By William E. Connolly

Within the Fragility of items, eminent theorist William E. Connolly makes a speciality of a number of self-organizing ecologies that aid to represent our global. those interacting geological, organic, and weather structures, a few of which harbor artistic capacities, are depreciated by means of that model of neoliberalism that confines self-organization to fiscal markets and equates the latter with impersonal rationality. Neoliberal perform hence fails to handle the fragilities it exacerbates. attractive a various diversity of thinkers, from Friedrich Hayek, Michel Foucault, Hesiod, and Immanuel Kant to Voltaire, Terrence Deacon, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Alfred North Whitehead, Connolly brings the feel of fragility alive as he rethinks the assumption of freedom. Urging the Left to not abandon the kingdom yet to reclaim it, he additionally explores scales of politics lower than and past the kingdom. The modern reaction to fragility calls for a militant pluralist assemblage composed of these sharing affinities of spirituality throughout changes of creed, type, gender, sexual orientation, and ethnicity.

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Additional resources for The Fragility of Things: Self-Organizing Processes, Neoliberal Fantasies, and Democratic Activism

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Many critics of neoliberalism criticize it as they downplay the self-­regulatory powers of economic markets. For instance, they may say, correctly in my view, that markets don’t work that way nearly as much as their defenders say they do. I agree that economic markets can be very unstable because of, say, elite collusion, self-­ amplifying bubbles, actions by other states, a war, and several of these in conjunction. But I further treat economic markets as merely one type of imperfect self-­regulating system in a cosmos composed of innumerable, interacting open systems with differential capacities of self-­organization set on different scales of time, agency, creativity, viscosity, and speed.

6 I thus share a thing or two with each of these critiques. But the center of gravity advanced here may differ from most of theirs. First, most may not come to terms sharply enough with the subjective grip the state, media, and neoliberal combine exerts on the interpretations and desires of large sections of the populace even after it has been rocked by a meltdown, problems in securing medical care, structural unemployment, a tsunami, an oil spill, or new evidence in favor of climate change. 7 We need to understand better the pressures on so many constituencies to reinstate faith in neoliberal ideology a short time after the latest meltdown.

It is, however, that they do possess varying degrees of self-­organizing power and that a lot of other human and nonhuman processes with which they interact do too. Such a combination changes everything. The theme of a cosmos of open, interacting force fields may press against some assumptions in neoliberalism, socialist productivism, Keynesianism, and classical Marxism alike, though there are important variations here. So we can speak only of tendencies. Where the latter types may diverge from the theory projected here is either in the assumption that cultural theory can concentrate its attention on the internal dynamics of social, state, and economic formations without close reference to movements of natural systems of multiple sorts, or in a tendency to think that capitalism constitutes an absorbent system that automatically returns the shocks and dissenting A n Ec o lo g y o f L at e C a p i ta l i s m 25 pressures applied to it as enhanced drives to its own expansion and intensification, or in a tendency to treat nonhuman force fields as reducible to simple law-­like patterns without significant powers of metamorphosis.

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