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Ethics and Politics in Contemporary Theory Between Critical Theory and Post-Marxism by Mark Devenney

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4    Politics, idealisation and performativity

Introduction

Critical theorists have often chided those influenced by deconstruction for undermining the political project of modernity. Habermas, in an echo of Adorno's critique of Heidegger, writes of Derrida:

Derrida develops the history of Being – which is encoded in writing – in another variation from Heidegger. He, too, degrades politics and contemporary history to the status of the ontic and the foreground, so as to romp all the more freely and with a greater wealth of associations, in the sphere of the ontological and archewriting.

(Habermas 1987a: 181–2)

Yet Habermas's reading is selective and inaccurate. This attitude towards Derrida's work mirrors a general silence among critical theorists ...

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