Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Friday, April 04, 2014

Long Teaching Day

This morning in the City, nine to noon, in my undergraduate Planetary Thinking and Environmental Justice course, we are talking about "sustainable development" and "natural capitalism," most of the discourse of which I subsume under the rhetoric of "greenwashing" -- any tax cuts for technofixes proposal that refuses to recognize and criminalize the violence of environmental harm or the fraud of externalizations of environmental cost/risk or defers the nationalization/planetization of public goods amounts to a marketing apologia for elite-incumbent corporate-military interests. Later in the day, from one to four, in my graduate Introduction to Critical Theory lecture, we are continuing our turn to the biopolitical, with more Arendt and a whole lot of Fanon (Fanon's characterization of the political seems to me importantly continuous with the natality at the heart of Arendt's, making Arendt's rather ungenerous characterization of Fanon's remarks concerning violence especially curious). Although it has become more common since Agamben to set Arendt and Foucault side by side, and although one finds in, say, Paul Gilroy, an insistence that Fanon is a necessary corrective to Foucault (the catastrophe of colonial administration cannot be rationalized as disciplinarity), I treat Arendt, Fanon, and Foucault as equally indispensable to one another, as it were three legs of a biopolitical stool, and I think it is not yet commonplace to treat all three figures as integral to one another in this way, treating each as providing necessary supplements to both of the others and each as providing goads to expose the fatal limits in both the others in any proper taking up or taking on of the biopolitical turn.

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