Urbane Ethiken

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Ethics of Dwelling, Politics of World-Building, Attunement

Jarrett Zigon, University of Amsterdam

What is the relation between certain forms of political ontologies and ethics? In this essay I take up this question through a rethinking of responsibility in terms of attunement. I do this by looking at the unique case of Vancouver, Canada and the enactment of what I call a politics of world-building motivated by an ethics of dwelling. I show that the approach taken in Vancouver differs significantly from a biopolitical model in that in contrast to the linear and individualized approach taken by the latter, Vancouver activists are in the process of creating a new world that is primarily characterized as being attuned with itself. As a new world attuned to itself it is always open to becoming otherwise. For to be attuned to itself, a world must always be open to becoming something that it is currently not. Thus, in contrast to the limitations of biopolitics and responsibilization, it will be argued that a politics of world-building and attunement entail a process of becoming and therefore enacts a kind of freedom that could be described as openness.

Jarrett Zigon is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at the University of Amsterdam. He has also been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, and a visiting scholar at Columbia University.