Towards a juridical archaeology of primitive accumulation

The virtual dimensions of a project The implicit diptych formed by the two successive courses delivered by Michel Foucault at the Collège de France between 1971 and 1973 – Penal Theories and Institutions and The Punitive Society – has already been the object of substantial commentary. The principal gains arising from philological or speculative soundings […]

The threshold of fire

The white gunman and the ‘rioters, anarchists, arsonists and flag-burners’ On 25 August 2020, seventeen-year-old (white) Kyle Rittenhouse shot three antiracist protesters in the US state of Wisconsin, killing two and seriously injuring the third. Equally shocking was the impunity with which the shooting was carried out. 1 Rittenhouse was protected by the police from […]

Human species as biopolitical concept

I submit that the current situation created by the Covid-19 pandemic and its biopolitical consequences reveals something new in the ontological status of the human species which also involves an anthropological ‘revolution’. 1 This is something more than the fact that the combined tendencies called ‘globalisation’ (which, regardless of whether we assign them a recent […]

Jean-Luc Nancy, 1940-2021

One day, what I am saying to you today will no longer have any sense or any handle on the period. But today this is where there is some sense: in saying sense is absent, in saying that this absence is what we are exposed to, and that this exposition constitutes what I will call […]

Philosophy and the Communist Party

It is well-known that the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) – the current ruling party in the USSR – is fighting not only on an economic and political front, but also on a cultural one: it is fighting against bourgeois culture in the name of proletarian culture. 1 This in particular concerns philosophy. In the view […]

Toward an assessment of modernity

In order to speak about the future one must first recognise the contemporary moment, as it is the contemporary moment that indicates the future. 1 Previous eras were defined by their culture, that is, by an organically stable system of social relations finding within itself its own ideological justification. In our times, however, culture has […]

The problem is proletarianisation, not capitalism

In the wake of the Gilets Jaunes movement, the late Bernard Stiegler proclaimed, in one of his final interviews: ‘what I’m interested in is to put down capitalism, for good. Or to do something else in the meanwhile.’ 1 Stiegler’s anti-capitalist statement signals his debt to Marx, who is frequently invoked in his writings. Indeed, […]

Kojève out of Eurasia

Accusations of Stalinism have long followed the philosopher Alexandre Kojève. In his influential seminars on Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, held in Paris in the 1930s, Kojève had claimed that Hegel saw Napoleon as the embodiment of the universal state, as a reflection of the completed circularity of his philosophical system of knowledge at the end […]

Race after information-value

Seb Franklin, The Digitally Disposed: Racial Capitalism and the Informatics of Value (Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, 2021). 254pp., £86.00 hb., £19.00 pb., 978 1 51790 714 3 hb., 978 1 51790 715 0 pb. As our tech overlords flee a blighted planet, a scholarly consensus is taking shape around the fallout of unchecked innovation and […]

Throwing rocks

Avery F. Gordon, The Hawthorn Archive: Letters from the Utopian Margins (New York: Fordham University Press, 2018). 472pp., £87.00 hb., £33.00 pb., 978 0 82327 631 8 hb., 978 0 82327 632 5 pb. In discussing with Avery F. Gordon his video installation, The Beginning. Living Figures Dying (2013), a project focused ‘on the relationship […]

Protests against reality

John Molyneux, The Dialectics of Art (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2020). 300pp., £17.99 pb., 978 1 64259 131 6 This book is a significant contribution to the Marxist reflection on art. This is not a ‘Marxist history of art’, but a Marxist book about art, composed of various essays, some of a general theoretical character, and […]

`on the roots of olive trees uprooted’

Joseph Pugliese, Biopolitics of the More-Than-Human: Forensic Ecologies of Violence (Durham: Duke University Press, 2020). 312pp., £87.00 hb., £21.99 pb., 978 1 47800 767 8 hb., 978 1 47800 802 6 pb. In 2001 the United Nations enacted an International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict (it’s on […]

Interwoven solidarities

Brenna Bhandar and Rafeef Ziadah, eds, Revolutionary Feminisms: Conversations on Collective Action and Radical Thought (London: Verso, 2020). 240 pp., £17.99 pb., 978 1 78873 776 0 In striving towards revolutionary feminisms against a backdrop of world-changing events, the need for collective solidarity has never been more important. Brenna Bhandar and Rafeef Ziadah’s book begins […]

Abstract egalitarianism

Katrina Forrester, In the Shadow of Justice: Postwar Liberalism and the Remaking of Political Philosophy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2019). 432pp., £28.00 hb., 978 0 69116 308 6 In 1952, a young American philosopher named John Rawls arrived in Oxford on a Fulbright scholarship. Fresh from military service in the Pacific that had diverted his […]

Violence, justice and justification

Judith Butler, The Force of Non-Violence: An Ethico-Political Bind (London: Verso, 2020). 224pp., £14.99 hb., 978 1 78873 276 5. Elizabeth Frazer and Kimberly Hutchings, Can Political Violence Ever Be Justified? (Cambridge: Polity, 2019). 140pp., £35.00 hb., £9.99 pb., 978 1 50952 920 9 hb., 978 1 50952 921 6 pb.. Adriana Cavarero with Judith […]

Android paranoia

Aaron Benanav, Automation and the Future of Work (London: Verso, 2020). 160pp., £12.99 hb., 978 1 83976 129 4 Jason E. Smith, Smart Machines and Service Work: Automation in an Age of Stagnation (London: Reaktion, 2020). 160pp., £14.95 hb., 978 1 78914 318 8 Is a future where jobs currently done by humans are carried […]