Theory

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Cognitarian Subjectivation Franco "Bifo" Berardi Recent years have witnessed a new techno-social framework of contemporary subjectivation. And I would like to ask whether a process of autonomous, collective self-definition is possible in the present age. The concept of “general intellect” associated with Italian post-operaist thought in the 1990s (Paolo Virno, Maurizio Lazzarato, Christian Marazzi) emphasizes the interaction between labor and language: social labor is the endless recombination of myriad fragments producing, elaborating, distributing, and decoding signs and informational units of all kinds. Every semiotic segment produced by the information worker must meet and match innumerable other semiotic segments in order to form the combinatory frame of the info-commodity, semiocapital.
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Socialisme ou Barbarie Theorist Claude Lefort Dies at Age 86 Tendance Coatesy The French political theorist and philosopher Claude Lefort died on Sunday the 3rd of October at 86 years old. For the left Lefort’s most significant political and intellectual activity was some time ago, in the 1950s hey-days of the libertarian socialist (and critical Marxist) French group, Socialisme ou Barbarie.
Why Deleuze (Still) Matters: States, War-Machines and Radical Transformation Andrew Robinson, Ceasefire The usefulness of Deleuzian theory for social transformation will vary with the selection of which conceptual contributions one chooses to appropriate. Studying Deleuzian theory is complicated by characteristics of Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophical method. In What is Philosophy?, they define the function of theory in terms of proliferating concepts – inventing new conceptual categories which construct new ways of seeing. In common with many constructivists, they take the view that our relationship to the world is filtered through our conceptual categories. Distinctively, they also view agency in terms of differentiation – each person or group creates itself, not by selecting among available alternatives, but by splitting existing totalities through the creation of new differences. This approach leads to a proliferation of different concepts which, across Deleuze and Guattari’s collaborative and individual works, total in the hundreds.
Immanent Singularities: An Interview with Bruno Gulli Minor Compositions As a philosopher and academic worker, Bruno Gulli is nothing if not untimely. In an era when the labor of thought, the work that creates new concepts, finds itself squeezed by an ever-increasing array of restrictions (from journal and publisher limitations to lack of time from overwork and precarious employment), Gulli bucks these trends in a spectacular fashion. Rather than composing 8000 word chunks of pabulum, simply recycling tired clichés or niceties, Gulli has embarked on composing a three-volume inquiry into the relation between ethics, labor, and ontology. Such an approach might not have seemed all that remarkable fifty years ago, but today to carry out such a fundamental rethinking of our categories of political thought and discourse is paradoxically no longer appreciated, and therefore all the more necessary. Gulli’s first book, The Labor of Fire (2005, Temple University Press) led Michael Hardt to comment that the work of Gulli, along with others carrying out similar work, will renew the Marxist tradition. This renewal, he claims, will not be of a scientific, structuralist, or humanist Marxism, but rather a philosophical approach to Marx centered on the concept of labor its power of social transformation. High words of praise indeed. This interview was conducted shortly after the publication of his most recent book Earthly Plenitudes: A Study on Sovereignty and Labor (2010, Temple University Press). Minor Compositions: First off I wanted to ask you about what you describe as the “dignity of individuation.” In particular how does this indicate a shift in theorizing the relation between ethics and politics? Could this perhaps be connected to the Zapatistas’ notion of the dignity of revolt or Simon Critchley’s elaboration (2007) of an anarchic meta-politics based upon the infinite demand of the ethical? Bruno Gulli: “Dignity of individuation” provides a metaphysical (or ontological) grounding for both politics and ethics. Conversely, it says that metaphysical (or ontological) definitions cannot escape a political and (especially) ethical dimension. It is then a synthetic and poetic concept, à la Vico, where some of the most basic problems of the philosophical tradition are reflected and, at the same time, expanded. The concept has two parts: “individuation” refers to, and is drawn from, the principle of individuation (principium individuationis), which, in particular, I understand in terms of John Duns Scotus’ concept of haecceity (or thisness), that is, what makes something the something that it is (but it has a history that goes beyond Duns Scotus). The problem with the concept of the principle of individuation, as Paolo Virno (2009) has also recently pointed out, has to do with the term “principle” – not with “individuation.” The latter indicates a process, and thus individuation is really individuating; the former, I might say from the point of view of my book, is a sign (anticipation or residue) of sovereignty. Conjugating “individuation” with “dignity,” once the word “principle” is eliminated, was for me an act of piracy – an act of piracy within philosophy. Differently from individuation, which can be and is applied to anything, which names the ordinary and regular, dignity is usually reserved for something which, to some degree, is extraordinary, which has distinguished itself for some reason. Even when we speak of human dignity (vis-à-vis other forms of life), we use this type of logic. Thus, the dignity of X indicates a lack, or a lesser degree, of dignity in Y. To say that dignity lies in individuation is to counter this type of logic, and following Leibniz, whose work I use a lot in the first chapter of my book, it is also to affirm that nothing is extraordinary, nothing other than regular, other than orderly – though of an order we may not like, not understand.
Call for papers - Edufactory Journal, No. 1 Transforming Universities: Measure, Transition, Institution EduFactory 'The old institutions are crumbling ...' - so began the introduction to the zero issue of Edufactory Journal on the double crisis of the university and the global economy. Paradoxically, one of the conditions of this double crisis is the global expansion of the university. The old institutions are crumbling but they are simultaneously trying to reinvent themselves, to transplant themselves, to network themselves. This issue of the Edufactory Journal will investigate two faces of this situation. The first section entitled 'Occupations' will examine the global transition of higher education with a focus on new institutions being established in different parts of the world. The second section entitled 'Anomalies' will focus on struggles against the 'system of measure' that presides over the transition of universities. As the overall ambition of the issue is to understand the connection between the globalization of higher education and the imposition of measure, we also welcome contributions that critically analyse the connections between these processes.'Occupations' will examine the proliferation of new universities. Not only do we witness the founding of online universities but also the massive expansion of the education market in countries such as India, China, Egypt and Brazil. New knowledge spaces are being established in special economic zones and new kinds of partnerships, consortia and divisions of labour are being forged between higher education institutions across the world. The opening of offshore branch campuses accompanies the establishment of new kinds of private institutions and the forging of international university chains or networks under different corporate banners and branding techniques. With these developments appear new transnational forms of institutional governance, new kinds of trade relations, and new kinds of connections between universities and societies. There also arise new knowledge practices and conflicts as institutions negotiate their structures with regard to disciplinarity, interdisciplinarity and the 'conflict of the faculties'. The topic of 'new universities' is related to the question of transition. On one hand, we wish to enquire into the meaning and models of transition in concrete cases - for example, in the post-soviet world. On the other hand, if the concept of transition implies a non-historicist narration, we can also approach it as a space of possibility: that is to say, the permanent transition of capitalism also signals the possibility of new kinds of political thought and action. How do we read this possibility alongside the imperative to innovation, constant variation and adaptation that animates the globalization of higher education? And how do these changes produce new kinds of subjectivities and struggles in the production of knowledge?
"The Origins of Primitivism" Radical Archives Radical Archives is happy to finally present our ‘Origins of Primitivism’ set. It consists of 16 documents related to the development of contemporary primitivist thought, which were first printed in 'Fifth Estate' between 1977 and 1988. All of these documents (listed at bottom) are available online for the first time. Additionally, David Watson has contributed a short introduction and reflection on these texts for the occasion of putting them online. (Radical Archives is an archival website with an emphasis on anarchist, libertarian marxist, situationist and primitivist perspectives. It looks at how these perspectives relate to a number of larger social and philosophical questions – including ontology, technology, religion, spirituality, nationalism and identity. Another strong interest is in Left-Right crossover, including Third Position fascism, and especially in Left antisemitism.)
"Politics in the Slum: A View from South Africa" Abahlali baseMjondolo The modern state, and its civil society, have always been comfortable with workers in their allotted place – be it formed around the immediate needs of industrial production, like the migrant workers hostels in apartheid South Africa or contemporary Dubai, or an attempt at creating a haven, like the suburban home which has its roots in the gendered and raced class compromise reached in North America after the Second World War. When there has been a part of the population rendered or considered superfluous to the immediate needs of production there has been a degree of comfort with the inevitably bounded spaces into which these people have been abandoned or contained – prisons, ghettos, Bantustans etc. But both the modern state and civil society have always been acutely uncomfortable with that part of the ‘dangerous class’ - vagabonds or squatters - that are, by virtue of their occupation of space outside of state regulation, by definition out of place and threatening to domination constructed, along with other lines of force, on the ordering of space.
Preface to 33 Lessons on Lenin Toni Negri Preface To The Present (Spanish) Edition: This book dates in its current form from 1972/73, although some of its parts were written (written partially) 10 years prior. By all means, however, the form in which these essays/texts are presented are definitive. In re-publishing these lessons I have not believed it necessary in modifying them in any aspect. Why? In their relative ingenuity they are constructive, creative and joyous. How was this text born? How did the idea come to me to write it and why did I feel profoundly spurred to do it by my comrades at the time?
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