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Joy Sorman & Catherine Lacey in Conversation ONLINE EVENT Albertine Bookstore/French Embassy

Barbara Stiegler

Philosopher Barbara Stiegler will present her latest book, "Il faut s'adapter" : Sur un nouvel impératif politique published by Gallimard in 2019.

Photo © F. Mantovani

Barbara Stiegler is an associate professor of political philosophy and the director of the Soin, éthique et santé ("Care, Ethics, and Health") masters program at the University of Bordeaux Montaigne. She is also a member of the Institut universitaire de France, a service of the French Ministry of Higher Education that honors professors for their research excellence. Stiegler is a specialist in German philosophy and has authored three books: Nietzsche et la biologie (Presses universitaires de France, 2001), Nietzsche et la critique de la chair (Presses universitaires de France, 2005) and "Il faut s'adapter": Sur un nouvel impératif politique (Gallimard, 2019).

About the book: "Il faut s'adapter" : Sur un nouvel impératif politique

("We Have to Adapt": About a New Political Imperative)
Published by Gallimard in 2019

Where does the vague, oppressive, and all too common feeling of being maladjusted, accentuated by the constant need to adapt to the transformations of a complex world, come from? How do we explain the progressive colonization of the economic, social, and political domains by the biological vocabulary of evolution?

The genealogy of this imperative dates back to the powerful political theories of the 1930s that articulate the inadequacy of mankind vis-à-vis its environment and its future. They were called "neoliberal": "neo" because, unlike the old which depended on the free regulation of the market to create stability and order, the new called upon the institutions of the state to transform the human domain and artificially construct the market –a sort of biopolitics. Walter Lippmann, an American theorist of this new liberalism, asserted that the masses are attached to the stability of the social state (or stasis in biological terms), when faced with jostling influxes of change and stated that only a government of experts can pave the way for societies entrapped in their conservatism. Lipmann clashed with John Dewey, a great figure of American pragmatism. While the two agreed that the modern world was becoming too complex for each individual to fully grasp, Dewey called for the mobilization of the public's collective intelligence, the multiplication of democratic initiatives, and the invention of a collective future from the ground up. Stiegler's book presents another interpretation of the meaning of life and its evolutions, a question that is more than ever at the heart of who we are.

Suggested Lectures

Stiegler proposes to discuss Michel Foucault, Walter Lippmann & John Dewey' work and the question of the living through the following prisms:

  • Biopolitics and Neoliberalism

  • Neoliberalism and Darwinism

  • Darwinism and Pragmatism


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Note that we have limited funding available for our tours. Please let us know if you are able to arrange for domestic travel to/from the event. If you would like to invite this author to speak at your university or bookstore, please fill out the application form and email it to Anne-Sophie Hermil.