Autoaffection: Unconscious Thought in the Age of Teletechnology

Autoaffection: Unconscious Thought in the Age of Teletechnology

Autoaffection: Unconscious Thought in the Age of Teletechnology

Autoaffection: Unconscious Thought in the Age of Teletechnology

Synopsis

In this book, Patricia Ticineto Clough reenergizes critical theory by viewing poststructuralist thought through the lens of "teletechnology", using television as a recurring case study to illuminate the changing relationships between subjectivity, technology, and mass media.

Autoaffection links diverse forms of cultural criticism -- feminist theory, queer theory, film theory, postcolonial theory, Marxist cultural studies and literary criticism, the cultural studies of science and the criticism of ethnographic writing -- to the transformation and expansion of teletechnology in the late twentieth century. These theoretical approaches, Clough suggests, have become the vehicles of unconscious thought in our time.

In individual chapters, Clough juxtaposes the likes of Derridean deconstruction, Deleuzian philosophy, and Lacanian psychoanalysis. She works through the writings of Fredric Jameson, Donna Haraway, Judith Butler, Bruno Latour, Nancy Fraser, Elizabeth Grosz -- to name only a few -- placing all in dialogue with a teletechnological framework. Clough shows how these cultural criticisms have raised questions about the foundation of thought, allowing us to reenvision the relationship of nature and technology, the human and the machine, the virtual and the real, the living and the inert.

Excerpt

In an interview published nearly two decades ago, Michel Foucault announced that much of what he had written—what was part of a body of criticism already known as poststructuralism—would best be understood as putting an end to a certain tradition of thought rather than providing a way for thought to begin anew. It was an arresting comment. True, Foucault had treated an established tradition of thought, what he referred to as the modern western discourse of Man. But his writings, as well as those of the other so-called poststructuralists, had opened to consideration a number of assumptions that up to then had gone without question. in doing so, the poststructuralists had forced invention. Surely a certain intellectual stamina would be required just to remain open to the various cultural criticisms, which, over the last three decades of the twentieth century, became engaged with poststructuralism and invited scholars into disciplines other than their own, even inviting them to explore the policed spaces of silence in and in between the disciplines.

But the excited and exciting debates that poststructuralism provoked, and which for some time have characterized academic and intellectual discourses, seem finally to have calmed. If cultural criticism has been drawn back from invention, Foucault’s comment still haunts, insistently raising the question: have the various cultural criticisms elaborated over the last three decades of the twentieth century made way for thought to begin anew; have they given thought a future? Propelled by this question, the chapters that follow look back over the past three decades in order to trace the future of thought, which, I want to argue, has drawn . . .

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