"Monster is a lot and nothing is more monstrous than man."
Sophokles - "Antigone"
The “Antigonistic conflict”: The ‘politics of burial’ and the limits of self-understanding
in modern societies
The myth of Antigone is probably one of the most extensively adapted literary motifs
and has also strongly resonated in political theory. The thematic scope of adaptations
appears limitless, ranging from anticolonial resistance and state responses to Islamic
terrorism to questions of agency, subject constitution, and problems of political
participation. The suggested project sets out to investigate the reasons for the motif’s
astounding reception and resonance as well as to explore its broader socio-critical
implications. We suggest that there is a conflict over societal boundaries at the core
of the myth, a fundamental conflict constellation that makes it so adjustable across
time and cultures and that up to now has not been explored in its full complexity. This
project’s coinage of the ‘Antigonistic conflict’ seeks to terminologically capture what is
effectively a conflict over how to deal with conflict. Taking as its starting point the
divergent adaptations of the myth and their respective emphases, the project aims at
identifying the different layers and contours of the Antigonistic conflict and at
developing a systematic, interdisciplinary terminology to capture the potential of this
complex conflict to address struggles over boundaries – such as life/death or
public/private – in modern societies.