1 When I taught this text to my class in the Kent Summer School for Critical
Theory, it was suggested that all the diff er ent Abrahams in the parable are all
aspects of the one “real” Abraham that God intended to call, that the diversity
of responses represented the diverse aspects of Abraham’s interior life even as
one privileged part of him did just what the “real” Abraham was supposed to
2 Kafka, “Abraham,” 40 (German), 41 (En glish).
3 Kafka, “Abraham,” 41.
4 Kafka, “Abraham,” 43.
5 Kafka, “Abraham,” 43.
6 Kafka, “Abraham,” 43–45.
7 In this regard, I think that whereas the move from liberalism to neoliberal-
ism is dramatic and critical, in terms of misinterpellation at least, what is
true for the historical practice of liberalism is just as true for neoliberalism.
If, as Wendy Brown argues, neoliberalism has made a new homo economicus,
this subject too is a form of interpellation and, as such, is similarly subject to
misinterpellation. See Brown, Undoing the Demos.
8 This term, much beloved by economic conservatives, was often used by
Herbert Spencer and later popu lar ized by Margaret Thatcher. More recently,
Donald Trump has a newer version of tina; he constantly repeats there is
no choice” as if the repetition itself were a basis for removing any chance of
thinking or acting differently than he does.
9 Sarah Burgess suggested something further too: that the structure of address
itself, that is the form of the claims being made, might themselves contain
some radical potential.
10 I am grateful to Sarah Burgess for the idea of acting “as if.”
11 I owe Bonnie Honig this insight and also the idea of this mode of reading
serving as another version of Deleuze and Guattari’s “minor lit er a ture.”
12 In The Practice of Everyday Life, a book that I see as being highly related to Scott’s
work, Michel de Certeau discusses “la perruque” (the wig) which is an action
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