The world has entered an unprecedented period of uncertainty and political instability. Faced with the challenge of knowing and acting within such a world, the spread of computers and connectivity, and the arrival of new digital sense-making tools are widely celebrated as helpful. But is this really the case or have we lost more than gained in the digital revolution?
In Post-Humanitarianism: Governing Precarity in the Digital World renowned scholar of development, security and global governance Mark Duffield offers an alternative interpretation. He contends that connectivity embodies new forms of behavioural incorporation, cognitive subordination and automated management that are themselves inseparable from the emergence of precarity as a global phenomenon. Rather than reconstruct from disasters, survivors are encouraged to build ‘resilience’ - to adapt and make do with what remains. As an outcome of an economy now in permanent emergency, humanitarian disasters function as a site for trialling and anticipating the modes of social automation and remote management that govern this precarity and increasingly embrace us all.
Empirically rich and conceptually innovative, Post-Humanitarianism critically explores how increasing connectivity is inseparable from growing societal polarisation, anger and political push-back. It will be essential reading for students of international and social critique, together with anyone concerned about our deepening alienation from the world.