Workshop: Property and Precarity

A free workshop for allstaff and students organized by CAPPE (Centre for Applied Philosophy, Politics & Ethics), University of Brighton


Friday 31stJanuary 2020

Edward Street 103, City Campus, University of Brighton




Free to attend


This workshop draws together the work of colleagues researching at the intersections of the work of the Jacques Derrida and the concepts of property and the proper.

Presentations will last 20 minutes and be followed by a short discussion. A larger discussion after the presentations aims to look at the ways in which these different projects overlap and differ.


14.00 – 14.40 – Displacing Dialectics: Derrida on Hegel and Marx


In this paper I explain how Derrida developed ‘ex-appropriation’, his term for the movement of expropriation that accompanies every appropriation. More than a simple deconstruction of the appropriation/expropriation binary, Derrida wants ex-appropriation to name the interruption or displacement of any dialectic of appropriation, such as those proposed by Hegel and Marx. I aim to provide some context for Derrida’s intervention by looking at his early suggestions that différance exceeds both speculative and materialist dialectical systems. I also try to show that ex-appropriation has fruitful connections to more familiar Derridean themes, like justice and the gift.


14.40 – 15.20 – Ex-appropriation: Democracy and Resistance


In Monolingualism of the Other(1996) Derrida decrees that: ‘this discourse on the ex-appropriation of language, more precisely, of the “mark,” opens out onto a politics, a right, and an ethics: let us even go so far as to say that it is the only one with the power to do it’. Despite such a vocative and explicit statement on the work of ex-appropriation, the word is only ever used in passing by Derrida. No text is ever dedicated to an exegesis of the concept and the work that ex-appropriation performs in Derrida’s wider thought. I understand deconstruction as tracing the violence that proper logics use to secure themselves as hegemonic. I positionex-appropriation as the possibility of resistance towards the violence of proprietary regimes. Ex-appropriation is pivotal to understanding the ways in which hegemony is both secured and resisted. In this work-in-progress session I will map the work I have done thus far in demarcating the concept of ex-appropriation in Derrida’s work.

15.20 – 16.00 – The animals that we are: politics after humanity



A number of critics have noted the importance of the concept of the improper in Derrida’s work. However, the political implications of this conceptualisation of the improper remain unthought. Drawing on research from my recent book Towards an Improper PoliticsI read Derrida’s The Animal that therefore I amas opening a politics that undoes the proprietary links binding together rationality, the eating of animals, domination of the planet and the biopolitics of being ‘human’. This improper reading imagines a politics that rejects the idea that either socialism or capitalism were ever progressive, that begins with anarchic bodies rather than logos and that simultaneously disinters the bloodied ti(th)es of property and reason.



17.00 onwards – PUB  

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