Of "Epistemic Covetousness" in Knowledge Economies 
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This paper seeks to further explore the interchange outlined by Bachelard between the naive realist’s conjuration of the real as a precious good in her possession and the miser’s complex of small savings. In fact, this elective affinity holds true not just for naive realism, but also for its very critiques, most of which remain passionately attached to a little something that is prior to any socio-historical process. This realistic little something is better understood as a double negation, namely as a not-nothing, in that it precisely survives the critique of a pre-existing reality out there. I will suggest here that this not-nothing proceeds from knowledge practices that enact “epistemic covetousness” as their critical gesture. One can find a typical example of this enactment in the terms in which feminist scholars have systematically saved one part of sex – called elsewhere “naked sex” (Kraus 2000) on the very gesture of denaturalizing the natural by border-crossing. Indeed, feminist scholars have challenged the making of two and only two sexes, by crossing over purported natural divides such as nature/culture, biological/social, woman/man, and even female/male. In other words, they have consistently called into question the either/or, in order to focus instead on the in-between – the neither (female) nor (male) or the “neither/both” (Epstein 1990) –, by systematically re-inscribing the two within a continuum of incremental variations (see also e.g., Fausto-Sterling 2000). Ironically, this left-over of sex that is naked sex is produced as contraband reality, while counting past two, subtracted as it is from the prodigal calculation. In the present paper, I will discuss the logic of small savers that is unwittingly performed in feminist analyses, while counting past two, a critical gesture that is however clearly committed to challenge naturalized inequalities and exclusion. We will see that it comes under what might more generally be called a “New Deal” in the nature-culture trade: the analytical concern moves increasingly towards the social, but bits of nature-made nature are still saved and smuggled in. It will also appear that counting past two may not be as politically benevolent as one might think, although it governs the now prevalent and so-called moderate terms in which the issue of sexual difference is typically being articulated (or not). Counting past two has been a critical mode for producing knowledge about problematic divides. However, the political gesture carried along may well shift exclusion to exile, as the unsought for result of an analysis that has been exacerbating the line between something and nothing. Under these restrictive conditions, every little bit helps: not-nothing appears far more desirable than nothing at all, but it is not yet something else.
Exit without saving