Machine and Sovereignty

Publish date: October 29, 2024
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
ISBN: 9781517917418
Pages: 368
Language: English


“Machine and Sovereignty is a profound, groundbreaking, and timely call for a refoundation of political order and governance in light of current technological and ecological challenges at the planetary scale. Reinterpreting classical concepts of sovereignty and the state, Yuk Hui’s advocacy for an epistemological diplomacy incorporating technodiversity, noodiversity, and biodiversity inaugurates a new language of planetary coexistence beyond the nation-state and Anthropocene. This book is destined to become a seminal text in political philosophy and technology studies. It is not only an intellectual tour de force but also a crucial guide for navigating the complexities of the twenty-first century.”

—Antoinette Rouvroy, University of Namur

“Machine and Sovereignty responds to the growing call for a new planetary thinking in contemporary political culture and across the sciences and humanities. By replacing earlier theologico- and logico- settings of philosophy and the political with the technological, Yuk Hui both builds on his earlier work on techno-logic and expands it into a thinking of the planetary techno-political. This book is an important contribution to contemporary understanding of the political implications of thinking and acting in an increasingly digitalized planet.”

—Howard Caygill, author of Force and Understanding: Writings on Philosophy and Resistance

Developing a new political thought to address today’s planetary crises

What is “planetary thinking” today? Arguing that a new approach is urgently needed, Yuk Hui develops a future-oriented mode of political thought that encompasses the unprecedented global challenges we are confronting: the rise of artificial intelligence, the ecological crisis, and intensifying geopolitical conflicts.

Machine and Sovereignty starts with three premises. The first affirms the necessity of developing a new language of coexistence that surpasses the limits of nation-states and their variations; the second recognizes that political forms, including the polis, empire, and the state, are technological phenomena, which Lewis Mumford terms “megamachines.” The third suggests that a particular political form is legitimated and rationalized by a corresponding political epistemology. The planetary thinking that this book sketches departs from the opposition between mechanism and organism, which characterized modern thought, to understand the epistemological foundations of Hegel’s political state and Schmitt’s Großraum and their particular ways of conceiving the question of sovereignty. Through this reconstruction, Hui exposes the limits of the state and reflects on a new theoretical matrix based on the interrelated concepts of biodiversity, noodiversity, and technodiversity.

Arguing that we are facing the limit of modernity, of the eschatological view of history, of globalization, and of the human, Hui conceives necessary new epistemological and technological frameworks for understanding and rising to the crises of our present and our future.