Monday, December 24, 2012
11/8: one love
"If only we were closer we would be as one"(138).
Ahmed's turn to multiculturalism through the nationalist rhetoric of love and integration as wound up in the use of the other as an assimilated difference to maintain an ideal of a tolerance and moral government. This evokes the deferment of 'a democracy to come' through an openness to otherness (Derrida) that is used to situate the current lack as not as a failure to recognize the other's face(Levinas) but blame the newcomer's inability to love properly, enmesh properly, disappear properly. To be here you must give your difference back. Give it up.
The transformation of pluralism into a consensus is telling. Others must agree to value difference: difference is now what we would have in common. In other words, difference becomes an elevated or sublimated form of likeness: you must like us - and be like us - by valuing or even loving differences (though clearly this is only about the differences that can be taken on and in by the nation, those that will not breach the ideal image of the nation). The narrative hence demands that migrant communities and working-class white communities must give up their love for each other - a love that gets coded as love-of-themselves, that is, as a perverse form of self-love or narcissism -and love those who are different, if they are to fulfil the image of the nation promised by the ideal and hence if they are to be loved by the nation. (138)
The nation is not only a physical container but must contain the other's subjectivity. The condition for hospitality is that you perform the free labor of love, of reassuring the imagined ideal nation = democracy. This shared love of ruler and ruled reminds me of the supplement needed for political grounding (Ranciere). This is a measure of self-preservation. So how would Ahmed suggest the nation recognizes its egotism? Is there any other way to cohere? If love is forced what comes of the resentment?