Affirmation as a Relational Ethical Praxis

In this talk Braidotti addresses the issue of Affirmation, a key concept in Deleuzian philosophy, as an ethical and political praxis. Braidotti outlines a history of the concept as emerging from a philosophical line of immanence that also includes Foucault, Nietzsche and Spinoza. This tradition is placed in contrast to the line of transcendent philosophy. At the core of immanent philosophy is an essential paradox whereby thinkers are embedded in situations and contexts that they remain critical of. We are not transcendental entities standing above the conditions we critique.

For Braidotti the immanent tradition includes the construction of sustainable alternatives and horizons of hope as well as schemes of resistance to the injustices of the times. She references the feminist politics of location as a vital part of this movement, quoting Adrienne Rich in the 1980s and Donna Haraway. Feminists are said to provide a method for grounding activism as a set of embedded and embodied counter memories activated by resisting thinkers, against the grain. Importantly feminist politics of location include a relationship to time and memory, an ecology of belonging. In this scheme power is defined as a web of interrelations that we need to account for through cartographic methods. There is a also a rejection of dialectics and negative difference, where to be different is to be worth less than the normative vision of the human; white, male, heterosexual, owning women and children. Braidotti quotes Gayatri Spivak in order to expand this concept of negative difference. Instead of this Braidotti lists a number of movements from the women’s liberation movement, LGBT rights, anti-racist, decolonial critiques that mark the crisis of the normative. Difference here is not part of a dialectics or a binary opposition it is a positive set of alternatives.

Through Spinoza Braidotti accounts for the body as a relational proposition – ‘we are in this together’. Spinoza’s philosophy consequently offers a non-synthetic understanding of the relational bond that connects us. Describing a collective subject in a relational process of becoming where the subject does not pre-exist the relations that actualize it. In this way she lays out a radical relationality aiming at affirmative empowerment. Affirmation is finally a method through which negative aspects can be put to work in an ethical process of transformation.

Audio Title: 
Affirmation as a Relational Ethical Praxis
Audio Accession Number: 
HW. 004
Audio Speaker: 
Rosi Braidotti
Audio Annotation: 
A talk provided by Braidotti in substitute for a lost recording from the University of Dundee at the Society for European Philosophy
Audio Location: 
South Africa lecture at the Deleuze and Guattari conference to replace missing audio from Dundee
Audio Date: 
Friday, September 4, 2015
Audio Duration: 
Audio Type: 
Public Talk
Audio Recording type: 
Audacity from internet
Audio Keywords: 
South Africa
Society for European Philosophy