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This chapter builds on Elizabeth Povinelli’s reflections on how philosophies and anthropologies of radical potentiality—scholarship that posits a political or social otherwise emerges in moments of extreme social indetermination and of radical threshold experiences—fail to differentiate between lives lived as the object of colonial racism and those lived as its beneficiaries. This chapter reflects on how one might understand the social and political stakes of Serres’s attempt to find a universal ground for the variations of the body by putting Serres’s writings in conversation with those of Édouard Glissant. It asks what are the political stakes of theories of radical potentiality that are anchored in the exhausted relationship between the general and specific, the ontologically given and the socially distributed, universal quantification (All bodies are x, All beings…, All human beings…, All social relations…) and existential quantification (for some…).

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