The Elemental Forms of Social Life

A draft is available upon request.

translucent-concrete-2The Elemental Forms of Social Life

Abstract. The notion of elemental reality is parsed here as instrumental to a renewal of the understanding of social formations, orders, processes, events, and, more generally, social life. In an attempt to analyze how an elemental reality can be said to be at play, the category of ‘the visible’ is considered, so as to evince some of its constitutive dimensions, properties, and moments.

Keywords: social theory; medium theory; social environment; elemental reality; the visible



Tu es seul le matin va venir
Les laitiers font tinter leurs bidons dans les rues

La nuit s’eloigne ainsi qu’une belle Métive
C’est Ferdine la fausse ou Léa 1′attentive

Et tu bois cet alcool brulant comme ta vie
Ta vie que tu bois comme une eau-de-vie

Tu marches vers Auteuil tu veux aller chez toi à pied
Dormir parmi tes fetiches d’Océanie et de Guinée
ils sont des Christ d’une autre forme et d’une autre croyance
Ce sont les Christ inférieurs des obscures ésperances

Adieu Adieu

Soleil cou coupé


Apollinaire, Alcools (1913)


…as a rope and a branch…

The womb accepts the seed which has fallen into it and protects it as it takes root – for first the navel grows in the womb, as Democritus says, as an anchorage against rolling and drifting, as a rope and a branch for the fruit which is being generated and coming to be.