The Debt of the Living: Ascesis and Capitalism

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State University of New York Press
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6.0 X 0.4 X 8.9 inches | 0.6 pounds
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About the Author

Elettra Stimilli is research fellow of theoretical philosophy at Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, Italy. Arianna Bove is the translator of many books, including Factory of Strategy: Thirty-Three Lessons on Lenin, by Antonio Negri.


"The Debt of the Living offers its readers a careful reading of a wide selection of important thinkers, alongside a thorough analysis of what it means to be an indebted human subject. Raising a series of urgent questions, this book makes a valuable contribution to the debates surrounding our current condition." -- Journal of Italian Philosophy

"...Stimilli makes an important contribution to the theological genealogy of the functioning of neoliberalism and our current debt economy. It should be read widely, by those concerned with such matters." -- Religious Theory

"Globalization is on everyone's lips these days but little or no attention has been paid to its effects on the individual human being. Elettra Stimilli's book is a major step towards filling this lack. Drawing on, and creatively extending, the work of Foucault, Agamben, Benjamin, and a wide range of other thinkers, she argues that one can no longer understand the source of inequality in sacrifice, that is in the refusal to satisfy desire. Her thought-provoking conclusion is that the modern increase in individual psychopathologies is consequent to the neoliberal transformation of the economy and thus of governmentality. A strikingly creative and new voice." -- Tracy B. Strong, author of Politics without Vision: Thinking without a Banister in the Twentieth Century

"Stimilli's Debt of the Living offers invaluable insights into the connections between the domination of global technocapitalism and the subjective strategies of conformity and resistance. Through a series of illuminating readings of Nietzsche, Weber, Harnack, Benjamin, and Heidegger it provides the ground plan for a radical political theology that insists on the renewed subversive potential of transcendence." -- Howard Caygill, author of Kafka: In Light of the Accident

"Debt is a burning issue today. Against the background of contemporary debates on neoliberalism and biopolitics, The Debt of the Living takes us on a breathtaking tour to understand the constitutive entanglement of capitalism and debt as well as of debt and guilt. Elettra Stimilli's genealogical investigation of Christian asceticism sheds light on the emergence of a matrix of economic power that continues to haunt our present. And helps us to contest it." -- Sandro Mezzadra, coauthor of Border as Method, or, the Multiplication of Labor

"...unreservedly recommended." -- Midwest Book Review