While reading Adorno & Horkheimer’s Dialectic of Enlightenment I was struck not merely by the complexity of their argument, but by the fact that their analysis of the achievements of Enlightenment shows so many (indirect) affiliations with recent developments in Speculative Realist or Object-Oriented ontologies. Continue reading
Fashion and paradigms are not the same; so much is true even on the outer limits of scholarly debates. The notion of performativity shows just that; a term now so often mentioned, elaborated, experimented with and both hailed and degraded – not yet capable and not even certain of becoming a paradigm. Obviously drawn from theatre and performance studies, performativity is ‘in vogue’ in both social theory, science and technology studies as well as in political theory and arts. Continue reading
Here’s a video of James Scott discussing his new book The Art of Not Being Governed. An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia. It is a fascinating book for several reasons, not in the least because it shows brillianty how to combine ‘micropolitics’ with a negation of a necessary move to the ‘macro’ level. For my own purposes, Scott’s argument shows what has been and still is the blind spot in many recent social theories, such as Actor Network Theory, namely their implicate and rather off-the-shelf conception of politics.
Apart from the – nevertheless interesting – fuzz about electronic democracy and the overthrowing of political power through the internet, there is one perhaps even more interesting thing going on with regard to the current hacking tendency that followed the arrest of Julien Assange. With its existence it is modifying the famous debate between John Dewey and Walter Lippmann in a rather ironic way; although the ‘public’ is no longer unknown, it is most definitely Anonymous.
On the 1st of October Chantal Mouffe will give a lecture in the European Centre for Cultural Arts and Science (Felix Meritis) in Amsterdam. The lecture is called ‘Citizenship, Democracy and Pluralism’ and will start on 20.00. Although she is most best known for her anti-Habermas position (think of her idea that there is no such thing as a ‘rational consensus’) I’m perhaps more interested in the way her focus on ‘antagonisms’ can be meaningful for a strenghtening of more STS related (Callon, Barry) views on democracy and representation. One can understand why passion plays such an important role in political issues, but the most important question could be how these passions can be given a voice. Moreover, how does an incorporation of passion into political philosophy work when confronted with highly specialized, technological or scientific issues?