- Tapa blanda: 336 páginas
- Editor: Combined Academic Publ. (1 de septiembre de 2010)
- Idioma: Inglés
- ISBN-10: 0822347725
- ISBN-13: 978-0822347729
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New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics (Inglés) Tapa blanda – sep 2010
Descripción del producto
"Overall, the volume makes a convincing case for the renewal of materialism, in terms of both its theoretical purchase and its radical political potential. It shows, in ways that are often exemplary, that there are rich, and sometimes surprising, resources in the philosophical tradition for renewing materialisms." -- Keith Ansell Pearson * Radical Philosophy * "New materialisms offer democratic theory an important opportunity to regard its own parameters and function - what can be hoped for and why. And Coole and Frost's volume offers a new view of the human (and the thing) that are well worth regarding. . . ." -- Andrew Poe * Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy * "New Materialisms is an extraordinary and in fact interdisciplinary collection in its own right. . . . [T]he work coming out of the material turn is mind-blowing work, both in scholarly and in artistic research, and in art". -- Iris van der Tuin * Women's Studies International Forum * "This is a strong and timely collection, one that could very well direct future discussions of the `new materialisms' toward an experimental, process-oriented, and politically-engaged `new ontology.'"-Ellen Rooney, Brown University "The essays collected here-authored by leading political theorists and feminist and cultural critics-examine the `choreographies of becoming' and move beyond constructivism and humanism to track processes of de- and re-materialization. The effect is to scramble habitual categories of thought-active versus passive, inert versus animate, political versus ontological, causality versus spontaneity-and force us to think materiality. As the editors put it, `materiality is always something more than "mere" matter: an excess, force, vitality, relationality, or difference that renders matter active, self-creative, productive, unpredictable.'"-Bonnie Honig, author of Emergency Politics: Paradox, Law, Democracy "New Materialisms is an extraordinary and in fact interdisciplinary collection in its own right. . . . [T]he work coming out of the material turn is mind-blowing work, both in scholarly and in artistic research, and in art". - Iris van der Tuin, Women's Studies International Forum "New materialisms offer democratic theory an important opportunity to regard its own parameters and function - what can be hoped for and why. And Coole and Frost's volume offers a new view of the human (and the thing) that are well worth regarding. . . ." - Andrew Poe, Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy "Overall, the volume makes a convincing case for the renewal of materialism, in terms of both its theoretical purchase and its radical political potential. It shows, in ways that are often exemplary, that there are rich, and sometimes surprising, resources in the philosophical tradition for renewing materialisms." - Keith Ansell Pearson, Radical Philosophy
Reseña del editor
New Materialisms brings into focus and explains the significance of the innovative materialist critiques that are emerging across the social sciences and humanities. By gathering essays that exemplify the new thinking about matter and processes of materialization, this important collection shows how scholars are reworking older materialist traditions, contemporary theoretical debates, and advances in scientific knowledge to address pressing ethical and political challenges. In the introduction, Diana Coole and Samantha Frost highlight common themes among the distinctive critical projects that comprise the new materialisms. The continuities they discern include a posthumanist conception of matter as lively or exhibiting agency, and a reengagement with both the material realities of everyday life and broader geopolitical and socioeconomic structures. Coole and Frost argue that contemporary economic, environmental, geopolitical, and technological developments demand new accounts of nature, agency, and social and political relationships; modes of inquiry that privilege consciousness and subjectivity are not adequate to the task. New materialist philosophies are needed to do justice to the complexities of twenty-first-century biopolitics and political economy, because they raise fundamental questions about the place of embodied humans in a material world and the ways that we produce, reproduce, and consume our material environment. Contributors Sara Ahmed Jane Bennett Rosi Braidotti Pheng Cheah Rey Chow William E. Connolly Diana Coole Jason Edwards Samantha Frost Elizabeth Grosz Sonia Kruks Melissa A. OrlieVer Descripción del producto
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For the editors, a return to materialism, albeit in newer forms, is a turn away from approaches dominated by post-structuralist theories of language and discourse. The humanities and social sciences went through a long period sometimes referred to as the “cultural turn”, which privileged language, discourse, culture, and values. New disciplines developed, such as cultural studies, gender studies, new literary criticism, and various forms of linguistic analysis, taking as their core task the analysis of texts and the deconstruction of meanings. The cultural turn was also a political phenomenon: it gave rise to identity politics and culture wars, which took university campuses as their battleground and became estranged from broader social trends and political movements. For the editors of this volume, approaches associated with the so-called cultural turn are no longer adequate to understanding contemporary society. In particular, the radicalism associated with the cultural studies curriculum is now perceived as more or less exhausted. As they state in the introductory chapter, “it is political naïveté to believe that significant social change can be engendered solely by reconstructing subjectivities, discourse, ethics, and identities.” To find new forms of social critique, one needs to turn to advances in the life sciences, while revisiting certain tenets of political philosophy that still hold potential.
To counter the cultural turn’s law of diminishing returns, Diana Coole and Samantha Frost propose a “material turn” that builds on bodies, affects, ecologies, living organisms, and life itself. The focus here is less on matter per se than on processes of materialization: “for materiality is always something more than ‘mere’ matter: an excess, force, vitality, relationally, or difference that renders matters active, self-creative, productive, unpredictable.” Their new materialism exposes the fragility of things, the vibrancy of matter, the agency of nonhuman actors, the affective claims of nonhuman animals, the social life of artifacts, the materiality of experience, and the generative power of life. The editors believe “it is now timely to reopen the issue of matter and once again to give material factors their due in shaping society and circumscribing human prospects.” Their founding gesture aims at establishing identity through differentiation from past approaches and by constituting a genealogy of ancestors who can sustain their materialist credentials on firm philosophical ground. Most importantly, they claim that the return to materialism can lead to more active forms of engagement with our contemporary predicament, attuned to ongoing changes in global economic structures and emerging scientific knowledge. Their approach takes the tone of a manifesto: “to succeed, a reprisal of materialism must be truly radical.”
Revisiting materialism takes the form of a random walk through Western philosophy. Three kinds of philosophers are brought to bear: classical philosophers, with a chapter on Hobbes and several references to Spinoza and to Leibniz; the “philosophy of suspicion” formed by the holy trinity of Nietzsche, Marx and Freud, to which one could add Bergson and the vitalist school; and postwar French philosophers—the first cohort represented by Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Henri Lefebvre, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and the post-Mai 1968 generation by Gilles Deleuze, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Jacques Ranciere, and Louis Althusser, who themselves revisited the previous traditions. Indeed, the book seems to hark back to the French intellectual scene of the seventies, when philosophers had to steer a course between the two major intellectual currents of structuralism and phenomenology while all the while being sensitive to the legacy of Nietzsche, Marx and Freud. The authors of New Materialisms replay a gesture already performed by Judith Butler, who wrote her PhD thesis on the reception of Hegel in twentieth century France and the appropriation of German philosophy by Kojève, Hyppolite, Sartre, Lacan, Deleuze, and Foucault. Why this French primal scene is seen as so productive is left to the imagination of the reader. One suspects it has more to do with intellectual fads and academic conformism than by the urge to develop concepts and advance ideas attuned to our times and modern understanding of the world.
Marxism in postwar France was the “unsurpassable horizon of our time,” and it is only natural that the authors of New Materialisms turn to Marx as the godfather of materialism. For Marxists, the material conditions of a society's way of producing and reproducing the means of human existence fundamentally determine its organization and development. Marx claimed to have turned Hegel on his head by substituting historical materialism to the dialectical idealism of the phenomenology of spirit. In Hegel, the abstract/ideal is realized in the concrete, whereas to Marx the concrete/material is realized, even when obscured, in the abstract domain of conscious thought. Vintage Marx is represented in this volume by Jason Edwards’ essay on “The Materialism of Historical Materialism”. Against economicist readings of Marx that focus solely on the sphere of production, he argues that Marx’s social philosophy took into account “the totality of the material practices that are required to reproduce the relations of production over time.” Here Marx is read through the lenses of Henri Lefebvre, who recognized the diversity of the forms of practices that are necessary for sustaining economic and political life. Nonproductive practices, such as theoretical work but also the everyday life of consumption and leisure, play a fundamental role in the reproduction of capitalism. For Edwards, Lefebvre’s work on the critique of everyday life and the production of social space should be extended beyond the strictures of the nation-state: the modern reproduction of capitalism has to take into account global processes under conditions of neoliberalism.
The reference to Marx is also present in Simone de Beauvoir’s work, which develops a phenomenology of lived experience through which, as she famously put it, “one is not born but becomes a woman.” Unlike structuralism, in which subjectivity and the inner self arise as the result of outside forces, going as it were “from the outside in”, phenomenology tends to proceed “from the inside out”, starting from our experience of the world and going back to the subject as to a condition of possibility distinct from that experience. The question of orientation—outside in, inside out—is also addressed in Sara Ahmed’s chapter, taking “the table” as her primary object for thinking about how orientations matter. Philosophers usually sit at a table when they write, and often take this piece of furniture as the starting point from which the world unfolds. But Husserl’s or Heidegger’s writing table is part of a domestic space that excludes as much as it summons. Women writers have a different orientation towards tables, which may provide the support for writing, but also for cooking, eating, attending children, and doing domestic work. As Virginia Woolf claims in A Room of One’s Own, for women to claim a space to write is a political act. The table is not simply what she faces but is the site upon which she makes her feminist point. The politics of the table also involves racial and class-based divisions of labor, as middle-class women could access the writing table by relying on the domestic labor of black and working-class women.
In his 1978 introduction to the English translation of his mentor Georges Canguilhem’s On the Normal and the Pathological, Michel Foucault proposed a famous line of distinction between two strands of philosophy in postwar France. As he wrote, “it is the line that separates a philosophy of experience, of sense and of subject and a philosophy of knowledge, of rationality and of concept. One the one hand, one network is that of Sartre and Merleau-Ponty; and then another is that of Cavailles, Bachelard and Canguilhem.” Similarly, we see two brands of materialism developed in this volume: one one side, a philosophy of life; on th other, a philosophy of the concept. In Bergson, modern readers find what might be called a philosophy of vital interiority, a thesis on the identity of being and becoming; a philosophy of life and change. This orientation would persist throughout the twentieth century, up to and including Deleuze, who once remarked that “everything I write is vitalist, at least I hope it is.” On the other side, we find a philosophy of the mathematically-based concept: the possibility of a philosophical formalism of thought and of the symbolic, which likewise continues throughout the century, most specifically in Lévi-Strauss, Althusser, Lacan, and Badiou. The choice here is between conceiving of thought as fundamentally arising from within the depths of animated matter (vitalism), or of conceiving of thought as a cut that interrupts or breaks with vital flux in favor of the strict assemblage of concepts (formalism). This debate between life and concept echoes throughout this book, with some contributions predicated upon the inertia of matter and others on the generativity of flesh.
Reading New Materialisms can be a frustrating experience. The chapters are designed as interventions in a debate that has stakes extending way beyond the covers of this volume. The opposition between “old” and “new” feminism, the epistemological challenge of the life sciences, the posthumanist conception of matter as lively or exhibiting agency: these broader themes are only alluded to in oblique fashion. It is to be noted that many contributors have authored books in which they develop their ideas in a fuller form that certainly needs to be addressed. I may come back on this blog to the works of Sara Ahmed, Jane Bennett, William Connolly, Rey Chow, and Elizabeth Grosz (all of which are published by Duke University Press), who certainly deserve better treatment than what one can infer from the dozen pages in which they had to constrain their entry. In particular, the empirical aspect of their research is reduced to a minimum: there is no reference to fieldwork or to systematically collected observations of social realities. The authors limit themselves to the work of theory. Although they comment the texts of (mostly French) philosophers, none of them belong to a philosophy department, and they all come from American or British academic institutions. They all work in political science departments, women and gender studies or cultural studies faculties, or in programs focusing on the humanities. They dabble in theory and practice philosophy without proper qualifications, while pointing to practical implications that are forever deferred.
Despite their intentions, new materialisms remain deeply rooted in cultural theory. They inherit from cultural critics the same political militancy and strident advocacy that sustain their claim to be “truly radical”. In a poorly argumented shortcut, Jane Bennett draws a parallelism between vitalist philosophy exemplified by Hans Driesch (a contemporary of Henri Bergson) and the “culture of life” that opposes abortion, artificial life support, and embryonic stem cell research, but that supports preemptive war, state-sponsored torture, and civilizational imperialism. William Connolly moves from Merleau-Ponty’s Philosophy of Perception to a denunciation of ubiquitous surveillance, cynical realism, and self-depoliticization that characterizes the national security state after 9/11. Pheng Cheah confesses that “it is difficult to elaborate on the political implications of Deleuze’s understanding of materiality as the power of inorganic life,” but nonetheless endorses a creative appropriation of Hardt and Negri’s concept of the multitude as a new agent of social change. Jason Edwards offers a return to Marx’s historical materialism as a solution “to the major problems of climate change, global inequality, and warfare that face the world today.” There are, however, different political conclusions to infer from a return to materialism. We can use the increased salience of materialist philosophies to develop a healthy connection to things material. Like it or not, we are living in a material world, and liking ‘stuff’ is OK, healthy even—we can learn to love and find pleasure in the material world. This is the lesson that seems to me implied in the lyrics and rhythm of Madonna’s songs.