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Journal Cover   Theory, Culture & Society
  [SJR: 1.954]   [H-I: 52]   [67 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  [819 journals]
  • New Materialisms: Foucault and the 'Government of Things'
    • Authors: Lemke; T.
      Pages: 3 - 25
      Abstract: The article explores the perspectives of Foucault’s notion of government by linking it to the debate on the ‘new materialism’. Discussing Karen Barad’s critical reading of Foucault’s work on the body and power, it points to the idea of a ‘government of things’, which Foucault only briefly outlines in his lectures on governmentality. By stressing the ‘intrication of men and things’ (Foucault), this theoretical project makes it possible to arrive at a relational account of agency and ontology, going beyond the anthropocentric limitations of Foucault’s work. This perspective also suggests an altered understanding of biopolitics. While Foucault’s earlier concept of biopolitics was limited to physical and biological existence, the idea of a ‘government of things’ takes into account the interrelatedness and entanglements of men and things, the natural and the artificial, the physical and the moral. Finally, the conceptual proposal of a ‘government of things’ helps to clarify theoretical ambiguities and unresolved tensions in new materialist scholarship and allows for a more materialist account of politics.
      PubDate: 2015-06-04T04:52:01-07:00
      DOI: 10.1177/0263276413519340
      Issue No: Vol. 32, No. 4 (2015)
  • Levinas on the Social: Guilt and the City
    • Authors: Herzog; A.
      Pages: 27 - 43
      Abstract: This paper focuses on Levinas’s understanding of the social as distinguished from the political. In his neo-phenomenological work, Levinas never conceptualized the difference between the political and the social, because he was more interested in the difference between the ethical and everything else. In his Talmudic Readings, however, with the help of examples or paradigms, he offers a vision of a social domain distinct from the political one. This paper concentrates on the Talmudic Readings to delineate those situations in which Levinas distinguishes such a specifically social realm. It analyzes Levinas’s understanding of the city as paradigm of liberalism’s shortcomings and elaborates on the absence of the social in Levinas’s conception of a good life.
      PubDate: 2015-06-04T04:52:01-07:00
      DOI: 10.1177/0263276414523479
      Issue No: Vol. 32, No. 4 (2015)
  • Potential Novelty: Towards an Understanding of Novelty without an Event
    • Authors: Human; O.
      Pages: 45 - 63
      Abstract: This paper explores the possibility for a means of bringing about novelty which does not rely on kairological philosophies based on an event. In contrast to both common sense and contemporary philosophical understandings of the term where for novelty to arise there must be some break in the repetition of the structure, this paper argues that it is possible for novelty to come about through small-scale experimentation. This is done by relying on the philosophical notion of ‘economy’ in order to understand how we think about the world. In this regard, our thinking about the world depends upon acknowledging certain possibilities at the expense of others. History can then be seen as the distribution of emphasis which allows for these past possibilities and the future potentiality they may hold. Novelty, defined here as a rereading of history, is precisely the disruption of these possibilities and a challenge to the memory of the system. The conclusion to this paper argues that experimentation is an important means by which we can bring novelty into the world.
      PubDate: 2015-06-04T04:52:01-07:00
      DOI: 10.1177/0263276414531050
      Issue No: Vol. 32, No. 4 (2015)
  • The Politics of Spirit in Stiegler's Techno-Pharmacology
    • Authors: Abbinnett; R.
      Pages: 65 - 80
      Abstract: This article begins by examining the concept of the pharmakon that is developed in Derrida’s essay ‘Plato’s Pharmacy’, as it is here that the idea of a medium that is simultaneously poisonous and therapeutic is developed in relation to the discursive effects of writing. The author then goes on to look at Stiegler’s attempt to reconfigure the ‘orthographic economy’ of deconstruction, particularly his account of how the ‘tertiary supports’ of virtual and information technologies have transformed the experience of the real in the regime of global capitalisation. Finally, he argues that the appearance of the pharmakon as a matrix idea in his work, sharpens his account of the aporia of technological society: for the impossibility of human culture being reduced to either the disorientated life industrial populism, or to idealist notions of reflexivity, is what, for Stiegler, offers the chance of a new politics of spirit.
      PubDate: 2015-06-04T04:52:01-07:00
      DOI: 10.1177/0263276414536748
      Issue No: Vol. 32, No. 4 (2015)
  • Against Agamben: Sovereignty and the Void in the Discourse of the Nation
           in Early Modern China
    • Authors: Liu; J. C. H.
      Pages: 81 - 104
      Abstract: In Kingdom and Glory, Agamben analyzed the dual perspective of the void, through the metaphor of the empty throne, in the governmental machine in the West. I engage with the ambiguous question of the void with regard to the concept of sovereignty through my reading of two Chinese intellectuals in the late Qing period, Liang Qichao (1872–1929) and Zhang Taiyan (1869–1936). This paper therefore addresses the question of sovereignty and the void in the discourse of nation in early modern China, an issue that is related to the problem of the political economy or the politics of life. I argue that the rhetorical move in Liang Qichao’s argument for the birth of a new nation and new people was to move from the not-having (無) to the there is (有) in support of the formation of a new nation-state and a restricted logic of sovereignty, while Zhan Taiyan’s position was to affirm the dynamitic re-composition of the void by constantly negating the given fixated state, and thus proposing a different and radical vision of nation and full sovereignty of the lives of each and every one of the people who are co-inhabiting in the polis.
      PubDate: 2015-06-04T04:52:01-07:00
      DOI: 10.1177/0263276415580855
      Issue No: Vol. 32, No. 4 (2015)
  • Veblen, Bataille and Financial Innovation
    • Authors: Gammon, E; Wigan, D.
      Pages: 105 - 131
      Abstract: This article advances towards the reconceptualization of financial innovation. It examines the calamitous role of financial innovation in the global financial crisis, developing a non-rational theorization of finance within the social economy that factors in the role of affect. Outlining the foundations for such an approach, the analysis draws on Thorstein Veblen and Georges Bataille, whose work encompasses psycho-social conceptions of political-economic agency. From the more anthropological lens of Veblen and Bataille's theorizations, it is possible to move beyond instrumentalist accounts of financial innovation premised on pecuniary expedients and aspirations of market completion. As we argue, in a broader affective economy, contemporary financial innovation serves invidious ends, providing a means of attaining social distinction, constituting a medium for violent expenditure and bestowing access to sovereign expression on its purveyors. Highlighting the non-rational dimension of financial markets prompts a reconsideration of the nature of crisis and the means of its redress.
      PubDate: 2015-06-04T04:52:01-07:00
      DOI: 10.1177/0263276414566643
      Issue No: Vol. 32, No. 4 (2015)
  • Integral Waste
    • Authors: Cubitt; S.
      Pages: 133 - 145
      Abstract: It is not only the physical digital media that pile waste upon waste in an era of built-in obsolescence driven by over-production attempting to balance the falling rate of profit. Energy used in the manufacture, employment and recycling of devices belongs to a system where waste is not merely accidental but integral to the operation of cognitive capitalism. Oil and gas, uranium and hydroelectricity all prey disproportionately on indigenous peoples, who are turned into economic externalities along with their lands. A parallel is drawn between the waste of power in generation and transmission, and the exploitation of human energy as excess under a cyborg capital that increasingly treats all humanity as external.
      PubDate: 2015-06-04T04:52:01-07:00
      DOI: 10.1177/0263276414537316
      Issue No: Vol. 32, No. 4 (2015)
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