Politics of Divination: Neoliberal Endgame and the Religion of Contingency

Politics of Divination: Neoliberal Endgame and the Religion of Contingency
11 May 2018, 17:30 to 11 May 2018, 19:30
IHR Wolfson Room NB01, Basement, IHR, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Joshua Ramey, Grinnell College, Iowa

Since the 2008 financial crisis, the neoliberal ideas that arguably caused the damage have been triumphant in presenting themselves as the only possible solution for it. How can we account for the persistence of neoliberal hegemony, in spite of its obviously disastrous effects upon labor, capital, ecology, and society? The argument pursued in this book is that part of the persistence of neoliberalism has to do with the archaic and obscure political theology upon which of much of its discourse trades. This is a political theology of chance that both underwrites and obscures sacrificial devotion to market outcomes. Joshua Ramey structures this political theology around hidden homologies between modern markets, as non-rational randomizing ‘meta-information processors’, and archaic divination tools, which are used in public acts of tradition-bound attempts to interpret the deliverances of chance. Ramey argues that only by recognizing the persistently sacred character of chance within putatively secularized discourses of risk and randomness can the investments of neoliberal power be exposed at their sacred source, and an alternative political theology be constructed'

Bio: Joshua Ramey (PhD, Philosophy, Villanova University, 2006) does research in contemporary continental philosophy, critical social theory, political economy and political theology. His first book was The Hermetic Deleuze: Philosophy and Spiritual Ordeal (Duke University Press, 2012), and his most recent book is Politics of Divination: Neoliberal Endgame and the Religion of Contingency (Rowman and Littlefield, Intl., 2016). He is co-translator of François Laruelle's Non-Philosophical Mysticism for Today (with Edward Kazarian, Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming). He has published articles on a range of thinkers and artists including Adorno, Zizek, Badiou, Hitchcock, Warhol, and Philip K. Dick. He is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Grinnell College (Iowa, USA), where he teaches 19th and 20th century continental philosophy, critical theory, aesthetics, and political economy. His current research is on the political economy of reciprocity, and he is actively engaged in a number of projects that aim to bring higher education to communities outside the mainstream university.


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