The Politics of Stupidity: Reflection and Desire in Stiegler’s Critique of the Information Economy

Speaker: Dr Ross Abbinnett (POLSIS)

The paper is concerned with the ethical and political implications of informatic exchange. It develops Stiegler’s work on the transformative potential implicit in the systems of global hyper-capitalisation.

Thursday 19th November, 1pm

Muirhead Tower 118

All welcome.

The theoretical framework of the paper derives from Stiegler’s Technics and Time, and is a critical account of his theory of the integration of self-conscious individuals into the networks of the information economy. It is concerned with his account of the effects virtual and information technologies have had on the capacity of human beings to engage reflexively with the axioms of ‘life’ in the information economy: unlimited growth, hyper-consumption, hyper-productivity, and hyper-individualism.

The paper aims to develop the idea of techno-stupidity that haunts Stiegler’s new critique of political economy. This idea accompanies his account of the capitalizing power exerted by culture and information industries, and is the underlying theme of his theory of the loss affective and intellectual attachment to culture that has accompanied the technological evolution of modernity. I will argue that it is the radically overdetermined performance of this stupidity (as the accelerated production, consumption and desire of atomistic egos) that informs Stiegler’s idea of a possible ‘phase-shift’ in the regime of global capitalization. I will also contend that it is the suffering that accompanies this state of universal disorientation that gives rise to ‘techno-industrial art’ whose provocations he opposes to the logic of pure informatic exchange.

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Poster:

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