A different kind of emancipation? From lifestyle to form-of-life

European Journal of Social Theory 25 (1):155-171 (2022)
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Abstract

The modern outlook on emancipation has made its quest inseparable from a quest for endless enhancement, based on an ever-more intensive exploitation of the biophysical world. This accounts for how unsustainable ways of living are reiterated worldwide, in spite of evidence of their deleterious effects. The underpinnings of unsustainability, and a major impediment to conceiving alternatives, come from an account of the human as ontologically indeterminate, crushed on doing, both vulnerable and powerful towards the world. The impasse of such ambivalence hampers social theory critique, from post-humanist ontologies to the case for degrowth and lifestyle politics. The article outlines a different take on emancipation. An account is provided of form-of-life as a doing tailored to being – not as a self-enclosed monad but as a result of the encounter between own ‘inclination’ and the world. This theoretical perspective discloses a research program on emergent mobilisations.

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