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By Louis Rougier

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What do clothes have to do with it? Put a jacket and tie on the guy and he’s dressed for the finest restaurant, and these days he can even lose the tie. Contrast this with women on a Friday evening in London or New York (indeed any evening might do). Do a little ad hoc phenomenology, using your observations and your own variations, and hence with and on yourself and your judgement, as you wander down the street on such evenings (assuming you are not part of the phenomenon yourself, as you might well be).

These pages also represent the worst moment or the moment of the fullest despair in the notebooks, and even so they contain hints of exits from the predicament of captivity. They mark the point of extreme material reduction that Levinas would later evoke in a postwar note on the cold that seems to return to the Sunday 32 afternoon work detail of late 1942 – cold is the state of ‘being exposed’, of ‘detachment from all sources of life’. With it there is no return: the danger of the cold is ‘its irreversibility, the death of the past, the nothingness of the past, the purity of the present’ (304).

Hardt and Negri do, however, evoke the idea of the ‘coloniality of power’ (coined by the Peruvian Marxist sociologist Aníbal Quijano, whom they fail to mention) to give it some historical and political substance. However, their main purpose is immediately to biopoliticize (and re-baptize) it as ‘the coloniality of biopower’, incorporating it into their conception of modernity and preparing the conceptual way for introducing R a d i c a l P h i l o s o p hy 16 0 ( M a r ch / A p r i l 2 010 ) 39 both the ‘resistance’ that is its condition (and ‘antimodernity’) and the concept that will sublate and replace it: ‘alter-modernity’.

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