The concept of ‘the everyday’: Ephemeral politics and the abundance of life

Xavier Guillaume, Jef Huysmans

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    Against the background of a continuing interest in the everyday in international relations, this article asks what kind of analytics upon and within the world mobilises one through the concept of the everyday and what consequences this may have for thinking about politics. In particular, it explores a conception of the the everyday that foregrounds the abundance of human life and ephemeral temporalities. The abundance of life invites a densification of politics combined with an emphasis on displacing levels or scales by associative horizontal relations. The ephemeral introduces a conception of temporality that foregrounds the political significance of fleeting practices and the emergent nature of life. When applied to politics, this conception of the everyday performs politics as emergent, as possibilities that are not already defined by fixing what politics can possibly be. The order of politics is then understood as an immanently precarious succession of situations and practices in which lived political lives remain inherently aleatory, momentary and emergent rather than as an order of mastering the political. The concept of the everyday, thus draws attention to the immanent elusiveness and fragility of politics as it loses its ground, its referent.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)278-296
    Number of pages19
    JournalCooperation and Conflict
    Issue number2
    Early online date1-Dec-2018
    Publication statusPublished - Jun-2019


    • PEOPLE
    • CITY

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