1. Zizek interrogates the relation between violence and ethics in globalization by observing the uneven distribution of particularity in which Africans, aboriginies and the like are permitted to speak of their particularity (without being accused of violent closure) while the White, western man must recognize his guilt by accepting the particularity of others (on a sliding scale depending on their distance from power) while denouncing his own. Of course, Zizek points out, this refusal of particularity hands those closest to power the status of universality.
2. Badiou denounces the ethics if the charitable west as a double movement in which the west monopolizes ethics while the Third World is condemned to victimhood, which replicates the current distribution of wealth and power within the sphere of humanitarian values, as well as scuppering any chance of redistribution by putting ethics over politics.
3. Previous epochs have been driven by technology (eg the Stone Age, the Industrial Revolution), and others have been driven by economics (eg capitalism, consumerism), whereas our epoch is shaped by globalization, not as a specific issue that replaces earlier issues but as a force that transforms and redistributes the divisions of class, race, gender, sexuality and religion that continue to buckle the world.
4. Balibar argues that the world after 1989 is one in which religion assumes the place previously held by politics during the Cold War as the principal means of dividing the (now post-secular) world, with the consequence that multicultural tolerance (which regards religious belief as a private matter) must be abandoned as a secular western monopolization of ethical capital.
5. Habermas spells out how we must rethink and renegotiate the very possibility of politics after the decline of the nation state (previously the platform for dissent and social change), arguing that the development of supranational bodies such as NATO, the EU and the IMF, as merely technical bodies for the management of global capitalism, means that there is currently no space for political debate and critical action at the locus of power.
6. Neither De Certeau’s tactics nor Deleuze’s intensities, which point the artworld away from the supra-national, fail to understand that the local is not a solution for the global – an emphasis on the small-scale will certainly fail to halt the march of globalization.
7. Jaime Stapleton argues that the emergence of the knowledge economy is linked to new (cultural) conceptions of economic activity rather than technical shifts in production and distribution. Nevertheless, this cultural shift is fully embedded in and functional for global economic interest, turning the Taylorist screw even tighter, placing ever more emphasis on management in the production of value, and preserving the dominance of first world economies by distinguishing them from the physical production of the Third World.
Video by Mustafa Hulusi and Mark Titchner. Text by Dave Beech