May 2013, Polity
The Posthuman offers both an introduction and major contribution to contemporary debates on the posthuman. Digital 'second life', genetically modified food, advanced prosthetics, robotics and reproductive technologies are familiar facets of our globally linked and technologically mediated societies. This has blurred the traditional distinction between the human and its others, exposing the non-naturalistic structure of the human. The Posthuman starts by exploring the extent to which a post-humanist move displaces the traditional humanistic unity of the subject. Rather than perceiving this situation as a loss of cognitive and moral self-mastery, Braidotti argues that the posthuman helps us make sense of our flexible and multiple identities.
Braidotti then analyzes the escalating effects of post-anthropocentric thought, which encompass not only other species, but also the sustainability of our planet as a whole. Because contemporary market economies profit from the control and commodification of all that lives, they result in hybridization, erasing categorical distinctions between the human and other species, seeds, plants, animals and bacteria. These dislocations induced by globalized cultures and economies enable a critique of anthropocentrism, but how reliable are they as indicators of a sustainable future?
The Posthuman concludes by considering the implications of these shifts for the institutional practice of the humanities. Braidotti outlines new forms of cosmopolitan neo-humanism that emerge from the spectrum of post-colonial and race studies, as well as gender analysis and environmentalism. The challenge of the posthuman condition consists in seizing the opportunities for new social bonding and community building, while pursuing sustainability and empowerment.
Chapter One: Post-humanism: Life beyond the Self 13
Chapter Two: Post-anthropocentrism: Life beyond the Species 55
Chapter Three: The Inhuman: Life beyond Death 105
Chapter Four: Posthuman Humanities; Life beyond Theory 143
- A path-breaking book on a central theme in contemporary cultural theory: post-humanism
- Braidotti defines post-humanism and distinguishes it clearly from humanism and anti-humanism; this book offers a more nuanced account of the relation between humanism, post-humanism and anti-humanism than any other book
- Braidotti charts a lucid path through the field of post-1968 philosophy while also examining key problems of race, gender, capitalism, new media and technology
- Written by one of the leading feminist and cultural theorists writing today, this book will find a wide readership among advanced students and academics interested in philosophy, cultural theory and feminism
"The Posthuman makes a vital contribution to feminist
scholarship across disciplines… Braidotti’s reading of
contemporary issues is out of the box: challenging, encouraging and
"An important and generative step toward new theories and scholarship and a welcome addition to Braidotti’s already formidable canon."
"Shows remarkable clarity and concision even as it lays out highly technical, complexly theoretical, and deeply interdisciplinary concepts."
''This is a rather startling work that requires heavy concentration on the part of the reader to follow the brilliant thinking of the author. Rosi Braidotti, a contemporary philosopher and feminist theoretician, `makes a case for an alternative view on subjectivity, ethics and emancipation and pitches diversity against the postmodernist risk of cultural relativism, while also standing against the tenets of liberal individualism.' Throughout her work, Braidotti asserts and demonstrates the importance of combining theoretical concerns with a serious commitment to producing socially and politically relevant scholarship that contributes to making a difference in the world.''
Grady Harp, Literary Aficionado
"This is an exciting and important text, full of intellectual brilliance and insight. It will make a major mark."
Henrietta L. Moore, University of Cambridge
"Braidotti's exhilarating survey of the constellation of posthumanity is lucid, learned and provocative. It will be an essential point of reference in future debates about the central philosophical problem of our age."
Paul Gilroy, King’s College London
"Debates over humanism and post-humanism have been fought over from feminist philosophy to literary theory and post-colonial studies. This latest work by Rosi Braidotti presents us with a clear-headed glimpse of some of the hard choices we have before us. Braidotti knows the philosophy, cares about the politics, and empathizes with those who have been shoved aside in these brutal last hundred years. She shows us how feminism, technoscientific infrastructure and political strands cross, sometimes with sparks."
Peter Galison, Harvard University