Being at Large: Freedom in the Age of Alternative Facts (Paperback)

Being at Large: Freedom in the Age of Alternative Facts By Santiago Zabala Cover Image
Special Order


Politicians and philosophers presenting themselves as the ultimate bearers of truth and reality have created unprecedented technological, cultural, and political framings. This new order conspires to undermine the interpretive practices of open-ended critique, normalizing a sense of threat to preserve control. The greatest emergency has become the absence of emergencies. Tracing an intellectual alliance between academics such as Jordan Peterson and Christina Hoff Sommers and right-wing populist politicians such as Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen, this book denounces framings that make a claim to objectivity. With the help of contemporary thinkers including Bruno Latour, Judith Butler, and Giorgio Agamben, as well as discussion of the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie and the emergency of biodiversity loss due to climate change, Santiago Zabala illustrates that the twenty-first-century question is not whether we can be free, but how to be at large - unconstrained by the new realist order. Being at Large demonstrates the anarchic power of hermeneutics, calling for interpretive disruptions of the authoritarian narrative as a way of reclaiming freedom in the age of alternative facts.

About the Author

Santiago Zabala is ICREA Research Professor of Philosophy at Pompeu Fabra University.

Praise For…

“Zabala … manages, in this erudite book, to walk readers through a genealogy of interpretation as an “active practice” (with detailed attention to Augustine and Luther), and to say a great deal about metaphysics and ontology. Moreover, all thinkers will find in Zabala’s theory of ‘being at large’ a call to action, to intellectual work as an urgent task for our times.” Religious Studies Review

"One often uses culinary comparisons to characterize great books: it's the crème de la crème, it takes the cake. Zabala's book is too important for such games. If anything, it is - or should become - the daily bread of all those who want to find their way in the labyrinth of our ideological struggles. Zabala sets the record straight in the ongoing debate on fake news in which philosophical issues gained political urgency." Slavoj Žižek, author of Like a Thief in Broad Daylight: Power in the Era of Post-Human Capitalism and Sex and the Failed Absolute

"This is a much-needed path-breaking book, systematically showing how widespread appeals to facts, whether pure or alternative, are not only yet another claim to power, but also a new and dangerous recall to order. Indispensable reading for anyone interested in the possibility of freedom and survival in our time, this book fully illustrates the strength of Zabala's philosophy and its potential for emancipation." Chiara Bottici, author of A Philosophy of Political Myth and Imaginal Politics: Images beyond Imagination and the Imaginary

"Timey and engagingly written, Being at Large advances a thesis developed in Zabala's previous work, namely, that we live in times of a dominant "absence of emergency," despite being surrounded by and immersed in emergency. This means that a long list of ongoing emergencies - including climate change, military conflicts, refugee movements, homelessness, rising inequality, the manipulation of personal information and, of course, pandemics such as the spread of COVID-19 - are framed by those in power as somehow normal, leading Zabala to the Heideggerian notion that "the only emergency is the lack of a sense of emergency."" Public Seminar

"Riveting and crucial." William Eggington, Los Angeles Review of Books
Product Details
ISBN: 9780228001928
ISBN-10: 0228001927
Publisher: McGill-Queen's University Press
Publication Date: April 16th, 2020
Pages: 200
Language: English