working (2012). At a formal level, neo-liberal eliminationism does not

merely eliminate jobs and also lives (for example in the recent textile factory
fires in Bangladesh), it eliminates meaning, symbolic space and
thought. And it eliminates not by termination but by extermination. That is, by transcribing the world into integral reality,
the system produces a single, meaning-depleted, virtual space which
encourages participation, engagement and campaigning, on condition
that these are produced as part and parcel of an integrated void where
[t]he real no longer has any force as sign, and signs no longer have
any force of meaning (Baudrillard 2001: 4). Most of the developed world
has been conferred the right to blog and to tweet as they please and
they are indebted to the system in a way which far exceeds the paying of a
small tribute or rent to Microsoft or Apple (Zizek 2010: 233). The symbolic
debt imposed by the modern world and its technologies is of a metaphysical
or cosmological order. Through it we take leave of this world
Baudrillard suggests, we become extra-terrestrials. We will
recognise no Other, no singularity, no debt to anyone because we
attempt to cancel everything out in an integral, technological
system that has no outsides because it was, in a sense, created from
the outside.

The distinction between radical Otherness and mere


difference haunts the West: everywhere, Western
semiotics seeks to reduce the absolute alterity of the
world to sign-value, the totalitarian artifice of alleged
inclusion which in fact completes the Westernization of
the Other through their full integration into our colonial
modes of signification.
Any engagement with alterity is necessarily economized
as the spectacularization of alterity is converted into
multicultural difference, robbing singulariry from those
with whom we represent.
Yet radical Otherness haunts this system, emerging as a
violent trap for these humanist attempts to contain the
world within language. Any attempt to critique the global
system of control must begin with a critique of the
political economy of the sign.
Grace 2000. Victoria Grace, professor of sociology at the University of
Canterbury (UK), Baudrillards Challenge: A Feminist Reading, 2000, pg. 89

This distinction between a form of otherness that is indeed structurally


irreducible, neither comparable nor opposable, and a form of

difference that is precisely predicated on establishing criteria against


which difference is ascertained, is central to the critique offered here of
feminist insistence on irreducible difference. For this feminist proclamation
to be meaningful we need some kind of structural critique of the
social, political, economic, and semiotic structuring of difference and
otherness. Baudrillards analysis shifts the ground considerably. It makes
additional questions pertinent; for example, what is at stake contemporarily
in insisting on the importance of irreducible difference? His work suggests
that this kind of question has to be addressed through a critique of
the political economy of the sign. At least.
With reference to Baudrillards melodrama of difference, the word
melodrama has the sense of decidedly overdone. A dictionary
definition is: sensational dramatic piece with crude appeals to emotions and
usually happy ending. The usually happy ending is rather ironic given its
humanist appeal, and the happy ending of cultural hybridity would
see the end of the apparent anachronism of racism , a form of
discrimination Baudrillard analyses as precisely prescribed by difference (I
will elaborate on this below). Baudrillard uses the term melodrama in
conjunction with psychodrama and sociodrama to critique contemporary
discourses and practices of otherness, both of which conjure the centrality
of simulation to the scene of cultural difference, and metaphorically depict
the simulated and dramatised absence of the other, with its melodramatic
undertones of crude emotionality.
Baudrillards argument that racism is an artefact of the institution of
difference is integrally related to the structure of differentiation and
the axiological and semiological form of its logic. To differentiate in the
hyperreal mode of simulation is to discriminate: to establish differences
that, generated from the model, are nothing more than more of the
same. Racism, Baudrillard argues, does not exist so long as the other
remains Other (TE: 129). When the Other is foreign, strange, other, for
example, within the order of the symbolic in Baudrillards critical terms, there
is no scale of equivalence or difference against which discrimination
can be performed. Encounter and transformation are fully open and
reversible, in all forms (including the agonistic encounter of violence and
death). Racism becomes possible when the other becomes merely
different as then the other becomes dangerously similar. This is the
moment, according to Baudrillard, when the inclination to keep the other at a
distance comes into being (TE: 129). The intolerable introjection of difference
in the case of the construction of the subject as different, or traversed by a
multiplicity of differences, means the other must be exorcised: the
differences of the other must be made materially manifest. The inevitability
of a fluctuation, oscillation, vacillation of differences in a differential system
means the happy ending will always be illusory. Difference (of others) is
fetishised as the icon that keeps the subject different.

As the biological bases of racism are exposed as pure


fallacy in theoretical and genetic terms, and as the
principles of democracy have advanced since the
Enlightenment, racism should have declined.
Logically, as Baudrillard claims in his book The
Perfect Crime (PC), this should have been the case,
yet he observes that as cultures become
increasingly hybrid, racism actually grows
stronger (PC: 131 2). He analyses this contra-indication in terms of the
increasing fetishisation of difference and the loss of the encounter with the
Other, and in the erosion of the singularity of cultures qua increasing
simulation of differentiation. The relation within the order of cultural
difference is phobic, according to Baudrillard: a kind of reflex that is
fundamentally irrational in terms of the logic of the system. The other is
idealised, and:
because it is an ideal other, this relationship is an exponential one: nothing
can stop it, since the whole trend of our culture is towards a
fanatically pursued differential construction, a perpetual
extrapolation of the same from the other. (PC: 132)
Autistic culture by dint of fake altruism, he adds, recapturing the cultural
imperative of the western hyperreal culture to recognise, value, liberate,
and understand difference. On the other hand, racism can equally result from
the opposite sentiment; that of a desperate attempt to manifest the other as
an evil to be overwhelmed. Either way, both the benevolence of the
humanitarian and the hatred of the racist seek out the other for
reasons symptomatic of the fetishisation of difference.
As the increasingly cult-like dedication to differences escalates with its
concurrent impulse to increasing homogeneity, another other emerges.
Baudrillard comments on the figure of the alien as a monstrous metaphor
for the viral Other, which is, in his words, the compound form of all the
varieties of otherness done to death by our system (TE: 130). I remember
thinking recently how there must be some significance to the outpouring of
alien movies (on television especially) and wondered if this was the final
frontier of otherness to be done to death (what else is left?). I recall also
being disturbed, as I watched one such movie, to reflect on my accepting
without question the imperative of exterminating the aliens who (that?) were
going to invade and transform human society in evil ways. Baudrillard
emphasises that this metaphor of alien Other seizes on what he
describes as a viral and automatic form of racism that perpetuates
itself in a way that cannot be countered by a humanism of
difference. Viral in the sense of self-generating and invisibly

infecting, reconstructing: a virus of difference, played out through


minute variations in the order of signs.
Such a form of monstrous otherness is also the product of what Baudrillard
calls an obsessional differentiation (TE: 130), emanating from the
compulsion of the self (same) to manifest signs of difference in
the form of the other. The problematic structure of this self(same)
other(different) dynamic, Baudrillard argues, demonstrates the weakness
of those dialectical theories of otherness which aspire to promote
the proper use of otherness (TE: 130). Racism, especially in its
current viral and immanent form, makes it clear that there is no such
thing as the proper use of difference. This point links again with my
concerns about the emptiness of feminist claims for the importance of
irreducible differences in the absence of a structural critique.
Difference, as analysed by Baudrillard, is illusory. The splitting of
terms into same/different within a binary dichotomous logic is
attended by the problematics analysed in detail in Chapter 1: in particular,
the problem of articulating their relation. The embracing of a discourse of
cultural difference can also be analysed from the standpoint of this critique.
Articulating a satisfactory politics of difference will necessarily
escape us. Baudrillard refers to a humanitarian ecumenism, and insists that
it is a cul-de-sac. In The Perfect Crime he calls it the dead end of difference
(PC: 122). He gives the example of what was a recent event in France at the
time of writing The Transparency of Evil, when a considerable commotion was
generated by North African schoolgirls wearing headscarves for religious
reasons. Observing the range of rational arguments attempting to support
the allowance of this practice to embrace cultural difference , he comments
that these arguments were nothing but hypocritical attempts to get rid
of the simple fact that no solution is to be found in any moral or
political theory of difference (TE: 131). His view is that we (French,
the west) are the ones who brought difference to the four corners of
the earth: that it should now be returned to us in unrecognisable,
Islamic, fundamentalist and irreducible forms is no bad thing .
Again, the incommensurate character of the irreducibility of
otherness cannot be encompassed in a politics of difference.
An example of the problems of attempting to articulate a politics of
difference which is closer to home for me comes from a recent review of
a womens studies programme at a university in New Zealand, where the
review panel recommended consideration of a joint appointment between
womens studies and Maori studies.5 A politics of difference in this context
was described as having the fundamental axiom:
that major stakeholders in New Zealand society are differently positioned,
and that this difference of positioning means that these stakeholders will
hold different perspectives on the nature of reality and what should be
done about it. These differences include: gender difference;

Maori/Pakeha difference; the multicultural differences of immigrant


identity and ethnicity; differences of sexuality; class difference; and
differences of stage in the human life cycle. A politics of difference
means that different stakeholders are aware of such differences and are
prepared to enter democratic processes of deliberation where these
differences can be discussed and negotiated in ways which produce policies
which have credibility with all and respond to real issues or problems.
And further:
Difference of this kind needs to be both welcomed and articulated . . .
Students need to be educated to understand that difference of this kind
cannot be resolved for this would involve the imposition of one
perspective on another. (University of Otago 1998: 19)
This is arguably a domesticated and manageable formula for dealing
with difference that reveals the void of politics in this context. We
are all different, we can learn about these differences, we can discuss
and negotiate these differences and through this democratic process
produce policies that are acceptable to all. This implies that there must
be a universal that transcends the differences and which is ultimately
productive of a point of agreement. And yet they (differences) cannot be
resolved (so how do we reach agreement on policies that obtain credibility:
the cul-de-sac of ecumenical humanism?). But thats OK (parallel lines that
never meet as one). We can all be happy about such differences, as they line
up equally beside one another in a non-hierarchical plurality. Otherness,
alterity: degree zero (an expression Baudrillard uses to refer to
household pets; derived from physics, it means the lowest absolute
temperature where atoms stop their random movements). Elsewhere
Baudrillard writes that such a vision of plurality is precisely about differences
being exchanged as positive qualities, again commensurate with his critique
of sign value (IE: 46).
Baudrillard writes that the radical Other is intolerable to the west,
which is reliant on its eradication. But contemporarily the Other can be
neither exterminated nor accepted, so what is promoted is the
negotiable other, the other of difference. He calls this a subtler form
of extermination, and one involving all the humanist virtues of
modernity (TE: 133).
What happens to the Other that does not become different in
confrontation with the west, where those of the west are not the other for
the Other? Baudrillard writes of the Alakuluf of Tierra del Fuego, who never
sought to understand those from the west, never spoke to them, never
negotiated with them. The Alakuluf were the people; there were no
others. Those from the west were not different but unintelligible.
Baudrillard relates how, even after three centuries of contact, the Alakuluf
had not adopted any form of western technology. Even though members
of the Alakuluf would be slaughtered, it was as if the whites did not

exist. They would perish without ever allowing the Whites the
privilege of recognising them as different (TE: 134). Baudrillard interprets their
extermination as it is reflected in the three stages of how they were named or how they named
themselves. First they were simply people, Men (as translated from Baudrillards French into English).
Secondly the whites referred to them as foreigners, using the word they used originally for the whites,
and the people came to call themselves by that name. Finally they called themselves by the word
Alakuluf, meaning give, give, which was the only word they used in the presence of the whites. Thus in
Baudrillards analysis they were themselves, then strangers to themselves, and finally absent from
themselves (TE: 135). Latouche is another author who, following a different route, arrived at similar
conclusions:

The inability of Third World societies to reflect on their own experience


and to invent appropriate solutions to their own problems does not
come from their congenital inferiority nor from a backwardness , but results
from the destruction by the West of their own coherence. (Latouche
1982: 38)
Latouche continues to comment how the west has invented destructive
material and moral forms capable of ensuring its domination over every other
society, and finally to impose on them its supreme value: economic
development.7
An Indian group in North America, the Seminoles, have retained their
independence in fierce and defiant rejection of the economic values
of the west. Their story is extraordinary (see Caufield 1998). In the mid1970s the federal government was about to pay them a sizeable monetary
compensation for the seizure of their aboriginal lands last century
(comprising three-quarters of the state of Florida). The Seminoles sought the
help of a lawyer to refuse the compensation. We do not believe in
accepting money for the land because the land is not ours to sell. It
belongs to everybody. The government was going to compel them to
accept the money. This group has continued to live in their traditional ways
(against incredible odds), and has absolutely refused to get involved
with the federal government. This group has struggled since this time to
find exactly the right place where they can hold their Green Corn Dance, so
crucial to the cycle of existence, the existence of their culture. Their story is
one of refusal of obtaining this land in any way that is complicit with the
economic values of the west, values they can see would eradicate their
culture. The Indian way will die with the end of the world. If they kill
the Indian way, prematurely, the world will die with it (Bobby Billie,
quoted in Caufield 1998: 70).
Baudrillard too questions whether the eradication of the kind of singularity of
the Alakuluf (and the Seminoles as a different kind of example) will not
itself prove fatal to the west. Possibly it is the west that is so
singular and will become virally contaminated with the foreignness
it tried to exterminate, and will one day itself disappear. In fact,
Baudrillard does not draw what might appear to be such a clear and absolute
distinction between those (few) non-western cultures, like the Alakuluf (and
the Seminole), that have not recognised the west, and those that have

entered the gamble with difference. The universal vision of differences,


a way for the democratic west to exonerate its past, is met with
indifference by the different others. His suggestion is that the west,
with its universalising vision, is not the only partner to manipulate
otherness for profit. Those members of non-western cultures who
adopt a western lifestyle to varying degrees do so in ways, he
proposes, that never really embrace it as their own, and in some ways it
often remains an object of their contempt, derision and amusement.
Baudrillard wonders if we (westerners) take them far more
seriously than they take us. In an interview with Nicole Czechowski he
makes the remark that it is the Africans who despise us! Their contempt for
the way we live and die is much greater than ours for them! (Gane 1993:
194).
Culural artefacts and performances are sold for tourist consumption,
which, we learn from the media, cant be tacky replicas; tourists are
discerning and want the real thing authentic Thai, Maori, Indian, etc.
culture. This packaging of cultural experiences and things, referred to in one
newspaper article as indigenous tourism, can be interpreted both as a
form of cultural impoverishment captured and regurgitated in simulated,
hyperreal form, and at the same time as a parodic pandering to the
superficiality of the wests construction of difference: a smart
entrepreneurial response to the panicked desire for signs of the real and of
difference. This is one example of an important point of tension in
Baudrillards analysis. It is here that we see the vulnerability of the
western edifice of representation, political power, and economic
value predicated on the barring of a symbolic it can never erase, while
simultaneously we are aware of the relentless and totalitarian
nature of its structure. The totalising quality of the structure of simulation
ensures that all attempts to realise cultural authenticity will be
recaptured through a strategy of deterrence: the system is your
friend, cultural difference is valued. As Spivak noted in an interview with
Ellen Rooney (1989), the concern that Little India in a US city is more Indian
than India can be analysed in terms of Baudrillards concept of hyperreality:
more real than real. The logic of sign value can be considered to be
fundamentally anti-culture by virtue of its structural eradication, or
barring of the symbolic, although, of course, this barring is a mythical
construct, albeit with deadly consequences. In this sense, the west is a
deculturing force that has swept the globe, a process that has been referred
to by Latouche (1989) as the westernisation of the world.
Latouche (1989) claims that when one cultural group invades and
overwhelms another, there tends to be a period of deculturation followed
by some form of acculturation. As the two cultural forms interact the
vanquished acquires some new cultural forms as it lives with the
dominating cultural group (and to some extent, vice-versa). What is
unique about westernisation, Latouche argues, is that the process of

deculturation is not followed by a process of acculturation. One cannot


acculture to, or with, a non-culture. In non-western or pre-western
processes of conquest the period of deculturation may well be fraught with
anguish and malaise, but this cannot be compared to the loss of
meaning that follows conquest by the west; he describes this loss of
meaning as the source of the only misery which is truly intolerable
(Latouche 1989: 72).
This process ends up with an alienation, the invaded culture cannot
understand itself by its own categories but has to use those of the
invaders. It no longer has its own desires, but only the desires of the
other. This identification with the other occurs only at the imaginary
level, the material basis does not follow, cannot follow. Fragmented by its
insertion in a foreign cultural context, and judged with the criteria of a foreign
civilisation, the aggressed culture is already wretched before it has actually
been destroyed. Underdevelopment pre-exists in the imaginary before it has
been cruelly inscribed in the flesh of Third World people. (Latouche 1982: 42)

Our attempts at authentic, legitimate, or wholistic


engagement with subaltern China are merely the latest
form of hyper-modern neoliberal economic engagement
whereby the woes of others are laundered through global
institutions as well as university curricula like dirty
money. The attempt to make the university transparent
with its object converts the other into blips of information
even as it confirms the aademys Enlightment civilizing
mission of imposing transparency as a mode of knowing
on the world. Such research colludes with the global
agenda of the War on Terror.
These academic technologies physical and cognitive
are complicit in what we call speed elitism, the creation of
a neoliberal academic class who unwittingly aids in the
techno-liquidation of the planet through an economy of
acceleration.
The subjective appropriation of speed elitist technology is
a fundamental collusion with the media and will the
imperialist will to know through the conversion of the
entire globe into data points while sneaking in a positivist
notion of the political subject.
Hoofd 10 [Ingrid M., Assistant Professor in the Communications and New
Media Programme at the National University of Singapore, Between

Baudrillard, Braidotti and Butler: Rethinking Left-Wing Feminist Theory in


Light of Neoliberal Acceleration, International Journal of Baudrillard Studies,
Volume 7, Number 2 (July, 2010),
http://www.ubishops.ca/baudrillardstudies/vol-7_2/v7-2-hoofd.html]

Let me explain the conditions of this simulation by first rereading one of Butlers earlier texts. Butler argues that a

politics of identity is never truly subversive , because it cancels out internal


contradictions within identity (1990). The idea of coalition that takes as a
starting point a certain common goal between participants is therefore,
despite its democratising impulse that motivates coalition politics (Ibid:352),
very thorny. This is because it always presupposes agreements and axioms
about how dialogue is to be conducted , as well as some kind of unitary vision
of what the outcome of the alliance will be. The premises of alliance thus
exclude those who are not implicated in the alliances a priori structures and
visions. Any space is never a value-free space, and any dialogue or alliance
occurs never without the imposition of certain grounds . To pretend there is
equality in alliance is to mask the historical and technological conditions of
power that make dialogue possible. I would argue that, as this is a very accurate description of
alliance, it must also be descriptive of how the fruitful academic dispute between her and Braidotti likewise formally
echoes its own technological conditions that reproduce the same through conceptual difference. A telling moment the
moment where Butlers critique turns into an affirmation of the subject similar to Braidottis nomadism is when she

This statement
displays the extraordinary leap of faith by Butler from a subject of lack towards a
transformative politics by virtue of the subjects iterability. In fact, this leap of
faith is scattered throughout pretty much all of Butlers later writings. In light of this, it is
states that ... the political task is not to refuse representational politics as if we could (1990:5).

unsurprising that many of Butlers readers, as she herself mentions, do read her as a Deleuzian (2004a). She even adds
jokingly that this must be a terrible thought to [Braidotti] (Ibid.:198) a joke that displays nonetheless a cunning
realization of how she and Braidotti share significant common ground. Butler is right then to question the validity of the
transatlantic disconnection in Braidottis argument, which she reformulates more accurately as a transatlantic
exchange (see 2004a:201-202), but she does not go into out of what (technological and economic) condition the
productivity of this exchange and the enactment of its difference emerges.
This neglect to query after this condition of subjective possibility is curious, as Butler is precisely renowned for relentlessly
unearthing any such conditions. Hers is an excellent exposition on the dangers if any assumption of the indispensability of
the subject for feminist politics remains unquestioned. Butler argues that:

To claim that politics requires a stable subject is to claim that there can be no
political opposition to that claim. Indeed, that claim implies that a critique of the
subject cannot be a politically informed critique but rather, an act which puts
into jeopardy politics as such. To require the subject means to foreclose
the domain of the political (1992:4).
I wholeheartedly agree with this critique, and Baudrillard surely would have consented as well. But in light of this
argument, it might be revealing to try and read Butler somewhat against herself as I did Baudrillard, meanwhile noting
that she seems to feel obliged to assure her readers immediately that she does not seek to dispense with the subject
altogether (Ibid.). Butler explains the influence of psychoanalysis on her work in particular, how it helped her understand
the subject [as] produced on the condition of a foreclosure (2005:737) which means that I am also driven by something

she, like
Baudrillard, is very wary of any identity politics which aims for speakability
and visibility, because such a politics will only ever reproduce those
categories that re-inscribe hegemony. She however does not leave it at this questioning of
that is prior to and separate from this conscious and intentional I (Ibid.:738). It is for this reason that

the idea of emancipation, but seems again compelled to offer a workable feminist strategy that curiously reroutes
subversive agency to the feminist subject. The Lacanian foreclosure does not mean at all for Butler that the subject is a
static entity; in fact, the subject is dynamic because its action can very often take up the foreclosure itself (Ibid.739).
More even, Butler claims that my agency can also thematize and alter those [the subjects] limitations ... we can

certainly extend power but ... we can extend it into an unknown future (Ibid.:739-740). Butler calls this a politics of
radical re-signification which works within the hope and the practice of replaying power, of restaging it again and again
in new and productive ways (Ibid.:741). Butlers compulsion to carve out a route, even if it is by way of a detour, of some
sort of feminist liberation, is however not my main point of criticism; rather, Butler is here simply explicit about her hope
for feminist subversion that also precisely resides at the performative level of her own work. But if this is the case, then

Butlers academic and political role resides exactly in opening up


spaces for questioning the subject spaces that are nonetheless from the
outset required and constructed by the contemporary usurpation of the
subject and its politics in simulation. As Baudrillard says, seduction is today at all
costs suppressed, and Butler becomes the excellent object against which to
mobilize this energetic oppression because she questions yet performs the
feminist subject of emancipation.
we could claim that

Psycho-analysis and post-structuralism have come to figure in this feminist dispute


in self-affirming and self-defeating ways: while they are correct about the
fantasmatics of a subject at the centre of politics, they also multiply the
spaces and moments of relatively differential contestation required for
techno-capitalism spaces which Butler was already right to accuse of technological non-neutrality (1990).
Butlers radical re-signification indeed restages power again and again in new and productive ways productive in the

theories about performativity, speech-acts and other kinds of symbolic


violence (like in identity politics), should therefore be recast and extended as
not only concerning and criticising representational violence, but immediate
speed-elitist violence. The attempt at visibility and speakability (which she rightly
critiques), is not only a matter of a reification of categories and falsely stable
identities, but now also a matter of the reproduction and acceleration of
techno-capitalism. Understood in this way, one can see how the problem and
force of identity politics is actually a very contemporary one a contemporaneity that
the history of feminism also confirms. I therefore maintain that Butlers apt proposition that what operates
at the level of cultural fantasy is not finally dissociable from the
ways in which material life is organised (2004b:214) is not only accurate in
terms of gender representation, but adds a new insidious layer of speedelitist disenfranchisement.
capitalist sense, that is. Her helpful

This new layer to politics that insidiously connects the symbolic with negative
speed-elitist material effects, and which shows how Butlers analyses of the subject
somehow prefigure or imply this new layer, is perhaps ultimately best
illustrated through her remarkable analysis of the First Iraq War and her
subsequent affirmation of deconstructive political agency (1995). Butler speaks
here of smart bombs and other target imagery, and the reproduction of authority of the
American military officials, in the American media. The imagery according to her has
the effect of creating a seamless realization of intention through an
instrumental action (Ibid.:9) which in turn champions a masculinised Western
subject whose will immediately translates into a deed ... the instrumental
military subject appears at first to utter words that materialize directly into
destructive deeds (Ibid.:10). This then, says Butler, is a most striking allegory of the
fantasy of the subject of (political) intention, because eventually the
effectiveness of its intention is only a mirage brought on by prosthetic
warfare technology and visual media. I would add here that the more complex and
programmed such a prosthesis, the less the subject is the origin of its action at all. What is
more, Butler does not stop at unearthing these media images as allegories, but connects the representation with an

action by arguing it is a certain act of speech which not only delivers a message [to Saddams army] get out of Kuwait

What we see on
the television and computer screen is not merely a reflection of the war, but
the enactment of its phantasmatic structure (Ibid.:11, my italics). The viewer
is implicated in the enactment of its violence by becoming an extension of
the military apparatus while remaining in a position of total invulnerability
through the guarantee of electronic distance (Ibid.). What such mediated
imagery and its technologies therefore accomplish, I claim following Butler (Ibid.:12), is
precisely a dissimulation of the complicity of the subject of action
and intention (like feminist emancipatory politics) in annihilation (like
speed-elitism). I concur here that Butlers reading of Iraq War imagery comes
remarkably close to Baudrillards infamous The Gulf War Did Not Take
Place, but does not yet make the jump from the analysis of how the
war happened first and foremost in the media, and its implications
for feminist claims for liberation under techno-neo-liberalism . And
but effectively enforces that message through the threat of death and through death itself.

although Butler seeks once more to salvage emancipation by claiming that we can deconstruct (1995:17) through
safeguarding the conceptual differences among feminists over the term subject, I have instead shown that this today is

deconstruction, like nomadism, is simply not something


one can do as if guaranteeing subversive effect.
bound to repeat the same problematic

calls for nostalgia as well as for techno-inspired empowerment , like those of


fail to understand how the European feminist project never was a
secular project of pure reason and justice. Both nostalgia and techno-salvation fail to come to
Feminist

Braidotti,

terms with European feminisms own inherent imperialist tendencies. This conclusion once more shows the major import
of Baudrillards argument in the ongoing critical feminist effort teasing out the highly mediated contemporary
displacement of European feminisms good intentions (which I am sure Braidotti has), and its complicity in neoliberal

the violence
emanating from such imperialist tendencies will be intensified in the
near future if the subjective appropriation of the supposedly
neutral neoliberal technologies and their cultural arrangements
continues. So unless left-wing feminist theory tries to let go of its obsession
with the subject of politics, these feminist trajectories will continue the
mirage of European feminisms and left-wing (academic) activisms own
progressiveness, and intensify contemporary right-wing, xenophobic and
neoliberal arrangements. In turn, Butlers account of the subject and her
debate with Braidotti shows that Braidottis nomadic subject and Butlers
lacking-yet-capable-of-resignification subject today enter into a speed-elitist
point of convergence, such that the enactment of the relative conceptual
difference between her and Braidotti functions as a formal echo of neoliberal
acceleration. While Butlers discussions of iterability through the subject are
essentially accurate, they are nonetheless reflections of the points at which
the subjects dynamism is an effect of its speed-elitist form . This would mean that the
gap between subjectivity and intentional agency has seriously widened under
speed-elitism, and that lack has attached itself to subjectivity in a more
fundamental and technological way .
acceleration and disenfranchisement. In line with Baudrillards analysis, I hold that

left-wing feminism wants to remain relevant, it should rethink the possibilities


of subversion as being severely confounded by the more intimate relationship
between gendered difference, new speed-elitist formations of class and
techno-capitalism. The humanist aporia and its constant political re-enactments play into the acceleration of
Therefore, if our

capital today. This state of affairs ceaselessly defers the promise of feminist liberation, and illustrates the increasing
inefficacy of subjective politics. The tension between Butler and Braidotti becomes a productive tension under

Butler and Braidottis conceptual attempt at re-signification and


nomadism become mere echoes of the value-sign form of neoliberal capital .
Dialectical modes of thought like these have become formally enlisted by
capital, and its politics in turn becomes thoughts simulation . I myself also perform the
acceleration, where

subject of feminist politics by playing off the differences between Baudrillard, Butler and Braidotti by responsibly
carrying forward their politics and implicating my own argument in the very same economic desperation, good apprentice

Humanism is productively, in the feminist and capitalist sense, at work in the


Butler-Braidotti contention around the subject or in other words, the feminist subject in
that I am of all three.

Braidotti and Butler, having become a relative female other of patriarchal speed-elitism, becomes the site of active

Baudrillard astutely likens this effacement of the conceptual


difference between these versions of the subject to a move from Oedipus to
Narcissus (Baudrillard, 1990b:166). Under this new Narcissistic logic there is no
repression or alienation but simply a crossing (out) of the Lacanian bar; in
turn, the becoming of the subject as sign-object reflects the relative
movements engendered by speed.
reproduction of the latter.

Nonetheless, this shows that re-reading Butler and Braidotti through the lens of Baudrillard points not only towards the

that what can never be


caught as complicit, as seduction is always already at work within any
theoretical-political simulation. Feminism now needs to theorise how a
female radical other as object may seduce the subject beyond mere
accelerated reproduction. As the current economic disaster unfolds, it is
more than ever clear that the world is in dire need of such a restrategising of feminist theory. It is my hope that that what remains unsaid between
Braidotti and Butler provides a beginning for such a strategy . It may do so by
gesturing beyond neoliberal acceleration through ostensibly crossing over
conceptual differences as if they were mere empty form in short, by
succumbing to the seduction of that what today resists acceleration . If all
this seems baffling to the reader, this is because it is; after all, if even my
left-wing feminist thinking of the limits of the subject by way of the object
risks acceleration, then what is left?
complicity of the contemporary feminist subject in acceleration, but also towards

Speed elitism has outpaced Eurocentrism as the primary


nexus around which global power relations are organized
the utopian promise of transparent mediation through
the accelerating technologies of instantaneity produce a
desire for dialogue between activism and academia, yet
this injunction towards participation and new networks of
knowledge merely re-signify the humanist promise of the
University as a space encompassing alterity. This
neoliberalization entails a militarization of the university:
never before has so-called basic research been so deeply
committed to the ends that are fundamentally military.
Hoofd 10. Ingrid M. Hoofd, Assistant Professor in the Communications and
New Media Programme at the National University of Singapore (NUS). The
accelerated university: Activist academic alliances and the simulation of
thought, ephemera, Feb 2010, 2010 ephemera 10(1): 7-24)

Neoliberal capitalism is hence a system in which the most intimate and


fundamental aspects of human social life in particular, forms of thought and
linguistic difference are formally subsumed under this system by being
circulated as capital. In Resisting the Neoliberal Discourse of Technology,
Armitage elaborates on this theme of circulation by pointing out that the
current mode of late-capitalism relies on the continuous extension and
validation of the infrastructure and the optimistic discourses of the
new information technologies. Discourses that typically get repeated in
favour of what I designate as the emerging speed-elite are those of
connection, instantaneity, liberation, transformation, multiplicity and border
crossing. Speed-elitism, I therefore argue, replaces Eurocentrism today
as the primary nexus around which global and local disparities are
organised, even though it largely builds on the formalisation of Eurocentric
conceptual differences like doing versus thinking , and East versus
West.
Under speed-elitism, the utopian emphasis on the transparent mediation
through technologies of instantaneity gives rise to the fantasy of the
networked spaces outside the traditional academic borders as radical
spaces, as well as the desire for a productive dialogue or alliance
between activism and academia. This would mean that activism and
academia have become relative others under globalisation, in which the
(non-Western or anti-capitalist) activist figures as some kind of
hallucination of radical otherness for the Western intellectual. This
technological hallucination serves an increasingly aggressive neocolonial and patriarchal economic state of exploitation, despite or
perhaps rather because of such technologies of travel and

communication having come to figure as tools for liberation and


transformation.
So the discourses of techno-progress, making connections, heightened
mobility and crossing borders in activist-academic alliances often go hand in
hand with the (implicit) celebration of highly mediated spaces for action and
communication between allied groups. Such discourses however suppress
the violent colonial, capitalist and patriarchal history of those
technological spaces and the subsequent unevenness of any such
alliance. More severely, they foster an oppressive sort of imaginary
collective or unity of struggles through the myth of truly
allowing for radical difference and multiplicity within that space a
form of techno-inclusiveness that in turn excludes a variety of nontechnogenic groups and slower classes. That these highly mediated
spaces of thought and knowledge production are exclusivist is also shown by
Sheila Slaughter and Gary Rhoades study of the transformation of higher
education in The Academic Capitalist Knowledge/Learning Regime.
Slaughter and Rhoades argue that new technologies allow the neo-liberal
university to precisely cross the borders of universities and external for-profit
and non-profit agencies in the name of development, production and efficacy,
resulting in new circuits of knowledge. These opportunity
structures (Slaughter and Rhoades, 2004: 306) that the neoliberal
economy creates, I in turn argue, become precisely those spaces of
imagination that come to signify as well as being resultant of the
universitys humanist promise of reaching-out to alterity . This
paradoxically also leads to what Slaughter and Rhoades accurately identify as
a restratification among and within colleges and universities (2004:
307).
Thought is then increasingly exercised in, and made possible through,
spaces that are just as much spaces of acceleration and
militarisation. The increasing complicity of the humanities in the applied
sciences within the contemporary university, and hence the integration of
critical thinking and neo-liberalist acceleration, is also a major theme running
through Jacques Derridas Eyes of the University. Derrida there suggests that
neo-liberalisation entails a militarisation of the university , claiming
that never before has so-called basic research been so deeply
committed to ends that are at the same time military ends (Derrida,
2004: 143). The intricate relation between the military (missiles) and the
imperatives of the humanities (missives) also pervades Derridas No
Apocalypse, Not Now, in which he argues that the increasing urgency with
which intellectuals feel compelled to address disenfranchisement and crisis
paradoxically leads to a differential acceleration of such oppression through
technologies of instantaneous action. But the relationship between new
technologies and the subjects perception of and subsequent desire for the
incorporation of otherness that speed-elitism engenders, is best illustrated
through DerridasArchive Fever and Monolingualism of the Other. Derridas

concerns here are not so much directly with the contemporary university, but
rather with the link between how thought is situated in technologies of
communication (like language) and the emergence of authority as well as
(academic and activist) empowerment.

As the academy serves more and more economic and


military ends, the affirmation of its techo-transparency
can only serve to create more and more death, refounding the humanist mythos of Enlightenment reason to
know oneself and the world around you, to purge the
world from mystery.
We need an ethics of intellectual inquiry that resists the
imperatives of speeding up the flow of information and
instead performs the trick of fatal theory, engendering an
accident in this infrastructure that brings about the
possibility of an event.
Hoofd 10. Ingrid M. Hoofd, Assistant Professor in the Communications and
New Media Programme at the National University of Singapore (NUS). The
accelerated university: Activist academic alliances and the simulation of
thought, ephemera, Feb 2010, 2010 ephemera 10(1): 7-24)

But far from an a-disciplinary self-constitution that supposedly overcomes


any fictitious distinction, Investigacci for one relies heavily on the common
fictitious distinction between activism and academia to validate their praxis.
By contrasting their initiative to the false objectivity of academicism, they
validate their own knowledge production by claiming to be in the
margins as opposed to the ivory tower, as if the latter is a stable area
from which one can detach oneself from the outside world and hence
objectively analyse. Also, one could wonder to what extent one is
actually speaking from the margins when one has the time,
technologies, spaces and connections to organise an event
like Investigacci. The desire to generate knowledge from ones own
subjectivity, without limitations (2005: 3) is analogous to the
mythical humanist narrative of breaking with and improving upon
previous knowledge a form of knowledge-innovation that the
academic institution is also infused with .
The university of excellence as well as its doublings into projects
like Investigacci are therefore an effect of its repetitions (with a difference)

into the neo-liberal mythical space of progress and acceleration. The creation
of more and more spaces and mechanisms of production, exchange and
collective reflection (2005: 3) is indeed precisely what late-capitalism seeks
to forge, as long as such reflection generates an intensification of production.
The idea that subjectivities from social movements are in any way
less produced by neo-liberal globalisation is highly problematic. In
fact, such an idea suggests a rather positivist notion of the subject
similar to that supposedly objective academic individual Investigacci seeks to
dethrone. Investigacci then somewhat nostalgically narrates a subject untainted by power structures and
technologies. In fact, the Investigacciinitiative displays how the subject of activist research empowers heror himself throughrecreating the fictitious distinction between activism and academia. S/he does so by
reproducing this opposition, which in turn co-creates and accelerates these new spaces spaces that
were created with the goal of facilitating global capitalism and its speed-elite, and that allow for the
perfection of military power through technologies of surveillance.

The call for participants to become active and productive in co-organising the
international event of course, without any monetary remuneration is also
much present in Investigaccis rhetoric. They suggest that participants
should engage with one another not only at the meeting, but especially
through the online spaces Investigacci has created for the purpose of
generating activist research. Take action! says their flyer, [...] make
it so the conference is yours! This seductive appeal to the subjectindividual as the centre of creative production is very common to neo-liberal
consumerism and its emphasis on cybernetic interactivity. But it is also false in that
it gives the participants a sense of control over Investigacci that they actually do not have eventually,
the main organisers (have already) set the agenda and handed out the stakes. In short, the organisers fail
to situate themselves by pretending everyone is on the same level of privilege for example, not requiring
monetary compensation in this project, and this failure is strangely an effect of their attempt at reviving
a more democratic academic structure.
Information

Baudrillards assessment confirms my analytical


suspicion regarding activist-research projects. In The Implosion,
Baudrillard starts from the premise that the increase of information in our
media-saturated society results in a loss of meaning because it
exhausts itself in the act of staging communication. New media
technologies exacerbate the subjects fantasy of transparent
communication, while increasingly what are communicated are mere copies
of the same, a recycling in the negative of the traditional institution
(Baudrillard, 1994: 80). New technologies are simply the materialisation of
that fantasy of communication, and the lure (1994: 81) of such a
technocratic system resides in the requirement of active political
engagement to uphold that fantasy. This translates in a call to
subjectivise oneself to be vocal, participate, and to play the [...]
liberating claim of subjecthood (1994: 85). The result of the intensifying
circular logic of this system, he says, is that meaning not only implodes in the
media, but also that the social implodes in the masses the construction
of a hyperreal (1994: 81). Contra the claim of Glocal Research Space that
such praxes of alliance are without an object (Glocal Research Space, 2003:
19), this does not mean that objectification does not take place at all.
Initially, one could think that

Instead, and in line with Baudrillards argument, the urge to subjectivise


oneself and the objectification of the individual go hand in hand under speedelitism a double bind that locks the individual firmly into her or his
technocratic conditions.
Indeed, the argument in Activist Research that research [should be] like an
effective procedure [which is] in itself already a result (2003: 19) describes
the conditions of Readings university of excellence where any research
activity, thanks to technological instantaneity, translates immediately into
the capitalist result of increased information flow (Readings, 1996: 22).
Active subjects and their others become the cybernetic objects of
such a system of information flow. The insistence in Activist Research
on free, travelling and nomadic research simply makes sure that this logic of
increased flow is repeated. Because of this desire for increased flow and
connection, activist-research projects are paradoxically highly
exclusivist in advocating the discourses and tools of the speed-elite.
The problem with projects like Edu-Factory or the productive cross-over of
activism and academia is therefore not only that their political counterinformation means just more information (and loss of meaning) as
well as more capitalist production, but that it puts its faith in
precisely those technologies and fantasies of control,
communication and of being political that underlie the current logic
of overproduction.
It is at this point that John Armitage and Joanne Roberts in Chronotopia
contend that such a cyclical repetition (Armitage and Roberts, 2002: 52)
is particularly dangerous because the fantasy of control remains exactly
that, a fantasy. At the same time, this increasingly forceful repetition can
only eventually give way to the accident because chronotopian
speed-spaces are fundamentally and exponentially unstable.
Armitage and Roberts idea of cyclical repetition through chronotopianism
does thus not mean an exact repetition of the speed-elites quest for mastery
instead, I would argue that it is this immanent quality of difference in
repetition, of the essential drifting due to [a technologys] iterative
structure cut off from [] consciousness as the authority of the last
analysis as Derrida calls it in Signature Event Context (Derrida, 1982: 316)
that allows for the accident or true event to appear. The difference
through technologically sped-up repetition appears then perhaps as a
potential, but only precisely as a growing potential that cannot be willed in
this sense, it will be an unanticipated event indeed.
One could then speak of an intensification of politics in what is perhaps too
hastily called the neo-liberal university, opening up unexpected spaces for
critique in the face of its neo-liberalisation, which in turn points to the
fundamental instability of its enterprise. Activist-research projects add
to this intensification by virtue of their techno-acceleration. This
intensification of politics is no ground for univocal celebration, since it
remains also the hallmark of the neo-liberal mode of production of knowledge

through the new tele-technologies as excellent, regardless of its critical


content. The current universitys instability mirrors and aggravates the
volatility of a capitalism marked by non-sustainability, a growing feminisation
of poverty, the rise of a new global upper class, and highly mediated
illusions of cybernetic mastery. This nonetheless also opens up new
forms of thought, if only appearing as accidents.
Derrida hints at this, but also at the universitys elusiveness, in Mochlos, or:
the Conflict of the Faculties, when he claims that he would almost call [the
university] the child of an inseparable couple, metaphysics and technology
(Derrida, 1993: 5, emphasis mine). Almost, but never quite here then
emerges the possibility of truly subversive change. But this change
will not be brought about by the mere content of the critique, but by
the way it pushes acceleration to the point of systemic
disintegration or implosion. In Fatal Strategies, Baudrillard calls this
the fatal strategy that contemporary theory must adopt: a sort of
conceptual suicide attack which aims at pulling the rug out from
under the speed-elitist mobilisation of semiotic oppositions , and
which shows the paradox behind any attempt at structural
predictions.
In The Final Solution, Baudrillard relates this intensification of the humanist
obsession with dialectics, mastery, and transparency the quest for
immortality that is at the basis of techno-scientific research to destruction
and the death drive through the metaphor of and actual research around
cloning, which strangely resonates well with Derridas investigation of the
tele-technological archive in Archive Fever. I read Baudrillards Final
Solution here as a metaphor for the duplication (cloning) of thought
into virtual spaces outside the university walls proper. If contemporary
research seeks to make human cloning possible, argues Baudrillard, then this
endeavour is equivalent to cancer: after all, cancer is simply automatic
cloning, a deadly form of multiplication. It is of interest here to note that the
possibility of creating an army of clones has likewise garnered much
military interest, just as academia today more and more serves
military ends. As the logic of cloning as automatic multiplication is typical of
all current technological and humanist advancements, the exacerbation of
this logic can only mean more promise and death. At this point my
argument mirrors the apocalyptic tone of the activist-research
projects.
In the final analysis, the problem with Edu-Factory, Facolt di
Fuga, Investigacci, Universidad Nmada, Ricercatori Precari, and Glocal
Research Space is that these projects entail a very specific form of
subjugation with dire consequences for the slower and less techno-genic
classes. Techno-scientific progress entails a regress into immortality,
epitomised by a nostalgia typical of the current socio-technical situation, for
when we were undivided (Baudrillard, 2000: 6). I contend that Baudrillard
refers not only to the lifeless stage before humans became sexed life forms,

but also makes an allusion to psycho-analytic readings of the subject divided


in language and its nostalgia for wholeness and transparent communication.
The desire for immortality, like archive fever, is therefore the same
as the Freudian death drive, and we ourselves ultimately become the
object of our technologies of scrutiny and nostalgia. The humanist
quest of totally transparency of oneself and of the world to oneself
that grounds the idea of the modern techno-scientific university, is
ultimately an attempt at (self-)destruction, or in any case an
attempted destruction of (ones) radical difference [alterity].
The urgent political question, which Stiegler problematically avoided
in Disorientation, then becomes: which selves are and will become caught up
in the delusion of total self-transparency and self-justification, and which
selves will be destroyed? And how may we conceive of an ethic of
intellectual inquiry or aesthetic contemplation that resists the
imperatives of speed, as Jon Cook likewise wonders in The TechnoUniversity and the Future of Knowledge (Cook, 1999: 323)? It is of particular
importance to note here that the very inception of this question and its
possible analysis, like the conception of the speed-elite, is itself
again a performative repetition of the grounding myth of the
university of independent truth, justice and reason. Therefore, in
carrying forward the humanist promise, this analysis is itself bound up in the
intensification of the logic of acceleration and destruction , and that is then
also equally tenuous. This complicity of thought in the violence of
acceleration itself in turn quickens the machine of the humanist promise , and
can only manifest itself in the prediction of a coming apocalypse whether it
concerns a narrative of the death of thought and the university, or of a
technological acceleration engendering the Freudian death drive. We are
then simply the next target in the technological realisation of
complete (know thyself) or so it seems. Because after
all, a clone is never an exact copy, as Baudrillard very well knows;
and therefore, the extent to which activist-research projects
hopefully invite alterity can thankfully not yet be thought.

The binary structure of communication forms the building


blocks for the whole system of reality itself, pre-coding
ideological resistance into its very core. Counter-violence
is solicited by the system while revolutionary content
becomes a false flag, achieving its goals in media
spectacle or by assuaging the demands of protest.
We ought not seek meaning, but only to squander it. In
order to challenge the system, we must begin with the
level of form, the Code, not its representational contents.
Our performance of radical theory is one that shatters the
very possibility of reifying the coded and economic
meaning of engagement within debate. Absent a poetic
nullification of the code all attempts at resistance remain
binary and banal. We must challenge the semiotic medium
through which politics is filtered.
Pawlett 13. William Pawlett, senior lecturer in media, communications,
and cultural studies at the University of Wolverhampton, UK, Violence,
Society and Radical Theory : Bataille, Baudrillard and Contemporary Society,
pg. 132

Baudrillard on Hatred and Difference In recent sociological literature, hatred


is understood as the result of an entrenched structure of difference which
imposes a normative and hierarchical order on those who appear to be
different. Those who benefit most from established social and economic
structures: white, middle-class heterosexual males, exercise and
reinforce their position of dominance through a wide range of oppositions
with each pair consisting of positive and negative terms. Hence black,
female, gay, become the negative terms by which white, male and straight
define and maintain their identities as superior. Since such identity positions
are not naturally superior they require the maintenance of boundaries
separating them ideologically from their opposite term. Identity and
difference are mutually reinforcing and difference tends to be reduced to a
subordinate, supplementary or supporting role. Further, such accounts assert,
in times of stress, loss of status (such as loss of employment, or difficulty in
securing meaningful employment) those in a privileged position will vent their
frustrations on those who are different (Perry 2001). More recently,
sociological accounts have stressed the importance of the emotional bonds
which link the hater with whomever or whatever they hate (Alford 1998;
Scheff and Retzinger 2001). The hater is thereby revealed to be in a situation
of weakness and dependence which tends to further enrage them. Many
writers then enjoin a celebration of difference or diversity such that
difference can be either revealed as really rather similar to identity as in

many multiculturalist arguments or alternatively difference is celebrated


as different but not lesser. In both of these accounts there is usually some
appeal for greater education or information on cultural difference and better
or more positive media representations of difference. This section examines
how the ideas of Bataille and Baudrillard depart from these trends. Hatred, for
Bataille, is a powerful, enduring though derivative and mobile psychological
attitude. Hatred is not an affect or drive, but a restricted, accumulated ragbag of sentiments. Such sentiments parallel capitalist values in that they
consist of ideological and representational claims which are extremely
reductive, in particular, they reduce human being to the state of a productive
instrument, and further in their accumulative form and refusal of generosity
and reciprocity. For Baudrillard, hatred is a far more supple relation than the
term bond suggests; it is so readily channelled, re-directed, switched or
substituted. In the destructured, implosive and limitless system that
dominates contemporary life the hater does not necessarily even require an
object or other to hate, or an identity position to protect or affirm. In his rethinking of hate Baudrillard asks, provocatively, is it some version of
difference or otherness that suffers the rage of haters, or is it rather
those who are perceived and positioned as dangerously similar
(1993b: 129). The category of the dangerously similar includes
those who have been forcibly deprived of their difference by the
globalising of simulatory Western values. For Baudrillard, we are all
haters, not because of some innate badness of human nature, but
because we live in a system that encourages hate and thrives upon
its channelling. Both Bataille and Baudrillard then take hatred very
seriously, aiming to theorise it in its intensity and power and avoiding facile
social prescriptions concerning social progress through better representation
or education. The Code and its Discriminations In For a Critique of the Political
Economy of the Sign (1981, orig. 1972) Baudrillard began to describe various
codes of meaning (or signification) as integrated by what he called the code
( le code, la grille, le Code du signes, la matrice ). By the code Baudrillard
intended not particular codes of meaning (English, French, Morse) or
particular modes of the interpretation of meaning (dominant, resistant,

For an
effective critique of the consumer society to be
made, Baudrillard suggests, we must focus
analysis on the form of the Code, not its
contents or representations which are, of
course, extraordinarily open, malleable and
diverse. The Code as form is preconscious, or, in Baudrillards
plural) but rather the condition of possibility of coding . 2

terminology, has the effect of precession; that is, as grid or network it


precedes individual experience, perception and choice. The medium of
this grid is the abstract, arbitrary sign. Signs, visual and linguistic, are the

medium of coding, of the ordered exchange between coded elements.


Composed to two sets of inter-locking relations, the sign-referent and
signifier-signified, the sign is the universal form constructing the oppositions
of subject and object, of real and representation, of self and other :
the building blocks of reality itself. The ordered exchange of signs
produces identity and difference: every thing is semiotic; every
thing is a thing because it is not some other thing. Signs produce
social meanings and values on a scale or grid whereby all points can be
measured and compared. To clarify, it is not that every thing can be
converted into sign form, it is rather that the very process of transcription or
coding produces things within a scheme of identities and
differences. Though the Code encompasses every thing it cannot process
symbolic exchange, seduction, the ambivalence (or becoming) of life which
consist not things with identity but of volatile relations, always in transit or
metamorphosis. The Code then does not merely express particular aspects of
the consumer capitalist system such as media, fashion or advertising: it is far
more fundamental. At the fundamental level the Code is what prevents
symbolic exchange by breaking its cycles or by seizing and diverting its
potential. Symbolic exchange now occurs or rather effracts only
when the Code and its value systems are annulled, reversed or
suspended. Symbolic exchange traverses all oppositions, challenging
fixed or stable positions or power relations. Baudrillards major example
of symbolic exchange is, of course, the gift and counter-gift discussed in
Chapter 2. To reiterate, the meaning of the gift never settles into fixity or
identity, it is not structured by a logic of difference, its meaning can be
transformed at any moment in the on-going relation or pact between
parties indeed this relation is of the gift and the gift is of this relation:
relation and gift flourish together, and die together. Baudrillard defines the
Code as a generalised metaphysics synthesising social values, social
production and social identities, and this system ends any sense of the social
as dynamic, symbolic form. The Code enacts an obligatory registration of
individuals on the scale of status (1981: 68), producing a hierarchy of
differential signs which, crucially, constitutes the fundamental,
decisive form of social control more so than acquiescence to
ideological norms (ibid.). It makes no difference whether we, as
individuals, endorse the consumer capitalist system or not, since we
are all positioned by the Code, and are positioned through it by others: the
game of ideological critique takes place within the terms set by the
Code. The Code breaks, blocks and bars ambivalence producing the
structure of difference the play of identity and difference
characterised by oppositions such as true/false, good/evil, self/other,
black/white, male/female. The standard dimensions of consumer status
positioning flow from this source: rich/poor, young/ old, fat/thin,
attractive/unattractive. While structural or dialectical oppositions are
characteristic of the first and second orders of simulacra, in the third order
the Code simulates choice, difference and diversity through binary
modulation by allowing the privileged terms of its oppositions to switch,

fuse or implode (1983: 95-110). For example fat, poor and old can be
beautiful too if only within the confines of fashion, cosmetics advertising or
pop music video. The Code operates in total indifference to content;
everything is permitted in sign form; that is as simulation. The Code also
performs a pacifying effect on society: the once clear-cut, structural divisions
such as class and status are made less visible by registering all people as
individual consumers on a single, universal scale. Everyone becomes a
consumer, though some, of course, consume far more than others. As
universal form the status of consumer confers a kind of democratic flattening
of social relations, but an illusory one. If class conflict was, to some extent,
pacified, Baudrillard does not contend that society as a whole is pacified;
indeed other forms of violence and dissent emerge and cannot be deterred.
Baudrillard wrote of the emergence of new anomalous forms of violence,
less intelligible, less structured, post-dialectical or implosive (Baudrillard
1998a: 174-85; 1994: 71-2)). He refers to the Watts riots of 1965 as an
example of new violent rejections of the consumer system. Later,
Baudrillard proposed the term disembodied hate or simply the hate to
express aspects of this process (1996a: 142-7). The Code then is a
principle of integration producing everything and everyone as a
position on the scale of social value . With the last vestiges of symbolic
orders around the world being eliminated by neo-liberal economic
globalisation how is the Code to be challenged or defied? 3 Departing from
the form but not the intent of Marxist theory, Baudrillard argued that the
apparent distinction between use value and economic exchange value is
produced as a code effect. In other words, use value is a simulatory form
produced by the capitalist system as justification and grounding for its
trading of economic exchange values (1981: 130-42). For Baudrillard the
illusion of use value, like the illusion of signified meanings and the illusion of
the stable solid reality of the referent, are produced by the Code as structural
groundings, shoring up the unstable reality of signs and preventing the
emergence of ambivalence (1981: 156 n.9). To challenge, defy or breach the
Code then it is not sufficient to return to use value. Indeed such strategies,
shared by some Marxists, environmentalists and anti-globalisation
movements actually feed the capitalist system: the markets semiotic
assimilation of environmentalism as the green brand choice is an obvious
example. But if Marxist theory fails to engage with and challenge the system
of signs, so too, for Baudrillard, do many Structuralist, Poststructuralist and
Postmodernist theorists of desire, difference and liberation. To defy the
system it is never sufficient to play with signs, that is, to play with
plural, different or multiple identity positions. Here we encounter
Baudrillards total rejection of what would later be called identity politics and
also a central misunderstanding of his position on signs. 4 For Baudrillard to
play with signs signs of consumption and status, signs of gender, sexuality
or ethnicity is simply to operate within the Code . It is an unconscious
or unwitting complicity with the Codes logic of the multiplication of
status positions; it is, in a sense, to assist it in the production of
diversity and choice. It is deeply ironic that some of Baudrillards critics

have claimed that Baudrillard himself merely played with signs and that he
advocated a playing with signs. Yet Baudrillard is clear, in order to oppose
the system [e]ven signs must burn (1981: 163). In his controversial
work Seduction (orig. 1979) Baudrillard draws an important distinction
between the ludique meaning playing the game of signs, playing with
signification (to enhance ones status position or to assert ones identity
through its difference), and mise enjeux meaning to put signs at stake, to
challenging them or annul them through symbolic exchange (1990: 15778). 5
For Baudrillard signs play with us, despite us, against us; any radical
defiance must be a defiance of signs and their codings. Unfortunately,
the distinction between playing with signs playing with their decoding and
recoding, and defying the sign system has not penetrated the mainstream of
Media and Cultural Studies. Ecos influential notion of semiotic guerrilla
warfare (Eco 1995) and Halls even more influential notion of resistant
decoding place their faith in the ability of the sovereign, rational consumer
to negotiate mediated meanings. For them the citizen-consumer confronts
media content as the subject confronts the object. Hall does not consider that
much media content is now pre-encoded in an ersatz oppositional
form which renders the moment of oppositional decoding merely one of
conformity or ironic recognition (see Hall et al. 2002: 128-38). In other words,
the terms for resistant readings can be pre-set as positions within
the Code. Critique is rendered uncertain, even meaningless by coded
assimilation because the system sells us the signs of opposition as
willingly as it sells us the signs of conformity ; it sells signs of
inclusion and empowerment as eagerly as it sells signs of affluence
and exclusion. Can we even tell them apart? In which category would we
place the phenomenon of Sex and the City , for example? 6 Today, millions of
people manage, archive and share signs of their designated identity through
social media platforms, in Baudrillards terms holding themselves hostage to
the system of signs. The realm of symbolic exchange or seduction does not
come about when individuals play with signs but when (signs of)
individuality, identity, will and agency are annulled through an encounter with
radical otherness. Radical otherness, or radical alterity, for Baudrillard, refers
to otherness not difference, that is otherness beyond
representation, beyond coding including oppositional or assertive
de/re-codings. A system of total constraint the Code does not merely
produce identity but also difference, diversity and hybridity: indeed each of
these now describe marketing strategies. Of course, the system does not
seek to promote passivity or apathy among consumers but quite the contrary:
to thrive and expand the system requires active, discriminating, engaged
consumers, jostling for position, competing for advancement. The Code exists
to better prime the aspiration towards the higher level (1981: 60),
delivering diversity and choice at the level of signs or content (the goods that
we choose to eat, the products and services that we choose to wear, watch,
download) and it requires in return nothing much at all merely that we
understand ourselves as consumers . The aim of the system is to make the
consumer the universal form of humanity yet within this form an almost

infinite variety of differential contents or positions are possible;


homogenisation and diversification become indistinguishable. Since
humanity, for Baudrillard, as for Nietzsche, is already constituted as a
universal form by the Enlightenment (1993a: 50) this task is close to
completion, though the final completion, the perfect crime against
Otherness will never, according to Baudrillard, come to pass (Baudrillard
1996a). 7 As a term the Code largely disappeared from Baudrillards writings
after Simulacra and Simulation (1994). Are we to take it that the Code is still
operational in the fourth order or is it defunct? We can answer this question
by recalling two important points. Firstly, Baudrillard did not contend that the
pacification and control effected by the Code would be total (quite the
reverse, see Baudrillard 1996a: 142-9; 1998a: 174-85), only that the Code
aimed at total constraint. Baudrillards most developed example, the masses,
let us recall, are not so passive and docile that they are manipulated by the
system; rather, they withdraw into silence or practice a hyper-conformity
without belief in, or commitment to, the integrated system of values. In other
words, they refuse to be the active, discriminating, reflective consumers that
the system requires. Baudrillard writes We form a mass, living most of the
time in panic or haphazardly ( aleatoire ) above and beyond any meaning
(1983: 15), the masses are clearly not only the poor and marginal, they are
us, you and everyone ( nous, vous, tout le monde ) (1983: 46; 2005b: 51).
This we is not a rhetorical device used to assert a faux value
consensus; rather it suggests a buried, banished commonality, a
commonality of nothing except a shared rejection of systemic
control. Everyone, as posited by the Code, is mass ; both inside and, at the
same time, beyond the Code: mass, yet singularity. Secondly, in the late
1980s when Baudrillard proposed a fourth order, a fractal stage with no
point of reference, where value radiates in all directions as a haphazard
proliferation (Baudrillard 1993b: 11) he was clear that the previous orders
continue to function alongside the fourth order. In other words, there are still
dialectical tensions operating, associated with the second order, and the
Code of the third order also flourishes. Indeed what is most distinctive about
the fourth order is that: things continue to function long after their ideas have
disappeared, and they do so in total indifference to their content. The
paradoxical fact is that they function even better under these circumstances
(Baudrillard 1993b: 6). The idea or principle of the Code then is dead, but it
functions even more effectively than ever, it becomes virtual, it produces
integral reality as the complete and final replacement for the world as
symbolic form (Baudrillard 2005a: 17-24). The Code, simulation and
virtuality become so dominant, so global, that overt forms of
resistance or counter-systemic violence are absorbed within it.
Countersystemic violence might be given a (safe) place to play out through
the media and entertainment industries, or it might be neutralised by the
system offering a simulated, commodified version of what protesters and
dissenters demand this was how the sexual revolution was neutralised,
according to Baudrillard. However, new forms of violence emerge from
within saturated, controlling and dissuasive systems, intra-genic

forms which, Baudrillard suggests, seem to be secreted by the system


itself as it reaches a bloated, excessive or hypertelic state. The hate is
one example of such intra-genic violence. Racism, Indifference and the
Hate The whole art of politics today is to whip up popular indifference
(Baudrillard, Cool Memories II , 1996b: 16) What then is the relationship
between the Code and violence and hatred? The Code both pacifies and
produces hate; indeed it produces hatred through pacification. While
consumer capitalism has, to some extent, achieved a pacifying effect on
structural hatred such as the racism of skin colour, the system generates
new hatreds and new violence that cannot be treated by socialisation,
education and information. On racism specifically Baudrillard argues:
Logically, it [racism] should have declined with the advance of
Enlightenment and democracy. Yet the more hybrid our cultures
become, and the more the theoretical and genetic bases of racism crumble
away, the stronger it grows. But this is because we are dealing here with a
mental object, with an artificial construction based on an erosion of the
singularity of cultures and entry into the fetishistic system of difference. So
long as there is otherness, strangeness and the (possibly violent) dual
relation as we see in anthropological accounts up to the eighteenth
century and into the colonial period there was no racism properly socalled all forms of sexist, racist, ethnic or cultural discrimination arise out
of the same profound disaffection and out of a collective mourning for a dead
otherness, set against a background of general indifference (Baudrillard
199a6: 132). If the systemic violence of difference is ameliorated, at least in
the world of signs and in what people are prepared to state openly, the postdialectical violence of indifference seems to grow in intensity. The violence of
in-difference or the hate is like an antibiotic resistant virus, a hospital
superbug: it cannot be treated by the standard measures because the overuse of those very measures helped to produced it (Baudrillard 1996a: 142-7;
2005a: 141-55). The Codes vast edifice of signs the fetishistic system
of difference diversifies and assimilates producing positive
representations at the same time as the divide, both economic and cultural,
between rich and poor deepens and ramifies. The edifice of signs actually
deters, prevents or displaces the possibility of genuine social
progress by delivering simulated social progress: signs of
equality, signs of inclusion, signs of empowerment. Baudrillards
contends that this indifferent society is based on the expulsion of
all forms of radical otherness: foreignness, death, madness,
negativity, evil, even the radical otherness of language is
dismantled by linguistics and informationalisation. Such societies are,
broadly, tolerant but this means simply that there is a widespread
indifference to the other. So long as the other conforms to the agenda set by
liberal capitalism a life reduced to usefulness, productivity, and distinctive
regimes of consumption that is, so long as the other remains fundamentally
the same , the other is tolerated. Difference is tolerated so long as it
remains within the identity/difference binary opposition, difference
being plotted from the standards of sameness and identity. In a

sense, difference and indifference become indistinguishable: minorities are


tolerated in their difference when they can offer certain superficial differences
within the consumer system: different food, different music, different clothes,
different culture. Indeed culture is increasingly understood as the
inessential markings of certain groups: it is commonplace to hear talk of club
culture, organisational culture, gay culture and these generally refer to
nothing more than the current styles of speech, aesthetic preferences and
consumption practices of these groups. The society of indifference
generates a new and insidious form of racism. The indifferent society
is not one where anything goes or where there are no systemic exclusions,
quite the reverse: the whole movement of an indifferent society ends
in victimhood and hatred (Baudrillard 1996a: 131). What he calls the
negative passion of indifference involves a hysterical and speculative
resurrection of the other (1996: 131). This artificial other is idealised by
hatred, by condescension or pity the other becomes fetish. Racism is
desperately seeking the other in the form of evil to be combated. The
humanitarian seeks the other just as desperately in the form of
victims to aid [.] The scapegoat is no longer the person you hound, but
the one whose lot you lament. But he is still a scapegoat and he is still the
same person (Baudrillard 1996: 132). Hatred is secreted by the modern,
liberal, indifferent reconstruction of the Other as other. This
negotiable other is promoted, even celebrated but only through a
compulsory registration on a single scale of identity/difference, a
scale by which the other is assimilated, measured and judged.
Indeed, for Baudrillard, this compulsory registration constitutes a
subtler form of extermination that structural racism (1993b: 133).
The other the lower case, similar, yet marginally different other is
scapegoated by humanitarianism in search of an object of pity, by politicians
seeking opportunities for televised performances of contrition, by the media
seeking sensational and calamitous tales. But this is not simply misjudged
charity, well-meaning but ineffective, the fetishising of the other serves a
deeper purpose. Western power brokers urgently require an injection
of reality, of real reality to shore up their public relations campaigns,
their regimes of simulation, and the other as victim can be made to
provide precisely this. Western politicians and corporations seek to import
their force and the energy of their misfortune (Baudrillard 1996a: 134). The
disastrous other of the third world provides useful cover for the operation of
neo-liberal and neo-conservative economic, cultural and military policies
which maintain the third world in its disastrous, but to them, usefully
disastrous condition. The hate, as Baudrillard figures it, cannot be
broken down and understood through the structural or binary
oppositions of self and other, black and white, inside and outside.
The hate does not emanate from a recognisable position: a self, an ideology,
a discourse or a culture, nor does it emerge from the ideology or culture of
the other. The verb to hate, like the self or ego has been liberated and
become autonomous: uprooted it flows and seeps crossing any boundary, any
limit (Baudrillard 2005c: 141). The hate is networked, it travels at the speed

of information, it has not one object or target but all and any; because it is
not, primarily, hatred of something or someone, it is not reflective or critical
nor does it propose alternatives. Having no definite object, goal or purpose,
no programme or ideology, the hate is a particularly intractable and corrosive
form of hatred. If these ideas appear rather formalistic or abstract, it is
surprisingly easy to generate illustrative examples. If we take the violent
protests by some Muslim groups, provoked by the Danish newspaper JyllandsPosten publishing cartoons of the prophet Mohammed in 2005, what precisely
was the object of the protesters hate? It was not a particular newspaper, it
was not the Danish state or people, it was, perhaps, not even The West as
such, it was the dominance of a system of representation that
recognises no outside, no sacred, no beyond, that reduces all
meanings, beliefs and sensations to signs. 9 To give other examples: the
middle classes hate and fear the hoodie or the baseball-capped chav; the
BNP (British National Party) hate Muslims though, increasingly, they
tolerate Hindus and Sikhs; motorists and air passengers suddenly
experience the hate. These hates do not follow the limits of self and other,
inside and outside, they are far more mobile and tactical; they flare up and
then vanish or mutate before reappearing without warning. Yet, what
Baudrillards position suggests is that we (in the sense noted above) do not
hate the Other the radically Other, we merely hate the other as
transcribed through the Code as difference. Thus transcribed an individual
person is merely a conglomeration of signs which fabricate their reality their
culture and if this is what we are reduced to, why wouldnt we hate each
other? The Code then reduces the radically Other to the dangerously
similar: dangerously similar because others differ only in sign content or
position (Baudrillard 1993b: 129). In our superficial acceptance of the Code
we hate (and we do all hate) the other as sign , as merely a signified reality.
We encounter an other who is no more than the reality of their signification;
at best we are indifferent to the other and tolerate them. Indeed, we cannot
but be indifferent to the other because it is through indifference that we
tolerate.

2AC Transparency Must Read


The attempt to render the whole world transparent
terminates in its opposite we are gorged with
information and it is killing us. We must re-locate the
violence of geopolitics to the violence of attempting to
impose representation on the whole world. Always err
towards the intelligence of mystery their whole model of
debate boils down to the sham opposite of information
profusion as in the simulated debates of MSNBC vs. Fox
News.
Artrip and Debrix 14. Ryan E. Artrip, Doctoral Student, ASPECT,
Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and Francois Debrix, professor of political
science at Virginia Polytechnical Institute, The Digital Fog of War: Baudrillard
and the Violence of Representation, Volume 11, Number 2 (May, 2014)

Such an expectation about the ontological location of the objects, subjects,


stakes, and processes of todays virulent war is generative of another
expectation: that of the so-called self-evident violence of war and, by
extension, of anything that socially and politically is said to matter for and
about the demos (since virulent/virtual war is an all-encompassing, or allswarming, geopolitical reality). In other words, what the so-called objects
and subjects of todays virtual/virulent war expect their war to
represent is what ensures a disposition towards violence (a violence of
the global, perhaps, as Baudrillard intimates) that may well be the result
of attempts at securing a will to meaning, a will to make sense of
things, and a will to be of political objects and subjects that today
takes place or, rather, is intensified in virtual and digital modalities of
representation and mediation. Part of the critical stake of this essay is to
locate the violence/virulence of contemporary warfare not just in its
empirical geopolitical events, but rather in the representational
domain inside which those so-called events are expected to make sense,
that is to say, in the always already preemptively belligerent and
aggressive realm of representation (where the challenge is to
produce and impose meaning at all costs).
II. The Fog of War
The claim about a certain quality of reality or even realism to new digital
informational or communicative technologies has played a formative role in
the global staging of several recent social and political conflicts. In both the
Arab Spring and the Occupy movements of 2011, for example, digital
technologies were celebrated for their real-time capacity and their subversive
(democratic) potentials. The virtue of reporting from the ground of the

event itself was championed as a matter of authenticity. There was a


common sense that truth would finally be able to speak from its real
source (the demos itself?). Not only is there a prevalent uncritical (even if
sometimes well-intentioned) faith in new media and their digital technologies
today, but, more importantly, there is often an impulse of liberation. Yet, this
impulse is stifled by its faith in representation. The hope for
openness, transparency, immediacy, and indeed liberation is so
tethered to the real (and to the will to reality) that it ends up being
negative or, at least, self-defeating. It often becomes evident that the socalled democratic uses of new media technologiesparticularly in terms of
reporting violent war events or conflicts of allegedly great
concern/importance to the global demosare, far from producing a clearer
picture of an objective event, contributing to an ever thickening fog of
meaning and truth.
These new media technologies in and of themselves are not the object of our
critique here. Moreover, we are not interested in clearing the fog of the real
or war. Again, our critical intervention in this essay has more to do with
deploying perspectives that may expose the violent dispositions of the
contemporary mythos of war (and revealing the complicit role of the
digitalized demos in the intensification of this mythos) than with
attempting to clear the way for a different ethos about everyday reality,
digitalized media, and the prevalence of warfare in political representations.
In fact, part of our argument is also to suggest that the various cultural,
political, and ethical mechanisms that seek to clear the fog of the
real (and war) often end up reproducing it. The lure to criticize and
debunk reality often requires that another real, another certainty,
another dominant meaning, or indeed another democratic necessity
be established through the same means and techniques, and media,
that had to be challenged in the first place (thus, the simulacrum
continues to proliferate its reality-effects).
Behind the widespread global celebration of digitalized technologies for
their newly found representational capabilities and accuracies, there lies the
idea that, perhaps following a collective disgust with the dealings of Western
media outlets as more or less uncritical props for the social/economic/ethical
status quo in the past several decades, disseminated and democratized
media technologies can de-mystify the world, lift its aura in a way, or perhaps
dig deeper into the truth than, say, what the media networks involved in
reporting news (including war news) in the 1980s and 1990s (the famous
CNN effect) ever could do. Because these technologies are far more in realtime than news networks, they are also generally thought to be able to evade
oppressive/repressive censorship of particular corporate/class/state/ideology
interests. But even more than escaping filters, digital representations today
are often thought to be able to eliminate all of the ambiguities born of
time. Thus, we (members of the public/demos) want to believe that
mediation can be removed. And we want to subscribe to the view that any

distortion occurring between an event and its perception/memory, or


between the actual and its account, can evaporate. By reducing to the
virtually infinitesimal or invisible the filter/screen between the image that
represents and the real that is and, furthermore, by placing the productive
responsibilities for the image into the hands of the user (literally into
the digits), the digital establishes itself as something capable of
demolishing the malicious surface of appearances to reveal a
meaningful density of truth through the quasi-immediate interface. This is
the dream of immediacy rediscovered and perhaps finally realized.
At a most basic level of analysis, the risk involved in pointing to this desire for
mediatized or digitalized immediacy would be to u ndermine the visual
evidence of the violent/virulent occurrence of the omnipresence of war.
For example, could we have deployed a critique of the US militarys and the US governments use of
torture in the War on Terror were it not for the seemingly unfiltered shock and awe of the Abu Ghraib
photos? Again, from the point of view of the ethos of virtual/virulent war, the lure of digitalized immediacy

benefits, too, even for the demos). But, from the


perspective of wars mythos, it must be said that the truth about war
and war operations cannot be fully revealed because representation,
no matter how immediate or seemingly unmediated, always works by
imposing some meaning onto things/events that are made
visible/representable.
has its uses (and, possibly,

Consider the role played by digital media in the Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013. Within a matter of
minutes of the blasts, even before the smoke could clear the scene, images and videos of terror taken from
spectators mobile devices circulated through cyberspace. Everything was seemingly captured in that
instant. The horror that drew so many people to capture images through their smart phones seems to
speak on its own; it needs no commentary, no meaning to be given to it. In fact, it appears to have no
mediation, no appropriation or narrativizing, no contextualizing either. That is precisely why smart phones
are so apt at giving us such images, such representations, such pure meanings about things. Especially,
such a horrifying violence, it is said, needs no commentary, no sense to be made of it. An immeasurable
violence is done to the violated when one tries to make sense of the senseless (Agamben, 1999). Yet, as

everything which is
turned into information becomes the object of endless speculation,
the site of total uncertainty. We are left with the symptomatic reading on
our screens of the effects of the war, or the effects of discourse about the
war, or completely speculative strategic evaluations (Baudrillard, 1995: 41).
In their digital representation, images of war and images of terror are
dissolved into their own information. Information (what the image/event
wants to tell us, to reveal, allegedly) already infiltrates the tweeted or
texted image/scene (of horror, of war) with an urgency of signification
and meaning. Images of horror cannot make sense, perhaps must not be
made sense of, and yet they somehow beg for meaning, for circulation, or
for propagation, in the hope that they may reveal something to someone.
Thus, the digitalized mediation of the image, even in its instantaneity, still
takes place. Imagesor whatever event might have been caughtmust
succumb to a will to information, to a will to meaning, even if it is
falsely affirmed that what is digitally rendered needs no commentary.
Put differently, the image levels the event it represents by entering into
a mass/global indifferent exchange, into a virulent global
(representational) circulation that murders singularity or, indeed, the
Baudrillard had already pointed out in his remarks on the Gulf War,

moment of trauma (on this question of the erasure of trauma, see Debrix,
2008: 4-5; Edkins, 2003: 37-38). The enigmatic singularity of the event
which, for Baudrillard, was once a precondition for any sort of historical
transitiongives way to an endlessness of representation, whether
such representation appears to have a clear ethical or political
purpose/signification or not.

It is in this always operative tendency of rendered appearances to yield


meaning (even if their meaning is to be information-worthy), not in the
image or event itself, that we situate the conditions of possibility and
reproducibility for the ever-thickening representational fog and for the
violence/virulence of images, or better yet, of appearances. To make
war or, as the case may be, the terror event mean somethingeven in
some of the most immediate reactions often designed to evoke injustice or,
indeed, incomprehensionis the generative point of violence, the
source of representation as a virulent/virtual code and mode of
signification. Baudrillard writes, Everywhere one seeks to produce
meaning, to make the world signify, to render it visible. He adds,
We are not, however, in danger of lacking meaning; [] we are
gorged with meaning and it is killing us (Baudrillard, 1988: 63).
Indeed, the Western worldincreasingly, the globalhas found itself with a
proliferation of meanings and significations in the late 20th and early 21st
centuries. It is as if the so-called crisis of nihilism (thought to be characteristic
of much critique and philosophical suspicion throughout the 20th century)
later on produced something of the opposite order. The mass violence
of the 20th century inaugurated not a complete void of despair or
meaninglessness, but instead a flood of meaning, if not an
overproduction of it. Baudrillard refers to this frantic explosion of
meaning/signification as a panic-stricken production of the real and
the referential, above and parallel to the panic of material production
[] (Baudrillard, 1983: 7). Here, Baudrillard describes a mode of production
of a different kind, not motivated by class interests or exploitation of value,
but by an automated, perhaps viral, abreaction to the empty core or
disenchantment of things and the world: that is to say, the degree to which
things seem to lack a singular center of gravity or have lost a justifiable
reference to the real world, and yet each thing that matters is also an
attempt to get at reality as a question of accumulation (of meaning),
circulation (of signs), and filling up of all interstitial spaces of communication
and value. The end result is an over-abundance of signs and images
of reality, something that culminates in what Baudrillard calls hyperreality
things appear more real than reality itself.

2AC DA
Some things are worth dying for- any other position is
nihilism
Baudrillard 96 (Jean Baudrillard, The Perfect Crime, Verso: London, UK,
and New York, USA, 1996 translation by Chris Turner, p. 131-141)
In this same way, on the pretext of unconditional respect for life (what could
be more politically correct?), we have heard the following humanitarian
profession of faith pronounced: no idea in the world is worth killing for (nor,
doubtless, worth dying for). No human being deserves to be killed for
anything whatsoever. A final acknowledgement of insignificance: both of
ideas and of people. This statement, which actually seeks to show the
greatest respect for life, attests only to a contempt and an indifference for
ideas and for life. Worse than the desire to destroy life is this refusal to risk it
-- nothing being worth the trouble of being sacrificed. This is truly the worst
offence, the worst affront possible. It is the fundamental proposition of
nihilism.

Politics of harmonization eradicates that which presents


itself as an alternative option ordering the world into
hierarchies of difference. The formulation of politics in
this manner pits the insiders versus the outsiders
promoting perpetual antagonism within the populous.
Nordin 16 (Astrid, Futures beyond the West? Autoimmunity in Chinas harmonious
world, Review of International Studies, 42, pp 156-177, January 2016) DP

The party-state version of harmonious world has then been deployed to do


various concrete things in Chinese international politics. At the level of
imagining difference, it appears to share our concern here with multiplicity
and openness. However, groups and cultures are described in ways that
correspond with David Kerrs blending diversity under universalism, which
tends towards an imagination of difference as hierarchically ordered, and
sometimes as something that should be eliminated. The future harmonious
world is envisaged as an inevitable choice, and China is imagined as having
a privileged position in the construction of this future because of its purported
harmonious nature based on history. It is inevitable, yet needs to be
constructed and fostered. Against this background, harmonious world is said
by some to indicate an increasingly confident China relinquishing its
aloofness to participate and undertake greater responsibilities in international
affairs. Nonetheless, the term remains to a significant extent a catch all
phrase of friendly connotations. Harmonious world may be useful precisely
because of its vague and elusive implications, that nonetheless speak to both
Chinese and non-Chinese sensibilities. Indeed, who could argue against

global peace and prosperity? Nonetheless, what emerges from accounts of


harmony as articulated in China in the last decade is a tension in the
harmony concept between its need for multiplicity on the one hand, and its
presupposition of universalisability on the other. Bart Rockman has suggested
that harmony may be a necessary glue without which neither a society nor a
polity are sustainable, but that complete social harmony is ultimately
suffocating and illiberal. Jacob Torfing has also taken issue with predominant
understandings of harmony in Southeast Asia that he argues present a postpolitical vision of politics and governance that tends to eliminate power and
antagonism. Drawing on Laclau and Mouffe, he understands such a postpolitical vision as both theoretically unsustainable and politically dangerous.
It is unsustainable because power and antagonism are inevitable features of
the political dimensions of politics. Therefore politics: cannot be reduced to a
question of translating diverging interests into effective [win-win] policy
solutions, since that can be done in an entirely de-politicized fashion, for
example, by applying a particular decision-making rule, relying on a certain
rationality or appealing to a set of undisputed virtues and values. Of course,
politics always invokes particular rules, rationalities and values, but the
political dimension of politics is precisely what escapes all this. Politics, then,
unavoidably involves a choice that means eliminating alternative options.
Moreover, although we base our decisions on reasons and may have strong
motivations for choosing what we choose, we will never be able to provide an
ultimate ground for any given choice in Derridean terms, such grounds will
always be indefinitely deferred. Therefore, the ultimate decision will have to
rely on a skillful combination of rhetorical strategies and the use of force.
The acts of exclusion that politics necessarily entails will produce antagonism
between those who identify with the included options and those who do not.
For this reason, the attempt by the promoters of harmony to dissociate
harmonious politics from the exercise of power, force and the production of
antagonism, claiming a harmony where everyone wins and no-one looses, is
bound to fail. Moreover, the post-political vision of politics and harmony is
dangerous because its denial of antagonism will tend to alienate those
excluded from consideration. This, Torfing writes, will tend to displace
antagonistic struggles from the realm of the political to the realm of morals,
where conflicts are based on non-negotiable values and the manifestation of
authentic identities. Such non-negotiable values would be the opposite of
the cooperative harmony sought. To both Rockman and Torfing, then,
complete or perfect harmony will defeat harmony and create disharmony. In
this way, the excessive production of harmony is what produces the
disharmonious elements that come to threaten it. We can see this happening
in contemporary China, where the harmonising policies enforced under the
harmonious society slogan have produced a range of oppositional
movements, from Chinese youth mocking harmony online to the increasing
number of selfimolations we currently witness in and around Tibet. Numerous
scholars argue that in order to imagine harmony, we need to imagine
heterogeneity and multiplicity. We can now add that the problematic
organisation of difference that remains in imaginations of harmonious world

eliminates the multiplicity in the here-now that is a prerequisite for harmony.


What these renditions of harmony show, I believe, is that the tensions in and
logics of harmony are very similar to the ones that are described by Derrida
and others in terms of the autoimmune. What we see in these accounts is an
irresolvable contradiction, which mirrors the autoimmune logic outlined at the
beginning of this article. Harmony must by definition be universal, but its
universalisation by definition makes harmony impossible. In this respect
harmony works on a self-defeating and self-perpetuating logic that is very
similar to what we saw described in the modern West and in democracy.

In a world of total American dominance, the world order


finds itself everywhere opposed by hostile forces; the
Chinese state has allied itself with the American
leadership in the fourth world war: an attempt to
reinstate the hegemony of the global via the War on
Terror.
Nordin 14 (Dr. Astrid Nordin, Lecturer in the Department of Politics,
Philosophy and Religion at Lancaster University, Radical Exoticism:
Baudrillard and Others Wars, International Journal of Baudrillard Studies,
Volume 11, Number 2, Special Issue: Baudrillard and War, May, 2014,
http://www2.ubishops.ca/baudrillardstudies/vol-11_2/v11-2-norden.html)//AG
III. Chinese approaches to war Before I venture into some discussion of contemporary Chinese modes of war, I shall state
the obvious: what I discuss here is merely a small selection of what one could write of as Chinese wars. There is a large
and varied literature engaging the varied traditions of Chinese strategic culture, the numerous cultural expressions that
deal with the theme of war, not to mention the Chinese military in foreign policy. In what follows I outline three dimensions
of contemporary Chinese war in order to bring out a number of contrast and themes that have some bearing on
Baudrillards discussion of war. I turn, first, to the Peoples Republic of Chinas participation in the war on terror. I
thereafter contrast this allegedly modern and Western-led war with contemporary rhetoric in Chinese academic and policy
discourse, which draws on Ancient Chinese philosophy. This discourse has focused on the pre-emption of war in
conjunction with the language of harmony, innate peacefulness and soft power, portraying such attitudes in opposition to
the West. Having outlined a number of areas where I think Baudrillards discussions of war can shed some light on this
allegedly Chinese ontology of war, I thereafter turn to Chinese actors or discourses that act out war in other modes,
including in popular culture and propaganda. How should we understand these simultaneous approaches to war, in
relation to the disappearance of war that Baudrillard and others have described in modern Western practices? (i). Chinese
participation in the war on terror As described above, there are aspects of Baudrillards writing where

all

alternatives to American achieved utopia appear to be erased for Baudrillard (Beck


2009: 110). In the final parts of America, for example, simulation is portrayed as a means of sustaining
and extending American dominance at home and abroad, which is now
uncontested and uncontestable, a universal model even reaching as far as
China (Baudrillard 1989 [1986]: 116). And indeed, this universal model has literally reached the very territorial border
of China in the form of the war on terror that was rolled out all the way to the SinoAfghan border and beyond. In Baudrillards view, the 9/11 attacks represented the
clash of triumphant globalization at war with itself and unfolded a fourth
world war: The first put an end to European supremacy and to the era of colonialism; the second put an end to
Nazism; and the third to Communism. Each one brought us progressively closer to the
single world order of today, which is now nearing its end, everywhere
opposed, everywhere grappling with hostile forces (Baudrillard, 2003b). In this new

fractal state of war and hostility, the Chinese state has joined forces with the
American leadership to reinstate the hegemony of the global (of which they
have surely dreamt, just like the rest of us). To the American unilateral war on
terror in Afghanistan and George W. Bushs call you are either with us or against us, the Chinese
government responded with a (perhaps reluctant) we are with you! This wish to be part of
the global American self has not meant, however, the full contribution to the war effort that some American

China has, since around the time of 9/11 shifted from


being extremely reluctant to condone or participate in any form of
peacekeeping missions, including under United Nations (UN) flag, to being the UN Security
Council member that contributes most to UN peacekeeping missions. Much of this
participation has taken the form of non-combatant personal. Nonetheless, China has been an actively
involved party in Operation Enduring Freedom . It has provided police training
for Afghanistans security forces, as well as mine-clearance. Though it was
opposed to the US invasion of Iraq without UN mandate, China has emerged
as one of the biggest beneficiaries of the occupation, as it is one of the
biggest winners of oil contracts in Iraq. In both Afghanistan and Iraq, China has been accused of
free-riding on American efforts, but China has nonetheless been clearly positioned as part of
the participating and benefiting we. The Chinese state has benefited from participation in the war
on terror in more ways than one. The war has increased Chinese influence in Central Asia.
It has legitimized Chinas harsh clamp-downs in Xinjiang, where the state claims
its violence is justified by the presence of separatist terrorists in the Muslim Uyghur community.s
Not least, Chinas participation in the war on terror has been used to demonstrate to the
world that China is now a responsible great power , as measured by the standard of
international society (see Yeophantong 2013 for a discussion of this responsibility rhetoric). Again, this rhetoric of
responsibility has been deployed by both American and Chinese leaders to tie
China more tightly to the purported American-led we. More recently, Chinese Foreign
representatives may have hoped.

Minister Wang Yi has stressed the importance of continued Sino-US co-operation over Afghanistan post-2014 troop
withdrawal. Wang has publicly stressed the common goals of China and the US with regards to Afghanistan: We both hope
Afghanistan will continue to maintain stability We both hope to see the reconstruction of Afghanistan and we both dont

China and the USA have jointly


engaged in what is termed advisory and capacity-building for Afghans, for example
in training Afghan diplomats, and their co-operation continues around shared
goals in the region. Much could be said here about Chinas participation in the American-led globalization
project and war on terror. My point here is simply to note that whatever we read America as doing
through its war on terror, China is a supporting and benefiting actor in this
process. It is clearly positioned as part of this global idea of self. At the same
time, however, China is also portrayed, from within and without, as a
challenger, an alternative, or an other to that global, American or Western
order. We therefore turn next to the Chinese scholarly and governmental rhetoric that
claims to offer such an alternative or challenge to the Western way of war
that Baudrillard criticized and that we can see China joining in the war on terror.
want to see the resurgence of terrorism (cited in Chen Weihua, 2013).

Despite this alliance, China is consumed by a spectacle of


non-war, positing itself as the peaceful antithesis of
American hegemonic warmongering. The new China is
founded upon Tianxia, peaceful development in unity
under heaven. This violent inclusion, assimilation, and
homogenization eliminates the possibility for the
unknown unknown. Chinas neighbors are constantly
threatened by this non-war while it simultaneously papers
over atrocities within Chinas own borders.
Nordin 14 (Dr. Astrid Nordin, Lecturer in the Department of Politics,
Philosophy and Religion at Lancaster University, Radical Exoticism:
Baudrillard and Others Wars, International Journal of Baudrillard Studies,
Volume 11, Number 2, Special Issue: Baudrillard and War, May, 2014,
http://www2.ubishops.ca/baudrillardstudies/vol-11_2/v11-2-norden.html)//AG
In contemporary China, the
official rhetoric on war focuses on pre-emption and the claim that China will
never be a hegemonic or warmongering power unlike the US. In this
rhetoric, the Chinese war is by nature a non-war. Official documents emerging
in the last decade repeatedly stress that China is by nature peaceful, which is
why nobody needs to worry about its rise. In the 2005 government whitepaper Chinas Peaceful
(ii). Contemporary PRC rhetoric on pre-modern Chinese thought on war

Development Road, for example, we are told that: [i]t is an inevitable choice based on Chinas historical and cultural
tradition that China persists unswervingly in taking the road of peaceful development. The Chinese nation has always
been a peace-loving one. Chinese culture is a pacific culture. The spirit of the Chinese people has always featured their

numerous other
official and unofficial publications) posit an essentialised Chinese culture of
peacefulness as prior to any Chinese relations with the world. This rhetoric of
an inherently non-bellicose Chinese way has also echoed in Chinese
academic debates, where Chinese pre-modern philosophy has come back in fashion as a (selectively sampled)
longing for peace and pursuit of harmony (State Council of the PRC 2005b). The whitepaper (and

source of inspiration. The claims and logics that have come out of these debates are varied. One significant grouping of
Chinese academics directly follow the government line and claim that choosing peaceful rise is on the one hand Chinas
voluntary action, on the other hand it is an inevitable choice (Liu Jianfei 2006: 38). That peacefulness and harmony is
something that Chinese people have always valued is an implication, and often explicitly stated fact in these literatures.
Zhan Yunling, for example, claims that from ancient times until today, China has possessed traditional thought and a
culture of seeking harmony (Zhang Yunling 2008: 4). This claim to natural harmony is mutually supportive of the claim
that the Chinese nation has always been a peaceful nation, to authors such as Liu Jianfei (2006), or Yu Xiaofeng and

A related set of commentators further stress the significance of


militarily non-violent means to China getting its (naturally peaceful) way in
international relations. For example, Ding Sheng draws on the Sunzi quote mentioned above: to subjugate
the enemys army without doing battle is the highest of excellence (Ding Sheng 2008: 197). This line of
argument typically sees what some would call soft power tools as a way of getting others
Wang Jiangli (2006).

to become more like yourself without any need for outright war or other forms of physical violence. In a discussion of the
official government rhetoric of harmonious world under former president Hu Jintao, Shi Zhongwen accordingly stresses
that the doctrine opposes going to extremes, and therefore contradicts what Shi calls the philosophy of struggle (Shi
Zhongwen 2008: 40, where struggle implies Marxist ideology). Qin Zhiyong similarly argues that China needs to steer

At the same
time, few Chinese academics question the direction of the merging of
cultures discussed above clearly it is other cultures that should merge into Chinas
peaceful one. In a common line of thought that draws on the historical
concept of Tianxia, or All-under-heaven, it is argued that the Chinese
away from collisions and embrace the aim of merging different cultures (Qin Zhiyong 2008: 73).

leadership can thus bring about a harmonious world through voluntary


submission [by others] rather than force simply through its superior morality
and exemplary behaviour (Yan Xuetong 2008: 159). On this logic, the leadership will
never need to use violence, because everybody will see its magnanimity and
will want to emulate its behaviour (Zhao Tingyang 2006: 34. See Callahan 2008: 755 for a discussion).
Much of these debates have come to pivot around this concept of Tianxia, an
imaginary of the world that builds on a holistic notion of space, without
radical self-other distinction or bordered difference. To some thinkers, this imagination is
based on a notion of globalisation (for example Yu Xiaofeng and Wang Jiangli 2006: 59) or networked space (Ni Shixiong
and Qian Xuming 2008: 124) where everything is always already connected to everything else in a borderless world. In
these accounts, Tianxia thinking is completely different from Western civilisation, since Chinese civilisation insists on its
own subjectivity, and possesses inclusivity (Zhou Jianming and Jiao Shixin 2008: 28). Despite this apparent binary, it is
claimed that Tianxiaism involves an identification with all of humankind, where there is no differentiation or distinction
between people (Li Baojun and Li Zhiyong 2008: 82). A thinker whose deployment of the Tianxia concept has been
particularly influential is Zhao Tingyang, who proposes the concept as a Chinese and better way of imagining world order
(Zhao Tingyang 2005; 2006), where better means better than the Western inter-state system to which Tianxia is
portrayed as the good opposite. In opposition to this Western system, he argues that Tianxia can offer a view from
nowhere or a view from the world, where [w]orld-ness cannot be reduced to internationality, for it is of the wholeness or

as a consequence of a
prioritisation of order over the preservation of alterity, any inconsistency or
contradiction in the system will be a disaster (Zhao Tingyang 2006: 33). As a corollary of this
totality rather than the between-ness (Zhao Tingyang 2006: 39). However,

prioritisation, Zhao comes to insist on the homogeneity of his all-inclusive space, which aims at the uniformity of society
(Zhao Tingyang 2006: 33, emphasis in original) where all political levels should be essentially homogenous or
homological so as to create a harmonious system (2006: 33). The aim of the Tianxia system is thus to achieve one single

Clearly, for such homogeneity to be born from a


heterogeneous world, someone must change. Zhao argues that: one of the principles of Chinese
homogeneous and uniform space.

political philosophy is said to turn the enemy into a friend, and it would lose its meaning if it were not to remove conflicts
and pacify social problems in a word, to transform () the bad into the good (Zhao Tingyang 2006: 34). Moreover, this
conversion to a single good homogeneity should happen through volontariness rather than through expansive
colonialism: an empire of All-under-Heaven could only be an exemplar passively in situ, rather than positively become

However, when we are given clues as


to how this idea of the good to which everyone should conform would be
determined, Zhaos idea of self-other relations seems to rely on the possibility
of some Archimedean point from which to judge this good, and/or the
complete eradication of any otherness, so that the one space that exists is
completely the space of self (Zhao Tingyang 2006: 33). Thus, Zhao confesses that [t]he
unspoken theory is that most people do not really know what is best for
them, but that the elite do, so the elite ought genuinely to decide for the
people (2006: 32). As explained by William A. Callahan: By thinking through the world with a view from everywhere,
missionary (Zhao Tingyang 2006: 36, emphasis in original).

Zhao argues that we can have a complete and perfect understanding of problems and solutions that is all-inclusive.
With this all-inclusive notion of Tianxia, there is literally no outside. Since all places and all problems are domestic,

This complete
and perfect understanding is hence attainable only to an elite, who will
achieve homogeneity (convert others into self) through example. Eventually,
then, there will be no other, the many will have been transformed into the
one (Zhao Tingyang 2005: 13, see also 2006). It is through this
transformation and submission to the ruling elite that the prevention of war is
imagined. If Baudrillard had engaged with these contemporary Chinese redeployments of pre-modern thought on
Zhao says that this model guarantees the a priori completeness of the world (Callahan 2007: 7).

war (which, to my knowledge, he never did), I think he would have recognised many of the themes that interested him in

Most strikingly, this is a way of talking about war


that writes out war from its story. Like deterrence, it is an imagination of war
that approaches it via prevention and pre-emption. What is more, we
recognise an obsession with the self-image of the self to itself in this case, a
Chinese, undemocratic self rather than a Western, democratic one. In this
Western approaches to the first Gulf war.

Chinese war, like in the Persian Gulf of which Baudrillard wrote, there is no space for an Other
that is Other. In the Tianxia imaginary, Others can only be imagined as
something that will eventually assimilate into The System and become part of
the Self, as the Self strives for all-inclusive perfection. There is no meeting
with an Other in any form. Encounter only happens once the Other becomes
like the Self, is assimilated into the One, and hence there is no encounter at
all (for an analysis that reads Baudrillard and Tianxia to this effect in a Chinese non-war context, see Nordin 2012). (iii).
Contemporary Chinese war and its various modes As was the case with the first Gulf War, the war that we are
waiting for here in the Chinese case is thus a non-war. If by war we mean
some form of (symbolic) exchange or some clash of forms, agons, or forces (as
we tend to do even in the current cutting edge research in critical war studies, see Nordin and berg 2013) we
cannot expect it to take place. In China, we see not only a participation in the
Western system of (non)war through the war on terror, but also another
system that precisely denies space for imagining an other as Other, which in
turn makes the idea of exchange impossible. In this sense, the Ancient
Chinese approach to war through the Tianxia concept at least as it is reflected by
current Chinese thinkers like Zhao Tingyang and Yan Xuetong is not a Clausewitzean war
continuing politics by other means, but precisely a continuation of the
absence of politics by other means. It arguably shares this aspect with both the first and the second
Gulf Wars. This, however, is certainly not to say that there are not those who fear
a Chinese war or that we have no reason to fear it. In various guises, the war
that is imagined through a Clausewitzean ontology of agonistic and reciprocal
exchange returns and is reified also in China. It is not uncommon for authors discussing the
Chinese traditions of thinking war that I describe above to begin their discussion by explicitly drawing on Clausewitz and

it is clear that
this building of a harmonious world is directed against others whose
influence should be smashed (Fang Xiaojiao 2008: 68). From this line of thinkers, the call to
build a harmonious world has also been used to argue for increased Chinese
military capacity, including its naval power (Deng Li 2009). Although Chinese policy
documents stress that violence or threat of violence should be avoided, they
similarly appear to leave room for means that would traditionally be
understood as both hard and soft in Joseph Nyes dichotomisation (See for example State
Council of the PRC 2005a). Indeed, many of Chinas neighbours have voiced concern
with growing Chinese military capacity over the last few years, and a Chinese
non-war is no less frightening to its neighbours than a war be it labelled
just or unjust, real or virtual. This Chinese war past, present and future
is acted out in various different modes. Violent war is reified through the
spectacle of computer games, art, online memes, cartoons and not least
dramas on film and television (Diamant 2011, 433). The Chinese state claims success
in all of its wars, and simultaneously claims that it has never behaved
aggressively beyond its borders (which is also, of course, a convenient way of
glossing over all the violence perpetrated by the Chinese state within those
borders, the violence with which they are upheld and with which they were
established in the first place, and the clear contradiction between the states
fixation on territorial integrity and its borderless and holistic Tianxia rhetoric).
Popular cultural renditions of war paint a more varied picture, but all contribute to a
reification of war. Recent Chinese productions that reify war on the screen
take his war as their point of departure (for example Liu Tiewa 2014). For several Chinese writers,

through what we may call war porn are numerous indeed , it has been claimed that
China produces what is probably the highest number of dramas set in wartime in
the world (Diamant 2011: 433). One example accessible to a non-Chinese audience is Feng Xiaogangs Assembly
(Jijiehao ) from 2007, which recreates horrifically violent and realistic battle
scenes from the Civil War between Guomindang nationalists and Communist
troops. The Second Sino-Japanese war is another popular setting for these
reifications of war, providing the backdrop for another large budget film by Feng Xiaogang, the 2012 Back to 1942
(Yijiusier ), and international star-director Zhang Yimous The Flowers of War (Jinling shisan chai ).

Life and Death (Nanjing! Nanjing! ) which became a box office


hit in China in 2009, but was criticized for its portrayal of a Japanese soldier as a fully
formed and sympathetic person in its narration of the Nanjing massacre. Off screen China
has, in the reform era since Maos death, seen a new and related wave of commemorations
of the Civil and Anti-Japanese wars in museums throughout China, which play
a central role in national education campaigns to never forget national
humiliation. Examples that house both permanent exhibitions and temporary special exhibits commemorating
Another example is Lu Chuans City of

particular war events include the Rape of Nanjing Memorial/Nanjing Massacre museum in Nanjing; the Military Museum,
the Museum of Revolutionary History and the Memorial Museum of the Chinese Peoples War of Resistance to Japan in and
outside Beijing; and the September 18th Incident Memorial and Museum of the Manchurian Crisis in Shenyang, to name
but a few (these museums and their exhibits of war have been studied for example by Mitter 2000, 2003 and Waldron

these museums include vivid reconstructions, often as waxworks


with sound and motion, of horrific battlefield scenes for its audience to
consume. Reifications of war on screen and in museums moreover tie in with a new
remembering by academic and popular publications since the late 1980s,
which commemorates and fetishizes Chinas past experiences of war as well
as projects that experience into the present and the future through the everpresent rhetoric of National Humiliation (guochi.For articles tracing this new remembering, see
Coble 2007 and Mitter 2003). Masses of propaganda are devoted to the commemoration
of the Anti-Japanese war, particularly relating to various Campaigns to Support the Peoples Liberation Army
1996). Many of

and Military Dependents, and in annually recurring celebrations of the Spring Festival, the Anniversary of the founding of
the Peoples Republic, Army Day and the National Humiliation Day which has received much academic attention in recent

the state-led reification of war, and particularly


its treatment in academic publications and governmental speeches, has
centred on the numbers game of claiming high death tolls and economic
costs of the battle histories of the Anti-Japanese war, rather than fore-fronting
the all-too-human element that may be found in for example memoir
literature (Coble 2007, 406). Accordingly, other scholars have argued and I agree with them here that
[a]lthough Chinese movies and television often feature military-related
themes, it is rare to find frank and politicized depictions of Chinas military
conflicts (Diamant 2011: 431). As in the Tianxia narrative discussed above, politics is
paradoxically eradicated from these versions of war, together with an other
understood as a human other. However, the literatures critiquing this de-politicization typically criticise
years (Callahan 2004, 2009; Wang Zheng 2008). Much of

the intellectual elites in various cultural and propaganda offices for producing an artificial rendering of Chinas wars

It is not a
question of creating an image of false representation , or what we may call a third
order simulation, a masking of the reality of war. Rather, the point is that
reality and illusion can no longer be distinguished, but have collapsed into
one another. There is no longer a real war behind these narratives which can
be uncovered (cf. Nordin 2012). Through these other modes, the Chinese non-war is
reified as war. Like the Gulf War of which Baudrillard wrote, it appears seamless, yet is riddled
with contradictions. If what took place in the Persian Gulf was the spectacle of war, what is taking
denying veterans an authentic military voice (Diamant 2011: 431, 461). My point here is different.

place in contemporary China is perhaps better understood as the spectacle of non-war.


Like the spectacle of war it has a range of strategic and political purposes for everyone
involved. Like the pre-emptive narratives of Tianxia, the reifications of war that
hark back to a Clausewitzean ontology relay a war that is scripted or coded in
advance, disallowing alterity. And to those who fear the possibility of the
Chinese war, we might indeed see reasons to fear, but also provide a reminder
that it is stupid to be for or against this war, if we do no for a moment
question its probability, credibility or level of reality.

What emerges is not silence but an understanding that


there exist the very same Systems of assimilation which
are not merely an extension of American capitalism and
democracy, and should not be essentialized into Alterity.
The same critical lens should be applied to people
designated as radical Others simply due to their
geographic location.
Nordin 14 (Dr. Astrid Nordin, Lecturer in the Department of Politics,
Philosophy and Religion at Lancaster University, Radical Exoticism:
Baudrillard and Others Wars, International Journal of Baudrillard Studies,
Volume 11, Number 2, Special Issue: Baudrillard and War, May, 2014,
http://www2.ubishops.ca/baudrillardstudies/vol-11_2/v11-2-norden.html)//AG
IV. Baudrillards war and others wars in China and Asia As shown at the outset of this article,

Baudrillard

advocates an interest in the other as Other, but is unclear about how this feeds in to
knowledge about that other. What form can our interest take, if we disallow the
attempt to gain knowledge? We return, then, to the question of how we as scholars may approach
Others wars, as they are thought, operationalised and simulated in other places.
What I think emerges from the above is an understanding that the global, as we may understand it
through Baudrillard, is precisely global. Systems that try to assimilate anything and
everything into their own programmes exist in different forms in different
places, including in Asia. To essentialize these systems into one great
mysterious unit of imagined Alterity would ironically be a way to deny such
alterity by fetishizing it and reducing it to an Identity of Otherness. From
Baudrillard's notion that every system contains the seed of its own demise stems his suspicion of centralized
systems and the pretence to holistic unity . These systems, of which the Americanled war on terror is one example and Zhao's Sinocentric Tianxia is another,
always claim to do good and attempt to assimilate everything and anything
into their system, striving towards perfection. Asia offers no respite from this
logic. Clearly, They grapple with the same problems as We do, and can offer
no greener grass where the scholar can comfortably stretch out assured at
having escaped the confines of The System. In this way, perhaps Chinas wars can indicate to us
that the logics of Baudrillards globality does not only have to be understood in the narrow sense of an
operational system of total trade, but that its logic is recognisable also in other systems systems
that are not just some extension of Western capitalism and attempts at
democracy, but that have their roots in other philosophical traditions. Moreover,
as Baudrillard tells us, these systems are always susceptible to challenge by

singularities of culture, that which is excluded and condemned by the system


because it tries to stand outside it the Other that does not want to be
turned into self, the barbarian that does not want to be civilized, or what
Baudrillard himself calls the other who will not be mothered, whose call to
arms is fuck your mother (Baudrillard 2006, see also Nordin 2013; forthcoming 2014). Baudrillard reads a
clear antagonism as existing between the global and the singular (Baudrillard 2006, 2002 [2000], 155-6). To him,
foreignness is eternal (Baudrillard 1993 [1990]), or as Coulter writes: Just as all those cultural singularities will never
merge into one global monoculture, people remain radically other to each other (Coulter 2004). This alterity or radical

all
attempts at understanding, studying or explaining something is a violent act
that reduces its purported object to a knowable unit and denies its alterity. That
argument would have a point after all, speaking is an act of violence and there are
numerous problems with the scholarly endeavour to make visible, to
communicate and to reveal things as though they were not hyper-visible
already. If, however, we decide that we will choose to commit this violence of
speaking (rather than, say, choose a lifetime of silence or expressing ourselves only through the means of
interpretative dance), there seems to be no reason for remaining silent on swathes of
people we have chosen to designate as radical Others because of their
geographical location. That is to say, there are no reasons except ones based on the
imposition of an artificial a priori Identity as Other, for the purposes of
exclusion, which again is surely intolerably patronising. Perhaps we can draw on Baudrillard not so much to remind
otherness, then, is there whether the theorist recognises it or not. Of course, an argument could be made that

ourselves only of the alterity of exotic Others elsewhere, but to remind ourselves of the Other in the Self. Perhaps the most
crucial thing is to remember, with Coulter I think, that it is not those other (Asian, foreign) Others and Their wars that are
radically other to Us and Our wars, but people that are radically other to each other and we who are radically other to
ourselves, despite and through all our attempts to knowledge.

Modern global thinking is driven by the Euro-narcissistic


obsession with proliferating good-affirming discourses
and policies. By assuming Gods position the virtual West
has declared war upon itself.
Debrix 9 (Franois, professor of political science at Virginia Tech, 5 Jean
Baudrillard." Critical Theorists and International Relations (2009): 54.)
In The Transparency of Evil (1993b [1990]) and The Perfect Crime (1996b [1995]), Baudrillard anticipates

The totality of simulation systems in


transpolitical configurations is such that a virtual auto-immunization of
Western societies from all sorts of anticipated risks and dangers provides a
complete semblance of security (Baudrillard 1996b: 13141). Such a simulated
overprotection is also about performing a thorough cleansing of what
Baudrillard calls death or evil from Western value systems at about the turn
of the millennium. This ultimate desire to conquer or master death,
evil, or the radically other (in a word, the symbolic) is what will
doom Western transpolitical models (and their globalized extensions),
Baudrillard incants. Outside these self-referential protective systems, the
oppositional violence of the symbolic gains in strength. Its desire for revenge
is accentuated by its evisceration from our virtual worlds. According to
Baudrillard, evil is not the grand metaphysical truth of some moral,
ideological, or theological worldview. Evil, for Baudrillard, is the result of that
several issues that come back with full force after 9/11.

which gets purged from the Wests simulated models of global reality. Evil is
opposed to good because transpolitical formulas in our global / Jean Baudrillard 63
virtual universe are about making all reality look, feel, and be good. Evil,
then, is what returns, what demands to be exchanged, and what asks to
produce meaning. It is in this sense that evil is radical (and of the order of the
symbolic too) because it is the filling up of the system by what it rejects
(Hegarty 2004: 82). For Baudrillard, global thinking today is driven by this
obsession with producing positive effects and proliferating good-affirming
discourses and policies (about human rights, about poverty, about diseases,
about war). Such a uniformizing thought on the global (that can be found in the
writings of Francis Fukuyama or Thomas Friedman, for example) is virtual and simulated. It
seeks to realize a world order in which Western values are affirmed as the
supposed will of all of humankind. But such a thought-process comes with a
dreadful application of violence too. It is the violence of virtual models or
codes that claim universalism (in its absence) and obliterate differences. As
some have argued (following Baudrillard), what must be problematized today
is not difference but its simulated and virtual erasure (Debrix 1999: 218). Although
virtual (in its manipulation of the real) and illusory (in its fateful course
toward a confrontation with radical evil), the violence of the global today is
still terrifying and terrorizing. It is so because global thinking postulates no
limits whatsoever to the virtual reality that is supposed to make up todays
reinvented universal values (globalization, human rights, democracy, or
peace). Baudrillard declares that, in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, it is
actually the virtual and global West that, assuming Gods position
, has become suicidal and declared war upon itself (Baudrillard 2002a: 405).
While this could be taken to signify that the Wests own policies have caused the terrorist actions, the
argument is far more complex. To appreciate the critical force of Baudrillards thought here, one has to
understand the power of simulated models as well as the oppositional reality-making systems that
simulation and the symbolic come to embody in his analyses. Baudrillards interventions on 9/11 and the
War on Terror are not attempts at championing terror or terrorism (they are not about championing the

terrorism is but a symptom of the


counterpower that inevitably returns to disseminate the singularity of the
symbolic into the virtuality and uniformity of the global (and thus reveals its
fatal illusion). Terrorism is not a fundamental truth or ideology. It is a symbolic
principle of destabilization of the system that emerges at the very moment
when the system thinks it is most complete, perfect, or total. As Baudrillard puts it:
Terrorism invents nothing and starts nothing. Simply, it takes things to their
extreme, paroxysmic level. It exacerbates a certain state of reality, a certain
logic of violence and uncertainty (Baudrillard 2002b: 36; my translation). Thus, in the 9/11
attacks, it is not just symbolic resistance to the violence of the virtual/global
that is revealed by Baudrillard. It is also the return of a radically different
thought, one that seeks to reinsert the singularity of the event into political
life. For Baudrillard, the event is what forces concepts 64 Jean Baudrillard away from their safe referential
domains, and what renders useless any totalizing endeavour (Baudrillard 2002b: 25; my translation). By
seeking to reintroduce the event, Baudrillards thought on the violence,
excess, but also failure of simulation eventually reconnects with other
destabilizing and deconstructive attempts by contemporary French
philosophers to rethink politics through the uncertain, unpredictable, and
violence of the global either). Rather, for Baudrillard,

unmasterable irruption of singularities or differences (Nancy 2000; Derrida 2005b). In


the end (the end of his life too), Baudrillard asks: How does an event, even 9/11, keep its
singularity? (Baudrillard 2004: 143). Perhaps it is this question that students and
scholars eager to challenge dominant thoughts about the global (and its
violence) should ask themselves

2AC Critique Top Level


***Same as alternative solvency mechanism Pawlett but broken up

The biggest threat to the global order lies within. In the


transcapitalist era, any oppositional revolution against the
system that acts through means of semiotic abstraction risks
being complicit in the evils it tries to critique. Deterrence leads
to war, not peace. Terror leads to true insurrection against the
system.

Pawlett 14 (William Pawlett, a professor of media and cultural


studies at the University of Wolverhampton, International Journal
of Baudrillard Studies, Baudrillard and War, Society at War With
Itself, Volume 11, Number 2, May 2014,
http://www2.ubishops.ca/baudrillardstudies/vol-11_2/v11-2-pawlett.html , LD)
I. Introduction It all depends on the ground we choose to fight on
most often we choose to fight on ground where we are beaten
before we begin (Baudrillard 2001: 119). This paper examines Baudrillards assertion, made in
later works including Impossible Exchange (2001), The Intelligence of Evil (2005) and Pyres of Autumn (2006), that individuals,
society and indeed the global system, are internally and irreconcilably
divided, that modernity is at odds with itself (Baudrillard 2006: 1) . In his
view dissent, rejection and insurrection emerge from within, not from external
challenges such as alternative ideologies or competing worldviews, but from
within bodies, within borders, inside programmes . For Baudrillard much of
the violence, hatred and discomfort visible around the globe can be
understood as a latent but fundamental silent insurrection against
the global integrating system and its many pressures, demands and
humiliations (2001: 106). This is an endogenic or intra-genic rejection, it
emanates from within the system, from within individuals, even from within
language, electronic systems and bodily cells, erupting as abreaction,
metastasis and sudden reversal.2 For Baudrillard then, despite the many simulations of external threat and
enmity radical Islam currently being the best example the most dangerous threat lies within :
society faces a far harder test than any external threat: that of its own
absence, its loss of reality (2006: 1). The global order, conventionally
labelled capitalist, is neutralising its values and structures, its ideologies
disappear, its principles are sacrificed. Even the sense of reality produced
by the abstract sign and by simulation models begin to disappear (2005:
67-73; 2009: 10-15). The goal is integral reality, a limitless
operational project geared towards the total transcription of the
world into virtuality: everything is realised and technically
materialised without reference to any principle or final purpose
(2005: 18). Yet there is an internal war or backlash taking place between
integralist violence which seeks ultimate control by eliminating all otherness,

and duality. Duality, for Baudrillard, is indestructible and is


manifest as the inevitable or destined re-emergence of otherness: of
death, Evil, ambivalence, the ghosts of symbolic exchange, the
accursed share within the system. The integrating system then
suffers a dissent working away at it from inside. It is the global
violence immanent in the world-system itself which, from within, sets the
purest form of symbolic challenge against it (2005: 22). This is a war or conflict that does
not end, the outcome of which cannot be predicted or programmed. It is a war that is quite different from the disappearance of war into

, the deterrence
of world wars, and of nuclear wars, does not result in peace, but in a
viral proliferation of conflicts, a fractalisation of war and conflict into
everyday, local, and ubiquitous terror (1993b: 27). This paper will
simulated non-events, such as occurred with the Gulf wars (Baudrillard 1995). Indeed, Baudrillard suggests

examine Baudrillards position on internal rejection through two


closely related themes: complicity and duality. Complicity, and the
closely related term collusion, are themselves dual in Baudrillards sense.
That is, complicity or collusion express an internal division or duality which
is not a simple opposition of terms. As is so often the case,

Baudrillards position builds on his much earlier studies: Requiem


For the Media (orig. 1972, in Baudrillard 1981: 164-184) had
already argued that the dominance of the abstract sign and of
simulation models meant that any critique of the system made
through the channels of semiotic abstraction were automatically reabsorbed into the system. Any meaningful challenge must invent its own,
alternative medium such as the silk-screen printings, hand-painted notices
and graffiti of May 1968 or it will lapse into an ineffectual complicity
with the system it seeks to challenge (Baudrillard 1981: 176). In his later work, Baudrillards emphasis
on duality and complicity is extended much further, taking on global, anthropological and even cosmological dimensions

, and

increasingly complicity and collusion are seen as dual, as encompassing both


acceptance and a subtle defiance . This paper examines the dual nature of complicity and collusion. It considers
the influence of La Boeties notorious Essay on Voluntary Servitude on Baudrillard, seeking to draw out what is distinctive in Baudrillards
position. The second section turns to the notion of duality, examining Good and Evil and Baudrillards assertion that attempts to eliminate

Complicity implies a complexity of relations, and,


specifically, the condition of being an accomplice to those in power.
To be an accomplice is to assist in the committing of a crime. If the crime is
murder, the term accomplice implies one who plans, reflects, calculates but does not strike the lethal blow . The crime which
is of particular interest to Baudrillard is, of course, the perfect crime: the
elimination of otherness, of ambivalence, of duality, even of reality and of
the abstract representational sign which enables a sense of reality
(Baudrillard 1996). The global, integral, carnivalising and cannibalising
system, which might loosely still be called capitalist, is at war against radical
otherness or duality; yet, for Baudrillard, as duality lies at its heart,
locked within its foundations, it is indestructible and emerges
through attempts to eliminate it. If the system has been largely successful at eliminating external threats,
it finds itself in an even worse situation: it is at war with itself.
duality merely revive or re-active it.

*All methods of resistance through critical theory is complicit with


the system they critique because they act within the terrain
demarcated by their opponents. The system criticizes itself, making
their academic critique a redundant action that only helps give a
sense of reality to the system. The critique of neoliberalism is
integral to 21st century society, which renders any means of
traditional revolution a reproduction of the simulacra.

Pawlett 14 (William Pawlett, a professor of media and cultural


studies at the University of Wolverhampton, International Journal
of Baudrillard Studies, Baudrillard and War, Society at War With
Itself, Volume 11, Number 2, May 2014,
http://www2.ubishops.ca/baudrillardstudies/vol-11_2/v11-2-pawlett.html , LD)
II. Complicity Complicity is a particularly slippery term. In the 1980s Baudrillards thought, mistakenly assumed to be Postmodernist, was
argued to be complicit with capitalism, largely because it questioned the ability of dominant strands of Marxism and feminism to significantly
challenge the capitalist system (Callinicos 1989; Norris 1992). At the same time, Baudrillard was alleging that the work of supposedly radical
theorists such as Deleuze and Guattari (1984 orig. 1972) and Lyotard (1993 orig. 1974) was, with their emphasis on desire as productive and
liberatory force, complicit with the mechanisms of advanced consumer capitalism (Baudrillard 1987: 17-20).

So which branch

of contemporary theory is most complicit with capitalism?

Liberals, humanists and


environmentalists who see their clothes stolen by mainstream politicians? Marxists and Communists who by refusing to update their thinking
provide a slow moving target for right-wing snipers? Post- Modernists and Post-Structuralists who attack Enlightenment thought but refuse to
speak of the human subject and so have thrown the baby out with the bath water? Network and complexity theory which flattens all
phenomena and experience to a position on a grid, producing a very complex simplification? The list could go on but it is a question that

all critical theories are complicit with the system they


critique. They fight on a terrain already demarcated by their opponents, a
terrain on which they are beaten before they begin, one where the most
compelling argument can always be dismissed as doom-mongering or
irresponsible intellectualism. This includes Baudrillards own critical thinking,
as he readily acknowledges (Baudrillard 2009a: 39). Further, and even
more damaging to the project of critique, in a hegemonic or integral
order the system solicits critique and it criticises itself, so displacing
and making redundant the laborious attempts at academic critique.
The latter continue, even proliferate, but with decreasing impact. So,
what does Baudrillard mean by complicity with the global order? Baudrillards concern is primarily
with complicity at the level of the form of the (capitalist) system, not
at the level of belief, consent or allegiance to particular contents of
capitalist life (consumer products, plurality of lifestyles, a degree
of tolerance etc.). Complicity is often seen, by critics of capitalism, as
acceptance of consumerism and its myriad choices and lifestyles, but this is a
reductive level of analysis from Baudrillards perspective . By complicity or
collusion Baudrillard means, on the one hand, the very widespread
willingness to surrender or give up beliefs, passions and symbolic
defences (2010: 24), and on the other as the dual form an
equally widespread ability to find a space of defiance through the
play of complicity, collusion, hyperconformity and indifference
cannot be answered because

(1983: 41-8). That is, while many of us (in the relatively affluent
West) share in the profanating, denigrating and carnivalising of all
values, embracing indifference, shrugging whatever, we do so
with very little commitment to the system, rejoicing inwardly when it
suffers reversals: we operate in a dual mode. While such attitudes of indifference may seem
to accept that there is no meaningful alternative to capitalism: an attitude that has been called capitalist nihilism (Davis in Milbank and Zizek,

Baudrillards notions of integral reality, duality and


complicity may have significant advantages over those approaches. Unlike
thinkers who remain anchored to critical thinking defined by
determinate negation, Baudrillards approach emphasises
ambivalence, reversal and both personal and collective modes of
rejection more subtle than those envisioned by the increasingly
exhausted mechanisms of critique. The critique of consumer
capitalism the consumption of junk food, junk entertainment and junk information is now integral to
the system; the critique of finance capitalism bankers bonuses, corporate tax avoidance is integral to the system, yet it
fails to bring about meaningful or determinate social transformation. Indeed,
such critiques may do no more than provide the system with a
fleeting sense of reality real issues, real problems to deal with
around which the system can reproduce its simulacra, perhaps to
reassure us that something is being done, measures are being
put into place etc. Reality cannot be dialectically negated by critical
concepts when both reality and the critical concept disappear together, their
fates clearly tied to each other (Baudrillard 2009b: 10-12). There is a
sense then in which the production of critique is in complicity with the
system, the unravel-able proliferation and excess of critical accounts of the
system has the effect of protecting the system. Complicity consists in a
sharing of the denigration of all values, all institutions, all ideas, all
beliefs: so long as we believe in nothing at least not passionately
then the system has us, at least superficially. For example, in recent decades we have seen
2009) and capitalist realism (Fisher 2008),

the denigration of religious faiths or their reduction to cultural identity and world heritage objects; the denigration of public services and
welfare provision accompanied by their marketisation; the denigration of the poor, the young, immigrants and the unemployed

. Yet this

is not only the denigration of the powerless or disenfranchised, there is also


the widespread denigration of those seen as powerful : politicians, corporations, celebrities. For
Baudrillard, it is quite inadequate to focus only on the power of global neo-liberal policies such as marketisation in these processes of
denigration. This is where Baudrillards position departs decisively from anti-globalists and from neo-Communists such as Negri, Zizek, and
Badiou

. Global power has deliberately sacrificed its values and ideologies, it

presents no position, it takes no stand, it undermines even the illusion that


free markets function and has made capital virtual; become orbital it is
removed from a terrestrial, geo-political or subjective space. These are
protective measures enabling power to become (almost) hegemonic

(Baudrillard 2009a: 33-56; 2010: 35-40).

*It has become impossible to locate a nexus of power


power is everyone and in everyone. We have internalized
power and usurped the position of the master, but this
power turns on the self as tyranny of the self by
demanding maximization of opportunities. The West has
already parodized and desacralized itself; there is no
sovereign. We are now dually complicit with the system
over-eager acceptance and deep rejection. The most pure
form of subjugation of the system is through subtle
defiance through silence, radical indifference, and
hyperconformity.
Pawlett 14 (William Pawlett, a professor of media and cultural
studies at the University of Wolverhampton, International Journal
of Baudrillard Studies, Baudrillard and War, Society at War With
Itself, Volume 11, Number 2, May 2014,
http://www2.ubishops.ca/baudrillardstudies/vol-11_2/v11-2-pawlett.html , LD)
Baudrillard often emphasises the fragility and the vulnerability to reversal of
the powerful and the distinction between powerful and powerless is
radically questioned in his work. So what is this global power? Where is it? The answer, of course, is that it is
everywhere and it is in everyone. We have not liberated ourselves from slavery, but, Baudrillard contends,
internalised the masters: [e]verthing changes with the emancipation of the slave and the internalisation of the master by the emancipated

We tyrannise ourselves, for example by demanding that we


maximise our opportunities, fulfil our potential. This is a deeper
level of slavery and complicity than any previous historical
system could inflict (Baudrillard 1975; 2009a: 33). Yet duality
always re-emerges, Baudrillard insists: indifference is dual,
complicity is dual. Carnivalisation and cannibalisation are
themselves dual: the global system absorbs all otherness in a forced
conversion to modernity (2010: 5), reproducing otherness within the
carnival of marketable difference, yet cannibalisation emerges as a reversion and derailing of this process.
slave (2009a: 33).

The world adopts Western models: economic, cultural, religious or it appears to. Hidden within this complicity with the West, there is,

deeper sense of derision and rejection. The allegiance to


Western models is superficial; it is a form of mimicry or hyperconformity that
involves a ritual-like exorcism of the hegemonic system. Further, such
mimicry reveals the superficiality of Western cultural and economic models:
this is not only a superficial acceptance, but an acceptance of superficiality.
Western values are already parodic, and, in being accepted, they are
subject to further parody as they circulate around the globe (2010:
4-11). The West has deregulated and devalued itself and demands that the
rest of the world follows: "It is everything by which a human being
retains some value in his own eyes that we (the West) are
deliberately sacrificing [o]ur truth is always to be sought in
Baudrillard suggests, a

unveiling, de-sublimation, reductive analysis [n]othing is true if it


is not desacralised, objectivised, shorn of its aura, dragged on to the
stage" (Baudrillard 2010: 23). Western desacrilisation amounts to a
powerful challenge to the rest of the world, a potlatch: desacralise
in return or perish! But who has the power? Who is the victor?
There isnt one, according to Baudrillard. Of the global order,
Baudrillard writes: We are its hostages victims and accomplices at one
and the same time immersed in the same global monopoly of the networks.
A monopoly which, moreover and this is the supreme ruse of hegemony
no one holds any longer (2010: 40). There is no Master, no sovereign
because all the structures and dictates of power have been internalised,
this is the complicity we all share with global order, yet it is a dual
complicity: an over-eager acceptance goes hand-in-hand with a deep
and growing rejection. Baudrillards discussions of power, servitude and complicity make frequent reference to
Estienne La Boeties essay on voluntary servitude, completed around 1554. The fundamental political question for La Boetie is : how
can it happen that a vast number of individuals, of towns, cities and nations
can allow one man to tyrannise them, a man who has no power except the
power they themselves give him, who could do them no harm were they not
willing to suffer harm (La Boetie 1988: 38). It seems people do not want
to be free, do not want to wield power or determine their own fates: it is the
people who enslave themselves (La Boetie 1988: 41). People in general are the
accomplices of the powerful and the tyrannical, some profit directly through wealth, property, favour the little tyrants beneath the principal
one (1988: 64), but many do not, why do they not rebel? Baudrillard takes up La Boeties emphasis on servitude being enforced and
maintained from within, rather than from without. Yet, there are also major divergences. La Boetie deplores the common people for

Baudrillard rejects such


elitism and celebrates the masses abilities to strategically defy
those who would manipulate them through perverse but lethally
effective practices such as silence, radical indifference,
hyperconformity dual modes of complicity and rejection (Baudrillard 1983: 1accepting the narcotising pleasures of drinking, gambling and sexual promiscuity, while

61). Though La Boeties essay prefigures the development of the concept of hegemony, he never doubts that voluntary servitude is unnatural,
a product of malign custom that is in contradiction with the true nature of human beings which is to enjoy a God-given freedom. Baudrillard,
by contrast

, examines voluntary servitude as a strategy of the refusal of power, a

refusal of the snares of self and identity, as strategy of freedom from the
tyranny of the will and the fiction of self-determination (Baudrillard 2001:
51-7). For Baudrillard the declination or refusal of will disarms
those who seek to exert power through influencing or guiding
peoples choices and feelings towards particular ends . It also allows
for a symbolic space, a space of vital distance or removal, a space in
which to act, or even act-out (of) a character (Baudrillard 2001: 723). This is a space where radical otherness may be encountered, a sense of
shared destiny which is a manifestation of the dual form at the level of
individual existence (Baudrillard 2001: 79). It could certainly be argued that modern subjects are
confronted by a far more subtle and pervasive system of control than were the subjects discussed in La Boeties analysis. In theorising the
nature of modern controls Baudrillard develops suggestive themes from La Boeties work. Speaking of slavery in the Assyrian empire, where,
apparently, kings would not appear in public, La Boetie argues, the fact that they did not know who their master was, and hardly knew

Whatever its historical


provenance, this strategy of power is, it seems, generalised in modernity;
whether they had one at all, made them all the more willing to be slaves (1988: 60).

particularly after the shift away from Fordist mass production it has become
increasingly hard to detect who the masters actually are . While workers

are persecuted by middle managers, supervisors, team leaders,


project co-ordinators who are the masters of this universe? Who are the
true beneficiaries? Rather than trying to identify a global neoliberal elite, as do many proponents of anti-capitalist theory,
Baudrillard suggests that the situation we confront is so grave
because we (those in the West in relatively privileged positions)
have usurped the position of masters; we have become the slave
masters of ourselves, tyrannising every detail of our own lives: trying
to work harder, trying for promotion or simply trying to avoid redundancy. We
are all the accomplices of a trans-capitalist, trans-economic exploitation. We
are all tyrants: a billion tiny tyrants servicing a system of elimination . But
this is not to say that Baudrillard ignores power differentials
altogether: it is, indeed, those who submit themselves most
mercilessly to their own decisions who fill the greater part of the
authoritarian ranks, alleging sacrifice on their parts to impose even
greater sacrifices on others (2001: 60-1). We all impose such

violence on ourselves and on others as part of our daily routines,


hence Baudrillards injunction to refuse power: Power itself must be
abolished and not solely because of a refusal to be dominated,
which is at the heart of all traditional struggles but also, just as
violently, in the refusal to dominate (2009a: 47).

*In an attempt to rid society of the otherness, society has


reduced the duality of the world to binary oppositions
that fail to capture the unknown of the radically dual
other. Good and Evil have been distilled by modern
morality to reduce Evil to the accidental, that which can
be controlled and eradicated. This allows for the violence
of the axis of good. The diversion of Good and Evil has
given Evil the autonomy to change the rules of the game.
Strategies of sudden, ironic reversions through symbolic
exchange have the potential to bring back Evil and radical
otherness and disrupt the hell of the same
Pawlett 14 (William Pawlett, a professor of media and cultural
studies at the University of Wolverhampton, International Journal
of Baudrillard Studies, Baudrillard and War, Society at War With

Itself, Volume 11, Number 2, May 2014,


http://www2.ubishops.ca/baudrillardstudies/vol-11_2/v11-2-pawlett.html , LD)

III. Duality There is a kind of progressive break with the world, the
terminal phase of which might be said to be that in which the Other
has disappeared, and in which one can now feed only on oneself
(with a relish mingled with horror and disgust) (Baudrillard 2010: 42). The notion of duality
and the duel is fundamental to Baudrillards thought and can be seen running through all of his major terms, processes and relations. In
Passwords Baudrillard defines reversibility as the applied form of
duality (2003: 81). Baudrillards analysis of duality and its conflict with integrism spans the largest, anthropological,
global and structural levels through to the micro-level of everyday life, and smaller still into the world of viruses (Baudrillard 1993b: 161-3). For
example

, symbolic exchange consists in a dual and reversible process of

gift and counter-gift which work against or in defiance of the


abstract, unified and hierarchic process of commodity exchange . The
notion of seduction consists in the dual and reversible relations that take
place between masculine and feminine not in the biological opposition of
male and female. Fatal strategies are closely related to symbolic
exchanges in that they consist in the sudden ironic reversions and
failures of the system of power, which falters precisely because it is
unable to respond to the rule of symbolic exchange (1990b;

Baudrillard & Noailles 2007: 78). In Baudrillards later terminology


the hell of the same is always haunted by radical otherness (1993b:
113-123); there is always the other side of the perfect crime, the nothing
or singularity that runs beneath the something (2001: 6-9). Duality, in

Baudrillards sense (seemingly inspired by the religion of


Manichaeism see Smith (2004) and Pawlett (2014)) challenges as
reductive all thought based on determinate conceptual oppositions: good/evil,
real/unreal, masculine/feminine, both dialectical and empirical . Duality
posits something else, something unknown, unmanageable and
beyond understanding in terms of oppositions. This something, or
nothing, forms the duality along with, and in antagonism to, the
great series of oppositions which are taken to constitute the totality
of life. In other words, what is generally taken to be real, material,
objective and universal is strictly limited. From the perspective of duality,
the vast sum of identities and differences, the immense plurality of
the world, is still homogeneous at the level of signs. Duality, in Baudrillards sense,
does not contend that the world is divided into two opposed principles, nor that there are two fundamental perspectives on the world. Rather,

it posits two worlds: one world of order, value, meaning, and another
world in which these concepts have little or no purchase (2004: 37).
The system of oppositions are contrasted with what Baudrillard calls
radical otherness or singularity: life beyond performative existence,
beyond Will and subjectivity, where the otherness of self meets the otherness
of others: "What defines otherness is not that the two terms are not
identifiable, but that they are not opposable. Otherness is of the
order of the incomparable not exchangeable in terms of general

equivalence; not negotiable, yet circulating in the mode of


complicity and the dual relation, both in seduction and in war "
(Baudrillard 1996: 122). Duality does not refer to a position or resource
outside of the system, something that might negate the system, or
alternatively be assimilated by it. Rather duality is the reversibility
internal to the irreversible movement of the real (2005: 21).
Reversibility is not the movement from one conceptual term to the
other, but the reversion of complementary oppositions such that the
reality they jointly produce is annulled, suspended or shattered
(1993a: 133). Good and Evil are perhaps Baudrillards most developed
example of duality. Good and Evil as symbolic forms are irreconcilable
yet inseparable, they alternate or duel, neither can vanquish nor
eliminate the other. The unending, cyclical duel of Good and Evil is dramatised in the great myths and tragedies. Heroes
and heroines do not lay the foundations for social order, they experience or embody the metamorphosis, collusion or reversibility of Good and

. The
dynamic, alternating energy of duality defies structure, value, power
and hierarchy. However, morality seeks to separate or distil Good
and Evil, working to produce the conceptual opposition good/evil,
literally barring their symbolic exchange, denying their duality .
Modernity, or Post-modernity, is even less tolerant of Good and Evil as
symbolic forms, and works to replace both the symbolic and moral
dimensions of Good and Evil with the reductive, individualised and
psychologised notions of happiness/wellbeing in opposition to misfortune/
victimhood (2005: 139-158). Evil reduced to misfortune is
understood as something accidental, something that can and should
have been secured, controlled and finally eliminated, for example by
a culture of insurance, surveillance, risk assessment and futureproofing. Reduced to a quantifiable scale happiness should always
increase, and misfortune decrease. The cultural demand now is that we
show all the signs of happiness at all times, and, for Baudrillard, the
simulacra of happiness and wellbeing sustain the system and
flourish precisely in order to obscure the symbolic dimension of Evil,
which is nevertheless ineradicable. This is not a historicist position,
Good and Evil as symbolic forms are not eliminated, they are
diverted, disjointed, severed, smothered yet they remain, and
indeed take their revenge on happiness/misfortune. Good has been progressively
Evil (2001: 54). Good and Evil, considered as dual or symbolic relations are eternal and destined to emerge from each other

disarticulated from Evil, the goal being its universalisation, yet, Baudrillard insists, Evil reappears or transpires through the hegemony of this

: "by denying the very


existence of Evil (all the forms of radical, heterogeneous,
irreconcilable otherness) Good has, in a way, given Evil its
freedom. In seeking to be absolute Good, it has freed Evil from all
dependency and given it back its autonomous power, which is no
longer simply the power of the negative but the power to change the
rules of the game" (Baudrillard 2010: 55-6). Where Good attempts to eliminate Evil, Evil will reappear in the measures
taken by Good. Misfortune and happiness, as binary oppositions, feed and complement each other, indeed Baudrillard notes
that misfortune and victimhood become increasingly attractive to all
enervated sense of Good, often generated by very measures employed to eliminate it

as a kind of escape route from the terroristic happiness plot


(Baudrillard 2005: 145). To give some examples, it is through the
misfortune/happiness binary that violent and tragic events are
produced as instances of types of events such as human rights
violations or crimes against humanity. Not allowed to be singular
events of tragedy, the awarding or conferral of the title crime
against humanity produces an event to be deplored by the media,
not one to be thought about, but one to be consumed quickly . A
violent event cannot, under this way of thinking, be worse than a
crime against humanity, there is nothing worse. Further, for
Baudrillard, the current political fashion for apologies, for the
rectification of the past in terms of our humanitarian awareness
(2005: 150) is an extension of colonial rule and global liberal
capitalist hegemony because it declares Ok, we are sorry, get on
with your mourning and then you can join the new economic order
that we have defined: we make imbeciles of the victims themselves,
by confining them to their condition of victim, and by the
compassion we show them we engage in a kind of false advertising
for them (Baudrillard 2005: 153). It might well be that those who are genuinely deprived and powerless simply do not have the
time or energy to promote themselves as victims, however it might also be, as Baudrillard suggests, that the powerless
sense or implicitly understand the snares, humiliations and loss of
symbolic defences that await them if they try to play by the rules
imposed upon them by liberal humanitarian discourse (Baudrillard 1983: 48-61).
This is the violence of the good, the Empire or, in a particularly memorable phrase , the axis of good
(Baudrillard 2010: 88 & 111). If Evil has no essence, neither does
Good. They are relational; each is internal to the other, a charge that is carried by the other. Good and Evil as symbolic forms are not
reducible to individual acts or choices, but they emerge in the ambivalence and
reversibility of order and system, and in events or exchanges
between people caught up in the cycle.

2AC Agonism
Agonism impact turn
1. Agonism cant eliminate violence
2. Riddled with paradoxes
3. Causes ressentitment

Ince 16
(Murat Ince [Gazi University], A Critique of Agonistic Politics, International
Journal of Zizek Studies Volume 10 Number 1, Pages 5-12)
In this study, main critical points regarding modern agonistic politics have been brought into discussion under five problematiques. Firstly, with

their attempts to eliminate the violence from the agonistic geist, agonists are
philosophically led to dwell on a conflicting and untenable standpoint. 10The
conception of violence-free agon is the most questionable and fragile aspect
of agonistic politics because there exists a philosophical/theoretical
contradiction between the principal defence of agon and the elimination of
violence. Agonists, on the one hand, attribute a core founding meaning to
power and conflict relations, but on the other hand, in order to eliminate the
violent forms/contents that these relations may involve they refer to a
reasoning which is essentially in conflict with their original onto-politic
assumptions (original philosophical premises). However, if power and conflict are onto-politic
facts, the attempt to differentiate or distinguish agon and violence can be
argued not on onto-politic level but on onto-ethical level. So regarding this point,
agonistic politics poses an ambiguity in-between -ontological, political and
ethical- levels. As an inevitable result of this ambiguity, the agonistic
conception where the violence is categorically dismissed cannot stay away
from contradiction in itself. If it is not thoroughly a matter of defending a
tamed agon, it is a logical requirement to prefer one of the following two
options for the sake of eliminating this ambiguity: either it must be clearly
stated that an exceptional fact excluding the onto-political understanding is
in question here or it must be acknowledged that exclusion of violence can
only be argued on political-ethical level but not on ontological level. However it is
hard to conclude that agonists have a clear preference on this issue. In 6 fact agonistic thought has an additional ambiguity particularly with
regard to the second choice, yet the general ambiguity on ethical stance leaves out the problem whether the agonistic struggle (or the
democratic hegemony struggle) has a political/ethical meaning/context. On this point agonists confine themselves only to referring either to
an immanent materialism as in the case of W. Connolly or to the meta-ethical language of hegemony as in the case of Laclau and Mouffe.

Another aspect leading agonistic politics to a dilemma is related to the matter


of reason and harmony. On which principle or set of principles will a theory
arguing that the society is composed of ineradicable antagonisms and
stressing that the struggles, the asymmetries and the inequalities triggered
by the phenomenon of power are everlasting be able to base its own
conception of order which is exclusive of any ideal of absolute harmony?
Evidently the general name for this principle or set of principles is agon in
agonistic politics. However, how those already in conflict with each other will come to an
agreement on the grounds or norms of this conflict is a material
problematique. Although agonists assume a radical skepticism about
consensus they are well aware of the fact that the liberal democracy that
they advocate must be based on a particular consensus over a number of

basic institutions or values. In fact the consensus is indispensable, but the


accompaniment of consensus with disagreement is unavoidable and
inevitable. What agonists, in this respect, do explicitly and poignantly reject is
the idea of reason-based consensus a typical example of which can be seen
in deliberative democracy. The criticism of pure reason-based enlightenist
attitude which is to eliminate emotions and passions is what lies essentially
behind the agonistic sharp criticism of the idea of rationalist consensus. Agonistic
political theory has played a quite significant role in the criticism of enlightenist/liberal ideology that has a goal to set up human-human and
human-nature relations on pure/rationalist principles and that also has an aspiration to build a homogeneous/harmonious political community

Agonistic political theorys critical contribution


is particularly vital with regard to the revelation of antagonistic nature of
allegedly independent, harmonious and conflict-free social norms and
relations introduced in the fictions of neo-liberal politics and society -such as
political liberalism- as manifestations of late period enlightenist/liberal ideology. By elaborating on the potential risks and
drawbacks implicated in the fiction of reason- 8 agonistic democratic order/identity will be. As agonism already
postulates a description of identity, it must have a definite excluded or
negated other as well. It seems that this agonistic other is reflected by
those who, in the simplest term, reject agonism or those who are in the
position of enemy or adversary in relation to any possible agonistic
democracy. Agonists have an ambivalent attitude towards this agonistic
other. On one hand, it is asserted that those who do not adopt the rules of the
democratic game are already part of the democratic game, on the other
hand, it is suggested that those who do not adopt the rules of the game
should be excluded from the game as seen in the example of Mouffe arguing that those who question the
under the guidance of these pure/rationalist principles.

fundamental institutions of democratic society cannot be regarded as legitimate adversaries (Mouffe 2005:120). The first attitude falls into an
ambiguous definition of game by its effort to equate the radicalism emerging out of the non-adoption of agonistic rules of game with any sort
of agonistic form or activity (like disagreement, struggle or challenge) within the rules of the game. The most significant drawback with this
sort of understanding which is to, by itself, undermine the conception of game is that it reduces the (antagonistic) radicalism emerging in the
challenge of the rules into routine and common manifestations of agon. 11Even worse, this understanding may well function as a highly
effective instrument in the legitimization of a neo-liberal democratic order where all of the manifestations of radicalism are purely eliminated.
The second attitude suggesting that those who do not adopt the rules of the game should be excluded from the game is certainly more

If, just
like in any game, those who do not adopt the rules of the game are to be
excluded from the game, calling this game as agonistic democracy or not will
not make much sense. However, the non-existence of any fixed constitutive
outside is one of the most important aspects to define the agonism . The fourth
critical point regarding agonistic politics is associated with the matter of historicism. One of the most important
results of agonism to have a liberal discourse far from the legacy of radical
left politics (particularly far from the revolutionist background) is that
historical critique and analysis being the critical instruments to challenge the
past have been eliminated from the agonistic rhetoric. Driven by the concern to distance
themselves from the truth philosophies that claim 9 to answer all metaphysical questions, agonists, in the guidance of
the principle of contingency, have attempted to develop a political theory
which meticulously keeps away from any sort of historicity and historical
analysis and lays its hopes on the emergence of new forces in the future.
consistent in itself when compared to first one. However this attitude also drives its supporters to another theoretical stalemate.

Thus, the liberal context of the future-oriented emancipatory hope dominated over the context of the marxist/revolutionist challenge of past.
Briefly stated, the philosophical thought-space of agonistic credo is located in the history-less contingency -timelessness- between the past

There is no doubt that what lies behind the agonists pussyfooting


attitude towards historicist philosophy and analysis is the concern to avoid
any sort of determination or conditioning which may imply subordination of
the emancipation process to a fixed framework. Thus in accordance with this
attitude, a determined critical posture has been advanced both against
and future.

liberalisms progressive philosophy of history and historical dialectic


materialisms deterministic conception of history. Again within this scope, as in the case of enligtenist
liberalism, establishing a supra-historicist and contingent relation with the universal has been offered with a view to highlight the plurality of
subject configurations and affirm the emergence of new forces. Viewed from this perspective which is dependent more on irreversible flow
and pace of time than Benjaminist understanding of history as the redemption of the past; history as the knowledge of the past is nothing
more than a grave of metanarratives that is to suppress the progress of subjectivity and freedom. And just like the agonistic empty universal
waiting for to be represented by the fugitive/partial, the historical is nothing but a monadologic empty sign waiting for to be filled by the new

Being an articulative discourse of modern conjuncture is the price


agonistic political theory pays for its own historylessness. If agonistic
politics is to position itself anywhere beyond this point, it has to come to
terms with the historicism more explicitly. However, modern agonistic
politics conceives this challenge either an extension of radical historicism just
like in dialectical materialism or an extension of transcendental historical
pattern as seen in Hegel, and on behalf of overcoming this dualism it prefers
merely setting up a contingent, playful and ambiguous relation with the
historical. This ambiguous approach to history, reaches one of its most explicit expressions in Laclau and Mouffes conception of
forces.

hegemonic politics. Because 10 Laclau and Mouffes hegemony theory as a post-marxist model is before all the theory of this historical

agonistic politics is
associated with the notions of resentment and undecidability . 12Though there is no any
ambiguity upon which the promise of emancipation is based. The fifth and last critical point regarding

natural or essential relationship between them, these two notions constitute pivotal quilting points (so to say point de capiton) of modern

As is known, posing a discourse to articulate political theory and


psychoanalysis is one of the outstanding characteristics of agonistic politics.
agonistic politics.

Agonistic theory has been significantly influenced by psychoanalytic theoretical background extending from Freud to Lacan. Admittedly, it
cannot be argued that agonistic political theory has a definite understanding of human nature. Yet agonistic politics before all is not a theory of
human-self/nature but it is a theory of political agents and relations thereof. Nevertheless, it can be argued that agonistic politics still reveals a

the man as a resentment-holder


existence moving under the corporate impacts of his reason and sensations is
a political/contingent subjectivity who is steadily in search of power and
seeking for to take his social/political decisions on the basis of an essentially
undecidable ground. It can be observed that the two notions resentment and
undecidability are to emerge as key concepts with regard to the agonistic
spirit (psyche). However agonists, who are to insist on the ineradicability of
power and conflict in the political arena, hardly raised any arguments
regarding the origins or onto-genetics of this power and conflict. Therefore the
vague anthropological perspective. According to this perspective,

sophisticated agonistic relation between resentment, undecidability and power keeps remaining uncertain on a large scale. But it might not be
a mistake to roughly infer that a mechanism as fallows is in process with regard to the agonistic spirit (psyche): The resentment as a
repressed sensation of wrath, roaming in the corridors of mind and free from the actuality of ego steadily drives the self to the pursuit of

There exists a significant parallelism between the irreversibility of power


in the social relations and the irreversibility of resentment in the human
nature. Therefore, owing to this irreversibility of resentment and power it is
inevitable that a schism or conflict is to emerge both on the level of
individual self and on the level of in-between (political) human relations. This
schism or conflict constitutes the base of authentic undecidability as well.
11 Instead of eliminating the ontological schism causing the origination of
resentment (for Nietzsche this schism is revealed by the confrontation of self with the existence and for Connolly it is revealed by
the confrontation of identity with the difference), agonists seek to develop a strategy to appease
the unfavourable outcomes posed by that schism. The agonistic democracy
model in fact is one of the expressions of this strategy in the widest sense.
However there exists a paradox here; the paradox between the recognition of
the ineradicability of resentment and the appeasement policy of the
resentment. In effect, Connollys world of thought is extensively woven by this paradox. But when this sort of
paradox which is expected to promote critical sensitiveness is coupled with
power.

the modern agonistic political theorys effort (a theory that hinges on the
perpetual iteratedness and fathomlessness of the decision on the basis of a
Derridian undecidability) to take apart the non-western and non-liberal
other modality away from the agonistic perspective, the context of the
paradox becomes unexpected. The unusual point is that in spite of that sheer emancipatory promise posed by the
idea of Derridian democracy to come (Derrida 1994:81), agonistic democracy does not imply any
emancipatory promise beyond the pursuit of a western and liberal democratic
order (an order where inside, the resentment is subject to an appeasement and where outside, the resentment against the other is
subject to an instigation). Perhaps this point is not sufficiently disturbing for the agonists
who are committed to live with all kinds of paradoxes; on the contrary it is a
key stimulus to inspirit critical thinking. Nevertheless, if a definite paradoxoriented politics affirming the dilemmas, ambiguities and paradoxes in the
political life is reduced into a form of elimination of the paradoxes, it means
that we all along hold the lesser paradox and yet the lesser radical politics in
our hands. In fact the agonistic political theory is based on a limited and relatively reductive interpretation of Nietzschean
resentment. 13In this interpretation, an opposite relationship is set between emancipation and resentment and thus the positive relation
between two notions is entirely ignored. But in the Nietzschean sense, beyond being a psycho-ethical fact, resentment has also a psychoontological aspect dependent on time and existence and with this second meaning resentment reveals an ineradicable essence; that is, it
inevitably goes with the existence and emancipation. In the agonistic rhetoric -especially in Connolly- emancipation is perceived merely as a

. But will
not the world freed of existential resentment be a world where the politics
-and so the problem of emancipation- is fully eliminated as well? On the other
hand, it is also so meaningful that a political theory overemphasizing the role
of irrational factors like power, conflict and passion etc. in human nature or
in-between human relations has a theoretical weakness in the
acknowledgement of resentment which is to constitute one of the most
significant irrational motives of emancipation. Perhaps there has been no one other than Walter
Benjamin to put strikingly the indispensable/positive relation between emancipation and resentment: The will for
emancipation (and together with this both the hatred and sacrifice, as these
are the most typical expressions of resentment) are nourished by the image
of enslaved ancestors rather than by the ideal of liberated grandchildren
(Benjamin 2003:394). There is no doubt that the agonistic conception of resentment is
located quite far away from this Benjaminist understanding. Agonistic
political theory just like several other postmodern theories or political
praxises is associated with a specific conception of otherness which is
growing in importance. In agonistic theory, one of the main aspects intended
to emphasize by referring to the undecidable nature of identity/the rejection
of essentialism is the undecidable messianic plurality of the difference/the
other. Agonists attribute a specific meaning and value to this undecidable
others role to displace the language, law, ethics and subjectivity; because for
them the other is an existence who perpetuates the conflict between
identity and difference. Again for agonists the undecidability is an
indispensable component of pluralizing, displacing and rearticulative political
understanding. Yet, an emancipatory agonistic politics, in other words this
decisive moment, can only be fertilized in the contingent womb of
undecidability law. In this sense, there is no essential/radical distinction
between decision and undecidability; the unity of them evokes the unity of
essence which has a dual appearance as existence and genesis. But a
positive psycho-ethical process enabling the emergence of 12 new forces and wherein the existential resentment is eliminated

radical reference to undecidability law may lead to the perception of covering


the relationship between power and emancipation as an undecidable
relationship as well. And yet the most unexpected result with regard to this
point is that the radical reference to undecidability law may well ally with the
meta-politics of ruling decisionism. 14

2AC Afro-Pessimism
There is a recrimination DA the attempt to redeem all
history merely re-sutures the coherence of an empowered
humanitarian cogito bent on humanitarian salvation. You
should keep it on the books and refuse attempts at
attonment as these pave the way for neocolonialism wars
of human rights for the suffering other even if radical in
content this outweighs and turns their alternative on the
level of practice: you are what you critique.
Baudrillard 03. Jean Baudrillard, Fragments, 106-111
On the necessity of Evil and Hell There is no longer any irrevocable damnation today. There is no longer
any hell. We may concede that we are still within the mongrel concept of Purgatory, but virtually
everything falls within the scope of redemption. It is clearly from such an evangelism that all the manifest,
promotional signs of well-being and fulfilment derive that are offered us by a paradisaical society subject
to the Eleventh Commandment ('Be happy and give all the signs of contentment!') - the one that cancels

this demand for salvation and universal atonement


in the way that not only all current violence and injustices, but also,
retrospectively, all the crimes and contradictory events of the past are now
coming in for condemnation. The French Revolution is put in the dock and slavery is
condemned, along with original sin and battered wives, the ozone layer and sexual
harassment. In short, the pre-trial investigation for the Last Judgement is well
under way. We are condemning, then pardoning and whitewashing, our
entire history, exterminating the Evil from even the tiniest crevices in order to
present the image of a radiant universe , ready to pass into the next world. A gigantic
out all others. But we can also read

undertaking. One that is inhuman, superhuman, too human? As Stanislaw Lee says, 'We no doubt have too

why feed this eternal repentance factory, this


chain reaction of bad conscience? Because everything has to be saved. This is what
we have come to today: everything will be redeemed, the entire past will be
rehabilitated, polished to the point of transparency . As for the future, there's even
anthropomorphic a view of man.' And

better in store, and even worse: everything will be genetically modified to achieve biological perfection
and the democratic perfection of the species. Salvation, which was defined by the equivalence of merit
and grace, will, once the abscess of evil and hell has been drained, be defined by the equivalence between
genes and performance. Actually, once happiness becomes purely and simply the general equivalent of
salvation, there is no further reason for heaven. No heaven without hell, no light without darkness. No one
can be saved if no one is damned (by definition, but we also know this intuitively: where would the elect
find pleasure, except in the contemplation of God, were it not for the spectacle of the damned and their
torment?). And once everyone is virtually saved, no one is. Salvation no longer has any meaning. This is
the fate in store for our democratic enterprise: it is vitiated from the outset by the neglect of necessary
discrimination, by the omission of evil. We therefore need an irrevocable presence of Evil, an Evil with no
possible redemption, a definitive discrimination, a perpetual duality of Heaven and Hell, and even in a way
a predestination to Evil, for no destiny can be without some predestination. There is nothing immoral in
this. By the rules of the game there is nothing immoral in some losing and others winning, nor even in
everyone losing. What would be immoral would be for everyone to win. Now, this is the contemporary ideal
of our democracy: that everyone be saved. And this is possible only at the cost of a perpetual upping of
the stakes, of endless inflation and speculation, since ultimately happiness is not so much an ideal
relationship to the world as a rivalry with, and a victorious relation to, others. And this is good: it means
that the hegemony of Good, of the individual state of grace, will always be thwarted by some challenge or
passion, and that any kind of happiness, any kind of ecstatic state, can be sacrificed to something more
vital, which may be of the order of the will, as Schopenhauer has it, or of power, or of the will to power in
Nietzsche's conception, but something which, in any event, is of the order of Evil, of which there is no

definition, but which may be summed up as follows: that which, against any happy intended purpose
[destination heureuse}, is predestined to come to pass. Beneath its euphoric exaltation, this imperative of
optimum performance, of ideal achievement, certainly bears evil and misfortune within it, then, in the form
of a profound disavowal of such fine prospects, in the form of a secret, anticipated disillusion ment.

even this is again just a collective form of sacrifice - a human sacrifice,


but a disembodied one, distilled into homeopathic doses. Wherever humans
are condemned to total freedom or to ideal fulfilmen t, this subversion seeps
in - this automatic abreaction to their own good and their own happiness. When they are ordered to get
Perhaps

the maximum efficiency and pleasure out of themselves, they remain out of sorts and live a split existence.
In this strange world, where everything is potentially available (the body, sex, space, money, pleasure) to
be taken or rejected en bloc, everything is there; nothing has disappeared physically, but everything has
disappeared metaphysically. 'As if by magic or enchantment', you might say. Only the fact is, it is more by
disenchantment. Individuals, such as they are, are becoming exactly what they are. With no transcendence
and no image, they pursue their lives like a function that is useless in respect of another world, irrelevant
even in their own eyes. And they do what they do all the better for the fact that there is no other

They have
sacrificed their lives to their functional existences . They coincide with the exact
numerical calculation of their lives and their performances. An existence fulfilled, then, but
one at the same time denied, thwarted, disavowed . The culmination of a whole
possibility. No instance, no essence, no personal substance worthy of singular expression.

negative counter-transference. This imperative of optimum performance at the same time comes into
internal contradiction with the democratic moral law which ordains that everyone be perpetually re-set to
equality and everything re-set to zero, on the pretext of democracy and an equal sharing of opportunity
and advantage. Given the prospect of salvation for all and universal redemption, no one has the right to
distinguish himself, no one has the right to captivate [siduire}.

For justice to be done, all


privilege must disappear; it is for all to rid themselves voluntarily of any
specific qualities, to become once again an elementary particle2 - collective happiness, based on
levelling down and repentance, leading to the coming of the lowest common
denominator and basic banalities. This is like a reverse potlatch, with everyone
outdoing each other in minimalism and victimhoo d, while fiercely cultivating their tiniest
differences and cobbling together their multiple identities. Repentance and recrimination are
all part of the same movement: recrimination means going back over the crime to correct its
course and effects. This is what we are doing in going back over the whole of our
history, over the criminal history of the human race, to do penance here and
now as we await the Last Judgement. For God is dead, but his judgement
remains. Which explains the immense syndrome of resipiscence and (historical) rewriting (with the
future genetic and biological rewriting of the species still to come) that has seized the twentieth century's
end; with an eye, as ever, to deserving salvation and - with the prospect of the final accounting before us to presenting the image of an ideal victim. Naturally, we are not speaking of a real trial or of genuine
repentance. It is a matter of fully enjoying the spectacle of one's own misfortune :
'Mankind, which in Homer's time was an object of contemplation for the Olympian gods, now is one for
itself. Its self-alienation has reached such a degree that it can experience its own destruction as an
aesthetic pleasure of the first order' (Walter Benjamin).3 This is but the latest episode in a heart-rending
process of revisionism - running down not just the history of the twentieth century, but all the violent
events of past centuries, to subject them to the new jurisdiction of human rights and crimes against
humanity (just as every action today is subjected to the jurisdiction of sexual, moral or political
harassment). As part of the same trend by which all works of art (including the human genome) are listed
as world heritage sites, everything is put on the list of crimes against humanity . The
latest episode, then, of this revisionist madness has been the proposal to condemn slavery and the slave

An absurd proposal to rectify the past in terms of our


Western humanitarian consciousness or, in other words, in terms of our own
criteria, in the purest traditions of colonialism. This imperialism of repentance
really is the limit! The idea is, in fact, to enable the 'peoples concerned' to put this tragedy behind
them thanks to this official condemnation and, once their rights have been restored and
they have been recognized and celebrated as victims, to complete their work
trade as crimes against humanity.

of mourning and draw a line under this page of their history in order to
become full participants in the course of modernity. It might be seen, then, as a kind of
successful psychoanalysis. Perhaps the Africans will even be able to translate this
moral acknowledgement into damage claims , using the same monstrous measure of
equivalence from which the survivors of the Shoah have been able to benefit. So we shall go on
compensating, atoning and rehabilitating ad infinitum, and we shall merely
have added to raw exploitation the hypocritical absolution of mourning; we
shall merely, by compassion, have transformed evil into misfortune. From the
standpoint of our recycled humanism, the whole of history is pure crime - and, indeed,
without all these crimes there quite simply would be no history: 'If we eliminated the evil in
man,' wrote Montaigne, 'we would destroy the fundamental conditions of life .' But, on
this basis, Cain killing Abel is already a crime against humanity - and almost a genocide (there were only

All this is absurd, all this


humanitarian, retrospective fakery is absurd . And it all stems from the confusion between
two of them!), and isn't original sin already a crime against humanity?

evil and misfortune. Evil is the world as it is and as it has been, and one may look upon this with lucidity.

Misfortune is the world as it never should have been - but in the name of what? - in the name
of what should be, in the name of God or a transcendent ideal, of a Good it would be difficult indeed
to define. We may take a criminal view of crime - that is the tragic view - or we may take a
recriminatory view - and that is the humanitarian view, the pathos-laden,
sentimental view, the view which constantly calls for reparation . We have
here all the ressentiment dredged up from the depths of a genealogy of
morals, and requiring in us reparation for our own lives. This retrospective
compassion, this conversion of evil into misfortune is the twentieth century's
most flourishing industry. First as a mental blackmailing operation, to which we
all fall victim, even in our actions, from which we can now hope only for the lesser evil (keep a low
profile, do everything in such a way as anyone else could have done it - decriminalize your existence!).

Then as a profitable operation with gigantic yields, since misfortune (in all its
forms: from suffering to insecurity, oppression to depression) represents a symbolic capital,
the exploitation of which - even more than the exploitation of happiness - is endlessly
profitable from the economic standpoint. It's a gold-mine, as they say, and there is an
inexhaustible source of ore, because the seam lies within each of us. Misfortune commands the highest

To transcribe evil into


misfortune and then to transcribe misfortune into commercial, or spectacular,
value - most often with the collusion or assent of the victim himself. But the
victim's collusion with his own misfortune is part of the ironic essence of Evil.
It is what brings it about that no one wants his own good, and nothing is for
the best in the best of all worlds
prices, whereas evil cannot be traded. It is impossible to exchange.

Commodification Only our AFFs deconstruction of


difference fetishism on the level of language avoids reabsorption.
hooks 99. bell hooks, famous author, social activist, and black feminist,
currently Distinguished Professor in Residence at Barea College, Eating the
Other in Black Looks: Race and Representation, South End Press, 1999: 21

This is theorys acute dilemma: that desire expresses itself most fully where
only those absorbed in its delights and torments are present, that it triumphs
most completely over other human preoccupations in places sheltered from
view. Thus it is paradoxically in hiding that the secrets of desire come to
light, that hegemonic impositions and their reversals, evasions, and
subversions are at their most honest and active, and that the identities and
disjunctures between felt passion and established culture place themselves
on most vivid display. Joan Cocks, The Oppositional Imagination
Within current debates about race and difference, mass culture is the
contemporary location that both publicly declares and perpetuates the idea
that there is pleasure to be found in the acknowledgment and
enjoyment of racial difference. The commodification of Otherness has
been so successful because it is offered as a new delight, more intense,
more satisfying than normal ways of doing and feeling. Within
commodity culture, ethnicity becomes spice, seasoning that can liven up
the dull dish that is mainstream white culture. Cultural taboos around
sexuality and desire are transgressed and made explicit as the media
bombards folks with a message of difference no longer based on the
white supremacist assumption that blondes have more fun. The real fun is
to be had by bringing to the surface all those nasty unconscious fantasies
and longings about contact with the Other embedded in the secret (not so
secret) deep structure of white supremacy. In many ways it is a
contemporary revival of interest in the primitive, with a distinctly
postmodern slant. As Marianna Torgovnick argues inGone Primitive: Savage
Intellects, Modern Lives:
What is clear now is that the Wests fascination with the primitive has to
do with its own crises in identity, with its own need to clearly demarcate
subject and object even while flirting with other ways of experiencing the
universe. Certainly from the standpoint of white supremacist capitalist
patriarchy, the hope is that desires for the primitive or fantasies about the
Other can be continually exploited, and that such exploitation will occur in a
manner that reinscribes and maintains the status quo. Whether or not
desire for contact with the Other, for connection rooted in the longing for
pleasure, can act as a critical intervention challenging and subverting racist
domination, inviting and enabling critical resistance, is an unrealized political
possibility. Exploring how desire for the Other is expressed, manipulated, and
transformed by encounters with difference and the different is a critical
terrain that can indicate whether these potentially revolutionary
longings are ever fulfilled. Contemporary working-class British slang
playfully converges the discourse of desire, sexuality, and the Other, evoking
the phrase getting a bit of the Other as a way to speak about sexual
encounter. Fucking is the Other. Displacing the notion of Otherness from race,
ethnicity, skin-color, the body emerges as a site of contestation where
sexuality is the metaphoric Other that threatens to take over, consume,
transform via the experience of pleasure. Desired and sought after, sexual

pleasure alters the consenting subject, deconstructing notions of will, control,


coercive domination. Commodity culture in the United States exploits
conventional thinking about race, gender, and sexual desire by
working both the idea that racial difference marks one as Other and the
assumption that sexual agency expressed within the context of racialized
sexual encounter is a conversion experience that alters ones place and
participation in contemporary cultural politics. The seductive promise of
this encounter is that it will counter the terrorizing force of the
status quo that makes identity fixed, static, a condition of
containment and death. And that it is this willingness to transgress racial
boundaries within the realm of the sexual that eradicates the fear that
one must always conform to the norm to remain safe . Difference
can seduce precisely because the mainstream imposition of
sameness is a provocation that terrorizes. And as Jean Baudrillard
suggests in Fatal Strategies: Provocation unlike seduction, which
allows things to come into play and appear in secret, dual and
ambiguous does not leave you free to be; it calls on you to reveal
yourself as you are. It is always blackmail by identity (and thus a
symbolic murder, since you are never that, except precisely by being
condemned to it).

Liberal Curriculum DA the move towards authentic


radical theory within the cemetery walls of the Western
university merely engenders a semiotic fantasy of
radicalism paving over very real conditions of pain and
death in order to make this space possible. The only
ethical act left is pure semiotic insurrection that makes
claims neither towards coherency nor objectivity,
scrambling the syntactic code of the cemetery university.
www.AnarchistNews.org 10. The University, Social Death, and the
Inside Joke, http://news.infoshop.org/article.php?story=20100220181610620

Universities may serve as progressive sites of inquiry in some cases, yet


this does not detract from the great deal of military and corporate research,
economic planning and, perhaps most importantly, social conditioning
occurring within their walls. Furthermore, they serve as intense
machines for the concentration of privilege; each university is
increasingly staffed by overworked professors and adjuncts , poorly treated
maintenance and service staff. This remains only the top of the pyramid,
since a hyper educated, stable society along Western lines can only exist by
the intense exploitation of labor and resources in the third world. Students
are taught to be oblivious to this fact; liberal seminars only serve to
obfuscate the fact that they are themselves complicit in the death and

destruction waged on a daily basis. They sing the college fight song and wear
hooded sweatshirts (in the case of hip liberal arts colleges, flannel serves the
same purpose). As the Berkeley rebels observe, Social death is our banal
acceptance of an institutions meaning for our own lack of meaning.[43]
Our conception of the social is as the death of everything sociality entails; it
is the failure of communication, the refusal of empathy, the abandonment of
autonomy. Baudrillard writes that The cemetery no longer exists because
modern cities have entirely taken over their function: they are ghost towns,
cities of death. If the great operational metropolis is the final form of an entire
culture, then, quite simply, ours is a culture of death.[44] By attempting to
excel in a university setting, we are resigning ourselves to enrolling in what
Mark Yudoff so proudly calls a cemetery, a necropolis to rival no other.
Yet herein lies the punch line. We are studying in the cemeteries of a nation
which has a cultural fetish for things that refuse to stay dead; an absolute
fixation with zombies. So perhaps the goal should not be to go Beyond
Zombie Politics at all. Writes Baudrillard: The event itself is counteroffensive and comes from a strange source: in every system at its apex, at
its point of perfection, it reintroduces negativity and death.[45] The
University, by totalizing itself and perfecting its critiques, has spontaneously
generated its own antithesis. Some element of sociality refuses to stay
within the discourse of the social, the dead; it becomes undead, radically
potent. According to Steven Shaviros The Cinematic Body, zombies mark
the dead end or zero degree of capitalisms logic of endless consumption and
ever expanding accumulation, precisely because they embody this logic so
literally and to such excess.[46] In that sense, they are almost identical to
the mass, the silent majorities that Baudrillard describe as the ideal form of
resistance to the social: they know that there is no liberation, and that a
system is abolished only by pushing it into hyperlogic , by forcing it into
excessive practice which is equivalent to a brutal amortization.[47]
Zombies do not constitute a threat at first, they shamble about their
environments in an almost comic manner and are easily dispatched by a
shotgun blast to the face. Similarly, students emerge from the university in
which they have been buried, engaging in random acts of symbolic
hyperconsumption and overproduction; perhaps an overly enthusiastic usage
of a classroom or cafeteria here and there, or a particularly moving piece of
theatrical composition that is easily suppressed. Disaster is consumed as
cheesy spectacle, complete with incompetent reporting, useless information
bulletins, and inane attempts at commentary:[48] Shaviro is talking about
Night of the Living Dead, but he might as well be referring to the press
coverage of the first California occupations.
Other students respond with horror to the encroachment of dissidents: the
living characters are concerned less about the prospect of being killed than
they are about being swept away by mimesis of returning to existence, after
death, transformed into zombies themselves.[49] Liberal student activists
fear the incursions the most, as they are in many ways the most invested in
the fate of the contemporary university; in many ways their role is similar to
that of the survivalists in Night of the Living Dead, or the military officers in

Day. Beyond Zombie Politics claims that defenders of the UC system are
promoting a Zombie Politics; yet this is difficult to fathom. For they are
insistent on saving the University, on staying alive, even when their
version of life has been stripped of all that makes life worth living, when
it is as good as social death. Shaviro notes that in many scenes in zombie
films, our conceptions of protagonist and antagonist are reversed; in many
scenes, human survivors act so repugnantly that we celebrate their infection
or demise.[50]
In reality, Zombie Politics are something to be championed, because they
are the politics of a multitude, an inclusive mass of political subjects, seeking
to consume brains. Yet brains must be seen as a metaphor for what Marx
calls the General Intellect; in his Fragment on Machines, he describes it as
the power of knowledge, objectified.[51] Students and faculty have been
alienated from their labor, and, angry and zombie-like, they seek to destroy
the means of their alienation. Yet, for Shaviro, the hardest thing to
acknowledge is that the living dead are not radically Other so much as
they serve to awaken a passion for otherness and for vertiginous
disidentification that is already latent within our own selves.[52] In other
words, we have a widespread problem with aspiring to be this other, this
powerless mass. We seek a clear protagonist, we cannot avoid
associating with those we perceive as still alive. Yet for Baudrillard, this
constitutes a fundamental flaw:
"at the very core of the 'rationality' of our culture, however, is an exclusion
that precedes every other, more radical than the exclusion of madmen,
children or inferior races, an exclusion preceding all these and serving as
their model: the exclusion of the dead and of death."[53]
In Forget Foucault, we learn the sad reality about biopower: that power itself
is fundamentally based on the separation and alienation of death from the
reality of our existence. If we are to continue to use this conception, we risk
failing to see that our very lives have been turned into a mechanism for
perpetuation of social death: the banal simulation of existence.
Whereas socialized death is a starting point for Foucault, in Baudrillard and in
recent actions from California, we see a return to a reevaluation of society
and of death; a possible return to zombie politics. Baudrillard distinguishes
himself as a connoisseur of graffiti; in Forget Foucault, he quotes a piece that
said When Jesus arose from the dead, he became a zombie.[54] Perhaps
the reevaluation of zombie politics will serve as the messianic shift that
blasts open the gates of hell, the cemetery-university. According to the
Berkeley kids, when we move without return to their tired meaning, to their
tired configurations of the material, we are engaging in war.[55]
Baudrillards words about semiotic insurrectionaries might suffice:
"They blasted their way out however, so as to burst into reality like a
scream, an interjection, an anti-discourse, as the waste of all syntatic,
poetic and political development, as the smallest radical element that
cannot be caught by any organized discourse. Invincible due to their own
poverty, they resist every interpretation and every connotation, no
longer denoting anyone or anything."[56]

Semiotic Mediation DA Their focus on the damaged black


body to be rehabilitated ignores that beyond Fanons
Look a Black towards Look, I Overcame wherein
narratives of oppressed overcoming function as semiotic
capital to grease the wheels of racial neoliberalism.
James 15. Robin James, professor of philosophy at UNC Charlotte,
Resilience & Melancholy: Pop Music, Feminism, Neoliberalism, Zero Books,
2015: 88

Resilience must be performed explicitly, legibly, and spectacularly.


Overcoming is necessary, but insufficient; to count and function as
resilience, this overcoming must be accomplished in a visible or
otherwise legible and consumable manner. Overcoming is a type of
"affective labor" which, as Steven Shaviro puts it, "is productive only to the
extent that it is a public performance, it cannot unfold in the hidden
depths; it must be visible and audible" (PCA 49n33). In order to tune into
feminine resilience and feed it back into its power supply, MRWaSP has to
perceive it as such.
"Look, I Overcame!" is the resilient subject's maxim or mantra.
Gender and race have always been "visible identities," to use philosopher
Linda Martin Alcoff's term, identities strongly tied to one's outward physical
appearance. However, gendered/ racialized resilience isn't visible in
the same way that conventional gender and racial identities are visible.
To clarify these differences, it's helpful to think of resilience in terms of
a "Look, I Overcame!" imperative. "Look, I Overcame!" is easy to
juxtapose to Frantz Fanon's "Look, a Negro!", which is the touchstone
for his analysis of gendered racialization in "The Fact of Blackness." In both
cases, looking is a means of crafting race/gender identities and distributing
white patriarchal privilege. But, in the same way that resilience
discourse "upgrades" traditional methods for crafting identities and
distributing privilege, the "looking" in "Look, I Overcame!" is an
upgrade on the "looking" in "Look, a Negro!"
According to Fanon, the exclamation "Look, a Negro!" racializes him as a
black man. To be "a Negro" is to be objectified by the white
supremacist gaze. This gaze fixes him as an object, rather than an
ambiguous transcendence (which is a more nuanced way of describing the
existentialist concept of subjectivity). "The black man," as Fanon argues, "has
no ontological resistance for the white man" (BSWM 110) because, as
an object and not a mutually-recognized subject, he cannot return the white
man's gaze ("The Look" that is so important to Sartre's theory of subjectivity
in Being & Nothingness). The LIO narrative differs from Fanon's account in the
same way it differs from Iris Young's account of feminine body comportment:

in resilience discourse, objectification isn't an end but a means. Any


impediment posed by the damage wrought by the white/male gaze is
a necessary prerequisite for subjectivity, agency, and mutual
recognition. In other words, being looked at isn't an impediment, but a
resource.
Resilience discourse turns objectification (being looked at) into a
means of subjectification (overcoming). It also makes looking even
more efficient and profitable than simple objectification could ever
be. Recognizing and affirming the affective labor of the resilient
performer, the spectator feeds the performer's individual overcoming
into a second-order therapeutic narrative: our approbation of her
overcoming is evidence of our own overcoming of our past prejudices. This
spectator wants to be seen by a wider audience as someone who
answers the resilient feminine subject's hail, "Look, I Overcame!".
Just as individual feminine subjects use their resilience as proof of their own
goodness, MRWaSP uses the resilience of its "good girls" as proof that
they're the "good guys"that its social and ethical practices are truly
just, and that we really mean it this time when we say everyone is equal. For
example, the "resilience" of "our" women is often contrasted with the
supposed "fragility" of Third-World women of color. Or, in domestic US racegender politics, the resilience of some African-American women (their
bootstraps-style class ascendance) is contrasted to the continued fragility of
other African-American women, and thus used to reinforce class distinctions
among blacks. There are a million different versions of this general story:
"our" women are already liberatedthey saved themselvesbut, to riff on
Gayatri Spivak, "brown women need saving from brown men." Most
mainstream conversations about Third-World women are versions of this
story: discussions of "Muslim" veiling, female circumcision, sweatshops,
poverty, "development," they're all white-saviorist narratives meant to
display MRWaSP's own resilience. Look, I Overcame!" upgrades "Look, a
Negro!" by (a) recycling objectification into overcoming .and (b)
compounding looking, so that one can profit from others' resilience,
treating their overcoming as one's own overcoming. This upgrade in
white supremacist patriarchy requires a concomitant upgrade in
"looking." This shift in looking practices parallels developments in film and
media aesthetics. As Steven Shaviro has argued, the values, techniques, and
compositional strategies most common in contemporary mainstream Western
cinemalike Michael Bay's Transformersare significantly different than the
ones used in modernist and post-modernist cinema, and that these
differences in media production correlate to broader shifts in the
means of capitalist and ideological production. Neoliberalism's
aesthetic is, he argues, "post-cinematic." This post-cinematic aesthetic
applies not just to film and media, but to resilience discourse. Its
performance practices and looking relations configured by the "Look, I
Overcame!" imperative, resilience is, in a way, another type of postcinematic medium. In the next section I use Shaviro's theory of post-

cinematic media to identify some specific ways in which traditional


patriarchal tools are updated to work compatibly with MRWaSP resilience
discourse. The looking in the "Look, I Overcame!" narrative is not the same
kind of looking described by concepts like "the male gaze" or "controlling
images." This looking is a type of deregulated MRWaSP visualization.

Participation DA The FORM of their argument its


objective diagnosis, penchant for positivist historical
analysis, its will to truth guarantees that they legitimate
policy debate as an allegedly radical safety valve for the
insulation of the liberal civil society they criticize. They
maintain the semiotic fantasy of liberation in this activity
while alienating the very real material exploitation
necessary to make this space possible.
Galloway 07. Alexander Galloway, professor of media, culture, and
communication at New York University, Radical Illusion (A Game Against),
Games and Culture 2:4, pg. 385

There exist causes from whose nature some effect does not follow. There
exist causes that preempt their own effects from coming to be. In an early
text from 1969, Play and the Police, Baudrillard (2001a) speaks of a
principle of separation. This principle is how he rethinks repression not
through the notions of negation, aggression, or vital forces being blocked but
through the concepts of ambiance, integration, and participation. The unity
of desire is broken, he suggests, into a never ending series of privatesphere negotiations. The question becomes Am I liberated? not Are we?
The separative cause, which bursts through the unity of desire and
establishes human activity across several zones . . . is most effective at
neutralizing energies (Baudrillard, 2001a, pp. 18-19). Thus, in what Deleuze
would describe later as the distinction between discipline and control,
Baudrillard here posits a model of repression through expression, a
stunting of the drives through the very facilitation of those drives into
new control spaces. A new ambiance permeates the social field. The
masses are not repressed, no never, they are allowed to dream! With
reference to Marcuses concept of repressive desublimation, Baudrillard

(2001a) calls this the repression of desire . . . through the


emancipation of needs (p. 20).
Again, they did it, but we wanted it. The separative cause reveals how
ideology and reification operate under neoliberalism. Summarize it like
this: Exploitation is material, liberation is semiotic. The material is the
realm of political failure; the social is the realm of utopian compromise.
In Baudrillard, the principle of separation is the principle by which the two are
segregated and divided into two distinct domains, the one to play the fool
for the other.
The separative cause has two steps. To achieve some semblance of
pedagogical coherence, I will telescope them into a cause-and-effect
narrative, but to be precise, Step 1 and Step 2 both happened at the same
time.
In Step 1, the given phenomenon, which exists primordially as an undivided
prob- lematic containing both progressive and reactionary political impulses,
is first separated into (a) a material modality and (b) a social modality. For
example, with global warming, there is the material modality of carbon
dioxide emissions, automobiles and roads, the oil industry, and so on, while
at the same time there is the symbolic social modality of desiring clean
air, thinking green, and the so-called awareness campaigns.
The principle of separation occasions the phenomenon first through an
alliance formed between the progressive political impulse and the
domain of the social or public sphere. A progressive moral horizon of
significant magnitude invests itself in the social sphere. This moral plane
develops its own independent logic and will likely experience a flourishing
cycle of achievement and resolution but always within the
symbolic realm of the social or public sphere. From time to time,
small material changes may be incorporated into the logic of moral
resolution but only those minor enough not to impinge upon the
superiority of the social.
In Step 2, the progressive political impulse is negated and as
negation finds its home in the domain of the material. Thus a
reactionary political project blossoms within the realm of the physical
world. This project realizes its ends, developing the necessary
mechanisms and infrastructures required to continue and grow.
In Baudrillard, the separative cause is this overall structure. What the
separative cause occasions, or makes present, is the ability for both
gratuitous exploitation and a heightened moral instinct to coexist
within the same universe. It is perhaps seen best in Baudrillards
controversial critique of sexual liberation in Part 1 of Seduction. A structure of
both liberation and deferral, of dazzlement and insight, of both ignorance and
realization, of both expression and silenceall sides unify together but
only at the cost of a complete and incontrovertible segregation

between the symbolic and the material. The progressive stance of the
one allows for the reactionary stance of the other. The end result is
the current state of affairs: an oil company that is nevertheless
green, a world bathed in blood but devoted to peace, a global
consumer product that is still tagged fair trade.
The separative cause occasions. But it occasions a presence, a presence
that must be crossed out or held in suspension with quotation marks. The
presence occasioned by the separative cause is in fact an abatement of
presence, a lessening of being. What it makes present is a structure of
suspension. A subject is the name given to those entities able to flourish
within such a structure of suspension.
As Baudrillard was able to see, most all phenomena in contemporary life
are occasioned through this separative cause or principle of
separation. The environmental movement is a perfect example. In
todays world, it is structurally impractical if not outright impossible to be
an environmentalist in any true sense. Imagine: An activist drives to a
rally against global warming. The contradiction is clear. His actual spiritual
liberation is undercut by the tailpipe fumes of his own expression. His
intentions are good, but there is a physical basethat depraved
automobile contraptionthat creates conditions of impossibility that
are symbolically if not practically insurmountable. Of course, many
today refuse to participate in the global system of environmental
exploita- tion by casting off all worldly possessions. But this comes at
the cost of complete withdrawal from the world system, a price too high to
pay for most. Like the computer at the heart of todays planetary
organization, the costs are thus binary in that they offer an all-ornothing option, but only an option insofar as the nothing is reified
into material reality and the all spins on into oblivion. This is how
the separative cause operates.
Other examples include the curious and no doubt tense axis of inaction
forged between the United Nations and American foreign policy after the new
millennium on issues such as Darfur peace: the symbolic assertion on the
side of the United States that, in no uncertain terms, this is
genocide, flanked only by a negation of that same claim in
abandonment and blindness within the realm of real material
commitment. Or consider the structural adjustment agreements of the
International Monetary Fund, which travel on wings of hope to the so-called
backward economies of the globe but carry enclosed the harshest austerity
measures, leaving the infected country with a curse of legalized
deterritorialization and fiscal and cultural subjugation for decades to
come. Exploitation is material, liberation is semiotic. This is how the
separative cause occasions, or brings to presence, certain phenomena in
todays global kingdom. The democratization of Iraq is realizable
only through subjugation; clean air is realizable only through a
futures market in pollution creditsand around and around. Might

this separative cause be also known by a synonym twin,


civilization? In Baudrillard, the term was simply the real. It
occasions real human worlds by allowing them to come to be .

2AC Bifo
Focus on rational economic science has created a
bloodthirsty form of capitalism which attempts to erase
affect and makes violence inevitable. Neoliberalism
constantly produces crisis to demonstrate its capacity for
control. While this system focuses on total peace, its
hatred of uncertainty makes the destruction of all life
immanent.
Bifo 15. Franco Bifo Berardi, Professor of Social History of Communication at the
Accademia di Belle Arti of Milan, "Heroes: Mass Murder and Suicide", Verso 2015, pg. 107-110

How does digital capitalism intertwine with the concept of uncertainty? What key changes have taken
place in the structuring of the world, via the digital and the biotechnological, what forces have emerged
or coalesced, and finally, how do they affect the realm of subjectivity and consumption? Here, Arthur
Kroker has transposed McLuhan into the twenty-first century, performing an interrogation of what he calls

the "digital nerve," basically the exteriorization of the human


sensorium into the digital circuitry of contemporary capitalism (Kroker,
2004:8I).This (in)formation, "streamed capitalism," rests not exclusively on
exchange value, nor material goods, but something much more immaterial,
a postmarket, postbiological, postimage society where the driving
force, the "will to will," has ushered in a world measured by
probability. In other words, this variant of capitalism seeks to bind chaos
by ever-increasing strictures, utilizing an axiomatic based on capture
and control, with vast circuits of circulation as the primary digital
architecture. This system runs on a densely articulated composition,
similar to the earlier addressed concept of sado-monetarism, based
upon extensive feedback loops running between exchange value and
abuse value. This assemblage, however, has multiple levels, and not all are connected to the grid at
the same speeds; a number of different times exist within this formation, including digital time, urban time,

Spatially, the structure relies not on


geography but "strategic digital nodes" for the core of the system, and
connectivity radiates out from these nodal points (Kroker, 2004: 125). For example,
a key site for these points would be the Net corporation, defined as "as
a self-regulating, self-reflexive platform of software intelligence providing
a privileged portal into the digital universe" (Kroker, 2004: 140). Indeed, his mapping
quotidian time, transversal time, etc.

of digital capitalism has clear parallels with the shifts Katherine Hayles analyzes, in particular the underlying,

Boredom and
acquisitiveness become the principle markers of this new form of
capitalism, which provides a rationale, or a new value set for the
perpetual oscillation between the two poles, producing an insatiable
desire for both objects and a continuing stream of fresh and intense
experience. Perhaps the most densely argued assessment of capitalism, whose obvious parallel
driving mechanism whereby information severs itself from embodiment.

would be Marx's Capital, is the two volumes by Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus,

it remains
extremely important to understand the analysis as possessing a
fundamental focus on the question of political economy. Capitalism
forms, via its structural and affective matrix, a system capable of unparalleled
cruelty and terror, and even though certain indices of well-being have
increased, "exploitation grows constantly harsher, (and) lack is arranged
in the most scientific ways" (Deleuze & Guattari, 1983: 373). Their framework for
analysis targets the global, where the deepest law of capitalism sets
limits and then repels those limits, a process well known as the concept
of deterrorialization. Capitalism functions, then, by incessantly increasing
the portion of constant capital, a deceptively concise formulation that
has tremendous resonance for the organization of the planet
resources continually pour into the technological and machinic
apparatus of capture and control, to the increased exclusion of the
human component (Deleuze & Guattari, 1987: 4667). In other words, it not only
thrives on crisis but one of the principle definitions of capitalism
would be to continually induce crisis; nostalgia for a "los time" only
drives these processes. The planet confronts the fourth danger, the
most violent and destructive of tendencies, characterized as a turning
to destruction, abolition pure and simple, the passion of abolition (Deleuze
With all the concern over the theoretical concepts developed in these books,

& Guattari, 1987: 229). Deleuze and Guattari make clear this fourth danger does not translate as a death

task of
thinking becomes to address the processes of composition. The current
assemblage, then, has mutated from its original organization of total
war, which has been surpassed "toward a form of peace more
terrifying still," the "peace of Terror or Survival" (Deleuze & Guattari, 1987: 433).
Accordingly, the worldwide war machine has entered a postfascist phase,
where Clauscwitz has been dislocated, and this war machine now targets the entire
world, its peoples and economies. - An "unspecified enemy" becomes
the continual feedback loop for this war machine, which had been
originally constituted by states, but which has now shifted into a
planetary, and perhaps interstellar mode, with a seemingly insatiable
drive to organize insecurity, increase machinic enslavement, and
produce a "peace that technologically frees the unlimited material
process of total war" (Deleuze & Guattari, 1987: 467). Deleuze has analyzed these tendencies
drive, because for them desire is "always assembled," a creation and a composition; here the

extensively in his own work, in particular with his dissection of active and reactive forces in his book on

a type of sadism that


seems capable of attempting a "perpetually effective crime" to not
only destroy (pro)creation but to prevent it from ever happening
again, a total and perpetual destruction, one produced by a pervasive odium fati, a
hatred of fate that seeks absolute revenge in destroying life and any
possible recurrence. (Deleuze, 1989: 37). This tendency far outstrips what Robert Jay Lifton has
described as the " Armageddonists ," in their more commonly analyzed religious variant and in
Nietzsche but also in his work on Sade and Masoch, where he points to

see the possibility of a "world cleansing,"


preparing the way for a new world order, be it religious or otherwise
(Lifton, 1987: 59). Embedded within the immanence of capitalism, then,
one can find forces which would make fascism seem like "child
precursors," and Hitler's infamous Telegram 71 would be applied to all of
existence, perpetually. (Deleuze & Guattari, 1987:467). One final complication in
terms of currently emerging subjectivities, the well-known analysis in Anti-Oedipus
where capitalism, as basically driven by a certain fundamental insanity,
oscillates between "two poles of delirium, one as the molecular
schizophrenic line of escape, and the other as paranoiac molar
investment" (Deleuze & Guattari, 1983: 3I5). These two markers offer dramatically
different possibilities for the issues of subjectivities and agency, and
questions of consumption and the political can be posed within their
dense and complex oscillations.
what he calls the secular type, both of which

The expectation of a ballot for cognitive labor in the


round accelerates the productive system of
Semiocapitalism inherent in the speech act. Time is now
fractalized, broken into pieces to be consumed. Capitalism
has moved past the material and now infiltrates all
knowledge becoming Semiocapitalism, a game of mirrors
that hides itself from the material view.
Bifo 15. Franco Bifo Berardi, Professor of Social History of Communication at the
Accademia di Belle Arti of Milan, "Heroes: Mass Murder and Suicide", Verso 2015, pg. 136-142

Semiocapitalism is based on the exploitation of neural energy. Attention is


under siege, both in the space of production and in that of consumption .
Attention implies a constant investment of nervous energy, and this is much more difficult to manage and
is much more unpredictable than the muscular effort required of workers on the assembly line. During the

cognitive workers were motivated to invest their


creativity in the process of production, in expectation of the success and
profit that would be their reward they were persuaded that work and capital
could be forged together in the same process of mutual enrichment. Workers
were encouraged to think of themselves as free agents, and that phenomena
such as the dotcom bubble were based on real expansions of revenue,
generating high career expectations. But the alliance of semiocapital and
cognitive work was not to last forever. Neuro-Exploitation and Collapse In the last year of the
dotcom decade, when the technoapocalypse was announced in the guise of the Millennium Bug, dark
clouds were looming in the clear skies of the self-appointed new economy.
The social imagination was so charged with apocalyptic expectation that the
myth of the global techno-crash sent a thrilling wave of anticipation around
the world. Although the announced apocalypse went by the name of the Millennium Bug, when the
clocks turned twelve on the night of the millennium itself, the absence of any
cataclysmic event left the global psyche teetering on the brink of an abyss of
years of the Prozac economy,

the collective imagination. A few months later, in spring of the year 2000, the dotcom crash
ushered in the slowmotion collapse a collapse that, in one way or another, has never been really

The recombinant
alliance of cognitive work and fi nancial capital was over. The young army of
free agents, selfexploiters and virtual prosumers was transformed into
modernitys horde of precarious cognitive workers : cognitarians, cognitive proletarians
and internet-slaves who invest nervous energy in exchange for a precarious revenue. Precarity is the
general condition of semio-workers. The essential feature of precarity in the
social sphere is not the loss of regularity in the labour relation, since labour
has always been more or less precarious, notwithstanding legal regulations.
The essential transformation induced by the digitalization of the labour
process is the fragmentation of the personal continuity of work, the
fractalization and cellularization of time. The worker disappears as a person, and is replaced
by abstract fragments of time. The cyberspace of global production can be viewed as
an immense expanse of depersonalized human time. In the sphere of
industrial production, abstract labour time was embodied in a worker of fl esh
and bone, with a certifi ed and political identity. When the boss was in need of human
time for capital valorization, he was obliged to hire a human being, and was obliged
to deal with the physical weaknesses, maladies and rights of this human
being; was obliged to face trade unions reclaims and the political demands of
which the human was a bearer. As we move into the age of info-labour, there
is no longer a need to invest in the availability of a person for eight hours a
day throughout the duration of his or her life. Capital no longer recruits
people, but buys packets of time, separated from their interchangeable and
occasional bearers. In the internet economy, fl exibility has evolved into a
form of fractalization of work. Fractalization is the modular and recombinant
fragmentation of the period of activity. The worker no longer exists as a
person. He or she is only an interchangeable producer of micro-fragments of
recombinant semiosis that enter into the continuous fl ux of the internet.
Capital no longer pays for the availability of a worker to be exploited for a
long period of time; it no longer pays a salary that covers the entire range of
economic needs of a person who works. The worker (a machine endowed with a brain that
can be used for fragments of time) is paid for his or her occasional, temporary services. Work time is
fragmented and cellularized. Cells of time are put up for sale online, and
businesses can purchase as many of them as they want without being
obligated in any way to provide any social protection to the worker.
Depersonalized time has become the real agent of the process of
valorization, and depersonalized time has no rights, no union organization
and no political consciousness. It can only be either available or unavailable
although this latter alternative remains purely theoretical inasmuch as the
physical body still has to buy food and pay rent, despite not being a legally
recognized person. The time necessary to produce the info-commodity is
liquefi ed by the recombinant digital machine. The human machine is there,
pulsating and available, like a brainsprawl in waiting. The extension of time is
meticulously cellularized: cells of productive time can be mobilized in
punctual, casual and fragmentary forms. The recombination of these
fragments is automatically realized in the network . The mobile phone is the
overcome despite Bushs infi nite war, despite the proclaimed recovery.

tool that makes possible the connection between the needs of semiocapital
and the mobilization of the living labour of cyberspace. The ringtone of the
mobile phone summons workers to reconnect their abstract time to the
reticular flux. In this new labour dimension, people have no right to protect or negotiate the time of
which they are formally the proprietors, but are effectively expropriated. That time does not really belong
to them, because it is separated from the social existence of the people who make it available to the

The time of work is fractalized, reduced to


minimal fragments that can be reassembled, and the fractalization makes it
possible for capital to constantly fi nd the conditions of the minimal salary.
Fractalized work can punctually rebel, here and there, at certain points but
this does not set into motion any concerted endeavour of resistance. Only the
spatial proximity of the bodies of labourers and the continuity of the
experience of working together lead to the possibility of a continuous process
of solidarity. Without this proximity and this continuity, the conditions for the cellularized bodies to
coalesce into community do not pertain. Individual behaviours can only come together
to form a substantive collective momentum when there is a continuous
proximity in time, a proximity that info-labour no longer makes possible .
Cognitive activity has always been involved in every kind of human
production, even that of a more mechanical type. There is no process of human labour
recombinant cyber-productive circuit.

that does not involve an exercise of intelligence. But today, cognitive capacity is becoming the essential

the mind was put to work as a repetitive


automatism, the neurological director of muscular effort. While industrial
work was essentially repetition of physical acts, mental work is continuously
changing its object and its procedures . Thus, the subsumption of the mind in the process of
productive resource. In the age of industrial labour,

capitalist valorization leads to a true mutation. The conscious and sensitive organism is subjected to a
growing competitive pressure, to an acceleration of stimuli, to a constant exertion of his/her attention. As a

the mental environment, the info-sphere in which the mind is


formed and enters into relations with other minds, becomes a
psychopathogenic environment. To understand semiocapitals infi nite game
of mirrors, we must fi rst outline a new disciplinary fi eld, delimited by three
aspects: the critique of political economy of connective intelligence; the
semiology of linguistic-economic fl uxes; and the psychochemistry of the infosphere, focused on the study of the psychopathological effects of the mental
exploitation caused by the acceleration of the info-sphere. In the connected world,
the retroactive loops of general systems theory are fused with the dynamic
logic of biogenetics to form a post-human vision of digital production. Human
minds and fl esh are integrated with digital circuits thanks to interfaces of
acceleration and simplifi cation: a model of bio-info production is emerging
that produces semiotic artefacts with the capacity for the auto- replication of
living systems. Once fully operative, the digital nervous system can be
rapidly installed in every form of organization. The digital network is
provoking an intensifi cation of the info-stimuli, and these are transmitted
from the social brain to individual brains. This acceleration is a pathogenic
factor that has wide-ranging effects in society. Since capitalism is wired into
the social brain, a psychotic meme of acceleration acts as pathological agent:
the organism is drawn into a spasm until collapse.
consequence,

2AC Boland
Policy debate is the modernist university
Bloland 95 (Harland G. Bloland, professor emeritus at the University of
Miami, Postmodernism and Higher Education, The Journal of Higher
Education, Volume 66 Issue 5, September 1995)
Postmodern perspectives, terms, and assumptions have penetrated the core of American culture over the past thirty
years. Postmodernism's primary significance is its power to account for and reflect vast changes in our society, cultures,
polity, and economy as we move from a production to a consumption society, shift from national to local and international
politics, commingle high and low culture, and generate new social movements. Postmodernism has captured our interest
because it involves a stunning critique of modernism, the foundation upon which our thinking and our institutions have
rested. Today, modernist values and institutions are increasingly viewed as inadequate, pernicious, and costly.

higher
education is quintessentially a modern institution , attacks on modernism are
attacks on the higher education system as it is now constituted. The
Postmodernists attack the validity and legitimacy of the most basic assumptions of modernism. Because

modern/postmodern debate began in the United States in the 1960s in the humanities, gained momentum in the 1970s in
the arts and social theory, and by the early 1980s became, as Andreas Huyssen noted, "one of the most contested
terrains in the intellectual life of Western society" [59, p. 357]. Today, having swept through the humanities and social
sciences, the modern/postmodern debate has ebbed, and in literary studies at least, scholars refer to the current period
as "post-theory" [101, p. A9]. In anthropology and other social sciences, postmodernism has had transformational effects,
but currently many scholars who have been influenced by it distance themselves from the term, asserting that it identifies
others, but not them [70, p. 563]. In literary studies, scholars continue to employ postmodern conceptualization
extensively, while they assume that those who use the words also know the theory. No such assumption can be made in
higher education studies concerning familiarity with modern/postmodern theory. Despite its significance in the past three
decades the modern/postmodern debate has had relatively little direct impact on the study of higher education. The term
"postmodern" appears with increasing frequency in the titles of presentations on postsecondary education in American
Educational Research Association presentations, but few of the discussions address directly the background of the
modern/postmodern divide that provides the vocabulary for the issues addressed.(1) The paucity of literature in higher
education on postmodernism is surprising, because the postmodern debate has been in the foreground for many
education scholars who write about the public schools, particularly in the fields of curriculum studies, school
administration, and educational theory [3, 37, 68]. Still, we rarely find postmodernism studies in the ASHE Reader series,
in the ASHE/ERIC monographs, the Journal of Higher Education, the Review of Higher Education, or Change magazine.
Postmodernism does find a place in The Chronicle of Higher Education articles, but they are not authored by higher
education professors. The meagerness of higher educationists' general engagement with the postmodern is unfortunate,

the postmodern/modern
discussion continues to have an unsettling but significant impact on the way
in which we now think about society, politics, economics, and education. Thus,
for despite the fact that the high tide of debate seems to be waning,

the terms and concepts of this debate are still with us, and the postmodern critique affects every field of inquiry that deals

Perhaps nowhere are the issues of the postmodern/modern


debate more sharply drawn, more clearly illuminated, and more difficult to
acknowledge than in higher education in the United States . For higher education is so
deeply immersed in modernist sensibilities and so dependent upon modernist
foundations that erosion of our faith in the modernist project calls into
question higher education's legitimacy, its purpose, its activities, its very
raison detre. In attacking modernism, postmodernism presents a hostile interpretation of much of what higher
with human society.

education believes it is doing and what it stands for. This study examines postmodernism and higher education by
presenting four seminal postmodernist authors' ideas that provide a framework for discussions for much of the literature
on postmodernism: Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Jean-Francois Lyotard, and Jean Baudrillard. Derrida and Foucault are
viewed as representative of poststructuralist thought from which postmodernism as a perspective is derived, and Lyotard
and Baudrillard are reflective of the view of postmodernism as a historical period. The postmodern concepts of these
authors are discussed in terms of their implications for merit, community, and autonomy, three crucial characteristics of
modernist higher education as it is situated in American society. Twelve reactions to the postmodern are introduced, each
of which purports to interpret the consequences and illuminate the uses of postmodern thought. A summary of
postmodernism's legacy for higher education concludes the discussion. Postmodernism as a Perspective The terms
"modern" and "postmodern" occupy no fixed positions; their meanings are imprecise and highly contested. Despite this
ambiguity, however, these concepts are critical reference points for discussions that try to make sense of what appear to
be disparate cultural, economic, political, and social changes taking place in architecture, art, philosophy, literary
criticism, the social sciences, in every day life, in popular culture, in industry, business, technology, and education.
Modernism Modernism requires faith that there are universals that can be discovered through reason, that science and the
scientific method are superior means for arriving at truth and reality, and that language describes and can be used as a

credible and reliable means of access to that reality. With its privileging of reason, modernism has long been considered
the basis for the emancipation of men and women from the bonds of ignorance associated with stagnant tradition, narrow
religions, and meager educations. Championing democracy, modernism promises freedom, equality, justice, the good life,
and prosperity. Equating merit with high culture, modernism provides expectations of more rigorous standards for and
greater enjoyment of the arts and architecture. Through science and scientific method, modernism promises health, the
eradication of hunger, crime, and poverty. Modernist science claims to be progressing toward true knowledge of the
universe and to be delivering ever higher standards of living with effectiveness and efficiency. Modernism promises
stability, peace, and a graspable sense of the rational unfolding of history. Modernism equates change with progress,

Perhaps the most important means


for understanding and carrying out the modernist project is education . Higher
education is deeply embedded in the ideals, institutions, and vocabulary of modernism.
Higher education trusts that merit should be rewarded through good jobs,
promotions, higher status, and prestige. Higher education defends the notion that
knowledge and expertise are important for problem solving in the society. Higher
education assumes that science, scientific methods, and the science sensibility
are better means for discovering and creating truth than tradition . Higher education
which is defined as increasing control over nature and society.

treats high culture as separate from and better than popular culture. Higher education values differentiation, recognizing
that there are different discourse communities in the academy and that there is a difference between the inside and
outside of institutions of higher education. While valuing diversity, colleges and universities treasure community and

assumes that middle-class values are good for


society and for individuals, that parents and students want middle-class
status, and that the road to upward mobility and the way to prevent
downward mobility or skidding is through education . Higher education assumes that
progress is possible and good, and that the way to move in that direction is
through education. Higher education assumes that community is good, that some
fundamental set of values, some basic accepted rules of conduct, and some
sense of limits are good. However, over time, modernism has displayed
another, quite negative face. Although modernism has been a spectacularly successful and
powerful orientation, it has also organized and constructed its own serious failures. For Max
Weber (a doubting, skeptical modernist), reason in the form of instrumental rationality has
generated the overorganized modern economic order which in turn has
imprisoned people in an "iron cage" of work incentives As Weber writes, "This order
is now bound to the technical and economic conditions of machine production
which today determine the lives of all the individuals who are born into this
mechanism . . . with irresistible force" [97, p. 181]. The highly rationalized world
Weber described as our modern fate is characterized as having lost the sense of
enchantment that tradition provides for societies [41, p. 155]. The Frankfort school of critical social
theory, with such luminaries as Theodore Adorno, Max Horkheimer [1], and Herbert Marcuse [71] offered
pessimistic interpretations of modernism, seeing in it the rise of faceless,
characterless mass societies. Even Jurgen Habermas, the current generation's premier Frankfort school
institutional autonomy. Higher education

intellectual who believes in Enlightenment values and goals and whose project is to save modernism, sees rationality as
having strayed from its proper direction, resulting in highly dysfunctional institutions in the world society [51, 52]. Many of

Instrumental
rationality in its current postmodern reading is seen as having forged the consumer society, in
which commodification, the definition of persons and activities solely in terms
of their market value, has become dominant. Science is now associated as
much with death through annihilation, environmental problems, and
uncontrollable technology as it is with progress and benign innovation. Richard
Bernstein reminds us that the terms, "reason" and "rationality" now "evoke images of
domination, oppression, repression, patriarchy, sterility, violence, totality,
totalitarianism, and even terror" [12, p. 32]. Thus, fascism, nazism, and
the Frankfort school's ideas have been incorporated into the postmodern diatribe against modernism.

communism, as well as democracy, are associated with modernism. As Stephen


White writes, "The costs of Western modernization or rationalization are being
progressively reestimated upward" [99, p. 5]. In this negative image of modernism, postmodernists
deeply implicate higher education. Poststmodernism and Poststructuralism: Derrida and Foucault Postmodernism may be
seen as a perspective [67, p. 14), a means for understanding the conditions we now live in. It may also be viewed as a
new epoch, or a new historical era. In either case, the major concepts and ideas of postmodernism provide a devastating
attack on modernism. This assault renders as questionable the major assumptions and assertions of our modern culture.
That is, it makes problematic what is taken for granted in a wide range of topics. The postmodern problematic zeroes in on

"there are no natural


hierarchies, only those we construct" [57, p. 13]. Postmodernism interrogates the modern
system, which is built on continuing, persistent efforts to totalize or unify, pointing
out that totalization hides contradictions, ambiguities, and oppositions and is a
means for generating power and control. Institutions of modernity come under critical postmodern
scrutiny, and among the primary institutions open to questioning are the college
and university. To see postmodernism as a way of understanding the limits of modernism is to view our world in
hierarchies of any kind -- and hierarchies are inherent in modern life -- with the view that

the midst of profound change and to concentrate on the disillusionment we are experiencing with some of our deepest

We seek rational solutions in


a world that increasingly distrusts reason as a legitimate approach to problem
solving. We try to move forward in our lives and through our institutions in a
milieu of declining faith in the possibility of progress. We act on dimly
apprehended foundational assumptions, for example, faith in science and the
scientific method, even as we grow increasingly suspicious of all grand
narratives. Postmodernism as a perspective (often printed "postmodern" rather than "post-modern,"
defined as an era) borrows extensively from the definitions and concepts of poststructuralism. Thus it focuses
upon the indeterminacy of language, the primacy of discourse, the
decentering and fragmentation of the concept of self, the significance of the
"other," a recognition of the tight, unbreakable power/knowledge nexus, the
attenuation of a belief in metanarratives, and the decline of dependence
upon rationalism. Poststructuralist thought developed in France in the 1970s as a reaction to the French
assumptions and cherished hopes relating to our most important institutions.

structuralist attempts to build a rigorous, objective, scientific analysis of social life through the discovery of the
underlying, deep structural linguistic and social rules that organize language and social systems [13, pp. 18, 20].
Poststructuralist concepts have been appropriated, broadened, and extended by the international movement of
postmodernism, which has applied the poststructural ideas to a much larger number of topics in its wide-ranging attacks
on modernism. What do these poststructural/postmodern concepts mean and what is their significance for society and for
higher education? Much of this orientation is related to poststructuralist views of language and of how language is used.
Two poststructuralists who have transformed our ideas about language are Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault.

Language is impossible to control. Framework is a


hierarchical structure of exclusion.
Bloland 95 (Harland G. Bloland, professor emeritus at the University of
Miami, Postmodernism and Higher Education, The Journal of Higher
Education, Volume 66 Issue 5, September 1995)
The usual assumption is
that there are thoughts and realities prior to language and that language is
the vehicle for communicating ideas and of describing reality. He asserts, instead,
that language comes before knowledge and that the meaning of words is
constantly changing. Language becomes indeterminate and difficult to
control. For Derrida, the meanings of words are permanently in flux. Word
meanings continually escape their boundaries as these meanings are
negotiated and renegotiated in social settings. The Derridian strategy is to search out and
illuminate the internal contradictions in language and in doing so show how final meaning is forever
Derrida Derrida attacks basic modernist assumptions about languages and reality.

withheld or postponed in the concepts we use. The means for carrying out this project is
deconstruction [29]. Deconstruction involves a close reading of a text,(2) examining and bringing to the surface concealed
hierarchies and hidden oppositions, inconsistencies, and contradictions in the language [29]. The method of
deconstruction includes "demystifying a text, tearing it apart to reveal its internal, arbitrary hierarchies and its
presuppositions" [86, p. 120]. The central arguments of a text are ignored as deconstruction looks to the margins and to

"the binary oppositions


governing Western philosophy and culture (subject/object,
appearance/reality, speech/writing, and so on) work to construct a far-frominnocent hierarchy of values which attempts not only to guarantee truth, but
also serves to exclude and devalue allegedly inferior terms or potions. This
binary metaphysics thus works to positively position reality over appearance,
speech over writing, men over women, or reason over nature, thus
positioning negatively the supposedly inferior term" [13, p. 21]. The purpose of
that which has been omitted, erased, or withheld. The Derrida position is that

deconstruction is not simply to unmask or illuminate hierarchies and demonstrate their arbitrariness, to delegitimate
them, but to do so without replacing them with other hierarchies and so create tensions without resolving them. Thus, as
Rosenau points out, "deconstruction attempts to undo, reverse, displace, and resituate the hierarchies in polar opposites. .
. . But the goal is to do more than overturn oppositions, for this would permit new hierarchies to be reappropriated" [86, p.
120]. Deconstruction and higher education. Derrida's powerful attack upon hierarchies of the modernist world can be used

Higher education
is composed of hierarchies. The disciplines are arranged within institutions of
higher education in a loose hierarchy of discourses(3) that give preference to
the physical sciences over the social sciences and humanities and to the arts and
with great effect in challenging higher education's hierarchies and illuminating its exclusions.

sciences over education and other marginal professions. Research is above teaching, doctoral studies over masters, and
bachelors over associate degree studies. Private education is over public education, professors over students,

To deconstruct these
discourses is to indicate first that they are social constructions and did not
emerge from some inherent, universalistic rationale or logic . It is to point out the hidden
contradictions, inconsistencies, and ambiguities within academia, to show just how much hierarchy is
based on what look like arbitrary exclusions, and to illuminate how much they
serve to put other ideas and people on the margin or exclude them entirely.
Concepts that lend credence to faith in reason, science, progress, and the
Enlightenment are privileged in the modernist world, and especially in the university and
administrators over professors, tenured over nontenured professors. The list is long.

college. Once their legitimacy is called into question, all sorts of hierarchies become suspect in the university -- science
over the humanities, high culture over popular culture, literary canons over wider definitions of literature, classical over

This erosion of faith in the legitimacy of the assumptions embedded


in the hierarchical academic order provides a series of cracks in the dominant
culture of the university, encouraging historically marginal groups, such as
persons of color, gay and lesbian groups, and women, to claim space in these
institutions, even as this erosion delegitimates the dominant modernist
culture for its assumptions of superiority. The deligitimation goes well beyond
simply allowing space for those individuals traditionally thought to be
marginal in the universities. Delegitimation encompasses harsh questioning
of universities and colleges about their reward structures, the purposes and
practices in which they are engaged , and the claims of those now in positions of power and
responsibility to their right of office. If the hierarchies of academia are falsely assembled, are
arbitrary, and illegitimate, the question becomes why are these particular professors and administrators,
popular music.

rather than others, now sitting in their superior positions benefiting from the modernist academic hierarchies? Colleges
and universities are particularly susceptible to the postmodern critique that denigrates hierarchy because

institutions of higher education see themselves as institutions with the


responsibility to create and distribute knowledge, civic values, and meaning
to new generations. They act as sorting mechanisms and as institutions that
maintain the middle class status of students (class being another modernist

hierarchical concept), while also creating the means for upward mobility of
students. Institutions of higher education are the generators of large numbers
of professionals and of the professional sensibility. Expertise, the primary
attribute of professionals, is suspect, for it places clients and lay people in an
inferior position. These concepts, when directed toward higher education,
provide a powerful delegitimating lever that interrogates the purposes,
structure, and activities of higher education as it now operates in its
modernist context. Deconstruction provides reasons and arguments supporting the accusations that excluded
groups make against institutions of higher education. Some authors are particularly good at providing the ideas and
language that speak to marginality. No one is clearer in pointing out the exclusionary character of modern language and
institutions than Derrida. A Richard Bernstein says of Derrida, "Few contemporary writers equal him in his sensitivity and

the 'history of the West' -- even in its


institutionalization of communicative practices -- has always tended to
silence differences, to exclude outsiders and exiles, those who live on the
margins. . . . This is one of the many good reasons why Derrida 'speaks' to those who have felt the pain and suffering
of being excluded by the prevailing hierarchies embedded in the text called 'the history of the West' whether they
be women, Blacks, or others bludgeoned by exclusionary tactics" [12, pp. 51, 52].
alertness to the multifarious ways in which

However, this deprivileging is dangerous and can easily backfire for marginal groups. If there are no legitimate bases for
rewarding the privileged in our society, there are also no foundational standards for rewarding marginal groups. There are
no grounded assumptions or moral grounds from which marginal groups can claim privilege. From this postmodern

Higher
education is a modern institution that has the concept "merit" deeply
embedded in its value structure. Derrida's hostility toward hierarchies is an attack on merit, for merit
creates standards that separate and hierarchicalize those who meet them
from those who do not. Deconstruction can be used to demonstrate that merit or standards are
not only capricious and without foundation, but are arbitrarily exclusive in
their consequences. They instantly create marginality. Because higher
education places high value on scholarly merit -- attempting to find a way to
keep it, but make it fair -- it is constantly structurally creating and justifying
exclusions. Derrida would not eliminate merit, although in his thought there are no foundational
reasons for claiming that one standard for merit is better than another; rather,
he would keep a continuous tension between what is viewed as merit and
what is not, thus making the merit boundaries more open and presumably less
exclusionary. Deconstruction celebrates differences, but refers not to the difference of heterogeneity, which is
intrinsic to modernism, but to the difference of disruption, tension, and the withholding of closure. The modernist
idea of community also celebrates difference, but emphasizes that which unites people,
smooths over disruption, and places limits on the depth and intensity of
differences. The creation of community generally is a process of setting
boundaries, and this means that communities always have those excluded
and those created as marginals. An extreme anticommunity perspective is developed by Iris Marion
Young, who believes that a politics of difference should be organized which would have
as its chief characteristics "inexhaustible heterogeneity' and "openness to
unassimilated otherness," a system that would completely eliminate
community with its exclusions of others [102, p. 301]. Higher education promotes
the idea of community and is interested in community on several levels.
Disciplines are conceived of as communities of scholars, and institutions are
viewed as communities of scholars, students, and administrators. The promotion of
community is a constant in higher education, and one of its assumptions is
that it fosters a concept of citizenship that is an idea of community. Higher
perspective there is no compelling reason for controlling groups to give ground to others. Merit and community.

education teaches and promotes identification with the larger differentiated


community.

Knowledge and power are inextricably linked.


Bloland 95 (Harland G. Bloland, professor emeritus at the University of
Miami, Postmodernism and Higher Education, The Journal of Higher
Education, Volume 66 Issue 5, September 1995)
Foucault Both Derrida and Foucault give discourse theory a central place in their writings. Foucault deals initially with what

"What rules permit certain


statements to be made; what rules order these statements; what rules permit
us to identify some statements as true and some false; what rules allow the
construction of a map, model, or classificatory system [78, p. 69]. Archaeology.
he terms an archaeological approach to discourse. Foucault asks,

Archaeology seeks out the rules that designate what will be true or false in a discourse and create the possibility of
organizing a discipline, a field of knowledge such as physics or psychology. When academic disciplines, especially the
human sciences, are looked at in this archaeological way, they have histories that do not resemble mainstream, modernist
notions of how history explains things. Instead of smooth continuities and totalizing explanations, one gets discontinuities
and disruptions. As Gibson Burrell points out, Foucault's "aim is to attack great systems, grand theories and vital truths,
and to give free play to difference, to local and specific knowledge, and to rupture, contingency, and discontinuity. In
Foucault, there is no unity of history, no unity of the subject, no sense of progress, no acceptance of the History of
Ideas"[15, pp. 223, 229]. Genealogy. Foucault later expanded his archaeological approach to concentrate on the

knowledge and power are


inextricably bound together. That is, there is no knowledge without a power
question arising, and no power without knowledge. This power/knowledge
connection has a confounding effect on our understanding of knowledge in
the academy. If Foucault is correct about the power/knowledge relationship, there can never be
anything approaching neutral, objective knowledge. That is, whatever
knowledge comes from research in the disciplines is always implicated in power
considerations. This is very different from the modernist assumption in higher education that each discipline can
power/knowledge relationships that exist in institutions. For Foucault,

be a separate and independent intellectual enterprise that exists above and outside of politics. Rather, Foucault and the
postmodernists view disciplines as completely involved with politics, economics, culture, and other external influences. In

this means there is little interest in the substance of a discipline or


in whether it has legitimate rules for determining meritorious from mediocre
work. The interest is only in what power relations are permitted and assumed.
The power/knowledge relationship is embedded in discourses, and discourses
are the locations where groups and individuals battle for hegemony and over
the production of meaning. Disciplines become sites for power contests for
control of subject matter through language. As Val Rust writes, "Discourse analysis and cultural
Foucault's terms,

studies are really fundamentally studies of power. They should reveal who wields power, in whose interest it is wielded,
and with what effects" [89, p. 619]. Power and politics in Foucault's thought. Foucault views power not in terms of a
commodity that someone or some group uses or has over others, but as a system or network. Power is pervasive, but it is
not in the hands of anyone or any institution, such as the state. Thus one does not ask, Who has power? but, What are the
consequences of applying power? Foucault is interested in power in terms of its results, or power at the point where it is
wielded. This places his interest at the local level. The Foucaultian analysis provides a species of politics at the margin,
ineluctably plural, and on the microlevel. "Foucault calls for a plurality of autonomous struggles throughout the

the Foucaultian
perspective is disinterested in what politically could build a larger, better
society. His micropolitical perspective favors small communities at the
margins of institutions, such as those formed through identity politics.
Modernist notions of politics are usually couched in terms of what crosscutting political activism would add to the larger community. Thus, modernist
politics uses such categories as class, or class struggle, or the state and
political party action, or the unions and union activities, categories that are
justified on the basis of their commitment to an improved macrocommunity
microlevels of society, in the prisons, asylums, hospitals, and schools"[13, p. 56]. Negatively,

and to universals. As Todd Gitlin argues, in a discussion that employs traditional right/left political orientations,
"A troubling irony: the right, traditionally the custodian of the privileges of the
few, now speaks in the general language of merit, reason, individual rights,
and virtue that transcends politics, whereas much of the left is so
preoccupied with debunking generalizations and affirming the differences
among groups -- real as they often are -- that it has ceded the very language
of universality that is its birthright" [45, pp. 16, 18, 19]. This politics at the
microlevel, or the politics of everyday life, is significant for universities and
colleges in terms of the idea of community. Institutions of higher education recognize and encourage
differences among disciplines in methods, orientations, languages, and scholarly commitments by individual professors.

even
incommensurate academic discourses are assumed to identify with a broad,
common set of values that include respect and reward for academic rigor,
intellectual creativity, academic freedom, peer review, and general respect
for the rules of scholarship. Incommensurate social and cultural discourses
are much more difficult to encompass within academia, for institutions have
trouble reconciling academic values as they are interpreted within the
institutions of higher education with the incommensurate cultural values that
are apparent between marginal groups and mainstream academia. The usual
method for trying to create community in this situation is for colleges and
universities to broaden their interpretations of merit and justice in such a way
as to include other cultural values and thus preserve community through the
traditional common values. But this modernist strategy in colleges and
universities is failing. For marginal groups, such modernist concepts as
freedom, equality, and justice provide the vocabulary for legitimating
incommensurate cultural discourses, but their meanings are so contested
that they do not provide the same sense of having common values that
academia assumes it has, and hence they do not provide the foundations for
commitment to a larger community. The larger community values of
academia and the language in which they are communicated are viewed in
the Foucaultian argument as elements of a hegemonic discourse that places
minorities and others at the margins of the institution and directly benefits
those who created and sustain the discourse of scholarship and community.
The knowledge/power nexus cuts in a different direction that also affects
higher education. As Sarup points out, for Foucault "knowledge ceases to be liberation
and becomes a mode of surveillance, regulation, discipline" [90, p.73]. This view
of knowledge as surveillance and discipline is in contradistinction to the
modernist view that knowledge is emancipating and liberating. And it flies
totally in the face of what colleges and universities are traditionally about in a
modernist world, for they are the master institutions that preach freedom,
liberation, and emancipation through knowledge.
Colleges and universities recognize that disciplinary discourses may be incommensurate. But

The attempt to exclude our argument is a power play.


Science is not great.
Bloland 95 (Harland G. Bloland, professor emeritus at the University of
Miami, Postmodernism and Higher Education, The Journal of Higher
Education, Volume 66 Issue 5, September 1995)
Postmodernism as a new era concentrates our attention on the impact of the
information age, consumer society, commodification, performativity,
multinational corporations, and similacra. Perhaps most disconcerting, this
new age is characterized by increasingly shattered cultural orders and
growing levels of disorganization in such significant institutions as the state,
society, and the economy. Lyotard Although Lyotard sees postmodernism as a condition or mood, not an
epoch [67, p. xiii], he can be viewed as a transitional figure because his analysis takes on characteristics of a historical
period. Lyotard picks up the assault upon modernism, particularly in terms of a denigration of rationalism, but
concentrates on what he calls "metanarratives:' those large universals that undergird our orientations toward the modern

Metanarratives are the


foundational stories that legitimate discourses and are criticized by
postmodernists as locking society in a prison of restrictive, totalizing systems
of thought. In Stephen K. White's description, metanarratives, "focusing on God, nature,
progress, and emancipation, are the anchors of modern life" [99, p. 5]. For Lyotard the
postmodern is defined "as incredulity toward metanarratives" [67, p. xxiv]. The erosion of belief in
metanarratives fits with the Derridian and Foucaultian notions that language
is not a path to truth or means for describing reality, but simply a series of
discourses socially created in varying contexts, none of which have superior
truth claims. The disbelief in metanarratives again foregrounds a questioning
of hierarchies, including those of higher education. The questioning of
metanarratives is important for higher education, because metanarratives are
the foundation of modern university and college life, especially as they undergird
the scientific-technological aspects of higher education, but also higher
education's assumptions about progress, knowledge, and socialization. Unlike
world, the grand stories that provide the foundation for modern life.

Derrida and Foucault, who avoid the term postmodern in describing their works, Lyotard writes specifically about
postmodernism, and his most influential book is called The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge [67]. Lyotard is
interested in the changing circumstances of contemporary science and technology in what he sees as a postmodern
society. This concern allows him to look at a number of questions about society, many of which are related to university
and college organization and circumstances. He specifically discusses the changing university and the future status of the
professor. Lyotard predicts a dim future for higher education as it is now constituted. His notion that performativity is the

higher education's sole reason for


existence is its ability to contribute directly to the performativity of the
economic system. For Lyotard, the task of universities and colleges is to "create
skills, and no longer ideals. . . . The transmission of knowledge is no longer
designed to train an elite capable of guiding the nation towards its
emancipation, but to supply the players capable of acceptably fulfilling their
roles at the pragmatic posts required by its institutions" [67, p. 48]. Teaching by
only viable criterion in a postmodern world means that

professors is still necessary, but it is reduced to instructing students in the use of the terminals [67, p.50]. If you do not
have legitimate grand narratives, you do not need professors to teach them, but you can rely upon machines to teach
students what they need to know in a performatively driven society. Lyotard is quite explicit about the death of the
professorship. In the cases of both the production and transmission of knowledge, he asserts that "the process of
delegitimation and the predominance of the performance criteria are sounding the knell of the Professor" [67, p. 53]. Like
Foucault, Lyotard is concerned with questions of power and language. Lyotard has an interest in legitimacy and how it is

He sees discourses as language games in which players' speech is


viewed as "moves" directed at legitimating their language game and proving
its superiority over other language games. As Keane describes Lyotard's perspective,
created.

"players within language games are always embedded in relations of power -power here understood as the capacity of actors wilfully to block or to effect
changes in speech activities of others within the already existing framework
of a language game which itself always prestructures the speech activities of
individuals and groups" [62, p. 86]. The discourse of science and higher education. Modernism is associated
with science and the scientific mode of thinking and doing, and science is tightly connected to higher education. For
one hundred fifty years, higher education has promoted the concept that
science and its forms, science research, scientific methods, and the progress
that results from science, are the principal guarantors of the legitimacy of
higher education. The belief in science and its assumptions and methods has
provided the basis for creating and justifying the prestige hierarchies among
and within colleges and universities and the reward structures among academics.
Much of higher education's argument for autonomy is premised on scientific values relating to creativity, objectivity, and
neutrality. The social sciences strive for legitimacy through claiming that what they do is scientifically grounded. Even

there are constant


debates concerning whether the humanist disciplines ought to be more
scientific, and if they decide that they are not, they are still consumed by
notions of discovery, of objectivity, and of cumulative knowledge, notions
that are derived from perceptions of how science proceeds in its work. Higher
education as it is currently organized, constituted, and structured is
committed to a search for truth, is dependent for its legitimacy on a belief in
the scientific method and science as a way of obtaining this goal. Such a
search has the assumption that as the search becomes more sophisticated
and knowledge information accumulates, progress will result. Problems will be
solved. Life will become better. Science has operated as an independent
sphere with its own rules, much of its own structure, and though not
unaffected by the market, government, and the institutions in which it has
been housed, it has, nevertheless, been viewed as clearly differentiated from
them. It has had a superior position in the academy, has lived by its own
standards of excellence and good work, and has been able to impose its
perspectives on large areas within the academy. In the postmodern world this position is
where science and the scientific method are not dominant, as in the humanities,

jeopardized. Lyotard, who writes extensively on science and technology in The Postmodern Condition, denigrates this view

science is just one more metanarrative and has no more


legitimacy than any other metanarratives. Second, science in the postmodern
world becomes judged by efficiency and effectiveness and turns into
technology. Postmodernism thus makes science and the scientific method
problematic, less a basis for legitimacy or for determining good work. Science
is viewed, not as a value-free, disassociated form of knowledge, above and
outside of social and political values, but as a discourse like any other
discourse, a political terrain where power struggles take place for the control
of meaning. If science is a discourse equal to any other discourse, then there is no meritocratic basis for privileging
of science on two grounds. First,

science over creationism, astrology, or any number of noxious theories about race and gender. It means there is no
rational argument for keeping any discourse from finding a place in the curricula of colleges and universities. What is left
is a series of power positions and contested viewpoints vying for a place in academe with no real set of standards by
which to judge their relative merits and no rules to follow that allow anyone to say yes or no to questions of inclusion and
exclusion in the curriculum. This is the extreme consequence of relativism that is involved in extreme readings of the
postmodern critique. Performativity. In the postmodern world described by Lyotard, performativity is viewed as the: most
powerful criterion for judging worth, taking the place of agreed upon, rational, modernist criteria for merit. Crook, Pakulski,
and Waters describe performativity as "the capacity to deliver outputs at the lowest cost, replaces truth as the yardstick

efficiency and effectiveness become the exclusive


criteria for judging knowledge and its worth in the college and university.
of knowledge" [24, p. 31]. That is,

Knowledge becomes "technically useful knowledge. The criterion of


technically useful knowledge is its efficiency and its translatability into
information (computer) knowledge. Therefore, the questions, "'Is it true?', 'Is
it just?, 'Is it morally important?' become reduced to 'Is it efficient?', 'Is it
marketable?', 'Is it sellable?', 'Is it translatable into information quantities?"
[62, p. 108].

Also Baudrillard
Bloland 95 (Harland G. Bloland, professor emeritus at the University of
Miami, Postmodernism and Higher Education, The Journal of Higher
Education, Volume 66 Issue 5, September 1995)
Baudrillard Baudrillard also identifies himself as a postmodern thinker. His significance lies in what he has to say about the

ideas about simulation, implosion of


boundaries, hyperreality, and simulacra destabilize our sense of the
boundaries within institutions of higher education and between them and the
external world [6] His political stance is similar to that of Derrida, Foucault, and Lyotard. That is, he is interested
in micropolitics, politics at the margin, with emphasis upon differences. In Baudrillard's case, it is a
micropolitics that emphasizes lifestyle and communication changes that
would free individuals from a repressive modernist society. For Baudrillard,
the postmodern society is a world in which the images or simulations, which
are an intrinsic aspect of computerization, media, and information processing
generally, replace modern production as the basis for organizing our lives [13, p.
118]. Perhaps the most significant of his concepts is that of implosion. This involves a process that
leads to boundary collapses in a wide variety of circumstances. Implosion simply
consumerism, fashion, and the media/information society. His

means that the boundary between simulation and reality is erased, that is, implodes, and the basis for determining the
teal is gone. A telling example of postmodern implosion is the collapse of the boundary between the political and the
image, in which the image of the politician in our society replaces the reality of the political. One of his most startling
concepts is "hyperreality," postmodernist state in which models become the basis far determining the real, thereby
replacing the real. According to Linda Hutcheon, Baudrillard "has argued that mass media has neutralized reality for us
and it has done so in stages: first reflecting, then masking reality, and then masking the absence of reality, and finally,
bearing no relation to reality at all. This is a simulacrum, the final destruction of meaning" [57, p. 223]. Higher education

in education that the


collapsing of boundaries may be drastically changing the organization,
purposes, and activities of higher education. As the metanarratives of
progress, rationality, and science are undermined and deprivileged, the
boundaries and hierarchies they sustain are weakened and move toward
collapse. Thus, academic disciplines based on these metanarratives find their
borders dissolving and the bases for their hierarchical structures attenuated.
Also threatened are those boundaries that define the difference between the
inside and outside of organizations, institutions, groups, and individuals. In
the postmodern era, there is danger of the collapse of the distinction
between knowledge inside the academy and outside of it, with the result that
certain kinds of knowledge that used to be the monopoly of the academy are
now shared with institutions outside of the academy. As Geyer writes, "Students no
longer get their knowledge about the world from the universities, which are
implosions in the postmodern era. If we accept Baudrillard's concept of implosion, we see

losing their 'paternal authority'. . . . TV entertainment, news and


documentary spectacles, radio talk shows, and for that matter, the religious
revival and the instruction that comes with it have developed a power
commensurate with university education. They are our competition, replacing
rapidly the remnants of civic and transcivic education that have survived the
past decade" [42, p. 511]. With the collapse of boundaries between the inside and
outside of the academy, there is pressure for the inclusion of new subjects
waiting to be taught, brought in by groups who believe they should be a part
of the curriculum without the impediment of the usual modernist criteria as a
restraint. This means that the boundaries between modern differentiating
curricula based on rationality, the discipline's standards, and the model that
science offers are breaking down. These boundaries have always been
contested and in flux. But now, curricular boundaries are contested by
religious, racial, ethnic, gender, and new cultural perspectives that seek to
establish their own potentially incommensurable criteria for inclusion in
higher education curricula. The idea of the canon is a concept from literary studies concerning what the
boundaries of a discipline should be. As the canons are contested, the boundaries of
various disciplinary discourses become more vulnerable to disintegration.
However, this collapsing, like other aspects of the postmodern changes, is
occurring slowly and sporadically. For example, in the teaching of literature, where some of the most
divisive and rancorous arguments over the canon have been occurring, the 1990 MLA biennial survey of English
departments indicates that some changes have taken place, such as the introduction of feminist perspectives and
heightened interest in the relationship of race, class, and gender to literature generation and interpretation. The authors
go on to say, "These innovations, however, have not displaced traditional classroom goals or approaches to literary study"
[39, p. 42]. Implosion of cultures and other boundary collapses. An implosion often noted in postmodern discussion is the
collapse of the distinction between high culture and popular culture. What is its significance for higher education? The
postmodernist collapse of boundaries entails a mixing together of high and low culture. Intellectuals, including academic
intellectuals, enter the world of popular culture and interpret it. As intellectuals become associated with popular culture
and identified with it, they begin to lose their hierarchical station as experts [95, p. 4]. Another example of the collapse of
the boundary between the college or university and its city environment is that campuses are now viewed as the
scenes of crimes that are simply a part of the same density and pattern of crime that any urban center generates. The

is rapidly losing its identity as an enclave. None of the racial, poverty,


health, and environmental problems of the city or the surroundings of the campus can be
avoided by institutions of higher education. The boundaries between city and campus
continue to weaken.
campus

2AC Communication
Meaning is an infinite regress within a closed sphere, a
sort of parallel universe related in various ways to the
real world but not directly connected to it; there is no
immediate contact between the world of signs and the
world of the things they refer to. All communication is
based on the production and consumption of signs, there
is no separation between reality and symbolic
representation.
Ota 8 (Ota, Emma. Localities of Mediation: Deterritorialization and
Embeddedness in the Mediated Experience of Place 2008
from www.eonsbetween.net accessed: June 23, 2016 at University of
Michigan)
Language is the central position of this investigation, the key construct by which we
attempt to describe and understand the world, but through the very act it
alludes us. Language is representation. It employs signs, signifiers to
represent phenomena, signified. As Saussure clearly lays out there is no relation
between the signifier and the signified, this is arbitrary, "The conceptual side
of value is made up solely of relations and differences with respect to the
other terms of language, and the same can be said of its material side . . . in
language there are only differences. Even more important: a difference
generally implies positive terms between which the difference is set up; but
in language there are only differences without positive terms. The idea or
phonic substance that a sign contains is of less importance than the other
signs that surround it." (Saussure, 1959: 117-18) Language is made up of differences,
it is only through these differences that we can identify a signified, as there is
no positive correlation with its denominator. This therefore promotes
diffrance in which signs can not convey fully the signified, meaning is
identified in the difference between signs, it is only in relation to others that
meaning can be conveyed. Derrida, who promotes this term, identifies
diffrance as emerging from the gaps and slippage between words and
meaning, the continual flow of language. Diffrance is that by which the movement
according to which language, or any code, any system o f referral in general is constituted "historically" as

Derrida describes the movement of signification


which because of diffrance makes the present only possible if it isrelated to
something other than itself in which absence becomes presence and
therefore denies somehow the original presence to which it refers, drawing to
the conclusion that there is nothing outside the text (1976: 163) . Derrida
identifies a unique point of instability which leads to the disintegration of
everything which is not present, that is only the signifier exists for us, the
signified is effectively lost. Therefore there is no stability in the signified, a
difference always remains between signifier and signified and results in
multiple readings. This is of course taken up by Barthes in the Death of the Author there is
a weave of differences.(1984: 12)

one place where this multiplicity is focused and that place is the reader, not,
as was hitherto said, the author. The reader is the space on which all the quotations that make
up a writing are inscribed without any of them being lost; a text's unity lies not in its origin but in its

A concrete signified never exists, it is at the destination,


within the reader that meaning is inscribed, therefore undermining the
historical authority of the author. 13 In language there is a given structure of
communication in which, as Foucault comments, there is an interplay of
signs and these signs are arranged according to the nature of the signifier,
not by the signified. This is a structure based on the difference between signs
and does not have direct relation to the actual content of communication.
The interplay of signs therefore becomes a game that invariably goes
beyond its own rules and transgresses its limits. In language a subject can
not be pinned down, Foucault recognizing as Derrida does the constant movement and
diffrance in language which is more a question of creating a space into which
the writing[communicating] subject constantly disappears. (1977: 102). The
author here too then suffers another death along with the intended signified,
we can only lose intention in language and submit to the play of signs. Ecos
Open Work optimizes the openness in a system of differences, in which Meaning is an infinite
regress within a closed sphere, a sort of parallel universe related in various
ways to the real world but not directly connected to it; there is no
immediate contact between the world of signs and the world of the things
they refer to (1989: xxii). And through this separation of the world of signs and
the world of things openness arises, we ourselves make the connections
between the two worlds. Eco applies this to the specific terms of the art work which he describes
destination(1977: 148).

as a complete and closed form in its uniqueness as a balanced organic whole, while at the same time
constituting an open product on account of its susceptibility to countless different interpretations which do
not impinge on its unadultarable specificity (1979: 49). The work is simultaneously closed and open, it has
been brought to some closure by the artist but the viewer then reopens this as: Every

reception of
art is both an interpretation and a performance of it, because in every
reception the work takes on a fresh perspective for itself . We therefore must
create the work in our reception of it, we must enact it and draw out our own
meanings, as the meaning itself is in a state of disturbance and beyond our
reach. If there is no fixed meaning then does it matter the direction of our interpretations? Is every
interpretation and misinterpretation equally valid? We can perhaps only say that each interpretation can

all we have are symbols, as Lacan observes "Symbols in


fact envelop the life of man in a network so total that they join together,
before he comes into the world, those who are going to engender him" (1956:
42) they create our very reality, even our destiny, they cannot be escaped and
they cannot be gone beyond. The mediated experience is based on a system
of symbols which attempt to articulate a signified. They form their own
language and therefore must be identified as a system of differences, they
necessarily deterritorialize, that is remove from the referent through enacting
communication. Jonathan Crary raises the separation entailed in this process through the example of
not be taken as an absolute. But

the photograph which in the 19th Century becomes a central element not only in a new commodity
economy but in the reshaping of an entire territory in which signs and images, each effectively severed
from a referent, circulate and proliferate (1990: 13). David Harvey proposes that Any

system of
representation, in fact, is a spatialization of sorts which automatically freezes
the flow of experience and in so doing distorts what it strives to represent.
(1990: 206). Castells however warns against an interpretation that distortion and breakage somehow

all communication
is based on the production and consumption of signs thus there is no
separation between reality and symbolic representation . In all
societies humankind has existed in and acted through a symbolic
environment. When critics of electronic media argue that the new symbolic
environment does not represent reality they implicity refer to an absurdly
primitive notion of uncoded real experience that never existed. (2000: 403-404)
He challenges the concept of the untouched uncoded, the code itself is
part of reality.
defines new media processes above other forms of interaction stating that

All do-gooders are either fascists or democrats.


Nordin 14 (Astrid Nordin, professor of politics and philosophy at Lancaster
University, "Radical exoticism: Baudrillard and war." The International Journal
of Baudrillard Studies 11.2)
Baudrillard advocates an interest in the other as
Other, but is unclear about how this feeds in to knowledge about that other.
What form can our interest take, if we disallow the attempt to gain knowledge? We return, then, to the
question of how we as scholars may approach Others wars, as they are
thought, operationalised and simulated in other places. What I think emerges from the
above is an understanding that the global, as we may understand it through Baudrillard, is precisely global. Syst ems
that try to assimilate anything and everything into their own programmes
exist in different forms in different places, including in Asia. To essentialize
these systems into one great mysterious unit of imagined Alterity would
ironically be a way to deny such alterity by fetishizing it and reducing it to an
Identity of Otherness. From Baudrillard's notion that every system contains
the seed of its 12 own demise stems his suspicion of centralized systems and
the pretence to holistic unity. These systems, of which the American-led war on terror is one
example and Zhao's Sinocentric Tianxia is another, always claim to do good and attempt to
assimilate everything and anything into their system, striving
towards perfection. Asia offers no respite from this logic . Clearly, They
As shown at the outset of this article,

grapple with the same problems as We do, and can offer no greener grass where the scholar can comfortably stretch out

Chinas wars can indicate to


us that the logics of Baudrillards globality does not only have to be
understood in the narrow sense of an operational system of total trade, but
that its logic is recognisable also in other systems systems that are not just
some extension of Western capitalism and attempts at democracy, but that
have their roots in other philosophical traditions. Moreover, as Baudrillard tells us, these
systems are always susceptible to challenge by singularities of culture, that
which is excluded and condemned by the system because it tries to stand
outside it the Other that does not want to be turned into self, the barbarian
that does not want to be civilized, or what Baudrillard himself calls the other
who will not be mothered, whose call to arms is fuck your mother (Baudrillard
2006, see also Nordin 2013, forthcoming 2014). Baudrillard reads a clear antagonism as
existing between the global and the singular (Baudrillard 2006, 2002 [2000], 155-6). To him,
foreignness is eternal (Baudrillard 1993 [1990]), or as Coulter writes: Just as all those cultural
singularities will never merge into one global monoculture, people remain
assured at having escaped the confines of The System. In this way, perhaps

radically other to each other (Coulter 2004). This alterity or radical otherness, then, is there whether the
theorist recognises it or not. Of course, an argument could be made that all attempts at
understanding, studying or explaining something is a violent act that reduces
its purported object to a knowable unit and denies its alterity . That argument would
have a point after all, speaking is an act of violence and there are numerous
problems with the scholarly endeavour to make visible, to
communicate and to reveal things as though they were not hypervisible already. If, however, we decide that we will choose to commit this violence of speaking (rather than,
say, choose a lifetime of silence or expressing ourselves only through the means of interpretative dance), there seems to
be no reason for remaining silent on swathes of people we have chosen to designate as radical Others because of their

there are no reasons except ones based on the


imposition of an artificial a priori Identity as Other, for the purposes of
exclusion, which again is surely intolerably patronising . Perhaps we can draw
on Baudrillard not so much to remind ourselves only of the alterity of exotic
Others elsewhere, but to remind ourselves of the Other in the Self. Perhaps
the most crucial thing is to remember, with Coulter I think, that it is not those other
(Asian, foreign) Others and Their wars that are radically other to Us and Our
wars, but people that are radically other to each other and we who are
radically other to ourselves, despite and through all our attempts to
knowledge.
geographical location. That is to say,

2AC Death
Deaths unpredictability and the strive to make it
predictable drives the logic of the Cold War and the War
on Terror as simulated death scenarios become a
necromantic means of controlling death. This leads to a
zombified existence in which we frantically and
brainlessly consume these images of death. To
understand Death as immanent within the system and
without it resists this simulation of Deathsuch is the
salvation of theory in death, or the salvation that is
death.
Bishop 09. Ryan Bishop, Professor of Global Arts and Politics, Co-Director
of the Winchester Centre for Global Futures in Art Design & Media, Director of
Research and Doctoral Research within Winchester School of Art at the
University of Southampton, Baudrillard Now: Current Perspectives in
Baudrillard Studies Edited by Ryan Bishop Polity Press 2009, pg. 64-70
Although death is pivotal to many whose work falls within the domain of critical theory, Baudrillards work,
perhaps more so than others, articulates, embodies, and enacts the role of Death within theoretical

Death, and especially the death drive in Freud


does not provide any space for the operation of dialectical
co-option or reclamation. And it is this trait, Deaths absolute imperviousness to
the dialectic, that makes it radical, intractable, usable (Symbolic Exchange and Death,
writing and its relation to the political.
according to Baudrillard,

151). Such is the position that Baudrillard himself assumes within analyses of media, simulation, the
subject, the object, politics, war, economics, culture, the event, theory itself, and thought. In relation to

Death that Baudrillard wishes to address functions in a two-fold manner: it is


what waits at the term of the system at its end and it is the symbolic
extermination that stalks the system itself (Symbolic Exchange of Death, 5). Therefore
systems, the

Death is both internal to the system and its operational logic and a radical-finality outside it. Only

Death operates both within and without the system (5). As such it carries the mark of
perfection (completion of the systems operation and project) and the defectiveness inherently lurking

Death is ambiguity and paradox made manifest, and is both the systems
realization and its impediment. Death resists modeling, the simulation. Its lack of
predictability and the difficulty in controlling it, in fact, resides at the center of the various systems,
policies, and logics that drive the Cold War. Death is the event without compare and which must be
elided at all costs. Under the patriotic yet threatening rubrics of security , safety, our
way of life, etc., the entire elaborate apparatus of the Cold War was erected and launched ,
while also continuing with intensified reverberations into the present all to ward off Death on a
scale hitherto the domain of Nature or the gods. Following a lead from the poet Octavio Paz
within it.

and sounding like an interlocutor of Paul Virilios, Baudrillard discusses Death, therefore, in terms of the
accident (Symbolic Exchange and Death, 1606). For as Paz contends, modern science and technology,
including medicine, have converted epidemics and natural catastrophes into explainable and controllable
phenomena. The rational order can explain and contain anything that threatens it, as can Integral Reality

As such, Death becomes


an accident to be contained and controlled, explained and predicted.
(for which the rational order is another metonym, as is the global).

If Death equals an accident, and accidents threaten the rational order, Baudrillard argues, then Death-asaccident also threatens political sovereignty and power,

hence the police presence at

the scenes of catastrophe (161). Death is the disruption that destabilizes


all that has been ordered and made stable. At the height of the Cold War as an historical
phenomenon, the major powers relied heavily on a rational order that both players acknowledged (at least

This led to the enforced and heavily armed


stalemate of MAD, and with it arrived the horrific spectacle of the nuclear accident, or the
computer accident. The accidental launch of the impossible exchange of missiles
would be, in rote pronouncements of certitude, the only way these rational
and sane nations would fire nuclear weapons: hence the many examples of
cultural representations of accidental nuclear war that filled popular media
between themselves) to be operational.

(invoking worlds synonymous to the one portrayed as the simulated wasteland in The Island). The import
of simulation in containing Death on a global scale can be seen in the supposed rational containment of

The simulated scenarios of both war games and


accidental launches, the modeling of events, become a kind of necromantic or
occult means of controlling unleashed forces and foretelling possible futures in
order to prevent the accident (or the event) to prevent Death itself. The thought
processes, or mental make-up, required to plan and design large-scale modeling meant to pre-empt
accidents are themselves a kind of technology of thinking, and this mental technicity
comprises an important element in the construction of Integral Reality .
Simulation requires faith not in its own verisimilitude but in its
capacity to change events, even Death. The US embodies this kind of faith and has
both the opposition and oneself.

from the Cold War to the present, which, as such, becomes a target for many satiric novelists. One
particularly influenced by Baudrillards ideas about simulation is Don DeLillo, whose novel White Noise
reads like a primer on the French theorists writings. One motif in the novel is a company called SIMUVAC,
which stands for simulated evacuation. The company stages fake evacuations for a variety of
emergencies, including nuclear events, complete with a theatrical or cinematic set of special effects:
uniforms, sound effects, smells, and blood (if required). The firm turns up several times in the novel but
makes its first, and most satirically poignant, appearance during an actual emergency. In perfect
Baudrillardian fashion, the company, which operates solely with and for simulation, uses a live emergency
to practice (or simulate) its own simulated emergencies, which is the commodity it packages and sells to
various government agencies. The protagonist of the novel asks a SIMUVAC employee, in the midst of the
actual crisis, to evaluate their rehearsal. The SIMUVAC operative replies in darkly comedic fashion: The
insertion curve isnt as smooth as we would like. Theres a probability excess. Plus which we dont have our
victims laid out where we wed want them if this was an actual simulation. In other words were forced to
take our victims where we find them. We didnt get a jump on computer traffic. Suddenly it just spilled out,
three-dimensionally, all over the landscape. You have to make allowances for the fact that everything we
see tonight is real. Theres a lot of polishing to do. But thats what this exercise is all about. (DeLillo, 1985:

the vagaries that language suffers


at the hands of bureaucrats, with nonsense phrases passing as technical
jargon, including insertion curve and probability excess, as well as the delightfully oxymoronic
actual simulation. But beyond this parody, DeLillo evokes the technicity of thought
deeply embedded in Cold War America, the same technicity that Baudrillard works through
at multiple levels, to reveal the deep investment in the power and control
afforded by simulation. The desirable element of simulation is, in fact, control,
such as with body placement, which is something actual disasters arrange
without care or consultation with the modelers. When the SIMUVAC employee claims that things are in
need of polishing because everything we see tonight is real, we witness the retreat into the
comfortable delusion afforded by simulation despite its no-nonsense claims to
hard-nosed pragmatism thats what this exercise is all about, he asserts. SIMUVAC, as a
139). The passage contains beautiful parodic examples of

company, markets readiness, the capacity to make a community alert and prepared, but can only deliver
on this promise as long as everything remains contained in the model. (And if events do not remain neatly
in the model, then the company can use the accident to better refine their simulation and techniques.)
The same is true of governments, and this is the fear of the accident and the fear the accident manifests
that Baudrillard (pace Paz) analyzes. Every sector of Integral Reality lives in fear of events because they

All that
various institutions, systems, and technologies promise to contain refuses to
be contained. Such is the revenge of the object , about which Baudrillard writes, and the
intractability of that which lies outside the systems of transparency and integration. Death stalks
the protective simulating enterprises from inside and out. Baudrillard as a stylist
of considerable skill and a rhetorician well-steeped in the rhetorical tradition similarly mobilizes his
writing itself as Death in relation to the systems operative within academic
discourse. From the late 1960s on, his writings and books have deviated rather widely from the
can spill out, three-dimensionally, all over the landscape, no longer in control of the system.

conventions of sociological or philosophical genres and academic writing by reaching into the humanistic
essay tradition (long since abandoned) and combining it with the most current of pressing issues .

What
constitutes a standard argument within the humanities and qualitative social
sciences, what passes for knowledge and knowledge formation and
construction, depends heavily on the adherence of a given work to these
conventions. Baudrillards textual Deaths provide fatal strategies intended
to stave off the actual death of thought that can result from routinized, by-thenumber, knowledge formation. The aphoristic style , borrowed most directly from Nietzsche,
works in a nonlinear fashion that nonetheless makes consistent and sustained arguments across
his books as well as within them. Baudrillard teases an idea, settles on a problematic, and pulls at its
various permutations, checking how it might work from one context to another. As a result, his writing can
be simultaneously readable and enjoyable while also being difficult and frustrating. Like his friend Virilio,
he does not develop his argument in a full or linear fashion, instead allowing for fragments, tangents, and
hyperbole to carry thought off course and place readers in a textual space that is comfortable (especially if
they have read nineteenthcentury philosophers) and discomfiting at the same time. To this end, he
resurrects outmoded philosophical discourse while at the same time adding to it a late modernist poetic
sensibility. The latter quality emerges most obviously in his deployment of terms as talismans of the
moment of writing as well as terrain themselves for inquiry: the strategic deployment of labels and phrases
intended to make us pay attention to their elasticity and formidable ability to fascinate, illuminate, and
instantiate a stability of unstable phenomena. Baudrillard is always contemporary, his thoughts being
solidly grounded in the present, and his terminology is always embedded in the current moment. He relies
on older essayistic forms to structure his thoughts and musings, which often appear as thoughts and
musings, i.e. slightly inchoate and coming into focus through the act of writing. The processual quality of
his style injects Death as that which cannot be represented adequately into the deathly regimes of
academic language meted out by rote adherence to genre-driven formulae within academic discursive

Baudrillard posits that Death is the salvation of


theory while also arguing for the salvation that is Death. With the
nuclear sword of Damocles dangling over our heads ever since the explosions
at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we have slipped into a constant state of imminent
global death that no longer seems like death, so swift and horrible will it be that it outstrips our
practices. In an important sense,

imagination. If the bomb drops, he writes in America, we shall neither have the time to die nor any
awareness of dying (42). Echoing the neo-Freudian psychoanalyst Ernst Becker, Baudrillard argues that

Death ostensibly has been removed from our horizon in the


American Era, and we, those who follow in Americas global footsteps, have moved
easily and subtly into a state of daily ease and material comfort,
buffeted and protected by a staggering array of tele-technologies,
opto-electronics, and international ballistic missiles all meant to
keep Death at bay and survival at the forefront. Lost in this heady combination
of technological, intellectual, and economic materiel mounted for sheer survival, of course, is life (43). Only
that which is alive can die, and our cocooned embrace of globalization, which in turn cocoons and
embraces us, leaves us with an existence that recalls the prescient horror films of George Romero begun

an existence like that of zombies, neither alive nor


dead, but frantically and brainlessly consuming all in sight.
Baudrillard rescues Death from its purgatorial condition of the not
alive or mere survival. And in order to do so, he takes his cue from
early in the Cold War:

the masses who are the targets of this weaponry and way of life, the
enactors of this ethos of bland avoidance and unthinking
consumption. Their wholesale passivity to the apparatus of survival from nuclear bunkers
to Star Wars emerges from a weariness of having been ceaselessly confronted
with apocalyptic visions since the first nuclear explosions in New Mexico and Japan, and they
defend themselves with a lack of imagination (America, 44). The masses silent indifference to nuclear
pathos (whether it comes from the nuclear powers or from antinuclear campaigners) is therefore a great
sign of hope, he asserts, and a political fact of great import (44).

To understand Death as

immanent within the system and without it, as immanent within bios and zoe and
without it, is to resist the simulation of Death that hovers over our heads
in the Cold War and the War on Terror. The salvation of Death, which is also the
salvation of Baudrillards writing, thought, and analyses, provides us with the means of getting this specific

to resist
the nihilism built into all the projects of utter completion and
realization that have rendered politics, the subject, the object,
thought, and theory as simulation.
brutal excess back into our collective frame of reference, not for the sake of nihilism, but

In the economic organization, death has been converted


to wage, labor, and production. By removing death from
our collective futures, the Aff has removed all of us from
the circulation of symbolic goods, and have perpetuated
the symbolic extermination of objects. We should embrace
death be ready to die and refuse to be put to the slow
death of labor.
Baudrillard 93. Jean Baudrillard, French sociologist and cultural theorist,
former professor at European Graduate School, Symbolic Exchange and
Death: Theory, Culture & Society. Sage Publications, Inc. 1993, pg. 38-43
birth and kinship, the soul and the body,
the true and the false, reality and appearance. Political economy has reduced them
to just one: production. But then the stakes were large, the violence extreme and hopes too high.
Today this is over. The system has rid production of all real stakes. A more radical truth is dawning,
however, and the system's victory allows us to glimpse this fundamental stake. It is even
retrospectively becoming possible to analyse the whole of political economy
as having nothing to do with production, as having stakes of life and death. A
symbolic stake. Every stake is symbolic. There have only ever been symbolic stakes. This dimension
is etched everywhere into the structural law of value, everywhere immanent in the code. Labour
power is instituted on death. A man must die to become labour power. He
converts this death into a wage. But the economic violence capital inflicted on
him in the equivalence of the wage and labour power is nothing next to the
symbolic violence inflicted on him by his definition as a productive force. Faking
Other societies have known multiple stakes: over

this equivalence is nothing next to the equivalence, qua signs, of wages and death. The very possibility of

The equivalence of wages and labour power


presupposes the death of the worker, while that of any commodity and any
other presupposes the symbolic extermination of objects. Death makes the
calculation of equivalence, and regulation by indifference, possible in general.
This death is not violent and physical, it is the indifferent consumption of
life and death, the mutual neutralisation of life and death in sur-vival,
or death deferred. Labour is slow death. This is generally understood in the sense of
quantitative equivalence presupposes death.

physical exhaustion. But it must be understood in another sense. Labour is not opposed, like a sort of

labour is opposed as a slow


death to a violent death. That is the symbolic reality. Labour is opposed as
deferred death to the immediate death of sacrifice. Against every pious and
death, to the 'fulfilment of life', which is the idealist view;

'revolutionary' view of the 'labour (or culture) is the opposite of life' type, we must maintain that the only

All this becomes clear in the


genealogy of the slave. First, the prisoner of war is purely and simply put to
death (one does him an honour in this way). Then he is 'spared' [pargn] and conserved
[conserv] (=servus), under the category of spoils of war and a prestige good: he becomes a slave and
passes into sumptuary domesticity. It is only later that he passes into servile
labour. However, he is no longer a 'labourer', since labour only appears in the phase of
the serf or the emancipated slave, finally relieved of the mortgage of being
put to death. Why is he freed? Precisely in order to work. Labour therefore everywhere draws its
inspiration from deferred death. It comes from deferred death. Slow or violent, immediate
or deferred, the scansion of death is decisive: it is what radically
distinguishes two types of organisation, the economic and the
sacrificial. We live irreversibly in the first of these, which has inexorably taken root in the diffrance
alternative to labour is not free time, or non-labour, it is sacrifice.

of death. The scenario has never changed. Whoever works has not been put to death, he is refused this
honour. And labour is first of all the sign of being judged worthy only of life. Does
capital exploit the workers to death? Paradoxically, the worst it inflicts on them is refusing them death. It is

by deferring their death that they are made into slaves and condemned to the
indefinite abjection of a life of labour. The substance of labour and exploitation is indifferent
in this symbolic relation. The power of the master always primarily derives from this
suspension of death. Power is therefore never, contrary to what we might imagine, the power
of putting to death, but exactly the opposite, that of allowing to live a life that the slave
lacks the power to give. The master confiscates the death of the other while retaining the
right to risk his own. The slave is refused this, and is condemned to a life without return, and therefore

By removing death, the master removes the slave


from the circulation of symbolic goods. This is the violence the master does to the
without possible expiation.

slave, condemning him to labour power. There lies the secret of power (in the dialectic of the master and
the slave, Hegel also derives the domination of the master from the deferred threat of death hanging over
the slave). Labour, production and exploitation would only be one of the possible avatars of this power
structure, which is a structure of death. This changes every revolutionary perspective on the abolition of

If power is death deferred, it will not be removed insofar as the


suspension of this death will not be removed. And if power , of which this is
always and everywhere the definition, resides in the act of giving without being
given, it is clear that the power the master has to unilaterally grant
life will only be abolished if this life can be given to him in a nondeferred death. There is no other alternative; you will never abolish this power by staying alive,
since there will have been no reversal of what has been given. Only the surrender of this
life, retaliating against a deferred death with an immediate death,
constitutes a radical response, and the only possibility of abolishing
power.

power. No revolutionary strategy can begin without the slave putting


his own death back at stake, since this is what the master puts off in the diffrance from
which he profits by securing his power. Refuse to be put to death, refuse to live in the mortal reprieve of
power, refuse the duty of this life and never be quits with living, in effect be under obligation to settle this
long-term credit through the slow death of labour, since this slow death does not alter the future of this

Violent death changes everything, slow death


changes nothing, for there is a rhythm, a scansion necessary to symbolic
exchange: something has to be given in the same movement and following the same rhythm,
otherwise there is no reciprocity and it is quite simply not given. The strategy
of the system of power is to displace the time of the exchange, substituting
continuity and mortal linearity for the immediate retaliation of death. It is
thus futile for the slave (the worker) to give little by little , in infinitesimal doses, to
the rope of labour on which he is hung to death, to give his life to the master or to capital, for this
'sacrifice' in small doses is no longer a sacrifice it doesn't touch the most
important thing, the diffrance of death, and merely distils a process whose
structure remains the same.
abject dimension, in the fatality of power.

The Affs presentation of impact scenarios is nothing more than the spectacle
of extermination that is both distant and consumed. This leads to a society
built around pacified socialization, as institutional violence is accomplished
through life for lifes sake and the denial of death. This securitization reduces
life and death to a worthless commodity for bureaucratic manipulation,
ensuring a zombified existence for us all.
Baudrillard 93. Jean Baudrillard, French sociologist and cultural theorist,
former professor at European Graduate School, Symbolic Exchange and
Death: Theory, Culture & Society. Sage Publications, Inc. 1993, pg. 173-175
This passionate, sacrificial death overtly accepts the spectacle of death, which, as with all organic
functions, we have made into a moral and therefore clandestine and shameful function. The good souls

they do not see that


odiousness of this type of execution stems from its contemplative attitude in
which the death of the other is savoured as a spectacle at a distance. This is
not sacrificial violence, which not only demands the presence of the whole
community, but is one of the forms of its self-presence [prsence ellemme]. We
rediscover something of this contagious festivity in an episode in England in 1807, when
the 40,000 people who came to attend an execution were seized by delirium
upon seeing a hundred dead bodies lying on the ground. This collective act
has nothing in common with the spectacle of extermination. By confusing the
two in the same abstract reprobation of violence and death, one merges with
the thought of the State, that is, the pacification of life. Now, if the right prefers
to use repressive blackmail, the left, for its part, is distinguished by imagining
and setting up future models of pacified socialisation. A civilisation's progress is thus
heavily insist on the shameful character of public executions, but

measured only by its respect for life as absolute value. What a difference from public, celebrated death by
torture (the Black from the Upper Volta laughing in the face of the guns that hit him, cannibalism in the

When society kills


in a totally premeditated fashion, we do it a great honour when we
accuse it of a barbaric vengeance worthy of the Dark Ages, because
vengeance is still a fatal reciprocity. It is neither 'primitive' nor 'purely the way of
Tupinamba), and even murder and vengeance, passion for death and suicide!

nature'; nothing could be more false. It has nothing to do with our calculable and statistical abstract death,
which is the by-product of an agency both moral and bureaucratic (our capital punishment and
concentration camps), and thus has everything to do with the system of political economy. This system is

We
have produced a judicial, ethnocidal and concentration camp death, to which
our society has adjusted. Today, everything and nothing has changed: under the sign of the
values of life and tolerance, the same system of extermination, only gentler, governs
everyday life, and it has no need of death to accomplish its objectives. The
same objective that is inscribed in the monopoly of institutional violence is accomplished as
easily by forced survival as it is by death : a forced 'life for life's sake' (kidney machines,
similarly abstract, but never in the way that a revenge, a murder or a sacrificial spectacle is abstract.

malformed children on life-support machines, agony prolonged at all costs, organ transplants, etc.). All
these procedures are equivalent to disposing of death and imposing life, but according to what ends?
Those of science and medicine? Surely this is just scientific paranoia, unrelated to any human objective. Is

This 'therapeutic heroism' is


characterised by soaring costs and 'decreasing benefits': they
manufacture unproductive survivors. Even if social security can still be analysed as
profit the aim? No: society swallows huge amounts of profit.

'compensation for the labour force in the interests of capital', this argument has no purchase here.

the system is facing the same contradiction here as with


the death penalty: it overspends on the prolongation of life because
this system of values is essential to the strategic equilibrium of the
whole; economically, however, this overspending unbalances the whole. What is to be done? An
Nevertheless,

economic choice becomes necessary, where we can see the outline of euthanasia as a semi-official
doctrine or practice. We choose to keep 30 per cent of the uraemics in France alive (36 per cent in the
USA!). Euthanasia is already everywhere, and the ambiguity of making a humanist demand for it (as with
the 'freedom' to abortion) is striking: it is inscribed in the middle to long term logic of the system. All this

there is a clear objective behind all


these apparent contradictions: to ensure control over the entire range of life
and death. From birth control to death control , whether we execute people or compel
tends in the direction of an increase in social control. For

their survival (the prohibition of dying is the caricature, but also the logical form of progressive tolerance),

their life and their death


are never freely theirs, but that they live or die according to a social
visa. It is even intolerable that their life and death remain open to biological chance, since this is still a
the essential thing is that the decision is withdrawn from them, that

type of freedom. Just as morality commanded: 'You shall not kill', today it commands: 'You shall not die',
not in any old way, anyhow, and only if the law and medicine permit. And if your death is conceded you, it

death proper has been abolished to make room for


death control and euthanasia: strictly speaking, it is no longer even death, but something
will still be by order. In short,

completely neutralised that comes to be inscribed in the rules and calculations of equivalence:

It must be possible to operate death as a social


service, integrate it like health and disease under the sign of the Plan and
Social Security. This is the story of 'motel-suicides' in the USA , where, for a
comfortable sum, one can purchase one's death under the most agreeable
conditions (like any other consumer good); perfect service, everything has
been foreseen, even trainers who give you back your appetite for life, after which they kindly and
rewritingplanningprogrammingsystem.

conscientiously send the gas into your room, without torment and without meeting any opposition. A
service operates these motel-suicides, quite rightly paid (eventually reimbursed?). Why did death not
become a social service when, like everything else, it is functionalised as individual and computable

In order that the system consents to such


economic sacrifices in the artificial resurrection of its living losses, it must have a
fundamental interest in withdrawing even the biological chance of death from
people. 'You die, we'll do the rest' is already just an old advertising slogan used for funeral homes.
Today, dying is already part of the rest, and the Thanatos centres charge for
consumption in social input and output?

death just as the Eros centres charge for sex. The witch hunt continues. A
transcendent, 'objective' agency requires a delegation of justice,
death and vengeance. Death and expiation must be wrested from
the circuit, monopolised at the summit and redistributed. A
bureaucracy of death and punishment is necessary, in the same way
as there must be an abstraction of economic, political and sexual
exchanges: if not, the entire structure of social control collapses.

Death is natural and death is inevitable, but ours is the culture of the
Accident. The Affs fantasies of catastrophic death is symptomatic of a
societal phantasm of sacrifice and the violent artifice of death. This
imagination of the accidental death reduces non-catastrophic deaths to
meaninglessness and dooms all of us to banality and thus, we all become
hostages in the simulacra of accidental death, willed by the rest of society to
Die.
Baudrillard 93. Jean Baudrillard, French sociologist and cultural theorist,
former professor at European Graduate School, Symbolic Exchange and
Death: Theory, Culture & Society. Sage Publications, Inc. 1993, pg. 164-166
today there are no expected and foreseen deaths from old age, a
death in the family, the only death that had full meaning for the traditional
collectivity, from Abraham to our grandfathers? It is no longer even touching, it is almost ridiculous,
and socially insignificant in any case. Why on the other hand is it that violent, accidental, and
chance death, which previous communities could not make any sense of (it was
dreaded and cursed as vehemently as we curse suicide), has so much meaning for us: it is the
only one that is generally talked about; it is fascinating and touches the imagination . Once
again, ours is the culture of the Accident, as Octavio Paz says. Death is not abjectly
Why is it that

exploited by the Media since they are happy to gamble on the fact that the only events of immediate,
unmanipulated and straightforward significance for all are those which in one way or another bring death
onto the scene. In this sense the most despicable media are also the most objective. And again, to
interpret this in terms of repressed individual pulsions or unconscious sadism is trivial and uninteresting,

Violent or catastrophic death does not satisfy


the little individual unconscious, manipulated by the vile mass-media (this is a secondary
revision, and is already morally weighted); this death moves us so profoundly only
because it works on the group itself, and because in one way or another it
transfigures and redeems in its own eyes. 'Natural' death is devoid of
meaning because the group has no longer any role to play in it. It is
since it is a matter of a collective passion.

banal because it is bound to the policed and commonplace [banalis] individual subject, to the policed and
commonplace nuclear family, and because it is no longer a collective mourning and joy. Each buries his

With the primitives, there is no 'natural' death: every death is social,


public and collective, and it is always the effect of an adversarial will that the
group must absorb (no biology). This absorption takes place in feasting and rites. Feasting is the
own dead.

exchange of wills (we don't see how feasting would reabsorb a biological event). Evil wills and expiation
rites are exchanged over the death's head. Death deceives and symbolically gains esteem;

here death

gains status, and the group is enriched by a partner. To us, the dead have just
passed away and no longer have anything to exchange. The dead are residual even
before dying. At the end of a lifetime of accumulation, the dead are subtracted
from the total in an economic operation. They do not become effigies: they serve
entirely as alibis for the living and to their obvious superiority over the dead.
This is a flat, one-dimensional death, the end of the biological
journey, settling a credit: 'giving in one's soul', like a tyre, a
container emptied of its contents. What banality! All passion then takes
refuge in violent death, which is the sole manifestation of something like the
sacrifice, that is to say, like a real transmutation through the will of the group. And
in this sense, it matters little whether death is accidental , criminal or
catastrophic: from the moment it escapes 'natural' reason, and
becomes a challenge to nature, it once again becomes the business of
the group, demanding a collective and symbolic response; in a word, it
arouses the passion for the artificial, which is at the same time sacrificial passion. Nature is uninteresting

we need only 'return' one death to 'nature ', we need only


exchange it in accordance with strict conventional rites , for its energy (both the dead
person's energy and that of death itself) to affect the group, to be reabsorbed and expended
by the group, instead of simply leaving it as a natural 'residue'. We, for our part, no
and meaningless, but

longer have an effective rite for reabsorbing death and its rupturing energies; there remains the phantasm
of sacrifice, the violent artifice of death. Hence the intense and profoundly collective satisfaction of the

the artificiality of death fascinates us.


Technical, non-natural and therefore willed (ultimately by the victim
him- or herself), death becomes interesting once again since willed
death has a meaning. This artificiality of death facilitates, on a par with the
sacrifice, its aesthetic doubling in the imagination, and the enjoyment that
follows from it. Obviously 'aesthetics' only has a value for us since we are condemned to
automobile death. In the fatal accident,

contemplation. The sacrifice is not 'aesthetic' for the primitives, but it always marks a refusal of natural
and biological succession, an intervention of an initiatory order, a controlled and socially governed
violence. These days, we can only rediscover this anti-natural violence in the chance accident or
catastrophe, which we therefore experience as socially symbolic events of the highest importance, as

Finally, the Accident is only accidental, that is to say, absurd, for


official reason; for the symbolic demand, which we have never been without,
the accident has always been something else altogether. Hostage-taking is
always a matter of the same scenario. Unanimously condemned, it inspires profound
terror and joy. It is also on the verge of becoming a political ritual of the first order at a time when
sacrifices.

politics is collapsing into indifference. The hostage has a symbolic yield a hundred times superior to that of
the automobile death, which is itself a hundred times superior to natural death. This is because we
rediscover here a time of the sacrifice, of the ritual of execution, in the immanence of the collectively
expected death. This death, totally undeserved, therefore totally artificial, is therefore perfect from the

the officiating priest or 'criminal' is expected to


die in return, according to the rules of a symbolic exchange to which
we adhere so much more profoundly than we do to the economic
order. The workplace accident is the concern of the economic order and has no symbolic yield
whatsoever. Since it is a machinic breakdown rather than a sacrifice , it is as indifferent to
sacrificial point of view, for which

the collective imagination as it is to the capitalist entrepreneur. It is the object of a mechanical refusal, of a
mechanical revolt, based on the right to life and to security,

cause of a ludic terror.

and is neither the object nor the

29 Only the worker, as is well known, plays too freely with his security, at

We are all
hostages, and that's the secret of hostage-taking, and we are all dreaming, instead
the whim of the unions and bosses who understand nothing of this challenge.

of dying stupidly working oneself to the ground, of receiving death


and of giving death. Giving and receiving constitute one symbolic act (the symbolic act par
excellence), which rids death of all the indifferent negativity it holds for us in the 'natural' order of capital.
In the same way,

our relations to objects are no longer living and mortal, but

instrumental (we no longer know how to destroy them, and we no longer expect our own death),
which is why they are really dead objects that end up killing us, in the same fashion as the workplace
accident, however, just as one object crushes another. Only the automobile accident re-establishes some
kind of sacrificial equilibrium. For death is something that is shared out, and we must know how to share it

Death has only given and


received meaning, that is to say, it is socialised through exchange. In the
out amongst objects just as much as amongst other men.

primitive order, everything is done so that death is that way. In our culture, on the contrary,

everything is done so that death is never done to anybody by


someone else, but only by 'nature', as an impersonal expiry of the
body. We experience our death as the 'real' fatality inscribed in our bodies only because we no
longer know how to inscribe it into a ritual of symbolic exchange. The
order of the 'real', of the 'objectivity' of the body as elsewhere the order of political economy, are always
the results of the rupture of this exchange. It is from this point that even our bodies came into existence as
the place in which our inexchangeable death is confined, and we end up believing in the biological essence
of the body, watched over by death which in turn is watched over by science. Biology is pregnant with
death, and the body taking shape within it is itself pregnant with death, and there are no more myths to

The myth and the ritual that used to free the body from science's
supremacy has been lost, or has not yet been found. We try to circumscribe
the others, our objects and our own body within a destiny of instrumentality
come and free it.

so as no longer to receive death from them but there is nothing we can do about this the same goes for

no longer willing to give or receive it, death encircles us


in the biological simulacrum of our own body.
death as for everything else:

Securitization against death is a form of blackmail which dispossess us of our


own death in order that we die the only death the system authorizesinside
a glass sarcophagus. The aff merely adds more bandages to the sarcophagus
and maintains its repressive social control through the continuous industrial
prolongation of life that inevitably culminates in our destruction. To recognize
the radical compatibility of life and death is to refuse such social
domestication and colonization.
Baudrillard 93. Jean Baudrillard, French sociologist and cultural theorist,
former professor at European Graduate School, Symbolic Exchange and
Death: Theory, Culture & Society Baudrillard Jean. Sage Publications, Inc.
1993, pg. 177-180
Security is another form of social control, in the form of life blackmailed with
the afterlife. It is universally present for us today, and 'security forces' range
from life assurance and social security to the car seatbelt by way of the state
security police force. 39 'Belt up' says an advertising slogan for seatbelts. Of
course, security, like ecology, is an industrial business extending its cover up
to the level of the species: a convertibility of accident, disease and pollution
into capitalist surplus profit is operative everywhere. But this is above all a
question of the worst repression, which consists in dispossessing

you of your own death, which everybody dreams of, as the darkness
beneath their instinct of conservation. It is necessary to rob
everyone of the last possibility of giving themselves their own death
as the last 'great escape' from a life laid down by the system. Again,
in this symbolic short-circuit, the gift-exchange is the challenge to
oneself and one's own life, and is carried out through death. Not
because it expresses the individual's asocial rebellion (the defection of one or
millions of individuals does not infringe the law of the system at all), but
because it carries in it a principle of sociality that is radically
antagonistic to our own social repressive principle. To bury death
beneath the contrary myth of security, it is necessary to exhaust the
gift-exchange.
Is it so that men might live that the demand for death must be exhausted?
No, but in order that they die the only death the system authorises: the living
are separated from their dead, who no longer exchange anything but the
form of their afterlife, under the sign of comprehensive insurance. Thus car
safety: mummified in his helmet, his seatbelt, all the paraphernalia of
security, wrapped up in the security myth, the driver is nothing but a corpse,
closed up in another, nonmythic, death, as neutral and objective as
technology, noiseless and expertly crafted. Riveted to his machine, glued to
the spot in it, he no longer runs the risk of dying, since he is already dead.
This is the secret of security, like a steak under cellophane: to surround you
with a sarcophagus in order to prevent you from dying.40
Our whole technical culture creates an artificial milieu of death. It is not only
armaments that remain the general archetype of material production, but the
simplest machine around us constitutes a horizon of death, a death that will
never be resolved because it has crystallised beyond reach: fixed capital of
death, where the living labour of death has frozen over, as the labour force is
frozen in fixed capital and dead labour. In other words, all material
production is merely a gigantic 'character armour' by means of which
the species means to keep death at a respectful distance. Of course,
death itself overshadows the species and seals it into the armour the species
thought to protect itself with. Here again, commensurate with an entire
civilisation, we find the image of the automobile-sarcophagus: the protective
armour is just death miniaturised and become a technical extension of your
own body. The biologisation of the body and the technicisation of the
environment go hand in hand in the same obsessional neurosis. The technical
environment is our over-production of pollutant, fragile and obsolescent
objects. For production lives, its entire logic and strategy are articulated on
fragility and obsolescence. An economy of stable products and good
objects is indispensable: the economy develops only by exuding
danger, pollution, usury, deception and haunting. The economy lives
only on the suspension of death that it maintains throughout
material production, and through renewing the available death
stocks, even if it means conjuring it up by a security build up:

blackmail and repression. Death is definitively secularised in


material production, where it is reproduced on a large scale as
capital. Even our bodies, which have become biological machinery, are
modelled on this inorganic body, and therefore become, at the same time, a
bad object, condemned to disease, accident and death. Living by the
production of death, capital has an easy time producing security: it's the
same thing. Security is the industrial prolongation of death, just as
ecology is the industrial prolongation of pollution. A few more
bandages on the sarcophagus. This is also true of the great institutions
that are the glory of our democracy: Social Security is the social prosthesis of
a dead society ('Social Security is death!' May '68), that is to say, a society
already exterminated in all its symbolic wheels, in its deep system of
reciprocities and obligations, which means that neither the concept of
security nor that of the 'social' ever had any meaning. The 'social' begins by
taking charge of death. It's the same story as regards cultures that have been
destroyed then revived and protected as folklore (cf. M. de Certeau, 'La
beautdu mort' [in La culture au pluriel, Paris: UGE, 1974]). The same goes
for life assurance, which is the domestic variant of a system which
everywhere presupposes death as an axiom. The social translation of the
death of the group each materialising for the other only as social capital
indexed on death.
Death is dissuaded at the price of a continual mortification: such is the
paradoxical logic of security. In a Christian context, ascesis played the same
role. The accumulation of suffering and penitence was able to play the same
role as character armour, as a protective sarcophagus against hell. And our
obsessional compulsion for security can be interpreted as a gigantic
collective ascesis, an anticipation of death in life itself: from protection into
protection, from defence to defence, crossing all jurisdictions, institutions and
modern material apparatuses, life is no longer anything but a doleful,
defensive book-keeping, locking every risk into its sarcophagus.
Keeping the accounts on survival, instead of the radical
compatibility of life and death. Our system lives off the production of
death and pretends to manufacture security. An about-face? Not at all, just a
simple twist in the cycle whose two ends meet. That an automobile firm
remodels itself on the basis of security (like industry on anti-pollution
measures) without altering its range, objectives or products shows that
security is only a question of exchanging terms. Security is only an internal
condition of the reproduction of the system when it reaches a certain level of
expansion, just as feedback is only an internal regulating procedure for
systems that have reached a certain point of complexity.
After having exalted production, today we must therefore make security
heroic. 'At a time when anybody at all can be killed driving any car
whatsoever, at whatever speed, the true hero is he who refuses to die'
(a Porsche hoarding: 'Let's put an end to a certain glorification of death'). But
this is difficult, since people are indifferent to security: they did not want it

when Ford and General Motors proposed it between 1955 and 1960. It had to
be imposed in every instance. Irresponsible and blind? No, this resistance
must be added to that which traditional groups throughout have opposed to
'rational' social progress: vaccination, medicine, job security, a school
education, hygiene, birth control and many other things: Always these
resistances have been broken, and today we can produce a 'natural', 'eternal'
and 'spontaneous' state based on the need for security and all the good
things that our civilisation has produced. We have successfully infected
people with the virus of conservation and security, even though they will
have to fight to the death to get it. In fact, it is more complicated, since they
are fighting for the right to security, which is of a profoundly different order.
As regards security itself, no-one gives a damn. They had to be infected
over generations for them to end up believing that they 'needed' it,
and this success is an essential aspect of 'social' domestication and
colonisation. That entire groups would have preferred to die out rather than
see their own structures annihilated by the terrorist intervention of medicine,
reason, science and centralised power this has been forgotten, swept away
under the universal moral law of the 'instinct' of conservation. However, this
resistance always reappears, even if only in the form of the workers' refusal
to apply safety standards in the factories; what do they want out of this, if not
to salvage a little bit of control over their lives, even if they put themselves at
risk, or if its price is increasing exploitation (since they produce at ever
greater speed)? These are not 'rational' proletarians. But they struggle in
their own way, and they know that economic exploitation is not as serious as
the 'accursed share', the accursed fragment that above all they must not
allow to be taken from them, the share of symbolic challenge, which is at the
same time a challenge to security and to their own lives. The boss can
exploit them to death, but he will only really dominate them if he
manages to make each identify with their own individual interests
and become the accountant and the capitalist of their own lives. He
would then genuinely be the Master, and the worker the slave. As long as
the exploited retain the choice of life and death through this small
resistance to security and the moral order, they win on their own,
symbolic, ground. The car driver's resistance to security is of the same
order and must be eliminated as immoral: thus suicide has been prohibited or
condemned everywhere because primarily it signifies a challenge that society
cannot reply to, and which therefore ensures the pre-eminence of a single
suicide over the whole social order. Always the accursed share (the fragment
that everyone takes from their own lives so as to challenge the social order;
the fragment that everyone takes from their own body so as to give it; this
may even be their own death, on condition that everyone gives it away), the
fragment which is the whole secret of symbolic exchange, because it is given,
received and returned, and cannot therefore be breached by the dominant
exchange, remaining irreducible to its law and fatal to it: its only real
adversary, the only one it must exterminate.

Death stuff
Baudrillard 93.

Jean Baudrillard, dead French philosopher, former professor emeritus


at the University de Paris X, Theory, Culture & Society in Jean Baudrillard: Symbolic Exchange
and Death, Sage Publications Ltd., pg. 126-27

amongst the masterpieces of this genuine cultural history, takes


the form of a genealogy of discrimination in which, at the start of the
nineteenth century, labour and production occupy a decisive place . At the
very core of the 'rationality' of our culture, however, is an exclusion that precedes
every other, more radical than the exclusion of madmen, children or inferior
races, an exclusion preceding all these and serving as their model: the
exclusion of the dead and of death. There is an irreversible evolution from savage societies to our
own: little by little, the dead cease to exist. They are thrown out of the group's symbolic
circulation. They are no longer beings with a full role to play, worthy partners
in exchange, and we make this obvious by exiling them further and further
away from the group of the living. In the domestic intimacy of the cemetery , the
Foucault's analysis,

first grouping remains in the heart of the village or town, becoming the first ghetto, prefiguring every future ghetto, but

thrown further and further from the centre towards the periphery , finally
having nowhere to go at all, as in the new town or the contemporary
metropolis, where there are no longer any provisions for the dead, either in
mental or in physical space. Even madmen, delinquents and misfits can find a welcome in the new towns,
that is, in the rationality of a modern society. Only the death-function cannot be programmed and localised. Strictly
speaking, we no longer know what to do with them, since, today, it is not
normal to be dead, and this is new. To be dead is an unthinkable anomaly;
nothing else is as offensive as this. Death is a delinquency, and an incurable
deviancy. The dead are no longer inflicted on any place or space-time, they can find no resting place; they are
thrown into a radical utopia. They are no longer even packed in and shut up, but
obliterated. But we know what these hidden places signify: the factory no longer exists because labour is
everywhere; the prison no longer exists because arrests and confinements
pervade social space-time; the asylum no longer exists because
psychological control and therapy have been generalised and become banal;
the school no longer exists because every strand of social progress is shot
through with discipline and pedagogical training; capital no longer exists (nor
does its Marxist critique) because the law of value has collapsed into selfmanaged survival in all its forms, etc., etc. The cemetery no longer exists
because modern cities have entirely taken over their function: they are ghost
towns, cities of death. If the great operational metropolis is the final form of an entire culture, then, quite
are

simply, ours is a culture of death. 3 Survival, or the Equivalent to Death It is correct to say that the dead, hounded and
separated from the living, condemn us to an equivalent death: for the fundamental law of symbolic obligation is at play in
any case, for better or worse.

Madness, then, is only ever the dividing line between the


mad and the normal, a line which normality shares with madness and which
is even defined by it. Every society that internalises its mad is a society
invested in its depths by madness , which alone and everywhere ends up being symbolically

Madness has for several centuries worked hard


on the society which confines it, and today the asylum walls have been removed, not because of some
miraculous tolerance, but because madness has completed its normalising labour on society: madness has
become pervasive, while at the same time it is forbidden a resting place. The
asylum has been reabsorbed into the core of the social field, because
normality has reached the point of perfection and assumed the
characteristics of the asylum, because the virus of confinement has worked
its way into every fibre of 'normal' existence . So it is with death. Death is ultimately nothing
exchanged under the legal signs of normality.

more than the social line of demarcation separating the 'dead' from the 'living': therefore, it affects both equally.

Against the senseless illusion of the living of willing the living to the exclusion
of the dead, against the illusion that reduces life to an absolute surplus-value
by subtracting death from it, the indestructible logic of symbolic exchange reestablishes the equivalence of life and death in the indifferent fatality of
survival. In survival, death is repressed; life itself, in accordance with that
well known ebbing away, would be nothing more than a survival determined
by death.

2AC Deleuze
AT Braidotti
Hoofd 10. Ingrid M. Hoofd, professor of new media and communications at
the University of Singapore, Between Baudrillard, Braidotti and Butler:
Rethinking Left-Wing Feminist Theory in Light of Neoliberal Acceleration,
International Journal of Baudrillard Studies, Volume 7, Number 2 (July, 2010)

The intensification of the logic that Baudrillard describes shows itself


foremost in urgent calls for techno-action. As I mentioned, Braidotti
represents a particularly interesting exponent of left-wing feminist technosalvation. This is because Braidotti pits her argument against aforementioned
nostalgia, as if techno-action is diametrically opposed to such nostalgia. But
Braidottis work also, especially her earlier Nomadic Subjects, contains a
critique that agrees well with Baudrillard. Her nomadism is similar to
Baudrillards idea of how a latent seduction of the subject is always present
within any sign-object system, and how the boundary between the subjects
agency and thoughts, and their object, is in any final analysis un-decidable.
And yet, Braidotti does not take her nomadism all the way to veritable
seduction. Allow me explain the importance here of this Baudrillardian
concept in his by feminists much vilified book Seduction. Baudrillard
theorizes seduction as that what the speed-elitist order tries to
destroy or efface (1990b:2). Our current order of accelerated
production will never succeed in destroying seduction , because
seduction is imminent in production. The more an order tries to
systemically strengthen its power, the more the instability of this order
becomes endemic: a reversibility that is always intrinsic to power. Power can
therefore never finalise its authority, because of (its) seduction its
master-signifiers are always threatened by the fundamental abyss
that underlies the play of signs. It is for this reason that Baudrillard holds
that every discourse is threatened with this sudden reversibility (Ibid.).
Baudrillards idea of seduction is, it should be noted, akin to Derridas
deconstruction that what always slips away from our
comprehension. Indeed, Baudrillard explains that in seduction they
[identities] find the possibility of a radical otherness (2003:22).
The ignominy of Baudrillards seduction for feminism lies in two problems
problems which are precisely part of that un-decidability between subject and
object, and between femininity as an objective property of actual women, and
femininity as simulation. Problematic to the extent of annoying is his
suggestion that seduction is feminine indeed, he claims that seduction and
femininity are confounded (1990b:2). Baudrillard apparently equates
femininity with absence and instability, and romanticizes the feminine as
more powerful than masculinity. Jane Gallops reading of Seduction lifts out
precisely those moments that (appear to) insult women (1987). One could

counter that Gallops focus on appearances nicely mirrors Baudrillards own


regarding feminism, but this misses the point that the aim of
Baudrillards challenge is precisely to render gender, sexual identity
and masculine superiority superficial or even ridiculous by doubling
it to show that gender exists only at the level of appearances, as
if woman is a mere object and man a true subject. This immediately
calls identity politics into question, and Baudrillard admits that from his
standpoint, what was at issue was no longer sexual liberation, which seemed
to me in the end quite a naive project since it was based on value and sexual
identity (2003:22). This duplicity of identity politics, as well as the undecidability of theory and object, is crucially also a main theme in Judith
Butlers critiques of representation, but Butler takes a different route with this
analysis than Baudrillard. I will return to this shortly. Nonetheless, Baudrillard
simultaneously claims that historically, women had a privileged position in
the field of seduction (2003:23, my italics), which truth would lead one to
celebrate femininity as if it was more powerful. But of course, such a claim
is then as valid and as ridiculous as phallogocentric discourse. This
confusion then is again (caused by) seduction.
Baudrillards notion of seduction is in many ways similar to Braidottis
Deleuzian nomadism, but Baudrillard strikingly ridicules Deleuzes attempt at
mobilizing becoming in Seduction. In reference to Deleuzes Logique du
Sense, he writes that:
Becoming is not a matter of more or less. ... Either the world is engaged
in a cycle of becoming, and is so engaged at all times, or it is not. At any rate,
it makes no sense to take the side of becoming ... no more than that
of chance, or desire. ... The idea that becoming can thereby [by
acceleration] be extended exponentially, turns chance into an
energizing function, and stems directly from a confusion with the
notion of desire. But this is not chance. ... Chance, once perceived as
obscene and insignificant, is to be revived in its insignificance and so become
the motto of a nomadic economy of desire (1990b:145-146, italics mine).
The (feminist) subject cannot enact becoming, and becoming does not exist
on the plane of the subjects desire or politics; rather, it is radical alterity
being outside the logic of production, liberation, explanation and
representation that may seduce the subject into becoming.
Braidottis argument that reversible agency resides in a feminist nomadic
politics then reduces becoming to being. Rita Felski remarks that it is
curious that Braidottis wish to conceptualize difference as positively other
collides with the most basic premise of post-structuralist thought, the
recognition that the sign ... exists only through its differential
relationship to other signs (1997a:5-6). This is certainly true, but while
Felski criticizes difference feminisms as detrimental to the feminist cause, I
would instead suggest that the very obsession with difference, so also Felskis
opposition between (sexual) difference-feminism and one based on
commensurabilities, is a symptom echoing the collapse of the semiotic and

the axiomatic under accelera