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Politics of Divination: Neoliberal Endgame and the Religion of Contingency (Reinventing Critical Theory)

Politics of Divination: Neoliberal Endgame and the Religion of Contingency (Reinventing Critical Theory)

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Publication Date: September 27th, 2016
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers


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.

About the Author

Joshua Ramey is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Grinnell College. He is the author of The Hermetic Deleuze (2012), the co-translator of François Laruelle's Non-Philosophical Mysticism for Today (forthcoming), and the author of numerous articles on figures including Adorno, Zizek, Badiou, Deleuze, Bruno, Warhol, Hitchcock and Cronenburg. His work has appeared in Angelaki, Political Theology, Discourse, SubStance, and the Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory.