Multistable FiguresOn the Critical Potential of Ir/Reversible Aspect-SeeingVienna: Turia + Kant, 2014
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Cite as: Brigitte Bargetz, ‘Figuring Ambivalence, Capturing the Political: An Everyday Perspective’, in Multistable Figures: On the Critical Potential of Ir/Reversible Aspect-Seeing, ed. by Christoph F. E. Holzhey, Cultural Inquiry, 8 (Vienna: Turia + Kant, 2014), pp. 191–214 <>

Figuring Ambivalence, Capturing the PoliticalAn Everyday PerspectiveBrigitte BargetzORCID

Keywords: ambiguity; ambivalence; multistable figures; multistability; Lefebvre, Henri; political science; power relations

The notion of ambivalence currently seems to be an invigorating figure with heuristic potential in political, social, and art theory. It refers to a plurality of possibilities, a paradoxical multiplicity, and a complex relationality. It foregrounds thinking in terms of indeterminacy and incommensurability, as well as in terms of the possible. Ambivalence has been deployed in positive ways, as offering political promise, while, at the same time, being regarded with suspicion.


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