chapter  4
23 Pages

Borderline Animal

Reflections on Derrida’s Hedgehog
WithBrian O’Keeffe

This chapter takes up one theoretical dimension of biopolitical potential: namely, the problematic animal/human divisions of theoretical inquiry. Rather than rest on a précis of philosophical fault lines, it pays close attention to the border thinking of Derrida in this regard, where the border is the never less than vexed determination of life and death (the biotheoretical heart of biopolitics). Using Derrida’s discussion of the hedgehog, and the “hedgehog poem” as a critical topos, this chapter provides a provocative deconstruction of Heideggerian definitions of animal and animality. Through a careful consideration of being-near-to and being-next-to, it raises the stakes on the explanatory power of biotheory.