19 May 2016
Theft Economies and Subtractive Ecologies
Would it be possible – and would there be value – in considering parasitic roles and relations as neither inherently destructive nor undesirable, indeed, even as constitutive of functioning social, ecological and economic systems? In The Parasite (1980), Michel Serres proposed and explored a way of thinking relations of transfer – in social, biological and informational contexts – as fundamentally parasitic, that is, taking the subtractive form of a ‘taking without giving’, in contrast to established models based on notions such as exchange and gift-giving. Taking spurs from Serres’ text, this symposium and lecture will explore different ways in which we might rethink and retool parasitism, considering the ways in which its formally subtractive character might be separated from negative ethical, political and social connotations, in order to explore and activate its critical and conceptual potential.
While recognizing the risks that come with such a rethinking (such as the danger of inadvertently justifying racist, classist or otherwise prejudiced attitudes), the workshop will invite/offer short interventions to open up interdisciplinary discussion of the potential and limitations of a retooled understanding of parasitism.Daisy Tam is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Humanities and Creative Writing at the Hong Kong Baptist University. She received her PhD in Cultural Studies from Goldsmiths, University of London where she began her research on ethical food practices. Her current work on food waste and the city is a theoretical and technological project that explores collaborative food rescue practices and its capacity to contribute towards a more ethical food system. Her recent publications include: (co-authored with James Burton) ‘Towards a Parasitic Ethics’, Theory, Culture and Society, 33.4; ‘The Hidden Market: The Alternative Borough Market’ in Informal Urban Street Markets: International Perspectives, co-ed. by C. Evers and K. Seale (New York: Routledge); ‘Little Manila: The Other Central of Hong Kong’ in Messy Urbanism (University of Hong Kong Press, forthcoming).
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Organized byJames Burton
In EnglishFirst published on: https://www.ici-berlin.org/events/theft-economies-subtractive-ecologies/
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