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Drawing on ethnographic research across two street-level bureaucratic institutions in Istanbul, Turkey in the late 2010s, this paper traces the causes and implications of the politicisation of bureaucrats in the context of authoritarianisation. It argues that politicisation of bureaucrats cannot solely be taken as a reflection of the erosion of bureaucratic autonomy and capacity but must be explored further to reveal how bureaucrats cope with authoritarian pressure as well socio-legal destabilisations to preserve their institutional ethos. To this aim, I demonstrate how bureaucrats get politicised in response to authoritarian policies and, in turn, labour to uphold the rule of law despite politico-legal risks. The paper particularly focuses on how bureaucrats weave political solidarity and circulate anti-government discourses and how they use their knowledge of the legal-regulatory repertoire and archives to deter and ‘correct’ unlawful practices through their everyday work. The paper generates insights into the fashionings of political subjectivities and agency by bureaucrats through their labouring in the face of authoritarian interventions, legal disruptions and the increasing interactions with the citizenry. In doing this, my objective is to shed light on the everyday workings of authoritarian state and to get a better picture of the way the law is ‘made real’ (Latour, 2002) across mundane encounters between bureaucrats and the citizenry.
Kraus’s book is a rich and systematic examination of Kant’s account of the different dimensions of the metaphysics, epistemology and phenomenology of the ‘self’ that pertains to human subjectivity. Here I explore some of the different meanings that Kraus associates with the term ‘self’ on Kant’s behalf, asking for further clarification as to her interpretation of the terms ‘subject’ (‘the I’), ‘soul’ and ‘person’, in particular. I also raise some critical questions concerning Kraus’s account of the nature and limitations of the ‘real’ use of the concept of the soul in particular, in light of passages throughout the Critical period in which Kant seems to allow for a relatively unproblematic application of the term to whatever being it is that possesses the various psychical faculties – a being which he also seems to allow is an object of experience (and hence cognition).
According to Nietzsche, modern individuals and societies are pathologically fragmented. In this chapter, I examine the form of conflict that he prescribes in his Untimely Meditations (UM) as a remedy to this condition of disintegration. I argue that he develops a quasi-Schopenhauerian model of how healthy holism arises – that is to say, a model that presupposes the existence of metaphysical essences or Ideas that teleologically organize entities from within. Such essences establish holism by means of selectively overpowering and assimilating the opposed entities that they need in order to materially realize themselves. On the basis of this analysis, I reject agonistic readings of UM,arguing that Nietzsche endorses exploitation and exclusion in a way that is sharply at odds with his conception of the agon. I conclude the chapter with an account of how Nietzsche’s eventual rejection of metaphysics (in his middle and later writings) undermines the metaphysical presuppositions that condition the synthetic program that he outlines in UM.
This chapter analyzes how the later Nietzsche proposes we resolve the pathological fragmentation that he sees threatening both modern individuals and communities. I reconstruct how, within his theory of the will to power, he develops a novel account of healthy organization – one purged of the problematic metaphysical presuppositions that compromised his earlier synthetic program (outlined in Chapter 3). Against his agonistic readers, I argue that his later theory of organization still comprises a combination of instrumentalization and exclusion that renders it incompatible with his notion of agonal conflict. I examine how he concretely applies this abstract theory of organization to the problems of individual and collective disintegration. With regard to his account of self-cultivation, I contest those who construe Nietzsche as a thinker who prescribes the sublimation, but not the elimination, of troublesome psychological drives. With regard to his theory of collective organization, I take issue with both his agonistic and his radical aristocratic readers. My contention is that each group of interpreters unduly distorts Nietzsche’s political outlook, making it appear either far softer or more brutal than is in fact the case.
A critical consensus has emerged that, rather than consolidating masculine power, DeLillo’s fiction unsettles it by exposing masculinity as a fragile social construct. Bearing in mind Philip Nel’s injection to consider DeLillo’s depiction of women as well as men, this chapter argues that DeLillo’s fiction not only undermines the central myths of white American manhood, but it also actively favours feminine forms of subjectivity and a feminine aesthetic. While DeLillo’s white men attempt to recover “true” selves that never existed, his women are fully aware of the ways in which the culture they inhabit both constructs and constitutes their subjectivity. More or less immune to the hankering for the real that haunts his men, DeLillo’s women, especially his women artists, tend instead to manipulate existing cultural codes in a fashion that permits them – paradoxically – some of the autonomy that his male characters seek. DeLillo’s recurrent engagement in his most recent fiction with the threat posed to women viewers of art demonstrates that his work remains committed to the scrutiny and critique of misogyny and masculinity in its most toxic manifestations.
Argues that Cassirer’s philosophy of symbolic forms relies on an account of human subjectivity that he deliberately keeps in the background of his writings. Remarkably, even though Cassirer considers a systematic account of human subjectivity to be an essential component of a philosophy of culture, he never seems to develop one (5.1). This omission is the result of Cassirer’s belief that consciousness can only be approached through the mediation of diverse cultural products (5.2). Cassirer solves this difficulty by developing a ‘functional conception of human subjectivity’ that forms the exact counterpart of his account of objectivity and therefore needs no separate treatment (5.3). This conception allows him to characterize the human being as an ‘animal symbolicum’ in An Essay on Man (5.4). Cassirer’s posthumous text The Metaphysics of Symbolic Forms then merely translates this view of the human being into the language of his contemporaries ‒ rather than deviating from his published writings, as is usually maintained (5.5). In sum, this chapter retrieves the hidden, anthropological foundation of Cassirer's philosophy of culture.
This article places Margaret Cavendish's most famous fictional "prose of a certain length," The Blazing World, in the welter of available genres from which she fashioned the fantastic hybrid attached to her 1666 Observations on Experimental Philosophy. In a time when the normative medium for imaginary narrative was verse, she hybridized her text further by writing in prose and attaching it to a work of natural philosophy. This article's chief effort is to reveal the hybridity of the work's satiric pastiche, with its calculated dazzle and challenge to its original readership's "real," and its responsibility in the history of literature in English for the emergence of the novel, not so much and but as science fiction. The work takes a major step toward the constitutive conflict of the modern novel between "inside" and "outside" experience, appearance, action. Its fantasia of the protagonist's cohabitation with her friend inside the body of her husband delights with a gender fluidity or boundary breakdown like that of its own form, followed by a spectacle of sublime female military power and violence on another world.
Feelings are conscious states evoked by situations and, presumably, experienced by all animals. Most of us judge the feelings of young children and other animals as sufficiently similar to our own that we attribute or ascribe feelings, understandings, and beliefs to them. Clearly, the ascription of mental states, a verbal practice, depends on the availability of concepts. The question is whether the states themselves depend on such a verbal practice. I have suggested that they do. Those concepts, represented as the senses of the word “understanding,” go beyond feelings to include both correctness (Chapter 5) and intersubjectivity (Chapter 6). Thus, the relationship between subjective feeling and the concepts representing those feelings may be compared in terms of their “identity conditions,” that is, the features that distinguish them that came to light in the discussion of the views of Taylor and Nussbaum and Jackendoff (2012).
From his own time up to the present, Robert Schumann has been associated with the idea of subjectivity, to an extent perhaps greater than any other composer in the Western tradition. This opening section traces the historical reach of the connection between Schumann’s music and subjectivity, its situation in early nineteenth-century (and primarily German) discourses about the self and interiority, and starts to unravel the range of meanings contained in the term subjectivity. I outline the three primary aims of the following book, which can be given as Critical, Musical, and Philosophical. Finally, this section provides an overview of the ensuing argument of the book.
The concept of subjectivity is one of the most popular in recent scholarly accounts of music; it is also one of the obscurest and most ill-defined. Multifaceted and hard to pin down, subjectivity nevertheless serves an important, if not indispensable purpose, underpinning various assertions made about music and its effect on us. We may not be exactly sure what subjectivity is, but much of the reception of Western music over the last two centuries is premised upon it. Music, Subjectivity, and Schumann offers a critical examination of the notion of musical subjectivity and the first extended account of its applicability to one of the composers with whom it is most closely associated. Adopting a fluid and multivalent approach to a topic situated at the intersection of musicology, philosophy, literature, and cultural history, it seeks to provide a critical refinement of this idea and to elucidate both its importance and limits.
The opening chapter sets out the terminological and conceptual ideas that provide a basis for the remainder of the book. Problematising the topic of musical subjectivity, it explicates the various meanings that have been given to this awkward notion and through increasing clarification proposes a range of potential meanings. Subjectivity here appears to refer to the experience of music as akin to a living being, an animate consciousness, but such that the experience may be of an apparent immediacy that shades it into a privileged first-person perspective. The second part of the chapter looks in turn to how subjectivity manifests itself both in music and in history, interrogating the notion of the musical subject through a series of questions that may be summarised as who, how and where, when and why? One of the properties of the idea of subjectivity identified here is that it is not a pre-given entity but a dynamic process that requires our own active participation for its interpretation. And thus while a number of conceptual questions still remain to be answered at the close of this chapter, it is given to the main body of the book to respond to these matters.
During the slave trade, Signares kept domestic slaves and accumulated considerable wealth. As Signares walked to Midnight Mass, their dresses were illuminated by the light of lanterns made and carried by their slaves, highlighting their wealth. This chapter examines the historical origins of the lantern festival or Fanal, as it is known in Saint-Louis, and its continuous performance as cultural heritage in the city. Celebrated as Creole legacy by President Senghor, he made it a national heritage. This chapter examines the assemblages the festival establishes between the patrons and their craftspeople as their relations are mediated by the materiality and performativity of the lanterns paraded at the festival. Although the heirs of the Signares left Saint-Louis at national independence and the festival has been appropriated by African citizens, it continues to celebrate forms of difference and distinction reminiscent of domestic slavery. Furthermore, by celebrating the achievements of the patrons, the lantern festival still establishes the status of patrons as ‘shining lights’ of the nation. This suggests that the African citizens who act as patrons have accepted the responsibilities with which their colonial predecessors have endowed them. Through colonial nostalgia they have assumed the legacy of colonialism.
One source of the idea that Taiwan independence would be politically desirable is belief in the concept of “Taiwan subjectivity,” which indicates that Taiwan is not an appendage of China but instead an autonomous actor charting its own course – or trying to do so in the face of huge difficulties. The ruling (since 2016) Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) pledges fealty to the goal of ultimately realizing subjectivity but cannot aggressively pursue the agenda because of opposition from the People's Republic of China (PRC), the United States, and some in Taiwan itself. What might that agenda be? Using a Structural Topic Model, we excavate the subjectivity discourse as it developed from 2008 to 2020 in the mainstream DPP-supporting newspaper, the Liberty Times. We find fourteen topics associated with the concept, the most prevalent of which in recent years warn of threats to subjectivity's realization in the political and sociocultural spheres.
Animal Figures examines the ways literature and psychoanalysis interact in their deployments of “animals,” while also suggesting how they might address the other-than-human. What might be required of both to think animal subjectivity non-anthropocentrically? In a close reading of Emmanuel Levinas’s Name of a Dog, I demonstrate how the text reanimates animate being (specifically a dog) in linguistic figuration through the literary or the rhetorical and according to analytics resembling psychoanalysis more than philosophy. While thematically Levinas’s chapter addresses the ethical and religious as they pertain to the figure of the dog, the chapter, in its linguistic and rhetorical performance, enacts a relation between language and animal being – elsewhere neologized as animot or animetaphor – more akin to psychoanalysis than to philosophy.
Neither laziness nor its condemnation are new inventions, however, perceiving laziness as a social condition that afflicts a 'nation' is. In the early modern era, Ottoman political treatises did not regard the people as the source of the state's problems. Yet in the nineteenth century, as the imperial ideology of Ottomanism and modern discourses of citizenship spread, so did the understanding of laziness as a social disease that the 'Ottoman nation' needed to eradicate. Asking what we can learn about Ottoman history over the long nineteenth-century by looking closely into the contested and shifting boundaries of the laziness - productivity binary, Melis Hafez explores how 'laziness' can be used to understand emerging civic culture and its exclusionary practices in the Ottoman Empire. A polyphonic involvement of moralists, intellectuals, polemicists, novelists, bureaucrats, and, to an extent, the public reveals the complexities and ambiguities of this multifaceted cultural transformation. Using a wide variety of sources, this book explores the sustained anxiety about productivity that generated numerous reforms as well as new understandings of morality, subjectivity, citizenship, and nationhood among the Ottomans.
Chapter 1 examines the moralization of work and stigmatization of laziness in the works of the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Ottoman moralists between the first and the second constitutional period (the 1870s to 1908). At the center of this chapter are Ottoman morality texts, a genre, yet to be fully explored, reconfigured in the nineteenth century. These texts articulated many emerging discourses and anxieties of the Ottoman reform period on a normative level. After an overview of the question of laziness in Ottoman thinking, attention is drawn to how a novel kind of knowledge was produced in the field of morality, expressing a new subjectivity in relation to modern citizenship; the normative nature of morality texts and the way these texts moralized, nationalized, and even Islamized productivity is then studied. Ottoman moralists identified certain beliefs and practices as handicaps for productivity and declared them un-Islamic and antithetical to progress. This chapter rethinks the construction of morality and Islamic knowledge in modern times, by examining deontological discourses on work that later produced the neologism of the “Islamic work ethic.”
Philosophers and scientists generally assume that consciousness is characterized by a ‘first-person perspective.’ On one interpretation of this claim, experiences are defined, at least in part, by representations that encode a subject-centred ‘point of view.’ But claims about the defining features of consciousness must be sensitive to the possibility of dissociation: if a neurobiological structure or psychological function is neither necessary nor sufficient for consciousness, it cannot be a defining feature in any robust sense. I appeal to research on unconscious emotion, visually guided action, perceptual constancy, and psychiatric disorder to argue that first-personal representations dissociate from conscious experience.
This chapter explores how the scientific and literary preoccupation with the sources of sensation and sensibility in the Romantic period results in a reassessment of the relationship between matter and spirit. The chemistry of Joseph Priestley and Humphry Davy on matter and respiration is read in the context of devotional practice and the poetry of Anna Letitia Barbauld, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Erasmus Darwin.
This introductory chapter focuses on theoretical issues related to the imagining subject, discussing its subjectification processes and varied uses of mediating technologies to constitute new social imaginaries.
After his controversy with Schelling, Fichte orally presented several new versions of his Science in which he adopted, if not a new standpoint, certainly a new methodology that had repercussions for the earlier standpoint. Where the “I is I” was the principle of the earlier Science, the trope of “light,” used alternatively with Evidenz and Reason, was the new principle. Where Fichte had earlier urged his auditors to engage in productive thinking, he now encouraged them to practice “attention,” an attitude of being actively engaged in the passive reception of the objects that presented themselves to their grasp. They had to detect in them, but only indirectly, the source of the intelligibility that made their presence compelling yet itself remained unseen. The aim was to let this source pervade one’s life. Fichte was adopting a new kind of realism which was in fact more consistent with the monism to which he had been committed from the beginning. Chapter 3 explores in detail a key text of 1804 in which these changes are introduced. The ontological quietism to which Fichte’s Science now led was one possible existential attitude that the assumed monism fostered.