The Government of Things

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Materialism, a rich philosophical tradition that goes back to antiquity, is currently undergoing a Renaissance. In 'The Government of Things,' Thomas Lemke provides a comprehensive overview and critical assessment of this 'new materialism'. In analyzing the work of Graham Harman, Jane Bennett, and Karen Barad, Lemke articulates what, exactly, new materialism is and how it has evolved. These insights open up new spaces for critical thought and political experimentation, overcoming the limits of anthropocentrism. Drawing on Michel Foucault's concept of a 'government of things', the book also goes beyond new materialist scholarship which tends to displace political questions by ethical and aesthetic concerns. It puts forward a relational and performative account of materialities that more closely attends to the interplay of epistemological, ontological, and political issues.