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Decolonizing revolution with C.L.R. James

or, What is to be done with Eurocentrism?
by / RP 199 (Sept/Oct 2016) / Article

Time would pass, old empires would fall and new ones take their place, the relations of countries and relations of classes had to change, before I discovered that it is not quality of goods and utility which matter, but movement, not where you are or what you have, but where you have come from, …

Is it simple to be a Spinozist in philosophy?

Althusser and Deleuze
by / RP 199 (Sept/Oct 2016) / Article

At strategic points in Reading Capital, Louis Althusser introduces Spinoza’s idea of an immanent cause as the decisive concept that is absent from Marx’s discourse. [1] For the Althusser of 1965, Spinoza’s model of causality is the great missing link in Marx’s thought, a philosophical omission and lacuna of symptomatic force. …

The necessity of contingency

Rereading Althusser on structural causality
by / RP 199 (Sept/Oct 2016) / Article

Among the concepts proposed by Althusser in the course of his famous symptomatic reading of Marx’s Capital, structural causality plays a central role. Extrapolated from Marx’s writings via a detour through the philosophy of Spinoza, it came to represent the concept in which Althusser summed up ‘Marx’s immense theoretical revolution’. [1]


Incompletion, reversibility and fragmentary montage
by / RP 198 (Jul/Aug 2016) / Article, Romantic Transdisciplinarity 2

Le multiple, il faut le faire…

Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus

In 1798 Novalis famously wrote: ‘Poetry is the authentic absolute real. This is the core of my philosophy. The more poetic, the more true.’ [1] This aphorism expresses what might be called the …

The dream is a fragment

Freud, transdisciplinarity and early German Romanticism
by / RP 198 (Jul/Aug 2016) / Article, Romantic Transdisciplinarity 2

An appreciation and practice of the fragment is a feature of all European Romanticism, but it was in early German (or ‘Jena’) Romanticism, and most of all in the work of Friedrich Schlegel, that the concept of ‘the fragment’ was philosophically determined. Indeed, the fragment has been called ‘the central philosophical concept of early German …

The obscure object of transdisciplinarity

Adorno on the essay form
by / RP 198 (Jul/Aug 2016) / Article, Romantic Transdisciplinarity 2

Any attempt to conceptualize transdisciplinarity is bound to experiment with disciplinary boundaries. And such experimentation cannot simply be held to the criteria of academic study. It is must in fact problematize the boundaries between academic study and forms or instances of thinking which take place outside of such scholarship. However, these disruptive practices have become …

Lost minds

Sedgwick, Laing and the politics of mental illness
by / RP 197 (May/June 2016) / Article

Our illnesses are mostly political illnesses.  Peter Weiss [1]

In Memoirs of a Revolutionary Victor Serge describes the first decade of Soviet rule as displaying ‘the obscure early stages of a psychosis’, the symptoms of which became increasingly pronounced as time wore on and the defeats and corpses piled ever …

Gillian Rose’s critique of violence

by / RP 197 (May/June 2016) / Article

The crisis of the legitimacy of the liberal democratic state is being posed today with an urgency and acuity not seen since the debates over the legitimacy of Weimar parliamentary democracy. Its constitutive claim to be able to satisfy both the values of justice and pluralism appears to be coming apart at the seams. Far …

Common senses

Deleuze and Lyotard between ground and form
by / RP 197 (May/June 2016) / Article

‘One day, perhaps, this century will be known as Deleuzian.’ This is how Michel Foucault famously opened his admiring review of Gilles Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition. [1] Responding to the praise, Deleuze merely called attention to the hint of humour underlying Foucault’s remark. [2] Yet to give …

Guattari and transversality

Institutions, analysis and experimentation
by / RP 195 (Jan/Feb 2016) / Article

How, on the basis of what problems and concerns, in reference to what concepts, and in the light of what practices, can and should we understand the work of Félix Guattari? It is now fairly widely accepted that Guattari was not simply a junior partner in the two-headed exploration of capitalism and schizophrenia signed ‘Deleuze …

Radical openness

Chord symbols, musical abstraction and modernism
by / RP 195 (Jan/Feb 2016) / Article

‘Would anyone like to suggest a chord?’, said Keith Jarrett, swivelling on the piano stool to face the audience. There were a few shouts from the auditorium such as ‘A minor nine’ and ‘E flat seven sharp eleven’. Jarrett listened distractedly for a few moments, then said, ‘It’s okay, I’ve got my own’, and turned …

The irony of anatomy

Basquiat’s poetics of black positionality
by / RP 195 (Jan/Feb 2016) / Article

for Tanzeen Doha

Isabelle Graw Should I come to New York before I write the article on you?

Jean-Michel Basquiat What would you do if the artist you were writing about were dead?

Graw I would do as much research as possible, get together all the available information…

Basquiat Then just do it like that. Pretend I’m dead…

There …

Patent as credit

When intellectual property becomes speculative
by / RP 194 (Nov/Dec 2015) / Article, Dossier, Property, Power, Law

Intellectual properties, the various kinds of which are known as patents, copyright and trademarks, could be regarded as central techniques of accumulation in contemporary capitalism, if immaterial knowledge is indeed what now crucially drives accumulation in a ‘knowledge economy’ or ‘creative industries’. [1] In such a process of value generation and …

Disaggregating primitive accumulation

by / RP 194 (Nov/Dec 2015) / Article, Dossier, Property, Power, Law

For nearly 150 years now, critical theorists of various stripes have attempted to explicate, correct and complement Marx’s discussion of the ‘so-called’ primitive accumulation of capital provided in Part Eight of the first volume of Capital. [1] This is perhaps especially true of Marxism in the English-speaking world. Whereas French and …

Race, real estate and real abstraction

by and / RP 194 (Nov/Dec 2015) / Article, Dossier, Property, Power, Law

The crises and mutations of contemporary capitalism have rendered palpable Marx’s observation according to which in bourgeois modernity human beings are ‘ruled by abstractions’. [1] The processes of financialization animating the dynamics of the 2007–8 crisis involved the violent irruption into the everyday lives of millions of a panoply of ominous …

Global homocapitalism

by / RP 194 (Nov/Dec 2015) / Article

Temples of global capitalism have become increasingly vociferous of late in their opposition to homophobia. In February 2014, shortly after Uganda’s President Museveni gave his assent to a draconian Anti Homosexuality Act, the World Bank announced that it was delaying a US$90 million loan to Uganda on the grounds that the law would adversely affect …

The central bank of symbolic capital

Bourdieu’s On the State
by / RP 193 (Sept/Oct 2015) / Article

On the State comprises edited versions of three lecture courses that Pierre Bourdieu delivered between 1989 and 1992 at the Collège de France during his tenure of a research chair in sociology at that institution (1982–2001). [*] Beginning with the well-worn theme of the difficulties of thinking and studying the state, …

Podemos and its critics

by / RP 193 (Sept/Oct 2015) / Article

Although the movement that gave rise to it began years, if not decades, ago, Podemos, the political party, was born on 17 January 2014. For some, it was the result of years of organizing following the indignados protests, which occupied Madrid’s Puerta del Sol and other plazas across Spain during the summer of 2011. Others …

Nature in the limits to capital (and vice versa)

by / RP 193 (Sept/Oct 2015) / Article

Of all the varieties of crisis thinking, ecological crisis is perhaps the least developed. It is certainly the least conceptualized. To be sure, there is no scar city of empirically rich analyses of biophysical shifts at every scale. But ecological crisis in its popular usage has been an expansive concept, implicating the widest range of …

Anti-castism and misplaced nativism

Mapping caste as an aspect of race
by / RP 192 (July/Aug 2015) / Article

From September 2013 to February 2014 I led a project on ‘Caste in Britain’ for the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). [*] It culminated in two research reports. [1] The remit of the project was, first, to review existing socio-legal research on British equality law …