Dr Paul Harrison

Email: paul@hubbubresearch.org

My field is Geography.

I am keen to explore the ‘radically passive’ or non-intentional nature of corporeal existence, expanding on previous work on vulnerability, susceptibility, stillness, lassitude, lethargy, and sleep, and consider the existential, ethical and political significance of these aspects of being a body. Such passive aspects of life are, it seems fair to say, regarded as secondary or derivative aspects of existence and repeatedly condemned in multiple spheres of society. For example, in the face of disasters, stillness is morally bankrupt; in the machinations of political oppression, stillness is complicit with the worst; in the context of the economy, stillness is parasitic on others’ labour; to the task of living well, stillness is a retreat. However, such aspects of corporeal existence could form the basis for a critique of the present moment. What if, for example, we were to define subjectivity or individuality not through its potential for self-willed action but through its adynamia, its impotentiality, its intermittence, misalignment, dislocation, and withdrawal? What if our guide in thinking the freedom of the subject were not autonomy, ipseity, sovereignty, but heteronomy? Then these passive states would appear less as regressions and more like `dark understandings’, `negative capacities’, or `weak powers’.