Thana-Capitalism and the Sense of Reality: Lessons Unlearned

Thana-Capitalism and the Sense of Reality: Lessons Unlearned

Maximiliano Emanuel Korstanje (University of Palermo, Argentina)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2817-3.ch001
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Based on the contributions of Jean Baudrillard, a French well known philosopher who exerted a radical criticism to the mass-media and its position respecting to migration and terrorism, Korstanje alluded to a neologism, “Thana-Capitalism”, which situates as a new stage of production where the suffering of others is the main commodity exchanged among classes. In times of Thana Capitalism, though we horrify from refugees and their miseries or the latest terrorist blow in CNN, we have doing nothing to change reality. This begs an interesting question, how does perception form in times of thana capitalism? what is the concept of reality in the age of pseudo-reality? is the media and the spectacle of disasters disorganizing social ties? This chapter centers on the role of reality in times where others` death crystalized as a criterion of consumption.
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During my studies on terrorism, amid 2007-2009 and my fellowship in Leeds by 2015, an interesting argument struck to me to revisit the specialized literature. Not only we have found evidence enough to confirm “terrorism was mobilities by other means”, which explained fascination for terrorists to target innocent travellers worldwide (Akrivopooulou, 2012; Korstanje, 2015), but we realized the world of risks, as known, has certainly changed forever by 9/11 (Howie 2010; Korstanje & Clayton, 2012; Bauman & Lyon, 2013). After this traumatic event, natural disasters, lethal virus outbreaks and any other apocalyptic dangers made us believe we were living in a world out of control (Sunstein 2003, 2005; Kelly 2009; Beck 2009; Innerarity 2013; Korstanje 2015).

In 2016, we published two seminal texts, The Rise of Thana Capitalism and tourism (Routledge, UK) and Tourism and Terrorism (Studium Press, India). In these books, we discussed the thesis that risk society as it was imagined by Giddens or Beck sets the pace to a new stage of production, where death played a vital role mediating between citizens and their institutions. Thana-Capitalism was a term coined to denote “an uncanny need to consume “the others` death” to reinforce sentiments associated to “chauvinism”, some of them crystalized in BREXIT, or “narcissism”, as it can be found in plots as Hunger Games, where social Darwinism imposes. Participants of Hunger Games are not interested to cooperate with the others in quest of better results, because they are over-valorised in their skills to be proclaimed as the only winner. Immersed in the culture of Narcissism, what they ignore, is that they have little probabilities to defeat president Snow, unless they work together. In times of Thana Capitalism, consuming disasters allows an aura to sightseers which leads to feel they are special, outstanding, respecting to the victims. Than-capitalism reminds the needs of modern citizens to consume the others` suffering to feel they are outstanding, special and superior to those who have died (Korstanje 2016a). This is the reason why, although terrorism disgusts us, we are unable to let watching media coverage (Korstanje 2016b). While risk society started in post Chernobyl society, Thana Capitalism was inaugurated after 9/11. At some extent, this argument resonates very well within sociological circles in Europe, but the problem of reality was not dully addressed in that occasion until this chapter. We feel that somehow, the section dedicated to reality leaves many questions open. Since each stage of capitalism, which was perpetuated according to a specific pervading narrative that moulded social behaviour, the sense of reality varied on changes happened at the core of system of production. This begs some intriguing questions, how 9/11 changed our culture?, is terror a result of mass-consumption?, in what forms changed the sense of reality in times of Thana Capitalism?, are we a more sadist society?.

Initially, Manuel de Landa (2006) proposes an innovative model to understand social change. Society seems to be an abstract idea, which is adapted according to individual needs. What is clear, is that from small groups to nation-states two contrasting forces converge. While territorialization tends to structure rules and politics within the hegemony of territory, a deeper trend towards deterritorialization effaces the old structures which are not economically functional to production. Based on Assemblage theory, he contends that the social order combines conflict with cooperation. In this vein, globalization offers an illustrative clarification on de Landa`s theory because at the time, capitalism cements its authority depositing over nation-states the legitimacy over their geographies, globalization blurs such borders (by means of mobilities, even tourism) which produces a global climate that undermines the control of governments by enhancing the credibility of states.

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