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#NousSommes

Collectivity and the Digital in French Thought and Culture

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Edited By Susie Cronin, Sofia Ropek Hewson and Cillian Ó Fathaigh

The relation between the digital and the collective has become an urgent contemporary question. These collected essays explore the implications of this relation, around the theme of #NousSommes. This hashtag marks the point where the «personal» modalities of social media have become embroiled in collective expressions of unity, solidarity and resistance. As this volume demonstrates, the impact of this cannot be isolated to the internet, but affect philosophy, literature, cinema, politics and the public space itself. The contributors approach the issue of #NousSommes from a diverse range of disciplines and methodologies, bringing out both the continuity and discontinuity with other forms of collective expression. Important contemporary philosophers such as Nancy, Derrida and Deleuze are engaged here, as are issues of ecology, community, automation, postcolonial identity and addiction. Featuring eight academic essays and an interview, this volume testifies to the importance of French philosophy and culture in understanding the digital and the collective today.

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#WeAreTheEarth: Rethinking Ecology and Community: The Case of Humanist Anarchism

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The Anthropocene today is both an unavoidable and yet greatly paradoxical reality. It is largely acknowledged as a fact, but at the same time it seems to inject a high dosage of anaesthetic into the body politics. More than ever, the time has come to act. Without wanting to insult already existing initiatives, primarily grassroots, to ameliorate the current crisis, the conclusion that is often reached is that this generalised inertia results from the way in which we perceive ourselves and our environment. Hence, the argument goes that the way we experience ourselves in our current position within the world, as human beings, needs to radically change: an ontological shift needs to occur. The excessive drilling and tilling of the earth that current modes of agriculture and resource extraction represent are said to be underpinned by an ethos that justifies exploitation. As Rosi Braidotti’s work The Posthuman (2013) suggests, the Anthropocene is not only a question of ‘the human against nature’, but is linked to a larger problem of reducing not only our natural habitat, but also people, or groups of people, to a state of slavish submissiveness. Which, in turn, is tightly linked to perceiving someone or something as completely other and disconnected to ourselves: the same process of othering that nature undergoes. The justifying ethos in this case would be based upon dichotomous thinking patterns that declare the superiority of humankind in its opposition to the non-human and the non-thinking or non-rational world. The latter vision,...

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