Volume 30, 2008
Philosophy in Europe
The Politics of Peter Sloterdijk’s Global Foam
This paper takes up Peter Sloterdijk’s proposition for a new thinking of the world as global foam. After quickly reminding the reader of the main characteristics of “bubbles” as “immune spheres of existence”, I retrace the three phases of the history globalization as they have been developed by Sloterdijk in the Spheres trilogy. I then focus on the third phase, also called Global Age, and try to bring together the two seemingly opposed concepts Sloterdijk has used to discuss the age of globality: “worldly interior” and “foams” by arguing that the former represents our world in its globality while the latter represents it in its irreducible plurality. The result is a system of co-fragility and co-isolation: a compact proximity between fragile entities and the necessary closure of each cell unto itself. If this is the case, the question we need to ask concerns the space left opened in the worldly interior for a ‘world-forming’ praxis. In the end politics can only consist in “managing” the worldly interior, stabilizing it and regulating its exchange with an outside. Without overview, without initiative, it is not clear in what ways politics can still be a trans-forming praxis and is not a mere function of the system.