Thursday, April 05, 2007


Accelerating Possession is a groundbreaking collection of essays that examines how recent economic movements have revolutionized the relationship between property and personhood. These prominent scholars argue that in our present age, globalization, rampant privatization, and biotechnology have irrevocably changed traditional ideas of property and the self. Definitions of property no longer correspond to the configurations of the person who owns or is subjected to property. Self and ownership have a whole new arithmetic. In these essays, privatization is understood as an array of interconnected processes and relationships through which the capitalist marketplace controls, among other things, the political rights, social membership, and knowledge production that constitute personhood. The contributors believe such processes are accelerating profoundly, and they examine the effects via a range of topics, including the invention of property rights in U.S.-occupied Iraq, the work of John Locke, the art of Jenny Holzer, and the writing of Octavia Butler and Stanislaw Lem. They explore the synergy and dissonance between conceptions of the private as marketable and the private as inalienable, and consider how the contemporary transformations and futures of property and personhood relate to concepts of citizenship, state, culture, and education. These essays were all written with the guiding belief that the evolving relationship between ownership and the self has a fundamental effect on debates in critical theory. The essays are methodologically linked through their emphasis on the linguistic and rhetorical, as well as the philosophical and epistemological. Their focus on reflections of property and personhood in literary, textual, or artistic objects makes this collection a vital cross-disciplinary tool.

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