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Related: haunted - Jacques Derrida - ghost - ontology

Derrida invented the term ‘hauntology’ to refer to the logic of the ghost. (I think the term first appears in his book Spectres of Marx.) In French, the word ‘hauntology’ sounds identical to the word ‘ontology’, which it is part of Derrida’s purpose to critique.

From 1995 onwards, the term hauntology has popped up in the British music press and blogosphere. The first to use the term was Ian Penman, then and most ardently by K-Punk and recently by Woebot, Simon Reynolds and Padraig.

In 1848 Marx and Engels stated “A spectre is haunting Europe, the spectre of Communism.”


Spending time on Padraig’s Subject-barred brought the concept of hauntology to my attention via this piece titled The Gramophone’s Technological Uncanny which furthers Mark K-Punk’s ongoing investigation of sonic hauntology. In its origins hauntology is Jacques Derrida’s neologism (first used in his 1993 Specters of Marx, which is, in French, a pun on ontology and refers to, in the words of the Halflives website: “the paradoxical state of the specter, which is neither being nor non-being.”

Besides by K-Punk (here in a piece on Kubrick), hauntology is also used by Simon Reynolds here and by Woebot here.

No doubt the term goes back 1848 when Marx and Engels stated “A spectre is haunting Europe, the spectre of Communism.” Haunting is about ghost, and one of the first people to use the word in a musical context was David Toop’s Haunted Weather : Music, Silence, and Memory (2004). (oops, I am wrong here, it was Ian Penman in ‘[the Phantoms of] TRICKNOLOGY [versus a Politics of Authenticity]’ in The Wire from 1995)

About six weeks ago, The Existence Machine also wondered just what is hauntology.

K-Punk thinks this is a good summary of the concept.

Someone wrote an Wikipedia entry on hauntology in October of this year but it was deleted by consensus.

Spectres of Marx (1993) - Jacques Derrida

Spectres of Marx, is a 1993 French philosophical book by theorist Jacques Derrida. The title and Derrida's neologism hauntology refer to Marx and Engels's nineteenth century statement that introduced communism as a "spectre haunting Europe." --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Specters_of_Marx [Nov 2006]

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