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«A THESIS SUBMITTED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNICATION AND DESIGN AND THE INSTITUTE OF ECONOMICS AND SOCIAL SCIENCES OF BİLKENT UNIVERSITY IN PARTIAL ...»

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MIMESIS AND SOCIALITY:

A READING OF THE QUESTION OF LITERATURE

IN DELEUZE AND DERRIDA

A THESIS

SUBMITTED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF

COMMUNICATION AND DESIGN AND THE

INSTITUTE OF ECONOMICS AND SOCIAL

SCIENCES OF

BİLKENT UNIVERSITY

IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE

REQUIREMENTS

FOR THE DEGREE OF

MASTER OF ARTS

By Emre Koyuncu May, 2008 I certify that I have read this thesis and that in my opinion it is fully adequate, in scope and in quality, as a thesis for the degree of Master of Arts.

Assist. Prof. Mahmut Mutman (Principal Advisor) I certify that I have read this thesis and that in my opinion it is fully adequate, in scope and in quality, as a thesis for the degree of Master of Arts.

Zafer Aracagök (Co- Advisor) I certify that I have read this thesis and that in my opinion it is fully adequate, in scope and in quality, as a thesis for the degree of Master of Arts.

Dr. Mehmet Şiray I certify that I have read this thesis and that in my opinion it is fully adequate, in scope and in quality, as a thesis for the degree of Master of Arts.

Dr. Aren Emre Kurtgözü Approved by the Institute of Fine Arts Prof. Dr. Bülent Özgüç, Director of the Institute of Fine Arts ii I hereby declare that all information in this document has been obtained and presented in accordance with academic rules and ethical conduct, I also declare that, as required by these rules and conduct, I have fully cited and referenced all material and results that are not original to this work.

Emre Koyuncu iii

ABSTRACT

MIMESIS AND SOCIALITY:

A READING OF THE QUESTION OF LITERATURE

IN DELEUZE AND DERRIDA

Emre Koyuncu M.A. in Media and Visual Studies Supervisors: Assist. Prof. Dr. Mahmut Mutman, Zafer Aracagök May, 2008.

The aim of this study is to discuss the significance of Platonic mimesis in the new forms of relationality and sociality proposed in the philosophies of Gilles Deleuze and Jacques Derrida. For a better understanding of this relationship, this thesis makes a detour through the question of literature in the thoughts of these thinkers. In this view, it is argued that the sociality proposed by Deleuze and Derrida challenge the traditional premises of society through the sorcery of becoming and wizardry of pharmakos respectively, criticizing the idealization of a model for citizenship and the originarization of sociality by way of a linear passage between the natural and the political.

KEY WORDS: Mimesis, Simulacra, Platonism, Literature, Law, Becoming, Sociality, Contract

–  –  –

Bu çalışmanın amacı, Gilles Deleuze ve Jacques Derrida’nın felsefelerinde öne sürdükleri yeni ilişkisellik ve toplumsallık biçimleri için Platoncu mimesis düşüncesinin eleştirisinin arz ettiği önemi göstermektir. Tartışma, bu ilişkiyi anlamak için, bu düşünürlerin edebiyat sorunsalına yaklaşımları üzerinden yürütülmektedir. Böylece, Deleuze ve Derrida’nın, öne sürdükleri toplumsallığın oluş ve “pharmakos” vurguları sayesinde, ideal bir vatandaşlık modeli oluşturulmasına ve toplumsallığın kökeninin doğal olandan politik olana doğrusal bir geçişte konumlandırılmasına getirdikleri eleştirilerle, toplumsallığa ilişkin geleneksel varsayımlardan ayrıldıkları noktalar tartışılmaktadır.

ANAHTAR KELİMELER: Mimesis, Simulakra, Platonizm, Edebiyat, Yasa, Oluş, Toplumsallık, Sözleşme

–  –  –

I wish to express my deepest gratitude to my advisors Mahmut Mutman and Zafer Aracagök for their advice, criticism and encouragements which were not limited to the undertaking of this research. I would also like to thank Mehmet Şiray and Burcu Yalım for their generous guidance and suggestions to improve my drafts.

I shall thank TUBITAK as well, who has supported me financially throughout my graduate studentship.

My special thanks to Tuğba Ayas and all other friends for their insightful discussions and camaraderie.

–  –  –

SIGNATURE PAGE…………………………………………………………………………………….ii ABSRACT…………………………………………………………….……………………………………iv ÖZET………….……………………………………………………………………………………………..v ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS…………………………………………………………………..…….…vi TABLE OF CONTENTS……………………………………………………………………….…….vii

1. INTRODUCTION…………………………………………………………………………..…1





2. RECONSIDERATION OF PLATONIC MIMESIS…………………….………….11

2.1. Deleuze’s Overturning of Platonism….……………………….……………13

2.2. Derrida’s Account of Platonism.…………………………………………….27

3. LITERATURE FOR DELEUZE AND DERRIDA…………………………………42

3.1. Deleuze and Literature…………………………………………………….……45

3.2. Derrida and Literature……………………………………………………….…60

4. MIMESIS AND SOCIALITY……………………………………………………………..76

5. CONCLUSION…………………..……………………………………………………….….97 REFERENCES…………………………………………………………………….…………………..101 FURTHER READINGS…………………………………………………………………………….104 NOTES…………………………………………………………………. ……………………………….106

–  –  –

This thesis will evolve around three axes or series that will resonate with each other: mimesis, literature and sociality. We will study how Deleuze and Derrida discuss literature and relate it to the question of sociality. This relationship between literature and sociality in Deleuze and Derrida’s thoughts will be presented with a detour to their criticism of Platonic mimesis.1 The political stakes of their reconsideration of Platonic philosophy will be discussed in the context of literature, as in both Deleuze and Derrida, the question of literature immediately links with the question of the political. Hence, the focus of this thesis will be the interrelations between these three concepts, rather than how each of them has evolved in their respective course of study. We will not be examining how theories of mimesis, literary criticism or political philosophy have been studied historically, but by strolling along the borders of these concepts, we will try to discover the history of overlooking such interrelatedness.

For this aim, we will delve into the philosophies of Gilles Deleuze and Jacques Derrida, in order to point to a novel understanding of sociality in their individual ways of intertwining these series. By way of this attempt, we will also be able to reformulate or displace particular questions guiding theories of mimesis, literary criticism and political philosophy which, in fact, will help us making the historical connection by this very rupture.

–  –  –

suggestion to reduce the question of mimesis to literature, or the question of literature to sociality; to the contrary, the suggestion of this thesis is that it is rather more promising to study these terms before their conceptual closure so that we will be able to figure out how the questioning of each of these concepts immediately permeates with other questions, by reinvesting them with certain assumptions, be it ontological or epistemological. Plato, who is indeed renowned for his critical and prohibitive stance towards mimesis, does not take the question of mimesis as a simple concept either, but rather always interrogates it on the borders of art, politics and philosophy. This is why, in Platonic works, we

encounter many words in many contexts produced from the root mimos:

mimesthai, mimesis, mimema, mimetes, and mimetikos. (Gebauer&Wulf, p.27) The aspiration of Platonic philosophy is indeed to distinguish and control this very multiplicity of mimetic formations to avoid their unwanted effects. Hence, the relationship between a model and a copy cannot be taken simply as an artistic relationship, but rather is a question of law that subjects the copy to the governance of the model. In this way, the question of mimesis is linked with jurisprudence and politics as well.

The argument of this thesis is that the question of sociality is closely related to the law and politics of resemblance. Any theory of sociality inevitably requires a questioning of mimesis as to account for how sameness and differences relate to each other in a social formation. This claim is best traceable in contractarian arguments of sociality where the State of Nature and the political society are separated by an event, namely the social contract. In the following chapters,

–  –  –

basis of a society of similarity which is constituted by an ideal model of citizen.

This model is assumed to be the law of society to which every individual in the society must conform in order to be eligible to take part in it and hence, they are ranked according to their degree of participation. Secondly, we will suggest how this Platonic interpretation of law is reversed in Kantian philosophy since for Kant it is the good that follows the law and not the reverse. Although this radical reversal of Kant is supposed to serve the self-sufficiency of law for its source of authority, we will show how it will be haunted by a dependency on the fictive nature of authority. We will also focus on the problem of the passage from the natural to the political, be it a hypothetical or an actual passage that takes place in the past, and we will argue that the concept of democracy-to-come in Derrida and people-to-come in Deleuze puts an emphasis on futurity which abstains from such a linear passage.

Given the aims of this thesis, it might still be unclear why I follow the thoughts of both Deleuze and Derrida together to argue for the conclusion of this thesis.

First of all, the primary aim of this thesis is not to locate the differences and similarities between the thoughts of these thinkers who have written occasionally on similar topics. Instead, what we will do here, is to suggest that these thoughts or styles may work together in this particular context, namely, the social implications of their understanding of literature. What enables this cofunctioning is their emphasis on the future in their political reservations. For Derrida, since literature as an institution is the hyperbolique condition of democracy in that it is granted with an authority to say everything, it may be the

–  –  –

misappropriation of this authority in the creation of a non-response. This particular use points to a future democracy, different from the present democracies of responding citizens whose responses are governed by truth. For Deleuze, in a parallel argument, minor literature is a mode of writing in which individual concerns immediately connect with political ones as statements in literature are always collective assemblages of enunciations. This collectivity, nevertheless, is not the representation of an existing people, but instead fabulates or invokes a new people-to-come. For Deleuze, writing is a process of becoming, and becoming always involves a “peopling”, a creation of new lives, new modes of relationalities. As a process without an end or a reference point, the coming of the people is always a becoming that will never be exhausted in the temporality of the past-present-future. In both Deleuze and Derrida, we might recognize this radical futurity of sociality and hence, we will emphasize that this understanding of futurity is what criticizes the prevailing understanding of sociality where it is considered as an effect of an event that takes place in a hypothetical or an actual past. A futurity that is not reduced to the accomplishment of certain present agenda, in other words, a futurity, not of future anterior, but rather the radical futurity of à venir or to-come. In order to argue for the significance of this futurity, I will be employing the works of Deleuze and Derrida complementarily. In my opinion, the complementarity of Deleuze and Derrida might be elaborated via the complementarity of economy and finance.

–  –  –

consists of agricultural activities (deterritorialization, rhizomatic unrooting), animal husbandry (becoming-animal) and industrial affairs (machines, production and function). In this economical framework, by studying the allocation of resources and exchange within a philosophical system, Deleuze overturns the system of expenditure back upon itself which might be considered as a sort of bankruptcy. It is this by this misappropriation of resources within the economic activity that Deleuze points to the costs of an economic system as a whole, thereby pointing to the irreducible financial element in his thought. In this way, Deleuze’s overturning of Platonism might be considered as an economical activity in which Deleuze uses the resources of Platonic economy against itself to emancipate the simulacra from the law of resemblance.



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