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Title: Rewriting community for a posthuman age in the works of Antoine Voloine, Michel Houellebecq, and Maurice G. Dantec
Author: Ellis, Susannah Mary
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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The heterogeneous field of posthuman theory allows for an account of community under the convergence of late capitalism and high technology and its spread to a global scale. Spanning bioconservative fears of a potential loss of agency and a human ‘essence’ through advances in technology, ‘transhumanist’ hopes for a biological transformation that would fulfil liberal goals for human development, as well as postmodern, feminist interpretations of the posthuman as instantiating a liberating break with liberal ideology and patriarchal structures, theories of the posthuman offer a productive starting point for exploring the transformations in understandings of human subjectivity and community at the turn of the twenty-first century. Placing the concept of community against a background of past totalitarianism and a possible future of an uncontested globalised neoliberal regime that high technology risks intensifying, the present study enquires into the possibility of a community that would escape the metaphysical logic of mastery subtending both past and present models of community and suggests that problematizing representations of the creation of what a strand in contemporary philosophy terms a non-totalising ‘communauté désoeuvrée’ and implicit proposals not for the revival of community as a teleological ‘oeuvre’, but for its rewriting may be found in works by Maurice G. Dantec, Michel Houellebec, and Antoine Volodine, works which have been labelled posthuman themselves by virtue of their incorporation of posthuman themes or structures that come in the shape of representations and problematisations of high technology and its intersection with late capitalism and narrative structures that mimic or subvert conceptions of subjectivity that can loosely be termed posthuman. These novelists write in a context of an ideological, technological, and commercial constraint that hampers literary and political agency and which is problematized both implicitly and explicitly in the use these writers make of representations of violence and literary strategies such as irony, ambiguity, and hermeticism. These representations and strategies, it will be suggested, could be read as subtle attempts to bypass those constraints and restore the potential of literary production to comment on and even intervene in the creation of community in a posthuman age.
Supervisor: Howells, Christina Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: History of technology ; History of science ; Literatures of Romance languages ; French ; Globalisation ; European democracies ; Community ; Posthuman ; Prosthetics ; Antoine Volodine ; Maurice G. Dantec ; Michel Houellebecq ; Bernard Stiegler ; Jean-Luc Nancy ; Technology and Literature ; Late Capitalism