The Name of Algeria: French Philosophy and the Subject of Decolonization

Du moment que nous avons admis cette grande violence qu’est la conquête, je crois que nous né devons pas reculer devant les violences de détail qui sont absolument nécessaires pour la consolider.
– Alexis de Tocqueville, Letter to Lamoricière, April 5, 1846 1

On crie: extermination! Mais c’est justement quand on l’extermine qu’il se révolte, ce peuple.
- Guy de Maupassant, Le Gaulois, August 20, 1881 2

How might the name of Algeria inflect our understanding of contemporary French philosophy, especially in its thinking and naming of violence? “The Name of Algeria” is the title of Jean-François Lyotard’s oblique and wistful preface to La guerre des Algériens, the 1989 collection of his political and sociological chronicles of the war of independence, published in Socialisme ou barbarie (SouB) between 1957 and 1963. In that brief text, where he also draws a proud if remote balance-sheet of SouB’s collective militant activity, Lyotard recalls, rather lyrically, his intellectual awakening as a lycée professor in Constantine between 1950 and 1952. The expression the “name of Algeria” surfaces in Lyotard’s reflection on the simultaneity between his unsparing critique of the FLN’s national-populist bureaucratism and his participation in the network of porteurs des bourses for the Algerian revolutionary organization. He writes: “I did not feel the need to adjust my diagnostic to my practice, nor the desire to renounce the latter because of the former. It is right, we told ourselves, that the Algerians impose on the world that their name be proclaimed; it is indispensable to criticize the class nature of the independent society that their fight prepares.” 3 Inserting his retrospect in his mature philosophical discourse, he writes of this as an intimate differend that had to remain unresolved, lest one fall into the delusion of synchronicity – the “false and dangerous idea that everywhere history marches in lockstep, in the Aurès and Billancourt” – or the “stupid” notion that the peasants of the Third World will revive the moribund revolution in the heartlands of capital. The gesture of Lyotard’s text is one of valediction and fidelity: Socialisme ou barbarie was right to identify an intractable (intraitable) element at the heart of any system, but its desire to bind this intractable to a systemic socio-political alternative, that of workers’ power, must be abandoned (we may note here Lyotard’s oscillation between the acknowledgment of the termination of the alternative, which he links here to his analysis of the depoliticization of French society in 1960, a harbinger of postmodernism, and the imperative to leave the Marxist and other narratives behind).

The question of the name of Algeria also surfaces in Sidi Mohammed Barkat’s striking reflection on the forms of symbolic and physical violence inscribed in the inclusive exclusion of the “indigenous” within the juridical regimes of colonized and annexed Algeria, all the way from the Senatus Consulte of 1865 to the illusory “integration” of Algerians in 1958 and their massacre in the streets of Paris on October 17, 1961 4 – forms of violence that had the racialized “body of exception” of Algerians as their object. Writing of the colonial massacre of tens of thousands of Algerians following the demonstrations of May 8, 1945 – when the celebration of France’s liberation from the Nazi yoke coincided with the oppression of Algerian national aspirations – Barkat notes that what was at stake was not simply the emergence and affirmation of an Algerian beside the French one. It was a matter of nomination:

Naming, giving a name to those who do not have one. Existing through the name. The entire Algerian affair in this crucial moment of the Liberation lies there. Two social subsets face one another. There are those who think they have a name, recognized as such, and who do not in any way feel the need to find another. Those are enclosed in that name and do not open themselves to the colonized, notwithstanding the urgency of the context, which pushes in this direction. The others are determined to endow themselves with a name because none is recognized as theirs. To be indigenous means not having a political name. The word indigenous is privative, it marks the absence of the name, the exclusion from nomination. The new State that is demanded is the guarantee of a name. And the name is the symbolic expression of equality. It is what makes life possible. 5

The names chosen to speak of violence are by now a recurrent theme in critical historiography and reflection on the period of 1954–62, thoroughly inventoried in the collective volume Guerre d’Algérie, edited by Catherine Brun. There we are reminded of the fraught history of the official nominations of what would only later settle into “The Algerian War” on the one hand and the “Revolution” or the “Algerian Independence War” on the other: thus les événements, la pacification, le maintien de l’ordre, opérations de police followed themselves, 6 while colonized Algerians were, outside of clandestine FLN publications, forbidden from naming their struggle – a struggle whose identification as a Revolution, or thaoura (closer to “uprising,” and less redolent with the sense of a social transformation), is the the object of critical reflection in Brun’s volume. 7 In terms of the targets of colonial violence (which is of course waged against its own state subjects, if not necessarily its own citizens), the anti-political names also fluctuate, which is to say names that revoke the possibility of politics and subjectivity: indigènes, musulmans, Français musulmans d’Algérie (FMA, even when they are long settled in France), race Arabo-musulmane, etc. 8

In recent years, Anglophone scholars have tried to reflect on the impact of the experience of colonialism and decolonization on those very French theorists and theories who, via detours that take in both the American campus and Indian critical historiography and theory, are deemed to be at the sources of the post-colonial. We have thus been presented both with readings that reframe “French theory” as post-colonial avant la lettre, with the Algerian origins and engagements of figures like Derrida, Bourdieu, Balibar, or even Althusser as a pre-text, or with denunciations of a “politics of Othering” that would find its sources in the misconceived response by radical intellectuals to the Algerian War and would issue into the legacies of identity politics and post-colonial state jargons of authenticity. 9 I would suggest that, in order to grasp the specificity of the Algerian War’s effects on philosophical conceptualization in France, periodizing and classifying labels like post-structuralism are of little use, as are dubious intellectual causalities that would see Sartrean phenomenology retroactively indicted by the authoritarian policies of Boumedienne, for example. I want to add two more retroactive reflections to Lyotard’s “The Name of Algeria” that might allow us to shift the terms of the debate somewhat, and to see in what sense a rethinking of politics and of its relations to violence transited through (but also in some sense away from) the question of the Algerian War, Jacques Rancière’s “The Cause of the Other” (1996) and Étienne Balibar “De Charonne à Vitry” (1981).

Rancière’s text begins with a demarcation from those responses to the war in Algeria that directly linked violence to subjectivation, and which framed the position of metropolitan solidarity, so to speak, as one of affirming the other’s right to violent liberation. Given the extent to which the Fanon-Sartre axis has become such a locus classicus for debates on philosophy and violence (frequently saturated with misunderstanding), I think it’s more interesting here, before we consider the way Rancière explicitly links a figure of subjectivation to the Algerian War, to pause for a moment on his other critical target, aside from Sartre’s notorious preface, namely a 1961 article published in Esprit by Pierre Bourdieu (and reprinted as the postface to the English edition of Sociologie de l’Algérie, The Algerians), “Revolution in the Revolution.” Considering Rancière’s sustained animus against the sociologist of habitus and reproduction, this is perhaps not surprising, though the tenor of Bourdieu’s article might be. 10

In the 1961 edition of Sociologie de l’Algérie, Pierre Bourdieu had begun his study by citing a Caliph Omar who once declared that “(North) Africa is fragmentation (fractionnement),” 11 going on to pose the problem of the (social, cultural, linguistic) unity and difference of Algeria at a time when its antagonistic indivisibility was indeed an axiom of the FLN, speaking of a country ideally predisposed to an explosion into particularisms, while also recognizing the paradoxically unifying effects of colonial destructuration, deculturation, and uprooting. It is striking to note in Bourdieu’s writings on Algeria of the late 1950s and early 1960s the particular way in which his sociological analysis of the devastations of colonial capitalism is articulated with his prescriptions regarding the possibility of a rational revolutionary policy, which needs to be grounded in the habitus and horizons of expectation, the temporal and instrumental calculus of a particular type of social subject. In barely dissimulated polemic against Fanon and the FLN, Sartre and assorted fellow travellers of the Algerian revolution – and the kind of analysis that Rancière would effectively interrogate in his “anti-sociological” writings – Bourdieu presents the Algerian peasantry and sub-proletariat as unprepared for revolutionary action and prey to populist messianism, while it is really the small, privileged, qualified, modern, industrial proletariat whose form and stability of life and employment are “the condition for the formation of a coherent system of aspirations and demands, and, correlatively, a participation in the revolutionary project.” 12

In Les deux Algéries de Pierre Bourdieu, Enrique Martín-Criado has noted the paradoxes of Bourdieu’s writings on Algeria and on Kabylie in particular, which combine a sociological attention to the devastations of colonial capitalism with an anthropological effort to grasp the reproduction of “traditional” structures, which in turn become a kind of “inverted France.” 13 “Revolution in the Revolution” is an extremely uncharacteristic outlier of the first option, since it takes the destructuring effect of revolutionary war as an opportunity for the instauration of a new politics and a new society. War in this figuration has accelerated the “cultural apocalypse” (to use a relevant term from the anthropologist Ernesto De Martino) which colonization and the colonial system had wreaked on the colonized population, breaking the bonds of the past. In a text not devoid of “Fanonian” or “Sartrean” resonances, Bourdieu will write that all the mutations of the colonial system are subject to a law of all or nothing, and that the demand for a wholesale destruction of the colonial system is a product of its own racial Manicheanism. As he declares: “If the struggle against the caste system takes the form of a war of national liberation, this is perhaps because of the existence of an independent nation appears the only decisive means for achieving a radical change in the situation that can bring about the definitive collapse of the caste system.” 14 While in the colonial situation resistance to domination found only a symbolic expression, demanding a reclamation of the signs of identity and tradition (e.g., the veil), the revolutionary condition means a freeing of the Algerians’ relation to their own symbolic legacy, something like a “free use” of the effects of colonial modernity, not least medicine (and we could think here of Fanon’s text on “Medicine and Colonialism” in A Dying Colonialism). In a striking anticipatory rebuttal of Hannah Arendt’s famous arguments about the muteness of violence Bourdieu affirms:

Thus the existence of a people who say no to the established order, the existence of a rational and lasting organization able to confront and shake the colonial system – in a word, the existence of an effective negation established at the very heart of the system, and recognized, voluntarily or perforce, even by those who would bitterly deny it – is sufficient to render vain so much of the behaviour in which the dominated caste expressed its rejection of domination. The war, by its very existence, constitutes a language, and lends the people a voice that can say no.… It has allowed [the Algerian people] to have the experience of a discipline freely assumed and acknowledged because imposed by their own authorities – in brief, with the experience of autonomy. 15

To what does Rancière object in Bourdieu’s article? To the link between war (which is to say violence) and truth as the crux of this figure of subjectivation. The violence of war “speaks the truth of a historical process” – in a link between truth, history and language or naming to which Rancière is deeply averse. But Bourdieu’s text is also symptomatic of a certain “régime of alterity,” in which “a people whose identity has been snatched away by colonial oppression becomes that alterity’s other.… War is the unveiled and inverted truth of oppression, and it is completing the break with a primal identity. Insofar as it ends the negation that was colonialism, the war is a negation of the negation.” In Fanon, Sartre, and Bourdieu writing on the Algerian War, Rancière discerns a “system of relations between truth, time, identity and alterity” (and we could add, violence and its names or languages): “Within this system, the war constitutes an emergent people; the emergent people identify with the voice of a truth; history is the moment of a truth that asserts the closure of a historical form (colonialism) as the subject that colonialism had wrested asunder becomes a voice and a people.” 16 What régime of alterity and its politicization, which might dislocate the vector of history and its violence, does Rancière oppose to this? In what is also a powerful definition of his own thinking of politics, Rancière defines it as follows:

Insofar as it is a political figure, the primary meaning of the cause of the other is a refusal to identify with a certain self. It is the production of a people different from the people seen, named and counted by the State, of a people defined by the wrong done to the constitution of a commonality that was constructing an other communal space. A political subjectivation always implies a “discourse of the other” in three senses. It is, firstly, a rejection of an identity established by an other, a degrading of that identity, and therefore a break with a certain self. Secondly, it is a demonstration addressed to an other that constitutes a community defined by a certain wrong. Thirdly, it always contains an impossible identification, an identification with an other with whom one cannot in normal circumstances identify: the “wretched of the earth” or some other object. In the case of the Algerian war, there was no identification with those fighters, whose motives were not ours, or with those victims, whose very faces were invisible to us. But an identity that could not be assumed was included in a political subjectivation – in a rejection of an identity. 17

The victims that Rancière speaks as being “invisible to us” (a we/us which a curious footnote tells us “simply refers to a political generation taken as a whole” 18 ), are the beaten, shot and drowned pro-FLN Algerian demonstrators (all of them French citizens, it should be noted) of the infamous massacre of October 17, 1961. The shift in regimes of alterity is also a spatial shift, from the theater of war in Algeria to the “police operations” in the metropolis. It is a shift towards thinking politics not as solidarity in a horizon of revolution that would be both national and planetary, but in terms of articulations of citizenship that stage “a particular relationship between the same and the other.” 19 This stems from the conviction that the belief in a régime of truth (such as that of the historical becoming of a people through violence) is as much the effect as the cause of a mode of political subjectivation. It is the shift to the “here” of an anti-war political practice that had visibility and the police, and not historical liberation and war as its parameters, and which promised, contra Sartre’s preface to The Wretched of the Earth, a “political inclusion of the other which is not that of morality nor is it its opposite.” 20 The shift has October 17, 1961 as its traumatic catalyst:

That day, with its twofold aspect (manifest and hidden), was a turning point, a moment when the ethical aporia of the relationship between “mine” and the other was transformed into the political subjectivation of an inclusive relationship with alterity. … It was not the blinding sun that lit up the political scene in 1961. On the contrary, it was an invisibility, the removal of something by the action of the police. … From that point onwards, there became possible a political subjectivation that did not take the form of external support for the other’s war, or of an identification of the other’s military cause with our cause. This political subjectivation was primarily the result of a disidentification with the French state that had done this in our name and removed it from our view. We could not identify with the Algerians who appeared as demonstrators within the French public space, and who then disappeared. We could, on the other hand, reject our identification with the State that had killed them and removed them from all the statistics. 21

Rancière writes that in its act of brutal repression, “the State therefore made it possible to subjectivate the self-difference of our citizenship, or a gap between juridical citizenship and political citizenship.… This did not create a politics for the Algerians. But in France it did create a political subjectivation, or a relationship between included and excluded in which no subject was specifically named.” That may be so, but it is difficult not to acknowledge the uneasy way in which Rancière’s text, while recognizing the crucial undoing of a unified notion of citizenship (though not entirely recognizing how foundational it is to the French polity) redoubles some of that invisibility by acting as though the “Algerians” (who were juridically French at the time) simply “disappeared,” became invisible. It is as though no political relationship with the other citizens were possible except via the State – negatively, as a disidentification. The political-generational “we/us” never includes, except ideally, those other citizens, so that the concrete régime of alterity is such that the tiny minority of white French militants involved in FLN-solidarity work – like Lyotard with his critical-political differend – had a far more real relationship to alterity, not as identification but as solidarity, which in some of these cases such as Lyotard’s involved no identification. In other words, they had a more intense political relation to the Algerian other than Rancière’s generation could have to what juridically but not politically or indeed affectively were French citizens who had long inhabited the same city as they. This is not to chide Rancière for repeating the process of invisibility, since much of what he says is no doubt a very real effect of the extreme racial and political segregation of Algerian citizens of France in that period, but to query what is at stake in a linking of citizenship, alterity, violence, and subjectivation in which the organized protesters of October 17, 1961, their political thought and action, is reduced to the invisible faces of the murdered, and becomes the occasion of a disidentification that continues, albeit negatively, to be absorbed by the “Big” Other, the State.

To further investigate this question of the figures of political subjectivation linked to the Algerian War, its name, and its violences, I wanted to conclude by reflecting on the remarks on October 17, 1961 in Étienne Balibar’s “De Charonne à Vitry,” the text whose publication in Le Nouvel Observateur triggered his expulsion from the PCF. 22 Balibar looks back upon two decades in the PCF, beginning with a fierce beating during a Communist-supported demonstration in which he participated as part of the “service d’ordre” of the Jeunesses Communistes, and ending in the shameful racism against migrant workers of PCF mayors in Vitry and elsewhere. The tale told by Balibar is one in many respects of failed subjectivation, of an identification that remains at best partial, and whose régime of alterity is deeply constrained by the incapacity truly to think the racialization of French citizenship and class belonging. In thinking through how the PCF (but also much of the French left and intelligentsia) got to where it was, Balibar searches behind the official “anti-colonialism” of the party to a critical displacement in its objects of commemoration. It is not to the massacre of October 17, 1961 that the party turned, but to the deaths of PCF demonstrators at the hands of the police at the Charonne metro station in 1962. The anti-colonial struggle memorialized by the Party was “abstract and mythical.” And yet:

Many of us can bear witness with lucid memories: if there was a February 8, 1962 [the date of the Charonne deaths], and before it a December 19, 1961 [the demonstration where Balibar himself was bloodied], these unitary demonstrations in which everyone’s divisions and sectarianisms were put aside, it is only because the terrible October 17, 1961 happened, of which the Party never speaks, nor anyone else for that matter. 23

Far from being presented as the catalyst for a generational subjectivation and disidentification, the dominant régime of naming and alterity of the French left in the aftermath of October 17, 1961, and of the end of the Algerian War, is one of a missed opportunity, one that would have directly addressed the divisions internal to both citizenship and the working class, not least by seeking to dislocate a racial colonial régime which was not outside the metropole, but constitutive of it. In Balibar’s at the time more classically Marxist formulation:

The occasion was missed to forge an organic unity in struggle between French workers and immigrant workers [NB: legally, if not politically, these immigrant workers were French citizens]. For both, internationalism remained, save for some exceptions, a calculus of convergent interests, not a common practice in which one learns little by little to know each other, to overcome contradictions, to envisage a shared future. 24

This would require not (just) a shift in the régime of political subjectivation, but in organizational forms:

A politics that would favor and develop the autonomous forms of mobilization of immigrants, emerging from their exploitation, their concentration, their communal traditions maintained against all odds.

To conclude: leaving aside the sui generis cases of Camus and Derrida, whose posthumously published letter to Pierre Nora on the latter’s Les Français d’Algérie shows him to have considerable sympathy for the author of Chroniques Algériennes, a hypothetical “Algerian history of French philosophy” elicits a variegated but in many ways opaque picture. Notwithstanding the involvement of numerous figures in the French philosophical pantheon in debates and interventions on the Algerian War – not just Sartre in dialogue with Fanon, but also Merleau-Ponty, Blanchot, Barthes, Aron, etc. – it is by no means evident that this involvement was really different than the involvement of intellectuals more broadly, riven by familiar divisions within the left and the political scene more generally concerning colonialism, violence and the future of the French state. Arguably, it is only the generation that came of political age in the late 1950s and early 1960s – the generation of Balibar and Rancière – that, with considerable delay, incorporated the questions raised by the decolonization of France and Algeria into their thinking, but when they did so it was not in terms of the problematic of revolutionary anti-colonial violence (as in Sartre-Fanon, or even the Bourdieu of 1961) but in terms of the antinomies of citizenship, with the signal event being not the massacres of the Sétif in 1945 or the Battle of Algiers in 1957 but the massacre of Algerian citizens of France in the streets of Paris on October 17, 1961. The difficulty of giving a name to, or even properly acknowledging that violence, takes a kind of paradigmatic role, oscillating between an analysis of the racialized regimes of belonging that structure French citizenship and a rethinking of political subjectivation around the question of in/visibility or re/presentation, both questions that have defined some of the most significant debates in the French context, especially the context of post-Althusserian philosophy, from the 1980s to today.

References   [ + ]

1. “Once we’ve accepted this great violence that is conquest, I believe we cannot retreat before the piecemeal acts of violence that are absolutely necessary in order to consolidate it.”
2. “They cry: extermination! But it is precisely when one exterminates it that this people rises up in revolt.”
3. Jean-François Lyotard, “Le nom d’Algérie,” in La guerre des Algériens: Écrits 1956-1963 (Paris: Galilée, 1989), 36.
4. On the massacre of October 17, 1961, as a “foundational moment of the endocolonial condition,” see Mathieu Rigouste, La domination policière. Une violence industrielle (Paris: La Fabrique, 2012), as well as his earlier L’ennemi intérieur. La généalogie coloniale et militaire de l’ordre sécuritaire dans la France contemporaine (Paris: La Découverte, 2009).
5. Sidi Mohammed Barkat, Le corps d’exception. Les artifices du pouvoir colonial et la destruction de la vie (Paris: Éditions Amsterdam, 2005), 51.
6. Catherine Brun, “Introduction. Les mots en partage,” in Guerre d’Algérie. Les mots pour la dire, ed. Catherine Brun (Paris: CNRS Éditions, 2014), 11. Also see Pierre Guyotat, “Désignations d’une guerre en cours,” in the same volume.
7. See Messaoud Benyoucef, “La revolution saisit la langue,” and Gilbert Meynier, “La ‘revolution’ du FLN (1954-1962),” in Brun, ed., Guerre d’Algérie.
8. According to Yves Benot, “Muslim and “non-Muslim” only become official terms in the final years of the conflict. See Massacres coloniaux (Paris: La Découverte, 2001), 55n10.
9. See Pal Ahluwalia, Out of Africa: Post-Structuralism’s Colonial Roots (London: Routledge, 2010); Muriam Haleh Davis, “Algeria as Postcolony? Rethinking the Colonial Legacy of Post-Structuralism,” Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy Revue de la philosophie française et de langue française 19, no. 2 (2011): 136–52; James D. Le Sueur, Uncivil War: Intellectuals and Identity Politics During the Decolonization of Algeria, (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2005).
10. See The Philosopher and His Poor. I have tried to address this in “Anti-Sociology and its Limits” in Reading Rancière, ed. Paul Bowman and Richard Stamp (London: Continuüm, 2011), 217–37.
11. Pierre Bourdieu, Sociologie de l’Algérie (Paris: PUF, 2012), 7.
12. Ibid., 136. This account of the socio-genetic preconditions for revolutionary subjectivity, not devoid of normative echoes with a certain workerist Marxist tradition (albeit on dissimilar grounds), is articulated in Algérie 60 (the revised and abbreviated version of the 1963 collective work Travail et travailleurs en Algérie)  in terms of class habitus, which as “the internalization of the objective situation, is the structure unifying the system of dispositions, which presuppose practical reference to the objective future, whether it be a matter of resignation to or revolt against the present order or the capacity to subject economic conduct to forecasting and calculation.” Pierre Bourdieu, Algérie 60: Structures économiques et structures temporelles (Paris: Minuit, 1977), 115; Algeria 1960, trans. Richard Nice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979), 92. A key concept here is that of “objective future” (avenir objectif). The impossibility of a revolutionary sub-proletariat subject (or revolutionary lumpenproletariat, in Fanon’s terms) is the object of this demonstration: “Both in their conscious representations and in their practices, the sub-proletarians reproduce the situation of which they are the product and which contains the impossibility of an adequate cognizance of the truth of the situation: they do not know that truth, but they enact it, or, if you will, they state it only in their actions. Their unrealistic statements only seem to contradict the objective reality which their acts so clearly express: illusion itself is not illusory and it would be a mistake to see an arbitrary phantasm in what is only the objective effect of their impossible position in the economic and social system” (116/93). In terms of their “cognitive mapping” of their situation, the “affective quasi-systematisation” of the sub-proletarians falls considerably short of a “genuine totalization,” militating against any mechanical-explosive model of revolutionary subjectivation. Therefore, “we must acknowledge that revolt against the present situation cannot be oriented towards rational, explicit ends until the economic conditions for the formation of a rational consciousness of those ends are fulfilled, in other words, until the prevailing order contains the potentiality of its own disappearance and so produces agents capable of making its disappearance their project” (116/94).
13. Enrique Martín Criado, Les deux Algéries de Pierre Bourdieu, trans. Hélène Bretin (Bellecombes-en-Bauges: Éditions du Croquant, 2008).
14. Pierre Bourdieu, “Revolution in the Revolution,” in Algerian Sketches, ed. Tassadit Yacine, trans. David Fernbach (Cambridge: Polity, 2013), 94.
15. Bourdieu, “Revolution in the Revolution,” 97.
16. Jacques Rancière, “The Cause of the Other,” trans. David Macey, Parallax 4, no. 2 (1998): 25–26. Original publication: “La cause de l’autre,” Lignes 1, no. 30 (1997): 36–49.
17. Ibid., 29.
18. Ibid., 32. Rancière, who was born in Algiers but left for France as a very small child, briefly recalls the place of Algeria in his formation, and the political watershed of the demonstrations of 1961–62 in a recent interview book: Jacques Rancière, La méthode de l’égalité. Entretien avec Laurent Jeanpierre et Dork Zabunyan (Paris: Bayard, 2012), 19–20.
19. Rancière, “The Cause of the Other,” 25.
20. Ibid., 27. Translation modified.
21. Ibid., 28–29.
22. Balibar elsewhere writes of being awakened to knowledge of the world by the colonial wars, and of the need to reflect on the intrinsically asymmetrical reciprocity between France and Algeria. See Daho Djerbal and Étienne Balibar, “Pour une nouvelle épistémê,” in Brun, ed., Guerre d’Algérie, 274. See also his article on Algeria and France in Droit de cité (Paris: Quadridge/PUF, 2002).
23. Étienne Balibar, “De Charonne à Vitry,” in Les Frontières de la démocratie (Paris: La Découverte, 1992), 22–23. Originally published in Le Nouvel Observateur no. 852, March 9, 1981.
24. Ibid.,  25.

Author of the article

teaches at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he co-directs the Centre for Philosophy and Critical Thought. He is the author of Fanaticism: On the Uses of an Idea, and Cartographies of the Absolute (with Jeff Kinkle). He is a member of the editorial board of Historical Materialism and is series editor of The Italian List at Seagull Books.