Friday, 15 June 2012

Sites, truths and the logics of worlds: Alain Badiou and human geography

by Ian Shaw, 2010

This paper argues for the political importance of Alain Badiou’s ‘site’ in human geography. A site is a place of radical politics capable of destroying old worlds and creating new ones. Badiou’s recently published Logics of Worlds (2009, Continuum, London) is an account of how worlds come to exist. Critical to understanding this work is Badiou’s critique of ‘democratic materialism’, an umbrella term used for Deleuzian and postmodern philosophies, defined by the phrase: ‘there are only bodies and languages’. Badiou counters this with his ‘materialist dialectic’, which emphasises the intervention truth can make in a world: ‘there are only bodies and languages, except that there are truths’. The subversion of the appearance of a world by the infinite potential of the site is cast as the emergence of a truth. Current theorisations of the site in human geography do not take into account truth as a political category. The paper is thus a defence of the site as an exceptional place of politics, where the materialist dialectic conviction: ‘except that there are truths’ is rendered visible.

Click here to download this paper in pdf.