The Ontological Turn

An Anthropological Exposition

The Ontological Turn

This book provides the first systematic presentation of anthropology's 'ontological turn', placing it in the landscape of contemporary social theory.

Fostering the Ontological Turn

Gustav Bergmann (1906-1987)

Fostering the Ontological Turn

Gustav Bergmann (1906-1987) was, arguably, one of the greatest ontologists of the twentieth century. In 2006 and 2007, after a period of relative neglect, international conferences devoted solely to Bergmann's work were held at the University of Iowa in the USA, Université de Provence in France, and Università degli Studi di Roma Tre in Italy. The fifteen papers collected in this volume were presented at the third of these conferences, in Rome, and are here divided into three sections: "Categories of a realistic ontology", "World, mind, and relations", "Metaphysics of space and time".

Diffractive Ethnography

Social Sciences and the Ontological Turn

Diffractive Ethnography

Across intellectual disciplines, the ontological turn is restructuring how we think about our relationships with the natural world. Influenced by the seemingly disparate realms of indigenous philosophy and quantum physics, the turn invites us to think about intra-actions and assemblages of human and nonhuman entities. This raises epistemological questions about how we know about the world, and spotlights some of the problems with how we currently do conventional social science research. Diffractive Ethnography invites social scientists to consider alternate methodologies that account for the complexity of human behavior situated in larger environmental contexts. For both novice and experienced researchers, this thought-provoking book opens new ways of thinking about methodology and raises questions about the ethical and justice orientations of our work.

Ontological Politics in a Disposable World

The New Mastery of Nature

Ontological Politics in a Disposable World

This book explores the intertwining of politics and ontology, shedding light on the ways in which, as our ability to investigate, regulate, appropriate, ‘enhance’ and destroy material reality have developed, so new social scientific accounts of nature and our relationship with it have emerged, together with new forms of power. Engaging with cutting-edge social theory and elaborating on the thought of Foucault, Heidegger, Adorno and Agamben, the author demonstrates that the convergence of ontology with politics is not simply an intellectual endeavour of growing import, but also a governmental practice which builds upon neoliberal programmes, the renewed accumulation of capital and the development of technosciences in areas such as climate change, geoengineering and biotechnology.

A Time for Critique

A Time for Critique

In a world of political upheaval, rising inequality, catastrophic climate change, and widespread doubt of even the most authoritative sources of information, is there a place for critique? This book calls for a systematic reappraisal of critical thinking—its assumptions, its practices, its genealogy, its predicament—following the principle that critique can only start with self-critique. In A Time for Critique, Didier Fassin, Bernard E. Harcourt, and a group of eminent political theorists, anthropologists, sociologists, philosophers, and literary and legal scholars reflect on the multiplying contexts and forms of critical discourse and on the social actors and social movements engaged in them. How can one maintain sufficient distance from the eventful present without doing it an injustice? How can one address contemporary issues without repudiating the intellectual legacies of the past? How can one avoid the disconnection between theory and action? How can critique be both public and collective? These provocative questions are addressed by revisiting the works of Foucault and Arendt, Said and Césaire, Benjamin and Du Bois, but they are also given substance through on-the-ground case studies that treat subaltern criticism in Palestine, emancipatory mobilizations in Syria, the antitorture campaigns of Sri Lankan activists, and the abolitionism of the African American critical resistance and undercommons movements in the United States. Examining lucidly the present challenges of critique, A Time for Critique shows how its theoretical reassessment and its emerging forms can illuminate the imaginative modalities to rejuvenate critical praxis.

The Ontological Foundation of Ethics, Politics, and Law

The Ontological Foundation of Ethics, Politics, and Law

In this revised edition, Belfiore adds new concepts and discusses the views of additional thinkers. He gives an ontological foundation to ethics, politics, and law and shows how his thought can reinterpret the views of other philosophers regarding these topics.

The Ontology of Time

Being and Time in the Philosophies of Aristotle, Husserl and Heidegger

The Ontology of Time

To understand the role of time within the scope of 20th century ontology, after the fundamental works of E. Husserl, M. Heidegger, P. Ricoeur, and E. Levinas, means to develop simultaneously the ontology of time. My aim is to demonstrate that in a definite sense the postmodern onto-logy is chrono-logy. The argument proceeds (and this constitutes its essential novelty) within the `multidimensional space' involving not only the synchronic stratum of current conceptuality in its internal logical relationships, but also the diachronic axis of conceptual genesis. I apply different strategies of analysis in order to emphasize that the concept of the human Self, the concept of being, and the concept of time are inseparably linked with one another. To this triad I add one more link of a theological nature, viz. the relationship between God and the human mind as it has been developed in Orthodox apophatic theology and during the Scholastic controversies concerning the problem of visio Dei.

Sustaining Affirmation

The Strengths of Weak Ontology in Political Theory

Sustaining Affirmation

In light of many recent critiques of Western modernity and its conceptual foundations, the problem of adequately justifying our most basic moral and political values looms large. Without recourse to traditional ontological or metaphysical foundations, how can one affirm--or sustain--a commitment to fundamentals? The answer, according to Stephen White, lies in a turn to "weak" ontology, an approach that allows for ultimate commitments but at the same time acknowledges their historical, contestable character. This turn, White suggests, is already underway. His book traces its emergence in a variety of quarters in political thought today and offers a clear and compelling account of what this might mean for our late modern self-understanding. As he elaborates the idea of weak ontology and the broad criteria behind it, White shows how these are already at work in the thought of contemporary writers of seemingly very different perspectives: George Kateb, Judith Butler, Charles Taylor, and William Connolly. Among these thinkers, often thought to be at odds, he exposes the commonalities that emerge around the idea of weak ontology. In its identification of a critical turn in political theory, and its nuanced explanation of that turn, his book both demonstrates and underscores the strengths of weak ontology.

Routledge Handbook of Body Studies

Routledge Handbook of Body Studies

In the last three decades, the human body has gained increasing prominence in contemporary political debates, and it has become a central topic of modern social sciences and humanities. Modern technologies – such as organ transplants, stem-cell research, nanotechnology, cosmetic surgery and cryonics – have changed how we think about the body. In this collection of thirty original essays by leading figures in the field, these issues are explored across a number of theoretical and disciplinary perspectives, including pragmatism, feminism, queer theory, post-modernism, post-humanism, cultural sociology, philosophy and anthropology. A wide range of case studies, which include cosmetics, diet, organ transplants, racial bodies, masculinity and sexuality, eating disorders, religion and the sacred body, and disability, are used to appraise these different perspectives. In addition, this Handbook explores various epistemological approaches to the basic question: what is a body? It also offers a strongly themed range of chapters on empirical topics that are organized around religion, medicine, gender, technology and consumption. It also contributes to the debate over the globalization of the body: how have military technology, modern medicine, sport and consumption led to this contemporary obsession with matters corporeal? The Handbook’s clear, direct style will appeal to a wide undergraduate audience in the social sciences, particularly for those studying medical sociology, gender studies, sports studies, disability studies, social gerontology, or the sociology of religion. It will serve to consolidate the new field of body studies.

Social Ontology and Modern Economics

Social Ontology and Modern Economics

Economists increasingly recognise that engagement with social ontology – the study of the basic subject matter and constitution of social reality - can facilitate more relevant analysis. This growing recognition amongst economists of the importance of social ontology is due very considerably to the work of members of the Cambridge Social Ontology Group. This volume brings together important papers by members of this group, some previously unpublished, in a collection that reveals the breadth and vitality of this Cambridge project. It provides a brilliant introduction to the central themes explored, perspectives sustained, insights achieved and how the project is moving forward. An initial set of papers examine how ontology is understood and justified within this Cambridge project and consider how it compares with prominent historical and contemporary alternatives. The majority of the included papers involve social ontological analysis being put to work directly in underlabouring for specific types of development in economics. The papers are grouped according to their contribution to clarifying and developing (i) various competing traditions and projects of modern economics, (ii) history of thought contributions, (iii) methodological concerns, (iv) ethics and (v) conceptions of particular aspects of social reality, including money, gender, technology and institutions. Background to and a brief history of the Cambridge group is provided in the Introduction. Social Ontology and Modern Economics will be of interest not only to economists but also philosophers of social science, social theorists and those eager to explore the nature of gender, social institutions and technology.