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From Bataille to BadiouLignes, the Preservation of Radical French Thought, 1987-2017$
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Adrian May

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781786940438

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781786940438.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 27 June 2022

Excluded from Thought?

Excluded from Thought?

Lignes, Literary Conservatism and Identity Politics

(p.218) Chapter Seven Excluded from Thought?
From Bataille to Badiou

Adrian May

Liverpool University Press

This chapter takes a more critical stance towards the review to examine its cultural conservatism and reticence towards identity politics. The review’s literary tastes, largely shaped by the legacies of Georges Bataille and Maurice Blanchot, are shown to harbour a sense of artistic exceptionalism which often precludes representations of the everyday, and therefore also limits political solidarity with those usually defended by Lignes. Despite the racial or gendered exclusions it can produce, literary elitism or conservatism is in itself not necessarily criticised, but the hostility to mass culture inculcated by some aesthetic Marxist approaches is seen to be politically unhelpful in the present moment and other approaches to cultural politics in Lignes are sought. After Alain Badiou’s Circonstances 3 caused a row over anti-Semitism and the critique of Israel, it is suggested that the strategic essentialism of Judith Butler provides a more appropriate stance compared to Badiou’s strategic universalism. Lastly, Lignes’ virtual silence on gender and sexuality issues (a stance softening in recent issues) is contrasted to the Parti Socialiste’s progressive measures on parity, PACs and gay marriage.

Keywords:   Feminism, Gay and lesbian studies, Strategic essentialism, Post-colonial theory, Cultural conservatism, Literary elitism, The canon wars, Identity politics, Alain Badiou, Judith Butler

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