The Reticular Fallacy

boundary 2

By Alexander R. Galloway

We live in an age of heterogenous anarchism. Contingency is king. Fluidity and flux win over solidity and stasis. Becoming has replaced being. Rhizomes are better than trees. To be political today, one must laud horizontality. Anti-essentialism and anti-foundationalism are the order of the day. Call it “vulgar ’68-ism.” The principles of social upheaval, so associated with the new social movements in and around 1968, have succeed in becoming the very bedrock of society at the new millennium.

But there’s a flaw in this narrative, or at least a part of the story that strategically remains untold. The “reticular fallacy” can be broken down into two key assumptions. The first is an assumption about the nature of sovereignty and power. The second is an assumption about history and historical change. Consider them both in turn.

(1) First, under the reticular fallacy, sovereignty and power are…

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