I’m currently reading through Nick Hewlett’s book on Badiou, Balibar and Ranciere; and although I mainly planned to read it purely as part of trying to read as much secondary literature about Ranciere as I can, I thought I may as well read through his readings of Badiou and Balibar (of whom I have only read internet pieces and watched interviews).
Having read Hewlett’s account of Badiou’s notion of the Event, alongside some brief internet reading, it reminded me of Derrida’s idea of L’avenir (briefly covered in this video clip) that I was introduced to in Timothy Morton’s book, Hyperobjects. Of course, Badiou and Derrida are two philosophers, at least as I understand, who are deeply at odds with one another. Badiou’s philosophical work firmly rejects the effects and approach of Derrida’s deconsturction and post-structuralism as a whole, and thus its perhaps odd for me to compare these two ideas at all.
For Badiou “In an Event, the inconsistent multiplicity which always lies beneath a particular social order is able to appear subjectively.”; roughly those excluded from the social order through their revolt gain a subjective presence and recognition within the order. While Derrida’s notion of L’avenir is about the future which is not predictable or awaited, rather ruptures our reality with seemingly a spontaneous will.
Of course there are reasons why they are disinct for each philosopher; Badiou’s notion of the Event is the cornerstone of his whole philosophy, and Derrida’s notion of L’avenir is seemingly a minor feature of his oeuvre. Similarly, Derrida focuses on the idea of an Other figure (or process) which penetrates the normal world, completely unexpected and unanticpated; while Badiou stresses the universality in an Event as something which arises from inside the social system (or artistic, poetic, philosophical system) and contains the anonymous masses that generates the event. So clearly the two philosophers approaches are at logger-heads with one another; but only to do a degree.
Perhaps there is still an element of similarity between their ideas; at their core, both present radical transformative moments which are unforeseen and only reflexively assessed as revolutionary. Both are occurances which at the time (at least seem) radically contingent* due to their unpredictability, and reconstitute the social order from outside it (although two different forms of outside; Badiou’s outside is that which is determined as external yet in reality underlies the system itself (or perhaps I am being overly Rancieran), and Derrida’s outside is a genuine Other that arrives without any prior presence in the system.)
*a criteria for Badiou’s notion of the event