A Political Economy of the Senses

Neoliberalism, Reification, Critique

Anita Chari

Columbia University Press

A Political Economy of the Senses

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Pub Date: October 2015

ISBN: 9780231173896

280 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $30.00£25.00

Pub Date: October 2015

ISBN: 9780231173889

280 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $90.00£75.00

Pub Date: October 2015

ISBN: 9780231540384

280 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $29.99£25.00

A Political Economy of the Senses

Neoliberalism, Reification, Critique

Anita Chari

Columbia University Press

Anita Chari revives the concept of reification from Marx and the Frankfurt School to spotlight the resistance to neoliberal capitalism now forming at the level of political economy and at the more sensate, experiential level of subjective transformation. Reading art by Oliver Ressler, Zanny Begg, Claire Fontaine, Jason Lazarus, and Mika Rottenberg, as well as the politics of Occupy Wall Street, Chari identifies practices through which artists and activists have challenged neoliberalism's social and political logics, exposing its inherent tensions and contradictions.

A Political Economy of the Senses represents the rise of a new, dynamic critical theory for the twenty-first century. It offers at once a critique of neoliberalism's inversion of the political, a renewal of the dialectical imagination of the early Frankfurt School, and an aesthetic-based re-materialization of the political subject. Occupy Wall Street emerges in these pages not as a fleeting historical event but as the signifier of a new, open-ended human potential for emancipation to be actively constructed in the social praxis of our time.

John Bellamy Foster, editor of the Monthly Review and author of Marx's Ecology

Neoliberalism is one of the most potent phenomena of our time and one of the most strangely resistant to critique. Anita Chari takes a provocative approach in A Political Economy of the Senses, expanding our palette of critical resources with important insights about aesthetics and reification. This is a timely, creative book about some of the most urgent problems of our day.

Kevin Olson, University of California, Irvine

A Political Economy of the Senses is a brilliantly conceptualized and ambitious project. This captivating work is written with an acute sense of authorship and even a sense of mission. It articulates an experiential critique of capital, which is a noble and much needed intellectual endeavor, striking at the heart of our current predicament. Anita Chari achieves her goal with merciless, yet gracious, intellectual resolve.

Albena Azmanova, University of Kent

Anita Chari understands we are all performers, and the performance of critique needs new vantage points for observing and more sensitivity to embodied critique all around us. Her text aims to deconstruct the theoretical carousel. We are left with important questions: how can we materialize critique? How can we start to recognize this materialization when it is happening right in front of us? Can we all agree there is more to consider before we perform our knowledge? The risk if we don't is our inability to conceive of a transformative moment.

Jason Lazarus, University of South Florida

Recommended.

Choice
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Toward the Materialization of Critique
Part I. Neoliberal Symptoms
1. Neoliberal Symptoms: The Impasse Between Economics and Politics in Contemporary Political Theory
2. Neoliberalism and Normative Ambivalence: Third-Generation Critical Theory and the Fetish of Intersubjectivity
Part II. The Critique of Reification
3. Alienation and Depoliticization: Rejoining Radical Democracy with the Critique of Capitalism
4. Lukács's Turn to a Political Economy of the Senses
5. The Reversibility of Reification: Adorno from the Aesthetic to the Social
Part III. A Political Economy of the Senses
6. Defetishizing Fetishes: Art and the Critique of Capital in Neoliberal Society
7. Occupy Wall Street: Challenging Neoliberal Reification
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Read an excerpt from the introduction:

About the Author

Anita Chari is assistant professor of political science at the University of Oregon. In addition to her work as a critical theorist, she is a creative writer, composer, and musician.