Living After Auschwitz: Memory, Culture and Biopolitics in the Work of Bernard Stiegler and Giorgio Agamben

Theory, Culture and Society 37 (7-8):255-277 (2020)
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Abstract

The problem with remembering Auschwitz is that the neoliberal paradigm of economic utility, demotic happiness, and programmed consumption has tended to erase its facticity from public consciousness. Technoscientific capitalism functions as a regime of amnesic performance that prevents a ‘working through’ of the Nazi genocide. I argue that Agamben’s work on the implicit violence of the biopolitical paradigm gives a crucial insight into the fate of humanity in the time of global capitalism. However, I contend that the idea of testimony he presents in Remnants of Auschwitz recapitulates a Heideggerian ontology of experience that is enacted outside of the technological dynamics of trauma and memory. I employ Stiegler’s concept of epiphylogenetic memory, first, to explore the economy of fascisms that has emerged within the networks of global capitalism and, second, to examine the material affects through which Auschwitz returns to the scene of this economy.

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