Politics and the Other Scene

Essays on politics by the pupil of Althusser.
As one of Louis Althusser's most brilliant students in the 1960s, Etienne Balibar contributed to the theoretical collective masterpiece of Reading Capital. Since then he has established himself among the most subtle philosophical and political thinkers in France. In Politics and the Other Scene Balibar deepens and extends the work he first developed with Immanuel Wallerstein in Race, Nation, Class. Exploring the theme of universalism and difference, he addresses such topical questions as European racism, the notion of the border, whether a European citizenship is possible or desirable, violence and politics, and identity and emancipation.


  • Étienne Balibar: The relations Greece and Europe need (Part II)

    Below is the second part of Grèce Hebdo’s exclusive interview with Étienne Balibar (read the first part here), May 2015. Translated by David Broder.

    You adopt Badiou’s term ‘zoning’ [zonage], in order to talk about one part of Europe that’s transforming another part into an internal post-colony. What form does this zoning currently take?

    I have a lot of political disagreements with Badiou, because he doesn’t understand an awful lot about politics. Though he is truly brilliant, from a political point of view he lives in a world that isn’t the real world: he lives in the world of communist ideas. We agree on a lot of things, for example the need to organise a movement in solidarity with Greece.

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  • Appeal in support of the La Chapelle migrants

    A petition created on the initiative of the Collectif de soutien des migrants de la Chapelle, which has already been signed by a number of intellectuals and artists, including Verso authors Etienne BalibarEric Hazan and Sophie Wahnichcalls for a general mobilisation: "We will fight for them but also to defend our society, faced with this aggression by the public authorities. We are determined to make sure that the wrongs perpetrated against our migrant sisters and brothers are undone, and that in our country human dignity and the right to asylum are respected". Translated by David Broder.

    Many hundreds of migrants coming from various African countries, fleeing the untenable situations in their respective lands, had been living under the La Chapelle overhead metro station since August 2014, before the so-called "sanitary and humanitarian" measures carried out on 2 June 2015. Here we will not delve into the dirty details of this operation; but it meant that the migrants’ encampment was cleared out and entirely destroyed.

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  • Christian Salmon: Marine Le Pen, the symbolic father

    On Tuesday, Marine Le Pen, leader of France's Front National, announced the formation of a far-right bloc in the European Parliament, bringing together 36 lawmakers from seven countries. Christian Salmon examines the symbolic play that has earned Le Pen her particular brand of reasonableness, including her relationship with her "comic devil" father, founder of the Front National. Translated by David Broder; visit Libération to read the article in French. 

    French National Front leader Marine Le Pen and her father, the party’s founder and honorary president Jean-Marie Le Pen. Photograph: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Image

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Other books by Etienne Balibar