The Human and his spectacular autumn, or, Informatics after philosophy

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This essay revisits a few core postulates of an idealistic modernity of the west that was based on the voluntarism of the human subject, the rational workings of the secular state, and a scientific episteme of power/knowledge that was to absolve a godless, historical universe of dogma and miracle. But perhaps, as it has been increasingly apparent, a new form of sovereign power is making itself immanent in our times. Instead of a historical agency of the conscientious human, or an isomorphic relationship between disciplinary knowledge and power, the global application of this form of sovereignty is based more on the temporal and spatial inseparability among moments of militarization, informatization, and financialization. As a result, categories and definitions of a classic liberal political imagination—like fascism for instance—can no longer be simply attached to human profiles or human tasks. This new, dogmatic, faith-based sovereignty of informatics and technology-in-and-of-itself is diffuse and micro-punctual in its presence, unlike the world-historical spectacle of the mad Führer. In the wake of specific molar technologies for producing social life itself, one has to be attentive to a transformed situation in which meritorious conversations between humans are increasingly overwritten by a great dictatorial monologue of power, by which money alone, along with its complex corporatist-statist interests, speaks to itself.

How does one re-think politics and resistance in such a scenario, where inhuman assemblages and flows of finance and interests—mega-forces of funding and facilitation—override communicative presumptions about scientific truths and pieties of democratic representation? How do we start thinking in this moment of danger in a manner that is neither driven by paranoia nor enclosed in an ivory tower of angelic ironies?
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPostmodern Culture
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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