Democracy and the Foreigner

By Bonnie Honig

What may still we do approximately foreigners? may still we attempt to lead them to extra like us or maintain them at bay to guard our democracy, our tradition, our overall healthiness? This problem underlies age-old debates approximately immigration, citizenship, and nationwide identification which are strikingly appropriate this present day. In Democracy and the Foreigner, Bonnie Honig reverses the query: What difficulties may well foreigners remedy for us? Hers isn't a traditional technique. rather than lauding the achievements of person foreigners, she probes a far higher issue--the symbolic politics of foreignness. In doing so she indicates not just how our debates over foreignness support shore up our nationwide or democratic identities, yet how anxieties endemic to liberal democracy themselves animate ambivalence towards foreignness.

Central to Honig's arguments are tales that includes ''foreign-founders,'' within which the origins or revitalization of a humans rely on a foreigner's power, advantage, perception, or legislation. From such well known video clips as The Wizard of ounces, Shane, and Strictly Ballroom to the biblical tales of Moses and Ruth to the parable of an immigrant the United States, from Rousseau to Freud, foreignness is represented not only as a hazard yet as a complement for groups periodically requiring renewal. Why? Why do humans inform tales within which their societies are depending on strangers?

One of Honig's so much brilliant conclusions is that an appreciation of the function of foreigners in (re)founding peoples works neither exclusively as a sophisticated nor a nationalist source. for instance, in the USA, nationalists see one archetypal foreign-founder--the naturalized immigrant--as reconfirming the attract of deeply held American values, while to cosmopolitans this immigrant represents the deeply transnational personality of yankee democracy. students and scholars of political concept, and all these interested by the dilemmas democracy faces in accommodating distinction, will locate this booklet wealthy with priceless and stimulating insights.

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Yale collage Press, 2000. Gilman, Sander, Jutta Bermele, Jay Geller, and Valerie D. Greenberg, eds. analyzing Freud’s examining. ny: ny college Press, 1994. Girard, Rene´. activity: The sufferer of His humans. Translated by way of Yvonne Freccero. Stanford, Calif. : Stanford college Press, 1987. . Violence and the Sacred. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins collage Press, 1977. Giraudon, Virginie. “Cosmopolitanism and nationwide precedence: Attitudes in the direction of Foreigners in France among 1789 and 1794. ” historical past of ecu principles thirteen, no.

Then, inspired by way of Derrida’s interpretation of Aristotle, I moved as an alternative to consider Ruth as undecidably perched on all 3 registers of friendship—virtue, excitement, and use. In bankruptcy 4, in spite of the fact that, I advised that “the denationalization of the nation from an affective to an instrumental set of associations could be a important step at the highway towards a extra bright and democratic politics. ” As I famous there, that obvious embody of instrumentalism calls for modification, too, for it dangers basically moving the binary of instrumental as opposed to passionate attachment (our relation to the countryside is now instrumental, and the overseas is now the true situation of passionate attachment) instead of breaking out of that binary.

The enduring undesirable immigrant is additionally problematical simply because he distracts awareness from democracy’s actual difficulties. sixty nine Schuck and Smith’s deployment of the figure of the unlawful exceeds their obvious purpose and highlights a special, extra tenacious corruption than that of “illegal extraterrestrial beings within the polity”—that of the withdrawal of such a lot americans and citizens from political lifestyles. 70 The unlawful imagined through Schuck and Smith seems to face for the a lot rehearsed corruption of yank citizenship from an lively liberal voluntarism to a nonconsenting, passive social welfare consumerism within which stable citizens—“givers”—have been changed by way of selfinterested maximizers and free-riders, “takers.

This ritual of addition is supported through the film’s geometry. Rushdie notes that the “world of Kansas . . . is formed into ‘home’ by means of the film’s use of easy simple shapes (triangles, circles, parallel lines); none of your citified Notes to bankruptcy 131 complexity the following. in the course of the Wizard of oz., domestic and safeguard are represented through such geometrical simplicity, while threat and evil are continually twisty, abnormal, misshapen. ” reflect on the hunchbacked depraved witch of the West in contrast with the perfect-postured solid witch, Glinda.

See additionally Aristotle, Politics, booklet II, 1274a23–1274b25. 14. Thomas Pangle argues that Rousseau’s references to Geneva are an example of utilizing foreignness as an agent of swap, provided that Rousseau, himself Swiss, used to be addressing French society during this textual content. during this, Pangle notes, Rousseau was once preceded by way of Plato, who, as we observed in bankruptcy One, additionally shows a few appreciation of the usefulness of foreignness as an agent of swap (“Interpretive Essay,” p. 396). 15. past Rousseau’s sign connection with earlier foreign-founders, the prospect that Rousseau’s lawgiver is a foreigner can also be supported by way of Rousseau’s insistence that the legislator, “[h]e who frames the laws,” can't be a member of the sovereign physique (Book II, bankruptcy 7).

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