The (Voided) Origin of Social Relations

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This article positions relational social theories against theories of non-relation. Relational social theories consider relations to be primary as opposed to objects. In contrast, two theoretical positions—psychoanalysis and Marxism—hold non-relation (or void) as the origin of any social relations. Not coincidentally, psychoanalysis and Marxism also hold the position of the subject, which relational social theories abolish as yet another object. What makes the link between non-relation and subject possible for psychoanalysis and Marxism, is the affirmation of a constitutive negativity embodied in-and-through social antagonisms of sexuality and class-struggle. The article shows, therefore, that by precluding this constitutive negativity, relational social theories lose sight of these two critical sites.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-527
Number of pages21
JournalPhilosophy Today
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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