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Journal Cover Theory, Culture & Society
  [SJR: 1.954]   [H-I: 52]   [92 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  [838 journals]
  • Michel Foucault and the Forces of Civil Society
    • Authors: Villadsen; K.
      Pages: 3 - 26
      Abstract: Michel Foucault has been presented as a unequivocal defender of civil society. He was particularly sensitive to diversity and marginality, aligned with local activism and bottom-up politics. This article re-assesses this view by demonstrating that despite his political militancy, Foucault never viewed civil society as an inherently progressive force. It traces Foucault’s struggle against his own enthusiasm for anti-institutional and anti-rationalist political movements. Inventing the notion of ‘transactional reality’, Foucault escaped the choice between naturalism and ideology critique, presenting civil society as a ‘reality that does not exist’ but still has real effects. This new reality holds contradictory potentials. When articulated by political eschatology, civil society supports prophecies of the end of politics in a final accord where contradictions dissolve and the community absorbs the state. Neoliberal notions of civil society promise, on Foucault’s account, a more open-ended milieu of subject formation.
      PubDate: 2016-04-13T04:39:01-07:00
      DOI: 10.1177/0263276415581895
      Issue No: Vol. 33, No. 3 (2016)
       
  • Profanation in Spinoza and Badiou: Religion and Truth
    • Authors: Diken; B.
      Pages: 27 - 50
      Abstract: This article focuses on two different styles of profanation in Spinoza and Badiou. Notwithstanding the significant differences between them, their shared desire for profanation testifies to an interesting convergence. I deal with this convergence in divergence as a case of disjunctive synthesis through a comparison of the different understandings of religion in Spinoza and Badiou’s truth procedures. It is commonly held that Spinoza operates with three understandings of religion (superstition, the universal faith, and the true religion). But I argue that Spinoza’s thought opens up the space for a fourth understanding of ‘religion’ (which can accommodate instrumental reason and which, for the same reason, can be compared to Benjamin’s ‘capitalism as religion’). Then I discuss the formal similarity between Spinoza’s four religions and Badiou’s four truth procedures. I illustrate this discussion through two diagrams. I claim that Badiou’s truth procedures could be perceived as the Spinozist diagram’s re-entry into itself.
      PubDate: 2016-04-13T04:39:01-07:00
      DOI: 10.1177/0263276415583141
      Issue No: Vol. 33, No. 3 (2016)
       
  • Statistical Practice: Putting Society on Display
    • Authors: Mair, M; Greiffenhagen, C, Sharrock, W. W.
      Pages: 51 - 77
      Abstract: As a contribution to current debates on the ‘social life of methods’, in this article we present an ethnomethodological study of the role of understanding within statistical practice. After reviewing the empirical turn in the methods literature and the challenges to the qualitative-quantitative divide it has given rise to, we argue such case studies are relevant because they enable us to see different ways in which ‘methods’, here quantitative methods, come to have a social life – by embodying and exhibiting understanding they ‘make the social structures of everyday activities observable’ (Garfinkel, 1967: 75), thereby putting society on display. Exhibited understandings rest on distinctive lines of practical social and cultural inquiry – ethnographic ‘forays’ into the worlds of the producers and users of statistics – which are central to good statistical work but are not themselves quantitative. In highlighting these non-statistical forms of social and cultural inquiry at work in statistical practice, our case study is an addition to understandings of statistics and usefully points to ways in which studies of the social life of methods might be further developed from here.
      PubDate: 2016-04-13T04:39:01-07:00
      DOI: 10.1177/0263276414559058
      Issue No: Vol. 33, No. 3 (2016)
       
  • Sensing Agency and Resistance in Old Prisons: A Pragmatist Analysis of
           Institutional Control
    • Authors: Yeung, K.-T; Somashekhar, M.
      Pages: 79 - 101
      Abstract: Using the exemplary case of 19th-century American state penitentiaries, the authors explore penitentiary control from the perspective of sensing agents who navigate a controlled sensory ecology – the prison, as structured by institutional rules, differential power relations, and architectural plans. Moving beyond Foucault’s Discipline and Punish (1995) and Goffman’s Asylums (1961), they stress a pragmatist approach to understanding human sensing and explain inmates’ creativity under constraints. Employing wardens’ disciplinary journals and other secondary reports, the article emphasizes three theoretical issues that explain why Panoptical prisons’ attempts to control sense experiences can sometimes fail: (1) architectural designs that inadequately negotiate the contradictory demands of visual and acoustic control; (2) inmates’ active mobilization of perceptible objects as means of resistance; and (3) power differences between prison authorities and inmates that prevent actors from sharing a common sensory field. The authors’ overarching goal is to advance, via pragmatism, a sensory analysis of institutional control.
      PubDate: 2016-04-13T04:39:01-07:00
      DOI: 10.1177/0263276414562430
      Issue No: Vol. 33, No. 3 (2016)
       
  • An Exchange between Gadamer and Glenn Gould on Hermeneutics and Music
    • Authors: Hamlin; C. L.
      Pages: 103 - 122
      Abstract: This paper explores the meaning of interpretation in the works of Hans-Georg Gadamer and Glenn Gould, the Canadian pianist and intellectual. As a performing art, music illustrates the cognitive and practical dimensions of interpretation. While emphasizing the pre-interpreted character of musical reception and performance, both authors point to the fact that difference, alterity, and negativity lie at the heart of creative interpretation, cultivation and self-knowledge. The notion of ecstasy, understood as a type of self-forgetfulness that represents a radical form of encounter with alterity, provides the basis for a conception of subjectivity as grounded on linguistic, historical and cultural conditions, albeit not reducible to them. I maintain that the notion of ecstatic subjects is a powerful alternative to both the self-centred notion of subjectivity and its anti-humanistic counterpart in accounting for human agency.
      PubDate: 2016-04-13T04:39:01-07:00
      DOI: 10.1177/0263276415576218
      Issue No: Vol. 33, No. 3 (2016)
       
  • Theorizing Bioart Encounters after Gilbert Simondon
    • Authors: Lapworth; A.
      Pages: 123 - 150
      Abstract: In recent years ‘bioart’ has been lauded in the social sciences for its creative engagements with the ontological stakes of new forms of biotechnical life in-the-making. In this paper I push further to explore the ontogenetic potentials of bioart-encounters to generate new capacities for thinking and perceiving the nonhuman agencies imbricated in the becoming of subjects. To explore this potential I stage an encounter with Gilbert Simondon’s philosophy of individuation, highlighting three implications for theorizations of the constitution and transformation of subjects. First, Simondon forces us to rethink the subject in terms of its transductive emergence from pre-individual processes, and its metastable susceptibility to ongoing transformations. Second, he substitutes voluntarist conceptions of thought with an involuntarist primacy of material encounters as the conditions for novel individuations. Finally, I argue that Simondon enables a thinking of the politics of the (bio)art-encounter in terms of its ontogenetic capacity to materially produce, rather than merely represent, new subjects and worlds.
      PubDate: 2016-04-13T04:39:01-07:00
      DOI: 10.1177/0263276415580173
      Issue No: Vol. 33, No. 3 (2016)
       
  • Bernard Stiegler on Transgenerational Memory and the Dual Origin of the
           Human
    • Authors: Haworth; M.
      Pages: 151 - 173
      Abstract: This article reconsiders Stiegler’s account of the emergence of the human species in light of research in the field of transgenerational epigenetics. Stiegler traces this emergence to the appearance of technical artefacts allowing for the intergenerational transmission of acquired memory that would otherwise die along with the organism. This is taken to constitute a rupture in the history of life. The argument that I develop critiques Stiegler’s account at two levels: On the empirical level I argue that emerging neo-Lamarckian developments in the life sciences pose a challenge to the terms in which the specificity of the human is outlined and the notion of the rupture with life that its emergence constitutes. On the logico-transcendental level, I contend that in its account of the rupture, Stiegler’s narrative repeats the logic of the ‘dual origin’ that he ascribes to Rousseau and Leroi-Gourhan in their respective accounts of the origin of the genus Anthropos.
      PubDate: 2016-04-13T04:39:01-07:00
      DOI: 10.1177/0263276415620474
      Issue No: Vol. 33, No. 3 (2016)
       
  • Speculative Life: Art, Synthetic Biology and Blueprints for the Unknown
    • Authors: Johung; J.
      Pages: 175 - 188
      Abstract: Answering a call for a 2013 exhibition at Ars Electronica bridging art and synthetic biology, a group of artists and designers offer ‘Blueprints for the Unknown’. Their fictional scenarios offer possible futures already embedded in and ready to become our present. By imagining potential events and soon-to-be organisms and bodies, these blueprints perform the untenable relationship between predictable bioengineered living forms and the unpredictable contexts within which such life subsists over time. While synthetic biology focuses on the particularities of each micro-manipulation within a specific timeframe, art practices can speculate on the wider reverberations of modified life, making visible the vulnerable encounters and uneven exchanges across variable living forms and scales, from molecule to human, synthetic to organic. This paper explores the indeterminacies that arise as living forms become synthetically modified, reorganized and redirected at will.
      PubDate: 2016-04-13T04:39:01-07:00
      DOI: 10.1177/0263276415619016
      Issue No: Vol. 33, No. 3 (2016)
       
 
 
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