Macs Smith, "Paris and the Parasite: Noise, Health, and Politics in the Media City" (MIT Press, 2021)


The social consequences of anti-parasitic urbanism, as efforts to expunge supposedly biological parasites penalize those viewed as social parasites. According to French philosopher Michel Serres, ordered systems are founded on the pathologization of parasites, which can never be fully expelled. 

In Paris and the Parasite: Noise, Health, and Politics in the Media City (MIT Press, 2021), Macs Smith extends Serres's approach to Paris as a mediatic city, asking what organisms, people, and forms of interference constitute its parasites. Drawing on French poststructuralist theory and philosophy, media theory, the philosophy of science, and an array of literary and cultural sources, he examines Paris and its parasites from the early nineteenth century to today, focusing on the contemporary city. In so doing, he reveals the social consequences of anti-parasitic urbanism.

Salvador Lopez Rivera is a PhD candidate in French language and literature at Washington University in St. Louis.

Your Host

Salvador Lopez Rivera

Salvador Lopez Rivera is a Visiting Assistant Professor of French at Loyola University Maryland.

View Profile