The Techne of Giving

9780823273256: Hardback
Release Date: 2nd January 2017

9780823273263: Paperback
Release Date: 2nd January 2017

9780823273287: PDF
Release Date: 2nd January 2017

9780823273270: EPUB
Release Date: 2nd January 2017

Dimensions: 152.4 x 228.6

Number of Pages: 240

Series Commonalities

Fordham University Press

The Techne of Giving

Cinema and the Generous Form of Life

In The Techne of Giving, Timothy Campbell elaborates a notion of generosity as way of responding to contemporary biopower. Reading films from Visconti, Rossellini, and Antonioni, he both updates their political lexicon while adopting them as models able to push back against neoliberal forms of gift-giving.
Hardback / £87.00
Paperback / £23.99
PDF / £28.00
EPUB / £28.00

Over the last five years, corporations and individuals have given more money, more often, to charitable organizations than ever before. What could possibly be the downside to inhabiting a golden age of gift-giving? That question lies at the heart of Timothy Campbell’s account of contemporary giving and its social forms. In a milieu where gift-giving dominates, nearly everything given and received becomes the subject of a calculus—gifts from God, from benefactors, from those who have. Is there another way to conceive of generosity? What would giving and receiving without gifts look like?

A lucid and imaginative intervention in both European philosophy and film theory, The Techne of Giving investigates how we hold the objects of daily life—indeed, how we hold ourselves—in relation to neoliberal forms of gift-giving. Even as instrumentalism permeates giving, Campbell articulates a resistant techne locatable in forms of generosity that fail to coincide with biopower’s assertion that the only gifts that count are those given and received. Moving between visual studies, Winnicottian psychoanalysis, Foucauldian biopower, and apparatus theory, Campbell makes a case for how to give and receive without giving gifts. In the conversation between political philosophy and classic Italian films by Visconti, Rossellini, and Antonioni, the potential emerges of a generous form of life that can cross between the visible and invisible, the fated and the free.

Timothy C. Campbell is a professor of Italian at Cornell University.

“A very original, extremely well-researched piece of work that combines theoretical sophistication with depth of literary, cultural, and cinematic knowledge.”

—Rosi Braidotti
Utrecht University

American Association for Italian Studies Book Prize - 2018