Metaphors of encryption

  • Angus McDonald Staffordshire University


Sanin-Restrepo’s theory of encryption is taken here as an instance of a practice of critique by allegory; thus the productivity of the theory can be developed and demonstrated by working through the allegorical meanings of encryption, one interpretation of which can choose to focus on the crypt. This allegorical meaning is distinct from symbolic meaning, using Benjamin’s distinction. We focus on the body and the structure, working through the instances of the visibility of the site and the presence or absence of the body. The question of visibility is significant since encryption deals with the hidden: is a crypt, then, a hiding place? We find four combinations: the concealed presence of a body, in a crypt; the publicised presence of a body, in a mausoleum; the publicised absence of a body, in a cenotaph; the concealed absence of a body, in a sepulchre. This four-way combination allows consideration of Agamben, Deleuze, Negri, and a critical Hegelianism that revisits Feuerbach, Stirner and Marx on alienatio, mapping the four metaphors in turn onto these four theoretical positions. This study of the theoretical implications of studying different modes of commemorating the corpse thus exemplifies the re-thinking possible by way of critique by allegory.

Dossiê - Direito Constitucional Crítico: a Teoria da Encriptação do Poder