File spoon-archives/blanchot.archive/blanchot_1999/blanchot.9903, message 6

Date: Fri, 05 Mar 1999 15:01:20 +0100

Dr Susan Marson 

<> wrote:
>I may find some contributions to the Blanchot list less interesting than 
>others, but they are rarely offensive. Unlike the last. (I am stunned at 
>finding that particular piece of text amongst the mail I receive and 
>read in my own room). Perhaps the list would like to consider the notion 
>of discursive responsability, or the limits of community?

I am vaguely curious how and in what exactly that text was offenive to you?
Please be specific. 

Perhaps you have interesting contributions to make and enlighten us 
on your sense of community and what is acceptable speech (and free speech)
online, because this is what you are talking about. 

Maybe in that sense it is useful to clarify a bit the idea of 'public
space', one of the problems with it is that 'space' within it contains the
dual notions of locality and social relations: metaphoric as well as
corporeal. The public sphere indeed has always been metaphoric and
discursive, rather than a physical space. It has its origins not in the
mythologised space of the greek agora, but in the coffeehouses, private
salons and 'table societies' of Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. That
is to say, the metaphoric space of 'the public sphere' was from the
beginning constituted in privately owned spaces. And there is about no
tradition of public ownership of the physical spaces that make possible the
metaphoric and discursive spaces of the public sphere. 

On the other hand the technologies that make online communities possible
embody social relationships in a particulary powerful way, somehow blurring
the notions of man and machine: mind, body, tool are in intimate terms, and
the limit between public and private disappears too. 
The same duality boundaries between one-to-one intimacy and one-to-many
community are not relevant. 

Now as well as technology visible notably in electronics are powerful
techniques for intensifying the commodification of everything, the state of
things leads us not only to take pleasure in the recognition of fluidity in
our own identities, but to possibilities of building new kinds of political

What you think happens in your little own room is important to us. 


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