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After affirmation, or, being a loser. On vitalism, sacrifice, and cinders.

Harrison, P. (2015) 'After affirmation, or, being a loser. On vitalism, sacrifice, and cinders.', GeoHumanities., 1 (2). pp. 285-306.


What could it mean to hesitate before life? To be unwilling or unable to affirm existence? And who or what would suggest such a thing? What type of monster would embrace sadness over joy, despair over hope, failure over success? And yet this is what is proposed. This article starts from a suspicion, a suspicion that, contemporary claims to the contrary, life is not innocent, that any affirmation always contains a disavowal, and that we are, whether we like it or not, always bound up in structures of sacrifice. More formally, the claim will be that with the maturation of Nietzsche’s legacy in the humanities and social sciences, and the rise of new forms of vitalism, a new conception of life has taken root, one with far-reaching implications for thinking about politics, ethics, and existence as such; this is a rapidly unfolding onto-bio-political framework. The article offers an alternative account, one in which life is always already involved with loss, always the life of survival, always life–death.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Affirmation, Cioran, Nietzsche, Sacrifice, Survival.
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in GeoHumanities on 14/12/2015, available online at:
Date accepted:28 September 2015
Date deposited:27 January 2016
Date of first online publication:14 December 2015
Date first made open access:01 July 2016

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