Book explores nasty underbelly of competition

picture of Claudia Colaguori's book: Agon Culture

picture of Claudia Colaguori's book: Agon CultureCompetition is a powerful force with an unrecognized and dangerous underbelly, says a York professor in his new book Agon Culture: Competition, Conflict and the Problem of Domination.

Claudio Colaguori, a professor in York’s human rights and criminology programs, explores the idea that competition is not a biological drive as evolutionary thinkers believe, but a power force that promotes interpersonal conflict, war and cyclical domination.

The launch of Agon Culture (de Sitter Publications) will take place Wednesday, Feb. 15, from 3 to 5pm, in the Senior Common Room, 305 Founders College, Keele campus. Everyone is welcome to attend and refreshments will be provided.

In Agon Culture, Colaguori outlines the problem of having competition as the organizing principle of social life. He analyzes the human condition by examining how the cultural ideology of competition operates as a mode of rationality that underpins the order of domination.

By combining insights from philosopher Theodor Adorno’s critical theory of society with a reconstruction of the philosophy of the agon (a Greek term for competition), the book formulates a novel critical theory of cultural domination. It offers insights into society’s winner-loser culture and a renewed intensity of social Darwinist tendencies.

Colaguori’s research interests include post 9/11 global human rights issues and their relation to social change. He is a two-time winner of the John O’Neill Award for Teaching Excellence and was nominated for TVOntario’s Best Lecturer Competition.

The launch is sponsored by York University Bookstore and Founders College.