By Bonnie Honig
Sophocles' Antigone is a touchstone in democratic, feminist and criminal conception, and doubtless the main commented upon play within the historical past of philosophy and political idea. Bonnie Honig's rereading of it for this reason consists of intervening in a bunch of literatures and unsettling a lot of their governing assumptions. Exploring the facility of Antigone in numerous political, cultural, and theoretical settings, Honig identifies the 'Antigone-effect' – which strikes those that enlist Antigone for his or her politics from activism into lamentation. She argues that Antigone's personal lamentations will be obvious not only as symptoms of dissidence yet really as markers of a rival international view with its personal sovereignty and power. Honig argues that the play doesn't supply easily a version for resistance politics or 'equal dignity in death', yet a extra optimistic politics of counter-sovereignty and team spirit which emphasizes equality in existence.
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Additional resources for Antigone, Interrupted
Where earlier Loraux thought the city of forgetting’s ban on laments was upheld by staging banned laments safely away from the city in the circumscribed space and time of the theater, now she wonders whether maybe the opposite is taking place: what if tragedy did not interpellate citizens into polis ideology, as she earlier argued, but instead interpellated spectators into membership in an extra-political community? 22 This is the alternative to the divisive and political city: a humanism that threatens the polis’ narrow citizenship ideology.
When Sheehan takes a stand on behalf of a dead loved one against the unapologetic sovereign power of the state, she calls to mind none other than Antigone. The comparison may enrich our (not unqualiﬁed) appreciation of Sheehan, who does not keen; she makes demands. ”42 Second, rather than take up the “Gold Star Mother” identity oﬀered to those who have lost children in the military, Sheehan helps found (along with Lila Lipscomb and others) Gold Star Families for Peace in 2005, a paciﬁst parody of the oﬃcial organization of maternal mourning.
The historic alliance of mothering with mourning does not just maternalize lamentation, it also naturalizes motherhood and invests it with 16 Interruption ideological power. ), not an idealized, extrapolitical relationship but an always already politicized construct or artiﬁce. Still, a focus on sorority, licensed by the play and hinted at in Germany in Autumn, may help to undo maternalism’s extra-political spell by decentering maternalism and pluralizing kinship. But the problem here is not ﬁnally maternalism, nor any other kin-based ideology: at stake always in maternalism, sorority, and (the more usually invoked) fraternity is humanism, to which I now turn.