Notes on the Illegal Condition in the State of Extraction. How Not To Be an Informant


We live, increasingly, in a state of extraction. My thesis is that we have not yet figured out the implications of a primary or fundamental logic of state extraction. We have not figured out its implications for our own predicament—for the predicament, that is, not of state functionaries as such, not of extractors and surveyors, which is a predicament of domination, but the predicament of those who would rather not be dominated, and who understand that giving up on domination is the logical price to be paid. These latter figures, those who refuse domination, those who prefer not to be dominated, hence not to dominate, they might in fact constitute the “borders of the border,” that fantastic fringe territory of the human this conference has decided to thematize and, in some sense, to honor. Let me then reserve that theoretical position, the position of border or hyperborder dwellers, to develop what follows. I will claim that the border of the border is today the site where information will not be shared—an opaque site of silence and secrecy, a place of radical reticence concerning unconcealment.


surveillance; state extraction; information; domination; border

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Published : 2018-12-30

MoreirasA. (2018). Notes on the Illegal Condition in the State of Extraction. How Not To Be an Informant. Review of International American Studies, 11(2). Retrieved from

Alberto Moreiras
Texas A & M University  United States

Alberto Moreiras is professor of Hispanic studies at Texas A&M University, where he has had an appointment since 2010. Before that he was the Sixth Century Chair in Modern Thought and Hispanic Studies at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland (2006–2010), the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Romance Studies and Literature at Duke University, where he taught from 1992 to 2006, and an assistant professor of Spanish at the University of Wisconsin–Madison (1987–92). At Duke Moreiras directed a program in Latin American Cultural Studies, the Center for European Studies, and an Interdisciplinary Seminar in Race in the Americas; in Aberdeen, he directed the program Literature in the World Context. He has been a visiting professor at Emory University, Giessen University in Germany, Johns Hopkins University, Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil, University of Chile, and University of Buffalo. His work focuses on contemporary political thought, Latin American cultural history, and subaltern studies. He has published over 110 essays, and his books include Interpretación y diferencia (1992); Tercer espacio: Literatura y duelo en América Latina (1999), The Exhaustion of Difference: The Politics of Latin American Cultural Studies (2001); Pensar en la postdictadura (2001), Línea de sombra: El no sujeto de lo político (2007). He has also published about ten edited monographic collections of essays in journals or multivolume works. He is coeditor of the Latin American section of a multivolume Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Studies. Moreiras has been involved over the years in the creation of three journals, namely Nepantla: Views from South, Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies, and Política común. He is coeditor of the last two. He is also coeditor of Res publica: Revista de pensamiento político, and coeditor of a new University of Texas Press book series entitled “Border Hispanisms.” He created and runs the Facebook group Crítica y Teoría, and is a founder of the Texas Research Group on Luso-Hispanic, Caribbean, and Latino/a Thought. He is or has been a member of the editorial boards of an additional 20 publishing ventures, from Diacritics and Cultural Studies to Traces and Revista de Estudios Hispánicos. He is a frequent reader of manuscripts for five major US academic presses and routinely reads essays for a dozen journals beyond the ones already mentioned.

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