Spaces of Identity - Part 17

posted by usha on 2006/03/13 18:40

[ Spaces of Identity ]

Paul Ricœur's The Self as an Other was relevant for my PhD examination, about 3 weeks ago. When I read it again, I felt a spontaneous antipathy for his construction of certain binding meta-speech acts, constituing the continuity of the Self. "A lot has changed, but I will keep my word."

Within a theory of narrative identity dealing with written texts this comes all of a sudden. Keeping one's word does not mean anything for a fictional character in any written text, since there is no living person in a social environment with its specific ethics. Literature is, in my opinion always dealing with Men/Women without Qualities (and sometimes the other way round: Qualities without Men). Therefore, keeping one's word does not make much sense within within narrating identities, but opens up a completely new social category.

Where it makes much sense, on the contrary, is within socially, psychologically, and judicially oriented approaches to (also) narrative identity.

This is the point where I come to Draxblog's entry on Slobo myths:

In December 1990, following Milošević's victory on first multi-party elections in Serbia, Mesić, then a member of Yugoslav collective presidency, was asked to comment on it on Croatian Television. He said that he was an optimist and that the "peace option had won".

Stipe Mesić radically changed his opinion on that. You see already that the politcs of memory and forgetting, and the politics of constancy for "oneself" and learning processes, in other words of continuity and discontinuity are never to be resolved. They require thourough exploration in every single case on a personal and a collective level.



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