This from Simon Williams’s Emotion and Social Theory:

Within the modern rationalist project–elements of which include the legislative ambitions of philosophical reason, the gardening ambitions of the state, and the ordering ambitions of the applied sciences–underdetermination, ambivalence and contingency are construed as a threat… (17; my emphasis)

Now, there is surely an argument to be made about the relationship between sovereignty and landscape gardening, between politics and pruning, and so on. But I hardly believe that this is what Williams means. Surely this is a typo. What, then, did he mean to write?

I take the correct word to be an antonym of ambivalence, just as legislative ambitions are opposed to underdetermination and order undermined by contingency. But I can’t for the life of me think of a word that sounds or looks like “gardening” that would make more sense in this context.

Answers on a postcard, please.

Otherwise, perhaps Williams is indeed referring to the horticultural side of power…


Via The Weblog, Anthony Paul Smith points us to a Negri documentary now online.

The film has a lot to say about the Italian context to Negri’s work, and so Potere Operaio and the Hot Autumn etc. As often, however, Negri is otherwise portrayed as pretty much existing in an intellectual vacuum until he came to France and met Deleuze and Guattari, when finally (it is implied) he could think.

The most interesting thing about the film, given that it offers little more than a gestural outline of Negri’s theories (the refusal of work, self-valorization, social workers, and multitude are all name-checked) is the archive footage it offers of Italy in the 1970s.

Meanwhile the multitude, it would appear from the clips we are shown here, is but a matter of getting down with the bees.