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  1.  4
    Merleau-Ponty: Beauty, Phenomenology, and the ‘Theological Turn’.Blake Allen - 2021 - Theory, Culture and Society 38 (3):71-90.
    In a landmark text, ‘The Theological Turn of French Phenomenology’, Dominique Janicaud posits a boundary that sharply divides the legitimate phenomenological tradition from a problematic variant seen to be fundamentally compromised by theology. This article develops an immanent critique of Janicaud’s position. It demonstrates that his boundary relies on the mature work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty as a constitutive exemplar of the tradition, that this work is centrally concerned with beauty, and that its notion of beauty is irreducibly theological. Merleau-Ponty himself (...)
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  2.  6
    Bullet Screens (Danmu): Texting, Online Streaming, and the Spectacle of Social Inequality on Chinese Social Networks.Xuenan Cao - 2021 - Theory, Culture and Society 38 (3):29-49.
    For theorists interested in screen cultures and the digital economy, looking beyond Facebook and YouTube prompts a more refined conceptualization of participation and monetization on social networks. This paper examines YY as representative of Chinese platforms that monetize spectacles of social inequality. I first discuss why these financially successful platforms have eluded the attention of media and cultural critics, and then explain how these social network platforms blend subversive texting with streaming through a format called ‘bullet screen’. This format collapses (...)
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  3.  1
    Emancipation and Collaboration: A Critical Examination of Human Rights Video Advocacy.Ruthie Ginsburg - 2021 - Theory, Culture and Society 38 (3):51-70.
    This article explores the relationship between political freedom and collaboration in the work of human rights organizations. I focus here on the ethical and political implications involved in the production of evidence once the documenting tool, the camera, is in the hands of an engaged civilian rather than a bystander, such as a photojournalist. By examining cases in the Occupied Palestinian Territories where the Palestinians are the photographers of human rights violations, I outline the relations and tensions between emancipatory acts (...)
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  4.  6
    Political Theology and Historical Materialism: Reading Benjamin Against Agamben.Lotte List - 2021 - Theory, Culture and Society 38 (3):117-140.
    Giorgio Agamben’s work on the power of sovereignty has been greatly influential in recent political thought. However, it has also overshadowed the independently original contributions of his two primary theoretical sources, Carl Schmitt and Walter Benjamin. In this article, I argue that Agamben’s political defeatism can be traced back to a double misconception in his reception of these two authors: first a formalistic reduction of Schmitt, and second a Schmittian reduction of Benjamin. Through this reduction to juridical formalism, the radicality (...)
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  5.  56
    Porous Bodies: Environmental Biopower and the Politics of Life in Ancient Rome.Maurizio Meloni - 2021 - Theory, Culture and Society 38 (3):91-115.
    The case for an unprecedented penetration of life mechanisms into the politics of Western modernity has been a cornerstone of 20th-century social theory. Working with and beyond Foucault, this article challenges established views about the history of biopower by focusing on ancient medical writings and practices of corporeal permeability. Through an analysis of three Roman institutions: a) bathing; b) urban architecture; and c) the military, it shows that technologies aimed at fostering and regulating life did exist in classical antiquity at (...)
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  6.  2
    Eugène Atget and Documentary Photography of the City.Vladimir Rizov - 2021 - Theory, Culture and Society 38 (3):141-163.
    This paper focuses on the documentary photography of Eugène Atget in late 19th and early 20th-century Paris. I will begin by exploring Atget’s position as a pioneering documentary photographer in the field, followed by an engagement with the urban environment of Paris, in which Atget worked almost exclusively. Finally, I will analyse a single photograph in depth while discussing it in relation to the work of Charles Baudelaire and Jacques Rancière. This text is a contribution to a literature of critical (...)
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  7.  1
    Feeling the Real: The Non-Nomadic Subject of Feminism.Maria Tamboukou - 2021 - Theory, Culture and Society 38 (3):3-27.
    Nomadism as a spatial concept denoting uncharted movements has opened up non-static ways of theorizing the subject in feminist theory and beyond. But it seems that the nomads of the real world and their torturing wanderings today have irrevocably challenged the romance of unregulated movement and force us to radically rethink the very concept of nomadism itself. In this paper I address the aporias that women's entanglement in current mobility assemblages has raised in the ways we understand and imagine the (...)
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  8.  1
    What Is an Environmental Problem?Andrew Barry - 2021 - Theory, Culture and Society 38 (2):93-117.
    This paper advances two arguments about environmental problems. First, it interrogates the strength and limitations of empiricist accounts of problems and issues offered by actor-network theory. Drawing on the work of C.S. Peirce, it considers how emerging environmental problems often lead to abductive inferences about the existence of hidden causes that may or may not have caused the problem to emerge. The analysis of environmental problems should be empiricist in so far as it is sceptical of the claims of those (...)
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  9.  4
    Vitalism Now – A Problematic.Monica Greco - 2021 - Theory, Culture and Society 38 (2):47-69.
    This paper considers whether and how ‘vitalism’ might be considered relevant as a concept today; whether its relevance should be expressed in terms of disciplinary demarcations between the life sciences and the natural sciences; and whether there is a fundamental incompatibility between a ‘vitalism of process’ and a ‘vitalism as pathos’. I argue that the relevance of vitalism as an epistemological and ontological problem concerning the categorical distinction between living and non-living beings must be contextualized historically, and referred exclusively to (...)
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  10.  2
    The Call for a New Earth, a New People: An Untimely Problem.Craig Lundy - 2021 - Theory, Culture and Society 38 (2):119-139.
    In their final book, Deleuze and Guattari state that the practice of philosophy ‘calls for a future form, for a new earth and people that do not yet exist’. This call is deeply problematic: aside from its aristocratic overtones, it is difficult to ascertain what it might sound like, how to give it voice, and what might come of it. But it is also problematic in form. In this paper I will explain how. After investigating its genesis in Deleuze’s engagements (...)
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  11.  5
    Problem and Structure: Bachelard, Deleuze and Transdisciplinarity.Patrice Maniglier - 2021 - Theory, Culture and Society 38 (2):25-45.
    The concept of ‘problem’ has been recently promoted by the official academic institutions and put at the centre of a new field of research, self-styled ‘transdisciplinary studies’, in order to provide a foundation to a resolutely transdisciplinary approach to research and thought in general. The paper notes that the same move can be found in Deleuze’s philosophy, which provides us with what the technocratic image of thought advocated by transdisciplinary studies ultimately cannot provide: a positive concept of problems where those (...)
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  12.  3
    Problems All the Way Down.Martin Savransky - 2021 - Theory, Culture and Society 38 (2):3-23.
    Besieged by ongoing economic crises, global health emergencies, geopolitical instabilities, ecological devastation, and growing political resentments, the intractable nature of the problems that configure the present has never loomed larger or more darkly. But what, indeed, is a problem? Problematising the modern image that treats problems as obstacles to be overcome by the progress of technoscientific knowledge and policy, this introductory article lays the groundwork for a generative conceptualisation of problems. Reweaving intercontinental connections between traditions of French philosophy and American (...)
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  13.  3
    The Pluralistic Problematic: William James and the Pragmatics of the Pluriverse.Martin Savransky - 2021 - Theory, Culture and Society 38 (2):141-159.
    In his lectures on pragmatism, William James famously proposed that the question of ‘the one and the many’ constitutes the most central of all philosophic problems, and that it is ‘central because so pregnant’. Prompted by James’ proposition, this article explores the intimately political connection in James’ thought between his pluralistic metaphysics and the nature of the problematic as a generative force that impregnates worlds and thoughts with differences: what I here call ‘the pluralistic problematic’. Exploring the generative significance of (...)
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  14.  13
    Putting Problematization to the Test of Our Present.Isabelle Stengers - 2021 - Theory, Culture and Society 38 (2):71-92.
    At the end of his life, Michel Foucault wrote of ‘problematization’ as what he had done all along. Yet some commentators see a ‘new’ Foucault emerging together with this term. This essay accepts the last hypothesis and connects it with the French scene, where problematization was already familiar, and its use under tension. Starting with Bachelard, problematization was related with a polemic epistemological stance, but its reprise by Gilles Deleuze turned it into an affirmative theme dramatizing the creation of problems. (...)
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  15.  1
    Documenting Dictatorship: Writing and Resistance in Chile's Vicaría de la Solidaridad.Vikki Bell - 2021 - Theory, Culture and Society 38 (1):53-78.
    In Documentality, Maurizio Ferraris argues that documents are at the heart of social institutions. Taking this notion as a cue, this piece considers a key organisation in the resistance to state violence and Pinochet's dictatorship in Chile, the Vicaría de la Solidaridad, and focuses on the remarkable document where the desperate stories of people detained, disappeared and murdered following the coup in 1973 were recorded. This process of registration adopted an overtly rational, administrative response akin to the ‘bio-political’ modes of (...)
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  16.  10
    White Extinction: Metaphysical Elements of Contemporary Western Fascism.Chetan Bhatt - 2021 - Theory, Culture and Society 38 (1):27-52.
    The Euro-American far-right represents a highly diverse political movement comprising numerous ideological tendencies. It includes the European New Right, the US ‘alt-right’ and ‘alt-lite’, far-right accelerationism, traditionalism, and new forms of political misogyny. Despite the diversity in ideas and activities, this article argues that an overarching theme of the ‘fear of white extinction’ travels across and animates each major contemporary far-right tendency. The article explores a variety of older and contemporary metaphysical themes that are deployed in contemporary fascism. These include (...)
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  17.  5
    Paradoxes of Rationalisation: Openness and Control in Critical Theory and Luhmann's Systems Theory.Jan Overwijk - 2021 - Theory, Culture and Society 38 (1):127-148.
    For the Critical Theory tradition of the Frankfurt School, rationalisation is a central concept that refers to the socio-cultural closure of capitalist modernity due to the proliferation of technical, ‘instrumental’ rationality at the expense of some form of political reason. This picture of rationalisation, however, hinges on a separation of technology and politics that is both empirically and philosophically problematic. This article aims to re-conceptualise the rationalisation thesis through a survey of research from science and technology studies and the conceptual (...)
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  18.  1
    Whose Dance Is It Anyway?: Property, Copyright and the Commons.Kriss Ravetto-Biagioli - 2021 - Theory, Culture and Society 38 (1):101-126.
    Until recently, dance was not considered to warrant copyright protection because it existed only as a live performance that was not fixed in a ‘tangible medium of expression’. Not being an object, it could not be property. But the more we try to fold dance into existing modes of copyright and conventional notions of property, the more it resists, upsetting the core assumptions of Locke's social contract theory. Legal scholars argue that the expansion of copyright protection shrinks the public domain. (...)
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  19.  8
    Gramsci in the Postcolony: Hegemony and Anticolonialism in Nasserist Egypt.Sara Salem - 2021 - Theory, Culture and Society 38 (1):79-99.
    This article traces Gramsci's concept of hegemony as it travels from Southern Italy to Egypt, arguing that the concept ‘stretches’, following Fanon, through an encounter with the nexus of capitalism and colonialism. I explore a reading of Gramsci's concepts in a postcolonial context, paying special attention to colonialism and anticolonialism as constitutive of the absence or presence of hegemony. Through an exploration of the Nasserist project in Egypt – the only instance of hegemony in modern Egyptian history – I show (...)
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  20.  4
    Towards a Decolonial Media Archaeology: The Absent Archive of Screenwriting History and the Obsolete Munshi.Rakesh Sengupta - 2021 - Theory, Culture and Society 38 (1):3-26.
    Much has been written about how Foucault's archaeology of the modern episteme, emerging from early 19th-century Europe, was curiously divorced from its context of colonialism. Media archaeology, as Foucault's legacy, has also remained rather geopolitically insular and race agnostic in its epistemological reverse engineering of media modernity. Using screenwriting history as a case study, this article demonstrates how bringing decolonial thinking and media archaeology together can challenge linear narratives of modernity/coloniality in media history. The article connects two seemingly disparate histories (...)
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