Miller, Ruth A., 2016, Flourishing Thought: Democracy in an Age of Data Hoards
This volume seeks to challenge the posthumanist theoretical canon that celebrates the preeminence of matter. Consequently, in her work, Ruth Miller argues that what non-human systems contribute to democracy is thought. By drawing on recent feminist theories of nonhuman life and politics, Miller shows in this book that phenomena related to reproduction and flourishing are not antithetical to contemplation and sensitivity.
A Blog Post by Pablo Markin.
Authored by Miller, Ruth A. (2016), Flourishing Thought: Democracy in an Age of Data Hoards, published by University of Michigan Press and available in Open Access at the Open Research Library, seeks to demonstrate that processes of life and processes of thought are indistinguishable. Miller finds that four menacing accumulations of matter and information, around which her book is also organized, are global surveillance, stored embryos, human clones, and reproductive trash. In Miller’s view, these are politically productive assemblages rather than threats to democratic politics. As a consequence, she questions the usefulness of individual rights such as privacy and dignity, while contesting the value of the rational metaphysics underlying human-centered political participation. This also leads Miller toward a feminist reevaluation of the gender relations that derive from this type of participation.
From the introduction into this book:
“The linchpin holding together the political histories of spreading, creeping things, systems, assemblages, and accumulations that appear over the following pages is the assertion that the growth of these things is as thoughtful as it is reproductive, and as political as it is thoughtful. Each of the case studies in the boundless stuff that forms the subject of this book ‒ dissociated embryonic material, cloned human cells, toxic and polluting trash, and proliferating data ‒ is a case study in reproductive or replicating activity that is also political activity, and a variation on political thought. The growing, reproducing, and flourishing systems that populate the following chapters are also thinking, processing, and political systems. Like slime and data, these systems are ‒ whether organic, inorganic, technological, environmental, or informational ‒ systems whose growth or reproduction is thought in exactly the same way that any growing computational system is thinking. But, once more ‒ and also like the slime mold’s engulfing of the earth and the replication of [b]oundless [i]nformant across nation-states ‒ the thought of these accumulations and assemblages is infinitely more beneficial to democracy than it is an attack on democracy.” (Miller, 2016, p. 9).
Edited by Pablo Markin
Miller, Ruth A. Flourishing Thought: Democracy in an Age of Data Hoards. University of Michigan Press, 2016. Accessed August 7, 2020. https://openresearchlibrary.org.
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The reflection of tomorrow, Scott Richard, October 5, 2010 | © Courtesy of torbakhopper/Flickr.