The Thought of Bernard Stiegler: Capitalism, Technology and the Politics of Spirit, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Thought of Bernard Stiegler

Capitalism, Technology and the Politics of Spirit, 1st Edition

By Ross Abbinnett


196 pages

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Paperback: 9780367193027
pub: 2019-01-08
Hardback: 9780415793810
pub: 2017-07-05
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This book provides a comprehensive account of the work of Bernard Stiegler, one of the most influential living social and political philosophers of the twenty-first century. Focusing on Stiegler’s thought on hyperindustrial society and the development of technological systems through which the social, economic and political life of human beings has been transformed, the author examines Stiegler’s claim that the human species is ‘originally technological’ and that to understand the evolution of human society, we must first understand the interface between human beings and technology.

A study of the reciprocal development of technical instruments and human faculties, that offers a chapter-by-chapter account of how this relationship is played out in the digital, informatic and biotechnological programmes of hyperindustrial society, The Thought of Bernard Stiegler develops Stiegler’s idea of technology as a pharmakon: a network of systems that provoke both existential despair and unprecedented modes of aesthetic, literary and philosophical creativity that can potentially revitalize the political culture of human beings.

As such, it will appeal to social and political theorists and philosophers concerned with our postmodern inheritance.


‘Bernard Stiegler is one of the most interesting philosophers of technology writing today and the student of Derrida of greatest relevance to the contemporary cultural scene. However, Stiegler's work has been so far available in English only in piecemeal form. Ross Abbinnett remedies that problem in this book, which provides a patient and thoughtful reconstruction of Stiegler's entire intellectual trajectory. Here readers will acquire a deep and systematic sense of Stiegler's broad conception of 'technology', which ranges from Plato's extended dream state, through the accelerated pace of modern industrial society, to the potential eclipse of the human spirit in the name of digital dexterity. Those who seek a middle way between embracing and refusing this 'transhumanizing' trajectory will find much insight in this book.’ - Steve Fuller, Auguste Comte Chair in Social Epistemology, University of Warwick, UK

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Originary Technicity

Chapter 2. The Evolution of the Arche-Programme

Chapter 3. The Capitalization of Life

Chapter 4. Transhumanist Networks

Chapter 5. Crises of the Aesthetic

Chapter 6. A Planetary Pharmacology?

Conclusion: The Internation and the University


About the Author

Ross Abbinnett is Senior Lecturer in Social and Political Theory and Programme Director of the BA in Sociology at the University of Birmingham, UK.

About the Series

Media, Culture and Critique: Future Imperfect

A platform for new works devoted to exploring contemporary crises and drawing on and developing different critical traditions – such as neo-Marxism, feminism, postcolonialism, queer theory, poststructuralism, critical discourse analysis, and ecological and environmental approaches – Media, Culture and Critique: Future Imperfect presents theoretically-informed and politically-engaged studies that share a fundamental concern with interrogating the discrepancies between the potentialities and rhetorics of new technologies and their actual utilization in the service of hegemonic interests. Whether with respect to 21st century capitalism and new political economies of culture, global mediascapes and digital economies, urban transformation and militarization, the proliferation of consumption and media sites and spaces, biotechnologies and the body, or the exploitation and destruction of Nature, the series welcomes theoretically-driven explorations of the technological and mediatized future, and the cultural manifestations of neoliberalism.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General