Theory, Culture and Society 30 (5):3-23 (2013)

Abstract
It is common for social theorists to utilize the metaphors of ‘flow’, ‘fluidity’, and ‘liquidity’ in order to substantiate the ways in which speed and mobility form the basis for a new kind of information or network society. Yet rarely have these concepts been sufficiently theorized in order to establish their relevance or appropriateness. This article contends that the notion of flow as utilized in social theory is profoundly metaphysical in nature, and needs to be judged as such. Beginning with a discussion of the accelerating timescape that characterizes the network society, it will then move on to examine three main issues with this ‘metaphysics of flux’. First, that the concept of flows unjustly privileges the process of becoming and, as a result, is unable to account for the materiality, substantiality, and agency of the objects being mobilized, and the contingency of their mediation. Second, that it posits the accelerating tendencies of capital as an ontological inevitability, thus discounting resistance to such forces. Finally, that it ignores the human faculty for reason and speculative thought in developing alternative means of political praxis. The solution, it will be argued, is not to abandon metaphysical accounts of the network society, but rather to challenge those accounts that, in exhibiting a crude empiricism, work to justify the status quo.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1177/0263276412469670
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 59,088
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

One-Dimensional Man.Renford Bambrough - 1964 - Philosophy 69 (269):380-381.
Process and Reality.Arthur E. Murphy - 1931 - Journal of Philosophical Studies 6 (21):102-106.

View all 8 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Brown’s Paradox: Speed, Ressentiment and Global Politics.Simon Glezos - 2014 - Journal of International Political Theory 10 (2):148-168.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Tyranny of Speed? Contemporary Ethics in the Light of Dromology.Tomáš Hauer - 2013 - Ethics and Bioethics (in Central Europe) 3 (1-2):63-72.
Speaking of Flux.Xiaoqiang Han - 2009 - Acta Analytica 24 (1):33-42.
Does Time Flow, at Any Rate?Claudio Mazzola - 2014 - Metaphysica 15 (1):157-172.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2014-02-02

Total views
15 ( #658,040 of 2,427,867 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #511,645 of 2,427,867 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes