How to Win an Aesthetic War: On Bernard Stiegler’s Symbolic Misery

Daniel Tutt

How do we think political conflict that impacts all aspects of social life, from the family to public institutions? What domains of private and public life are affected by a form of conflict which is ubiquitous? The Greek term stasis has been invoked to theorize this form of ever-present conflict by a number of contemporary political philosophers from Giorgio Agamben, to the radical anonymous collective Tiqqun, to Bernard Stiegler.

Aristotle understood stasis as a form of conflict where two domains of social life overlap: family relations and private life (oikeios) with external social conflict (polemos). This dual structure to stasis blurs the line where the conflict originates and where it ends.

In Symbolic Misery: Volume I: The Hyperindustrial Epoch, the French philosopher Bernard Stiegler introduces a theory of stasis based on a deterioration of the aesthetic field first and foremost. The aesthetic is the site of…

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