Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Murphy, P
The Maintainers
Reprising the Third Way: a Middling Proposal
Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ,
Optional Fields
Does the middle of the road always need to have one placed in danger of being, rather tediously and slowly, run over by a minibus full of mediocrity? Must we always hyperventilate ourselves towards the extremes looking for revolution? Unfashionable though it may be, in this paper I want to revise (bring back, if you will) some version of Giddens's Third Way. And back is 'back'. The speculative turn onto the natural sciences and our knowledge of 'nature', has moved us mid-way between correlationism (Meillassoux, 2009) and speculation on the-thing-in-itself. In Dorsality, David Wills brilliantly watches his and others' backs, the splendor in that turn at the edge (but patently not a move back to language, “[a] primary technological system” (p14)). Heidegger wants us to be patient, wait for an event, an occurrence, even while Adrian Johnston (2014) joins Zizek and Badiou in their fear of political and ideological stasis guided helpfully by the structural status quo. And we wait for a revolutionary spark, a cause, that never happens.... On the way back then, back to the centre, some kind of paradoxical conservative, knowing disruption happens. The familiar makes us cozy up to a constantlly-forgotten type of creativity. In my essay paper to The Maintainers, I want to present the following examples, drawing from speculative realist/STS readings of futures: political calmness in the face of capitalist techno-realities, the post-punk New Wave movement from 1970s into 1980s, and the implications of the Paris COP21 ‘deal’. I will address two themes of the conference : what is at stake if we move scholarship away from innovation and toward maintenance; and theories, methods, and sources that might study a steady, yet creative, type of maintenance - all when we study structure in culture, technoscience and social order.