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Anthropos Today

Anthropos Today: Reflections on Modern Equipment

Paul Rabinow
Series: In-Formation
Copyright Date: 2003
Pages: 152
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  • Book Info
    Anthropos Today
    Book Description:

    The discipline of anthropology is, at its best, characterized by turbulence, self-examination, and inventiveness. In recent decades, new thinking and practice within the field has certainly reflected this pattern, as shown for example by numerous fruitful ventures into the "politics and poetics" of anthropology. Surprisingly little attention, however, has been given to the simple insight that anthropology is composed of claims, whether tacit or explicit, about anthropos and about logos--and the myriad ways in which these two Greek nouns have been, might be, and should be, connected.Anthropos Todayrepresents a pathbreaking effort to fill this gap.

    Paul Rabinow brings together years of distinguished work in this magisterial volume that seeks to reinvigorate the human sciences. Specifically, he assembles a set of conceptual tools--"modern equipment"--to assess how intellectual work is currently conducted and how it might change.

    Anthropos Todaycrystallizes Rabinow's previous ethnographic inquiries into the production of truth about life in the world of biotechnology and genome mapping (and his invention of new ways of practicing this pursuit), and his findings on how new practices of life, labor, and language have emerged and been institutionalized. Here, Rabinow steps back from empirical research in order to reflect on the conceptual and ethical resources available today to conduct such inquiries.

    Drawing richly on Foucault and many other thinkers including Weber and Dewey, Rabinow concludes that a "contingent practice" must be developed that focuses on "events of problematization." Brilliantly synthesizing insights from American, French, and German traditions, he offers a lucid, deeply learned, original discussion of how one might best think about anthropos today.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-2590-5
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Introduction Ethos, Logos, and Pathos
    (pp. 1-12)

    This book is proposed as a meditation on Michel Foucault’s claim that “equipment is the medium of transformation of logos into ethos.” A good deal of work is required, however, to grasp what such a claim might mean. The difficulty in part lies in the fact that the terms “equipment” and “meditation” are used in a distinctive technical sense. Furthermore, why one would want to transform “logos” into “ethos” equally requires explanation. Hence the reader is alerted that reading this book will require a certain patience. Additionally, and unexpectedly, the book addresses the reader as a friend. Initially this appellation...

  5. Chapter 1 Midst Anthropology’s Problems
    (pp. 13-30)

    Michel Foucault, inThe Order of Things(1966), identified three arenas of discourse that in their unstable and incomplete coalescence at the end of the classical age constituted theobjectcalled “Man,”l’homme. This figure emerges at the intersection of three domains—life, labor, and language—unstably unified around, and constituting, a would-be sovereignsubject. The doubling of a transcendental subject and an empirical object and their dynamic and unstable relations defined the form of this being. In 1966, Foucault held an epochal view of Man and of modernity. In his conclusion, Foucault intimated the imminent coming of a new...

  6. Chapter 2 Method
    (pp. 31-43)

    Max Weber’s classic essay “Objectivity in Social Science and Social Policy” has received much critical attention in the Weber literature, as it is one of his few sustained statements about conceptual and methodological issues. It was drafted as Weber was writing the first version ofThe Protestant Ethic, after recovering, in the winter of 1902, from one of his severe breakdowns, which had lasted four years. The critical literature generally ignores the fact that the essay was in part collectively written and was intended as a broad policy statement. In the summer of 1903, Werner Sombart, Edgar Jaffé, and Max...

  7. Chapter 3 Object
    (pp. 44-56)

    All of the explicit uses of the concept ofproblématisationare found late in Foucault’s work. It first appears inDiscipline and Punish, and this appearance is, as the saying goes, no accident.¹ It is integrally related to Foucault’s changing understanding of thinking. In 1969 he was nominated for appointment to the Collège de France and as part of the standard selection process was obliged to present a research project and to propose a name for the chair he would occupy. Foucault named his chair “History of Systems of Thought.”² By the mid-1970s, at the latest, Foucault had abandoned the...

  8. Chapter 4 Mode
    (pp. 57-75)

    How does the future appear today? What form does it take? And what attitude toward that form can and should one adopt? Reinhardt Koselleck’sFutures Pastis devoted to an inquiry into what clumsily could be called the European historical semantics of narratives of temporality.¹ The essays in the book provide essential background for situating a temporal mode of our modernity. Koselleck’s erudition, like that of his contemporary, Hans Blumenberg, is focused on the history of discursive figures and concepts. Koselleck is the founder of a method and school devoted to the “history of concepts,”Begriffesgeschichte. Hence we should not...

  9. Chapter 5 Form
    (pp. 76-90)

    The anthropology that concerns me is one that is practically and essentially mediated by a form of actual experience. There have been different names given to the practice that grounds anthropology in empirical work. The names from the past—fieldwork, participant observation—are no longer adequate to the practice I am seeking to conceptualize. Regardless of how one might best characterize this practice (a topic to which I return below), it eventually passes through one or another form of figuration, especially writing. The traditional name for that practice of figuration is ethnography, but that term is inadequate and misleading, at...

  10. Chapter 6 Discontents and Consolations
    (pp. 91-106)

    During the course of his essay Sloterdijk asks what seem to me to be two rather different questions, each addressed to a particular kind of problem. At one point Sloterdijk asks whether there is still a “dignity of the human being which merits expression in philosophic reflection.”¹ However, earlier in his text, Sloterdijk had asked a rather different question, a question that does not, it seems to me, presuppose the form of possible answers: What form could be available through which humans could become humans by overcoming their brutal and bestial impulses? That question, Sloterdijk observes, “implies nothing less than...

  11. Chapter 7 Demons and Durcharbeiten
    (pp. 107-121)

    After a seminar in Heidelberg in December 2001 at which I had presented a version of the previous chapter, my gracious host, Halldór Stefansson, asked me why the part of the paper that dealt with discontents and consolations had stopped in the past.¹ What aboutourdiscontents and consolations? The question deserves an answer, although providing one is not easy. Immediately upon hearing the query, I realized that I had framed the paper as a foreshortened version of a “history of the present” in which, quite consistently, one does not arrive at an analysis of the present per se. Rather...

  12. Conclusion From Progress to Motion
    (pp. 122-136)

    At the end of the last book he was to publish before his untimely death in January 2002,Science de la science et réflexivité, Pierre Bourdieu invokes Leibniz’s concept of God as the space in which all the partial perspectives of finite beings come together, the “géométral de toutes les perspectives.”¹ Not only do these partial perspectives come together in a common space but they are reconciled with each other. From the absolute “point of view” of which only God is capable, the world appears as a unified and unitary spectacle. Leibniz’s God is this “view without a point of...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 137-148)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 149-152)
  15. Index of Selected Names
    (pp. 153-154)
  16. Index of Concepts
    (pp. 155-160)
  17. Baack Matter
    (pp. 161-161)