Politicians and philosophers presenting themselves as the ultimate bearers of truth and reality have created unprecedented technological, cultural, and political framings. This new order conspires to undermine the interpretive practices of open-ended critique, normalizing a sense of threat to preserve control. The greatest emergency has become the absence of emergencies. Tracing an intellectual alliance between academics such as Jordan Peterson and Christina Hoff Sommers and right-wing populist politicians such as Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen, this book denounces framings that make a claim to objectivity. With the help of contemporary thinkers including Bruno Latour, Judith Butler, and Giorgio Agamben, as well as discussion of the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie and the emergency of biodiversity loss due to climate change, Santiago Zabala illustrates that the twenty-first-century question is not whether we can be free, but how to be at large - unconstrained by the new realist order. Being at Large demonstrates the anarchic power of hermeneutics, calling for interpretive disruptions of the authoritarian narrative as a way of reclaiming freedom in the age of alternative facts.
About the Author
Santiago Zabala is ICREA Research Professor of Philosophy at Pompeu Fabra University.
"Society is a place where citizens practice their art, rights, and science. Society also now reflects political and cultural conditions, and the current emergency reflects a loss of freedom—as if history and culture have ended. Zabala is sounding the philosophical alarm about dangers to freedom in a society and culture in which power shapes the field of alternative facts. This a powerful, energetic, and wise book." Choice
"[Being at Large] is an invitation to take an existential stand for freedom. Zabala cannot tell anyone what to do, but he can invite participation in the interpretive openness of Being at large, and from that freedom one can take an existential stand." Ho
"Riveting and crucial." William Eggington, Los Angeles Review of Books
"Timey and engagingly written, Being at Large advances a thesis developed in Zabala's previous work, namely, that we live in times of a dominant "absence of emergency," despite being surrounded by and immersed in emergency. This means that a long list of
"One often uses culinary comparisons to characterize great books: it's the crème de la crème, it takes the cake. Zabala's book is too important for such games. If anything, it is - or should become - the daily bread of all those who want to find their way