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"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
"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
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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.