The ASCP community is prolific in producing work that encompasses a variety of areas of scholarship in Continental Philosophy. The following book descriptions provide some recent examples of this work published in 2021.
Alda Balthrop-Lewis, Thoreau's Religion: Walden Woods, Social Justice, and the Politics of Asceticism (CUP: 2021)
Thoreau's Religion presents a ground-breaking interpretation of Henry David Thoreau's most famous book, Walden. Rather than treating Walden Woods as a lonely wilderness, Balthrop-Lewis demonstrates that Thoreau's ascetic life was a form of religious practice dedicated to cultivating a just, multispecies community. The book makes an important contribution to scholarship in religious studies, political theory, English, environmental studies, and critical theory by offering the first sustained reading of Thoreau's religiously motivated politics. In Balthrop-Lewis's vision, practices of renunciation like Thoreau's can contribute to the reformation of social and political life. In this, the book transforms Thoreau's image, making him a vital source for a world beset by inequality and climate change. Balthrop-Lewis argues for an environmental politics in which ecological flourishing is impossible without economic and social justice.
Daniel Brennan, Surfing and the Philosophy of Sport, (Rowman & Littlefield: 2021)
Surfing and the Philosophy of Sport uses the insights gained through an analysis of the sport of surfing to explore key questions and discourses within the philosophy of sport. As surfing has been practiced dynamically, since its beginnings as a traditional Polynesian pursuit to its current status as a counter-culture lifestyle and also a highly professionalized and commercialized sport that will be included in the Olympic Games, it presents a unique phenomenon from which to reconsider questions about the nature of sport and its role in a flourishing life and society. Daniel Brennan examines foundational issues about defining sport, sport's role in conceptualizing the good life, the aesthetic nature of sport, the place of technology in sport, the principles of Olympism and surfing’s embodiment of them, and issues of institutionalized sexism in sport and the effect that might have on athletic performance.
Marguerite La Caze & Ted Nannicelli (eds.) Truth in Visual Media: Aesthetics, Ethics and Politics (EUP: 2021)
This book investigates the interrelations between aesthetics, ethics and politics in a variety of visual media forms, ranging across art installations, film and television, interactive documentaries, painting, photography, social media and videogames. An international mix of emerging and established authors, with interdisciplinary expertise, explores how different ethical questions, political implications and aesthetic pleasures arise and shape one another in distinct visual media.
Vincent Le and Audrey Schmidt (eds.), SPLM: Society for the Propagation of Libidinal Materialism (2021)
From the outer demons that brought you the cult of Dionysus, the Brethren of the Free Spirit, Acéphale and the CCRU comes SPLM, Society for the Propagation of Libidinal Materialism. This book gathers a gourmet selection of the secret society’s leaked X-files on libidinal materialist paraphenomena. Its pages bear witness to NEET redeemers, doomsday communists, messianic nihilists, Disney accelerationists, catacomb explorers, Faustian ravers, acne-ridden teen Nietzscheans, psychonauts k-holing through lockdown, hijacked surveillance devices spiralling out of control and archaeologists of an enigmatic cult from the future. This book is for anyone—and no-one as Nietzsche might add—who finds themselves perversely interested in studying, tasting and propagating what libidinal matter can do, be they already fanatically devoted or perhaps merely tempted.
John Mcintyre, The Limits of Scientific Reason: Habermas, Foucault, and Science as a Social Institution (Rowman & Littlefield: 2021)
Critically and comprehensively examining the works of Habermas and Foucault, two giants of 20th century continental philosophy, this book illuminates the effects of scientific reason as it migrates from its specialized institutions into society. It explores how science permeates shared human consciousness, to produce effects that ripple through the entire social body to restructure relations between persons, discourses, institutions, and power in ways which we are barely conscious of. The book shows how science, through its entwinement with power, discourses, and practices, presents certain social arrangements as natural and certain courses of action as beyond question. By arguing for a non-reductive, liberal scientific naturalism that sees science as one form of rationality amongst others, it opens possibilities for thought and action beyond scientific knowledge.
Examining the shifting relations between science and other social institutions, discourses and power, the book addresses the narrowing of freedom by the instrumental modes of thinking that accompany scientific and technological change. McIntyre simultaneously raises the question of the good life and the question of a philosophical critique both directed towards science and, at the same time, shaped by, and responsive to it. By analysing the works of Foucault and Habermas in terms of their social, political, and historical contexts it reveals the two thinkers as linked by a commitment to the Enlightenment tradition and its emancipatory telos. The significant differences between the two are seen to result from Foucault’s radicalization of this tradition, a radicalization which is, at the same time, implicit within the Enlightenment project itself.
Steven Ogden, Violence, Entitlement, and Politics: A Theology on Transforming the Subject (Routledge: 2021)
This is an exercise in political theology, exploring gender-based violence by focusing on entitlement. Entitlement is a widely used term, which is generally undertheorized. So, Ogden uses Foucault’s concept of the dispositif as a way of reading the complexities of familial and military violence. Entitlement then is interpreted as a predominantly masculine gender pattern, predisposing subjects towards coercive control and violence.
In various settings, perpetrators feel their identity is under threat. Specifically, the threat of losing status, or regaining lost status, becomes paramount. Entitlement then is a catalyst and a warrant for coercive control and violence. There are other factors (e.g., insecure attachment), but entitlement has a galvanizing function. It is an expression of proprietorial thinking, objectifying others, which is evident in the persistent use of first-person possessive pronouns (e.g., my house, my call).
Therapeutic success with perpetrators of violence, however, is generally partial and short term. So, Ogden turns his attention to cultural change, reflecting on so-called strongman politics, where political rationalities foster proprietorial thinking and entitlement gender patterns. Subsequently, a political theology is required to generate counter-discourses and practices. This is theology as resistance. Foucault is the main conversation partner, but the book also calls on Étienne Balibar, Judith Butler, Lynne Huffer, Bonnie Mann, and Mark C Taylor.
Louise Richardson-Self, Hate Speech Against Women Online: Concepts and Countermeasures (Rowman & Littlefield: 2021)
Why are women so frequently targeted with hate speech online and what can we do about it? Psychological explanations for the problem of woman-hating overlook important features of our social world that encourage latent feelings of hostility toward women, even despite our consciously-held ideals of equality. Louise Richardson-Self investigates the woman-hostile norms of the English-speaking internet, the ‘rules’ of engagement in these social spaces, and the narratives we tell ourselves about who gets to inhabit such spaces. It examines the dominant imaginings (images, impressions, stereotypes, and ideas) of women that are shared in acts of hate speech, highlighting their ‘emotional stickiness’. But offering strategies through which we may reimagine our norms of online engagement, the stories that justify those norms, and the logic that makes sense of it all, this book shows how we can create alternative visions of what it means to take up online space as a woman and to ensure that women are seen as entitled to be there. By exploring aspects of ‘social imaginaries’ theory and applying it to the problem of hate speech against women online, this book illuminates why woman-hating has become such a prominent feature of this environment and how we can make these spaces safer for women.
Tim Themi, Eroticizing Aesthetics: In the Real with Bataille and Lacan (Rowman & Littlefield: 2021)
Bringing together Bataille with Lacan and Nietzsche, Tim Themi examines the role of aesthetics implicit in each and how this invokes an erotic process celebrating the real of what is usually excluded from articulation. Bataille came to deem eroticism as the standpoint from which to grasp humanity as a whole, based on his understanding of our transition to humanity being founded on a series of taboos placed on inner animality. An erotic outlet for the latter was historically the aesthetic dimensions of our religions, but Bataille’s view of how this was gradually diminished has much in keeping with Nietzsche’s critique of Christian-Platonic dualism and Lacan’s of the desexualised Good of Western metaphysics. Building from these often surprising proximities, Themi closely examines Bataille’s many interventions into the history of aesthetics — from his confrontations with Breton’s surrealism to his own novels and encounter with the animal cave paintings of Lascaux — radically re-illuminating the corollary phenomena of Dionysos in Nietzsche’s philosophy and the “jouissance [enjoyment] of transgression” in the psychoanalysis of Lacan. A new ethical criterion for aesthetic works and creations on this basis becomes possible.