After Fukushima : the equivalence of catastrophes by Jean-Luc Nancy, Charlotte Mandell

By Jean-Luc Nancy, Charlotte Mandell

During this publication, the thinker Jean-Luc Nancy examines the character of catastrophes within the period of globalization and know-how. Can a disaster be an remoted prevalence? Is there one of these factor as a "natural" disaster while all of our applied sciences nuclear strength, strength offer, water offer are inevitably implicated, drawing jointly the organic, social, financial, and political? Nancy examines those questions and extra. unique to this English version are interviews with Nancy performed by way of Danielle Cohen-Levinas and Yuji Nishiyama and Yotetsu Tonaki

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Extra resources for After Fukushima : the equivalence of catastrophes

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We should emphasize first that equivalence is at play between catastrophes we usually call “natural” (so that the word “catastrophes” commonly implies just this aspect, although when we say “natural” we’re really thinking of 53 I T ’ S A C ATA S T R O P H E ! human catastrophes) and precisely these human catastrophes—wars, massacres, destruction of all kinds. Equivalence stems first from the fact that there’s not much we can term simply “natural,” since the ravages of a tsunami or a hurricane are immediately multiplied on the human scale, and more than that, they modify and are modified by industry, urbanism, politics, etc.

It’s pointless to play at being the architects of the future: Let’s let the future do that and open up possibilities. But the fact remains that the most common communication, if I dare say it, is always and constantly at our disposal. By internet, yes, but I’m less sensitive to so-called “social” networks (a revealing expression) than to 49 QUESTIONS FOR JEAN-LUC NANCY the possibilities of speaking with each other and seeing each other (Skype, for instance), but more precisely to the circulation of thoughts, words, writings, images, visual and musical forms, of daily life, to all this circulation that makes a still unknown sense, not yet even “sensed,” so to speak, but that will not fail to make sense, in the long run.

Equivalence means the state of forces that govern themselves in some way by themselves. Whether it is a question of a broken nuclear reactor or a bomb, whether the reactor or the weapon is more or less powerful, the excessiveness of their effects in space and time makes them equal to the excess associated with the means of controlling them and even more of neutralizing them. This is not absolutely new: Coal, electricity, and oil have already brought these problems with them, sufferings or wounds of civilization that exceed the capacities of technical as well as political control.

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