SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

Exiles in the 21st Century: The New ‘Population Law’ of Absolute Capitalism

Professor Etienne Balibar (University of Paris-Nanterre and Kingston University)

Date: 19 February 2019Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 19 February 2019Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Seminar

Clearly the 21st century will be marked by the increasingly large number of exiles i.e. uprooted and displaced people who find themselves ‘erring’ within or between states and continents, suffering extreme hardship or facing elimination, and creating imminent ‘pressure’ on states and societies. This can be addressed from totally antithetic standpoints, leading to a polarisation of attitudes with unpredictable results, on which the future of our institutions may well depend. While the origins of the exilic process are complex, and the statutes under which the errands themselves are categorised for administrative and ideological reasons are multiple, a neo-Marxist perspective may try and bring some clarification through the investigation of the ‘population law’ that characterises contemporary neoliberal or ‘absolute’ capitalism, leading to the formation of incompatible – and sometimes conflictual – forms of precariousness. The talk wants to describe and assess the value of this possibility.


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Exiles in the 21st Century: The New ‘Population Law’ of Absolute Capitalism

Étienne Balibar was born in 1942. He graduated at the Sorbonne in Paris, and later took his PhD from the University of Nijmegen (Netherlands). He is now Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Paris-Nanterre, and Anniversary Chair of Contemporary European Philosophy at Kingston University, London. He is the author or co-author of Reading Capital (Verso, 1965, with Louis Althusser); Race, Nation, Class. Ambiguous Identities (Verso, 1991, with Immanuel Wallerstein); Masses, Classes, Ideas (Routledge, 1994); The Philosophy of Marx (Verso, 1995); Spinoza and Politics (Verso, 1998); Politics and the Other Scene (Verso, 2002); We, the People of Europe? Reflections on Transnational Citizenship (Princeton, 2004); Identity and Difference: John Locke and the Invention of Consciousness (Verso, 2013); Violence and Civility (Columbia University Press, 2015); Citizen Subject: Foundations for Philosophical Anthropology (Fordham University Press, 2017); and Secularism and Cosmopolitanism (Columbia University Press, 2018).

Organiser: Dr Feyzi Ismail

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