Being at Large: Freedom in the Age of Alternative Facts (Paperback)
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Politicians and philosophers presenting themselves as the ultimate bearers of truth and reality have created unprecedented technological, cultural, and political framings. This new order conspires to undermine the interpretive practices of open-ended critique, normalizing a sense of threat to preserve control. The greatest emergency has become the absence of emergencies. Tracing an intellectual alliance between academics such as Jordan Peterson and Christina Hoff Sommers and right-wing populist politicians such as Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen, this book denounces framings that make a claim to objectivity. With the help of contemporary thinkers including Bruno Latour, Judith Butler, and Giorgio Agamben, as well as discussion of the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie and the emergency of biodiversity loss due to climate change, Santiago Zabala illustrates that the twenty-first-century question is not whether we can be free, but how to be at large - unconstrained by the new realist order. Being at Large demonstrates the anarchic power of hermeneutics, calling for interpretive disruptions of the authoritarian narrative as a way of reclaiming freedom in the age of alternative facts.
About the Author
Santiago Zabala is ICREA Research Professor of Philosophy at Pompeu Fabra University.
"Timey and engagingly written, Being at Large advances a thesis developed in Zabala's previous work, namely, that we live in times of a dominant "absence of emergency," despite being surrounded by and immersed in emergency. This means that a long list of ongoing emergencies - including climate change, military conflicts, refugee movements, homelessness, rising inequality, the manipulation of personal information and, of course, pandemics such as the spread of COVID-19 - are framed by those in power as somehow normal, leading Zabala to the Heideggerian notion that "the only emergency is the lack of a sense of emergency."" Public Seminar
"This is a much-needed path-breaking book, systematically showing how widespread appeals to facts, whether pure or alternative, are not only yet another claim to power, but also a new and dangerous recall to order. Indispensable reading for anyone interested in the possibility of freedom and survival in our time, this book fully illustrates the strength of Zabala's philosophy and its potential for emancipation." Chiara Bottici, author of A Philosophy of Political Myth and Imaginal Politics: Images beyond Imagination and the Imaginary
"Riveting and crucial." William Eggington, Los Angeles Review of Books