Peter and Paul According to Bergson and Marx: Towards A Multirealist Methodology for an Anti-Global Society

Practically every major Western theorist of note has a passage or two about “Peter” and “Paul.” Both Henri Bergson and Karl Marx enlist the services of Peter and Paul to exemplify the irreducibility of the virtual, non-liveable dimension of the “All.” Specifically, for Bergson, it is to demonstrate the shared “single time” of simultaneity. For Marx, it is to show the multiplicity of contemporary times shared by “humanity” – read antagonism or historicity. This talk introduces the so-called “multirealist” or “multinaturalist” turn in the contemporary anthropology by way of Bergson’s and Marx’s Peter and Paul. The talk concludes with a preparatory methodological note on the usefulness of the multirealist conceit of the non-liveable All for approaching North Korea, a society which conceives itself against the global multiculturalist consensus. (Song)

Hoon Song teaches in the Department of Anthropology at University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. His work spans interests in psychoanalysis, animality and the materiality of (sovereign) power. His early work comparatively explores the issue of self-reflexivity in ethnography as well as in animal-human relations. Titled Pigeon Trouble: Bestiary Biopolitics in a Deindustrialized America, his earlier ethnography figures a group of Pennsylvania miners’ relation with pigeons in the contexts of their conspiracy theory and “whiteness,” all encountered through his own ornithophobia. His recent work explores the ontotheological/magical dimension of sovereign power in North Korea’s political philosophy, specifically in the representation of the leader and in the translation of Marxism.

Co-presented by the Department of Anthropology with the UC Berkeley – UCSF Joint Program in Medical Anthropology, the Townsend Center Working Group on Labor, Philosophy and Change, the Townsend Center Working Group on Anthropological Inquiry, and The Program in Critical Theory