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.
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