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Possel, M.

Author: Michiel Possel
Graduation Year: 2011 (Research Master)
Department: Practical Philosophy
Title: Taking part and taking risks: An effort to combine self-creation with a commitment to others
Self-creation and solidarity do not have to be conflicting interests (as though they necessarily entail opposed attitudes like egoism and altruism); rather they can form collaborative links and vital connections. In fact, they can be re-described as differing posthuman practices of freedom: ongoing attempts to regulate the indispensable interferences of the hybrid others we are tangled with, to establish flexible and reciprocal relations, rather than coercive and exploitive ones. Significantly, every attempt at (relational!) freedom has to start out with acts of self-creation, to achieve the competence, resilience and capacitating attachments needed to deal with the indispensable influence of others. From there on out you can initiate or support broader practices of freedom to achieve a more extensive web of reciprocal relations, for yourself and for others. Still, these broader practices of freedom can become rigid themselves. Therefore, acts of self-creation continually need to disrupt possible fixtures and keep the playfield as open as possible. This becomes especially clear when dealing with the industrial food system. This intricate and extensive network of food practices carries with it many (often concealed) modes of domination, exploiting and coercing all kinds of entities and constructions: animals, the environment, public health, workers, consumers, etcetera. To break with such a coercive system we need to employ posthuman practices of freedom on personal and more collective levels, having these levels support, complement and correct each other. This means combining self-creation and solidarity. Importantly, this conjunction will remain pragmatic and experimental, fuelled by well-considered contingencies and practical results; rather than absolute principles or a priori criteria. As such, this conjunction could still fail. Nonetheless, it might just be worth the risk. In fact, we have to take part and see what sticks.
To demonstrate this point, I start out with a comparison of Friedrich Nietzsche’s (1844-1900) and Richard Rorty’s (1931-2007) perspectives on self-creation and solidarity, which serves as a source of inspiration and a preliminary framework to react against. Next, the focus shifts to Michel Foucault (1926-1984) and Bruno Latour (*1947) to construct an alternative account of these matters, which means: a thoroughly pragmatic and posthumanist perspective on self-creation and solidarity, which allows for their conjunction. Ultimately, I explore the industrial food system to find out how this alternative account unfolds itself in practice, thereby testing its practical merits and establishing its political urgency.
Laatst gewijzigd:01 november 2013 14:11