In Coming to Our Senses: Affect and an Order of Things for Global Culture, Deirdra Reber offers an astute and erudite analysis of how contemporary mass media texts from the United States and Latin America deploy figures of homeostatic collective well-being even as they simultaneously serve capital's imperative for growth. What Reber identifies in these contemporary materials stems from a theory that was already nascent in the eighteenth century. No longer, she suggests, is it adequate to adopt a Cartesian view that contends that the fractious passions of the body and the body politic are governed by a rational “head”: even in eighteenth-century political philosophy, this view finds a counterpoint in a governmentality that appears to be the “headless” result of a collective “feeling soma” that self-regulates in order to optimize its affective well-being. As Reber emphasizes in a series of compelling...
Feeling Liberal on Earth
KATHLEEN FREDERICKSON is associate professor of English at University of California, Davis. Her first book, The Ploy of Instinct: Victorian Sciences of Nature and Sexuality in Liberal Governance, was awarded Honorable Mention for the Sonya Rudikoff Prize for the best first book in Victorian Studies.
Kathleen Frederickson; Feeling Liberal on Earth. Novel 1 November 2018; 51 (3): 538–541. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00295132-7086772
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