The Action of Non-Action: Walter Benjamin, wu wei, and critiquing capitalism in the era of natural catastrophe

Ng, Julia. 2021. The Action of Non-Action: Walter Benjamin, wu wei, and critiquing capitalism in the era of natural catastrophe. Theory, Culture & Society, ISSN 0263-2764 [Article] (Forthcoming)

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Abstract or Description

Beginning with a discussion of adaptations of François Jullien’s understanding of ‘potential born of disposition’ and ‘silent transformation’ in two recent analyses of capitalist contemporaneity (by Bennett and Dufourmantelle), this essay argues that ‘China’ as a philosophical tool bears within it a rich and underanalyzed genealogy that reframes critical theory’s approach to nature and its objects in a new geopolitical context. The remainder of the essay then unpacks the intellectual history and textual philology of one earlier and pivotal moment of critical theory’s entanglement with ‘China’: Walter Benjamin’s transformation of ‘non-action’, or wu wei, into a complex for thinking through possibilities of not-being in debt to Being.

Item Type:

Article

Keywords:

François Jullien, Walter Benjamin, Max Weber, Bertolt Brecht, wu wei, Daoism, capitalism, nature

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

English and Comparative Literature > Centre for Philosophy and Critical Thought

Dates:

DateEvent
9 September 2021Accepted

Item ID:

29659

Date Deposited:

31 Mar 2021 13:41

Last Modified:

10 Sep 2021 10:30

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI:

https://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/29659

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