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Journal Cover Theory, Culture & Society
  [SJR: 1.303]   [H-I: 72]   [98 followers]  Follow
   Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
   ISSN (Print) 0263-2764 - ISSN (Online) 1460-3616
   Published by Sage Publications Homepage  [852 journals]
  • Foucault, Gary Becker and the Critique of Neoliberalism
    • Authors: Newheiser; D.
      Pages: 3 - 21
      Abstract: Although Foucault’s 1979 lectures on The Birth of Biopolitics promised to treat the theme of biopolitics, the course deals at length with neoliberalism while mentioning biopolitics hardly at all. Some scholars account for this elision by claiming that Foucault sympathized with neoliberalism; I argue on the contrary that Foucault develops a penetrating critique of the neoliberal claim to preserve individual liberty. I show that the Chicago economist Gary Becker exemplifies what Foucault describes elsewhere as biopolitics: a form of power applied to the behaviour of a population through the normalizing use of statistics. Although Becker’s preference for indirect intervention might seem to preserve the independence of individuals, under biopolitics individual liberty is itself the means by which populations are governed indirectly. In my view, by describing the history and ambivalence of neoliberal biopolitics, Foucault fosters a critical vigilance that is the precondition for creative political resistance.
      PubDate: 2016-08-04T21:17:28-07:00
      DOI: 10.1177/0263276415619997
      Issue No: Vol. 33, No. 5 (2016)
  • Beyond Biodiversity and Species: Problematizing Extinction
    • Authors: Mitchell; A.
      Pages: 23 - 42
      Abstract: Scientific and public discourses on the current mass extinction event tend to focus their attention on the decline of ‘species’ and ‘biodiversity’. Drawing on insights from the humanities, this article contends that the processes of extinction also produce a diverse range of subjects. Each of these subjects, it argues, raises specific ethical challenges and creates opportunities for cosmopolitical transformation. To explore this argument, the article engages with several subjects of extinction: ‘species’ and ‘biodiversity’; ‘humanity’; ‘unloved’ subjects; and absent or non-relational subjects. In each case, it examines how attention to these subjects can highlight the exclusions and inequalities embedded in dominant discourses, and to identify possibilities for plural ethico-political responses to mass extinction.
      PubDate: 2016-08-04T21:17:28-07:00
      DOI: 10.1177/0263276415619219
      Issue No: Vol. 33, No. 5 (2016)
  • The Economy of the Digital Gift: From Socialism to Sociality Online
    • Authors: Romele, A; Severo, M.
      Pages: 43 - 63
      Abstract: This article discusses the value of gift exchange in online social media. In the first part, the authors show how most of the commentators have considered online gifting as an alternative to the classical market economy. Yet the recent (re)territorialization of the web challenges this perspective. As a consequence, the internet can no longer be considered a reply to capitalism. In the second part, the authors argue that in anthropology and social philosophy the term ‘gift’ has often been used improperly, and that gift exchange has nothing to do with goods exchange, but with mutual recognition. In the third part, they use this definition to stress the importance of gift circulation through Facebook’s ‘Like’ button and the Twitter feature called ‘Mention’. In conclusion, the authors deal with the ‘Like economy’, i.e. the interference between gift exchange and market economy which is daily at work online.
      PubDate: 2016-08-04T21:17:28-07:00
      DOI: 10.1177/0263276415619474
      Issue No: Vol. 33, No. 5 (2016)
  • Posthumanism, the Social and the Dynamics of Material Systems
    • Authors: Henkel; A.
      Pages: 65 - 89
      Abstract: Technology has developed to the point where a clear distinction between nature and culture seems to be dissolving. Against this background, a broad aspect of social research has emerged that considers an interdependence between the social and the material. So far, social-systems cybernetics as described by Luhmann has remained rather marginalized in these discussions. This article is intended to overcome this marginalization by developing the concept of meaning. Meaning can abstractly be defined as a ‘doing negativity’. Returning to systems theory, it becomes obvious that verbalized meaning (expressed through language) is only one possible medium of meaning. Adopting some concepts from Helmuth Plessner, I introduce another medium of meaning – corporealized meaning (expressed in physical terms), which also operates meaningfully along the distinction between actuality and potentiality, and thus does negativity. I discuss consequences of observing the relationship between sociality and materiality from this perspective.
      PubDate: 2016-08-04T21:17:28-07:00
      DOI: 10.1177/0263276415625334
      Issue No: Vol. 33, No. 5 (2016)
  • Biopolitical Marketing and Social Media Brand Communities
    • Authors: Zwick, D; Bradshaw, A.
      Pages: 91 - 115
      Abstract: This article offers an analysis of marketing as an ideological set of practices that makes cultural interventions designed to infuse social relations with biopolitical injunctions. We examine a contemporary site of heightened attention within marketing: the rise of online communities and the attendant profession of social media marketing managers. We argue that social media marketers disavow a core problem; namely, that the object at stake, the customer community, barely exists. The community therefore functions ideologically. We describe the ideological gymnastics necessary for maintaining momentum behind a practice that barely exists and we ponder why such ideologies are necessary, and what they allow the marketer to do. Working with such concepts as ‘the wild’, ‘communicative capitalism’, and ‘biopolitical marketing’, we explore a genre of popular business literature that proselytizes for online customer communities and we reflect on the broader implications.
      PubDate: 2016-08-04T21:17:28-07:00
      DOI: 10.1177/0263276415625333
      Issue No: Vol. 33, No. 5 (2016)
  • Remediation, Time and Disaster
    • Pages: 117 - 138
      Abstract: This paper explores the deep historical contexts for imagining natural disasters. By focusing on a foundational event in the Western disaster imaginary – the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79 – and its remediation across centuries, the paper suggests that the real-time aesthetic of the mediation of extreme nature events that now abounds in contemporary culture is profoundly embedded in processes of historical intermediality. The term remediation is used to denote a genuinely historical mechanism by which past and present (process and event) are simultaneously made visible. Empirically, the paper investigates the superimposition of temporal dimensions in recreations of the ancient disaster from the late 18th century to the present. Using the insights gained from this spectacular case study, the paper ends by arguing that a re-temporalization of historical analysis itself is needed for history to contribute to contemporary concerns with the present as a conjuncture of multiple and conflicting time scales.
      PubDate: 2016-08-04T21:17:28-07:00
      DOI: 10.1177/0263276415625336
      Issue No: Vol. 33, No. 5 (2016)
  • The Denkbild ('Thought-Image) in the Age of Digital Reproduction
    • Authors: Tschofen; M.
      Pages: 139 - 157
      Abstract: This article examines an experimental genre of philosophical writing known as the Denkbild (‘thought-image’) practiced by members of the Frankfurt School to show how it is resurrected in the Augmented Reality installation of the artist-scholar Caitlin Fisher. It argues that Circle (2012) renews the Frankfurt School’s project of reaching to art to find a way for critical theory to bring about ‘a transformation of consciousness that could become a transformation of reality’. However, as a material and virtual artifact that produces a unique circuit of exchange, the digital artwork is able to provide a sharper picture of that reality, positing community as the context and goal of philosophical thinking. Through a complex sculpting of its form, content, and image of its own thoughts, Fisher’s Denkbild strives to create a fluid, ‘disconnected and non-binding’ form capable of building what Adorno described as a ‘shared philosophy from the standpoint of subjective experience’.
      PubDate: 2016-08-04T21:17:28-07:00
      DOI: 10.1177/0263276415598628
      Issue No: Vol. 33, No. 5 (2016)
  • On Multispecies Mythology: A Critique of Animal Anthropology
    • Authors: Watson; M. C.
      Pages: 159 - 172
      Abstract: This article argues that the turn to the animal is a return to mythology. By reading multispecies scholarship as narrativization of contemporary mythology, I claim that the field voices anxieties about human futures through figures of animal others. Multispecies ethnography implicitly grapples with an apocalyptic mythos prevailing in the wake of modernity’s seemingly abandoned dreams (e.g. geopolitical peace, postcolonial development, environmental consciousness, economic prosperity, public understanding of science). I reconsider the cultural function of multispecies research through two moves. First, I read Thom van Dooren’s Theory, Culture & Society article on ‘Authentic Crows’ as such a quasi-allegorical account. Second, I develop how animal anthropology captures the contemporary mythos in an ‘affirmationist’ register that counters the pessimistic affect of late industrialism. Ultimately, the critical politics of such research may be redeemed through efforts to work closely with scientists and to render explicit the accounts’ situatedness within late-industrial mythology.
      PubDate: 2016-08-04T21:17:28-07:00
      DOI: 10.1177/0263276416637128
      Issue No: Vol. 33, No. 5 (2016)
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