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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]

Truly extraordinary

as if time simultaneously existed as the universal measure for labour and as given in a value where labour has been measured through time. Yet exactly this connection between time, labour and value in capitalism is money. It is not the clock that measures labour through time by quantifying it in values. Rather, this measuring […]