The Age of Precarity: Endless Crisis as an Art of Government | Left Wing Books

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The Age of Precarity: Endless Crisis as an Art of Government

Author: 
Format: 
Size: 
160 pages
ISBN: 
9781788733809
Publisher: 
Year: 
2021
Price:
$33.95 (CAD)

When Crisis Becomes the Norm: What Can We Do to Demand Change?

Crisis dominates the present historical moment. The economy is in crisis, politics in both its past and present forms is in crisis and our own individual lives are in crisis, made vulnerable by the fluctuations of the labor market and by the undoing of social and political ties we inherited from modernity. Yet, traditional views of crises as just temporary setbacks do not seem to hold any longer; this crisis seems permanent, with no way out and no alternatives on the horizon.

Reconstructing a political genealogy of the term from the Greek world to today's neoliberalism, this book demonstrates that crisis, understood as a "choice" between revolution and conservation, is a peculiarity of the modern era that does not apply to the present day. However, since its origin, the trope of crisis has proven to be one of the most effective instruments of social discipline and administration. The analytical trajectory followed by this book - which spans from Plato to Hayek, from the juridical and medical science of antiquity to the current technocracy, passing through the "weapons of criticism" of Marx and Gramsci - finally identifies, following Benjamin and Foucault, precariousness as the "form of life" that characterizes crisis understood as an art of government. But we still need to answer the question: "How can we recreate the possibility of political alternatives?"

 

What People Are Saying

“Dario Gentili’s book on crisis is one of the first genealogies of a concept that nowadays is crucial. In this way, through the rigorous analysis of the term, he captures an uncharted aspect of our contemporary condition.” Roberto Esposito

“Dario Gentili’s superb The Age of Precarity takes a concept ubiquitous in contemporary left political and social theory, precarity, and endows it with new life and explanatory power. Deftly drawing on thinkers from Plato to Benjamin, Gramsci to Foucault, Schmitt to Hayek, Gentili diagnoses a present where crisis generates an ‘art of government’ of precarious life, and calls against a politics as a fight-to-the-death between forms of life, for a new politics of shared forms of life through which power is expressed in common.” Matteo Mandarini, Queen Mary University of London

“Dario Gentili’s book on crisis is one of the first genealogies of a concept that nowadays is crucial. Through the rigorous analysis of the term, he captures an uncharted aspect of our contemporary condition.” Roberto Esposito, author of Communitas

“There is a crisis, there is no alternative. This is the rhetorical strategy through which governments across the world justify and legitimize unpopular political and economic decisions in this age, the age of precarity. Dario Gentili’s illuminating genealogical reconstruction of the dispositive of crisis is an indispensable tool helping us to understand and contrast the very specific art of government implicit in today’s globally predominant neoliberal policies.” Elettra Stimilli, author of Debt and Guilt

“Dario Gentili’s radical and rigorous work offers a magisterial analysis of the figure of crisis, which so much seems to define our current socio-political situation. By tracing an intellectual counter-history of this concept and proposing a novel theorization of it as an art of government, The Age of Precarity stands out as a benchmark text across contemporary debates in critical thought and one that we need to understand present-day practices of administration under neoliberal governance.” Andrea Mura, Goldsmiths, University of London

“Dario Gentili has, through an analysis of the language of crisis, shown how its inscription into the discourse of contemporary politics has diminished its force. The language of crisis has been legitimized. In its place he proposes a rethinking of conflict. The political is then recast in terms of life. Freed of the debilitating effect of the equation of life with the biological Gentile proposes a genuine biopolitics. The point of departure is the recovery of that which has been rendered precarious in the name of a new form of commonality.” Andrew Benjamin, University of Technology, Sydney