The Techne of GivingCinema and the Generous Form of Life

The Techne of GivingCinema and the Generous Form of Life

Timothy C. Campbell

Print publication date: 2017

ISBN: 9780823273256

Publisher: Fordham University Press


Techne of Giving intervenes in two debates: the first, the relation between an affirmative biopolitics and biopower; and the second, how cinema, Italian cinema especially, can provides fresh perspectives on how to engage generously with biopolitical apparatuses. In so doing, the book brings together contemporary philosophy and film studies in order to argue for the generous features of the cinematic apparatus. Not all apparatuses are the same—some are more generous than others to the degree that they allow the spectator to experience, in the workings of the visible and invisible, a mode of non-mastery able to respond to biopower. As the canon of biopolitical critique solidifies, Techne of Giving therefore pushes back against thanatopolitical readings of biopolitics. Drawing on authors as diverse as Adorno, Winnicott, Metz, Irigaray, and Lyotard, Techne of Giving skirts the fields of visual studies and contemporary thought to imagine a generous form of life. In so doing, the book is intended to jumpstart discussions of what it means to be generous and what part gratitude plays when considering different forms of being in common. The hope is to short-circuit neoliberal models of giving with their buyers and sellers, and instead to posit forms of non-giving and non-receiving. In addition the book follows the visual traces of such a model of generosity and giving across a number of classic Italian films. By so doing, it sketches a sensibility in which protagonists neither give nor receive in any traditional sense.