The Joy of Uprising and the Fear of the State: On Blanchot’s Insurrectional Writings (1968–1969)


This article aims to highlight the politics of emotions that govern Maurice Blanchot’s insurrectional writings. Starting from the example of Simone Weil, who contrasted the “joy” of the general strike of 1936 with the “force” of capitalist domination, I argue that Blanchot’s reading of the events of May 1968 is based on a similar tension between two political affects, i.e., the joy of insubordination and the fear of the state, which implicitly takes up the Spinozist opposition of potential (puissance or potentia) and power (pouvoir or potestas).

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