1st Edition

Speed and Micropolitics Bodies, Minds, and Perceptions in an Accelerating World

By Simon Glezos Copyright 2021
    264 Pages
    by Routledge

    264 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book provides a theoretical framework for understanding the micropolitics of speed; a rich, nuanced, and embodied account of life in an accelerating world. What does it feel like to live in an era of profound social acceleration? What kinds of affects, perceptions, and identities does an accelerating world produce? The answers to these questions mean more than simply understanding the psychology of speed; they also mean understanding issues in contemporary politics as diverse as xenophobia and anti-immigration policies, patterns of transnational identification and solidarity, social isolation and alienation, and the ability of new media to coordinate social movements.

    While drawing extensively on the work of contemporary theorists, Simon Glezos recognizes that social acceleration is not a purely recent phenomenon. He therefore turns to thinkers such as Nietzsche, Spinoza, Bergson, and Merleau-Ponty, to ask how they sought to understand, and respond to, the rapid changes and unsettling temporalities of their eras, and how their insights can be applied to our own.

    Advancing theoretical understanding and offering a useful way to analytically conceptualize the nature of time, Speed and Micropolitics will be of interest to students and scholars studying affect theory, theories of the body, new materialism, phenomenology, as well as the history of political thought.

    Introduction. Beyond Fast and Slow

    Part 1: Speed and Affect

    1. Brown's Paradox: Speed, Ressentiment, and Global Politics

    2. "No one has yet learned how fast the body can go": Spinoza, Speed, and the Body

    3. Doing Well and Being Glad: Spinoza and the Roots of Reactionary Politics

    Part 2: Speed and Perception

    4. Despisers of the Posthuman Body: Speed and Disembodiment

    5. Embodied Virtuality: Perception and New Media in Bergson

    6. In the Flesh of an Accelerating World: Merleau-Ponty, Technology, and the Encounter with the Other

    7.Towards a Phenomenology of Speed: Merleau-Ponty and the Spatiality of an Accelerating World


    Simon Glezos is an assistant professor in the department of political science at the University of Victoria, in Victoria, BC, Canada. He has a Ph.D. in political theory and international relations from The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, USA. He is the author of The Politics of Speed: Capitalism, the State, and War in an Accelerating World, also from Routledge press, and has published articles in CTheory, Contemporary Political Theory, The Journal of International Political Theory, International Politics, Postmodern Culture, The European Journal of Political Theory, and Philosophy in Review.

    "Simon Glezos is one of our foremost thinkers on the relationship between speed and politics. In this book, he argues that social acceleration can be both destructive and energizing for democracy. Examining embodied experiences of speed in canonical thought and contemporary neoliberalism, Glezos masterfully illuminates affective practices that can best address the perils of acceleration in our time." Elisabeth Anker, The George Washington University

    "Even locked in our houses with nowhere to go we are beset by the need for speed. Bandwidth for telecommuting, wait estimates for grocery and toilet paper deliveries, guarantees of vaccines in unprecedented time, all promises or disappointments of a faster future. In this moment of anxious temporality Simon Glezos offers us a phenomenology of speed at the scale of the body rather than the supply chain or the fiber wire. Against the technical questions of fast and slow, Glezos redirects us to our experience of embodied, radically unsettled perceptive interchanges—feelings of speed. For Glezos this is the pressing philosophical provocation of our contemporary moment. Speed and Micropolitics is a gorgeous adventure following speed’s trail through the thinking of Spinoza, Henri Bergson, Wendy Brown and Maurice Merleau-Ponty among many others. In each supple reading we find openings for meaningful reflection and even the possibility of ethical encounters amidst the hemorrhaging resentment of our accelerating times." Jarius Grove, Associate Professor of International Relations, The University of Hawai'i at Manoa