---- by David B. Clarke
  Although it is most frequently as sociated with physical systems, Baudrillard has characterised contemporary society in terms of hysteresis - 'the process whereby something continues to develop by inertia' (A, 115). Coined by Sir James Alfred Ewing (1855-1935) - from the Greek hysteresis, meaning shortcoming or deficiency, and hysterein, to be late, fall short, lag behind - the term refers to the property of any system whose state is not deterministically related to its inputs, which retains a 'memory' such that its present state is 'path-dependent'. Magnetised iron provides an example, since the effects caused by exposure to a magnetic field persist in the absence of the cause. It is in a similar sense that Baudrillard invokes the term: if modernity has already reached and, paradoxically, passed beyond its end, hysteresis is the appropriate term to capture its dogged persistence.
  Despite modern efforts to impose a linear progression towards an end or finality, time has always possessed a secret curvature which modernity could only ever disavow and not destroy. This curvature puts an end to the end itself.
  We have to get used to the idea that there is no end any longer, there will no longer be any end, that history itself has become interminable. Thus, when we speak of the 'end of history', the 'end of the political', the 'end of the social', the 'end of ideologies', none of this is true. The worst of it all is . . . that there will be no end to anything, and all these things will continue to unfold slowly, tediously, recurrently, in that hysteresis of everything which, like nails and hair, continues to grow after death. (IE, 116)
  Zygmunt Bauman similarly describes 'postmodernity' as modernity's posthumous form, while Giorgio Agamben speaks of the persistence of the means developed by modernity long after the abandonment of the ends. Hysteresis thus describes the zombified state of the body politic, while outbreaks of 'hysteresia' engulf the socius:
  those who continue to vote although there are no more candidates . . . The phantom limb which goes on hurting even after it is amputated . . . The man who is made redundant but goes regularly to his former place of work every morning. (CM3, 129)
  Although etymological connections between 'hysteresis' and 'hysteria' are eschewed by lexicographers, symptomatological resonances abound. In Ancient Greek nosology, hysteria - deriving from hystera, womb - was regarded as a set of symptoms caused by the 'wandering womb'. For Freud, such symptoms relate to an imaginary anatomy, having no present physical cause. For Lacan, hysteria is a neurosis articulated by a particular question that being poses for a subject. Insofar as this is a question the subject cannot answer, it is apt that a similar question is finally posed for history, a process without a subject. The consequent interminable simulation of the social is best captured in Baudrillard's appeal to the comic vision of 'the cyclist in Jarry's Supermale, who has died of exhaustion on the incredible trip across Siberia, but who carries on pedalling and propelling the Great Machine, his rigor mortis transformed into motive power' (A, 115).
   § modernity
   § pataphysics
   § the end

The Baudrillard dictionary. . 2015.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hysteresis — Hystérésis L hystérésis est la propriété d un système qui tend à demeurer dans un certain état quand la cause extérieure qui a produit le changement d état a cessé. Cycle d hystérésis L exemple le plus trivial d hystérésis est celui d un système… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • hystérésis — [ isterezis ] n. f. • 1890; angl. hysteresis; du gr. husterein « être en retard » ♦ Phys. Retard de l effet sur la cause dans le comportement des corps soumis à une action physique. Hystérésis électrique, magnétique, thermique, élastique. ●… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • hysteresis — [his΄tər ē′sis] n. [ModL < Gr hysterēsis, a deficiency < hysterein, to be behind, come short < hysteros, later, behind < IE * udteros, compar. of base * ud , up > OUT] Physics a lag of effect when the forces acting on a body are… …   English World dictionary

  • hysteresis — 1805, from Gk. hysteresis “a coming short, a deficiency.” …   Etymology dictionary

  • Hysteresis — Hys te*re sis, n. [NL., fr. Gr. ? to be behind, to lag.] (Physics) A lagging or retardation of the effect, when the forces acting upon a body are changed, as if from velocity or internal friction; a temporary resistance to change from a condition …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • hysteresis — hysteresis. См. гистерезис. (Источник: «Англо русский толковый словарь генетических терминов». Арефьев В.А., Лисовенко Л.А., Москва: Изд во ВНИРО, 1995 г.) …   Молекулярная биология и генетика. Толковый словарь.

  • Hysteresis — (griech., magnetische Trägheit, magnetische Reibung), eine auf der Koerzitivkraft beruhende Erscheinung, die darin besteht, daß das Ansteigen der magnetischen Kraft eines Elektromagnets bei der allmählichen Steigerung des Stromes mit letzterer… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Hysteresis — Hysteresis, s. Elektromagnetismus, Bd. 3, S. 421 …   Lexikon der gesamten Technik

  • hysteresis —  Hysteresis  Гистерезис  Зависимость свойств системы от направления изменений внешних условий. Наблюдается в тех случаях, когда состояние тела определяется внешними условиями не только в данный момент времени, но и в предшествующие моменты.… …   Толковый англо-русский словарь по нанотехнологии. - М.

  • Hysteresis — Not to be confused with Hysteria. Fig. 1. Electric displacement field D of a ferroelectric material as the electric field E is first decreased, then increased. The curves form a hysteresis loop. Hysteresis is the dependence of a system not… …   Wikipedia

  • Hystérésis — Cycle d hystérésis L hystérésis (ou hystérèse) est le retard de l effet sur la cause, la propriété d un système qui tend à demeurer dans un certain état quand la cause extérieure qui a produit le changement d état a cessé. Sommaire …   Wikipédia en Français

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