11 09 08

Europe does not make us dream

An interview with Rosi Braidotti by Rutvica Andrijašević

Translated by Rodrigo Nunes

Rutvica Andrijašević / Rosi Braidotti

1. In your last book, Nuovi soggetti nomadi[1], you present what you call the ‘postnational European project’. In it, you affirm the need for a new European social imaginary, and you talk about the political strategies for its creation. Could you explain this project a bit more?

I am not the only one who believes that a more profound reflection on the issue of European citizenship is needed. For example, the European University Institute of Fiesole and the London School of Economics, as well as many other universities around the world, have been working on it in a most serious and legalistic way. When I started approaching it as a philosopher – from a social perspective, so to speak, that is, from a more cultural angle –, this existing body of work put me in an embarrassing position, as it is all very advanced, very technical, even directly protocolar. I had to abandon the technical debates to a certain extent, because I do not have the necessary competence to deal with them, and because I realised that the bulk of work they have been developing is not relayed in public culture, and you don’t hear much talk about it precisely because it is very technical, juridical stuff. It is from this point that I began a reflection on why it is that the social imaginary on Europe is so poor: it does not make us dream and it does not excite us. I started working on how to build a social imaginary that can help us take this problematic seriously. This is a first level of reflection, connected to the nationalist question: how does one spark people’s imagination: how does one make them dream, how does one manage to turn a research subject, a political theme into a passion? For nationalism is obviously not a pleasant thing, but it is impossible to make this imaginary flourish if there is nothing to capture the imagination in such a way that this field of study, this political reality becomes a passion. Some Slovenian thinkers claim that Europe, as it is imagined at the moment, will never function precisely because it does not set the imagination alight, something  that only national identity can do. If, as Žižek says, the imaginary is inevitably tied to nationalisms and roots, then we are in trouble.[2] But there is a whole discussion to be had on the notion of the imaginary taking Deleuze and his critique of Lacan as its point of departure.[3] One thus opens up another field of research where this work in connection with philosophical nomadism and the critique of that explanatory grid that understands the imaginary as representation, is necessarily bound to an identitarian subject.

2. You stress the poverty of the European imaginary and attempt to think of and reawaken passions for a different, postnational project that, according to you, belongs to the future. Nonetheless, we in Europe already live in a postnational reality. Would it not then be the case that a project centred on the postnational object is no longer enough, and must itself be thought again?

The notion of the postnational is grounded in the original texts by Altiero Spinelli.[4] I undertake a theoretical reading of those that were the founding texts of the Union, written by anti-fascist Jews or communists, and which  identified in the complicity between the state and a certain right wing the catastrophe of the Second World War.  It is a kind of thought that I relate to the Jewish diaspora and to anti-fascism in Western Europe, and which for me constitutes an extremely important source of theoretico-political inspiration. Today one no longer talks about the anti-fascist origins of a certain kind of political thought. It is as if the diaspora had been defeated. This continent has chosen amnesia and oblivion; the negation of its own history is a sort of closed chapter which I would like to reopen with the postnationalism that is, for me, a critique of state racism. Why is it that no-one talks about it anymore, if this is where the European Union comes from? My postnationalism is founded on the historical bases that I am rereading, for two reasons. Firstly, to make people read these texts by Spinelli. Spinelli had ties with the Hirschman family[5], hence another big portion of history, of the resistance, as well as the diaspora and the Holocaust, and he has a sense of Europe as a third space. Secondly, I want to unsettle the tendencies towards historical pacification; of which I do not know if they are due to revisionism or amnesia. By this I mean this kind of discourse, of which Berlusconi is an eminent representative, that says, ‘we had fascism, they had Stalinism, therefore we’re even: we Auschwitz, they the gulag’. For me, this is a form of historical violence. It is a form of either ignorance or epistemic violence that creates false symmetries and thus fabricates illusions. What is missing is the dimension of a postnational European space in the anti-statal sense. I highlight this exactly because the insane nationalism of this continent is the root of the Second World War. The European Union is thus born out of this postnationalism which, I must emphasise, is precisely not transnationalism.

3. You maintain that postnationalism is a surpassing of nation states as we know them, and you recover the anti-fascist roots at the origin of the European Union, but  the fact remains that the EU has been moving in a different direction. There are various studies showing how it is taking over a series of roles that used to belong to the national states, among which we find above all the question of borders, especially the reconceptualisation and reinforcement of the eastern borders. Does that make you think that our interpretation of postnationalism and of the national component should be re-examined in relation to the transformations that the EU has been undergoing at the institutional level?

What I must say is that I do not wish to make postnationalism into a matter of identity: when I speak of historical memory, I am talking about political subjectivity. I believe that the postnational question must be one dimension – I would not say a formal, but certainly a legal and technical, one. For me, this leads back to the question of European citizenship. European citizenship cannot be founded on national grounds, because it is transnational. When I speak of postnationalism at the level of citizenship, this means flexible citizenships: as Paul Gilroy says, being born here, or being of the right colour or religion, must not be a condition for belonging to this citizenship, for the concept of citizenship must be one of participation on negotiable grounds.[6] There is no reason why citizenship must be something full-time, one hundred percent. I have not invented this concept myself, but am referring here to the work of Ulrich Preuss.[7] As I see it, the problem is that this is the point where one is confronted by the question of identity, and this is where we must return to the question of the imaginary. We must be capable of imagining a situation (and this is why I believe nomadism is the only possible solution for Europeans) in which your sense of citizenship, or rather your citizenship in the sense of legal and political subjectivity, must be detached from the sense of identity. I am against this closure by which you are something and belong to something: this is mad, it is a form of microfascism. Geopolitically, it is an absolute closure: I am from here, I come from here, this is my land, this is my language, therefore I belong. Postnationalism is thus, for me, a critique of the unitary subject, by which I mean citizenship, politics and the identitarian question. For a European, this entails putting an end to nationalism. I would like to break the being of citizenship in two: I read Europe as an attempt to put a wedge between these two concepts, and hopefully also place them in contradiction with each other. But this also implies a huge qualitative leap in our image of ourselves, and, as you say, this work is not taking place because none, or virtually none, of the present political powers can do it. And this is why I believe it is necessary to examine the question of postnationalism. 

4. On the question of the imaginary and of identity, you pointed out earlier on that these are themes that are dealt with either ineffectively or only in a very technical manner. However, it is also important to note that, at the level of European institutions (the documents issued by the European Commission, for instance), there is a dimension that is closely connected to the imaginary. We could take as an example the discourse on immigration and borders. We have a Fortress Europe, both symbolic and material, being constructed through an utterly populist discourse, which does not only mean a reinforcement of borders, but also the construction of a belonging, on the part of European citizens, to a common space and destiny. Here too, we have a European imaginary under construction, even if one that is very diverse from the one you refer to. How do you read this transformation that is underway?

The problem is that this Europe has no political power. The political Europe has not come together. It feels paradoxical for me that, in saying this, I find myself in alliance with Habermas.[8] A way of responding to this would be to say that the European dimension cannot go ahead because there is no political motor and no will to complete this Union with a sense of global, but flexible citizenship at the heart of this Fortress. If this political will does not exist, then the first thing we must say is that what is falling apart is the idea of a postnationalist European space, which is being replaced by a classic, 19th century notion of a Europe of nations. This is what is taking place, under the influence of the right wing. The Europe of nations, the Europe of regions, is absolutely not a postnationalistic space, but rather an extreme, hypernationalistic one. Why have we failed to achieve a political Europe? Because crooks like Berlusconi have the power to put a brake on this process and to empty the European space of this dimension, which is not only more progressive, but also greatly transformative, something that would amount to a true evolutionary process. I believe, therefore, that this dimension is missing, and this is why one can be in agreement with the statement that the EU has been failing. But I would rather say: this is a process that is not taking place because there is no political will to take it forward. To constitute this political dimension, however, what is necessary is to confront the questions of policing, of defence, and of borders. I do not believe that any administrative text (at least not a political one) could say: let us abolish the borders. That would be unimaginable. You say the EU has replaced the nation states, but I also see the nation states taking advantage of the European dimension as a pretext for closing their borders. The creation of Europe as a fortress is, in my opinion, the negation of the European dimension.

5. It is not a matter of abolishing the borders, rather that on these borders a struggle is on course that also directly concerns the imaginary. Borders can be interpreted as the material limits, but these limits are also the sites of a struggle over the imaginary that sanctions symbolic and material belonging.

In that case, I would say, the European imaginary falls apart. I agree that the imaginary is the site of a great battle and, as a consequence, the arena of huge confrontations. My observation was this: inside the work of the imaginary, there are contradictions between representations that are not only discursive, but also material representations. In this sense, one could work with Althusser, on the classic dimension of the imaginary.[9] The problem here is that, within this question, there is no input from the people who would like to transform that imaginary into something else, something that is nomadic, for instance, that is postnationalistic, that is open. That this dimension is lacking here is something I became very painfully aware of when I encountered Žižek in Rotterdam. His imaginary is that of the early Althusser, the first Lacan – which is perfectly fine, at least we are not with Habermas. But Žižek is very confident in what regards understanding the way in which the imaginary functions, and thus the way in which it should be managed. The fact that he gives such importance to negativity and violence is fascinating, but it breaks my heart. For him, this is what representation consists in, and that is an unmoveable point. If that is the case, then there can be no way out, for if the social imaginary is an arena of conflict and contestation in which those who have the power, the control over the means of representation (which in today’s world are mediatic and visual), have everything in their hands; if that is case, then we have already lost before we evin begin. If, in order to have an imaginary that works, we always need to set phallocentrism, nationalism, misogyny in motion – all the stuff that Lacan speaks of –, then it is inevitable that we end up with Fortress Europe. It would be necessary to read what Deleuze has to say on the question of habit[10], of repetition, and produce from there a critique of the imaginary. It is something paradoxical: I long for an open, postnationalistic European imaginary, because I wish that people (who have undergone political processes of opening, negotiations, transitions) can make themselves heard, have a stake in the real, and move forward this reading of our situation. If this is impossible, for reasons that pertain to the structure of the imaginary – if the imaginary can only function through the dualistic system of oppositions between us and them, man and woman, … –, we might as well give up. What I am asking for is a lot: all the processes of transformation in immediate politics are tied in with an ethics. It is a process of transformation: it is not the case that, in a world where one is bombarded with fixed borders, fixed identities, pre-fabricated images, one necessarily becomes nomadic and fluid. This is a work, it is an ethical process of revision characteristic of representation. I saw a BBC documentary which, in order to make the case that the incidence of tuberculosis is once again on the rise in the world, and that meeting this challenge requires great technological means, would show the illegal aliens[11] crossing the Mexican desert. The conclusion is that borders must be closed and heavily guarded. This is the imaginary to which you referred, but this imaginary is neither fixed nor impossible to remove. When I talk of postnationalism, what I am saying is that we must have the means to combat these images with other representations, and that these are means that we do not possess.

6. So the concept of nomadic subject is partially translated into a flexible citizenship?

Certainly. Making flexible citizenship possible requires a nomadic subject, since one cannot arrive at this transformation with a unitary subject. Citizenship and identity are not directly linked. In order to open up the former, to make it more nomadic, we need a series of connections to other subjects which are, perhaps, from the point of view of their actual identity, non-nomadic. For instance, the temporary workforce that comes into Europe, who are treated like beasts of burden. Why should these people who work here for us not be citizens for however long they spend here, whatever their identity may be? I think that this is a case where Europe has been forgotten. What seems to be lacking is a sense of responsibility, or even guilt, for the events of the Second World War. I do not understand how the Europeans of today can forget this aspect; this lack of consciousness[12], of historical memory, has meant that, in a certain sense, there has been a regression in the problem of identity. In the context of the EU, it is as if our identitarian discourse were that of the early 19th century. There are huge paradoxes: very advanced projects of citizenship, and an identitarian question in clear regression, with a rightwing that thrives on it, and a left that does not even understand the terms of the problem. On this point it is necessary to say that, in Empire, Negri has done a great work: precisely because capitalism is transnational, we must ask ourselves what it means to be living this return to fixed identities.[13] There is a need for a re-evaluation of the diaspora and a huge sense of responsibility concerning that which the affirmation of a European identity has meant for half the globe. When Berlusconi claims that there is a superior civilisation, we are returning to that stage of colonialism in which this conception of the white man was widely accepted. This is not the EU’s fault, but the result of a process of bankruptcy of the European project, which reduces it to a reinvention of pan-Europeanism.

7. On the topic of the missing imaginary of which you spoke earlier, there are several political and intellectual proposals coming out of Italy, in which there is an attempt to re-think and relaunch a diverse European imaginary. What do you think of Bifo’s concept of minor Europe, which takes minor subjects as its effective starting point?[14] Does it appear to you that the global movement, and the European Social Forum in particular, could be interesting from this perspective?

Bifo and I share a fraternity that goes back a long way, and we are entirely in agreement on the idea of a minor Europe, even if he tends to read it in a somewhat utopian key. My project is to start from historical grounds in order to build this idea up in a way that is a little more acceptable for the scientific community. In what concerns the Forum, I do not see any evidence that this kind of work has much impact on the social imaginary, if by that we understand the dominant representation. What is more, I would say that, insofar as the ‘movement of movements’ is represented the way it is, i.e., criminalised and penalised, we cannot even begin to fight the battle for the imaginary: the movement will remain vital, but entirely marginalised. It may be that I am excessively sceptical on this point because in television it is clearly always the same thing that is going on. The fact is that there is a huge part of our political struggle that concerns those mediatic spaces which, since 9/11, have been veritably shut down. We are in a paranoid phase, characterised by regression and oedipalisation. We could, reading with Deleuze and Guattari, speak of a collective stupidisation sustained by information as a global power. Thus, at the level of resonance, these movements remain very marginalised in the dominant representative space. To give you an example: a friend of mine in Argentina was telling me about this enormous energy that there is in Argentina at the moment, and this amazing movement of which we hear nothing here, for every time we hear about Argentina nowadays, it is something about the horrible crisis, the absolute poverty. And yet she was telling me that it is a fantastic moment, when people meet in the streets and squares to talk and engage in discussion. What we are witnessing in this case is a reinvention of public space, of civitas, of citizenship in the sense of a space that is shared with others. I am glad that I know about it, and I discuss it with everyone that I meet. But this representation of Argentina has absolutely no chance[15] of being relayed in today’s global imaginary. I believe any attempt at reappropriating public space is extremely important to the redefinition of the social imaginary – from the Plaza de Mayo to the girotondi[16], what matters is the new sociability.

8. And what would be the theoretical directions to take?

At the theoretical level, there is still a discussion to be had on how to fill this imaginary. Which reopens the question of the symbolic. I believe that the Deleuze and Guattari’s critique of the Althusserian imaginary and of the symbolic function in Lacan, while very difficult to sustain, is very pertinent. One could start thinking in different terms, such as in the work I have been doing on sustainability: it is a kind of discourse that implies a different kind of social relation. What I mean is, instead of doing philosophy, one is doing ecophilosophy, not in the environmentalist sense, but as the philosophy of a possible future. We are in the process of truly exhausting the possibility of futurity, be it at the purely ecological or at the social level. If we take this ecological dimension and transform it into a discourse on what it is that counts, where action is possible, we can then manage to think a nomadic subject in transformation, that is, immersed in transformative flows, but within limits that are not dictated by individualism or political belief – but by the sustainability in and of transformations.

9. Do you think the global movement could play a role in thinking the possible futures?[17]

In my opinion, these are the things that the movement of movements points towards. It was an extremely varied movement, but one can truly read it, with Deleuze and Guattari, in the sense that allows for the construction of sustainable futures. This entails that we are all responsible for the imaginary, and that we all construct it. Now, the imaginary is not something that you inherit, that falls on your shoulders and contaminates you, but is a real construction of social relations that allow you to read and build things in a different way. As I was saying earlier, the construction of a new social imaginary presupposes new modalities of sociability, which I would inscribe in the horizon of possible becomings. The ecophilosophy of the subject is very rich, but inside academia this tends to be seen as pure utopia, because it displaces anthropocentrism. A non-anthropocentric dimension means, again, a de-centring of the subject, and this, for a European, is unimaginable. In my opinion, to say ‘end of anthropocentrism’ and ‘end of Eurocentrism’ is the same thing. Such a displacement of dimensions would enable a different kind of debate, and it would then be necessary to think in terms of ‘eco’, not in the ecological sense, but in the sense you find in Guattari or Spinoza, of we are in this together.[18] This is not Kant’s Eurocentric universalism, which requires its macro-structures, but a sociability built by subjects acting on the direct materiality of bodies.

10. Does it not seem to you that there is a risk of your work being taken as ‘new age’?

In effect, through the work on the displacement of anthropocentrism, one finds oneself one step away from the cosmic, religious, ‘new age’ dimension. The religious dimension is very present in the East, among Indian women – you can see that in Vandana Shiva’s work, for example.[19] There is this spiritual view of the world, which I respect, but cannot share. I come from the West, from the Enlightenment, and so, for me, secularity is an untouchable principle. When I speak of sustainability, what I am talking about is civic responsibility, the fact that there is no oxygen left, that so much water is being wasted. These are all very material things. I work with Deleuze and Spinoza, trying to remain on the side of the secular, of a very materialistic discourse that poses the problem of the absence of vital spaces. Trying to transform these ideas into something concrete is something difficult, but also something that is happening all around us, in all the movements that attempt to put a limit to rapacious globalisation. To work on the imaginary entails trying to form representations that are adequate to the complexity of the problems that we must face. It takes an effort of creativity, an invention of concepts and modes of representation.

11. To come back to the global movement, after Genoa it has become clear that the movement is growing and bringing together a great number of very diverse elements. In your opinion, would this be the moment to think of a more coherent political project, in such a way as to give greater consistency to the project of transformation, to refer less to symbolisms and more to a political-theoretical reflection? Besides, do you think that the movement could play a role in attracting attention to social Europe, which finds itself relegated to second place behind financial Europe right now?

What you are asking is very complicated, because it is in part true that a movement of such dimensions, of such ambitions, should have a clearer theoretical-political structure. It is also something that Negri argues in Empire, namely that this multitude must be seen from within a theoretical structure that is, for me, very Spinozist-Deleuzian, and therefore that this theoretical, conceptual framework should be the one in which it must be placed. I do not believe that the multitude is one, for, if you follow Deleuze all the way, you arrive at singularities, but on a very narrow basis, since they are the grounds for the organisation of the territory, in the temporal as well as spatial sense. I can understand Negri’s desire; yet to some extent I do not share it, and to another I do not see it as realistic. I do not believe in the dominant master narratives[20] because I do not find them actualisable. For me, a movement this complex, this internally contradictory, cannot be channelled into a global dimension in the unitary sense of the term. I do not even think this is necessary in order to render it efficacious. I remain on the side of the micro-groups and micro-coalitions. There is in Europe a huge number of people, especially young people, especially in the radical left, who could be in agreement on the question of a social dimension, and the question of political Europe, and who has the power to represent it. It would take clear common objectives, in connection with a discourse on the issue of European citizenship, but also on the resistance to capitalistic profit and exploitation. The possibilities exist, but I would pose them more in the sense of a coalition of various diverse groups. What interests me, and this is something I know from my years of feminist activism, is the attempt to bring together things that are separated at the structural level. It seems to me that there are debates on very precise points in Italy, but to try and channel a movement of these dimensions on a global scale is an absolute utopia. Coherence cannot come from a common foundation, but from precise negotiations on programmatic points. The fundamental thing is to put a limit to globalisation, re-inscribing the principles of sustainability and no profit[21] in it.

12. Perhaps one would need to distinguish between calling it ‘global movement’ and an action that cannot but be local, taking place on a planetary scale. If we take, for example, Mezzadra’s and Raimondi’s work, we could think the global movement not in terms of the planetary universal, but in its connections with the globalisation process. This, as the two of them say, would allow us to extend the concept and to recognise the importance of a genealogy of struggle whose anchor is absolutely not to be found in Western territories, but in a global territoriality: we are talking here of the revolt in Chiapas, of the challenge to Suharto in Indonesia, or the fight against apartheid in South Africa. The discourse on these genealogies, collective and localised knowledges, and transnational alliances are some of the cornerstones of feminism. Do you believe these could be its points of contact with the global movement?

One of the worst aspects of this moment is the erasure of feminism’s contribution, with the exception of Hardt and Negri, who recognise in it the merit of producing prototypes, be they of politics or of social organisation, that can be of use to us.[22] This erasure of at least forty years of feminist politics is part of this post-1989 amnesia which has made the free market into the pensée unique that Alain Touraine speaks of.[23] Already since 1989, but since 9/11 in particular, I have the impression that it is crucial to recover historical memory, because the speed of this process of amnesia, induced by our imaginary of the inevitability of the free market, is tremendous: a forward impulse that cancels out things that are fundamental. What you were saying about these shared genealogies is a very important work; it is a work of reconstruction of archives in the Foucauldian sense of the storage[24] of collective memories and political genealogies. The feminist experience must, I believe, be placed back at the centre of the debate, as a prototype for how to detach the identitarian question from the question of subjectivity, which has nothing to do with being schizophrenic. It is possible, starting from feminism, to imagine a kind of subject that has no need for an identity or an identitarian question in order to function in a perfectly responsible manner, in association with others. The essential thing is that these be collective structures, in the sense of belonging to the community. Furthermore, in order to revisit the imaginary and to transform it, we need to be many. If the vision is that these many who are together are, each one of them, subdivided, nomadic (it is what the opening of Mille plateaux says about L’Anti-Oedipe: there are two of us, but together we are already a crowd[25]), then we do not need fifty million to bring about a change. But on the question of structure, a qualitative leap is required, and here feminism has provided a model. One must study it in order to understand whether it could not be a model for a discourse capable of going from the one to the many without passing through essentialism or fixed identities. Unfortunately, what I have heard in relation to the global movement falls back on essentialisms, very unitary even. There are moments when, in one way or another, one must detach oneself from the identitarian question in order to understand the problem: it is of little importance if this happens through saying ‘I am no longer a communist’, through the experience of anti-racism, through a sexual minority that knows what it means to be at the margins, or through the love of the common good in the Arendtian sense. Coalitions are possible, and in this I believe that women and feminism are some of the truly greatest forces. I will say it again: the present erasure of the feminist experience is a disaster for all.

13. How would you see this crossover between feminism and global movement in more concrete terms? What could the contributions of feminism be, particularly in regard to the split between identity and subjectivity?

Feminism has fragmented the female identity and has produced both a model and a positive fragmentation of this identity. When I speak of post-woman women, it means that a certain distance has been taken without this precipitating us into schizophrenia or necessarily going in the direction of the transsexual imaginary. It is by taking this distance from the female that feminism has produced, epistemologically as well as methodologically, various knowledges and forms of politics. For me, this entails moving towards a corporeal materialism that enables us to be in the here and now and, at the same time, not be an atomised, individualist subject. What I try to think is a prototype of a subject that has a genealogy, that remembers what the male-female dichotomy is, that has this imaginary link to the structures, and yet, and at the same time, has enough critical distance to propose a kind of subjectivity that does not have identity as its support. A subjectivity of this kind is a lot more evolved on the ethical plane, and a lot more alert on the political. In my opinion, the [European Social] Forum could serve as a space to start thinking various models of possible European identities, or to debate a political Europe from the starting point of the history of feminism, because the political means bodies, means the personal. It is great to say, ‘I want to save the planet’, ‘I am in solidarity with Nicaragua’, or ‘I am against Nike’, but let us take a look at how we are doing at the level of immediate, concrete relations. It is this very material concreteness of feminism, alongside a great structural flexibility and the production of knowledges, that constitutes its strength. I see the movement also as a discursive community, people with origins in different stories but with a common political destiny, and today, in a time of fragmentation and interests dominated by the media, what is needed is a reconstruction of the imaginary. In this field, feminism has a working capital that no-one is taking advantage of. It is not that the reconstruction of the imaginary is something enormous and unthinkable. If we could agree on the terms of the project and pool our knowledges together, there is a lot that could be done. But in order to do that, it is necessary to accept that one is positioned and situated here and now, and to act accordingly. Thus my appeal to the global movement and the ESF involves rebuilding the alliances that existed in the seventies. We lived in Europe, but I have the feeling that this theme does not interest many people, whereas the more abstract things, like capitalism, do. The fact that Europe as a transformative process raises so little interest is linked to this absence of a European imaginary. It is in this space in which real alternatives are lacking that I would like to conjugate postnationalism with nomadic subjects and feminism. Europe as a space of possible transformations is still ours to make.

[*] Andrijašević, R. (2002) ‘L’Europa non ci fa sognare. Intervista a Rosi Braidotti’, in DeriveApprodi 22, pp. 137-143. Translated from the Italian by Rodrigo Nunes, with notes translated and adapted from the Spanish translation by Marta Malo de Molina, unless otherwise indicated. (N. E. Tr.)

[1] Braidotti, R. (2002) Nuovi soggetti nomadi. Transizioni e identità postnazionaliste. Rome: Luca Sossella Editore. In this volume, published only in Italy, Rosi Braidotti returns to the reflection on the nomadic subject already begun in her famous Nomadic Subjects: Embodiment and Sexual Difference in Contemporary Feminist Theory (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994; also translated into Italian, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, and, partially, Russian). The new book in fact re-edits the four initial chapters of the earlier text, to which it adds a new chapter, entitled ‘Gender, identity and multiculturalism in Europe’, where, facing the agonic Europe of critical thought, one enters a conception of Europe as the space of this nomadic subject that is periphery, margin, difference and plurality.

[2] The best place in which to find this discussion in Žižek’s work is: Žižek, S. (2000) The ticklish subject. The absent centre of political ontology. London: Verso, 2000.

[3] Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari developed their critique of Lacan in their two best  known collaborative works, which together form the diptych Capitalisme et schizophrénie: L'anti-Oedipe (Paris: Minuit, 1972) and Mille Plateaux. (Paris: Minuit, 1980).

[4] Cf., for instance, the Ventotene Manifesto, written by Altiero Spinelli and Ernesto Rossi while they were held prisoners on the Italian island of Ventotene during the Second World War, and which, circulating among the Italian resistance, would soon become the programme of the European Federalist Movement: Rossi, E.; Spinelli, A. (1941) The Ventotene Manifesto. []

[5] Alberto Spinelli eventually married Ursula Hirschman, a Berlin Jew who emigrated first to France, and then to Italy; the sister of well-known economist and thinker, Albert O. Hirschman, she was a writer in her own right, a committed socialist and Europeanist of great conviction. Ursula played an important role in the writing and circulation of the Ventotene Manifesto. Some of her autobiographical notes have been published as: Hirschmann, U. (1993) Noi senzapatria. Bologna: Il Mulino.

[6] On how black British subjectivity problematises the notion of European citizenship, cf.: Gilroy, P. (1987) There Ain't no black in the Union Jack: the cultural politics of race and nation. London:  Hutchinson.

[7] Cf. Preuss, U. K. (1996) ‘Two Challenges to European Citizenship’, in Bellamy, R; Castiglione, D. (eds.) Constitutionalism in transformation: European and theoretical perspectives. Oxford: Blackwell.

[8] After 9/11, Jürgen Habermas published a manifesto which appealed precisely for a furthering of Europe’s political dimension that could create a common foreign and security policy that would counteract the ‘hegemonic unilateralism’ of the United Status: the text, entitled ‘February 15, or, what binds Europeans together. Plea for a common foreign policy, beginning in core Europe’, as well as the reactions that it elicited from a series of European intellectuals, would later be published in: Levy, D.; Pensky, M.; Torpey, J. (eds.) (2005) Old Europe, New Europe, Core Europe. London: Verso, 2005.

[9] Cf. Althusser, L. (1970) ‘Ideological state apparatuses. Notes towards an investigation’, in Lenin and philosophy and other essays. Tr. Brewster, B. New York: Monthly Review of Books.

[10] In French in the original. Cf. Deleuze, G. Différence et répétition. Paris: PUF, 1968, esp. Ch. 2. (N. E. Tr.)

[11] English in the original. (N. E. Tr.)

[12] English in the original. (N. E. Tr.)

[13] Hardt, M; Negri, A. (2000) Empire. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

[14] Berardi (Bifo), F. (2002) ‘Undici tesi per un’Europa minore’. []. (Spanish translation: ‘Once tesis por una Europa menor’, in Archipiélago 58, [2003]. Also available at: []).

[15] English in the original. (N. E. Tr.)

[16] The Plaza de Mayo, the square in front of the presidential palace in Buenos Aires, has achieved world renown since the late 1970s for the silent demonstrations of the mothers of those ‘disappeared’ by the Argentinean military dictatorship that lasted from 1976 to 1983, in which they demanded that their sons and daughters be returned alive and, later, that those responsible for their ‘disappearance’ be taken to court.
Girotondi, on the other hand, refers here to the civic movement that developed in several Italian cities in 2002 in defence of the principles of democracy and legality. The name is taken from the great rings of people (girotondi, in Italian) that the movement rallied around the public entities that it considered at risk (for example, the courts).

[17] For reasons that will probably become clear later on in the text, I have chosen to keep the term normally used in Italian (movimento global) in order to refer to what is commonly called in English ‘anti-‘ or ‘alterglobalisation’, or (in the United States) ‘global justice movement’. (N. E. Tr.)

[18] English in the original. Cf. Guattari, F. (1995) Chaosmosis. A new ethico-aesthetic paradigm. Tr. Bains, P. Indianapolis; University of Indiana Press; (2000) The three ecologies. Tr. Pindar, I. and P.  Sutton. London: The Athlone Press; Spinoza, B. (1992) The Ethics, followed by Treatise on the emendation of the intellect and selected letters. Tr. Shirley, S. Indianapolis: Hackett.

[19] Cf., for instance: Shiva, V. (1994) Close to home: women reconnect ecology, health and development worldwide. London: Earthscan.

[20] English in the original. (N. E. Tr.)

[21] English in the original. (N. E. Tr.)

[22] Cf. Hardt, M.; Negri, A. Op. cit.

[23] Cf. Touraine, A. (2001) Beyond neoliberalism. Cambridge: Polity Press.

[24] English in the original. (N. E. Tr.)

[25] Deleuze, G.; Guattari, F. Mille plateaux. Paris: Minuit, 1980, p. 9.

Rutvica Andrijašević


Rosi Braidotti


Rodrigo Nunes (translation)


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Europe does not make us dream Europa no nos hace soñar