In the future, toward death: Finance capitalism and security in Don DeLillo’s 'Cosmopolis'

  • This article develops a reading of Don DeLillo’s novel Cosmopolis that differentiates between two thematic and poetological axes running through the text. On the one hand, Cosmopolis explores the future-fixation of the risk regime of finance capitalism; on the other, it stages scenes of insecurity that physically threaten the protagonist and his world. Insecurity, the article argues, is a condition that throughout the text increasingly gains in appeal because it promises to offer an alternative to a world of managed risk. The concern with security emphasizes finitude and mortality, thus enabling a turn to existential matters that the virtual abstractions of finance have seemingly made inaccessible. While proposing an opposition between a logic of risk based on virtuality and a logic of (in)security based on authenticity, DeLillo’s novel also suggests that it is impossible to break out of the logic of risk management pervading late modernity. The appeal of (in)security articulated in Cosmopolis rather lies in the promise to existentially revitalize life within the confines of financialized capitalism.

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Author:Johannes Völz
Parent Title (German):Finance and society
Publisher:University of Edinburgh
Place of publication:Edinburgh
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2018/05/31
Date of first Publication:2018/05/31
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2020/05/02
Page Number:16
First Page:76
Last Page:91
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence.
Institutes:Neuere Philologien / Neuere Philologien
Dewey Decimal Classification:3 Sozialwissenschaften / 33 Wirtschaft / 330 Wirtschaft
8 Literatur / 81 Amerikanische Literatur in Englisch / 810 Amerikanische Literatur in Englisch
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung-Nicht kommerziell - Keine Bearbeitung 4.0