- Series: Post-Contemporary Interventions
- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Duke University Press Books; First Edition edition (April 9, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0822328976
- ISBN-13: 978-0822328971
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #484,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation (Post-Contemporary Interventions) First Edition Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From the Publisher
"This is an extraordinary work of scholarship and thought, the most thorough-going critique and reformulation of the culture doctrine that I have read in years. Massumi's prose has a dazzling and sometimes cutting clarity, and yet he bites into very big issues. People will be reading and talking about Parables for the Virtual for a long time to come." Meaghan Morris, author of Too Soon Too Late: History in Popular Culture
"Have you been disappointed by books that promise to bring the body or corporeality back into culture? Well, your luck is about to change. In this remarkable book Brian Massumi transports us from the dicey intersection between movement and sensation, through insightful explorations of affect and body image, to a creative reconfiguration of the nature-culture continuum. The writing is experimental and adventurous, as one might expect from a writer who finds inventiveness to be the most distinctive attribute of thinking. The perspective Massumi unfolds will have a major effect on cultural theory for years to come."William Connolly, Johns Hopkins University
"After Bergson, Whitehead, Deleuze, and Guattari, the great radical empiricist protest against naïve objectivism and naïve subjectivism resonates again, bringing wonder back into the most common day experiences. After reading Brian Massumi you will never listen to Sinatra or watch a soccer game the same way again."Isabelle Stengers, Free University of Brussels
"It is not enough to describe Massumis book as a brilliant achievement. Seldom do we see a political thinker develop his or her ideas with such scrupulous attention to everyday human existence, creating a marvelously fluid architecture of thought around the fundamental question of what the fact of human embodiment does to the activity of thinking. Massumis vigorous critique of both social-constructionist and essentialist theorizations of embodied practices renews the Deleuzian tradition of philosophy for our times."Dipesh Chakrabarty, University of Chicago
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Massumi's method, though imposing at first (his writing reflects the complexity of his philosophy), is actually very ordered. Each chapter, excluding the fifth, is basically a close reading (a "parable") illustrating novel sets of relations among movement, sensation, and affect. And the subjects of his readings are refreshingly novel too. Chapter 2 focuses on Ronald Reagan, the reciprocity between his affective character as president and his failure as an actor. Four chapters (1,6,7,9) examine experiments on vision and perception; in an amusing one (Ch 6), a pilot anesthetizes his 'ass' and loses all sense of orientation during flight. In Chapter 8, Massumi discusses his own experience of mistaken orientation in an office building, drawing on studies of synesthesia to highlight his reorienting mechanisms. Chapter 4 looks at performance artist Sterlac's body-as-object exhibitions. And Chapter 3 provides an incredibly insightful vision of soccer, and the 'transduction' of its affects into television and domestic violence.
The applicability of his work is wide. Research on embodiment and affect will find an indispensable guide that moves well beyond 'the body' and Foucault. Process philosophers, Deleuzian scholars, visual studies, social research on mobility, feminists looking to complicate the personal is political axiom, queer theorists seeking to complicate notions of performativity, all will find some critical use in this book. More generally, those interested in issues surrounding complex systems, though Massumi does not directly take up complexity theories, will recognize many familiar terms used in novel contexts. Thinkers such as Michael Hardt, William Connolly, Jane Bennett, Manuel DeLanda, and John Protevi resonate with Massami's theory. But 'Parables for the Virtual' is a singular accomplishment, standing apart from Massumi's other fine work.
From the theatrics of Reagan to the art of Stelarc (the bloke who grew an ear on his arm - look him up), from the anomalies of science to the rigors of high theory, Parables plunges all these and more into dizzying mix of performance and argument, illustration and staging - of what? Of a world composed by the singular and the unique, the irreplaceable, ungeneralizable quality and 'glow' that marks all existence and leaves philosophy - if not us all - perennially in a state of wonder. It is to this world that Parables draws our attention, over and against those who would instead insist upon its formulaic reproducibility, its parsing into the bloodlessness of the general and the particular, deprived of the fringes of excess and the eruptions of singularities that accompany its being.
At stake in fact is nothing less than a defense of the 'supra-empirical' - a defense of the reality of that which is not (yet) actual, but nonetheless undeniably real: tendencies, potentialities, virtualities and relations, which, as much as tables, chairs and planets, count among the furniture of the world. Although in some sense taken right out of the Deleuzian playbook (who referred similarly to a 'superior empiricism'), Massumi's achievement here is to give these ideas concrete grounding in the universe of the everyday - not abstraction but 'lived abstraction' is what marks the territory here. Consider his wonderful discussion of a game of football (or soccer, to please the Americans), in which every element is given dynamic standing: goalposts 'induce', the ball 'catalyses', kicks are 'expressions', fans 'individuate'; in movement, in relation - in process - a parable of the world at large indeed.
Finally, a necessary word about the language here. As anyone with even a passing knowledge of Massumi will attest, his prose is... one of kind. The writing arcs from idea to idea like a lightning sprawl of electric light, threading concepts through concepts and weaving thoughts through examples in a way that can leave a reader gasping in its frenzied trail. Less though an index of Gallic grandiloquence than a surging of urgent inventiveness demanding to be made equal to the philosophical creativity within. It's anything but easy (at times, downright exhausting), but then again, it's nothing like anything else either. The fact is, reading Parables today, it nonetheless remains a beacon and a signpost for all those who continue to wonder what a philosophy of the future might yet look like.