The Animal Who Writes - A Cooper Concepts Review

March 18, 2023
David Sunnyside

cooper concepts review

Cooper concepts review

Using a number of contemporary examples, including the state-Christian Right conflict over gay consumer rights and the entanglement of neoliberal capitalism with its underlying state structure, author Lucy Clarke Cooper offers up a confused understanding of what a state is. Sometimes it is a local council or individual agency, sometimes it is central government, sometimes it is a vague idea of collectivity and sometimes it just feels like a state.

Although she acknowledges that these states are essentially pluralist, democratic and at least to some degree secular (although not enough of this is explained), she doesn't discuss the relationships between the bourgeois state and the circulation of capital. Nor does she engage with a range of other 'left-wing' critics of the state, including James C. Scott, whose Seeing Like a State was the title of her book, but she does mention the important work done by 'anti-state communists', such as Michelle O'Brien and Friends.

While this may be because she has a strong bias towards 'neoliberalism', her book also demonstrates a lack of a clear conception of what it is that makes the'state' the'middle-man' in the social order. This confusion is not only a problem for anti-state advocates but is also an issue for those who want to build new kinds of social structures that can replace the bourgeois state.

The Animal Who Writes is a book that deserves to be read by those interested in new materialist philosophies of writing, process theory, and the humanities' more general nonhuman turn to ontology. It is a complex and thoughtful study that will have long-lasting implications for writing studies. It is also a book that should be on the bookshelves of any teacher who wants to move their classrooms toward the creation of a truly enchanted writing pedagogy.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
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