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In the World Interior of Capital: Towards a Philosophical Theory of Globalization


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In the World Interior of Capital: Towards a Philosophical Theory of Globalization

Peter Sloterdijk

ISBN: 978-0-745-64768-5 October 2013 Polity 280 Pages


Displaying the distinctive combination of narration and philosophy for which he is well known, this new book by Peter Sloterdijk develops a radically new account of globalization at the beginning of the twenty-first century. The author takes seriously the historical and philosophical consequences of the notion of the earth as a globe, arriving at the thesis that what is praised or decried as globalization is actually the end phase in a process that began with the first circumnavigation of the earth Ð and that one can already discern elements of a new era beyond globalization. 

In the end phase of globalization, the world system completed its development and, as a capitalist system, came to determine all conditions of life. Sloterdijk takes the Crystal Palace in London, the site of the first world exhibition in 1851, as the most expressive metaphor for this situation. The palace demonstrates the inevitable exclusivity of globalization as the construction of a comfort structure Ð that is, the establishment and expansion of a world interior whose boundaries are invisible, yet virtually insurmountable from without, and which is inhabited by one and a half billion winners of globalization; three times this number are left standing outside the door.

First Part On the Emergence of the World System 1

1 Of Grand Narratives 3

2 The Wandering Star 15

3 Return to Earth 21

4 Globe Time, World Picture Time 27

5 Turn from the East, Entrance into the Homogeneous Space 33

6 Jules Verne and Hegel 36

7 Waterworld: On the Change of the Central Element in the Modern Age 40

8 Fortuna, or: The Metaphysics of Chance 47

9 Risk-Taking 50

10 Delusion and Time: On Capitalism and Telepathy 53

11 The Invention of Subjectivity – Primary Disinhibition and Its Advisers 57

12 Irreflexive Energies: The Ontology of the Headstart 66

13 Nautical Ecstasies 77

14 ‘Corporate Identity’ on the High Seas, Parting of Minds 81

15 The Basic Movement: Money Returns 84

16 Between Justifications and Assurances: On Terran and Maritime Thought 86

17 Expedition and Truth 94

18 The Signs of the Explorers: On Cartography and Imperial Name Magic 98

19 The Pure Outside 109

20 Theory of the Pirate: The White Terror 112

21 The Modern Age and the New Land Syndrome 116

Americanology 1

22 The Five Canopies of Globalization: Aspects of European Space Exportation 120

23 The Poetics of the Ship’s Hold 122

24 Onboard Clerics: The Religious Network 124

25 The Book of Vice-Kings 128

26 The Library of Globalization 131

27 The Translators 134

Second Part The Grand Interior 137

28 Synchronous World 139

29 The Second Ecumene 143

30 The Immunological Transformation: On the Way to Thin-Walled ‘Societies’ 149

31 Believing and Knowing: In hoc signo (sc. globi) vinces 155

32 Post-History 165

33 The Crystal Palace 169

34 The Dense World and Secondary Disinhibition: Terrorism as the Romanticism of the Pure Attack 177

35 Twilight of the Perpetrators and the Ethics of Responsibility: The Cybernetic Erinyes 187

36 The Capitalist World Interior: Rainer Maria Rilke Almost Meets Adam Smith 193

37 Mutations in the Pampering Space 211

38 Revaluation of All Values: The Principle of Abundance 223

39 The Exception: Anatomy of a Temptation 233

Americanology 2

40 The Uncompressible, or: The Rediscovery of the Extended 249

41 In Praise of Asymmetry 258

42 The Heavenly and the Earthly Left 263

Notes 265

Index 293

"Confirms Sloterdijk as the thinking European's Slavoj ?i?ek, as restlessly digressive as his Slovenian counterpart, but even more intellectually reckless and better company."
The Guardian

"In the last few years Sloterdijk has moved from a figure of relative obscurity in Anglophone debates to being one of the key thinkers of our time. This wide-ranging, engaging, thoughtful and provocative book illustrates why. An unashamedly grand narrative, it engages with both the philosophical and political complexities of the question of the world. It is once again presented in a very fine translation by Wieland Hoban."
Stuart Elden, Durham University

"Peter Sloterdijk never disappoints when it comes to producing an original point of view. Equally, he never disappoints in the magnitude of his ambitions. In this deeply original and hyper-ambitious book, he presents a history of globalization, no less. In doing so, he resurrects what has become a tired and hackneyed term by reconstituting it as a drama of location but one wherein the notion of location is itself brought into the play as a central element of the plot. And what a play it is, the play of an ever-increasing density of events and an ever-decreasing concentration of purpose which – if we’re not very careful – will produce a 'last orb'. Wonderful stuff which restores our faith in the power of grand narratives."
Nigel Thrift, University of Warwick