Journal Article


Governing progress: From cybernetic homeostasis to Simondon’s politics of metastability

Abstract

In this article we analyse the idea of progress and show that, since its early-modern inception, it has relied on a twofold commitment. On the one hand, it rests on a project of mathematical modelisation of natural and social reality, deterministically conceived. On the other hand, it requires the production of a stable social order capable of implementing that model. This stance, we argue, is still dominant and defines the ‘(hyper-)modern condition’. Following Gilbert Simondon, we take the cybernetic notion of dynamic stability (‘homeostasis’) as paradigmatic of the hyper-modern condition. As we explain, this core notion has covered multiple epistemic domains, including the social sciences, and contributed to reformulate the modern idea of progress within the terms dictated by neoliberal governmentality. The connection we establish between cybernetics and neoliberalism will eventually allow us to use Simondon’s theory against both. In our view, Simondon’s concept of ‘metastability’ supports an alternative understanding of progress based on the ideas of social change and the government of normative invention, which includes the opening of social systems to a future beyond their own preservation.

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Authors

Bardin, Andrea
Ferrari, Marco

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of Social Sciences

Dates

Year of publication: 2022
Date of RADAR deposit: 2022-04-01


Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License


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