This book on Relationality addresses our growing "crisis of connection" by foregrounding the multi-faceted ways in which we are interconnected with each other and the world in which we live.
When Niobe Way and her collaborators first proclaimed such a "crisis" in their 2018 book The Crisis of Connection: Roots, Consequences, and Solutions, they could not have foreseen the extremes of isolation and disconnection that Covid-19 would unleash just a couple of years later. Importantly, what such experiences of impaired and compromised relationality impress upon us—now more powerfully than ever—is just how fundamentally we are intertwined with each other and the world we inhabit. The ten scholarly chapters assembled here, combined with ten specially commissioned poems, emphasise the significance of these relational entanglements. They draw on a range of thinkers (with Emmanuel Levinas playing a particularly prominent role) to bring relationality into conversation with an array of contemporary paradigms and areas of political concern: the Anthropocene, post-humanism, neoliberalism, disability studies, and postcolonialism (to name but a few). Tracing the various challenges and opportunities associated with our relational existence, they collectively consider the role relationality plays, or might play, in our increasingly less-than-relational lives.
The chapters and poems in this book were originally published as a special issue of Angelaki.
Table of Contents
Introduction: "The Most Perfectly Autonomous Man": Relational Subjectivity and the Crisis of Connection
How to Read a Photograph (poetry)
1. Relationality and the Photographic Image: Of Sovereignty, Singularity, or Loneliness?
How to Become Unhinged (poetry)
2. The Relationality of Disappearance
A Treatise on the Ethical Dimensions of Acknowledging the Repellant Notions of Selfhood (poetry)
3. Reading the Dead with W.G. Sebald: Relational Challenges to Neoliberalism
Humanisme de l’Autre (poetry)
4. All our Relations: Levinas, the Posthuman, and the More-than-Human
Can I Still Say I? (poetry)
5. The Other Does Not Respond: Levinas’s Answer to Blanchot
The Asymmetry of Embedded Needs (poetry)
6. Between an Ethic of Care and an Ethic of Autonomy: Negotiating Relational Autonomy, Disability, and Dependency
In Which Everything is Made Up of Relationality (poetry)
7. Transmission, Relationality, Ethnography, Stephen Frosh & Ruth Sheldon
In Joining (Words) (poetry)
8. Settler-Colonialism’s "Miscarriage": Thinking the Failure of Relationality through Irigaray’s "Interval"
Because We (poetry)
9. Sites of Relation and "Tout-Monde": Reflections on Glissant’s Late Work
John E. Drabinski
Grounding for It (poetry)
10. A Cut in Relationality: Art at the End of the World
Simone Drichel teaches in the Department of English & Linguistics at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. A cross-disciplinary researcher, her current work traverses the fields of continental philosophy and relational psychoanalysis to address the widespread erosion of ethical responsiveness in the contemporary global political situation.