Michel Feher

Michel Feher, a Belgian philosopher, is the author of Powerless by Design: The Age of the International Community and the editor of Nongovernmental Politics and Europe at a Crossroads, among other titles. Founder of Cette France-là, a monitoring group on French immigration policy, Feher is also a founding editor of Zone Books.

  • Rated Agency

    Rated Agency

    Investee Politics in a Speculative Age

    Michel Feher

    The extraordinary shift in conduct and orientation—among companies, governments, and individuals—generated by financialization.

    The hegemony of finance compels a new orientation for everyone and everything: companies care more about the moods of their shareholders than about longstanding commercial success; governments subordinate citizen welfare to appeasing creditors; and individuals are concerned less with immediate income from labor than with appreciation of their capital goods, skills, connections, and reputations. In this book, in clear and compelling prose, Michel Feher explains the extraordinary shift in conduct and orientation generated by financialization.

    That firms, states, and people depend more on their ratings than on the product of their activities also changes how capitalism is resisted. For activists, the focus of grievances shifts from the extraction of profit to the conditions under which financial institutions allocate credit. While the exploitation of employees by their employers has hardly been curbed, the power of investors to select investees—to decide who and what is deemed creditworthy—has become a new site of social struggle. Above all, Feher articulates the new political resistances and aspirations that investees draw from their rated agency.

    • Hardcover $25.95 £20.00
  • Nongovernmental Politics

    Nongovernmental Politics

    Michel Feher

    The past, present, and future prospects of nongovernmental politics—political activism that withdraws from traditional government but not from the politics associated with governing.

    To be involved in politics without aspiring to govern, without seeking to be governed by the best leaders, without desiring to abolish all forms of government: such is the condition common to practitioners of nongovernmental politics. Whether these activists concern themselves with providing humanitarian aid, monitoring human rights violations, protecting the environment, educating consumers, or improving the safety of workers, the legitimacy and efficacy of their initiatives demand that they forsake conventional political ambitions. Yet even as they challenge specific governmental practices, nongovernmental activists are still operating within the realm of politics.Composed of scholarly essays on the challenges and predicaments facing nongovernmental activism, profiles of unique and diverse NGOs (including Memorial, Global Exchange, World Vision, and Third World Network), and interviews with major nongovernmental actors (Gareth Evans of International Crisis Group, Anthony Romero of the ACLU, Rony Brauman of Médecins sans Frontières, and Peter Lurie of Public Citizen, among others), this book offers a groundbreaking survey of the rapidly expanding domain of nongovernmental activism. It examines nongovernmental activists' motivations, from belief in the universality of human rights to concerns over the fairness of corporate stakeholders' claims, and explores the multiple ways in which nongovernmental agencies operate. It analyzes the strategic options available and focuses on some of the most remarkable sites of NGO action, including borders, disaster zones, and the Internet. Finally, the book analyzes the conflicting agendas pursued by nongovernmental advocates—protecting civil society from the intrusions of governments that lack accountability or wresting the world from neo-liberal hegemony on the one hand and hastening the return of the Savior or restoring the social order prescribed by the Prophet on the other.

    • Hardcover $39.95 £30.00
    • Paperback $39.95 £30.00
  • The Libertine Reader

    The Libertine Reader

    Eroticism and Enlightenment in Eighteenth-Century France

    Michel Feher

    Irresistibly charming or shamelessly deceitful, remarkably persuasive or uselessly verbose, everything one loves to hate—or hates to love—about "French lovers" and their self-styled reputation can be traced to eighteenth-century libertine novels. Obsessed with strategies of seduction, speculating endlessly about the motives and goals of lovers, the idle aristocrats who populate these novels are exclusively preoccupied with their erotic life. Deprived of other battlefields to fulfill their thirst for glory, libertine noblemen seek to conquer the women of their class without falling into the trap of love, while their female prey attempt to enjoy the pleasures of love without sacrificing their honor. Yet, despite the licentious mores of the declining Old Regime, men and women are still expected to pay lip service to an austere code of morals. Since they are constantly asked to denounce their own practices, their erotic war games are governed by a double constraint: whatever they feel or intend, the heroes of libertine literature can neither say what they mean nor mean what they say. The Libertine Reader includes all the varieties of libertine strategies: from the successful cunning of Mme de T_____ in Vivant Denon's No Tomorrow to the ill-fated genius of Mme de Merteuil in Laclos's Dangerous Liaisons; from the laborious sentimental education of Meilcour in Crebillon fils's The Wayward Head and Heart to the hazardous master plan of the French ambassador in Prevost's The Story of a Modern Greek Woman. The discrepancies between the characters' words and their true intentions—the libertine double entendre—are exposed through the speaking vaginas in Diderot's The Indiscreet Jewels and the wandering soul of Amanzei in Crebillon fils's The Sofa, while the contrasts between natural and civilized—or degenerate—erotics are the subjects of both Diderot's Supplement to Bougainville's Voyage and Laclos's On the Education of Women. Finally, Sade's Florville and Courval shows that destiny itself is on the side of libertinism.

    • Hardcover $34.95 £27.00
    • Paperback $34.95 £27.00
  • Zone 3

    Zone 3

    Fragments for a History of the Human Body, Part One

    Michel Feher

    The 48 essays and photographic dossiers in these three volumes examine the history of the human body as a field where life and thought intersect. They show how different cultures at different times have entwined physical capacities and mental mechanisms in order to construct a body adapted to moral ideas or social circumstances the body of a charismatic citizen or a visionary monk a mirror image of the world or a reflection of the spirit. Each volume emphasizes a particular perspective. Part 1 explores the human body's relationship to the divine, to the bestial, and to the machines that imitate or simulate it. Part 2 covers the junctures between the body's "outside" and "inside" by studying the manifestations - or production - of the soul and the expression of the emotions and, on another level, by examining the speculations inspired by cenesthesia, pain, and death. Part 3 brings into play the classical opposition between organ and function by showing how organs or bodily substances can be used to justify or challenge the way human societies function and, conversely, how political and social functions tend to make the bodies of the persons filling them the organs of a larger body - the social body or the universe as a whole.

    Contributors Mark Elvin, Catherine Gallagher, Françoise Héritier Augé, Julia Kristeva, William R. LaFleur, Thomas W. Laqueur Jacques Le Goff, Nicole Loraux, Mario Perniola, Hillel Schwartz, Jean Starobinski, Jean Pierre Vernant, and Caroline Walker Bynum

    • Hardcover $68.95
    • Paperback $39.95 £27.95
  • Zone 4

    Zone 4

    Fragments for a History of the Human Body, Part Two

    Michel Feher

    The 48 essays and photographic dossiers in these three volumes examine the history of the human body as a field where life and thought intersect. They show how different cultures at different times have entwined physical capacities and mental mechanisms in order to construct a body adapted to moral ideas or social circumstances the body of a charismatic citizen or a visionary monk a mirror image of the world or a reflection of the spirit. Each volume emphasizes a particular perspective. Part 1 explores the human body's relationship to the divine, to the bestial, and to the machines that imitate or simulate it. Part 2 covers the junctures between the body's "outside" and "inside" by studying the manifestations - or production - of the soul and the expression of the emotions and, on another level, by examining the speculations inspired by cenesthesia, pain, and death. Part 3 brings into play the classical opposition between organ and function by showing how organs or bodily substances can be used to justify or challenge the way human societies function and, conversely, how political and social functions tend to make the bodies of the persons filling them the organs of a larger body - the social body or the universe as a whole.

    Contributors Mark Elvin, Catherine Gallagher, Françoise Héritier Augé, Julia Kristeva, William R. LaFleur, Thomas W. Laqueur Jacques Le Goff, Nicole Loraux, Mario Perniola, Hillel Schwartz, Jean Starobinski, Jean Pierre Vernant, and Caroline Walker Bynum

    • Hardcover $68.95
    • Paperback $39.95 £27.95
  • Zone 5

    Zone 5

    Fragments for a History of the Human Body, Part Three

    Michel Feher

    The 48 essays and photographic dossiers in these three volumes examine the history of the human body as a field where life and thought intersect. They show how different cultures at different times have entwined physical capacities and mental mechanisms in order to construct a body adapted to moral ideas or social circumstances the body of a charismatic citizen or a visionary monk a mirror image of the world or a reflection of the spirit. Each volume emphasizes a particular perspective. Part 1 explores the human body's relationship to the divine, to the bestial, and to the machines that imitate or simulate it. Part 2 covers the junctures between the body's "outside" and "inside" by studying the manifestations - or production - of the soul and the expression of the emotions and, on another level, by examining the speculations inspired by cenesthesia, pain, and death. Part 3 brings into play the classical opposition between organ and function by showing how organs or bodily substances can be used to justify or challenge the way human societies function and, conversely, how political and social functions tend to make the bodies of the persons filling them the organs of a larger body - the social body or the universe as a whole.

    Contributors Mark Elvin, Catherine Gallagher, Françoise Héritier Augé, Julia Kristeva, William R. LaFleur, Thomas W. Laqueur Jacques Le Goff, Nicole Loraux, Mario Perniola, Hillel Schwartz, Jean Starobinski, Jean Pierre Vernant, and Caroline Walker Bynum

    • Hardcover $68.95
    • Paperback $39.95 £27.95
  • Zone 1/2

    Zone 1/2

    The Contemporary City

    Michel Feher and Sanford Kwinter

    This inaugural double issue of the serial publication ZONE examines the physical, political, and perceptual transformations redefining the contemporary city.These transformations are explored through historical studies of transformations in the urban system, through theoretical essays which map out the evolution of related social and economic structures (such as the state, the family, and the factory), and through experimental artist projects and critical dossiers.

    Contributors Include Christopher Alexander, John Baldessari, Gilles Deleuze, Peter Eisenman, Rem Koolhaas, William Labov, Michael Piore, and Paul Virilio

    • Paperback $39.95 £27.95