Home » Birds of Theory » Aeolian Inquiries » COERCIVICS: AN INTRODUCTION (I)



Around 6 years ago, I coined the word, ‘Coercivics’, as a guiding concept of civilisational analysis critiquing forms of sociopolitical implementation and practice. Wishing to avoid any developments according to stereotypical routes of programmatic manifesto, as it were, I didn’t bother introducing the neologism, though it has informed everything I’ve written, that might in any way be considered to bear some kind of sociopolitical relevance. The avoidance of use was not only due to the somewhat tactical refusal to engage in traditional obligations of position, whether political or otherwise, but more largely was informed by the logic of an emergence in which theoretical patience has value, in itself.
Coercivics is not just politics or political theory.

Coercivics, then, is not just “an arc of political speculation”, even though it might trace such arcs. Given that I’ve written, elsewhere on this blog, that ‘politics is over’, in the sense of traditional political systems and institutions having become obsolescent, to varying degrees; Coercivics is not to be determined by the perspectives of such obsolescence, but it occurs precisely at the borders of this transition, accounting for that conditioned movement, using resources that do not necessarily belong to that movement or its ostensible conditions.
Coercivics seeks to understand all socio-ideological movements that might be in play, producing assessments as to whether or not those movements produce coercion; to what degrees they produce unnecessary or unjustifiable coercion; from whose perspectives they produce coercion; and why they produce coercion?
The question asking, ‘why the production of coercion’, is of course eminently susceptible to ideological production of genealogical explanation. Coercivics is the radical investigation of those ideological presuppositions, of their genealogical constitutions and productions, but not necessarily from the usual, habitual perspectives, used in such considerations.
Nostalgias are not neglected; mnemonics, after all, are constitutive of civilisational form; but ‘reactions’ are critiqued and rejected, given their often contemporary emergences as stereotypical exemplifications of the coercivical.


Any political system can work, if it’s implementations are competent; no political system can work, if it’s implementations are incompetent or sabotaged.
The key issue is not the system, political systems are only systems of distribution, decisional frameworks concerning how distribution is to occur. Alongside systems of political or governmental distribution, marketing systems of distribution have developed in so-called, private and commercial sectors. These marketing systems cater for libidinal economy, for movements of consumer desire. It’s not at all a contentious thing to say that the ethos of consumer desire has become the hegemonic rationale of all political systems, of political systematicity, itself.


Back in 2000, at Cafe Italia, opposite Ronnie Scott’s Jazz club, I had a conversation with a Latin (Spanish or Italian?), young man, probably a university student, possibly working in computing. He spoke about how marketing was now central in philosophy, politics, and world affairs. The initial context had probably been philosophy or theory, not politics or marketing. So the sudden preoccupation with politics and marketing was a bit unexpected.
Given the events of the last 19 years, it looks as though the young student’s prognosis was valid. More valid than I suspected, at the time. Not that I necessarily disagreed with whatever was said, but the mechanisms he described, were only supervenient mechanisms of more arcane, historic-philosophical and cultural shifts, which those mechanisms might well be a reaction against.


Consumerism and its market articulations have been the dominant figure in transitioning between different models of selfhood.
Though there are considerable, contemporary reactionary nostalgias, for earlier modes of social configuration that sustained earlier models of selfhood, the New Conditions, in play, provision superconductive, communicatory surfaces, permitting only the velocities of sociopsychological, hysteria and stasis, not so much, anything else. Network nodalisation seems to preclude the development of any other socialisation.


Given that the dominant figure of social organisation is consumerism; given the oneiric and libidinal casts of such consumerism; given the ongoing collapse of institutional and social structures, their sensory and spatiotemporal characteristics, into a generalised, informational flow; the scenario of possibility is now so open to reconfiguration that it quite possibly exceeds any notion of reconfiguration, altogether.
No doubt the mnemonic militancy of simplistic, nostalgias of reconfiguration, are going to continue to echo through the New Conditions, as Doppler effects of stellar iniquity, from this or that history attempting its own achievement. But those constellations of resource concentration have transitioned into a different kind of cosmos, one in which even the expectation of historical entropy, no longer holds sway.
No cyclical comforts of pessimism-laden, Spenglerian prophecy; no ‘patchwork quilt’ as themepark and global safety net, of geopolitical amusement and its epistemology.
The New Conditions are such that even nostalgic attributions of ‘fragmentation’ are irrelevant.
Everyone knows this, of course, without knowing it. That is why they are so frenetically busy trying to sustain the worlds with which they were programmed, by arguing, disputing, and mutually destroying the features of those imagined worlds, as if such extreme contentions somehow confer ontological stability.
It doesn’t, it’s a symptom of precisely the ontological instability, feared.


Pandora’s box has been opened, some time ago.

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