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    Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things + Sometimes It's Okay to Be Weak: Reply to Stephen White

    Johnathan R. Razorback
    Johnathan R. Razorback

    Messages : 9882
    Date d'inscription : 12/08/2013
    Localisation : France

    Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things + Sometimes It's Okay to Be Weak: Reply to Stephen White Empty Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things + Sometimes It's Okay to Be Weak: Reply to Stephen White

    Message par Johnathan R. Razorback Dim 4 Juil - 13:43



    "This book has a philosophical project and, related to it a political one. The philosophical project is to think slowly an idea thilt mns fast through modern hectds: the idea of maHer as passive stuff, as raw, brute, or inert. This habit of parsing the world into dull matter (it, things) and vibrant life (us, being) is a "partition of the sensible," to use Jacques Ranciere's phrase. The quarantines of matter and life encourage us to ignore the vitality of matter and the lively power of material formations, such as the way omega-3 fatty acids can alter human moods or the way our trash is not "away" in landfill but generating lively streams of chemicals and volatile winds of methane as we speak. I will turn the figures of "life" and "matter" around and around, worrying them until they start to seem strange, in something like the way a common word when repeated can become a foreign, nonsense sound. In the space created by this estrangement, a vital materiality can start to take shape.

    Or, rather, it can take shape again, for a version of this idea already found expression in childhood experiences of a world populated by animate things rather than passive objects. I will try to reinvoke this sense, to awaken what Henri Bergson described as "a latent belief in the spontaneity of nature." The idea of vibrant matter also has a long (and if not latent, at least not dominant) philosophical history in the West. I will reinvoke this history too, drawing in particular on the concepts and claims of Baruch Spinoza, Friedrich Nietzsche, Henry David Thoreau, Charles Darwin, Theodor Adorno, Gilles Deuleze, and the early twenlielh-century vitalisms of Bergson and Hans Driesch.

    The political project of the book is, to put it most ambitiously, to encourage more intelligent and sustainable engagements with vibrant matter and lively things. A guiding question: How would political responses to public problems change were we to take seriously the vitality of (nonhuman) bodies? By "vitality" I mean the capacity of things -edibles, commodities, storms, metals- not only to impede or block the will and designs of humans but also to act as quasi agents or forces with trajectories, propensities, or tendencies of their own. My aspiration is to articulate a vibrant materiality that runs alongside and inside humans to sec how analyses of political events might change if we gave the force
    of things more due. How, for example, would patterns of consumption
    change if we faced not litter, rubbish, trash, or "the recycling," bur an
    accumulating pHe of lively and potentially dangerous matter) What difference would it make to public health if eating was understood as an
    encounter between various and variegated bodies, some of them mine,
    most of them not, and none of which always gets the upper hand? What
    issues would surround stem cell research in the absence of the assumption that the only source of vitality in matter is a soul or spirit) What
    difference would it make to the course of energy policy were electricily
    to be figured not simply as a resource, commodity, or instrumentality
    hut also and more radically as an "actant"?
    The term is Bruno Latour's: an aetant is a source of action that can be
    either human or nonhuman; it is that which has efficacy, can do things,
    has sufficient coherence to make a difference, produce effects, alter the
    course of events. It is "any entity that modifies another entity in a trial,"
    something whose "competence is deuuceu from [its performance"
    rather than posited in advance of the action. Some actants are better
    dpsnihed as protoactants, for these performances or energies are too
    small or too fast to be "things.'" I admire Latour's attempt to devplop a
    vocabulary that addresses multiple modes and degrees of effectivity, to
    begin to describe a more distributivE' agency. Latour strategically elides
    what is cummunly taken as distinctive or even unique about humans,
    and so will I. At least for a while and up to a point. I lavish attention on
    specific "things," noting the distinctive capacities or efficacious powers
    of particular material configurations. To attempt, as I do, to present
    human and nunhuman aetants Ull a less vertical plane than is common
    is to bracket the question of the human and to elide the rich and diverse
    literature on subjectivity and its genesis, its cunditiuns uf pussibility,
    and its boundaries. The philosophical project of naming where subjectivity begins and ends is too often buund up with fantasies uf a human
    uniqueness in the eyes of God, of escape from materiality, ur uf mastery
    of nature; and even when' it is not, it remains an aporetic or quixutic
    -Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things, Duke University Press, 2012, 202 pages.


    « La question n’est pas de constater que les gens vivent plus ou moins pauvrement, mais toujours d’une manière qui leur échappe. »
    -Guy Debord, Critique de la séparation (1961).

    « Rien de grand ne s’est jamais accompli dans le monde sans passion. »
    -Hegel, La Raison dans l'Histoire.

      La date/heure actuelle est Sam 27 Nov - 0:33