Temporality has played a central role in poststructuralist thought, where the human experience of living in time has been understood as having profound ethical and political consequences. In this chapter, I seek to approach questions posed by poststructuralist notions of temporality via Judith Butler's discussion of the role accounting for one's personal past plays in moral philosophy. I compare Butler's understanding of selfhood, where the past constitutes the self but remains only partially knowable and aporetic, with approaches by 'narrativity' theorists, who argue that a cohesive narrative of the past is central to the notion of agency. While agreeing with Butler's argument that one's relationship to one's own past does not need to take the form of a cohesive narrative, I argue that her account could benefit from a closer engagement with phenomenological notions of time-experience. I draw on Thomas Fuchs's discussion of the role of time experience in psychological pathologies, and also explore Denise Riley's description of mourning as a form of altered time experience. In closing, I seek to point towards possible connections and disconnections between 'personal' temporality and 'historical' time. I argue that a critique of cohesiveness enables a post-foundational account of the political, which can enable a rethinking of the role futurity plays for political thought.
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Kelz, R. (2021). The Ethics and Politics of Temporality: Judith Butler, Embodiment, and Narrativity. In G. Rae, & E. Ingala (Eds.), Historical traces and future pathways of poststructuralism: aesthetics, ethics, politics. London: Routledge.
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