Monday, April 05, 2010
Olkowski, Dorothea. Review of John Protevi, POLITICAL AFFECT. NDPR (April 2010).
Protevi, John. Political Affect: Connecting the Social and the Somatic. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2009. In Political Affect: Connecting the Social and the Somatic, John Protevi purports to bring together politically activist philosophy with cognitive science to obtain a nonmechanistic materialism, which he then applies to three contemporary social crises. According to his thesis, individualistic subjectivity is bypassed insofar as the social and somatic (including emotion) are directly linked to one another in the production of social states of affairs that result in the crimes attributed to individuals, thereby bypassing individual responsibility. At least one of the author's case studies supports this account, but it is questionable that the other two do. Nor do they present the reader with solid ethical alternatives other than the destratification of the body such that neither emotion nor reason are qualities of a person, but only moments affecting a body. The philosophy that Protevi uses to carry out this study is primarily that of Gilles Deleuze, and the cognitive science comes from a variety of sources in the field of embodied or affective cognition. Their coming together initially takes shape around the concepts of emergence and complexity. . . . Read the whole review here: http://ndpr.nd.edu/review.cfm?id=19247.