The Already Dead: The New Time of Politics, Culture, and IllnessBy Eric Cazdyn
2012 | Duke UP (external site)
Copy Available: No
In "The Already Dead," Eric Cazdyn examines the intersection among contemporary medicine, globalization, and present-day political and cultural practices—producing a condition and concept he names “the new chronic.” Cazdyn argues that as in contemporary medicine, which uses targeted drug therapies and biotechnology to manage rather than cure diseases, global capitalism does not aim for resolution but rather a continual state of crisis management that perpetrates the iniquities of the status quo. Engaging critical theory, philosophy, and psychoanalysis, Cazdyn explores the complexities of crisis, paying particular attention to how it affects perceptions of time and denies alternate ways of being and forms of thinking.
To resist this exploitative crisis state, which he terms “the global abyss,” Cazdyn posits the concept of “the already dead,” a condition in which the subject (medical, political, psychological) has been killed but has yet to die. Embracing this condition, he argues, allows for a revolutionary consciousness open to a utopian future. Woven into Cazdyn’s analysis are personal anecdotes about battling leukemia and struggling to obtain Canadian citizenship during his illness. These narratives help to illustrate his systemic critique, one that innovatively reconfigures the relationship between politics, capitalism, revolution, and the body.