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Postcolonial AgencyCritique and Constructivism$
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Simone Bignall

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780748639434

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748639434.001.0001

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(p.131) 4 Power/Desire
Postcolonial Agency

Simone Bignall

Edinburgh University Press

Taken together, desire and power define the conditions and impetus for action; Chapter 4 considers these as the constructive forces in the actualisation of forms. As in theories of generative ontological negativity, desire is here considered as the primary causal force of production. However, unlike these philosophical traditions, desire is not here conceptualised in relation to lack. Rather, desire isthe constructive force bringing association, relation or assemblage;its aim is not the negation of difference, but the production of connections between bodies, resulting in the creation of new complex forms of being through the novel combination of constituting parts. Similarly, power is conceptualised in terms of constitutive force relations between bodies: the type of force shapes the nature of the relationship and the kind of complex body that is formed. This chapter argues that the Deleuzian priority of desiring-associations, rather than the Foucaultian emphasis on the primacy of power-relations, enables improved understanding about the ethical requirements of postcolonial existence.

Keywords:   Nietzsche, Foucault, Deleuze, constructivism, desiring-production, power-relations, ethics, Spinozan joy, postcolonial mutuality

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