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‘‘ There they are tied together, and there they are undone.’’ Jacques Derrida (1999, page 44) Introduction Near the start of the formal discussion of dwelling in Totality and Infinity Emmanuel Levinas comments that ‘‘Concretely speaking the dwelling is not situated in the objective world, but the objective world is situated by relation to my dwelling’’ (1969, page 153). In many respects this line captures both the critical potential and the ambiguity contained by the concept of dwelling; indeed, the concept may be defined by this double inheritance of potential and ambiguity, an inheritance which besets it at all points and which is inseparable from the work of Martin Heidegger.The difficulty presented by, on the one hand, the fact that from the Frieburg (Heidegger, 1999 [1923]) lecture courses to ‘‘The origin of the work of art’’ (1971 [1935]) and later works such as Building Dwelling Thinking (1993a [1951]) the concept plays a key role in the develop- ment of Heidegger’s critique of Western metaphysics and, on the other, seems consistently implicated within debates over the nature of the Vaterland, Heimat, Geist, and Volk. It is in the knowledge of this difficult inheritance, indeed because of it, that Levinas takes up the concept of dwelling and seeks to rework it in his own writings. A reworking which was, to use his well-known words, ‘‘governed by a profound need to leave the climate of that [Heidegger’s] philosophy’’ while at the same time bound by the stricture that ‘‘we cannot leave it for a philosophy that would be pre-Heideggerian’’ (Levinas, 1978, page 19). This paper consists of a double reading of the concept of dwelling; in the two major sections ö‘‘Homecoming’’ and ‘‘Threshold’’ öI present selections from and commenta- ries on Heidegger’s and Levinas’s articulations of dwelling, respectively. The concept certainly has a history within the discipline, particularly through the humanistic tradi- tion (see, for example, Adams et al, 2001; Buttimer and Seamon, 1980; Seamon, 1993a; The space between us: opening remarks on the concept of dwelling Paul Harrison Department of Geography, University of Durham, Science Laboratories, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE, England; e-mail: [email protected] Received 18 December 2003; in revised form 10 February 2006 Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 2007, volume 25, pages 625 ^ 647 Abstract. Somewhat surprisingly the concept of dwelling remains largely unconsidered within contemporary geographical thought. Despite signs of a renewed interest in the term it remains all but bereft of a sustained critical appraisal and as a consequence firmly tied to the name and writing of Martin Heidegger. The aim of this paper is to begin to open the concept up beyond this attachment and to provide a rationale for its reassessment. Through a double reading of dwelling, once via Heidegger and again via Emmanuel Levinas, I offer a twofold consideration of how the concept can be assembled, orientated, and organised. Where Heidegger organises and articulates the concept around an enclosed figure being-at-home-in-the-world for Levinas dwelling gains its significance from a constitutive openness to the incoming of the other. These are two accounts, then, which differ radically in their apprehension of the concept and in the unfolding of its implications but which agree on the central importance of the concept in the determination, figuring, and phrasing of subjectivity, sociality, and signification. Ultimately, what emerges from these opening remarks is a depiction of two attempts to make thought respond to and reckon with the event of space: two attempts to bring to thought the space between us. DOI:10.1068/d365t
  • There they are tied together, and there they are undone.''Jacques Derrida (1999, page 44)

    IntroductionNear the start of the formal discussion of dwelling in Totality and Infinity EmmanuelLevinas comments that `` Concretely speaking the dwelling is not situated in theobjective world, but the objective world is situated by relation to my dwelling'' (1969,page 153). In many respects this line captures both the critical potential and theambiguity contained by the concept of dwelling; indeed, the concept may be definedby this double inheritance of potential and ambiguity, an inheritance which besets it atall points and which is inseparable from the work of Martin Heidegger. The difficultypresented by, on the one hand, the fact that from the Frieburg (Heidegger, 1999 [1923])lecture courses to `` The origin of the work of art'' (1971 [1935]) and later works such asBuilding Dwelling Thinking (1993a [1951]) the concept plays a key role in the develop-ment of Heidegger's critique of Western metaphysics and, on the other, seemsconsistently implicated within debates over the nature of the Vaterland, Heimat, Geist,and Volk. It is in the knowledge of this difficult inheritance, indeed because of it, thatLevinas takes up the concept of dwelling and seeks to rework it in his own writings. Areworking which was, to use his well-known words, `` governed by a profound need toleave the climate of that [Heidegger's] philosophy'' while at the same time bound by thestricture that `` we cannot leave it for a philosophy that would be pre-Heideggerian''(Levinas, 1978, page 19).

    This paper consists of a double reading of the concept of dwelling; in the two majorsections`` Homecoming'' and `` Threshold''I present selections from and commenta-ries on Heidegger's and Levinas's articulations of dwelling, respectively. The conceptcertainly has a history within the discipline, particularly through the humanistic tradi-tion (see, for example, Adams et al, 2001; Buttimer and Seamon, 1980; Seamon, 1993a;

    The space between us: opening remarks on the conceptof dwelling

    Paul HarrisonDepartment of Geography, University of Durham, Science Laboratories, South Road, DurhamDH1 3LE, England; e-mail: [email protected] 18 December 2003; in revised form 10 February 2006

    Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 2007, volume 25, pages 625 ^ 647

    Abstract. Somewhat surprisingly the concept of dwelling remains largely unconsidered withincontemporary geographical thought. Despite signs of a renewed interest in the term it remains allbut bereft of a sustained critical appraisal and as a consequence firmly tied to the name and writing ofMartin Heidegger. The aim of this paper is to begin to open the concept up beyond this attachmentand to provide a rationale for its reassessment. Through a double reading of dwelling, once viaHeidegger and again via Emmanuel Levinas, I offer a twofold consideration of how the concept canbe assembled, orientated, and organised. Where Heidegger organises and articulates the conceptaround an enclosed figure being-at-home-in-the-world for Levinas dwelling gains its significancefrom a constitutive openness to the incoming of the other. These are two accounts, then, which differradically in their apprehension of the concept and in the unfolding of its implications but which agreeon the central importance of the concept in the determination, figuring, and phrasing of subjectivity,sociality, and signification. Ultimately, what emerges from these opening remarks is a depiction of twoattempts to make thought respond to and reckon with the event of space: two attempts to bring tothought the space between us.


  • Seamon and Mugerauer, 1985), and it is possible to discern a renewed interest in theconcept within human geography and across the social sciences more broadly, onewhich is (or at least seeks to be) distinct from this tradition (see, for example, Chambers,2001; Cloke and Jones, 2001; Elden, 2001; Harrison, 2000; Harvey, 1996; Ingold, 2000;Obrador-Pons, 2003; Thrift, 1996; 1999; Urry, 2000; Wylie, 2002).Whereas in humanist-inclined writing the emphasis in the use of the concept of dwelling tends to fall upon an`` ontological vision'' of `` togetherness, belonging and wholeness'' and so on the discern-ment of natural `` underlying patterns structures and relationships'' (Seamon, 1993b,page 16, original emphasis) in human spatial being, the latter engagements tend topromote a radical relationality, finding in the concept of dwelling less a naturalismthan an incipient antihumanism, posthumanism, or transhumanism and a performativeaccount of existence. Hence, for example, Paul Cloke and Owain Jones (2001) and NigelThrift (1996; 1999) find a precursor to actor-network theory in the concept of dwellingand, along with Stuart Elden (2001) and John Wylie (2002), understand dwelling aspreparing the ground for a broadly understood poststructuralist engagement with spaceand spatiality. Still, it is perhaps easy to overestimate the differences here for there isalso much continuity. For example, in nearly all the texts cited above rarely is theconcept itself subject to sustained analysis, tending to be mobilised via expositionthan through critical analysis. Moreover, even more rarely are various lives of the con-cept after Heidegger taken into account (but see Casey, 1997; Elden, 2001; Mugerauer,1995; Popke, 2003). Indeed, in reading recent engagements with the concept it would beeasy to come away with the impression that discussion around dwelling begins and endswith Heidegger, and yet this is patently not the case. One need only take a brief glance atContinental thought since Heidegger to notice the concept being passed between manyhands and the problem it names being dissimulated under various proximal terms. Toname only the most prominent, the concept has provoked clear and sustained responsesfrom Henri Lefebvre in his accounts of the production of space, Jean-Luc Nancy oncommunity, Luce Irigaray on relations between the sexes and to nature, Derridaon hospitality, and, as already suggested, Levinas on the relation to alterity. At crucialmoments of their thought each of these writers seeks in some way to respond to the issueand to the problem which Heidegger's thought of dwelling poses. Beginning to acknowl-edge and work through this conceptual genealogy forms the basic premise of the paper,the central claim being that, although there can be no doubt that in its contemporaryform the discourse on dwelling is founded by and in Heidegger's writing, it both does notand should not be allowed to end there.

    As noted above, in this paper I have chosen to pursue this claim over the inher-itance of dwelling through a commentary on and comparison of Heidegger's andLevinas's development of the concept. What is intriguing and provocative about theaccount of dwelling to be found in Levinas's writing is the explicit aim to write fromHeidegger: an attempt to think through and after Heidegger's words in the hope ofrestating the concept otherwise, despite the many difficulties and tensions involved.And these difficulties and tensions are manifold. Even today, for example, it is rare tofind an account of dwelling within the social sciences which is not quick to wash itshands of the putative nationalism and authenticity which are embedded within theconcept. Hence Thrift comments on the `` implicit romanticism ... which associatescertain practices with a transcendental authority in such dangerous ways'' (1999,page 310), and Cloke and Jones note the `` sinister (nationalist) rustic romanticismwhich pervades Heidegger's ideas'' (2001, page 661). Beyond these engaged and largelysympathetic readings it remains the case that the simple invocation of dwelling can alltoo often provoke a reaction akin to allergy; an engagement with Heidegger's thoughtalways risking critiques familiar since Theodore Adorno's dismissal of Heidegger's

    626 P Harrison

  • philosophy as ``fascist to its very core'' (quoted in Wolin, 2001, page 50). As we shallsee, in many respects Levinas could be read as supporting such a view. Certainly,he did not consider Heidegger's involvement with National Socialism as a simple lapsein judgment on the philosopher's part and often made explicit his belief in the linkbetween Heidegger's thought and an incipient totalitarianism (see Levinas, 1969, 1989a;1997; 2001). Yet, at the same time, Levinas repeatedly insists that it is only through asustained engagement with Heidegger's thought that one can come to such a judgment.As he comments somewhat sternly in one of many articles dedicated to the issue ofHeidegger and fascism: `` To reject'' Heidegger's thought `` it is first necessary to refuteit'' (Levinas, 1989a, page 488). Allergic to Heidegger or not we should bear Levinas'comment in mind for it is not enough to dismiss the concept of dwelling by reducingthe issue to one of ad hominem; nor is it enough to note that within the social and politicalhistory of Europe the signifier `Black Forest' has a number of unpleasant connotationsand thereby to reject proudly Heidegger's rural aestheticism as intrinsically reactionary.Similarlyand however well intentioned and pragmatically justifiablea simple gestureof hand washing and conceptual rinsing, as in `we shall keep this concept, keep what itnames, while discarding the aspects and connotations we do not feel are appropriate', is inreality no more than a way of buying time, a way of putting off an engagement which is allthe more necessary and urgent because of its circumvention. To put it bluntly, each of theseresponses leaves everything in place, leaves Heidegger's determination of dwelling undis-turbed, intact, and operative, and in so doing fails the task of this difficult inheritance.Again, what is interesting in reading Levinas on dwelling is howdespite the difficultiesand tensions involved and despite the fact that he had more reasons to than mosthe doesnot simply discard the concept. Rather, it is precisely in order to reorient the concept thathe takes it up: to expose the determinations of subjectivity, sociality, and significationwhich arise from and through an attempt to reckon the event of space in terms of being-at-home-in-the-world and so allow for another reckoning or account. However, beforecontinuing it is perhaps necessary to ask quite what it is that may be found within theconcept that warrants such claims and that deserves the attention of social scientists, andof geographers in particular? What is the issue and problem that the concept of dwellingposes?

    In giving an answer now, in this introduction, I am forced to rush ahead to thesections which follow, for to ask this question is to ask `what is dwelling?': `What is itthat the concept seeks to name and to reckon?' The reader will perhaps be best advisedto consider what follows in the understanding that in the sections below I will attempt toclarify and work out the implications. So, with this reservation made, most directlyand simply put the concept of dwelling is an attempt to think of space neither as aKantian a priori nor as an outcome or an attribute (that is, solely as a `social con-struction' or another factor to be factored in or out). Neither a given nor a result.Rather, and to use Ulf Strohmayer's (1998) phrase, the concept of dwelling indicates anattempt to think `the event of space'. To invoke the concept of dwelling is alwaysto attempt to re-call, to restate or rephrase, an ur-concept; it is to describe an originaryspacing. An originary and thus potentially immemorial spacing in that the knowing,conscious subject will always constitute its distances, perspective, gaze, or narrativefrom the intimacy of dwelling. Hence the concept of dwelling is neither Realist norIdealist. Indeed, these two positions are, from the event of dwelling, synonymous. Alltoo often we fall foul of the Idealist fallacy of positing a priori a subject who con-stitutes the world through representing it to itself, forgetting and covering up that allthis happens `` precisely after the event'' (Levinas, 1969, page 153, original emphasis),after the subject has dwelt therein. And the same is true of objects of knowledge, of theworld as such. As Heidegger writes of Immanuel Kant's remarks on the `scandal of

    Opening remarks on the concept of dwelling 627

  • philosophy', any attempt to pin down or prove anything about the nature of the worldor Reality which does not take in this event of being-in-the-world also `` comes too late'':The `scandal of philosophy' is not that this proof [of the external world] has yet tobe given, but that such proofs are expected and attempted again and again. Suchexpectations, aims and demands arise from an ontologically inadequate way ofstarting with something of such a character that independently of it and `outside'of it a `world' is to be proved as present-at-hand. It is not that the proofs areinadequate, but that the kind of Being of the entity which does the proving andmakes requests for proofs has not been made definite enough'' (1962, page 249,original emphasis; see Kant, 1929, page 34).

    Thus the thought of dwelling begins as little with the extant world, the outside, and theobjective as it does with the ego, the private, or the subjective. Indeed, from here`subject' and `world', `inside' and `outside', `private' and `public' are lines or planesdescending from the event of dwelling. Hence, for both Heidegger and Levinas,dwelling is a middle term, always held between these horizons; it names the inflectionof space, the twisting and crisscrossing of interiority and exteriority from which boththese horizons gain their sense. Already we may begin to see that the concept ofdwelling is not simply a synonym for a reactionary, antimodern, and romanticisedworld of peasant shoes. Ratherand as that which allows for such connotations andassemblages to gatherdwelling names the binding and the manner of this binding ofsuch shoes and world (see Derrida, 1991a).

    We may now suggest an initial response to the question of what is named by theconcept. Pared down to its minimum, dwelling is a way of naming the relation, one tothe other. Or almost. We should be careful in this reduction of the concept to a namefor the minima of relation, as such a reduction can miss precisely what calls out forattention. Even as dwelling names relation it also names the constitutive necessity ofthe taking-place of relation: dwelling; that is to say, no relation without spacing. It is thiscorrective which prevents all the talk of dwelling from being a series of analogies forthe apparently more serious matter of ontological investigation. Indeed, one often findscommentaries which seek to cut away the apparently `sinister' or `frivolous'dependingon your viewaspects of Heidegger's discussions of dwelling in favour of recovering aseries of ontological propositions about the nature of spatial being, as if the former weresuperfluous, mere metaphorical flourishes compared with the serious business of thelatter. And, yet, what is at stake in the concept of dwelling is not simply or not only aseries of ontological propositions on the nature of place or space, but alsoandinseparablyan engagement with an exteriority that thought cannot quite master, orat least not without sublation or foreclosure. As Derrida comments, the issue ofresidence, of the familiar place, `` inasmuch as it is a manner of being there'' is insep-arably bound up with `` the manner in which we relate to ourselves and to others'' (2001,pages 16 ^ 17). Therefore, to describe and to determine the concept of dwelling is to workin two potentially irreconcilable registers at once: the ontological certainly, but also theethical. The putatively `metaphorical'the poetic, tonal, metricalnature of discus-sions of dwelling stem from the fact that willingly or not, perhaps even knowingly ornot, any discourse on dwelling is bound up with reckoning the relation `` to the otherthan oneself, the other than `its other', to an other who is beyond any `its other' '' (2002b,page 364). Understood in this manner, the concept of dwelling does nothingor hasbeen allowed to do nothingif it does not in some way disturb the priority ofcomprehension and the self-sufficiency of ontology. And for this reason we should placealongside Heidegger's warning of the thought of dwelling c`oming too late' the equallyimportant caveat that this thought, this calculation and reckoning of the space between

    628 P Harrison

  • us, could also c`ome too soon'. In many ways this problematic defines the threat and thepromise that the concept of dwelling retains.

    HomecomingWhen the workplace, the loom, the cloth itselfhave all evaporatedwe ought to discover foot prints in the damp earth ...''

    from Things Seen, Philippe Jaccottet (1994 [1983], page 49)

    It would be a mistake to think that there is one consistent and explicit conceptualisa-tion of and discourse on space and spatiality across Heidegger's work. Although it iscertainly the case that the themes of space and spatiality are at once central toHeidegger's discussions, they are, at the same time, often secondary to his overt aimsand themes. This is most clearly the case in Being and Time (1962), where a thought ofspace and spatiality is essential to the development of the key terms of Dasein (Being-there) and Being-in-the-world and is at once far removed from the text's overalldirection. Beyond this example it is certainly the case that Heidegger's thinking ofspace shifts across his oeuvre and it is not my aim here to give a detailed accountof these shifts (for overviews see Casey, 1997; Elden, 2001; Villela-Petit, 1996). Equally,it is not and could not be my aim to give anything like a summary of Heidegger'sthought within this paper.(1) Rather, in this section I want to consider a sequence ofthree scenes from Heidegger's writing and use these to reflect upon the organisationof the concept of dwelling in his thought. It is undoubtedly the case that Heidegger'scomments on dwelling circulate through a distinctive lexicon of themes and images;from the Hu tte in Todtnau to the writings on the poetry of Ho lderlin, his explorationsand reflections on the concept of dwelling are implicated in an imaginary geographybound to a romantic nationalism. Howeverand following the comments in theintroductionwhat concerns me below are not these significations per se but ratherhow they are aligned, orientated, and organised.(2) The remarks on dwelling presentedbelow are preoccupied with Heidegger's comments insofar as they attempt to trace anoutline of and reckon by a certain figurea figure without whose affordances, postures,and gait this imaginary geography, such a mise-en-sce ne as that of the Black Forestlandscape, would be inert. Similarly, Karl Lo weth (1993 [1939]) traced out the posturesof such a figure, exploring how the sense of Heidegger's comments in the 1930semerges from and gains its coherence and orientation via the portrayal of Dasein'scomportment (`` hard, inexorable and severe, taut and sharp'') and attitude (`` `to decidefor oneself '; `to take stoke of oneself in the face of nothingness'; `wanting one's own-most destiny' '', `` to encounter and expose oneself to danger'') (1993 [1939], pages173 ^ 178). Copula such as these give the internal sense or light of Heidegger's land-scapes; like the fire in a lamp they illuminate the situation, filling it with signification,for it is only in terms of Dasein's how, of its manner of stepping-forth, that horizons foraction are disclosed and its potentiality-to-be realised. Without the firmness of stance,the `` gravity of the mountains and the hardness of their primeval rock'' (Heidegger,1994, page 427) could not loom forth as such. In this way Heidegger's writings on

    (1) There are many excellent introductions to Heidegger's work both early and late (see Caputo,1987; 1993; Casey, 1997; Clark, 2002; Dreyfus, 1991; Elden, 2001; Holland and Huntington, 2001;Kisiel, 1993; Mulhall, 1996; Polt, 1999; Villela-Petit, 1996).(2) The imagery of the Volk and Heimat present in Heidegger's writings has and continues to bedocumented and analysed, and I do not wish to rehearse these investigations here (see, for example,Bourdieu, 1991; Caputo, 1993; Derrida, 1987a; 1989; Froment-Meurice, 1995; Lacoue-Labarthe,1990; Lyotard, 1990; Safranski, 1998; Wolin, 1993).

    Opening remarks on the concept of dwelling 629

  • dwelling are both harbingers of and monuments to a certain figure, a figure that standsbeforeis summed to, and dreamt across, all instantiations. A figure who would bindthem together into one texture, or one geography.

    The discussion which follows moves through a reading of three scenes fromHeidegger's work. In each of these scenes a certain figure in a certain con-figurationand thus in a certain world or `worlding' is at stake. At stake insofar as each of thescenes is engaged with an underlying tension in Heidegger's reflections on space andspatiality. Although, as noted, there is no single conceptualisation of spatiality acrossHeidegger's work, there is, I would suggest, a constant tension inflecting his writingson the topic. Indicatively, as both John Caputo (1993; 2001), and Theodore Kisiel(1993) note, this tension, this risk or trial, can be found in Heidegger's early theologicalwritings, where Caputo draws out the similarities between Saint Augustine's andHeidegger's views of factical life:We are scattered abroad and disseminated into many thing (in multa defleximus)but we are gathered back into the unity of our being by the work of continentia,self-containment, self-possession. Factical life transpires in the distance betweenthese possibilities, in the freedom to either give in to the fall, the pull of the world,or to pull oneself together'' (2001, page 152, original emphasis).

    Along with Caputo, what I want to draw attention to here is the phrasing of a tensionbetween scattering and self-containment. Moving forward, throughout Being and TimeDasein is in constant danger of becoming, or needing to recover from being, `dispersed'(zerstreuet), `scattered', `strewn' (steruen), or `bedazzled' (benommen) by, and ultimately`lost' (verlassen) within (its) existence. Michael Haar (1993) picks up this tension in hisconsideration of the `resolute' and the e`veryday' in the work, highlighting Heidegger'srepeated insistence that Dasein must be protected against the disorder of the everydayworld, must resolutely turn away from insinuating distractions and pull itself together`` in order to find the c`onstancy of the Self,' `the stability of existence', `the Self 'sresoluteness against the inconsistency of dispersion' '' (1993, page 27, original emphasis).Throughout Being and Time there is an ever-present threat to Dasein's spatiality andcoherence, as if certain events or configurations of space and spatiality could endangerDasein's `` originary distances'' (Heidegger, 1998, page 135) with the threat of the defor-mation or decomposition and evacuation of Being-there. Moving on again, in the lecture`` What calls for thinking?'' there is, as Derrida (1987a) traces, a similar and persistentdisseminative threat looming, the threat of `floundering', c`ommonness' and `drift', of aloss or a failure to gain resolution.(3)

    The promise of a figure and the threat of dispersionthese terms give us anindication of how Heidegger will organise the thought of dwelling. And here we maysuggest, at least initially, that Heidegger's thought of space is already in a movement ofenclosure, is already informed by a protective, preservative, impulse: already expressinga `` desire for the safe and sound, for the intact or immune (heilige), the pure, purified orpurifying'' (Derrida and Stiegler, 2002, page 134, original emphasis). A desire, perhaps,for a figure who could not be contaminated in or by the event of space, for that whichshall not be `` corrupted through articulation ... shall not pass through the ontic in anyessential way'' (Wood, 2002, page 147). For one who could pass through the worldunaffected, untouched, and unmoved, as it were.

    Before exploring these issues in more detail it is important to note that althoughHeidegger insists that Dasein has an ` e`ssential tendency to closeness '' (1962, page 140,

    (3) Here, in particular, we may think of how in this lecture Heidegger inserts an absolute andarguably arbitrary division between the human and the animal, as if the latter threatened tocontaminate, disturb, and displace the figure of the former (see Caputo, 1993; Derrida, 1987a;1989; Glendinning, 1998; Krell, 1992).

    630 P Harrison

  • original emphasis) the threat to Dasein's `originary distances', to its configuration, is notsimply that of the `far' as opposed to the c`lose'. Via the concept of de-severance (1962,23), Heidegger clearly designates the `far' and the `remote' as particular modulations ofthe c`lose'; both `near' and `far' are already within the orbit of Being-in-the-world. Ratherthan a disjuncture between the `far' and the c`lose', the tension with which we areconcerned is between the orientated, gathered distances and modulations of a spatialitywhich are shaped by and to Dasein's figurewhich are proper to and for itand by thethreat of an unravelling spatiality of seemingly random proliferations which are neither`near' nor `far' but rather altogether other than, alien to, and disruptive of Dasein's`ownmost' distances.(4)

    The first scene comes from Being and Time and occurs at the point where Heideggeris describing the nature of the `ready-to-hand' and the `towards-which' of equipment.Here Heidegger uses perhaps the best known example in Division I of Being and Timeto demonstrate his analysis, that of a craftsman in his workshop. Heidegger's persistentuse of this example or of ones closely allied to it bespeak his anti-intellectualist andantisubstantive ontology insofar as Heidegger uses these examples to explore and explainhow `things' are disclosed primordially not as representations or as brute things but asmeans and intermediaries for action. For Heidegger, `` To see something is to see what it isfor; we see not shapes but possibilities'' (Lingis, 1996, page 14). We will return to thesepoints below; for now, however, let us consider the scene in question.The work produced [by the craftsman] refers not only to the `towards-which' of itsusability and the `whereof ' of which it consists: under simple craft conditions it alsohas an assignment to the person who is to use it or wear it. The work is cut to hisfigure; he `is' there along with it as the work emerges. Even when goods areproduced by the dozen, this constitutive assignment is by no means lacking;it is merely indefinite, and points to the random, the average'' (Heidegger, 1962,page 100).

    Despite what I have said above, here we should pay attention to the fact that in thispassage Heidegger is describing a relationship beyond `useability', beyond the avail-ability of the thing to be put to use in another task or to be readily exchanged foranother. Here he is describing an assignment of jemeinigkeitof `mineness'; the handi-work is c`ut to his figure '. With the phrase `under simple craft conditions' we are (back)in a premercantile economy characterised by a particular lexicon of giving, bestowingand belonging (Wood, 1993). Certainly, `even when goods are produced by the dozen'this assignment is `by no means lacking' but it has undoubtedly undergone alterationand degeneration. As the work is no longer c`ut to his figure' the assignment is now`indefinite, random, and average'. From the nearness given in handiwork the assign-ment has fallen into an immeasurable distance, without orientation, neither `near' nor`far'. Thus while Heidegger's initial discussions of the workshop exemplify his accountof the ready-to-hand and the task-orientated Umwelt, with this passage it seems as ifHeidegger were recalling the craftsman not just to inform us of the holistic relationalityof Being-in-the-world but, at the same time, to highlight a `good' proxemics: a `proper'c`loseness' of figure and world which is marked by the term `Jemeinigkeit'.

    Heidegger expressed similar concerns more explicitly and in greater detail twenty-five years later in the lecture `` What calls for thinking?'' (delivered in the same yearas `` Building dwelling thinking''). This time he uses the example of a cabinetmaker'sapprentice to illustrate his concerns:

    (4) Here we should note the semantic cluster in Heidegger's work which condenses around theterms eigen, eigest (own, ownmost), in particular Jemeinigkeit (mineness), eigentlich (authentic,real, proper), Ereignis (event), Eighenschaft (property), and Auge (eye).

    Opening remarks on the concept of dwelling 631

  • His [the apprentice's] learning is not mere practice, to gain facility in using tools.Nor does he merely gather knowledge about the customary forms of the things heis to build. If he is to become a true cabinet maker, he makes himself answer andrespond above all to the different kinds of wood and to the shapes slumberingwithin the woodto wood as it enters into man's dwelling with all the hiddenriches of its essence. In fact, this relatedness to wood is what maintains the wholecraft. Without that relatedness, the craft would never be anything but empty busywork ... . Every handicraft, all human dealings, are constantly in that danger''(1993b, page 379).

    There have been a number of developments in Heidegger's argument. The assignmentof `mineness' is now described in terms of the craftsman's ability to `answer andrespond' to the wood insofar as the wood enters the place inhabited by `man'enters`his' dwelling. This relationship is not a simple matter of property; it is ordered not interms of `empty busy work', but in terms of maintaining the dwelling proper to man.Indeed, that which falls outside this dwelling, which threatens it, threatens precisely thehand in its proper task; it threatens to dismember and scatter `his' figure and thencethe place inhabited by `him'. Heidegger's implicit hierarchy and evaluation are clear:on the one hand, but also above, towards the best, handiwork (Handwerk) guidedby the essence of the human dwelling, by the wood of the hut rather than the metalor glass of the cities; on the other hand, but also below, the activity which cuts thehand off from the essential, useful activity, utilitarianism guided by capital'' (Derrida,1987a, page 170, original emphasis).

    Here again, underwriting this hierarchy, there is a re-calling and a re-collection of afigure in a `proper' disposition. The lexicon which, I noted above, was initiated with theterm `simple craft conditions' is now mobilised throughout, circumscribing and circum-scribed by a g`round-plan' (grundlegung) of `proper' meanings: by a diagrammingof sensible movements, relations, and actions. Like the resolute stance of Dasein thishandicraft brings Being back to itself; it makes room (Einra umen) for destiny to take-place.

    In both these scenes we may note Heidegger's desire for us to find our footingon the ground of such a fundamental experience and to speak of, by, and from suchoriginary experience. Midway through `` What calls for thinking?'' Heidegger quotes thefirst stanza of Ho lderlin's hymn Mnemosyne:(5)

    `` We are a sign that is not read. `` We are a `monster' void of senseWe feel no pain, we almost have We are outside sorrowLost our tongue in foreign lands.'' And have nearly lost

    Our tongue in foreign lands.''Heidegger (1993b [1951], page 375) Derrida (1987a, page 167)

    How to re-collect the hand and the tongue to their `proper' place? Their `proper' orc`orrect' con-figuration? A question of a `homecoming' (to use the title of another ofHo lderlin's works); a question of a return or repetition; a question of Dasein's `spiri-tual' homeland? Here, in 1947, Heidegger claims that `` the word [homeland] is thoughthere in an essential sense, not patriotically or nationalistically, but in terms of thehistory of Being'' (1993c [1947], page 241). We are now, apparently, beyond a questionof tongues and lands, beyond the `` homecoming [which] is the future of the historicalbeing of the German people'' (2000 [1943], page 48); this recollection is a question ofdisposition and destiny, a question of the tongue, the hand, and the place of Dasein'sdwelling (see Derrida, 1987a).(5) The original section of the poem quoted reads: `` Ein Zeichen sind wir, deutingslos, / Schmerzlossind wir, und haben fast / Die Sprache in der Fremde verloren'' (quoted in Derrida, 1987a,page 166).

    632 P Harrison

  • Before moving on to the final scene it is worth retracing our steps. We have seenhow Heidegger's work is guided by a concern for the `proper' and how this plays itselfout through a tension marked by two distinct semantic clusters: by the lexicon ofc`loseness', `mineness', self-containment, resolution, and, though not in strict opposi-tion, a lexicon of loss, scattering, and dispersion which is not the threat of distancebut rather the disruption of any such measure. Further, it has been noted how thistension is figured in a number of ways, through, for example, the hand, the tongue,the place, all of which can lose their coherence and go astray, can become illegible ornonsensical. However, and at the same time, these `proper' con-figurings are para-doxically removed from ontic concerns and aligned with the `essential' and thusdemarcate a separation from the world and a reserve or reservoir for the `proper'measure or reckoning of the relational account of Being-in-the-world: a reserve whichallows such a reckoning to take-place. On to the third scene.

    In `` Building dwelling thinking'' Heidegger provides an example of dwelling, one inthe region of his own Hu tte:Let us think for a while of a farmhouse in the Black Forest, which was built some twohundred years ago by the dwelling of peasants ... . It placed the farm on the wind-sheltered mountain slope, looking south, among the meadows close to the spring.It gave it the wide overhanging shingle roof whose proper slope bears up under theburden of snow, and that, reaching down, shields the chambers against the stormsof the long winter nights. It did not forget the altear corner behind the communitytable; it made room in its chamber for the hollowed places of childbed and the `treeof the dead'for that is what they call a coffin there: theTotenbaumand in this wayit designed for the different generations under one roof the character of their journeythrough time'' (1993a [1951], pages 361 ^ 362, original emphasis).

    Looking south tells of the rising of the midwinter sun, which, towards noon, finallyappears in the southern sky, casting its light through the windows and across the meadows(see Krell, 1997, page 54). The overhanging roof tells of the depths of the winter; the site onthe leeward side of the mountain tells of the sheltering provided from the icy wind. Thec`hildbed' and the `tree of the dead' describe the sojourn of Dasein between sunrise andsunset through the turning and ever-returning play of time ^ space. It is only in and throughthis handy, pious, cultivated clearing that things gain their `` lingering and hastening, theirremoteness and nearness, their scope and limits'' (Heidegger, 1971 [1935], page 45). With-out such construction, entities do not take on `` their distinctive shapes'' (page 45). Beforethe setting up of the farmhouse there was no place for this destiny to unfold. Only suchbounding frees entities for Dasein's sight (1971 [1935], pages 42 ^ 43; 1993a [1951],page 356). The lack of commas in `` Building dwelling thinking'' should give us (no) pause;Heidegger is claiming that these three are one and the same, to be saidhave been saidin the one and the same breath, by the same tongue, on the same ground. Again, itis possible to glimpse the figure necessary for this configuration, the figure who is beingre-called to be the measure, to gather these scattered and detached things, like those shoespainted by van Gogh, and to `` tie [them] back together to make a present of them''(Derrida, 1991a, page 308; see Heidegger, 1971). And gathered herehand, foot, ear,tongue, and eyethe circuit that charges the mise-en-sce ne of Heidegger's Black Forestlandscape is completed. Without this particular figure in this particular posturethefirmness of his stance, the movement of his hand, the look in his eyewithout his self-possession there is no landscape, no site, no place. And, yet, like an unfulfilled promise,like a mythological hero, this figure is held in reserve, always separated from and immuneto the inflections of the ontic. Always re-called from any threatening implications.

    What can we say about this proper figure and about this moment of revelationand gathering, which is itself a bounding, a boundary work, and thus a measure of

    Opening remarks on the concept of dwelling 633

  • both world and subject? We should note that there is something immobile withinHeidegger's thought of dwelling, something that is always already in place, of place,before the event of dwelling eventuates, something which cannot undergo displacement,and which, in its withdrawal, structures, measures, and calculates how this event`should' unfold. Despite Heidegger's profoundly relational account it is as if thereis always already something removed such that it is immune from the threateningeventuation of taking-place, such that the event of taking-place is itself reined in andcontained. Thus while Heidegger's thought of dwellingderives it power from the thought that it could reverse the condensation effectslocked into identity, or presence [this] caged creature is only released into a pen, inwhich the bars are stronger and the locks more secure'' (Wood, 2002, page 146).

    Perhaps what we should recall at this point is, as Derrida has commented, that `` wewill not get around Freiburg'' (1987b, page 63), for it is precisely the Being of the`we' that is in question here. In Heidegger's re-calling of dwelling lies the forbiddingpromise of an immediate measure and calculation of the space between us, a measurein which there is no distance, separation, or difference for here there is no incommen-surability, no outside to this eschatological immanentism (see Lacoue-Labarthe, 1990).Dasein's proper figure works to articulate space; in his gathering he configures`` spaced out in order to be gathered in a single place'' (Irigaray, 1999, page 125)suchthat Dasein stands side by side, shoulder to shoulder, with brothers. And so what ofthe world and of Heidegger's words on openness? Looking ahead, perhaps we shouldask what is being cleared (out) here for this silent, fraternal gathering? What `` wouldpermit the gathering-together and the arrangement of the whole into the life and Beingof man''? (Irigaray, 1999, page 12).

    Finally, then, and before moving on, it is certainly long past midday and Heidegger'saccount of the farmhouse has the feel of a destination that has long since fallen intodereliction. Can we think of a place which gathers everything into such a simpleonefold? I am reminded of Albrect Du rer's engraving Melencolia, where the figure sitsat twilight surrounded by the tools of active life. (6) At the centre of the composition,held listlessly in the figure's right hand, is a pair of compasses, an instrument symbol-ising the act of giving shape to the world. Disengaged, without sense or direction, thisfigure and its devices ``have become charged with a potential for alienation that trans-forms them into the cipher for something endlessly elusive'' (Agamben, 1996, page 110).Thus Dasein falls into the proliferations of space; split up and dispersed the handcannot perform the task of (re)opening and bounding the world. Yet, with dwellingHeidegger holds out the promise of a repetition, of a return to an originary unity, to anupright figure who is the orient of an infinitely distant homeland. Footsteps to follow in:`` the sons of the homeland, who though far distant from its soil, still gaze in gaiety of thehomeland shining toward them, and devote and sacrifice their life for the still reserved''(Heidegger, 2000 [1943], page 48).

    ThresholdYour eyes in which I travelHave given signs along the roadsA meaning alien to the earth''

    from I Cannot Be Known, Paul Eluard (1988 [1936], page 51)

    My aim now, in this section, is to draw out a number of specific lines of critique thatLevinas develops in relation to Heidegger's thought of dwelling, and to consider how

    (6) An image of Du rer's Melencolia I (1514) can be viewed at http://www.museum.cornell.edu/HFJ/permcoll/pdp/img pr/melen l.jpg.

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  • through these, Levinas seeks to reorient the concept. More precisely, in this section Iconsider how Levinas locates an erasure within Heidegger's account of dwelling andunfolds a number of the consequences thereof.(7) For Levinas, dwelling occurs notthrough the re-collection of Dasein's `originary distances', its proper con-figuration,but rather through a constitutive forgetting. Constitutive insofar as this forgetting erasesthe necessary deflection, itinerary, or imperfection of any recall and thereby allows foran enclosed and frictionless circuit between self and World, and between self andothers located therein. Against this sealing of dwelling, Levinas suggests that anirreducible and irresolvable `relation' to alterity is inherent in and inherently disquiet-ing to any thought of dwelling. Indeed, and as I shall consider below, we may suggestthat it is precisely this unsettling proximity that constitutes the threat to Dasein'scoherence which so concerns Heidegger. So, for Levinas the question is not how togain self-possession from within the thrall of dispersion but how to accede to an un-chosen and constitutive responsibility: `` My basic posture is the for-the-other'' (Levinas,2000, page 158), for-the-other prior to the taking-over of the Da of Dasein. Counter tothe proper figure which concerned us above, guiding the commentary of this sectionis Levinas's characterisation of this `basic posture' of subjectivity. A `basic posture'of passivity and responsibility always prior toand necessarily forgotten withinHeidegger's invocation of Dasein's resolute self-possessiveness. What is a place ofrecollection and gathering for Heidegger is turned inside out and the terms of theprevious section are reversed; the promise of a figure who would be equal to the eventof space, who would or could be at home-with-itself, becomes a threat. Now dwellingis phrased not via a centripetal movement but centrifugally, via a destructuring ofpunctuality and an openness to exterioritymore open than any opening, that is, not open upon the world that is alwaysproportionate to consciousness but open to the other that it does not contain. Inthis responsibility, the `me' does not posit itself but loses its place'' (Levinas, 2000,page 159).

    In Totality and Infinity Levinas writes that dwelling isthe very mode of maintaining oneself [se tenir] ... . The `at home' [Le c`hez soi' ] is nota container but a site where I can, where dependent on a reality that is other, I am,despite this dependence or thanks to it, free. It is enough to walk, to do [ faire], inorder to grasp anything, to take. In a sense everything is in the site, in the lastanalysis everything is at my disposal ... . Everything is here, everything belongs tome; everything is caught up in advance with the primordial occupying of a site,everything is com-prehended'' (1969, pages 37 ^ 38, original emphasis).In this brief outline of dwelling Levinas marks both the closeness of his use of the

    concept to Heidegger's and his divergence. The phrase `maintaining oneself ' intimatesthe conjoining in the site of standing and understanding; equally, the emphasis givento the `at home' being not (at least overtly) a container but rather a field of potentialaction invokes Heidegger's discussion of Being-in-the-world; similarly, the commentthat e`verything is caught up in advance' draws on Heidegger's description of Dasein'scircumspection, immanence, and potentiality-for-Being and alludes to the account ofecstatic temporality which, like the loops of a bow, are knotted here with the pronoun I.Overall, the passage draws attention to the dwelling as a place from, by, and withinwhich I am free to act and within which everything is at my disposal: `a site where I can'.A site from within which e`verything is com-prehended'. Thus Levinas's comments here

    (7) As with the previous section, my aim here is in no way to give an overview of Levinas's philos-ophy. For overviews, commentaries, and critiques see Berttina Bergo (1999), Robert Bernasconiand David Wood (1988), Howard Caygill (2002), Tina Chanter (2001a; 2001b), Simon Critchley andBernasconi (2002), Colin Davis (1996), Adrian Peperzak (1993; 1997), Stella Sandford (2001).

    Opening remarks on the concept of dwelling 635

  • explicitly coincide with Heidegger's insofar as the ability to doand here we shouldbear in mind that `to comprehend' derives from `to seize' or `to grasp'and to do soproperly or resolutely, is the defining trait of Dasein. In terms of marking his distancefrom Heidegger it is possible to understand Levinas as diagnosing and tracing theparticular curvature of Heidegger's account of Being-in-the-world, a curvature which,as noted above, may be understood as a movement of enclosure. As Richard Cohenwrites,for Levinas, Being-in-the-world, whether in the ecstasies of enjoyment, labour orknowledge, does not truly break with the immanence of subjectivity. The subjectalways only finds itself, its enjoyment, its labour, its knowledge, in the ecstaticmovement which seems to offer the promise of an escape outside of itself '' (1987,page 7, original emphasis).

    While the promise of the concepts of Being-in-the-world and of dwelling is the promiseof a description of a primordial unitary phenomena in which the dualism betweensubject and world is undone and a more original or authentic relation of indwellingis recollected, the claim here is that this process of reunification necessarily ramifiesbeyond these conceptual innovations to the assimilation or exclusion of all heteroge-neity and exteriority. To illustrate this claim I shall briefly consider how Levinas readsor excavates a logic of possession and possessiveness in Heidegger's conceptualisation,a logic that serves to cover over and to rein in any breaks or ruptures which threatenDasein's ordinance.

    Levinas's attempt to discern a logic of possession within Heidegger's account ofdwelling and Being-in-the-world has in fact already been signalled when Levinas insiststhat `in the last analysis everything is at my disposal ' and that `Everything is here,everything belongs to me'. Levinas traces this logic within Heidegger's account of`handling' and disclosure:Possession is accomplished in taking-possession or labour, the destiny of the hand.The hand is the organ of grasping and taking ... it relates [Rapporteto bring back]to me, to my egoist ends ... the primordial hold of labour introduces it [matter] intoa world of the identifiable, masters it, and puts it at the disposal of a beingrecollecting itself and identifying itself '' (1969, page 159).

    Of importance here is Levinas's analysis of the relationship between self, hand, and matterin Heidegger's account. For Levinas this relationship is determined by the movement ofrecollection, of the gathering of the self in its e`goist ends'. Hence the d`estiny of the hand'asg`rasping and taking', as comprehending, insofar as its destiny is determined by theprojection and recovery of the self. Turning back to the previous quote we may see that,dependant on that which is `other'in this instance matter per sethe resolving orresolute movement of the hand frees the self from this dependency, ordering matterand rendering it for-me. Thus the comprehending hand opens up a manageable clearingbetween self and world, disclosing the latter, setting it forth, and letting it be for-the-sake-of the maintenance of the self. Concordant with the etymology of dwelling as`tarrying' or `whiling' Levinas outlines how the `setting back' of the dwelling as `retreat'is for-the-sake-of the gathering and preservation of the I. Dwelling opens a space ^ timein which `` The uncertain future of the element is suspended'' (1969, page 158) as itstwofold eventuation allows for the (now) self-possessed I to place, grasp, posses, identify,and reserve `things' within a World (now) acquiescent to such ends. As the ``handdelineates a world'' (page 161), submitting and shaping the elements to its concerns,Dasein finds itself in a site in which everything that appears therein appears as suchonly for-the-sake-of, only in the light of, Dasein's potentiality-to-be, of its destiny.The effect here, Levinas suggests, is one of assimilation and totalisation. The Worldis a world always already available for manipulation, always already disclosed by

    636 P Harrison

  • horizons of, and ordered in terms of, absorption and appropriation. Indeed, suchwould be the necessary condition for Dasein to be able to recollect itself therein: thenecessarily in place before the event of spacing. Dasein's movements of disclosure are ataking-possession, a movement that `` consists in neutralizing the existent in order tograsp it'' (pages 45 ^ 46) and thus Dasein's `originary rapport' with the world is not withexteriority as such but with its own immanence. In this manner the `essential tendency tocloseness' noted in the previous section may now be understood as describing thesetting-forth of everything `` c`lose enough' to be engulfed by ipseity. This is totalizationas communion and possession ... a totalization which leaves nothing outside'' (Libertson,1982, page 180; see also Irigaray, 1999). The negation or recuperation of alterity herein is,according to Levinas, fundamental to Heidegger's thought of dwelling. Fundamentalfoundingin that this negation allows or affects `` the unity of the site which sustainsspace'' (Levinas, 1969, page 46), which is the instantiation of the common ground ofdwelling and the clearing necessary for the promise of Being-at-home-with-itself. Thenegation or absorption of alterity is necessary for the promise of the recollectionof Dasein's `proper' disposition. Following Levinas, the `achievement' of dwelling inHeidegger does not bespeak a more `originary' or `proper' relation with the world butrather the assimilation of exteriority for-the-sake-of a unified subject. Thus, Being-in-the-world and dwelling take-place as the appropriation of the transcendence ofexteriority into Dasein's immanence, a movement of gathering which serves to secureand preserve the freedom and spontaneity of Dasein.

    With the diagnosis of possessiveness and the establishment of the negation ofalterity as founding to the thought of dwelling, we may now indicate how Levinas'scritique of dwelling ties into his wider critique of theWestern ontological project: of theCartesian cogito, the Kantian I Think, and Husserlian intentionality, now extended toHeidegger's description of Being-in-the-world. Critchley gives a useful summary:The ontological event that defines and dominates the philosophical tradition fromParmendies to Heidegger, for Levinas, consists in suppressing or reducing all formsof otherness by transmuting their alterity into the Same. Philosophy qua ontology isthe reduction of the other to the Same, where the other is assimilated as so muchfood or drink ... . For Levinas the Same is par excellence the knowing ego ... . The egois the site of the transmutation of otherness'' (1992, pages 5 ^ 6, original emphasis).

    In this instance, dwelling would be the expanded environs or working out of this `siteof transmutation', a site in which the interval of space is absorbed and enclosed withinthe limited economy of the Same. The enclosure of dwelling extends into any thoughtof the `sociality' of dwelling, a sociality which remains that of a community or bandwithout plurality, without difference, and without interval. A community of silentcommunion. Such a con-figuration of community reveals another aspect of the con-vergence between Heidegger's philosophical trajectory and that of the wider Westerntradition insofar as the c`ommon' of dwelling, this reckoning of the space between us,gives the fundamental repose of the peace dreamt of by Reason. As Joseph Libertsoncomments, in its monological unicity this settlement radiates aspurious non-violence ... a non-violence which conceals the more fundamentalviolence of their [beings] allergie, i.e. the reduction of their difference and theircommunication by the totalitarian aspect of their correlation'' (1982, pages 198 ^ 199,original emphasis).

    Libertson's reference to the `totalitarian' nature of this correlation intimates the seizurein and subordination of the relation with the other to comprehension. This is thetyrannical move in which the other's transcendence is folded into immanence, in whichthe other is summoned to appear, to step into the light, and take up its place within thehorizon of the Same and thereby to renounce its fundamental strangeness, its alterity.

    Opening remarks on the concept of dwelling 637

  • In many ways the force of Levinas's writing consists in the attempt to `` break with [this]great traditional idea of the excellence of unity ... . My idea consists in conceivingsociality as independent of the `lost' unity'' (Levinas, 1998, page 112). Indeed, Levinasintroduces the idea of ethics in Totality and Infinity precisely as a challenge to and aninterruption of the unifying processes of comprehension, possession, and absorption.

    Levinas's first use of the term e`thics' within the main body of the text of Totalityand Infinity appears specifically within the context of the interruption of the Same:A calling into question of the samewhich cannot occur within the egoist sponta-neity of the sameis brought about by the other. We name this calling intoquestion of my spontaneity by the presence of the Other ethics. The strangenessof the Other, his irreducibility to the I, to my thoughts and my possessions, isprecisely accomplished as a calling into question of my spontaneity, as ethics''(1969, page 43).

    Levinas is clear that the other is not thought here as an alter ego; this is not an otherlike me to whom I am equivalent. Neither is the other relative in his or her `other-ness'that is, the other shares no c`ommunity of genus' in a quality that wouldidentifiably distinguish the other from me (1969, page 194). While the other alwayspresents itself as a human other`` it shows a face''at the same time `` it infinitelyoverflows the bounds of knowledge'' (1996a, page 12) such that the other eludes andresists my attempts at comprehension. This resistance on the part of the other is notsimply `` because of the extent and obscurity of the theme that it offers to my considera-tion'' (page 12)that is, it is not simply because I do not yet understand or lack anaccurate representation; rather, it is because `` of a refusal to enter into a theme, tosubmit to a regard, through the eminence of its epiphany'' (page 12). Importantly, theother does not first oppose me in conflict, as a force ranged against the Same in adialectic, as if two orders were opposed in a struggle, but resists precisely in andthrough the infinity of transcendence (1969, page 199). The other defies not my powerbut `` my ability for power'' (page 198), my ability to grasp and posses. (8) `` [N]either acultural signifier nor a simple given'' (1996c, page 52), the other incessantly breaksthrough the fact of appearing and exceeds any image or representation I may have,interrupting my words and placing them in question.Without the violence which wouldreduce the other to another object of contemplation, the other cannot be assimilatedinto the world. Not a phenomenon, the face of the other is a visitation. The other isunforeseeable, is not wholly within my site, and is beyond my grasp and my gaze;`` through the face filters the obscure light coming from beyond the face, from what isnot yet, from a future never future enough, more remote than the possible'' (1969,pages 254 ^ 255 original emphasis). The other exceeds and eludes me by an essentialdimension and `` we are caught up, one and another, in a sort of heteronomic anddissymetrical curving of social space'' (Derrida, 1997, page 231). As if the spacebetween us were defined by an extreme immediacy, an urgent and disquieting prox-imity that, without horizon, curves vertiginously to infinity. A stranger, the other,arrives from outside of context as `` a disturbance in the play of the world, a break in

    (8) There is not room here to give an account of Levinas's analysis of murder as the negation of theother. Indicatively, we should note that, while in no way denying their actuality, for Levinas murderand violence always miss the other as such; in aiming and intending at that which exceeds intentionI strike instead the face as an object. ``At the very moment when my power to kill realizes itself, theother (autrui) has escaped me'' (Levinas, 1996b, page 9, original emphasis). Still, to catch sight ofsuch possibilities and be tempted by them, to intend and take aim at the other, is to have alwaysalready entered into a `relation' with alterity before such conscious designs could be formulated.The struggle which threatens is thus possible as struggle only on the basis of the epiphany of theface as wholly other and as the negation or limitation of this `relation'.

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  • its cohesion'' (Lingis, 1991, page xxiii), interrupting, revealing, and placing into questionmy being-at-home-in-the-world:your entering into my dwelling place interrupts the coherence of my economy; youdisarrange my order in which all things familiar to me have their proper place,function and time. Your emergence makes holes in the walls of my house. If I couldsee and treat you as a being amidst other beings ... as an element of the universeunfolding its riches before my mental eye, you would be bereft of everything thatjustifies me calling you by the pronoun `you'. You would be a particular part of myrealm'' (Peperzak, 1997, page 66).

    Thus, before it is a thing in the world, before it is illuminated by my precomprehensionor aimed at as an object of consciousness, before it is levelled or made relative in anidentity, a sociologic, a community, or a site, the epiphany of the face is, for Levinas,ethical. Ethical in that in my exposure to its exceedance the face of the other calls intoquestion my freedom and spontaneity; calls into question my comprehension, my abilityto grasp and do, and my `for-oneselfness'. The other calls into question my being-there.Here, then, is a profound reversal of Heidegger's concept of dwelling. Rather thanbeing thought as the becoming equal to the event of space via the attainment of theDasein's ownmost configuration, dwelling is described by Levinas as gaining its senseand orientation, taking on significance, only as a response. In what remains of thissection I want to begin to consider the nature of this reversal in the thought ofdwelling.

    As we have seen, Levinas describes the gathering of Dasein in dwelling as the workof the limited economy of the Same, which itself describes the consistency of asynchronic, synoptic, and logocentric time of consciousness. Assimilation, absorption,possession, and comprehension are the work of this schema, which is ultimately that ofthe unified `knowing ego' and of ontology. Hence in the section on `Homecoming' itwas noted that the proper figure of Dasein promises to bind the world together intoone texture or one geography. One texture or one geography as, in the attainmentdwelling, what is strewn and scattered in a disorientating and anarchical topology isgathered and bound via the recollection of Dasein's resolute figure. This encirclingmovement describes Heidegger's desire to recall Dasein's autarchy, its self-assured main-tenance: Heidegger's hope to recall Dasein as its own foundation or principle (arche ) freedfrom any implications or dependencies. Levinas diagnoses this transcendence of Being-in-the-world and dwelling as a limited or false transcendence, a departure which is alwaysalready determined by a return. Dasein's itinerary herein `` remains that of Ulysses, whoseadventure in the world was only a return to his native landa compliancy of the Same, anunrecognition of the Other'' (Levinas, 1996c, page 48). In Heidegger's work, according toLevinas, the concept of dwelling describes the event of space which flows from andaccompanies this return, as every-thing and every-other become ensnaredeven as theyare `set-free' and `let-be'within the setting-forth and boundary work which are Dasein'semplacement. In this refusal of alterity, dwelling takes-place as the nostalgia for andpromise of a `` fatherland which welcomes and protects'' (1969, page 41). Nostalgia forand promise of a unified space, a common ground. As intimated above, for Levinas suchcannot be the case. For Levinas, as we shall see, the self cannot form itself. Yet, Levinasdoes not deny the possibility of this enclosure of dwelling, a possibility which he describesin Totality and Infinity as the `` banishing with all impunity all hospitality ... from one'shome'' (pages 172 ^ 173). It is always the case that a separated being can `` close itself up inits own egoism'' (page 172); indeed, `` Seperation would not be radical if the possibilityof shutting oneself up at home with oneself could not itself be produced'' (page 173).Thus, Heidegger's thought on the concept of dwelling is not simply denied or overcomein Levinas's work; rather, its initial condition of possibility in the `` forgetting of the

    Opening remarks on the concept of dwelling 639

  • transcendence of the Other'' (page 172) is excavated and exposed. This forgettingis the constitutive forgetting noted at the outset of the section. `Constitutive' in that oncethe transcendence of the other is forgotten the self may assume itself, as if he, as if I,received nothing from `` the Other but what was already in me, as though from all eternityI was in possession of what comes to me from the outsideto receive nothing, or to befree'' (page 43). From here the incessancy of alterity, the constantly disquieting incomingof the otherthe stranger, the alienappears as the threat of inordinate spatiality, ofdispersion and degeneration. Hence the tension between scattering and self-containmentand the promise of one, of one alone, of indivisible brothers, who could pass through theworld unaffected, untouched, and unmoved, with which we started.

    While Levinas does not deny the possibility of the enclosure of dwelling as apossibility he does not take dwelling as the foundation it purports to be. While theforgetting of the transcendence of the other and consequent `banishing of all hospital-ity' remain possible, such a sealing of dwelling can, according to Levinas, come onlyafter the encounter with alterity, as if to cover it up. Thus the claim is that the autarchyof the subject is a retrospective illusion; the I posits itself as the cause and principleafter the event (Levinas, 1969, page 54); the effect assumes the place of the cause.Levinas suggests that, before the dwelling could be sealedantecedent to the subject'sdiscovery or recovery of itself and to its gathering therein`A`ll recollection refers to awelcome'' (page 207). This, it is claimed, is what is forgotten in Heidegger's account ofdwelling and constitutively so, for this welcomecoming before the subjectwouldplace a displacement, an unknowable debit or dependency, at the `foundation' of thesubject.The oneself cannot form itself; it is already formed with absolute passivity. In thissense it is a victim of a persecution that paralyzes any assumption that couldawaken in it, so that it would posit itself for itself. This passivity is that of anattachment that has already been made, as something irreversibly past, prior toall memory and all recall. It was made in an irricuperable time which the present,represented in recall, does not equal'' (1991, page 105, original emphasis).

    Antecedent to the self as subject, before my ability to say I and to take-up andmaintain my position there (Da), there is an absolute passivity. (9) In distinction to thelogocentric gathering described above, this passivity is so complete that `` that conscious-ness cannot gather its moments together and integrate into its flowing temporality'' (Bergo,1999, page 16). Unable to pull itself together, the subject is summoned by the other. In a`` backwards movement of intentionality'' (Levinas, 2000, page 187) the other welcomes andasks for me, lays claim to me. Prior to any self-presence, to any volitional act on my part,`` without our being able to have the least project'' (1987, page 74), is this election. Thiselection is `irreversibly past, prior to all memory and all recall' as it is prior to self assubject, prior to the I which carefully maintains itself there, prior to the I which chooses toact compassionately toward the other or to turn away. Such a sovereign subject comeslate, already refers to an a`ttachment' to the other made without its choice and before itsrelation to itself or to the world. The other `` slips into me `like a thief ' '' (1996d, page 105)before I could ever notice. Already the subject has been robbed of all for-itselfness,hollowed out and stripped of its reserves, as if the subject were nothing but its unique

    (9) To use the title of Thomas Wall's (2000) exceptional study of the concept, the `radical passivity'of the Levinasian subject is of utmost importance in its formulation and differentiation fromDasein. Although there is not space to go into a detailed discussion of the concept here, we shouldnote how, with it, Levinas turns Heidegger's account of Dasein from within Heideggers's ownwork; it is as if Heidegger's account of Dasein in Being and Time were frozen at and abandonedto the moment of `thrownness' (Geworfenheit), unable to pull itself together (see Levinas, 1978;2003; Rolland, 2003).

    640 P Harrison

  • exposure to the other and its interiority, the limited economy of the Same, were defined bymy delay behind the other (see Wall, 2000). As if its o`rigin' or c`entre' were alwaysdisplaced, always elsewhere, wandering in the desert or travelling in your eyes. Thus,before the taking-over of the Da of Dasein the self is inspired by and exposed to the other;orientated despite-itself-for-the-other. In this claim Levinas reverses the contraction of theI into `mineness':This [for-the-other] signifies neither intentionality nor a property of the `me' [moi]that would be responsibility for the other. It is, on the contrary, as responsibilityand in responsibility that the `me' gains its uniqueness'' (Levinas, 2000, page 158).

    Before it is anything else the I is responsibility incarnate, a subjectivity without identity,without essence or origin. The subject, the being which says I, can do so only insofar asit was summoned. The one presupposes the other:being-put-into-question, but also put to the question, having to answerthe birthof language in responsibility; having to speak, having to say I, being in the firstperson. Being precisely myself; but henceforth, in the assertion of being as myself,having to answer for the right to be'' (1998, page 144, original emphasis).

    As Catherine Chalier writes, Levinas conceives `` of the subject as already inhabited byalterity, as destined for it and exposed to it'' (2002, page 107). This is not the end of thematter.What does Heidegger's forgetting consist of if the awakening of the I is immemo-rial? If it took-place `in an irricuperable time'? Chalier provides a clue in her commentabove; the subject a`s destined for the other'. As does Levinas; `having to answer'.

    Just as recollection presupposes a welcome in a past beyond memory, comprehen-sionin desiring and approaching the otheralready describes and attests to a situationof separation and thus, at the same time, to a beyond of comprehension. Thus the `relation'to exteriority or to the beyond of ontology inspires and is borne witness to within themovements of comprehension itself, even if this inspiration is forgotten or erased therein.This desire is not a negativity or a lack, but a positivity, `` an affirmative `yes' to thesummons'' (Kearny, 1999, page 114; Levinas, 1969, section I). The monologue of the I,the seemingly unbroken flow of consciousness, my ability to comprehend, claim, andnarrate both find their condition of possibility and first take on their orientation, theirsignificance, in this `relation' with the exteriority; insofar as they are exposed to, pervaded,and incessantly striated by exteriority. Insofar as this `relation' is `inscribed', as RichardKearny writes in a comment reminiscent of Walter Benjamin, `` in each instant of ourexistence'' (1999, pages 116 ^ 117).(10) As if the reoccurrence of the subject, its returning toand repetition of the I, its recollection and gathering here and now, were possible only onthe basis of a missed beat, of an interruption, like a knock on the door of the dwellingplace which I am going to answer, which I am answering, `Here I am', `yes, yes', `yes, come':which incoming opens up a position of and for the I (Derrida, 1991b).(11) As if I could be athome only if I were not quite at home but at the threshold, urgently waiting to respond, tobe interrupted. Indeed, for Levinas the pronoun I is always in the accusative, always aresponse: `` The word I means here I am'' (Levinas, 1991, page 114, original emphasis).(12)

    (10) Here I am thinking of the last line of Benjamin's `` Thesis on the philosophy of history'': `` Forevery second becomes a strait gate through which the Messiah might enter'' (1969, page 255).(11) ``The self-positioning yes or the Ay is, however, neither tautological nor narcissistic; and it isnot egological even if it commences the circular movement of reapproriation ... . It holds open thecircle that it commences'' (Derrida, 1991b, page 594, original emphasis). Here such a momentwould be possible, becomes possible, only as a nonappropriative responding: `Yes-here-I-am'.Hence, and although there has been room only to intimate this line of discussion above, Derridawrites elsewhere that for Levinas, before anything else, ``Intentionality is hospitality'' (1999, page 48,see also 1989; 1991c).(12) `Here I am', `Send me', `See me here', `Behold me', are all possible translations of Me voici, withwhich Levinas refers to Isaiah 6:8 (1991, page 199, footnote 11; 2000, page 282, footnote 8).

    Opening remarks on the concept of dwelling 641

  • `Here I am' not in the taking-up or taking-over my o`wnmost' site or the place proper tomy essence but responding. As Levinas writes, the other `` does not limit the freedom of thesame'' but rather in `` calling it to responsibility, it founds it and justifies it'' (1969, page 197).

    Contra the gathering of the self in its authentic stance, which discloses and chargeswith significance Heidegger's landscapes and Dasein's place, for Levinas sense andarticulation take-place in the openness of dwelling to the transcendence of the other.Here dwelling does not bespeak a more primordial relation of communion or commu-nity, be it with nature or of a people, but is `` the very opposite of a root'' (Levinas, 1969,page 172). Rather than confirming or conforming to an essence or identity, dwellinggains its orientation from the unforeseeable but ever-proximal incoming of the other.Not first a relation of depth and to origins, gaining signification from the authenticmovements and dispositions of a figure close to its essence, dwelling takes on itsmeaning and is instituted first through responding, through welcoming. `` One mightthen say'', as Derrida does, `` that the welcome to come is what makes possible therecollection of the at home with oneself '' (1999, page 28). Not primarily symbolisedby the hearth and the enrootedness of a figure in the landscape, dwelling gains itsorientation from the openness to a figure without a place, from the urgent awaitingat the threshold.

    ConclusionMy basic aim in this paper has been to try to open the concept of dwelling up forthought beyond its implication in Heidegger's writing, while maintaining a belief in theradical nature of Heidegger's initial formulation of the concept. Indeed, and as sug-gested in the introduction, it seems to me that it is with the recognition of this`` dramatic event of being-in the-world'', as Levinas (1996b, page 4) put it in an earlyessay, that Lavinas and others have taken up the concept. As also outlined in theintroduction this e`vent' consists of nothing more or less than an attempt to thinkand reckon with the `event of space', to bring this event to thought. What hasIhopeemerged from the paper is an outline of two fundamentally different ways ofthinking this event. In the case of Heidegger we have seen how this event is determinedby and reckoned in terms of being-at-home-in-the-world. Ultimately, this is, I haveargued, dwelling as enclosure; dwelling as a limitation of the event of space throughthe insistence on holistic closure, autarchy, and self-sufficiency. In distinction, forLevinas it is the constitutive openness or unfinished nature of the event of space whichgives dwelling its orientation. Here we have the idea that, as Derrida writes, `` the hearth[le chez soi ] of a home, a culture, a society also presupposes a hospitable opening''(2002a, page 134) and that this opening is an opening not simply to `another likeoneself ' but `` to an other who is beyond any `its other' '' (2002b, page 364). It is as ifLevinas understands dwelling, and, indeed, the determination of any ipseity what-soever, to be composed not through its internal coherence or dynamismwhetherthis be thought relationally through holistic closure or otherwisebut rather throughits openness to what exceeds its grasp. To be closed by relation to what escapes andexceeds it; for Levinas dwelling takes-place as this openness.

    What are the implications of this attempt to open up and problematise the conceptof dwelling? To bring this discussion to a close I want to suggest three. First, then,and most obviously, it is possible to think dwelling in terms other than authenticity,totalisation, and holism. Indeed, the suggestion has been that it is necessary to thinkdwelling beyond such a lexicon of sovereignty. In this instanceand following DavidCampbell (1994; 1998; see also Popke, 2003)opening up the concept of dwelling mayplay a part in questioning and calling to account the ontopological imagination whichpreoccupies so many discourses around identity, both academic and popular, by insisting

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  • on the priority of translation and plurality over exclusivity and parochialism.(13) Second,and following on, in gaining some purchase on Heidegger's account of dwelling we maybegin to situate it within the context of its wider onto-geopolitical history. Hence, forexample, Levinas claims that Heidegger's account of place and of dwelling is part ofan insistent desire for e`nrootedness', `unity', and o`neness' `` that social relations mustculminate in communion'' (Levinas, 1989b, page 164), which informs much of Westernontological and political thought. Here the importance of the comment above that theopenness of dwelling does not simply describe an opening to a`nother like oneself ': toanother as a specific set of contents, and who as such is fully recognisable and submitsto comprehension. Echoing to some degree the sentiments of Clive Barnett (2005, page 8),I would suggest here that it is only in acknowledging the potential violence and inevitablefailure of such a reductive ontological gesture that experiences of friendship, hospitality,generosity, responsibility, and, indeed, solidarity make and take on any sense. Third, andfollowing on once more, rethinking the concept of dwelling in the manner presentedabove suggests a rethinking of the dynamics of subjectivity and subject formation. LikeHeidegger, Levinas is a profound thinker of solitudeof the radical separation andisolation of the self. However, it is necessary to understand that for Levinas this separationor isolation is not the self realising or acceding itself but rather is a form of rapport: aprofound solitude of intimacy, the very event of a primary and radical pluralism. In thisrecasting of the relationship between inside and outside, interior and exterior, such that itis based not upon a logic of sovereignty, exclusion, or absorption but on heteronomy,differentiation, and responsibility, a much-needed path can be opened for reassessing andrethinking the grammar and role of the first-person pronoun in our social scientific work(see Harrison, 2007). In each of these three areas, which could be roughly mapped onto theterms identity, community, and subjectivity, we are brought back repeatedly to what wasdescribed in the introduction as the defining aspect or trait of the concept of dwelling:the issue of the relation, or rather, of the spacing of relation. This is what I take to be thelegacy of the concept: the issue of how we are to try to bring to thoughtto say, toreckon, to understand, to conceptualise, and to representthe space between us.

    Acknowledgements. Many people have helped in the course of the development of this paper inmany ways. To single out just a few, my thanks to Ben Anderson, Kay Anderson, Mike Crang,Stuart Elden, Martin Gren, Charlotte Howse, Adam Holden, Colin Perrin, Nigel Thrift, JohnWylie, and the seminar organisers and participants at the Department of Geography, Universityof Sheffield, and the Department of Sociology, University of Durham.

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