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Uncontrollable Societies of Disaffected Individuals: Disbelief and Discredit, Volume 2


CAD $26.95

Uncontrollable Societies of Disaffected Individuals: Disbelief and Discredit, Volume 2

Bernard Stiegler

ISBN: 978-0-745-64812-5 December 2012 Polity 200 Pages


Max Weber argued that the development of capitalism would lead to the progressive rationalization and disenchantment of society: today this process is reaching its endpoint and capitalism is collapsing into a disturbing kind of irrationality. It engenders spiritual misery - a paralysis of the function of the human mind or spirit - where reason disappears as a motive of hope, a ‘kingdom of ends’ in Kant’s sense. Absolute disenchantment afflicts all those who no longer have anything to expect from the development of hyper-industrial society. Those who are desperate become ‘desperados’, and they are becoming more and more numerous. 

No longer having anything to expect means, at the same time, no longer having anything to fear. And the proliferating repressive mechanisms that are supposed to cope with the effects of this loss of authority turn out to be less and less effective. For such measures engender more and more the opposite of that for which they were intended, but in extreme and totally irrational, unpredictable forms.

This is where we are today: the technical system of the hyper-industrial epoch can maintain its power only so long as it is backed up by blind trust, but this trust is undermined by the destructive irrationality stemming from the liquidation of the kingdom of ends. From the moment this trust is lost, hyper-power is inverted into hyper-vulnerability and impotence. The loss of motives of hope then expands, encompassing all of us like a contagious illness. But this ‘all’ is no longer a ‘we’: it is a panic.


I. Despair and the Impotence of the Rational

II. The Antigone Complex

III. Spiritual Misery and Reasons for Hope

IV. The Disaffected Individual in the Process of Psychic and Collective Disindividuation

V. Hope and Politics

"Stiegler is, as usual, several steps ahead of everyone else. In this book he dives into the Dantesque zones of today’s hyper-industrial last man to propose the spaces where futures might be re-articulated. Where others recycle past masters or promote an unconvincing mantra of a 'new politics', Stiegler does battle in the twilight zones of a terrestrial civilization entering its afterlife. He is the discrete heir of Nietzsche, Sartre and Derrida today - precisely by his distance from each."
Tom Cohen, State University of New York at Albany
  • Stiegler is one of the most original and important philosophers and cultural theorists in France today. His work is at the interface of philosophy and technology, so it will appeal not only to those studying philosophy but also to students and scholars in media and cultural studies and literary studies.
  • This new book focuses on the way that capitalism has produced a new kind of irrationality and hopelessness in contemporary societies and given rise to growing numbers of individuals who no longer believe in the system or trust those in power.
  • Hence this book provides valuable theoretical resources to understand the recent riots in Britain, the rise of the ‘desperados’ and the protests against capitalism which are taking place in London, New York, Madrid, Athens and elsewhere.
  • Polity is making a substantial commitment to the translation of Stiegler's work. This book is the second volume of a trilogy and the remaining volume will be published in the course of the following year.