Theory, Culture and Society

ISSNs: 0263-2764, 1460-3616

21 found

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  1.  7
    Necropolitics and Surplus Life: Mbembe and Beyond.Eugene Brennan - 2024 - Theory, Culture and Society 41 (3):3-19.
    This article analyses Achille Mbembe’s theorization of necropolitics and surplus life in dialogue with three comparable theorizations: Agamben’s ‘bare life’, Marxist scholarship on ‘relative surplus populations’, and Afropessimist theorizations of ‘social death’. I argue that Mbembe’s work allows us to develop a critique of sacrifice that at the same time (contra Agamben) recognizes how it plays a structural role within necropolitics. Examining the influence of Georges Bataille’s writings on sacrifice allows me to clarify this argument. The second part of the (...)
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  2.  6
    In Excess of Decolonization: The Sovereignty of Childhood in The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon.Hugo Bujon - 2024 - Theory, Culture and Society 41 (3):21-35.
    This article questions the place of the child in the metaphysics and imaginary of Western colonization, racialization, and decolonization. In the last chapter of The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon, children appear not only as victims but also as a problem for which Fanon struggles to account as a theorist of decolonization as much as a psychiatric practitioner. Through a reading of one of the cases, this article interrogates the ways in which colonization attempts to infantilize colonized populations (...)
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  3.  23
    The Jews Killed Moses: Sigmund Freud and the Jewish Question.Daniel Chernilo - 2024 - Theory, Culture and Society 41 (3):89-104.
    Freud completed his last book, on Moses and Monotheism, in 1939, while in his London exile. Its publication was deemed untimely, as its two main theses could be construed as a form of Jewish self-hatred. The first claim questions Moses’ Jewish origins and contends that the founder of the Jews was in fact an Egyptian; the second suggests that the Jews killed Moses and then created his myth as a coping mechanism for concealing their terrible deed. In this article, I (...)
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  4.  8
    Rethinking Critical Sociology, Transcending the Transcendental.Bruno Frère & Daniel Jaster - 2024 - Theory, Culture and Society 41 (3):37-54.
    This article calls for a rethinking of critical sociology. Representing classical critical sociology, the Bourdieusian paradigm illustrated domination, but its negative foundation removed actors’ power, privileging sociological knowledge as capable of identifying (social) transcendental categories of thought. Latour’s constructivism challenged this privilege, giving actors the political power of aggregating collectives around their common concerns at the cost of emphasizing domination and critique. We propose a critical approach that evades a transcendental perspective reliant on pure negation, producing a more positive critical (...)
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  5.  9
    Crisis, Experience, ‘Excentricity’.Dariusz Gafijczuk - 2024 - Theory, Culture and Society 41 (3):55-69.
    This paper explores the relationship between crisis and experience, concentrating on ‘excentric positionality’ in relation to the shared world, as presented in the work of Helmuth Plessner. A by-product of the 1920s Weimar Germany, Plessner’s philosophical anthropology, it is argued, presents us with a forgotten blueprint for transitive and compositional approaches to the social world. Instead of the familiar ‘crisis of experience’ used to diagnose ‘what has gone wrong’, it allows us to re-learn how to work with ‘the experience of (...)
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  6.  14
    Stuart Hall and the Introduction of Althusser in Cultural Studies: A Thinker of Difference.Vicente Montenegro - 2024 - Theory, Culture and Society 41 (3):105-122.
    This article focuses on Stuart Hall’s reading of Louis Althusser’s main theoretical works. Since the early 1970s, Hall has undertaken a critical confrontation with Althusser’s ‘structural Marxism’, rescuing those useful concepts to think cultural difference and identity, without failing to criticize his ‘superstructuralist’ interpretation of Marx. However, what Hall will retain as Althusser’s most important contribution is, above all, his theory of ideology. In this context, I follow an idea formulated by Hall that could be read as summarizing the theoretical (...)
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  7.  25
    Between Habermas and Lyotard: Rethinking the Contrast between Modernity and Postmodernity.Peter J. Verovšek & Javier Burdman - 2024 - Theory, Culture and Society 41 (3):71-88.
    The article shows that Habermas’s modernism and Lyotard’s postmodernism are not as antithetical as they are often taken to be. First, we argue that Habermas is not a strong foundationalist concerned with identifying universal rules for language, as postmodern critiques have often interpreted him. Instead, he develops a social pragmatics in which the communicative use of language is the fundamental presupposition of any meaningful interaction. Second, we argue that Lyotard is not a relativist who denies any universal linguistic structure. Instead, (...)
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  8.  20
    Rethinking Posthumanist Subjectivity: Technology as Ontological Murder in European Colonialism.Thomas Dekeyser - 2024 - Theory, Culture and Society 41 (2):73-89.
    This paper centres the colonial pre-histories of ‘the digital’ to complicate posthumanist theorisations of subjectivity. Posthumanism helpfully undercuts human exceptionalism by presenting subjectivity as always-already co-constituted by technology. However, this paper argues that it insufficiently engages the human as the historico-political effect of negating the assumed non-technological colonial Other. Focusing on liberal humanism between the 16th and 19th centuries, the paper theorises the modern human as bound up in ‘technological onticide’. The presumed absence of technology became a (theo-centric, ratio-centric, bio-centric) (...)
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  9.  13
    Entropy and Entropic Differences in the Work of Michel Serres.Lilian Kroth - 2024 - Theory, Culture and Society 41 (2):21-35.
    Michel Serres’s philosophy of entropy takes what he famously calls the ‘Northwest Passage’ between the sciences and the humanities. By contextualizing his approach to entropy and affirming the role of a philosophy of difference, this paper explores Serres’s approach by means of ‘entropic differences’. It claims that entropy – or rather, entropies – provide Serres with a paradigmatic case for critical translations between different domains of knowledge. From his early Hermès series, through to The Birth of Physics and later writings (...)
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  10.  19
    Untimely Ecology: A Genealogy of Biosphere to Rethink Temporality in the Anthropocene.Marco Maureira - 2024 - Theory, Culture and Society 41 (2):37-55.
    One of the critical challenges of our contemporary world is rethinking temporality to face the global catastrophe of the Anthropocene. Recent theories in social sciences and philosophy envision a new conceptualization of our biosphere in which human and non-human life forms, inert objects, and technological devices are entangled. However, these approaches present two major problems: a) they affirm that organic and inorganic processes are ontologically symmetrical and have the same type of agency; and b) they consider that technicity on planet (...)
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  11.  11
    The Solutionist Ethic and the Spirit of Digital Capitalism.Oliver Nachtwey & Timo Seidl - 2024 - Theory, Culture and Society 41 (2):91-112.
    Digital technologies are rapidly transforming economies and societies. Scholars have approached this rise of digital capitalism from various angles. However, relatively little attention has been paid to digital capitalism’s cultural underpinnings and the beliefs of those who develop most digital technologies. In this paper, we argue that a solutionist order of worth – in which value derives from solving social problems through technology – has become central to an emerging spirit of digital capitalism. We use supervised learning to trace the (...)
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  12.  18
    Mutual Futurity: Rethinking Incommensurability between Indigenous Sovereignty and Black Freedom.Jessi Quizar - 2024 - Theory, Culture and Society 41 (2):57-71.
    Engaging feminist and queer of color theory as well as work emerging from social movements, this piece critically examines narratives of impasse between Black Studies and Native Studies in the US, particularly assertions of incommensurability between the goals of Black freedom and Native sovereignty. The article outlines some of the theoretical debates between Black and Indigenous Studies that have calcified into impasses, focusing particularly on Afropessimist and Settler Colonial Studies’ framings of either slavery/anti-Blackness or settler colonialism as the foundational violence (...)
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  13.  14
    Bourdieu, Lacan and Field Theory: Neoliberal Doxa in the Economic Field.Tim Scott - 2024 - Theory, Culture and Society 41 (2):113-130.
    This article describes the conditions under which it is possible for neoliberalism to render itself invisible to the economic field that created it, allowing that field to define the discourse as a paranoid construction of the left. In addressing the issue, the text aims to extend the reach of Bourdieu’s field theory by infusing it with aspects of Lacanian psychoanalysis. This construction facilitates the use of the example of neoliberal economics to suggest wider principles of field functionality. It is suggested (...)
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  14.  9
    Class as Collective Representation: Lessons from Wagner and Bayreuth on the Discrete Harms of the Bourgeoisie.Philip Smith - 2024 - Theory, Culture and Society 41 (2):3-19.
    The cultural turn has yet to fully reconfigure ‘class’ as a set of fictions, tropes, discourses and enduring culture-structures. Existing Durkheimian approaches have stalled at his middle period morphological reductionism. This paper constructs a more radical understanding in the late-Durkheimian idiom. It shows how class operates as a signifier in a language game of purity and pollution, virtue and vice. Taking a lead from studies of the ‘unruly’ working class, the paper opens up the more subtle pollution that attends to (...)
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  15.  10
    Field Theory and Assemblage Theory: Toward a Constructive Dialogue.Will Atkinson - 2024 - Theory, Culture and Society 41 (1):79-94.
    This paper engages with Manuel DeLanda’s Deleuze-inspired ‘assemblage theory’ from a perspective sympathetic to Pierre Bourdieu’s field theory. It first outlines DeLanda’s proposed new ‘philosophy of society’, focusing on his major works in this vein, and registers some scepticism as to its originality for sociology. It then introduces and responds to DeLanda’s critique of Bourdieu. Rather than simply reject assemblage theory outright, however, I draw on selected insights from DeLanda to push field theory in new directions. More specifically, I conceptualise (...)
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  16.  36
    Narratives of Post-Truth: Lyotard and the Epistemic Fragmentation of Society.Christian Baier - 2024 - Theory, Culture and Society 41 (1):95-110.
    In recent years, the post-truth phenomenon has dominated public and political discourse. This article offers a functional analysis of its mechanisms based on the category of narrative. After providing a brief definition of post-truth as a conceptual foundation, I trace the meaning of the term ‘narrative’ in the works of Jean-François Lyotard, focusing on the elusive category of small narrative. Utilizing terms and concepts of contemporary narrative theory, I propose a general definition of cultural narrative and reconceptualize Lyotard’s petit récit (...)
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  17.  35
    Race, Capitalism, and the Necessity/Contingency Debate.William Conroy - 2024 - Theory, Culture and Society 41 (1):39-58.
    Interest in the relationship between race and the expanded reproduction of capitalism has exploded across the social sciences and humanities over the past several years. Despite this widespread appreciation and interest, profound disagreement, debate, and analytical impression persists, not least regarding the relationship between race and the necessary ‘laws of motion’ of capitalist society. This article begins by tracing the core approaches to the race and capitalism conversation, paying particular attention to their understanding of the necessity/contingency distinction. It then proceeds (...)
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  18. From Galton’s Pride to Du Bois’s Pursuit: The Formats of Data-Driven Inequality.Colin Koopman - 2024 - Theory, Culture and Society 41 (1):59-78.
    Data increasingly drive our lives. Often presented as a new trajectory, the deep immersion of our lives in data has a history that is well over a century old. By revisiting the work of early pioneers of what would today be called data science, we can bring into view both assumptions that fund our data-driven moment as well as alternative relations to data. I here excavate insights by contrasting a seemingly unlikely pair of early data technologists, Francis Galton and W.E.B. (...)
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  19.  6
    Embodying Resistance: Politics and the Mobilization of Vulnerability.Moya Lloyd - 2024 - Theory, Culture and Society 41 (1):111-126.
    How are we to understand hunger strikes and episodes of lip-sewing in immigration detention? Are they simply cases of self-destruction or bare life, as is often claimed, or is there scope to view these embodied acts of self-harm as having a political dimension and to see those engaged in them as resistant subjects exercising political agency? To explore these issues, I draw on recent feminist theoretical work on vulnerability. Received wisdom suggests that vulnerability is an impediment to political action. Rejecting (...)
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  20.  15
    Against Posthumanism: Notes towards an Ethopolitics of Personhood.Thomas Osborne & Nikolas Rose - 2024 - Theory, Culture and Society 41 (1):3-21.
    Are we humans destined to become ‘posthuman’? In this paper, we question the claims of posthumanism, accepting some of its broader insights whilst proposing a more empirically and ethically appropriate ‘vitalist’ response. We argue that despite recent changes in styles of thought that question the uniqueness of ‘the human’, and despite novel technological developments for augmenting human bodies, we remain – fundamentally – persons. Humans, as persons, are constitutively embedded in and scaffolded by the material, social, semantic and cultural niches (...)
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  21.  12
    Foucault and Agamben on Augustine, Paradise and the Politics of Human Nature.Sergei Prozorov - 2024 - Theory, Culture and Society 41 (1):23-37.
    This article focuses on Foucault’s and Agamben’s readings of Augustine’s account of human nature and original sin. Foucault’s analysis of Augustine’s account of sexual acts in paradise, subordinated to will and devoid of lust, highlights the way it constitutes the model for the married couple, whose sexual acts are only acceptable if diverted by the will away from desire and towards the tasks of procreation. While Agamben rejects Augustine’s doctrine of original sin and reclaims paradise as the original homeland of (...)
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