In this episode of AAP, Rachel, Emily, and John tackle a special request from Patreon supporter Alex. We discuss Byung-Chul Han‘s The Burnout Society, positioning the account alongside other contemporary theories of neoliberalism. We interrogate the relationship of the disciplinary society to what Han posits as the achievement society, think through the consequences of his view for democracy, and question the ‘view from nowhere’ in the text. Along the way, we get into his engagements with Hannah Arendt and Friedrich Nietzsche, unpack his use of the terms ‘negativity’ and ‘positivity’ as they relate to violence and power, and tire ourselves out engaging his chapter on tiredness. And we, of course, ask our favorite AAP question – how (if at all) can the argument account for dynamics of race, class, gender, and (neo)colonialism? Plus! A very beautifully vivid dream that harkens back to a recent text discussion on mushrooms.
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In this episode we focus on Neoliberalism as Exception by Aihwa Ong. We begin by discussing the distinction she draws between neoliberalism as exception and exceptions to neoliberalism, looking specifically at the technologies of power that promote the pervasion of market analysis into the details of everyday life. We also explore the ways neoliberalism as a form of governmentality relies upon the non-belonging of postcolonial and developing economies as non-members of a shared moral community, delineating who gets to be a part of neoliberal citizenry – who counts – and who does not through economic criteria. Our discussion then examines Ong’s critique of the idea of bare life in Agamben, her ecological metaphor and concept of baroque ecology, and the category of citizenship. Stay tuned as we get feisty with each other in typical fashion and answer questions pressing to our epoch: an anonymous inquirer with questions about theorists and bath salts as well as Sid, an adorable Canadian with a vital theory dating question.
Requests for texts for us to discuss? Advice questions to submit? Email us at alwaysalreadypodcast AT gmail DOT com. Subscribe on iTunes. Like our Facebook page. Get the mp3 here. RSS feed here. This episode’s music by B.