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abject

abject  

That which disturbs the self, by provoking either disgust, fear, loathing or repulsion. Belonging to the realm of the psychic, the abject is the excessive dimension of either a subject or an object ...
active and reactive

active and reactive  

German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (and after him French philosopher Gilles Deleuze) used these categories to describe two different ways of acting and—by extension—being in the world. An action ...
actor

actor  

Any agent, perceptible at the level of discourse, who plays a part in a narrative. In contrast to the actant, the actor always refers to a specific individual person or thing—fate, for example, can ...
actual and virtual

actual and virtual  

A modal distinction proposed by French philosopher Gilles Deleuze as a replacement for the problematic real-possible distinction more commonly used in philosophy. The possible is a bad concept ...
Alain Badiou

Alain Badiou  

(1937– )FrenchMarxist philosopher, novelist and playwright. Born in Rabat, Morocco, Badiou completed high school in Toulouse before moving to Paris for undergraduate studies at the prestigious École ...
Alain Touraine

Alain Touraine  

(1925–)Frenchpost-Marxist sociologist with a strong interest in social movements and the possibility of people-led politics. Born in the wealthy seaside resort town of Hermanville-sur-Mer in ...
Alexandre Kojève

Alexandre Kojève  

(1902–68)Russian-born French philosopher and political theorist. The nephew of the great Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky, Kojève had a privileged upbringing in pre-revolutionary Russia. In 1918 he ...
Alexandre Koyré

Alexandre Koyré  

(1892–1964)Russian-born French philosopher and science historian. The son of middle-class importers, Koyré was born in Taganrog in Southern Russia. As a teenager, he took part in the political ...
alternate modernity

alternate modernity  

The theory in development studies and Postcolonialism that different parts of the world experienced modernity in their own fashion and at their own time. This theory is especially prominent in China ...
Anna Freud

Anna Freud  

(1895–1982)Austrianpsychoanalyst and youngest daughter of the founder of psychoanalysisSigmund Freud. Close to her father, she recounted her dreams to him from a young age (many of which are analysed ...
anti-foundationalism

anti-foundationalism  

A philosophical position which rejects foundationalism, i.e. it rejects the need to ground philosophy. Anti-foundationalist philosophers are often accused of being nihilists or moral relativists ...
Antonio Negri

Antonio Negri  

(1933–)Italian*Marxistpolitical philosopher best known for his collaborative writings with Michael Hardt. A measure of his significance may be gauged from Michel Foucault's remark in 1980 that Negri ...
archaeology

archaeology  

French historian Michel Foucault uses this term to describe his research methodology. It is characterized by the suspension of all established conventions for thinking and doing history and the ...
Arjun Appadurai

Arjun Appadurai  

(1949–)Indian-born, US-based cultural anthropologist and co-founder of the important postcolonial theory journal Public Culture. Born and educated in Mumbai, Appadurai moved to the US in 1967, ...
art worlds

art worlds  

Sociologist Howard S. Becker's concept for the milieu that artists create and require in order to produce art. Like that of Pierre Bourdieu, Becker's ultimate goal is to show that art is not the ...
aura

aura  

According to Benjamin (1936), the distinctive singularity of an original work of art, the potency of which he attributed to its authenticity, presence, uniqueness, and historical context. He argued ...
axiomatic

axiomatic  

Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari's term for the capitalist mode of production. An axiom is a proposition which cannot be proven true or false and from which one is able to construct a system of ...
bad faith

bad faith  

A form of self-deception and avoidance of one's freedom. French existentialist philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir used this term (in subtly differing ways) to account for what they ...
bare life

bare life  

Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben's concept for life that has been exposed to what he terms the structure of exception that constitutes contemporary biopower. The term originates in Agamben's ...
Benedict Anderson

Benedict Anderson  

(1936–)BritishMarxist scholar specializing in South East Asian studies who came into prominence for his groundbreaking work on the origins of nationalism, Imagined Communities (1983). A regular ...

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