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Pass it on: towards a political economy of propensity

By N. J. Thrift

Abstract

The paper argues that the work of Gabriel Tarde on imitation provides a fertile means of understanding how capitalism is forging a new affective technology which conforms to a logic of propensity rather than to means-end reasoning. This it does by drawing together a biological understanding of semiconscious cognition with various practical geometric arts so as to re-stage the world as a series of susceptible situations which can be ridden rather than rigidly controlled. The paper examines the advent of technologies which attend to the variable geometry of so-called animal spirits in the realm of business and then, using Tarde's work as a springboard, considers some alternative means of understanding imitative rays which have less instrumental undertones. The paper is an illustration of the way in which biology and culture have increasingly become intertwined

Topics: B1, HB
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Year: 2008
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:1085

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