Touching Tactfully:The impossible community

Introna, Lucas (2020) Touching Tactfully:The impossible community. In: After discourse. Routledge Archaeologies of the Contemporary World . Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon, pp. 207-218. ISBN 9780367190484

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Whenever and wherever we find ourselves, we are already a being-in-the-world, in the very midst of it, surrounded by other things. In being confronted by these others we are confronted with a question of how to be with the other. Specifically, we are confronted with the question of ethics. Ethics, in this sense, is not understood in normative terms, but instead as radical exposure—as being exposed to, and confronted with, the reality of all things. In being confronted, I become aware of my responsibility—of the need to respond. How do I respond to the more-than-human other with whom I have almost nothing in common? In this chapter, I suggest that part of the answer to this question lies in touch, or rather, in touching tactfully. In developing this argument, I draw on the work of Lingis, Nancy, and Derrida on the notion of touch—specifically, what Derrida calls the law of tact. Touching, in the manner Derrida suggests, is knowing how to touch without touching too much—indeed, where touching is already too much. I will explore this ‘law of tact’ in terms of how it might be an impossible possibility to enact an ethics of things.

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This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in After discourse on 22/12/2020, available online:
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07 Sep 2021 10:35
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27 Sep 2023 00:40