Catherine Malabou: plasticity, political ontology, biopower and education

Nick Peim

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


    ABSTRACT: Malabou’s writings offer an original take on the ontological turn (Heidegger, Derrida). Following and challenging Derrida, she has adopted and transformed Hegel’s ‘plasticity’ as an ontological principle. For Malabou ‘plasticity’ is alternative to ‘writing’ as (dis)articulated by Derrida as the principle of difference that is constitutive of being. Here difference is to be understood as defining an ontology that refuses to equate being with presence. Malabou’s original projection of the idea of plasticity is later developed to re-address questions concerning subjectivity through an encounter with contemporary neuroscience. As a contribution to fundamental ontology this has implications that are further developed in (2011) Ontology of the Accident. Further, in recent work, Malabou has addressed the question of the possibility of deconstructing biopolitics. The last section of this introduction explores her rethinking of the meaning of ‘life’ drawing on epigenetics that she proposes offers a way of deconstructing biopolitics and that I propose suggests ontologically alternative ways of understanding education in our time.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationPhilosophy as Lived Experience
    PublisherLIT Verlag
    Publication statusAccepted/In press - 28 Feb 2017


    • plasticity
    • deconstruction
    • biopower
    • education


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