Duke University Press
Qty. Item Name Cost
No Items Exist In Your Shopping Bag
  • Did you know that when you create a Reading List, it can be marked public or private?

  • The Fragility of Things: Self-Organizing Processes, Neoliberal Fantasies, and Democratic Activism

    Author(s): William E. Connolly
    Published: 2013
    Pages: 256
We apologize for the inconvenience. Ordering is currently unavailable through our site. To order, please e-mail orders@dukeupress.edu or call us at 888-651-0122 (US) or 1-919-688-5134 (international) between 7:30 am and 5:30 pm EDT.

  • Prelude. 1775  1
    1. Steps toward an Ecology of Late Capitalism  20
    first interlude: Melancholia and Us  43
    2. Hayek, Neoliberalism, and Freedom  52
    second interlude: Modes of Self-Organization  81
    3. Shock Therapy, Dramatization, and Practical Wisdom  98
    third interlude: Fullness and Vitality  140
    4. Process Philosophy and Planetary Politics  149
    postlude: Role Experimentation and Democratic Activism  179
    Acknowledgments  197
    Notes  201
    Bibliography  225
    Index  233
  • "The Fragility of Things represents an important turn in the thinking of William E. Connolly, a theorist whose work has a significant readership across the humanities and social sciences around the world. It introduces into the democratic and pluralistic ethos he has long advocated a new element: an informed sense of the 'fragility of things,' an awareness that human affairs are undertaken in a world of interacting systems of self-organization that place no special value on human flourishing or even survival. Connolly argues that an appreciation of the fragility of things must be incorporated into efforts to advance egalitarian, pluralist, and democratic values."—Paul Patton, author of Deleuzian Concepts: Philosophy, Colonization, Politics

    "In this book, William E. Connolly enlists his unique perspective and voracious knowledge to examine neoliberalism's contribution to the fragility of things. And he incites us into activisms large and small. Connolly understands the need to show critically the fragility of things and to reveal the insistent ideologies that make life today more fragile than it needs to be. He also understands the need to counter those ideologies with something more than critique. I learned from reading The Fragility of Things. It pulled me into its vernacular: its language, its impulses, its questions, are compelling. It was a pleasure to read: instructive, accessible, imaginative, and inspiring."—Bonnie Honig, author of Antigone, Interrupted

  • Permission to Photocopy (coursepacks)

    If you are requesting permission to photocopy material for classroom use, please contact the Copyright Clearance Center at copyright.com;

    If the Copyright Clearance Center cannot grant permission, you may request permission from our Copyrights & Permissions Manager (use Contact Information listed below).

    Permission to Reprint

    If you are requesting permission to reprint DUP material (journal or book selection) in another book or in any other format, contact our Copyrights & Permissions Manager (use Contact Information listed below).


    Many images/art used in material copyrighted by Duke University Press are controlled, not by the Press, but by the owner of the image. Please check the credit line adjacent to the illustration, as well as the front and back matter of the book for a list of credits. You must obtain permission directly from the owner of the image. Occasionally, Duke University Press controls the rights to maps or other drawings. Please direct permission requests for these images to permissions@dukeupress.edu.
    For book covers to accompany reviews, please contact the bpublicity@dukeupress.edu.

    Subsidiary Rights/Foreign Translations

    If you're interested in a Duke University Press book for subsidiary rights/translations, please contact permissions@dukeupress.edu. Include the book title/author, rights sought, and estimated print run.

    Disability Requests

    Instructions for requesting an electronic text on behalf of a student with disabilities are available here.

    Rights & Permissions Contact Information

    Email: permissions@dukeupress.edu
    Email contact for coursepacks: asstpermissions@dukeupress.edu
    Fax: 919-688-4574
    Duke University Press
    Rights and Permissions
    905 W. Main Street
    Suite 18B
    Durham, NC 27701

    For all requests please include:
    1. Author's name. If book has an editor that is different from the article author, include editor's name also.
    2. Title of the journal article or book chapter and title of journal or title of book
    3. Page numbers (if excerpting, provide specifics)
    For coursepacks, please also note: The number of copies requested, the school and professor requesting
    For reprints and subsidiary rights, please also note: Your volume title, publication date, publisher, print run, page count, rights sought
  • Description

    In The Fragility of Things, eminent theorist William E. Connolly focuses on several self-organizing ecologies that help to constitute our world. These interacting geological, biological, and climate systems, some of which harbor creative capacities, are depreciated by that brand of neoliberalism that confines self-organization to economic markets and equates the latter with impersonal rationality. Neoliberal practice thus fails to address the fragilities it exacerbates. Engaging a diverse range of thinkers, from Friedrich Hayek, Michel Foucault, Hesiod, and Immanuel Kant to Voltaire, Terrence Deacon, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Alfred North Whitehead, Connolly brings the sense of fragility alive as he rethinks the idea of freedom. Urging the Left not to abandon the state but to reclaim it, he also explores scales of politics below and beyond the state. The contemporary response to fragility requires a militant pluralist assemblage composed of those sharing affinities of spirituality across differences of creed, class, gender, sexual orientation, and ethnicity.

    About The Author(s)

    William E. Connolly is Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University. His most recent books include A World of Becoming; Capitalism and Christianity, American Style; and Pluralism, all also published by Duke University Press. He is a former editor of Political Theory and a founder of the journal theory & event. His classic study The Terms of Political Discourse won the Benjamin Lippincott Award in 1999.