Bennett examines the political and theoretical implications of vital materialism through extended discussions of commonplace things and physical phenomena including stem cells, fish oils, electricity, metal, and trash. She reflects on the vital power of material formations such as landfills, which generate lively streams of chemicals, and omega-3 fatty acids, which can transform brain chemistry and mood. Along the way, she engages with the concepts and claims of Spinoza, Nietzsche, Thoreau, Darwin, Adorno, and Deleuze, disclosing a long history of thinking about vibrant matter in Western philosophy, including attempts by Kant, Bergson, and the embryologist Hans Driesch to name the “vital force” inherent in material forms. Bennett concludes by sketching the contours of a “green materialist” ecophilosophy.
Jane Bennett is Professor of Political Theory and Chair of the Department of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University. She is the author of The Enchantment of Modern Life: Attachments, Crossings, and Ethics and Thoreau’s Nature: Ethics, Politics, and the Wild, and an editor of The Politics of Moralizing and In the Nature of Things: Language, Politics, and the Environment.
As Bennett describes it, enchantment is a sense of openness to the unusual, the captivating, and the disturbing in everyday life. She guides us through a wide and often surprising range of sources of enchantment, showing that we can still find enchantment in nature, for example, but also in such unexpected places as modern technology, advertising, and even bureaucracy. She then explains how everyday moments of enchantment can be cultivated to build an ethics of generosity, stimulating the emotional energy and honing the perceptual refinement necessary to follow moral codes. Throughout, Bennett draws on thinkers and writers as diverse as Kant, Schiller, Thoreau, Kafka, Marx, Weber, Adorno, and Deleuze. With its range and daring, The Enchantment of Modern Life is a provocative challenge to the centuries-old ''narrative of disenchantment,'' one that presents a new ''alter-tale'' that discloses our profound attachment to the human and nonhuman world.
In an agential realist account, the world is made of entanglements of “social” and “natural” agencies, where the distinction between the two emerges out of specific intra-actions. Intra-activity is an inexhaustible dynamism that configures and reconfigures relations of space-time-matter. In explaining intra-activity, Barad reveals questions about how nature and culture interact and change over time to be fundamentally misguided. And she reframes understanding of the nature of scientific and political practices and their “interrelationship.” Thus she pays particular attention to the responsible practice of science, and she emphasizes changes in the understanding of political practices, critically reworking Judith Butler’s influential theory of performativity. Finally, Barad uses agential realism to produce a new interpretation of quantum physics, demonstrating that agential realism is more than a means of reflecting on science; it can be used to actually do science.
In a critique of the distinction between fact and value, Latour suggests a redescription of the type of political philosophy implicated in such a "commonsense" division--which here reveals itself as distinctly uncommonsensical and in fact fatal to democracy and to a healthy development of the sciences. Moving beyond the modernist institutions of "mononaturalism" and "multiculturalism," Latour develops the idea of "multinaturalism," a complex collectivity determined not by outside experts claiming absolute reason but by "diplomats" who are flexible and open to experimentation.
Introduction: What Is to Be Done with Political Ecology?
1. Why Political Ecology Has to Let Go of Nature
First, Get Out of the Cave
Ecological Crisis or Crisis of Objectivity?
The End of Nature
The Pitfall of "Social Representations" of Nature
The Fragile Aid of Comparative Anthropology
What Successor for the Bicameral Collective?
2. How to Bring the Collective Together
Difficulties in Convoking the Collective
First Division: Learning to Be Circumspect with Spokespersons
Second Division: Associations of Humans and Nonhumans
Third Division between Humans and Nonhumans: Reality and Recalcitrance
A More or Less Articulated Collective
The Return to Civil Peace
3. A New Separation of Powers
Some Disadvantages of the Concepts of Fact and Value
The Power to Take into Account and the Power to Put in Order
The Collective's Two Powers of Representation
Verifying That the Essential Guarantees Have Been Maintained
A New Exteriority
4. Skills for the Collective
The Third Nature and the Quarrel between the Two "Eco" Sciences
Contribution of the Professions to the Procedures of the Houses
The Work of the Houses
The Common Dwelling, the Oikos
5. Exploring Common Worlds
Time's Two Arrows
The Learning Curve
The Third Power and the Question of the State
The Exercise of Diplomacy
War and Peace for the Sciences
Conclusion: What Is to Be Done? Political Ecology!
Summary of the Argument (for Readers in a Hurry...)
Dr. Shore is supposed to see patients, perform surgeries, and take turns covering the emergency room until the regular surgeon recovers from his quadruple bypass. But unfortunately, she uses her temporary opportunity to discredit Toni and tarnish her reputation with her medical colleagues. When the visiting surgeon is conveniently murderedher lifeless body found in Tonis officeToni is the obvious suspect. But Toni is not going down without a fight. Forced to solve the murder in order to save her future, Tonis life becomes even more complicated when her ex-boyfriend starts stalking her and threatening her husband.
In this riveting murder mystery, a stubborn pathologist must rely on more than just her microscope as she delves into a complicated web of deception, soon discovering that it is not just her freedom at stakebut her life.
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But when a mysterious illness casts a bloody pall over the holiday season, Toni must rely on her pathological expertise to unmask a killer and rescue herself and everyone she loves from a bloody death.