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    Rights statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in After discourse on 22/12/2020, available online: https://www.routledge.com/After-Discourse-Things-Affects-Ethics/Olsen-Burstrom-DeSilvey-Petursdottir/p/book/9780367190484

    Accepted author manuscript, 398 KB, PDF document

    Available under license: CC BY-NC: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

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Touching Tactfully: The impossible community

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter

Published
Publication date22/12/2020
Host publicationAfter discourse: things, affects, ethics
EditorsOlsen Bjørnar, Mats Burström, Caitlin DeSilvey, Þóra Pétursdóttir
Place of PublicationAbingdon, Oxon
PublisherRoutledge
Pages207-218
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9780429200014
ISBN (Print)9780367190484, 9780367190460
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Publication series

NameRoutledge Archaeologies of the Contemporary World
PublisherRoutledge

Abstract

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.

Bibliographic note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in After discourse on 22/12/2020, available online: https://www.routledge.com/After-Discourse-Things-Affects-Ethics/Olsen-Burstrom-DeSilvey-Petursdottir/p/book/9780367190484