Must do better

William MacAskill, Doing Good Better: Effective Altruism and a Radical New Way to Make a Difference (London: Faber and Faber, 2015). 336pp., £8.99 pb., 978 1 78335 051 3 Peter Singer, The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism Is Changing Ideas About Living Ethically (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015). 272pp., £14.99 hb., […]

Proletarianisation isn’t working

Bernard Stiegler, Automatic Society: The Future of Work, Volume 1, trans, Daniel Ross (Cambridge: Polity, 2016). 341pp., £55.00 hb., £17.99 pb., 978 1 50950 630 9 hb., 978 1 50950 631 6 pb. Despairing over the conditions of living and working in Foxconn’s ‘factory city’ in China, a total of 14 workers leapt to their […]

Smart writing

Sarah Kember, iMedia: The Gendering of Objects, Environments and Smart Materials (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016). vi+122pp., £45.00 hb., 978 1 13737 484 4 Sarah Kember’s new book positions itself in a field of theory dominated by an often masculinist discourse that privileges conceptualisations of its research objects as things or environments in-themselves, instead of as […]

Paper trails

Kate Eichhorn, Adjusted Margin: Xerography, Art and Activism in the Late Twentieth Century (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2016). 216pp., £21.95 hb., 978 0 26203 396 1 The punning title of Kate Eichhorn’s book refers to the ‘somewhat audacious argument’ at its core: that the xerographic (or dry photocopying) machine played an overlooked but decisive role […]

French philosophy today

Christopher Watkin, French Philosophy Today: New Figures of the Human in Badiou, Meillassoux, Malabou, Serres and Latour (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2016). 272pp., £24.99 pb., 978 1 47441 473 9 Following an earlier study of ‘post-theological thinking’ in the work of Alain Badiou, Quentin Meillassoux and Jean-Luc Nancy (2011), Christopher Watkin’s new book on several […]

Gridlock!

Rosie Warren, ed., The Debate on Postcolonial Theory and the Specter of Capital (London and New York: Verso, 2016). 304pp., £60.00 hb., £19.99 pb., 978 1 78478 696 0 hb., 978 1 78478 695 3 pb. ‘To leave error unrefuted is to encourage intellectual immorality.’ Attributed to Karl Marx, this dictum prefaced E.P. Thompson’s infamous […]

Prêt-à-manger

of wasted labour’, then Capital switches tack. This time the labour is minimal for maximal result. The techno-utopian conceit – and here comes the Whitmanic dimension again – seems to be to democratize The Arcades. It’s the notion that anyone can do this stuff; all you need is a computer, a city and some time. […]

Mediate and aggregate

rug-pulling within a particular diegetic order, while stories that force their protagonists to reframe their entire understanding of the universe typically reinforce this ‘conceptual breakthrough’ with a change in the regime of verisimilitude: take a sledgehammer to the wall at the edge of the Dark City (Proyas 1998), and suddenly you are no longer in […]

Oxymoron

REVIEWS Oxymoron Paolo Virno, When the Word Becomes Flesh: Language and Human Nature, trans. Giuseppina Mecchia, Semiotext(e), South Pasadena CA, 2015. 264 pp., £12.95 pb., 978 1 58435 094 1. In Paolo Virno’s previous book, A Grammar of Multitude, grammar – in other words, the philosophy of language – played second fiddle to the multitude […]