The Persistence of the Negative: A Critique of Contemporary Continental Theory

Noys, B. (2010) The Persistence of the Negative: A Critique of Contemporary Continental Theory. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh. ISBN 9780748638635

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This book aims to rehabilitate a thinking of negativity within and against the usual forms of contemporary Continental Theory. It identifies and presents an analysis of the dominant tone of ‘affirmationism’ in contemporary theory: the insistence on starting from the affirmation of metaphysical ontologies, the inventive potential of the subject, the necessity for the production of novelty, and a concomitant suspicion of the negative and negativity. Despite all the conflicts and ‘wars’ of contemporary theory, this tone remains an unstated point of unification. Although it was often developed to resist the corrosive effects of contemporary capitalism, this work argues that affirmationism remains bound to its ideological coordinates in its emphasis on production, creativity, and invention. Critically reconstructing this ‘affirmationism’ through the work of Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Bruno Latour, Antonio Negri, and Alain Badiou, the book also recovers from their work a disavowed thinking of negativity. Dependent on negativity, despite their claims to affirmation, this dependence allows a critique of the reliance on affirmation. Also, this negativity is turned against this affirmative tone to develop a more sharply-focused political analysis of theory, and to suggest the possible politics emerging from a relational thinking of negativity.

1. On the Edge of Affirmation: Derrida
2. Adieu to Negativity: Deleuze
3. The Density and Fragility of the World: Latour
4. Immeasurable Life: Negri
5. On the Edge of the Negative: Badiou

Publication Type: Books
Additional Information: DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748638635.001.0001 Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012
Uncontrolled Keywords: Affirmationism, Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Bruno Latour, Antonio Negri, Alain Badiou
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
Divisions: Academic Areas > Institute of Arts and Humanities > English and Creative Writing
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Debbie Bogard
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2013 13:42
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2021 09:14

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