Open Access (free)
Tim Di Muzio and Richard H. Robbins

1 Toward a Stark Utopia Our thesis is that the idea of a self-adjusting market implied a stark utopia. Such an institution could not exist for any length of time without annihilating the human and natural substance of society; it would have physically destroyed man and transformed his surroundings into a wilderness. Inevitably, society took measures to protect itself, but whatever measures it took impaired the self-regulation of the market, disorganized industrial life, and thus endangered society in yet another way. It was this dilemma which forced the

in Debt as Power
Open Access (free)
Graeme Kirkpatrick

The final chapter looks more closely at Feenberg’s ‘instrumentalisation theory’, in which he defines technology in terms of two moments: a primary instrumentalisation that forces objects out of their natural settings to foreground their useful properties, and a secondary one that uses symbolisation processes to facilitate their cultural incorporation, making it possible for them to be used. The interaction of these two dimensions varies between historical civilisations, so that capitalist industrialism, for example, narrows secondary instrumentalisation around the singular value of efficiency, while other cultures decorate their tools and associate them with social functions that may be associated with individual identities and more or less esteemed. Feenberg presents this distinction as a framework for envisaging how technology might be transformed in the future; to set out what we might think of as the ‘historical essence’ of technology. Drawing on the argument of previous chapters, the chapter concludes by suggesting that, while he takes a significant step towards accommodating utopian projection within Marxian theory of technology, Feenberg could be more ambitious in thinking through some of the ramifications of the alternative ‘concretisations’ implied by this theory. The idea of technologically authorised socialism is advanced as a way to start addressing this.

in Technical politics
Editor’s Introduction
Juliano Fiori

distortions. And as liberal hopes for a pacific and technocratic utopia have taken leave of empirical reality, the assumption of progress has been sustained primarily through myth-making and cognitive gymnastics. Fake news is not the antithesis of liberal truth but its progeny. Nonetheless, the notion of liberal order is useful to the extent that it signals the role of liberal ideas and politics in the consolidation of Western hegemony and, more specifically, the expansion of American power. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms, set out in 1941

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
José Luís Fiori

would face ‘entropic homogenisation’. Contrary to the propositions of hegemonic stability theory, it is impossible for the leading power to stabilise the system. Competing and warring to expand, the hegemon often must destroy the very rules and institutions it authored, usually after a great military victory. As such, the system should be thought of as a ‘universe in expansion’, in which there never will be ‘perpetual peace’, nor ‘hegemonic utopia’. It is a universe that requires war and crisis to order and ‘stabilise’ – always in a transitory

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Humanitarianism in a Post-Liberal World Order
Stephen Hopgood

: Routledge ). Moyn , S. ( 2010 ), The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History ( Cambridge, MA : Harvard-Belknap ). Murakawa , N. ( 2014 ), The First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison America ( Oxford : Oxford University Press ). Pinker , S. ( 2012 ), The Better Angels of Our Nature: A History of Violence and Humanity ( London : Penguin Books ). Rieff , D. ( 2002 ), A Bed for the Night: Humanitarianism in Crisis ( New York : Vintage ). Robinson , W. I. ( 1996 ), Promoting

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Andrew Feenberg’s critical theory of technology

This is the first monograph devoted to the work of one of the foremost contemporary advocates of contemporary critical theory, Andrew Feenberg. It focuses on Feenberg’s central concept, technical politics, and explores his suggestion that democratising technology design is key to a strategic understanding of the process of civilisational change. In this way, it presents Feenberg’s intervention as the necessary bridge between various species of critical constructivism and wider visions of the kind of change that are urgently needed to move human society onto a more sustainable footing. The book describes the development of Feenberg’s thought out of the tradition of Marx and Marcuse, and presents critical analyses of his main ideas: the theory of formal bias, technology’s ambivalence, progressive rationalisation, and the theory of primary and secondary instrumentalisation. Technical politics identifies a limitation of Feenberg’s work associated with his attachment to critique, as the opposite pole to a negative kind of rationality (instrumentalism). It concludes by offering a utopian corrective to the theory that can provide a fuller account of the process of willed technological transformation and of the author’s own idea of a technologically authorised socialism.

Paul Salzman

28 Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis 2 Narrative contexts for Bacon’s New Atlantis PAUL SALZMAN When Bacon wrote the New Atlantis, he clearly had More’s Utopia in mind as a model, offering a small homage to it in a comment made by the ‘good Jew’: ‘I have read in a book of one of your men, of a Feigned Commonwealth, where the married couple are permitted, before they contract, to see one another naked’.1 With great acuity, Susan Bruce has pointed out the significance of the family, and of desire, as a link between the two utopias.2 Bruce argues that in Bacon

in Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis
Open Access (free)

This book describes the explosion of debt across the global economy and related requirement of political leaders to pursue exponential growth to meet the demands of creditors and investors. It presents a historical account of the modern origins of capitalist debt by looking at how commercial money is produced as debt in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. The book identifies the ways in which the control, production, and distribution of money, as interest-bearing debt, are used to discipline populations. It focuses on the histories of the development of the Bank of England and the establishment of permanent national debt with the intensification and expansion of debt, as a "technology of power", under colonialism in a global context. The book investigates the modern origins of debt as a technology of power by focusing on war, the creation of the "national" debt, and the capitalization of the organized force of the state. It addresses the consequences of modern regimes of debt and puts forward proposals of what needs to be done, politically, to reverse the problems generated by debt-based economies. The book utilizes the term "intensification" rather than spread or proliferation to think about both the amplification and spatial expansion of debt as a technology of power during the era of European colonialism and resistance. Finally, it also presents a convincing case for the 99" to use the power of debt to challenge present inequalities and outlines a platform for action suggesting possible alternatives.

Open Access (free)
The hygienic utopia in Jules Verne, Camille Flammarion, and William Morris
Manon Mathias

Schulman argues that docteur Sarrasin in Bégum is ‘propelled by fear of microbial contamination’ in his preoccupation with health and hygiene, 35 while historian Georges Vigarello refers to Verne's text as ‘the first Utopia dominated by the war against the microbe’. 36 However, there are no references to microbes in Bégum , and neither Schulman nor Vigarello go any further in examining the medical context of the novel or in explaining what leads them to make these

in Progress and pathology
Open Access (free)
Budd L. Hall, Edward T. Jackson, Rajesh Tandon, Jean-Marc Fontan and Nirmala Lall

larger effort to understand and use knowledge and its construction and co-construction in ways that are authentically linked to the struggles of everyday people for a better world. The global neo-liberal economic agenda that has produced a kind of market utopia has been supported by a canon of western, largely male, elite knowledge systems and practices. As the failure of the global market to close the gaps between the rich and poor or provide a platform for more democratic citizen engagement becomes clearer every day, we are thinking of ways to decolonize knowledge

in Knowledge, democracy and action