Stat(e)ing Australia: Squid Jigging and the Masque of State

G.M. Dillon and Jerry Everard* (c)1992

Le portrait de Cesai; c'est Cesar.

-Port Royal saying

.. a detail insignificant in appearance, but what is insignificant in politics? The innumerable edifices that I shall construct must be marked with my name, they must contain attributes, has reliefs, groups which recall a theme of my history. My arms, my monograms, must be wovenin everywhere. In one place there will be angels who support my crown, in another statues of justice and wisdom which bear my initials.. . . For the same reason I want my statue, my bust, my portraits to be in every public establishment especially in the auditorium of the courts; I would be represented in royal costume or on horseback.... These points are of utmost importance. I consider them essentials.

It is by these signs, by these emblems, that the person of the sovereign is always present; one lives with him, with his memory, with his thought The feelings of his absolute sovereignty enters into the most rebellious spirits as the drop of water which falls unceasingly from the rock hollowsout even granite.

-Maurice Joly

Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu

There could hardly be a time more evidently concerned with the fundamental challenge of political modernity - self-rule - than that in which we currently live. The great events of the past several years, following the dissolution of the Soviet empire, have all concerned this basic question. And they have witnessed a great burgeoning of attempts-locally,

nationally, and regionally, particularly in Europe-to constitute new selfgoverning political communities as well as to reconstitute old ones. All the strife that has attended and will continue to attend the pursuit of self-rule is ultimately concerned less with rule, howevei; than it is with the production and determination of the self. That is to say, with the production of the "subject" of rule (the political subject) in all its radically historical, problematic, ambivalent, and interdependent manifestationswho rules? who is ruled?-as well as the how (the disciplinary subject) of ruling. And as any self is determined by the boundaries one drawsphysically, symbolically, ideologically-the boundary question, which has always been central, has merely become explicit and politically agitated once more. This refashioning of political order promises an equally dramatic global impact, a so-called new world order.

Yet, the apparent novelty of our post-Cold War world, although it provides us with a timely and explicit reminder of the urgent character of the modern problematic of the political, and of the violence integral to it, remains nonetheless a spurious one. And we would do well to remain skeptical about promises of a new world ordei; as well, despite the current degree of flux in the correlations of power between states, for within the Western tradition the current challenge to fashion selfgoverning political communities has been a continuous one. It has been with us in its present form ever since the dissolution of the Christian imaginary (and of that Res Publica Christiana through which it sought its intercommunal political expression) posed the question of how to establish political order outside the discursive economy of scholastic thought, and in the absence of absolute or divine foundations. From the Renaissance onwards, therefore, modern humankind has been engaged in a continuous struggle to rearticulate the political (taking its bearings, first, from a recovery of the Classical Age, and thereafter from Science and Enlightenment) without any external guarantor or determination of what it should be, of what forms it should take, or even of the benefit of secure social, temporal, and spatial fixes through the intersection of which the political might be confidently located.

For the medieval Christian, reality was the presence of divinely created things as finished products, whose sense and purpose were guaranteed by the divine order. They were in principle intelligible and meaningful, however obscure they may have appeared to humankind at times, because they were expressions of a divine intelligence, elements in a divinely inspired intelligibility.1 The political, too, had its location within this universe, even if it was construed by Augustine as radically separate from the dvitas Dri, for what separates also joins, and, consequently, as J. G. A. Pocock and others have shown, a complex redeeming politics issued out of the Christian universe of salvation.2 The social, like the natural, order was not only given to man, such that law was less made

than found; the discursive economies of the ecumenics of belief that was Christendom configured secular and spiritual authorities in particular ways, staging their relationships and ambitions according to the disputed corpus of Christian interpretation of the world and of humankind's place in it, and consequently setting them at odds with one another in disputes that displayed certain perennial issues and recursive patterns of conflict. The dissolution of the Christian world, therefore, precipitated a monumental crisis not just of faith and authority (of every description) but of intelligibility,3 and thereby introduced a much more problematic "reality," one more transparently projected through human practices, thought, and imagination. This entailed, in particular; a loss of religious foundational sanction for the political realm. What followed, as Karl Lowith4 and the political theorist-jurist Carl Schmitt,5 for example, were to argue, was less a secularization of life than the restoration of the world to human being; the recovery of human worldliness, and the opening-up of a new prospect for the political and of new possibilities for innovative political action and forms of political life. It therefore posed, instead, as Hans Blumenberg explained, a new challenge to human self-assertion. The outcome was an invocation to human world-building that continues to perplex us profoundly and to which we continue, falteringly, to try to fashion affirmative rather than nihilistic responses. That is the challenge that continues to preoccupy us as we move beyond the deadly ritualistic encounters of the Cold War. And it is that challenge that continuously holds open the question of how political subjectivity and political order are produced.

The modern political condition became increasingly defined by its radical rootlessness as human being became progressively exposed as radical interpretation. Modern political theory and practice, however; at first resisting this conclusion but progressively self-denied of an ordering faith in a natural universe determined by divine providence, and of a social world underwritten by divine sanction, subsequently, and successively, failed to become satisfactorily grounded either in human nature, empiricism, or the structure of rationality. Our metaphysically unsettled, and unsettling, condition of homelessness in the world thus emerged, post-Christianity, not just as a provocation to autonomous political action but, with mounting clarity, as a provocation to autonomous political action without benefit of stable foundation; and so it remains. With our manifest inability to ground politics in any absolute, however; that homelessness-the absence of any extra-human guarantor of being, or of a stable and homogeneous foundation for meaning-has also become the source of the limits, paradoxically new boundaries of the radical alterity of a divided ground, which the modern understanding of the political must now find a way to respect, indeed articulate and negotiate, if it is to raise human governance out of bloody, dogmatic,

and despotic rule-and cope, in addition, with the real prospect of species extinction that has now also arisen to distinguish our modern forms of life.

In the transformation of political order that accompanied the transition from the medieval to the Modern Age, the figure of the state, as we know, became predominant. And it did so not only in the theoretical understanding of the political, but also in the vernacular architecture of modern power that derived from the play of the insistent figures and figurations of new systems of representation that assembled under the sign of the state. Moreover; it did so, necessarily, in ways that gave expression to the prevailing ontological, anthropological, and epistemological assumptions of the Western philosophical tradition, particularly those concerning subjectivity. Hence the state, too, was readily conceived as a subject, a personaficta or persona magna in Hobbes's terms, its "cognitive" deliberations, together with its constitutive passions and interests, articulated through that allied hypertrophic term "policy," which, deriving out of the reception of Machiavelli's The Prince, combined with the doctrine of raison d'etat to comprise a new modern vocabulary of the political;6 one which, in the field of international relations, and in the areas of foreign and security policymaking in particular; remains the paradigmatic and clamorous vernacular of modern (inter)national politics.

The task of founding political order in the form of a state was the problematic, therefore, around which early modern thinkers like Machiavelli and Hobbes fashioned a new response to the question of the political and the production of political order. Two of the mostthoughtprovoking contemporary analyses of this response have been offered by Hannah Arendt7 and Jacques Derrida,8 both of whom addressed the issue through a consideration of the founding of the United States and, especially in Derrida's case, a close reading of the Declaration of Independence. The insight into, and especially the defining paradoxes of politics that were identified in their work are systematically occluded in statist political vocabulary, although they are, nonetheless, readily available, we would argue, by taking the textuality of state texts seriously as texts-indispensible mediums of signification that are constitutive and not merely an outward reference to some putative external motivation or internal cognitive process. They have been explored and elaborated, in addition, by others, including, for example, Paul Ricoeurs and Claude Lefort.10 More recently, Bonie Honig'1 has provided acomparative analysis of Arendt's and Derrida's readings from which, after first espousing an antifoundationalist position and contesting the subjectivist vocabulary of the state, we want to take our particular point of departure. Whereas most of these analysts have been concerned with the great foundational and explicitly constitutive texts of state-production, however; we will seek

to show that what they found there is also repeated in the mundane minutiae of statecraft as well.

Stat(e)ing States

We were attracted to the rich ambiguity of our punning tide and subtitle for four reasons, three specific and one general. First, because it conjures up the performative idea of states being constituted by, and comprised of, statements made under the sign of the state ("stating states"). Second, because it prompts the constative idea of states being certain antecedent determinate conditions, grounds, and modalities (that is, certain sorts of states "stating states"), without reference to the enabling power of which statements of the state sort cannot be made. Third, because this ambiguity expresses what seems to be a defining paradox of politics; autonomous political action must entail a referential statement to something that antedates and so enables it (in speech act terms, a con stative), but that enabling condition is only present by virtue of what is enacted by the statement (a performative in speech act terms). And, finally, because a pun is the quickest way of subverting simplistic referential conceptions of language. In radically problematizing all conventional referential or denotive assumptions about the way language means, from the outset, it obviates the requirement to rehearse the history of the philosophy of language in order to advance and justify its constitutive, dialogical, and differential conclusions about the way language functions. As with puns, so with language and meaning, they are elusive, allusive, ambivalent, mediatory, and intertextual games.

The account of the state bequeathed to us through much of international relations theory's rendition, and reification, of modern political theory, however; deliberately obscures all this for a variety of reasons, but particularly because it is so extraordinarily invested with unproblematized accounts of subjectivity. These, in turn, are derived from established metaphysical assumptions about agents-identities that are divorced from the historically founded practices that constitute them. Modern political subjects, Mark Warren reminded us, are variously seen as "embodying natural desires and interests (Hobbes, Locke, and Bentham), as bearers of natural rights (Hobbes and Locke), as parties to a social contract (the entire liberal tradition through Kant), and as the epistemological foundation of rational action (Kant)."12 This vocabulary is applied equally to collectively as well as individually conceived subjectivities. The subjectivist conception of the state has also generated a cognate conception of power as will and command's and of policymaking as the instrumental pursuit of predetermined purposes.

Statecraft was then further conceived as the conduct of staatspolitik14a management practice rather than a political process.

Rather than begin by assuming that the state is an actor; itself conceived in a certain unproblematic way, however; we maintain that we should address ourselves, in a "radical hermeneutical" way, to what goes on under the sign of the state.15 And what one immediately discovers when one does so, of course, is that "the state" is an extraordinarily rich complex of signifying practices. In Foucauldian terms it might be described as a "system of formation"; that is to say, as a complex group of relations that function as a rule." As such, it

lays down what must be related, in a particular discursive practice, for such and such an enunciation to be made, for such and such a concept to be used, for such and such a strategy to be organised. To define a system of formation in its specific individuality is therefore to characterise a discourse or group of statements by the regularity of a practice.l*

Hence as Foucault suggested: "If there really is a unity, it does not lie in the visible, horizontal coherence of the elements formed; it resides, well anterior to their formation, in the system that makes possible and governs that formation."17

But even that "unity," as we will note, appears to be radically unstable, for as the sign of rule, the state is comprised of complex systems of signification that constitute meaning, including the meaning of"the state" itself, through the interplays, in addition, of differance. One of the distinguishing features of this differential constitution of meaning and identity, as exemplified in Derrida's work,18 is its elusive, evanescent quality. Using the French term differance, which connotes both difference and deferral, Derrida has explored how meaning and identity, although constituted by difference, nonetheless elude capture in exhaustively definitive formulations. In the process of their formation, meaning and identity are always discovered to be "moving-off' in a process of endless transformation, their condition of possibility a ground that is radically heterologous, divided, and generative rather than homogeneous, unified, and stable.

Our ambition is not only to enunciate a different way of addressing, and understanding, the state, but to do so by exploring the way in which state practices, while constituting meaning, also constitute the state. We will argue, in addition, that the "subjectivist" character of a state, the identity of the political community, is not merely contestable (the struggle for discursive dominance in the stat(e)ing of it being fundamental to the agonistic character of politics itself) but always and necessarily radically

elusive, because the "presence" of a state is constantly mediated and thereby deferred through the very textual practices that comprise it.

This, then, is a paper on the significations of state, which departs from the foundational concerns of Arendt, Derrida, and Honig because it does not address itself directly to the question of originary acts, but which, in traversing some mundane modes of representation, from the iconographic to the lexical, of an established state, nonetheless also illustrates the operation of the con stative/performative statements of state through which states are continuously reperformed. It is an exercise, moreover; in which the absence rather than the presence of somebody, some institutions or thing, distinguishes the mark of the exercise of power and authority under the sign of the state, for it emerges that it is through the traces left by state inscriptions (state statements) that state-mediated power and the presence of the state (sta4e]ing states) is manifested. Paradoxically, therefore, the state is more conspicuous by its absence, for it is never "there," except in the traces left by those, paradoxically empowered by these very signs, that sign for iL As ever in the enactment of performance, it is the ensemble of presence/absence that is responsible for the production of the overall effect of the "presence" of the state, demonstrating, in addition, that disclosure and concealment are twinned in all utterance.

Constative/Performative State-ments

To breed an animal with a right to make promises-is not this the paradoxical task that nature has set itself in the case of man? Is it not the real problem regarding man?


To put the modern problematic of the political, that is so in evidence today, succinctly: those who get together to constitute a new government have no authority to do what they set out to achieve. They, therefore, have to constitute their own foundations for doing what they do, for there is no law above the law they make. The construction of those foundations is often expressed in terms of extrapolitical, antecedent rights, duties, or commitments, or the restoration of some such foundational principles. But, however powerful this appeal may be rhetorically, it remains, nonetheless, part of the self-founding of; not the extra-human guarantor it is claimed to be for; the political community, and it continues to hold within itself its own originary violence. The paradoxes, dilemmas, and dangers that then arise are not, of course, confined to the experiences of the United States,18 but the founding

of the American republic does provide a well-documented exemplification of them.

In her account of the American Revolution, for example, Hannah Arendt, while seeking to celebrate this achievement as a model for the establishment of modern political authority, nonetheless criticized the "founding fathers" for losing their nerve and including appeals to absolute foundations (God and the self-evidence of the truths they espoused) to justify their revolt against rule from Great Britain. As they emancipated themselves in an exemplary act of political autonomy, she argued, so the vertigo induced by their bold performance persuaded them to seek some absolute foundation for it Con stative appeals to truths that required no agreement because their self-evidence compelled without argument or political persuasion were, she maintained, politically illicit: "Since their self-evidence puts them beyond disclosure and argument they are in a sense no less compelling than 'despotic' power and no less absolute than the revealed truths of religious or axiomatic centres of authority."20

The inclusion of a reference to foundation was without foundation and corrupted the essentially political nature of their act, for the peculiarly political character of conduct, on Arendt's account, is not the constative reference to some truth or pregiven object in the world, but the performative utterance that brings something into being that did not exist before.21 According to Honig, therefore, Arendt lamented the way the Declaration of Independence compromises the performative free coming together to constitute a new political order by its constative reference to foundations outside the political act itself.

If the political cannot be grounded in absolutes, then it is fair to ask for an elucidation of what precepts do distinguish it. Arendt's answer was the performatives of forgiving and promising. Ordinarily categorized as moral matters, these performatives are also uniquely political in that they are, like language itself; irredeemably social, directed not by any external command or motivation, or determined exclusively by private will, but comprising the enabling backcloth of practices that distinguish us as human beings. Criticizing Arendt for her desire to disambiguate the declaration, by dismissing its constative utterances in order to celebrate the statement as an exclusively performative speech act, Honig argued that this move obscures something that both had to be assumed by, as well as thereby created within, the declaration. That is to say, Arendt's performative politics must necessarily presuppose a community of promisers:

a pre-existing community composed of people who may hold different values and beliefs but who, nonetheless, have shared understandings of what a promise is, what it means to make a promise, and what

one must do in order for one's performance to be recognised as a promise.22

From whence does this community ofpromisers orignate? Arendt occludes the question but cannot escape it. Foregrounding it has the effect of radically reambiguating the declaration.

Having taken Arendt to task for not addressing what Nietzsche had recognized as the central problem of human being without God(s), namely how to "breed an animal with the right to make promises," Honig pursued the point by turning to Derrida's reading of the Declaration of Independence, because Derrida's reading deals with precisely this question and explores it through restoring the constative aspect of the text. The outcome is the exposure of a paradox that, we will argue, leaves not only the act of political foundation, but also that of all mundane political conduct, irresolvably ambiguous, and the character of political utterance inescapably dualistic, both constative and performative. This defining paradox of the political is not confined to constitutive declarations of independence, of which that issued in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776, is only one (another; for example, is furnished by the POBLACHT NA H EIREANN [Proclamation of the Irish Republici, which was issued by Patrick Pearse on the steps of the General Post Office in Dublin on Easter Monday 1916). Nor is it confined to heroic acts of self-foundation, for our example is taken from a state whose statehood was derivative.

Arendt claims that the source of authority for the declaration is the performative creation ex nihilio-the subjective "we" of the paradoxical statement, "We hold these truths to be self-evident." But what of this "we," a collective subject precisely like that which the state is claimed to be, brought to "presence" by some sort of textual legerdemain? From whence, or what, does it arise? Derrida, in his characteristically scrupulous fashion, pursued its trace relentlessly, in a passage that has direct application to the text to which we are to move next:

The "We" of the declaration speaks "in the name of the people". But this people does not yet exist. They do not exist as an entity, it does not exist, before this declaration, not as such. If it gives birth to itsel{ as a free and independent subject, as possible signifier [of the declarationi, this can hold only in the act of the signature. The signature invents the signer This signer can only autherse him- or herself to sign once he or she has come to the end, if one can say this, of his or her own signature, in a sort offabulous retroactivity23

We want to return to this fabulous retroactivity in the conclusion. First, because it refers to what we want to call the masque of state, and second,

because this curious illusion (fabulous retroactivity) also preoccupied those political theorists, Machiavelli and Hobbes, who have been so crudely misappropriated by modern "realists."

Derrida's point, however; is this: Founding, promising, or signing cannot occur ex nihilio. A performative utterance is never self-sufficient. It always seeks an anchoring in a last instance, a foundation, or an absolute of some description. The "we hold" is, necessarily, both constative and performative, and it is, therefore, radically undecidable as to whether "independence is stated or produced by this utterance." More than this, however; whatever name is used to specify the last instance that grounds the utterance, the last instance marks not an absolute, for there are none, but an aporia-a gap, an unbridgeable chasm that, although constituted by a mode ofreference or understanding, nonetheless abounds in paradox and poses irresolvable problems-thereby invoking a multiplicity of different formulas and devices for its resolution.24

There is a classic instance of an aporia in international relations, where the notion of sovereignty marks the aporia (rather than the resolution) of the character and location of power that arises with the advent of the stable knowing subject as the ground of knowing and of agency, and, consequently, as the mode! (political) subject.

In sum:

For Derrida, the combined constative and performative structure of the document and its We hold illustrate beautifully a structural feature of all language; that no signature, promise, or performative-no act of foundation-possesses resources adequate to guarantee itselr; that each and every one necessarily needs some external, systematically illegitimate guarantee to work. This need marks the Declaration of Independence just as it marks utterances which are more quotidian.25

We want to emphasize that Derrida's observation applies with equal force to the established Commonwealth State of Australia. And we will seek to show this in the next section, through a reading of the frontispiece of a text, which could hardly be a more arcane example of routine state/ signcraft-a mundane piece of political facticity that we want, so to speak, to read from below and not from the heights of (inter)national discourse.

The quotidian instance (a treaty) through which we explore the Derridaen paradox is also, of course, a classic example of promising. The specific element of the text that we are going to read, the frontispiece to the treaty, is similarly also an example of composite constative/ performative utterance. It is, therefore, emblematic in every way of the entire discussion, for while the frontispiece stands for the treaty document it also stands for "Australia," and in standing for Australia it stands for the mysteries of the way language makes and means, stages and lends

sense to, in this instance, a political community, a subject capable of making promises.

One important difference should, however; be emphasized. The Commonwealth State of Australia did not give birth to itself as a free and independent political subject, but derived its independent statehood from the imperial state of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It originated, therefore, out of an attenuated chain of political formation and re-formation; whose "mysteries" often, and in Britain classically, go under the title of a tradition. As Sir John Fortescue (an ancient and famous English jurist) eloquently, contradictorily, and with little historical scruple, rendered this "tradition thing," when praising the laws of England:

The kingdom of England was first inhabited by Britons, then ruled by Romans, again by Britons, then possessed by Saxons, who changed its name from Britain to England. Then for a short time the kingdom was conquered by Danes, and again by Saxons, but finally by Normans, whose posterity hold the realm at the present time [circa 1468-14711. And throughout the period of these nations and their kings, the realm has been continuously ruled by the same customs as it is now, customs which, if they had not been the best, some of these kings would have changed for the sake ofjustice or by the impulse of caprice, and totally abolished them, especially by the Romans, whojudged almost the whole of the rest of the world by their laws.26

To bring his testamental genealogy up to date we should have to add that (by the grace of God and the endeavors of its peoples and their rulers): there being no external conquest of the British Isles thereafter; nonetheless the crown moved on, political regime succeeded political regime, and the nomenclature of the kingdom periodically changed: from Tudors to Stuarts (during whose times Ireland was reconquered and newly colonized, the Kingdom of Wales being united with the English crown in 1536, after having been subdued between 1282 and 1283); then to the Dutch House of Orange (entailing inter alia savage suppression of rebellion in Ireland, again); from whence it passed to the German House of Hanover (during whose times a union was effected with the Kingdom of Scotland to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and an attempted usurpation of power from Scotland was defeated); then, later; an additional union with Ireland was effected to forestall it becoming a base for revolutionary nationalism and Bonaparte-supported opposition to the British crown, so forming a new United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (which also became an empire with vast dominion overseas); until present times when it rests with the House of Windsor; albeit that the kingdom, now no longer an empire, is called the United Kingdom

of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the Scots remaining, for the moment, within the royal union, but a treaty having been signed in 1922 partitioning the island of Ireland, creating the Irish Free State, which quickly declared itself the Republic of Eire). Throughout the course of this genealogy, rule was progressively centralized in London and parliamentarianized by the English Houses of Parliament. In the twentieth century, universal sufferage was established for elections, through a plurality of votes/single member constituency system to the lower house only of that Parliament.

This thing called a "tradition" does not, therefore, escape any aspect of the profound and broad register of the paradox of the political, which is, to restate it in Derridaen terms, that the signature invents the signer; whose presence is indicated only by the absence marked by the trace of the signature. Tradition merely denotes a certain range of devices through which the paradox finds additionally rich modes of articulation. It, too, illustrates the constative/performative point in that tradition is something to which performatives appeal as that which guarantees them, in the last instance, although tradition has no existence outside the inevitably and inherently problematic repetition (an iterability that is in fact an alterability) of the traces of the performative acts (customs) that are claimed to constitute the tradition-its corpus of practices. Tradition is an aporia in the guise of continuity.

Tradition, then, is the effect of a process of repetition of constative/ performative statements-a process of representation that precedes and makes possible the very presence it is supposed to reproduce. Repetition here, however; masquerades as a recollection of the same. That is to say, it claims to be a backward look to something stable and fixed, preceding the present act, which is merely to be retrieved or recovered, and repeated. But it is not It is a creative process, although of a particular sort. It thus produces what it claims to repeat, because repetition is never the same, but it does so through, and in the distinctive idiom of; the dynamics of a nostalgia for a past presence. It is, then, a record of constant variation and alteration that contains its own distinctive modes of production, exclusion, and violence, for it is a movement in which movement is something to be overcome. It consequently offers an effective device for quelling "the seductive aporia of how we can acquire something new"27 Here, identity and meaning are formed and policed via the promise of the metaphysical consolations of immemorial usage or the comforts of a recollected time. The objects of its violence are the marginal cases it makes possible and produces-identities and meanings in formation (struggling for articulation), and identities and meanings that do not fit its sanctioned recollection.

Maintaining, therefore, always effects new founding because it is inevitably and necessarily performative and interpretive. Similarly,

foundation is always and necessarily complicit in maintainance in that there is no origination that does not, in some way, draw upon established practices.

Stat(e)ing Australia

Our text, then, is taken from a treaty between Australia and the Republic of Korea concerning squid jigging by Korean fishing vessels within the Australian Fishing Zone. A first glance at the title page of the document reveals a range oftypographical features to do with the layout and boldness of text, as well as an example of a highly conventionalized symbol. Reading typographically, there are eleven elements arranged from the coat-ofarms at the top to the treaty series number at the bottom, and each of these can be subjected to detailed examination.

Arms and Control

All power has, first, its armorial bearings; its archaic significatory means of holding and announcing itself in a combination of language and imagery, which narrates it in a single dense historiographical sign. To begin with, at the top center of the page, surrounded by a margin of white, standing apart from the rest of the text, we find a coat-of-arms surmounting the word "Australia." Such a device is a highly conventionalized and heavily valorized sign that stands for the highest authority of the state. In this instance, it is a sign of the reigning monarch (queen ofAustralia), which, under Australian law is applied by the queen's representative, the governor-general. (The monarch herself; still a crucial signifier of sovereignty, resides some 25,000 kilometers from Australia, thus further indicating that Australia's statehood is derived from a complex chain of signifiers rather than from an act of self-foundation.)

The armorial bearings then represent the source of Australia's power. But it is not an embodied power at this stage because there is no signature on this microdocument (the title page), not even that of the governorgeneral. His authority is indicated merely by the presence of the coatof-arms, the most abstract of signs, which stands in place of the power it symbolizes and whose elusive quality it apparently captures as a part of the great seal of the state. Our access to the source of this state's power is, nonetheless, deferred by this, the most primordial sign of power. And that paradox acts as an invitation to us to unpack the device because, although it holds pride of place/space, it acts as a (partial) sealant against the dissolution, dispersion, and contaminating infusion of meaning immanent in all texts. Mfixing the sign of the seal attempts a closure of meaning, which, nonetheless, provides an opening through its hybrid

symbolization (iconographic and lexical) not only to the title page and main body of the treaty, but also to the artificing of the state itself. Even at this stage the dense economy of all signs is manifest; not least that of the written word: "Australia," alone, is offered here as the lexical indicator and guarantor of the power and identity of this state. Interestingly, the award to Australia by the royal warrant of King George

V in 1912 of the great seal (containing the coat-of-arms), an exercise of royal prerogative power by the British executive rather than an act of legislation, denoted a derivation of power from a superior body as opposed to the self-founding of the American republic. The chain of derivation, however; attenuates, albeit in important and different ways, rather than resolves, the aporia of power (sovereignty). It does so by interposing a genealogy of derivations, as it happens also comprised of con stative/performative utterance, into the process of state formation. Interestingly, too, the award of the great seal was to the government of Australia, and specifically not to the people of Australia. It is the sign then, of an authority authorizing an authority, or of a signer-inventingsignature (author) inventing another signer-inventing-signature (author), of virtually equal authority, which signified signer is thereby empowered to make promises, hence the significance of the signification of the royal seal's coat-of-arms on the frontispiece of the treaty document.

Most immediately evident in this symbol are the representations of two of Australia's most recognizable animal forms, the kangaroo and emu. Equally noteworthy is that these two most clearly defined shapes (not only because of their black solidity, but also because they border and enframe) are those that stand outside the protective shield of arms. The eye enters the image, then, for there is a scopic as well as a textual regime at work here, via the circuit around the shield, ensuring that the greatest definition is given to the boundary of the coat-of-arms, rather than the center; boundary production is the act of identification.

Within the shield, six divisions represent the six formerly self-governing British colonies, which federated as the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901. In this image, the state is an aggregate of smaller units-ironically and recursively states-though of lesser significance because the signatures that invent these signers are of a reduced significatory register. The enclosure of these states within a protective shield (or blazon) suggests an aggregation for the purposes of what may be termed collective, or more popularly (although confusingly for a heterogeneous immigrant society) "national" security, or "national" interest. What is being evokedconjured up-through complex symbolization ofboundaries is a collective character. Moreover; it is one that, in the enclosure of the states by the signs of nature (kangaroo, emu, and wattle branch), neatly displays the deep ambivalence in modernist accounts of man's relationship with nature; between those (like Descartes and Hobbes) committed to a project

of mastery, and their critics (like Rousseau) committed instead to harmony. Whether the symbolism here is being used to invoke an image of ordered state(s), marking out a pacified territory against the anarchy of the cultural other-the state of nature-or; conversely, of a mutually supportive harmony between the two, is ultimately undecidable. What is clear; however; is that the signification/representation of nature-consistent with modernist ways of deriving the grounds of man's sociability and politicality by reference to a hypostasized nature (the state of nature, natural la'w rights, passions, desires, needs, or interests, and so on) is being appropriated for the purposes of the domestication of both man and nature.

By identifying Australia with signs of its natural habitat, its state practices, therefore, signify their authority and identity both through the domestication of nature and the federal incorporation of earlier human states, by combining each into a plural oneness that effects a composite union simultaneously between peoples, and between these peoples and their physical habitat. The state, its power residing in the coat-of-arms, representative of an absent queen's power (whose power resides in another coat-of-arms, and so on), nonetheless reveals itself to be a nonunitary category. Yet it legitimates the instrument of an apparently single source of power; that of a sovereign state, and enables a discourse of state to take place.

Not only does this sign work its effect through its ensemble of signifieds, reconciling like and unlike (man and nature, state and state), it is also a system of deferral Although power appears to reside, at least initially, in the coat-of-arms indicating the seal of state, that seal actually stands only in place of the governor-general's signature, which in turn stands in place of the queen's signature, which in turn stands for the sovereignalthough the sovereign at the end of the chain is unstably formulated in the formula of "the-Queen-in-Parliament." At which point we enter the treacherous waters of that "continuous tradition" thing which in this instance is the performance and imagining of the United Kingdom of whatever combination of kingdoms and territories happen to constitute it, and whatever forms of political regime happen to govern it, at any one time. And so we are well advised to turn back, arbitrarily, as is the way of power; to our task in hand.20

No single source of authority or closure of meaning exists here, then, even in, ironically, the sign of the seal. It offers instead an entry into the system of dispersion and displacement of signification (meaning), which texturally constitutes the state. Whether we attempt to go up to the "source," or follow it down through its d'bouchment, power resides in no single unitary site, but is everywhere disseminated through the proliferation of the signs of state. Moreover; more abstract than any other signifier; the coat-of-arms apparently exerts the greatest formal authority,

for without it the treaty would have no effect. Nonetheless, despite it being the authorization of the instrument, this sign of the power of the crown is absent from the inside title page of the greater treaty documenL Thus, as we enter that document, signs of the Seal's authority are progressively effaced and replaced, thereby also constantly displacing and dispersing the place in which power resides; the more persuasively to invite the reader into complicitly with the signifying system itself; thereby effecting the force of the text's authority, its efficient interpolation into and continuous constitution of our forms of life.

Such dispersal is neither incidental nor ornamental. It is absolutely vital to the realization of identity, power; and authority through the device of the text and its signatures. For the sign of the seal of state only successfully states the state if the sign of state is capable of precisely such dissoluting dissemination, through mutating inscription, in all manner of other ways, and in all manner of other places (note the quotation with which we preface this essay). The signature invents the signer. Yes. But its force, so to speak, is directly proportional to the signature's capacity for reproduction; the iterability that spawns the vast complex regime of signification to which the promiscuous fecundity, which arises out of its very constative/performative undecidability, gives rise.

"Department of Foreign Affairs"

The next typographical item in the document offers another equally dense deferring sign of power through which we can explore this empowering dispersal of signification that comprises the state. Hinting at an additional layer of aggregation, the line "Department of Foreign Affairs" contracts within itself two major analytical axes. The first refers to the sectional dispersion of power within the domestic polity, by which departments are aggregated into collective "unities" that comprise the government, whereas the second refers to the establishment of a "negative space" by which the sovereign state is defined in relation to the "outside," or "foreign." By its rigorous definition of that which it is not, the state becomes aggregated (negatively) in terms of the spaces that are not "foreign"-that is, through the formation of a boundary between inside and outside, domestic and foreign.

To explore this a little further; and with specific reference to the title page of our treaty document, "Department" indicates that the speaker of this line is an institutional identity, which is separate from other government departments insofar as it speaks to a specific category of transactions; foreign affairs rather than some other affairs, and their respective instrumentalities. However; it is intelligible only with the addition of extratextual and culturally determined references-in short, the overall style of presentation, coupled with the coat-of-arms-

suggesting, of course, that the "preferred" reading of "department" is of one government instrumentality among many.

"Foreign Affairs"

indicates that the central preoccupation of this voice is also, but much more explicitly, concerned with the definition of "otherness," defining that which is "foreign."29 It is thus a voice that is implicated deeply in the definition of political and cultural identity. For there to be Foreign Affairs, there are presumably one or more departments concerned with home or domestic affairs and ways of differentiating one from the other; in effect, practices of inclusion (one of us) and exclusion (one of them). The signature of this department, then, has to be one intimately concerned with the inscription and operation of regimes of boundary construction by which the realm of self and other are demarcated and policed. That this department operates the treaty instrument signifies that it has the power to "speak the state" over any other department on this particular site of reference. As holder of this power; too, the Department of Foreign Affairs signifies the sovereign identity of the state as one department among the many bodies that comprise the apparatus of the state. Signifying itself by reference to sovereignty (queen/governor-general), nature (kangaroo, emu, wattle branch), constitution (federalizing statement), and collective interest/ identity (shield)-all of which represent axes of difference and conflict contained within a unifying symbol-the signature of the state now signifies itself through a process of internal as opposed to external disaggregation of signifiers. If; in the coat-of-arms, the state is signified metaphorically, here it is represented metonymically by one of many government departments within a larger aggregation of departments that form the apparatus of state rule, which (unstable) state is one of the many constatives (typically, Australia or government, although others, elsewhere, might also refer to nation, people, or class) to which the performative will refer for its grounding.

In the context of this treaty, then, the term "Department of Foreign Affairs" names the instrumentality of power whose responsibility is to name the exception, the other; the foreign, and transact business with it. After the reference to "Australia" in the coat-of-arms, this line indicates the proper name or signatory body, which, through a more extended and complex process of inscription, defines and legitimates the immediate context, or speech situation. It then becomes a further representation of the abstract symbol of power that adorns the top center of the page, but it is one that seeks to localize and specify it more, indeed to embody it institutionally. It does this in the subsequent line.

The address that then follows in this line-"Canberra, A.C.T."-is, of course, an incomplete, nonfunctional, address, lacking, for example, building, street, and post code. It therefore also serves a symbolic purpose by providing a locus for the presented world of the text; indicative of

a formulaic language use, common to a range of bardic genres from fairy tales to newspapers. It represents, if you will, the "once-upon-atime, in-a-place-far-away" function. "Canberra," here (like, in other similar contexts, Washington, London, or Paris; and atone time, because currently it evokes a quite different and uncertain register; Moscow), is the symbolic locus of Australian federal power. However; coincidentally or not, the initials "A.C.T" seem to serve an additional function. They not only allow a further way of specifying the territorial space occupied by the seat of power-the Australian Capital Territory-they also pun acronymically; ACT; in addition, invoking leadership, decision, and authority.

"Subsidiary Agreement"

The next segment- 'Subsidiary Agreement"-names the presented speech act. This is a promise. It implies a law of contract whose authorization, because of the weight of illocutionary force contained by it,30 entails an act of contract derived from a history of contract practices and authorization by that portion of the great seal that is the signature that invents the signer (the state); now locuted through the instrument of the treaty. Its perlocutions nonetheless proliferate through a range of indirect speech acts31 to function not merely as the stated contract, but also to fulfill a range of other communicative functions (e.g., phatic communication, and maintaining contact).33

That this speech act is denoted as "subsidiary" refers intertextually to an umbrella text-another treaty-external to the one at hand. This is specified in the main body of the treaty and adds to the textual cohesion of the title page, by referring it to that larger "Agreement on Fisheries Between the Government ofAustralia and the Government of the Republic of Korea." This is noted in the first paragraph of the main body of our subsidiary treaty and designated "the Head Agreement." "Subsidiary Agreement," therefore, is an appeal to a broader discursive base that adds weight to the legitimation of the text as an agreement, but, of course, it also links this text into the ongoing process of boundary construction for both Australia and the Republic of Korea in the practices of discursive exchange, which, through all sorts of practices of differentiation (inclusion and exclusion), mark out the division between political self and other; not only between (as here) but also within what are inevitably problematic and provisional communities of people.

In another displacing move, we can note the shifting nature of the reference, from "Agreement on Fisheries ... Korea" to "Head Agreement," in which the presented "actors" are again effaced from the relationship. Rendering them more secure from challenge, they are concealed and replaced by the term "Head Agreement," which at the

site of this sign permanently defers our access to the actors actually constituted through this process of signification. Present riot only in the traces of their inscriptions, their identities are constructed and secured at this site not so much because they are made manifest but because they are subtly constituted through interlocking differentiating and deferring signs. The state as well as other political subjects have apparently passed this way, but we never encounter their "actual" presence, only impressions (traces, appearances) that they have left on the world, which they have thereby shaped. The signature invents the signer. Yes, again. This does not make the state, or the other subjects, any less "real." What it does is radically problematize what is meant by real, and indicates that the "real" is a mode of appearance, a constative/performative production. Corporeal as well as institutional bodies are continuously erased as well as invented by signatures. You can kill or die from one. There is, then, we would suggest, something much more "real" (more worldly) in this observation than in all the insistences of realists that are ordinarily at such pains to efface the radically referential and ambiguous textuality of (inter)national politics.

Clearly, the title page of a subsidiary agreement is not the final resting place of the state. But by these tantalizing processes of deferment, we are drawn into the thread of stat(e)ing via the intertextual processes that constitute the significatory fabric of the state.

At the same time, this slippage of reference seems to open textual spaces that set in play a range of possible readings, not the least of which revolves around the use of the structural metaphor of "head" to denote the higher authority of the larger agreement within which the subsidiary agreement nests. In this instance, the "head agreement" is the carrier and indicator of a privileged knowledge space, without which the subsidiary aspect of the text-at-hand would be meaningless, in the same way as the main body of our treaty carries a similarly privileged knowledge space for the title page. The space, then, in which the constitutive passage of the state occurs is an intertextual one, gaining the guarantees of its legitimacy and power from the range and breadth of the signatures/signers of the other texts that constitute it, but which stat(e)ing, of course, in turn operates.

Agreements, with the implication of act, also imply some form of actant in order to perform the act in question. This is, in part, signaled by the words "between the." It can be noted that these words are in fainter print and smaller characters than those of the key lexical items. They signify that the subsidiary agreement occurs at the interface between states rather than within them. This is indicated despite the fact that the state is only partially unpacked, and represents not the entirety of the state but the government of the state. This reads like a return to the "prince" as black box because the government performs an equally

unitary role, in which its constituent parts are only hinted at through the reference to "Department of Foreign Affairs." Such a reading is further problematized by the deictic "the," which attempts to signal the singular and unitary nature of that to which it refers. It remains unclear; however; as to whether the faint print and smaller character size serve to elide the interfacial nature of the agreement, or whether it is to marginalize the grammatical, or structural, elements, in order to give relative importance to the semantic, or lexical, units. Whatever the intention, any unitary reading of these elements remains radically problematic in the face of the multiple functions performed by this text (as with any other) in the constitution of both meaning and identity. Given this, it remains the case that a semiotic reading of this title page and, indeed, of the treaty document in full would have to foreground the "betweenness" of the text itself as central to the kind of identities and relationship being constituted and maintained by such a performative.

"Government ofAustralia"

The next item locates, at least provisionally, the first of the presented actors, or chief characters, in the text. This is "Government of Australia." It is an unquestioned category that is rendered problematic by framing the text within one department of the government of Australia, namely the Department of Foreign Affairs. Among other possibilities, one available reading of this is that the Department of Foreign Affairs offers just one of a range of subject-positions that can be filled by the term "government of Australia." By doing so, this allows the government of Australia to be established as the constative that elides the rich store of competing interests, anxious to emerge as the legitimated voice in this as in all transactions, having effectively silenced all other interests. The specificity of the voice, together; however; with its self-betrayal as one of a range of available positions (by virtue of the fact that it is the voice of one department within a multifaceted government), renders the category-government nt-itself problematic.

In the first instance, noting that it is the Department of Foreign Affairs that holds the legitimated voice, let us also note that the presented world of the text, beyond it and in the context of the constitution of actual forms of life, concerns a mode and a place of fishing. This raises questions that one might want to see raised in the main body of the treaty, concerning the role of other departments/identities, both in government and outside. Most notable in this set of absences, which indicate intertextually the structuring forces of other; nonspecific, government departments involved and implicated in the larger text of our treaty, is the Department of Primary Industries, headed by the minister-then, one John Kerin. Notable, because the absence of this department is signaled strongly by

the presence of Kentrin's signature (his mark), as also is the absence of the minister for foreign affairs! One may note that in the publication of the document in the Australian treaty series, that very signature is itself placed under erasure with a discrete "[signed]." This, then, presents us with a double erasure, remarkable for its prodigious feat of metonymy, in which the signature of a single person (although erased, it must bent present upon the "original" document) may stand in place of the government of Australia as signaled by the "[signed] for the Government ofAustralia." Thus the sign of the government ofAustralia stands replaced by the signature of a single person, which is ultimately replaced by a sign indicating the place of the signature. That this signature may be that of a person who is not the titular head of the Department of Foreign Affairs, but one who is designated acting minister of foreign affairs, reveals that the signature of the person is a "shifter." It is an institutional signature, or subject-position, which can bent filled by a range of actors for the purpose of stat(e)ing. The presence of the signature also signals the ever-present gaze of the lawgiver; the scopic regime of power; whereas the absence signaled by the presence of the signature brooks no further negotiation. It is an act of narrative closure through which the law has become word and the word has become flesh, but the flesh is protected from contestation because of the fluidity entailed in the presentation of the signature for erasure.

'And the"

As the text unfolds, the next entlentmentnt-"and the"-draws itself in two opposing directions. Dealing with the second element first, the dentictic "the," although separated from the element that follows, nevertheless forms part of the nominal group that names the other party (or constituted actant) in the agreement: "[the] Government of the Republic of Korea." To separate the "pointer" from the "Name" serves to disaggregate the name, leaving ambiguous now the unitary status of "government of the Republic of Korea," while exerting a forward pull that prefigurents the second character in the narrative. Against this forward pull of the deictic, the conjunction "and" represents a site of provisional stasis within the text. It is a term of relativity that signifies the existence of a paratactic relationship (relationship of equality) between the element before and the element after. It is therefore connected intimately with the element "government of Australia" and the element following, whose approach is signaled by the "the" to which it is bound and with which it shares the line, font, and size. Again, there is an ambiguity caused by the reduced size and faint print of "and the." It rests upon whether there is an attempt to play down the structural linguistic elements (as a surface reading would suggest), or to play down the discursive equality accruing to sovereign

states under international law. If the latter is the case, then two questions emerge: i) Under what conditions can an agreement take place ifAustralia is not to recognize the discursive equality of states? If; on the contrary, went recognize the discursive equality of states, then is this not something to foreground? Under this rubric, the agreement would serve to strengthen the betweenness of the relations of states (how stat(e )ing states is intimately involved in a stat(e)ing through which states state each other); and thus the conjunction, insofar as it is inclusive and accommodating, becomes, along with the element "between," one of the key elements of the treaty.

"Government of the Republic of Korea"

From the conjunction we confront the final bold type: "Government of the Republic of Korea." Without the "pointer;" it seems to oscillate between verb and noun, process and object, right through the three layers of its retreat. At one end of the journey lies a black box: Korea. Alone, unitary, it is an empty category, a princentless state-a state of stasis. Moving outward, we encounter "Republic of Korea," rent: public, rents publica, in the manner of the people. Reactivated thus, the category now contains/pertains to a polity. Moving outward for the third step, we find "Government." But this government ambiguously wanders between the institutional embodiment of the prince and the active processes of governing: stating the state. Each elides the other; circling warily. The state, like Sartre's ontology, "is where it is not and is not where it is."33 It is a question, or series of questions: whom or what is constituted by this stat(e)ing? Whom or what states? What, and for whom? These questions return, as much for the government of Australia as for government of the Republic of Korea. And as we trace the paths of deferment, we find the "state-er;" as with the signer; progressively postponed by the signs of signs, and by the signs of the (d)entffacement of signs. We are presented, so to speak, with a small discursive microeconomy within a much larger system, a circle of production of signs, because signs are exchanged for signs, and power is transacted through the interstitial process of sign exchange rather than wielded as a substance by the predetermining will and logocentric presence of an executive subject.

If we are to operate this slippery and elusive text, even within the terms of its "preferred" reading, we find according to its macrostructure that the term "government" is used to instantiate a unitary subject-position (which serves as a constativent), which seems to support the traditional realist claims that international relations concerns only the subjectivities of the states concerned, and that the nature and structure of the subjectivities remains unproblematic. The question of who speaks is quite

manifest, but most tantalizing because we have so many conflicting signs for something that is presented so insistently and unproblematically, yet deferred so continuously. Indeed, within the main body of the treaty, there is little further reference to nonunitary actors, these being conflated within the term "government."

And yet, as went said earlier; there is more than text here, for this is also a scopic regime. There is not only a discursive economy but what went might call, in addition, an "economy of regard," a transactional network in which the constituted subjects are positioned in each other's regard; that is to say, both visually and valuationally. Just as the text surveys its subjects/objects and positions them in a regime of regard, we also are implicated in surveying the text. This frontispiece is emblematic again because it is deliberately arranged both to summon and to receive the glance. Its devices, like the coat-of-arms of the seal, are manifestly visual as well as textual. None of this is accidental. Its layout is neither random nor arbitrarily chosen. Somewhere the protocols governing its presentation are specified, and somebody has loyally followed them in this instance. The orientation of the gaze is, therefore, also organized and directed in and by this text. It is a mode of appearing as well as meaning, identifying, and promising. They are all compacted here, for it is an exercise in the presencing of meaning, identity, and promise. But how and to what effects? Specifically, how is the gaze summoned and determined? What is its directionality, and what does it bring about? (In what does it consist? In our focus and attention? In our transfixation by it in a self-simulating self-fascinating invocation of multiple selves?)

A way to focus a little more clearly on this puzzle, at least in respect of agency and political subjectivity, is not to ask, who is the subject of the text? but, how is the subject of the text? And, similarly, to ask not just who is subjected to and thereby transfixed within this economy of regard, but to ask how, through it, does the subjectification take place and to what objectifying effects? We will return briefly to these puzzling questions in the last section.

To move on with our reading, however; we nonetheless note from the body of the treaty that the agreement is one "concerning Squid Jigging by Fishing Vessels of the Republic of Korea." The "subject" is, then, a concern, a worry, a going-on (a performance of something; including no doubt a host of signs and gestures involved both in the fishing, and in the encounters between those fishing and others who have one way or another also become emeshed in the activity), rather than an agent (the author of a going-on; here, as elsewhere in modern political vocabulary, constantly, insistently, invoked as a constative). Our initial response might bent to ask: How is this concern a concern, and for which agents? But here it is evident that all sorts of deeply problematical agents

are equally being summoned up by a concern. This simple document is no simple case of an agent, or a number of agents, expressing a concern and acting upon it. Here, again, went have, instead, the radically undecidable interplay between constative and performative utterance in the stat(e)ing of states, which entails, in addition, the stat(ent)ing of all manner of other political subjectivities. Agents, ostensibly being the constatives to which performatives refer; are being constituted (summoned into presence, empowered, specified, and embodied) by the performatives themselves.

Let us also examine another new actant, that of the fishing vessels of the Republic of Korea. At this point, we have to enter the presented world of the title page of the treaty in order to pursue these questions of rule. Went are thus no longer able to resist the intertextual pull of the page's own intertextual embeddedness.

Squid jigging is a method of fishing-a mode of practice-pentrformed, according to the text, by fishing vessels. Like Quintillan's "thirty sails," however; we are left with an ambiguous fleet; one sail per ship seems the least likely, and most unwieldy, possibility by which a vessel is substituted metonymically for the crew. These vessels are those of the Republic of Korea. Australian fishing vessels are not mentioned, but they are, however; concerned. To such an extent, indeed, it is deemed necessary, within the main body of the text, to "establish the detailed procedures for the conduct of Squid Jigging operations by fishing vessels of the Republic of Korea within the Australian fishing zone and for the issue of licencents by the Government of Australia."

We return, then, to the question of the subject, in this sense of who speaks and how? It becomes apparent that the power to speak comes from the least specified actor-namely, Australia-as this actor has the broadest discursive base, and a nonspecific site upon which to return the gaze. The individual fishing vessels of the Republic of Korea are highly specified, inclusive of the "masters of the licensed vessels" specified further within the main body of the treaty. However; they are, in these terms, the least powerful, functioning, not as subjects, but as objects within the terms of the treaty. The speaker; then, disaggrentgatentd within the main body of the treaty into "Department ofPrimary Industry" and "commercial interests of Australia" is a plurality-the unfocused institutional voices that enact the agreement. Those subjected to this amorphous voice are, variously, the government of the Republic of Korea, masters of the licensed vessels, and Korean fishermen. The power to enforce the license as a mode of surveillance and instrument of legitimation rests entirely with the government of Australia. Yet, the government of the Republic of Korea is also to serve as agent acting on behalf of Australia to enforce the details of the licensing arrangements. Thus, finally, Australia is also displaced . . . from being the enforcing subject in the first instance.

To give impetus to the speech act, there follows a reinvocation of

the spatiotemporal locus of the document: "(Canberra, 16 October 1984)." Following this, at some distance from the rest of the text, yet still upon the title page, lies an active, forward-looking, italicized phrase, or incantation: "Entry into force: 16 October 1984." The reference to force clearly underlines the agonistic role of language,34 seeming to reinforce the traditional realist concerns with the power of the sovereign state. In one sense the textualist (now also scopicist) view of politics seems not so far removed, after all, from the realist's preoccupation with power. But that is an illusion, for where these views differ profoundly is not so much in the respect they accord to power as in the way they approach the question of how power operates, especially in the way the tentxtualist/ scopicist insists on exploring how power is engendered only by the effects of inscription and rentpresentation-sometiments bloody and deadly, oftentimes not, but even when violent always sutured within the fabric of a complex system of reference, however strange and bizarre. Similarly, they differ not in respect of the significance they attach to the practices of state, but in theorizing how the state means, not what it means, and how its meaning constitutes the subjects (constructed identities, personations) and objects (issues, problems, categories, and, finally, circularly and vitally, the very subjects whose agency, it is claimed, initiates all actions) of the world of politics. In short, of how stat(e)ing states stage the political and invest it with certain form and content.

Parenthetically, we can note that one of the functions of the state as a signifying system is to effect continuously this constant movement to and fro, between subject and object positions, such that subjects (such as "the people," or masters of fishing vessels) are invoked as the source of agency only to bent translated into objects (for example, as a population resource or as a policy problem). For the realist, the state is a moreor-less aggregated subject/object. For the textualist or scopicist, it is a painstakingly structured, but nonetheless mutable, locus (site or stage) of multiple and minutely orchestrated textual and visual enactments of subjectification and objectification via constative-pentrformative utterance. The state is consequently not identical with its geographical boundaries or its territoriality, for example, for these, too, are practices of signification. The state is in its state-ments, those significations inscribed only in a trace. Once again the state is where it is not, and it is not where it is: not in any centrality or presence but constituted as a function of the meaning and boundary-making practices enacted under its sign. That is why the subsidiary agreement is stat(ent)ing Australia.

The agreement, however; is only one text within a series of texts (listed as number 19 in the 1984 Australian treaty sentries), composed at the interface between states, entailed in the construction of the boundaries that contribute to delineating the state. Thus "squid jigging" is embedded within that vast textual/scopic economy of meaning and regard-

subjectifying, objectifying, and bounding-which comprises the stat(ent)ing of the state in, and the state of; the modern world.

The Masque of State

Everything profound loves the mask.

We would like to conclude with an opening that seems to bent impelled by all serious consideration of acts of signification. Both of the early modern theorists of politics, Machiavelli and Hobbes, are celebrated most for their "political realism." But both put the meaning of that category in some doubt, also, by a feature common to, although somewhat differently interpreted in, their work: their fascination with the mode of appearance of the rental through the productive powers of illusion, (dis)similitudent, misrecognition, and spectacle. Moreover; these factors were integral to their understanding of the production of political subjectivity and the maintenance of political order. Both, indented, regarded the production of the state as a work of art in which the real origins of social control lie in the mysteries of representation, and in which power is an effect of signification.35 The Prince is a dissertation on the art of seeming, appearance, and dissimilation. Hobbes's concern is explicit most in the final chapter of De Homine ("Of Artificial Man"), in which he considers the constitution of the body politic by discussing personification in terms of the theatrical mask, and in chapter 16 of Leviathan ("Of Persons, Authors, and Things Personated"), in which he once again takes up the theatrical analogy; and in his engagement with optical science where he seems most influenced by the work of the Mersenne Circle and its combination of catoptrics with anamorphic art.36 In their respective enterprises, however; neither was concerned with the word to the exclusion of the visual. Machiavelli, as playwrite and as acute observer of the political, was preoccupied with the production of "appearance." Hobbes, with his pronounced interest in optics as well as political theory, was preoccupied with the functioning of what Caygill has called "productive judgment" and the way in which it contrives the appearance of a unity out of diversity,37 For both, dramaturgy was an integral part of their conception of the production of political order.38

If the defining problematic of the political in the modern agent is how to produce and sustain life-enhancing self-rule without the guarantee that some stable and unified ordering principle is immanent either within ourselves or the natural universe that will enable us to do it, the modern era is also alleged to have been dominated notjust by increasingly dense systems of textual mediation and their associated interpretive practices, for which bureaucracy has become a paradigm,39 but also by sight The invention of printing, according to the familiar arguments of Marshall McLuhan and Walter Ong,40 served to reinforce what Martin Jay41 has

called the ocularcentric focus of modernity, itself derived from such inventions as the telescope and the microscope. This privileging of sight has continued to intensify throughout all of modernity's defining industrial, scientific, commercial, cultural, and military structurents.42

But, just asjay concludes that it would be wrong to espouse a monolithic view of the visual culture of the modern agent, and goes on to differentiate at least three variants within it (Cartesian perspectivalism, Baconian empiricism, and the Baroque), so it would bent wrong to concede to any simple visualist insistence that the visual has been the master sense of modernity, After all, manifestly, what we have here is an extraordinarily complex manifold in which the visual and the textual, combined, are deeply implicated in the production and reproduction of modern forms of life, a jortiori, its political forms. Knotting the manifold, however; is a performative not a cognitive activity, Moreover; its ground is not the dialectical one of positivity/negativity, but the dialogical one of inassimilable alterity, The modern mise en scene/mise en sens of the political is consequently conjured as a performative interplay of presence and absence out of the infrastructuring, but necessarily open and problematic, ground of the signifying protocols of the text and the gaze.43

In this paper went have traversed the signs of the state from the iconographic to the lexigraphic while pursuing some of the obscured disclosures entailed in the provisional closures of these signs. In the process, it appears that all political practice, from the smallest to the greatest matter of state, is integrally involved in the mode of appearance of political subjectivities, as well as of the matters-indeed through the matters-that concern them. What is also quite evident is that no form of life, none of the identities that people it, however structured, are fixed or constant; that is because the ground itself-that which enables them in the first place-is neither stable nor unified. The play is an endless reinvention of form through practices and characters, which are themselves also products of the systems of signification that they animate and employ to animate themselves. Mediation of changing political form is, thus, the name of the language game of "statecraft." The state then emerges not as a universal subject, or even as a collection of subjects somehow contrived from a chorus of pluralistic voices into a single utterance, but as a set of signifying practices; indented, enabling practices, which represent one of the most important of the signifying conditions of possibility for political subjectivity (individual or collective) to appear; to speak, and to write itself in modern times. Instead of an agent, disciplining within a domestic polity a host of metaphysically conceived egotistical subjectivitients, itself constituting a supentregotistical subject, went are confronted with practices that actually open rather than foreclose the issue of how self-constituting practices of subjectivity work, and especially of how they work politically to constitute a plurality of subjectivities in an objectifying political order.

It seems, then, that political subjectivity is a function of the marks of signification. A person, Hobbents teaches, "is he whose words and actions

are considered, either as his own, or as representing the words or actions of another man, or of any other thing, to whom they are attributed, whether truly or by fiction." That a mark is a mask:

Persona in Latin signifies the disgnise, or outward appearance of a man, counterfeited on the stage: and sometimes more particularly that part of it, which disguiseth the face, as a mask, or vizard: and from the stage, hath been translated to any representer of speech and action, as well in tribunals, as theatrents.44

And that the mask is integral to political personification, a represent ntation purporting to re-present, to bring to presence something that was not, hitherto, there, but one that positively resonates with ambiguity, For the mask announces both that it is representing something-whateventr is signified on the mask-while contriving simultaneously to signify that it is also representing, via disguise, something else: that which the mask itself suggests is behind the mask, wearing or authorizing it. The statements of state, its marks-enunciations of every imaginable description-are, then, a mask-a visaging that simultaneously serves to imply a willing (political) persona that is never there, in some way fully present, as a stable unified subject, but is itself possible only in plurality, difference, and dissemination.

Yet, all utterance is also performance, and notjust a mark. Moreover; something of the etymology of mask further moves us from language to language in action, language in play, The French spelling "masque" was originally the same word as mask and formerly used indifferently with it until the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when masque was refined to distinguish the sense in which it is used today as "masked ball," a form of amateur histrionic entertainment, which became popular at court and among the European nobility during that period.45 Originally consisting of dancing and acting in dumb show, later it came to include dialogue as well as song.

We conclude, therefore, that under the sign of the state there is a "masque" in play; a certain seeming in which political action and political community are made to appear; and are "habited in character." Although the mask/masque contrives a topology of surface effects for which there is no stable foundation outside the performance itself; one of its principal functions is to signify that (somewhere) there is one.

Hence, the manner in which we would account for (political) subjectivity, although it cannot break entirely with the paradigm of subjectivity, is no longer subjective either; for it exposes and emphasizes the differance that inhabits all our modes of being. In recognition of this, went require a radical reconceptualization of the political and a radicalization of (intentr)national politics.


This essay arose out of collaboration begun in 1989 when G. M. Dillon was a visiting fellow in the Department of International Relations and the Peace Research Centre at the Australian National University He would like to thank the department for its hospitality and the Leverhulme Trust for its additional financial assistance.

1. William E. Con nolly, Political Theory and Moaeenity (Oxford: Basil Blackwell,


2. See]. G. A Pocock, The Machiavellian Moment. Florentine Political Thought and the Atlantic Republican Tradition (Princeton, NJ.: Princeton University Press, 1975); Sheldon S. Wolin, Politin and Vision (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1961); and Peter I. Kaufman, Reaeeming Politica (Princeton, N].: Princeton University Press, 1990).

3. Hans Blumenberg, The Legitimacy of the Modern Age (Cambridge, Mass.:

MIT Press, 1986).

4. Karl Lowith, Meaning in History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press,


5. Carl Schmitt, The Concept of the Political (New Brunswick, NJ.: Rutgers University Press, 1976); and Carl Schmitt, The Crisis of Parliamentary Denocracs (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1988).

6. On Machiavelli's reception, especially through the genealogy of "policy,"

see George L. Mosse, The Holy Pretence. A Study in Christianity and Reason of

State from William Perkina to John Winthrop (New York: Howard Fertig, 1968);

George L. Mosse, "The Assimilation of Machiavelli in English Thought: The

Casuistry of William Perkins and William Ames," Huntington Library Quarterly

17 (August 1954); and Napoleonent Orsini, "'Policy' or the Language of Elizabethan

Machiavellianism," TheJournal of the Wartburg and Courtauld Institute 9 (1946).

7. Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1958); and Hannah Arendt, On Renolution (New York: Penguin Books, 1963).

8. Jacques Derrida, "Declarations of Independence," New Political Science 15 (1986).

9. Paul Ricoentur; "The Political Paradox," in William E. Con nolly, ed., Legitimacy and the State (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1987).

10. Claude Lefort, Democracy and Political Theory (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1989).

11. Bonie Honig, "Declarations of Independence: Arendt and Derrida on the Problem of Founding a Republic," American Political Science Review 85:1(1991).

12. Mark Warren, Nietzsche and Political Theory (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1988), p.152.

13. See, for example, the last chapter in Clifford Gentertz, Negara. The Theatre

State in Nineteenth Century Bali (Princeton, NJ.: Princeton University Press, 1980).

See also Foucault's discussions of power in Colin Gordon, ed., Michel Foucault.

Power/Knowledge (London: Harvester Press, 1980).

14. K Waltz, Man, the State and War (New York: Columbia University Press,1959).

15. We take this term from John D. Caputo, Radical Hermeneutics. Repetition Deconatruction and the Hernenentic Project (Bloomington: Indiana University Press,


16. Michel Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge (London: Tavistock, 1982), p. 74.

17. Ibid., p.72.

18. See, for example,Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1974).

19. See for example, Sudipta Kaviraj, "The Imaginary Institution of India" in Partha Chattentijeent and Gyanendra Pandenty, eds., Subaltern Studies, No.7 (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1992). What is currently going on in the former Soviet republics as well as in Eastern Europe provides, of course, a host of additional illustrations.

20. Honig, note 11, p.99.

21. Ibid.

22. Ibid., p.103.

23. Quoted in Ibid., p.104. Emphasis added to the last two sentences.

24. We put thirty spokes together and call it a wheel;

But it is on the space that there is nothing that the utility of the wheel depends.

We turn clay to make a vessel;

But it is on the space where thentre is nothing that the utility of the vessel depends.

We pierce doors and windows to make a house; and it is on these spaces where there is nothing that the utility of the house depends.

Therefore, just as we take advantage of what is, we should recognise the utility of what is not.

-Lao Tse

25. Honig, note 11, p.106.

26. Pocock, note 2, The Machiavellion Moment, p.13.

27. See Caputo, note 15.

28. Eor those who would like to go on, two important guides are Ernst H.

Kantorowicz, The Kings' Two Bodies. A Study in Medieval Theology (Princeton, NJ.:

Princeton University Press, 1957); and Louis Marin, Portrait of the King

(Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1988).

29. This is a process treated at length and with a wealth of illustration in David Campbell, Writing Security: United States Foreign Policy and the Politics of Identity (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1992).

30. J. L. Austin, How To Do Things With Woras (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1962); and R. Searle, Speech Acts (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969).

31. R. Searle, Speech Act Theory and Pragniatics (London: Reidel, 1980).

32. Roman Jakobson, Fundamentals of Language (The Hague: Mouton, 1960).

33. J. P Sartre, Being and Nothingness (London: Methuen, 1974).

34. J. P Lyotard, The Post-Modern Condition: A Report on Knowledge (Manchester:

Manchester University Press, 1984).

35. On Machiavelli, see, for example, Wayne A. Rebhorn, Fozes and Lions.

Machiavelli's Confidence Men (Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell University Press, 1988); and

Richard Waswo, Langnage and Meaning in the Renaissance (Princeton, NJ.:

Princeton University Press, 1987). On Hobbes, see Howard Caygill, Art ofJudgemrnt

(Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1989).

36. Caygill, note 35, Art ofJudgement; and Hobbes, Thomas Wiites' Dent Mundo Examined, Harold Whitmore Jones, trans. (London: Bradford University Press in association with Crosby, Lockwood, Staple, 1976).

37. Caygill, note 35, Art ofJudgement, p. 18.

38. For an essay on the dramaturgical in Hobbes, see, for example, George

Shulman, "Metaphor and Modernization in the Political Thought of Thomas Hobbes," Political Theory 17:3 (August 1989).

39. The word "text" here is meant to refer to text in the sense of written documentation.

40. Marshall McLuhan, Unaerstanding Media (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964); and Walter J. Ong, In the Human Grain (New York: Macmillan, 1967).

41. Martin Jay, "Scopic Regimes of Modernity," in Scott Lash and Jonathan Friedman, eds., Modernity and Identity (Oxford: Basil Blackwentll, 1992).

42. See also, for example, Paul Virilin, War and Cinema: The Logistics ofperception (London: Verso, 1989).

43. Combined they comprise the regiment that Derrida means by "text":

as I understand it (and I have explained why), the text is not the book, it is not confined in a volume itself confined to the library, It does not suspend reference-to history to the world, to reality, to being, and especially not to the othenti; since to say of history, of the world, of reality, that they always appear in an experience, hence in a movement of interpretation which contextualises them according to a network of differences and hence of referral to the other; is surely to recall that alterity (difference) is irreducible. Difference is a reference and vice versa.

Jacques Derrida, Limited Inc. (Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 1988), p.137. For a discussion of the mise en scene and the mise en sens of the political, see Claude Lefort, note 10.

44. Ibid.

45. Wayne A. Rebborn, Courtly Performances: Masking and Festivity in Castiglione's Book #the Courtier (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1975).

CAUTION: This file was scanned into electronic format, and may contain scanning errors.

*Dillon: Department of Politics and International Relations, Lancaster University, Lancaster; LAI 4YI., UK;

Everard: Department of English, Australian National University, Canberra, A.C.T. 2601, Australia. (now at Department of English, ANU)

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