You have to adapt

Image: Joan-Josep Tharrats


Commentary on Barbara Stiegler's Book

Published in 2019, Il faut s'adapter : sur un novel impératif politique [It is necessary to adapt: ​​on a new political imperative],[I] by Barbara Stiegler, presents an unprecedented and relevant genealogy of neoliberalism. The book is thus part of the tradition of Foucauldian studies, whose genealogy of liberalism and neoliberalism goes back, respectively, to two famous courses taught at the Collège de France, namely, Security, territory, population (1977-1978) e Birth of biopolitics (1978-1979), both published in 2004 also by Gallimard.

As is known, the Foucauldian genealogy of neoliberalism, addressed especially in birth of biopolitics, focuses mainly on two specific theoretical and political perspectives: German ordoliberalism and North American neoliberalism of the Chicago School. It would be there – well understood its relationship of rupture and continuity with classical liberalism – the origin of the new mode of government and organization of social life, whose form, in the late 1970s, before the governments Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, was still quite incipient. At the moment when Foucault (2004b) presented his research to the public, the hegemony of neoliberalism – or of neoliberalisms – and its rationality were still inscribed, therefore, in a process of becoming.

In her book, written almost half a century after the beginning of the process of neoliberalization in contemporary Western societies, Barbara Stiegler takes forward the research program initiated by Foucault, starting, however, from the observation of a gap in the genealogy of the French intellectual. For the author, Foucault would not have noticed one of the provenances of neoliberalism, namely, the evolutionary bases that informed the North American debate in the years immediately preceding the theoretical formulation of neoliberalism, whose foundational milestones are, as is known, the Colloquium Walter Lippmann, held in August 1938 in Paris, and, almost a decade later, the constitution of the Mont-Pèlerin Society (1947), an international intellectual organization of liberals still active today. From such a gap, Stiegler maintains (p. 13, 177), would result in Foucault's mistake in interpreting neoliberalism, from the ordoliberal and North American bases, as fundamentally anti-naturalist.

Indeed, an essential rupture of neoliberalism with the economic doctrine of classical liberalism lies in the deconstruction of its metaphysical belief in the naturalism of the laissez-faire. An unmistakable lesson from birth of biopolitics it is the unavoidable need for state and legal devices to make market society possible. Walter Lippmann, author honored at the 1938 Colloquium and subject of Barbara Stiegler's book, already maintained that interventionism, in the refoundation of liberalism, presented itself as an irrefutable reality: the problem would basically consist in defining its degree, in order to avoid the planning and collectivism of socialist and Keynesian experiences. The mistake of classical liberalism would have been to present in a descriptive way the normative aspect of social reality, that is, its objective in evolutionary terms, the necessary development of the social order, to be, however, artificially constituted.

The famous metaphor of the “traffic code”, presented by Lippmann in The good society (1937) and debated the following year at the Colloquium in his honor, highlights the issue: neither total freedom for circulation (dogmatic naivety of the laissez-faire), nor absolute control over movement (state planning), but a code of rules to be constantly improved and based on which the functioning of the market economy is guided. Despite the legal and state artifice contrary to the natural laws of laissez-faire, according to which the market would function as a natural device of social regulation, Il faut s'adapter seeks to advance the discussion by showing the naturalistic bases that underlie the initial and constitutive debate of the theoretical formulation of neoliberalism in the North American context between 1910 and 1930. More specifically, it is about analyzing the diverse appropriation of the evolutionist theories carried out, on the one hand , by Walter Lippmann, and, on the other, by John Dewey.

The author's main object, however, is the work of Walter Lippmann. Theoretical influences for the formulation of his political thought are shown (which involves the appropriation – always quite selective and also critical, Stiegler points out throughout the book – of a variety of philosophies such as those of Adam Smith, Herbert Spencer, Graham Wallas, Henri Bergson, Friedrich Nietzsche, in addition to the legal pragmatism of Oliver Wendell Holmes and the philosophical pragmatism of William James and John Dewey himself); his opposition to the Jeffersonian democratic model that resists industrial acceleration, in favor of the elitist accents of the Hamiltonian conception of power; her proximity to politicians (she elaborated part of the industrial policy program of Republican Theodore Roosevelt and participated in the government of Democrat Woodrow Wilson as coordinator of the office in charge of formulating North American foreign policy in the postwar period); and her role as founding editor, along with Herbert Croly, of the magazine The New Republic.[ii]

In this way, the author mobilizes elements from the trajectory of the American journalist and essayist to better analyze his main works, such as A preface to politics (1913) drift and mastery (1914) public opinion (1922) The phantom public (1925) and The good society (1937). In doing so, it is a matter of understanding and showing the reader the gait of Lippmann's political thought, also highlighting its contradictions and paradoxes such as, for example, its oscillation in relation to eugenics policy - refuses it in The phantom public and defends her The good society (Stiegler, 2019, p. 76 and note 64, p. 301) – as well as his sometimes ambivalent conception of democracy, according to different moments of his work.[iii]

Throughout the book, the themes addressed by Lippmann and his positions are problematized from John Dewey, who thus operates as a kind of constant counterpoint from which the author focuses her own criticism of the foundations of nascent neoliberal thought. In the theoretical and political dispute between North American authors, what is basically at stake is the formulation of the “new liberalism” and its conceptions of democracy. At the outset, the two intellectuals diagnose the crisis of liberalism and democracy in industrial societies in the context of the First World War (1914-1919) – in which both defended North American participation, precisely because of democratic and liberal principles – and the Great Depression (1929).

In common, beyond the context, is the use of both the theory of Darwinian evolution to refound liberal naturalism. Its appropriations, however, are diverse: on the one hand, Lippmann will defend the passive adaptation of the species – characterized by evolutionary slowness – to the industrialized and extremely fast world environment based on an elitist conception of power and, on the other, Dewey will support an active interaction and complex relationship between the environment and the species, positively incorporating their differences in evolutionary rhythms as a form of social, cultural, cognitive and political development and conceiving democracy as a collective experience and a common way of life.

In this way, constantly using antagonisms, the professor of political philosophy at the University of Bordeaux brings to the public, in her book, the questions that constituted the Lippmann-Dewey Debate, so named since the publication of Communication as culture, by James Carey, in 1989, but whose discussion effectively dates back to the 1920s – to pre-neoliberalism, therefore.[iv]

It is true that the American journalist, essayist and diplomat emerged, we can say today, retrospectively, “victorious” from such a clash, considering his later influence both in the formation of elites at the world level and in the theoretical and political formulation of neoliberalism – the Colóquio Walter Lippmann (1938), it is worth remembering, takes place on the occasion of the release of The free city, french translation of The good society held one year after its original publication. John Dewey's pragmatism, on the other hand, will constitute the first philosophical critique of neoliberalism, even before its effective constitution, that is, in its germinal moment.

Such is the thesis that Barbara Stiegler sustains in her book, noting that the issue had passed by, until then, not only by the author of birth of biopolitics, but also of almost all researchers who subscribe to the tradition of Foucauldian studies on the subject. The only exception – notes Stiegler in a footnote – is The new reason of the world, now a classic work on neoliberal society, in which Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval capture, even without resorting to evolutionary sources, the key notion of Lippmann's production, as can be read in the following passage: “The important word in Lippmann's reflection it is adaptation. The neoliberal agenda is guided by the need for permanent adaptation of men and institutions to an intrinsically variable economic order, based on generalized and relentless competition” (Dardot; Laval, 2016, p. 89-90). Its genealogy, Stiegler informs us (p. 322, note 4), comes from this incidental observation, from which, however, stand out the central ideas of Il faut s'adapter.[v]

Indeed, seeking to analyze the use of the biological vocabulary of evolutionism in the political field, the fundamental question of the book is to problematize the supposed backwardness of the human species in relation to the industrial environment of the “great society”,[vi] whose characteristics are openness, contingency, complexity, competition and speed. For Lippmann, as we have seen, it is a question of making man adapt to an environment in constant evolution. The methods for that involve a minimalist and procedural conception of democracy, in which an elite of elected leaders and unelected specialists conforms and commands the mass considered static, passive and inept.

According to such a conception of power, which we can also understand as positivist, the social life model consistent with evolutionary historical development must be imposed from above, from the elite.[vii] Completely contrary to Dewey's political thinking, one of the hallmarks of Lippmann's work highlighted in Stiegler's book resides precisely in the disregard of collective intelligence, public participation and opinion; Consultation with the public, in its entirety, must be restricted to specific elections or times of crisis, in which the people are the government's last resort. The basic reason for the author of public opinion e The phantom public is that the public would always be incompetent to deal with issues of which it has no insight in a highly specialized society.[viii]

As a whole, the human species is perceived by Lippmann as backward. Delay, here, unlike Dewey, has an exclusively negative connotation, it is a way of disqualifying human nature, as if it were not up to par with the industrial era. The issue, for the author, boils down to overcoming and eliminating the existing contradiction between the species (stable and limited) and the environment (fluid and unlimited). Its emphasis will rest on the need to mold and normalize the passive species from the active and noble dimension of the great industrial society. Hence the notion of a “Lippmannian disciplinary biopolitics”: starting from the assumption of the deficiency of human nature in relation to the environment, it is a question of imposing devices to normalize habits and psychological dispositions on the mass through investments in public policies (education, health, environment) to run a government whose aim is to improve human lives and capabilities.

The metaphor that the author makes use of to elucidate the procedure is that of “soft dough” (soft mass): conceiving individuals as absolutely flexible and increasingly adaptable to the acceleration of the contemporary world, whose end is, just like Spencer's teleological evolution, the world division of labor, competitive cooperation and cooperative competition in a globalized capitalist economy.[ix] If Adam Smith's century required unique specialization from the individual, the great society of the XNUMXth century requires adaptability, from which flexible individuals with multiple specialties can migrate to ever new situations. Here are the educational objectives of the neoliberal agenda inferred since Lippmann: to prepare individuals for flexibility, adaptability and employability.[X]

In other words, using the Darwinian biological lexicon, it is about making the human species adapt to the unlimited and extremely fast flow of events and productivity brutally imposed by industrial society, which constitutes, for Lippmann, the “great revolution ”.[xi] Here we have one of the origins of the increasingly potent notion of adapting to an environment that requires unlimited human capacities.[xii] Stiegler's merit lies in showing how we are not in the field of an abstract economic theory like that of rational choice, but in a theoretical elaboration that involves a specific conception of life and evolution. This is the theoretical heart of neoliberalism, its political, sociological and anthropological matrix.

It is true that Dewey also intends to refound liberalism with anti-statist and naturalist principles, also based on the importation of the Darwinian theory of evolution into the political field. But his views are, on the whole, diametrically opposed to those of Lippmann. If, for him, the heterochrony of evolutionary rhythms (species and environment) is perceived as “dyschrony” – that is, maladjustment and dysfunction –, whose solution is up to the government of the ruling elite based on the knowledge of specialists, for Dewey, on the contrary, it is about affirming heterochrony not as a problem, but as a necessary condition for the development of the potentialities that all individuals are bearers of.

Thus, instead of an inept audience subjected to passive adaptation, Dewey assumes evolution from active and complex interactions, considering irreducible differences in rhythms between organism and environment and between individuals themselves. Also an expert on Nietzsche, Stiegler (p. 127, and 307-308, note 71) maintains that Dewey tragically affirms both delay, as a threatening and necessary force, and the constitutive tension between flux and stability. It is about perceiving the evolution from the potentialities and differences of the individuals, not reducing them to the postulate of the anthropological deficiency of the species. Stiegler shows, in this sense, Dewey's scathing criticism of Lippmann's “average” and “modulable” individual.

Considering the potential of individuals, the author of The public and its problems (1927) supports the need for direct public participation in government, based on collective intelligence and constant social experimentation. Thus, democracy is conceived by Dewey as a way of life, beyond the merely institutional, procedural aspect. His problem, maintains the author of Democracy and education (1916), it is not the supposed cognitive incompetence of the mass, as Lippmann postulates, but the concentration of material, cognitive, cultural and spiritual wealth in the hands of a restricted elite. Hence the fundamental role of education for this author who influenced, in Brazil, from Anísio Teixeira to Paulo Freire: the socialization of intelligence, the distribution of knowledge and culture as a way of realizing democracy and social justice. If, for Lippmann, the evolutionary becoming is commanded by the elite towards a telos established and transcendental (the world division of labor in a globalized economy), for Deweyan pragmatism, evolution takes place through immanent and open processes and experimentation, that is, without the primacy of finality, confident in the potential and individual singularities that result from interactions multiple.

A fundamental author for the microinteractionist sociological tradition (Collins, 2009, p. 205-243), Dewey postulates that the reduction of interactive complexity to the economic domain, as well as from work to profit and competitiveness, undermines the inexhaustible reserve of individual potential. Criticizing “de-individuation”, that is, the standardization of ways of feeling and thinking provoked by the liberal conception of the atomized individual, Dewey wants to know how irreducible singularities emerge from unpredictable interactive arrangements and collective processes of individuation.[xiii] It is in this way that Stiegler, noting his predilection for Dewey's thought, maintains that his pragmatism, although intending to refound liberalism with evolutionist premises, constitutes the first philosophical and political critique of the coming neoliberalism.

It is the pervasive and permanent feeling of backwardness that motivates Stiegler's genealogy. This is the modern problem of the relationship between acceleration and adaptation – already diagnosed since Hegel, Marx and Nietzsche. “Is every delay, in itself, a disqualification?”, asks the author. And she continues, without forgetting to distinguish the opposition between Lippmann and Dewey: “Is it necessary to wish that all rhythms adjust and align with a gradual reform of the human species that would go towards its acceleration? Wouldn't it be necessary, on the contrary, to respect the irreducible differences in rhythms that structure all evolutionary history? (p. 18). We know in which direction the processes of neoliberalization of societies historically “evolved”. The Covid-19 pandemic – which spanned the years 2020 and 2021 – raised, in certain circles, the discussion around a “new normal”.

Now, the emergence of a “new normal” would imply a break with a previous normal. If we consider that the modern world is characterized, structurally, by speed, control, monetization, instability, sacralization of work, productivity and profit, what we are witnessing, after a momentary world stoppage, is the return, at extremely accelerated speed, of processes and ongoing trends since the dawn of modernity. Versatility, hyperactivity (currently digital and above all mental), flexibility, adaptability – necessary attributes for the reinvention of liberalism in the 1930s – are more than ever indispensable ingredients for survival. Today, we experience the potentialization of the already old normal to which the species – and no less the environment, considering an extractive and predatory mode of production – have sought to adapt for centuries.[xiv]

In our view, therefore, Barbara Stiegler's book presents itself as a relevant research on the genealogy of neoliberalism, elaborated in the wake of Foucaultian studies, even though the author circumstantially states, in a footnote, that Foucault's silence on the subject of the disciplinary aspects of neoliberal biopolitics has given rise to controversies around the interpretation of its “real” or “supposed” alliance with neoliberalism (p. 317, note 17).

Although the author unequivocally distances herself from such a position, we agree with Christian Laval (2018, p. 21), who absolutely refutes such an interpretative hypothesis: “Considering Foucault as a neoliberal author is only possible at the price of a lack of knowledge of his genealogical work on the powers and their ethical and political engagement. Intellectual history is, moreover, full of those contradictions that make Marx the inventor of the Gulag or Nietzsche a Nazi author”.[xv]

Stiegler also anticipates possible objections to his book, such as, for example, the demand to reassess the centrality of Lippmann's thought in the different currents that constitute neoliberalism, as well as the failure to deepen the study regarding the current impact of the discussion on tradition lippmannian and pragmatist in specific fields, such as education, health and environment. In any case, by carrying out an in-depth research on the critical genealogy of the evolutionary sources of neoliberalism, the author presents a significant contribution both to the public interested in understanding the origin of the current form of government of our daily conducts and to the gait foucaultiana, according to which the biological data always has political value. And it is no different in neoliberalism, from its origins.

*Elton Corbanezi is a professor at the Department of Sociology and Political Science at the Federal University of Mato Grosso (UFMT). author of Mental health, depression and capitalism (Unesp).

Originally published in Sociologies, year 23, no. 58, Sep-Dec 2021.



Barbara Stiegler. Il faut s'adapter : sur un novel impératif politique. Paris, Gallimard, 2019, 336 pages.



ARON, Raymond. the stages of the sociological thinking. Trans. Sergio Bath. São Paulo: Martins Fontes, 2008.

COLLINS, Randall. Four Sociological Traditions. Trans. Rachel Weiss. Petrópolis: Ed. Voices, 2009.

CORBANEZI, Elton; RASIA, Jose Miguel. Presentation of the Dossier: Neoliberal rationality and contemporary subjectivation processes. Mediations – Journal of Social Sciences, v. 25, no. 2, p. 287-301, May/Aug. 2020.

CORBANEZI, Elton. Geoffroy de Lagasnerie: a controversial neoliberal reading of Foucault. Brazilian Journal of Social Sciences (RBCS), v. 29, no. 84, p. 195-199, Feb. 2014.

DARDOT, Pierre; LAVAL, Christian. The new reason of the world: essay on neoliberal society. Trans. Mariana Echalar. São Paulo: Boitempo, 2016.

FOUCAULT, Michael. Security, territory, population : Cours au Collège de France (1977-1978). Paris: Seuil/Gallimard, 2004a.

FOUCAULT, Michael. Naissance of biopolitics : Cours au Collège de France (1978-1979). Paris: Seuil/Gallimard, 2004b.

LATOUR. Bruno. Le fantôme de l'esprit public. Des illusions de la démocratie aux réalités de ses apparitions. In: LIPPMANN, Walter. Le Public Fantôme. Paris: Démopolis, 2008. p. 3-44.

LAVAL, Christian. The Covid-19 pandemic and the bankruptcy of dominant imaginaries. Trans. Elton Corbanezi. Mediations – Journal of Social Sciences, v. 25, no. 2, p. 277-286, May/Aug. 2020.

LAVAL, Christian. Foucault, Bourdieu et la question neoliberale. Paris: La Découvert, 2018.

SIMONDON, Gilbert. L'individuation à la lumière des notions de forme et d'information. Grenoble: Millon, 2005.

STEEL, Ronald. Walter Lippmann and the American Century. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 1999.



[I] There is still no translation of the work into Portuguese. All translations are my responsibility.

[ii] Stiegler (p. 46) names The New Republic like newspaper (journal, in French), instead of magazine (review), closest equivalent to magazine, as Bruno Latour (2008, p. 33) does in the presentation of the French edition of The phantom public and how, in fact, the US journal ranks. Based on Ronald Steel's (1999) biography of Lippmann, Latour highlights the American journalist's passage through newspapers as well. World and then, Herald Tribune, which, despite its conservative editorial line, divergent from Lippmann's progressive liberal vision, gave freedom to the journalist to express his opinions in his famous and award-winning column "Today and Tomorrow".

[iii] This is observed, for example, in drift and mastery, in which Lippmann states that science should not be restricted to a ruling elite, but should turn to collective, deliberative and democratic cooperation. Such an anti-positivist and democratic conception of science associated with collective experimentation is at odds with the elitist conception of “government of experts”, predominant in Lippmann’s thought (Stiegler, 2019, p. 42-43). In this way, the author ends up also underlining the incompatibility existing in Lippmann's work between, on the one hand, the pragmatist influence, which emphasizes horizontal social experiences based on the potential assumption of each individual, and, on the other, the verticalized conception of power according to which a ruling elite leads, from specialized scientific knowledge, the inform and incompetent mass to public issues (p. 32, 36-37).

[iv] The author points out the repercussions of the controversies surrounding the Lippmann-Dewey Debate, mapping works that confirm its existence and those that detract from it (p. 96-99). Within this polemic, another unfolds, concerning Lippmann's belonging to the pragmatist tradition. Such is the position, for example, of Bruno Latour (2008), who, although he does not deny the existence of the debate, maintains its existence within pragmatism, thus giving Lippmann the attributes of a true democrat. A position with which Stiegler (p. 303, note 9, and p. 306, note 56) vehemently disagrees. For the author, Dewey's fundamental opposition to Lippmann rests on the different appropriation of Darwinian evolutionism, whose implications are radically different conceptions of democracy (participatory/representative) and power (horizontal-experimental/vertical-elitist). Also register the interpretative particularities conferred to the term “adjustment”. For Latour (2008, p. 17), it is about retaining its roots “Fair”, from which notions of justice and equity are inferred. Indeed, as Stiegler shows (p. 209-217, 259), Lippmann's question is to make competition fair, in terms of “equality of chances”. However, the author points out that the establishment of the “rules of the game” (“the rules of the game"and "fair play”) for this purpose has the purpose of making the best and fittest win. In other words, it means to say that "adjustment” refers to the notion of “adaptation” to unbridled competition, whose effect is the production of social inequalities and injustices, which the historical evidence of neoliberalism ratifies.

[v] In the chapter dedicated to the Walter Lippmann Colloquium, Dardot and Laval (2016, p. 71-100) address the central themes of Lippmann's work, especially of the free city, such as the notions of “(neo)liberal interventionism” as opposed to laissez-faire of classical liberalism; of interdependence and the worldwide division of labor in the Great Society; from adaptation to competition; the role of education for specialization and eugenics for genetic improvement; and elite government. Thus, the authors also highlight that the idea of ​​adaptation is central in a society that establishes competition as a vital principle. Note, for example, their statement regarding the role of neoliberal interventionism: “It aims, in the first place, to create situations of competition that supposedly favor the 'fittest' and the strongest and to to adapt individuals to competition, considered the source of all benefits [emphasis added]” (Dardot, Laval, 2016, p. 288). The contemporary problem, the authors maintain, consists of subjective adaptation to the intensification of competition that has become absolute. Stiegler advances in his study by investigating the origin of the problem from naturalistic and evolutionary bases.

[vi] The term “great society”, which is also found in Dewey's work, comes from the English socialist Graham Wallas (1858-1932), Lippmann's mentor and friend who wrote The great society: a psychological analysis (1914). The term refers directly to the idea of ​​globalization and globalization resulting from the industrial revolutions (Stiegler, 2019, p. 38-41; Latour, 2008, p. 183, note 3).

[vii] According to Stiegler (p. 73), in public opinion Lippmann praises the role of political scientist Charles Merriam and industrialist Frederick Taylor as specialists who guide the process of readapting the species and governing the population. Here we have the idea of ​​exercising government based on an elite of humanity formed by scientists and industrialists, which brings us to the Comtean positivism notions of “spiritual power” and “temporal power” (Aron, 2008, p. 83-183 ).

[viii] The fundamental idea is that individuals would be competent in their issues and oblivious to everything else. It is in this way that Bruno Latour (2008) defends the argument according to which Lippmann is a true democrat, insofar as he subtracts the illusions of democracy (the phantasmatic, univocal public of the good and the general and common will) to affirm it in its historical effectiveness, since it is no longer possible to act in the great globalized society according to the idealized way of polis greek. Hence the statement that Lippmann is probably the only political thinker to effectively secularize democracy – that is, to subtract its idealized metaphysical characteristics –, and to positively consider the demobilization of the public, for each one to return to their specific occupations. . As we have seen, Stiegler is opposed to such a reading (cf. note 4).

[ix] As Stiegler shows, Lippmann distances himself, however, from Spencerian “state phobia”, given that the refoundation of liberalism is based, as we have seen, on the principle of state intervention to make the market economy work. Lippmann thus distances himself from the Spencerian belief in mechanical and natural evolution, which dispenses with the elaboration of policies for its realization. On the importation of Spencer's ideas in the USA at the beginning of the 2019th century, after their decline in Europe, especially in England, and the need to refound evolutionism in the political field, see the section “La cible spencérienne” (Stiegler, 22, p. 28-XNUMX).

[X] At various times in the book, Stiegler resumes the discussion around the idea of ​​a “neoliberal agenda”, to distinguish it from the “non-agenda” of the laissez-faire, on which lies, again, the difference between Lippmann and Spencer. Returning to the Latin etymology of the word, in which aged designates do, it is a matter of establishing, therefore, a difference in the conception of human nature between the refoundation of liberalism proposed by Lippmann and classical liberalism. While he conceives human nature as “good”, which is why all forms of intervention are dispensed with, Lippmann's basic assumption resides in the deficiency of human nature. Hence Stiegler's statement (p. 228) that Lippmann's biopolitics reactivates the “anthropological foundation of the discipline”, whose purpose is to adapt and normalize the species according to the imperatives of the great society. The nascent neoliberal agenda rests essentially on education, health and environment policies. Dardot and Laval (2016, p. 58-60, 69, 273, 278) also conduct such a discussion based on Keynes's “new liberalism” and in relation to the contemporary managerial state. The notions of “agenda” and “non-agenda” are also mentioned by Foucault (2004b, p. 13-14, 27, 139, 200) when referring to Bentham and the new “style of governing” of neoliberalism.

[xi] While the “great revolution” is understood by Lippmann from the world division of labor and interdependence established by the industrial revolution, Dewey recognizes it, rather, in the scientific and technical revolution of the seventeenth century, thus attributing centrality to experimentation and intelligence. collective actions, which underlie their own conception of democracy. See especially chapter V “La grande révolution: mettre la l'intelligence hors de circuit” (Stiegler, 2019, p. 159-187).

[xii] To analyze the idea of ​​unlimited human capabilities as an effect of neoliberal rationality today, Dardot and Laval (2016, p. 357) created the term “ultrasubjectivation”, whose basic definition consists of a constant overcoming of oneself (the beyond oneself). in itself). In this regard, see also Laval (2020) and Corbanezi; Rasia (2020).

[xiii] In this sense, it seems pertinent to investigate the possible relationships between Dewey's interactive assumptions and the notions of potentials of pre-individual reality, individuation and individual-environment coupling elaborated by Gilbert Simondon (2005).

[xiv] In other words, it means that we are currently witnessing the acceleration of a process whose beginning is modernity: the forms can be changed, but the principles remain (work, profit, productivity, speed, etc.). By stating that there is not exactly a rupture between modernity and contemporaneity, but transformations, accentuations, displacements, we distance ourselves from polemics, often mistaken, around postmodernity. What we witness is the radicalization of modernity – this is the diagnosis of contemporary authors as diverse as Anthony Giddens, Michel Foucault and Zygmunt Bauman, among others.

[xv] In this regard, see Corbanezi (2014), in which we seek to criticize the neoliberal reading that Geoffroy de Lagasnerie presents of Foucault.

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