Jodi Dean: The Communist Horizon (2012)

3 January 2013, dusan

Rising thinker on the resurgence of the communist idea.

In this new title in Verso’s Pocket Communism series, Jodi Dean unshackles the communist ideal from the failures of the Soviet Union. In an age when the malfeasance of international banking has alerted exploited populations the world over to the unsustainability of an economic system predicated on perpetual growth, it is time the left ended its melancholic accommodation with capitalism.

In the new capitalism of networked information technologies, our very ability to communicate is exploited, but revolution is still possible if we organize on the basis of our common and collective desires. Examining the experience of the Occupy movement, Dean argues that such spontaneity can’t develop into a revolution and it needs to constitute itself as a party.

An innovative work of pressing relevance, The Communist Horizon offers nothing less than a manifesto for a new collective politics.

Publisher Verso Books, 2012
Pocket Communism series
ISBN 1844679543, 9781844679546
256 pages

review (Samuel Grove, review31)
interview with the author (New Left Project)
lecture by the author (video, 79 min)

publisher
google books

PDF

Jodi Dean: Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies: Communicative Capitalism and Left Politics (2009)

27 December 2011, dusan

Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies is an impassioned call for the realization of a progressive left politics in the United States. Through an assessment of the ideologies underlying contemporary political culture, Jodi Dean takes the left to task for its capitulations to conservatives and its failure to take responsibility for the extensive neoliberalization implemented during the Clinton presidency. She argues that the left’s ability to develop and defend a collective vision of equality and solidarity has been undermined by the ascendance of “communicative capitalism,” a constellation of consumerism, the privileging of the self over group interests, and the embrace of the language of victimization. As Dean explains, communicative capitalism is enabled and exacerbated by the Web and other networked communications media, which reduce political energies to the registration of opinion and the transmission of feelings. The result is a psychotic politics where certainty displaces credibility and the circulation of intense feeling trumps the exchange of reason.

Dean’s critique ranges from her argument that the term democracy has become a meaningless cipher invoked by the left and right alike to an analysis of the fantasy of free trade underlying neoliberalism, and from an examination of new theories of sovereignty advanced by politicians and left academics to a look at the changing meanings of “evil” in the speeches of U.S. presidents since the mid-twentieth century. She emphasizes the futility of a politics enacted by individuals determined not to offend anyone, and she examines questions of truth, knowledge, and power in relation to 9/11 conspiracy theories. Dean insists that any reestablishment of a vital and purposeful left politics will require shedding the mantle of victimization, confronting the marriage of neoliberalism and democracy, and mobilizing different terms to represent political strategies and goals.

Publisher Duke University Press, 2009
ISBN 0822345056, 9780822345053
217 pages

publisher
google books

PDF (updated on 2012-7-29)

Jodi Dean: Blog Theory: Feedback and Capture in the Circuits of Drive (2010)

28 January 2011, dusan

Blog Theory offers a critical theory of contemporary media. Furthering her account of communicative capitalism, Jodi Dean explores the ways new media practices like blogging and texting capture their users in intensive networks of enjoyment, production, and surveillance. Her wide-ranging and theoretically rich analysis extends from her personal experiences as a blogger, through media histories, to newly emerging social network platforms and applications.

Set against the background of the economic crisis wrought by neoliberalism, the book engages with recent work in contemporary media theory as well as with thinkers such as Giorgio Agamben, Jean Baudrillard, Guy Debord, Jacques Lacan, and Slavoj Zizek. Through these engagements, Dean defends the provocative thesis that reflexivity in complex networks is best understood via the psychoanalytic notion of the drives. She contends, moreover, that reading networks in terms of the drives enables us to grasp their real, human dimension, that is, the feelings and affects that embed us in the system.

In remarkably clear and lucid prose, Dean links seemingly trivial and transitory updates from the new mass culture of the internet to more fundamental changes in subjectivity and politics. Everyday communicative exchanges–from blog posts to text messages–have widespread effects, effects that not only undermine capacities for democracy but also entrap us in circuits of domination.”

Publisher Polity, 2010
ISBN 0745649696, 9780745649696
140 pages

Reviews: Jussi Parikka (Leonardo, 2010), Julia Lupton (LA Review of Books, 2012), Matthew Flisfeder (Reviews in Cultural Theory, 2012), McKenzie Wark (Public Seminar, 2015).

Publisher

PDF (updated on 2012-7-29)