Transforming the world
a Butlerian reading of Heidegger on social change?
This chapter addresses the question whether the notion of ownedness or authenticity (Eigentlichkeit) in Being and Time can serve as a model for social change. To answer this question, I build on the late Dreyfus's understanding of owned Dasein as a "world transformer", Butler's understanding of contingent foundations, and Kyle Stroh's conception of owned Dasein in the plural, in order to develop a notion of social ownedness (soziale Eigentlichkeit). In my reading, ownedness concerns primarily the transparency (Durchsichtigkeit) of ontological structures on the part of the owned self (eigentliches Selbst), including a proper understanding of the role of the anyone (das Man). The owned self realizes that the anyone remains the foundation of intelligibility, but understands it as a contingent foundation and thereby contests its absolutization and the tendency of conformism. After an interpretation of Heidegger's remarks on "nullity" (Nichtigkeit) and "abyss of ground "(Abgrund) in relation to Butler's theory of post-foundationalism, and a discussion of "historicality" (Geschichtlichkeit) in relation to Butler's notion of performativity as iterability, I offer a reinterpretation of the figure of the "world transformer" and end with a proposal on how to understand social ownedness.
Thonhauser, G. (2017)., Transforming the world: a Butlerian reading of Heidegger on social change?, in H. B. Schmid & G. Thonhauser (eds.), From conventionalism to social authenticity, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 241-259.
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