Buy this book! Stiegler’s ‘New Critique of Political Economy’
[I’ll return to my film manifesto later on today . . . ]
WOW. It’s been a really long time since a theory book just blew my head off. And after having waded through 3/4 of Vol 1 of Stiegler’s Technics and Time, and finding him excellent at taking a very long time to say things, and mostly providing exegesis for other’s ideas, I wasn’t prepared to dive into more Stiegler.
Damn was I wrong. Go buy this book NOW. A colleague recommended it to me, and when I mentioned my frustration with Technics and Time, he agreed, but said this book was different.
He couldn’t have been more right. Technics and Time is a slow book, it ‘shows all the math’ (and I mean ALL), but now I’m looking forward to diving back into it, because I see where Stiegler is going with all this.
Where Technics and Time takes its time before it says anything, New Critique just lays it all out on the table. And entire theory of technology that is also a critique of political economy.
An entire new vocabulary for looking at the world. It’s incredibly dense, difficult reading, but incredibly rewarding. And while slow to get through, he DOES define his terms along the way, so its very possible to get what he’s doing, though it certainly takes work.
From what I can tell, this book is a condensed version of Technics and Time. Where he spends entire chapters developing a notion in that three volume monster, he will spend a sentence in this text. But the sentence is usually a highly precise gem. Now I want to go back to Technics and Time and selectively expand these gems as I need to see ‘the math’ (and skim the rest!). But the ideas here are incredibly powerful. They touch on everything from the structure of language to money to value to the psyche, relations of financial capital to mass marketing and the welfare state and neoliberalism, circuits of memory in technical objects, soooo much here.
All I can say, though, is buy New Critique now, and don’t wait to read it.
It’s about so much more than just political economy. It’s an entire view of the world, one which starts at the process of hominization which began with the exteriorization of memory in tools and language. It’s going to take me a while to fully digest the implications of this work, I haven’t been this excited about a theoretical find since I first encountered Vilem Flusser.
If you want to understand the following terms, I’m going to put up some sort of glossary shortly, as a way to organize my thoughts on all this. But don’t these terms sound promising? If so, buy this book!
Some of Stiegler’s terms: hypomnesia, hypomnematic objects, mnesic power, psychopower, neuro-proletarianization, economy of protensions, general organology, otium/negotium, grammatization, infantile synaptogenesis, pharmacology of mnemosystems, noopolitics, transindividuational circuits, tendential fall in libidinal economy, etc.