Idiotism : Capitalism and the Privatisation of Life

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Idiotism examines the condition of society in late capitalism where the market logic of neoliberalism has become the new `common sense', taken as the model for the organisation and management of all aspects of social life. Using the Greek word idios, meaning 'private', Neal Curtis calls this privatisation of the world `idiotism'.Constructing a new vocabulary with which to understand contemporary society, Curtis examines 'idiotism' across the spheres of economics, politics and culture, drawing on the philosophy and political theories of Martin Heidegger, Louis Althusser, Franco Berardi, Jacques Ranciere and Cornelius Castoriadis. Idiotism recasts our conception of the new neoliberal 'common sense', presenting it as not simply a case of false consciousness, but an ontological problem related to our more

Product details

  • Hardback | 184 pages
  • 134.62 x 218.44 x 17.78mm | 362.87g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0745331564
  • 9780745331560

Review quote

Idiotism offers one of the most lucid and acute critiques of neoliberal culture to date. Curtis persuasively identifies privatisation as the constitutive operation of that culture, while crucially drawing our attention to the deep philosophical, political and economic problems and contradictions to which it gives rise. Perhaps most importantly, by making rigorous use of Lyotard and Heidegger to achieve this end and to propose a radically democratic alternative, the book demonstrates the analytical value of philosophers who are too-often dismissed by the orthodox Left, as well as the originality and importance of its author's own project. -- Jeremy Gilbert, Reader in Cultural Studies at the University of East London. The best way to persuade people that "there is no alternative" is to isolate, divide and atomise them. This valuable book offers a systematic and wide-ranging study of the far-reaching privatisation and marketisation of modern life, and counters the ruthless exclusion of meaningful references to the public good. -- Peter Hallward, Professor of Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University, UK. Neal Curtis's book describes how the spread of privatised stupidity, economic fanaticism and the cuts in education are provoking a rise of barbarianism and laying the foundations for a dictatorship of ignorance. -- Franco Berardi, author of The Soul at Work: From Alienation to Autonomy (2009). Neal Curtis boldly confronts the disturbing trap of contemporary democracy: its promises of diversity and plurality are undone by capitalist enclosure. Those brave enough to acknowledge not just capitalism's idiocy but the way it makes idiots of us will be grateful for this provocative, unyielding, and immensely readable book. -- Jodi Dean, Professor of Political Science at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and author of Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies (2009).show more

About Neal Curtis

Neal Curtis is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Film, Television and Media Studies at the University of Auckland. He is the author of War and Social Theory: World, Value, Identity (2006), Against Autonomy: Lyotard, Action and Judgement (2001) and editor of The Pictorial Turn (2010).show more

Table of contents

1. Enclosing the World, or Idiotism 2. The Ideology of Idiotism 3. Idiotism and Economics 4. Idiotism and Politics 5. Idiotism and Culture 6. Opening the World, or Democracy Bibliography Notes Indexshow more

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