Australian Journal of French Studies

Towards an Ethics of Distance: Representation, Free Production and Virtuality

Australian Journal of French Studies (2016), 53, (1-2), 23–38.

Abstract

This article takes it inspiration from a crisis between Deleuzian free production and representation in contemporary virtual and digital culture. The aim is to sketch a different ethics to the ethics of difference between free production and representation as described by Deleuze and Guattari and invoked by Michel Foucault in his preface to Anti-Oedipe. This article outlines the case for an ethical relationality between these two structures which reflects the socio-political and ethical exigencies of our virtual and digital cultures: specifically, an ethics of relationality derived paradoxically from the distance inscribed in ethical philosophy. Drawing on an amalgamation of Ricoeurean ethics and social constructionism in a definition of selfhood, I argue for the need to stand back from the distanciating effects of the virtual revolution – not with a view to approximating the cultural politics of specificity in the logic of representation – but to see in the gap in “distance from” specificity, a space of ethical and philosophical agency wherein lies the value-added of otherness.

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Author details

McCaffrey, Enda