Jacques Derrida - Of Hospitality

Derrida, Jacques, and Anne Dufourmantelle. Of Hospitality. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000.
“Among the serious problems we are dealing with here is that of the foreigner who, inept at speaking the language, always risks being without defense before the law of the country that welcomes or expels him: the foreigner is first of all foreign to the legal language in which the duty of hospitality is formulated, the right to asylum, its limits, norms, policing, etc. He has to ask for hospitality in a language which by definition is not his own, the one imposed on him by the master of the house, the host, the kind, the lord, the authorities, the nation, the State, the father, etc. This personage imposes on him translation into their own language, and that’s the first act of violence.”
(page 15)

“This is where the question of hospitality begins: must we ask the foreigner to understand us, to speak our language, in all the senses of this term, in all its possible extensions, before being able and so as to be able to welcome him into our country? If he was already speaking out language, with all that that implies, if we already shared everything that is shared with a language, would the foreigner still be a for- / eigner and could we speak of asylum or hospitality in regard to him? This is the paradox that we are going to see become clearer.”
(pages 15-17)

“Paradoxical and corrupting law: it depends on this constant collusion between traditional hospitality, hospitality in the ordinary sense, and power. This collusion is also power in its finitude, which is to say the necessity, for the host, for the one who receives, of choosing, electing, filtering, selecting their invitees, visitors, or guests, those to whom they decide to grant asylum, the right of visiting, or hospitality. No hospitality, in the classic sense, without sovereignty of oneself over one’s home, but since there is also no hospitality without finitude, sovereignty can only be exercised by filtering, choosing, and thus by excluding and doing violence. Injustice, a certain injustice, and even a certain perjury, begins right away, form the very threshold of the right to hospitality.”
(page 55)

“Let’s say “parasite” because what this directs us to open up is indeed the general problematic of relationships between parasitism and hospitality. How can we distinguish between a guest and a parasite? In principle, the difference is straightforward, but for that you need a law; hospitality, reception, the welcome offered have to be submitted to a basic and limiting jurisdiction. Not all new arrivals are received as guests if they / don’t have the benefit of the right to hospitality or the right of asylum, etc. Without this right, a new arrival can only be introduced “in my home,” in the host’s “at home,” as a parasite, a guest who is wrong, illegitimate, clandestine, liable to expulsion or arrest.”
(pages 59-61)

“What is a foreigner?”
(page 73)

“it is as though the laws (plural) of hospitality, in marking limits, powers, rights, and duties, consisted in challenging and transgressing the law of hospitality, the one that would command that the “new arrival” be offered an unconditional welcome.”
(page 77)

“the first and last condition of belonging, language is also the experience of expropriation, of an irreducible exappropriation… Doesn’t it figure the home that never leaves us?”
(page 89)

“Language resists all mobilities because it moves about with me. It is the least immovable thing, the most mobile of personal bodies, which remains the stable but portable condition of all mobilities… language is also, in reality, in necessity, beyond the fantasy, that which never ceases to depart from me. Language only works from me.”
(page 91)

“Inviting, re- / ceiving, asylum, lodging, go by way of the language or the address to the other. As Levinas says from another point of view language is hospitality. Nevertheless, we have come to wonder whether absolute, hyperbolical, unconditional hospitality doesn’t consist in suspending language, a particular determinate language, and even the address to the other. Shouldn’t we also submit to a sort of holding back of the temptation to ask the other who he is, what her name is, where he comes from, etc? Shouldn’t we abstain from asking another these questions, which herald so many required conditions, and thus limits, to a hospitality thereby constrained and thereby confined into a law and a duty?”
(page 135)

“We will always be threatened by this dilemma between, on the one hand, unconditional hospitality that dispenses with law, duty, or even politics, and, on the other, hospitality circumscribed by law and duty. One of them can always corrupt the other, and this capacity for perversion remains irreducible.”
(page 135)