The Accompaniment Assembling the Contemporary
by Paul Rabinow
University of Chicago Press, 2011
Cloth: 978-0-226-70169-1 | Paper: 978-0-226-70170-7 | Electronic: 978-0-226-70171-4
ABOUT THIS BOOKAUTHOR BIOGRAPHYREVIEWSTABLE OF CONTENTS

ABOUT THIS BOOK

In this culmination of his search for anthropological concepts and practices appropriate to the twenty-first century, Paul Rabinow contends that to make sense of the contemporary anthropologists must invent new forms of inquiry. He begins with an extended rumination on what he gained from two of his formative mentors: Michel Foucault and Clifford Geertz. Reflecting on their lives as teachers and thinkers, as well as human beings, he poses questions about their critical limitations, unfulfilled hopes, and the lessons he learned from and with them.
 
This spirit of collaboration animates The Accompaniment, as Rabinow assesses the last ten years of his career, largely spent engaging in a series of intensive experiments in collaborative research and often focused on cutting-edge work in synthetic biology. He candidly details the successes and failures of shifting his teaching practice away from individual projects, placing greater emphasis on participation over observation in research, and designing and using websites as a venue for collaboration. Analyzing these endeavors alongside his efforts to apply an anthropological lens to the natural sciences, Rabinow lays the foundation for an ethically grounded anthropology ready and able to face the challenges of our contemporary world.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY

Paul Rabinow is professor of anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of numerous books, including Marking Time: On the Anthropology of the Contemporary, Anthropos Today: Reflections on Modern Equipment, and French DNA: Trouble in Purgatory.

REVIEWS

“One of our most vividly original thinkers, Paul Rabinow has produced a richly informed meditation on collaboration.  It is, in its own terms, an ‘untimely’ book in the best sense, immersed in history, focused on the present, and dedicated to the ‘demands of the day.’  With reflections on art, music, philosophy, biology, as well as on his teachers, mentors, and collaborators, The Accompaniment is the culminating book of an extraordinary career, and secures Rabinow’s place as our leading anthropologist of knowledge.”

— Geoffrey Harpham, director, National Humanities Center

“Sophisticated, historically and philosophically grounded, and engaging, Rabinow’s vision of what anthropology might be provides food for thought and deserves careful consideration and debate.”

— Richard Price, College of William and Mary

TABLE OF CONTENTS

- Paul Rabinow
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226701714.003.0001
[Nietzsche, Untimely Observations, untimely, observations, cultural critics, philosophers, artists]
This introduction discusses Nietzsche’s Untimely Observations. It examines two connected but independent terms at play in this book: the “untimely” and “observations”. The form that Nietzsche gave to this critique was to center on the work of specific individuals—philosophers, artists, and cultural critics. (pages 1 - 4)
This chapter is available at:
    University Press Scholarship Online

Part One: Men of Knowledge In Search of Redemption or Salvation

- Paul Rabinow
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226701714.003.0002
[anthropological theorists, culture, nihilism, Franz Boaz, race]
This chapter discusses anthropological theorists who have developed the concept of “culture”, arguing that their attempts to create a science of culture resulted in a form of nihilism. One example is Franz Boaz, who used the science of culture that he was building as the weapon with which to attack the concept of race. (pages 12 - 39)
This chapter is available at:
    University Press Scholarship Online

- Paul Rabinow
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226701714.003.0003
[anthropology, language, Clifford Geertz, diacritic, Paul Hyman]
This chapter discusses the importance to the anthropologist of the command of language. Speaking “the language,” Clifford Geertz held, was the ethical and epistemological diacritic of the discipline. Paul Hyman’s presence showed that making no attempt to demonstrate the aforementioned mastery could show us many things about those observed as well as those authorized to observe them. (pages 40 - 57)
This chapter is available at:
    University Press Scholarship Online

- Paul Rabinow
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226701714.003.0004
[Michel Foucault, criticism, inquiry, thinking, object, form]
Michel Foucault experimented with the challenge of criticism and inquiry in many different ways. This chapter discusses Foucault’s struggle to redefine the object of thinking to an increasingly articulate and acute quest for a form. It explores some of the factors that play a role in his deeply reformative period of several years. (pages 58 - 80)
This chapter is available at:
    University Press Scholarship Online

- Paul Rabinow
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226701714.003.0005
[Foucault, Collège de France, Greek philosophy, Roman philosophy, polis, Christianity]
This chapter discusses Foucault’s lectures at the Collège de France on largely textual expositions of Greek and Roman philosophy. In his lectures, he explored the assembly of the polis, the sovereign’s chambers where his counselors advised him, as well as an initial indication of the Christian transformations of these venues and practices. (pages 81 - 98)
This chapter is available at:
    University Press Scholarship Online

Part Two: In Search of a Contemporary Anthropology

- Paul Rabinow
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226701714.003.0006
[forms, venues, practices, interpretive sciences, contemporary knowledge, social sciences, humanities]
This chapter argues that it is necessary to rethink and remediate key aspects of the forms, venues, and practices of the interpretive sciences, that is, aspects of the pragmatic and material conditions of contemporary knowledge production, dissemination, and critique. It suggests for an invention of practices of knowledge production, dissemination, and critique that refuse the individualism of the reigning social sciences and humanities. (pages 112 - 126)
This chapter is available at:
    University Press Scholarship Online

- Paul Rabinow
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226701714.003.0007
[collaborative anthropology, colaboring, problematization, Niklas Luhmann, observations]
This chapter discusses an experiment in collaborative anthropology. It describes the actual practices of intellectual colaboring and the challenges encountered. The goal of the experiment was to study problematization in real time and examine it using Niklas Luhmann’s distinction between first- and second-order observations. (pages 127 - 153)
This chapter is available at:
    University Press Scholarship Online

- Paul Rabinow
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226701714.003.0008
[discordancy, familiarity, trust, confidence, synthetic biology, observational practices]
This chapter analyzes the elements of discordancy in the hope that such clarification might open up a pragmatic way forward or clarify the blockages that characterized this experiment. It deals with reflections on the anthropological challenge of transforming traditional observational practices and the ethical challenge of whether synthetic biology would be prove itself to be worthwhile interpersonally, scientifically, and ethically. (pages 154 - 176)
This chapter is available at:
    University Press Scholarship Online

- Paul Rabinow
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226701714.003.0009
[modern life sciences, Gyorgy Markus, hermeneutics, natural sciences]
This chapter discusses the problem of what the modern life sciences have to contribute. It focuses on the analysis of Gyorgy Markus’s article entitled Why Is There No Hermeneutics of the Natural Sciences?. (pages 177 - 188)
This chapter is available at:
    University Press Scholarship Online

- Paul Rabinow
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226701714.003.0010
[Giorgio Agamben, contemporary, déphasage, temporal disconnection, l’anachronisme, anachronism]
This chapter examines Giorgio Agamben’s lecture on the understanding of the contemporary. For Agamben, there are two essential qualities of the contemporary: déphasage (temporal disconnection) and l’anachronisme (anachronism). (pages 189 - 201)
This chapter is available at:
    University Press Scholarship Online

- Paul Rabinow
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226701714.003.0011
[individualism, anthropology, collaborative work, reconfiguration, remediation, construction]
This book describes experiments that attempt to reconfigure, remediate, and reconstruct the forms of the subject position of individualism in anthropology to create a genre of collaborative work. This conclusion discusses the concept of each parameter and the metric guiding them. (pages 202 - 209)
This chapter is available at:
    University Press Scholarship Online

Notes

Bibliography

Index of Subjects

Index of Names and Titles