Travels in Speculative Pragmatism


Thought in the Act

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Book Pages: 440 Illustrations: 18 illustrations Published: September 2021

Author: Brian Massumi

Cultural Studies > Affect Theory, Science and Technology Studies, Theory and Philosophy > Critical Theory

In Couplets, Brian Massumi presents twenty-four essays that represent the full spectrum of his work during the past thirty years. Conceived as a companion volume to Parables for the Virtual, Couplets addresses the key concepts of Parables from different angles and contextualizes it, allowing its stakes to be more fully felt. Rather than organizing the essays chronologically or by topic, Massumi pairs them into couplets to encourage readers to make connections across conventional subject matter categories, encounter disjunctions, and to link different phases in the evolution of his work. In his analyses of topics ranging from art, affect, and architecture to media theory, political theory, and the philosophy of experience, Massumi charts a field on which a family of conceptual problems play out in ways that bear on the potentials for acting and perceiving the world. As an essential guide to Massumi's oeuvre, Couplets is both a primer for his new readers and a supplemental resource for those already engaged with his thought.


“This collection of essays, perhaps more than any other of his groundbreaking books, shows Brian Massumi to be a profoundly political thinker. Its analyses of capitalism are startling, radical, and convincing. And its presentation of domination and violence as the curtailment of a more primary force that is life-enhancing and life-changing will alter the way you think about the political future. Readers will also find elegant accounts of many of Massumi's key concepts, including perception, the virtual, affect, aesthetics (as that which pertains to qualities of experience), sympathy, the outside, dividuality, the supernormal. A fabulous resource for thinking otherwise.” — Jane Bennett, author of Influx and Efflux: Writing up with Walt Whitman


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Brian Massumi is a Canadian philosopher and social theorist, and until recently, Professor of Communication at the University of Montreal. He is the author of many books, including Ontopower, The Power at the End of the Economy, and What Animals Teach Us about Politics, all also published by Duke University Press.

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Table of Contents Forthcoming
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Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-1466-9 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-1373-0