Circumcisions. Jacques Derrida and the Tensions between Particularism and Universalism

Di Luca Di Blasi

In: Riconoscersi. Corpo e gender tra individuale e sociale XLII , No. 1-3 ( 2013 )

Sezione Saggi / Articles


The decision of the regional court in Cologne that circumcising male children for religious reasons amounts to bodily harm has provoked massive debates and united Judaism, Islam, and even Christianity in a common opposition against the possible consequence of this decision to limit religious circumcisions. Thus this conflict can serve as another example for tensions between particular (religious) groups and the universal claims of the constitutions of secular states. As I want to show in this paper, the very tension between particularism and universalism is in turn closely related to circumcision and can therefore be concretized and understood better through an analysis of various strategies (of Giorgio Agamben, Alain Badiou, and particularly Jacques Derrida) dealing with (Jewish) circumcision and its symbolizations.