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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 …


Chats perchés

Chris Marker’s mimetic, comical and historical prophecy
by / RP 192 (July/Aug 2015) / Article, Philosophy of the Essay Film

Jokes between sight and said

Let me start from scratch – with an unspectacular filmic operation that has the minimalistic charm of a one-liner joke. A one-liner joke is a type of verbal joke, one that has it all in one line, just like the joke that Karl Valentin, a Bavarian comedian, once made and …


The history of cinema, as experience

by / RP 192 (July/Aug 2015) / Article, Philosophy of the Essay Film

Film as metahistory

In 1998 at the Cannes Film Festival, Jean-Luc Godard – having completed his Histoire(s) du cinéma project – presented a special reprint of the magazine Trafic. This included an article by the American artist Hollis Frampton. [1] Frampton’s essay, ‘For a Metahistory of Film: Commonplace Notes and Hypotheses’, …


Art, documentary and the essay film

by / RP 192 (July/Aug 2015) / Article, Philosophy of the Essay Film

Film as document

The moment when Siegfried Kracauer knew that he wanted to write of film as what he terms the ‘Discover of the Marvels of Everyday Life’ is relayed in his introduction to the Theory of Film from 1960. [1] Kracauer recalls watching a film long ago that shows a …


Futures present

Lite, dark and missing
by / RP 191 (May/Jun 2015) / Article, Future Stasis

‘The law of the innermost form of the essay is heresy’, Adorno wrote in a sentence used here as the motto for Verso’s new ‘Futures’ series, from which these three books by Augé, Berardi and Virno form the bulk of the first batch. [*] But what becomes of the essay when …


A Marxist heresy?

Accelerationism and its discontents
by / RP 191 (May/Jun 2015) / Article, Future Stasis

In his study of the semantics of historical time, Reinhart Koselleck proposes that ‘two specific determinants’ characterize modernity’s ‘new experience of transition: the expected otherness of the future and, associated with it, the alteration in the rhythm of temporal experience: acceleration, by means of which one’s own time is distinguished from what went before’. If …


Political economy of life

Negt and Kluge’s History and Obstinacy
by / RP 190 (Mar/Apr 2015) / Article

The translation of Oskar Negt and Alexander Kluge’s Geschichte und Eigensinn, now finally appearing in English in an edited, shortened version under the title History and Obstinacy, introduces an English-reading public to one of the most eccentric and ambitious books to have emerged from the legacy of the Frankfurt School. [*]


Reason and revolt

Guy Lardreau’s early voluntarism and its limits
by / RP 190 (Mar/Apr 2015) / Article

Guy Lardreau has few rivals for the honour of being the most under-appreciated contemporary French philosopher. [1] A student of Louis Althusser at the École Normale in the late 1960s and a flamboyant figure in Maoist intellectual circles before and after 1968, he remains best known for his searing reflections on …


The day after the insurrection

On First Revolutionary Measures
by / RP 189 (Jan/Feb 2015) / Article

It’s been seven years since the cratering of the global economy began in late 2007. While the concerted efforts of the dominant classes and their various client states have enabled, for the time being, the blowing of more bubbles on financial and other markets, a real recovery remains elusive: considerably more than half …


The Neue Marx-Lektüre

Putting the critique of political economy back into the critique of society
by and / RP 189 (Jan/Feb 2015) / Article

The project to re-examine Marx’s critique of political economy at the end of the 1960s by pupils of Horkheimer and Adorno is nowadays known as the Neue Marx-Lektüre (hereafter NML). This ‘new reading of Marx’, initiated principally by Alfred Schmidt, Hans-Georg Backhaus and Helmut Reichelt, attempted to free Marx from the petrified schemes of Marxist orthodoxy. In this …


Culture and technics (1965)

by / RP 189 (Jan/Feb 2015) / Article

The word culture entails a value judgement, and to a certain extent it relates to an axiological type of content. [*]When used with reference to human culture, its primary meaning is metaphorical, since it looks to the techniques of grain production and gardening for a paradigm of improvement and transformation, a paradigm that might …


Introduction to Simondon

by and / RP 189 (Jan/Feb 2015) / Article

Gilbert Simondon was at the height of his philosophical creativity when, at the end of the 1950s, he wrote his two doctoral theses: ‘Individuation in the Light of the Notions of Form and Information’ and the complementary ‘On the Mode of Existence of Technical Objects’. The 1965 essay ‘Culture and Technics’ represents the …


Freud against Oedipus?

by / RP 188 (Nov/Dec 2014) / Article

There is a popular story, even among scholars, that tells us that Freudian psychoanalysis was founded at the very moment that Freud wrote to Fliess (in 1897) that he no longer believed in his Neurotica: ‘Ich glaube an meine Neurotica nicht mehr.’ [1] This story reads this declaration as follows: I …


‘Use-value’

Ontology and semiotics
by / RP 188 (Nov/Dec 2014) / Article

The only objective forms of commodities are their use forms, their natural forms.

Karl Marx, Capital, Volume 1 (1867)

Does Marx’s discourse have something to say to the current problematization of the foundations of a new practice of politics? [*] Certainly not, if Marx’s dispute with political economy, which forms …


Introduction to Bolívar Echeverría

by and / RP 188 (Nov/Dec 2014) / Article

Although largely unknown to anglophone readers, Bolívar Echeverría (1941–2010) is one of the most important representatives of Latin American Marxism and critical theory to have emerged in recent decades. [1] He was born in Ecuador, but his main intellectual formation took place in Berlin during the 1960s, where he became involved …


The persistence of patriarchy

Operation Yewtree and the return to 1970s feminism
by / RP 188 (Nov/Dec 2014) / Article

On 30 May 2014 a conference was held in London to discuss the work and legacy of Kate Millett, an American feminist who rose to prominence following the publication of Sexual Politics in 1970, and her appearance on the cover of Time magazine later that year. [1] Elsewhere in London, on …


Helen Macfarlane

Independent object
by and / RP 187 (Sept/Oct 2014) / Article

Talking of the destructive nature of egoistic desire, its satisfaction that the other is nothing, Hegel made room for further development, an empirical moment which might surprise those who think German Idealism only ever allowed for abstraction: ‘In this satisfaction, however, experience makes it [the simple ‘I’] aware that the object has its own independence.’ …


The contingency of cheese

On Fredric Jameson’s The Antinomies of Realism
by / RP 187 (Sept/Oct 2014) / Article

Fredric Jameson has been a busy man over the last decade. As well as two massive tomes on science fiction and modernism, combining republished essays with extensive new material, there has been a trilogy of books on Hegel and Marx which have sought to defend dialectical thinking from its discontents both internal and external to …


‘For all that gives rise to an inscription in general’

by / RP 187 (Sept/Oct 2014) / Article

Of Grammatology, which history seems likely to confirm as Jacques Derrida’s most influential book, was published almost four decades ago.* This book marked the beginning of my pathway into philosophy and it has accompanied me throughout my investigations of science and the history of science. I shall therefore begin these remarks with quite a long …


A metaphysical turn?

Bruno Latour’s An Inquiry into Modes of Existence
by / RP 187 (Sept/Oct 2014) / Article

A book bearing the title An Inquiry into Modes of Existence, but with the subtitle An Anthropology of the Moderns,* will immediately prompt the question: is this a work of metaphysics, as suggested by the title (which was lifted from the philosopher Étienne Souriau’s 1943 work [1]), or a work of …