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Collectivity and the Digital in French Thought and Culture


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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‘The metamorphosis of the world into man’: The Anthropocene and the Historical Administration of Human Identity



‘The metamorphosis of the world into man’:25 The Anthropocene and the Historical Administration of Human Identity


Today, the human mind requires new administrative strategies to cope with the ecological failure of its world-project. The Anthropocene, an informal categorisation in geologic time characterised by the transformational impacts of human activity, is the latest attempt to comprehend the world. As such, it forms an example of historical administration testifying to the poverty of this world-arrangement; to the lateness of its existence. This chapter therefore proceeds to discuss administrative strategy as a means of comprehension that aims to compensate for the lack of sense in human affairs; to propose that history forms the most comprehensive technology for administering existence hitherto devised, ensuring that the world presents itself as a meaningful historical arrangement; to argue that the Anthropocene is the latest example of comprehensive historical administration that ultimately fails to compensate for the inadequacy of the historical situation it aims to comprehend. As an incarcerating identitary proposition, the Anthropocene can only detain humanity in a world of its own making, binding it to an already antiquated existence.

Administrative Strategies

Human beings are existentially vulnerable. They must encounter and survive a world of formidable complexity. Indeed, increasingly concentrated in vast metropolises, they must negotiate and manage a world of their own design. Expressed and facilitated through the symbolic system, their enhanced cognitive capacities enable the implementation of administrative strategies to...

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