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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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#NousSommes and Automatic Politics: An Interview with Martin Crowley



One of the key problematics that you have been developing, Martin, is that of automatic politics: how are you understanding this term? Moreover, what are the specific political problems that come with automation?

martin crowley: So, probably a helpful way to come at that would be through the second half: specific political problems that come with automation, inasmuch as that’s a problematic that’s very much to the fore in the guise of the social policy and economic question of the consequences of generalised, widespread automation of labour. Some of the more catastrophic of the predictions around this area predict up to 50 per cent of jobs to be lost in Western post-industrial economies as a result of the automation of labour; other predictions are much lower than that. Regardless, there does seem to be a consensus amongst those who have studied these questions that in the coming two decades this is going to be a significant issue, and if it’s an issue, this is partly, of course, because of the role of paid employment in constructing a sense of participation in social processes and so on, but also, and more specifically in economic terms, because a collapse in employment of that scale would bring with it a collapse in purchasing power and, given that the economy in the areas in question is an economy founded predominantly on consumption, a collapse in purchasing power would be truly disastrous. Hence suggestions along the lines of a universal...

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