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The Persistence of the NegativeA Critique of Contemporary Continental Theory$
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Benjamin Noys

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780748638635

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748638635.001.0001

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(p.162) Conclusion
The Persistence of the Negative

Benjamin Noys

Edinburgh University Press

The conclusion tries to sketch in more detail what a politics and theory of relational negativity might consist of. It does so by turning to a politics of abstraction, which accepts the necessity of abstraction and that tries to traverse abstraction. First, the conclusion argues that we must resist the usual reified forms of negativity: human suffering and violent destruction. Rather than a discourse of perpetual destruction and permanent revolution, negativity can be thought as moments of attack and preservation of non-commodified areas of life. Use is then made of Althusser’s work on art to develop a relational negativity that engages with and traverses the effects of abstraction. Rather than the search for a concrete point of resistance the conclusion suggests the need to map and analyse relational forms of negation. Also, the problem of agency is posed to argue that contemporary theory all too often leaves agency in an alternation between the passive and the active that fails to attend to a proper mediation.

Keywords:   Negativity, Abstraction, Althusser, Resistance, Agency

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