Tonight I attended a lecture by Bonnie Honig at NYU. The talk, titled ‘Antigone Interrupted: Greek Tragedy and the Future of Humanism,’ was on Sophocles’s play, which has been the focus of her recent research. In a very interesting talk, Honig argued that Antigone was capable of effectively working the space between logos/reason and phone’/lamentation to challenge Creon’s sovereignty. In this, she saw an allegory to how lamentation can act as a ruptural power, creating unsettlement within an existing political order that can provide the space for radical democracy and an Arendtian ‘politics of care for meaning.’
Interestingly, Honig argued that Arendt did not reject the idea of sovereignty entirely but sought to rethink it in opposition to the top-down hierarchical relationship imagined by someone like Hobbes. It seems that Honig, like Andreas Kalyvas, wants to re-appropriate the idea of sovereignty as a property of collectives but rejects its association with extraordinary moments as described by Schmitt.
Hearing her lecture reaffirmed my wish to work with her as a graduate student. Getting into grad school at Northwestern would really be great.