The Assemblage of Rights in a Projection Horizon

  • The Editorial Board


When John Searle wrote The construction of social reality in 1995, he recalled an anecdote about a “primitive tribe… building a wall around their territory” to explain how a boundary originates. In the author’s perspective, the spatial form of the wall built is the (material) precondition to a (social) construction of the boundary, intended to be an institutional object in its own right, i.e., an object with autonomous normative power regardless of the presence of the wall built itself, which could go as far as to “crumble”. In this reconstruction, which has been the object of many and differing interpretations (for instance, Farinelli, 2009), we can read a clear, pragmatic position, according to which the ordering of norms originates with the construction of material forms. In opposition to this enunciation, we can locate other hypotheses that conversely position immaterial assumptions – values, ideologies, disciplines – that are crystallized as norms and later translated into spatial forms. An example, in this sense, is the “microphysics of power” as a system of disciplinarization, which is materialized through bodily, procedural, and architectural apparatuses (Foucault, 1977). It can be useful to recognize the possible different ways to envision the relationship between the norm and form in order to instrumentally construct a differential axis along which to position the contributions to this fourth issue of Ardeth, which is dedicated to “rights”.