March 25, 2017

Response to Luke Mergner Public Seminar deleted my response to Luke Mergner's review of Crowds and Party. The review is critical -- so critical that the author doesn't even get the title right. Nor does he get the title right of one of my other books that he mentions. Here is my response (fortunately, a Facebook friend was able to recover it): Hi Luke, thanks for the thoughtful review. My 2009 book is called Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies. As you know, definitions are not always useful since most of our concepts have histories. The concept of the crowd that I use comes primarily from LeBon (a temporary collective being) and is expanded via Canetti (especially with respect to the egalitarian discharge). Crowds don't have to be spontaneous; they can be organized and produced. I talk about mobs on pp. 7-8, and refer briefly to some of that literature. As I note, the 19th century opens up the discussion of whether a crowd is a mob or the people. This is a political question, a matter of struggle and debate. This struggle is always necessarily situated -- what is opened up, what is possible? Some commentators always mistrust the people, always render the crowd as a mob. Others find possibility. I don't deconstruct the idea of individual interests because I am more interested in rejecting the individual form altogether. You write: "Dean wants to argue that intelligible interests can be attributed to collectives" -- that description doesn't ring true to me since I don't...

Jodi Dean

Jodi Dean is a political theorist.

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