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Marx's Grave

Marx’s Grave


Historical Materialism: Research in Critical Marxist Theory

HM 22.2 is Now Online





The Blood of the Commonwealth

Author: David McNally

pp.: 3–32 (30)


Editorial Introduction

Author: Giorgio Cesarale

pp.: 33–43 (11)


Towards a Theory of the Integral State

Author: Bruno Bosteels

pp.: 44–62 (19)


Escaping the Throne Room

Author: Ian McKay

pp.: 63–98 (36)


Philosophy of Praxis, Ideology-Critique, and the Relevance of a ‘Luxemburg-Gramsci Line’

Author: Jan Rehmann

pp.: 99–116 (18)


Gramsci’s ‘Non-contemporaneity’

Author: Fabio Frosini

pp.: 117–134 (18)


Neither an Instrument nor a Fortress

Author: Panagiotis Sotiris

pp.: 135–157 (23)


Gramsci without the Prince

Author: Martin Thomas

pp.: 158–173 (16)


The Great Canadian Slump, 1990–92

Author: Geoffrey McCormack

pp.: 174–218 (45)


Book review: Ontology of Production: Three Essays, written by Nishida Kitarō

Author: Viren Murthy

pp.: 219–236 (18)


Book review: Utilitarianism and the Art School in Nineteenth-Century Britain, written by Malcolm Quinn

Author: Dave Beech

pp.: 237–256 (20)


Book review: Spatiality, Sovereignty and Carl Schmitt: Geographies of the Nomos, written by Stephen Legg

Author: Marijn Nieuwenhuis

pp.: 257–285 (29)


Notes on Contributors

pp.: 287–289 (3)

Back Issues

pp.: 290–291 (2)


Volume 22, Issue 2, 2014

ISSN: 1465-4466

E-ISSN: 1569-206X


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Pittsburgh Summer Symposium in Contemporary Philosophy

Duquesne University

Department of Philosophy

Pittsburgh, PA


Call for Applications

We are pleased to announce the 2014 Pittsburgh Summer Symposium in Contemporary Philosophy, held at Duquesne University. Details for the program are as follows:


Formalism and the Real: Ontology, Politics, and the Subject

August 4–8, 2014


(Optional Participants’ Conference, August 2-3)


“The real can only be inscribed on the basis of an impasse of formalization.”  — Jacques Lacan, Seminar XX 


“We need a theory of the pass of the real, in the breach opened up by formalization. Here, the real is no longeronly what can be lacking from its place, but what passes through by force.” — Alain Badiou, Theory of the Subject 


Seminar Leaders:

Prof. Bruno Bosteels (Cornell University)Prof. Tom Eyers (Duquesne University)

Prof. Paul Livingston (University of New Mexico)


Course Description:

Philosophy in the twenty-first century has seen an extensive reconsideration of formalistic methodologies and theoretical structures. This is heavily influenced by the formalism developed by a number of mid-twentieth century French thinkers who rejected humanist philosophies of experience or consciousness typified by dominant forms of existentialism and phenomenology. Insights derived from Marxism, Freudianism, and philosophy of science were argued to undermine central tenets of the latter, including the priority of description and the emphasis on first-person experiences. Rather, stress was placed on the priority of construction, an emphasis on the concept, and a rethinking of the nature of knowledge and the object of science. The recent history of formalist approaches is framed in important ways by Louis Althusser and Jacques Lacan. As is well known, Althusser rejected historicist and humanist readings of Marx in favor of a structuralist approach, which was amenable to the conception of science developed bythinkers like Jean Cavaillès, Gaston Bachelard, and Georges Canguilhem. Simultaneously, Lacan rejected ego-psychological readings of Freud, forming interpretive, theoretical, and clinical bases for psychoanalysis that drew on Ferdinand de Saussure’s structuralist linguistics and Claude Levi-Strauss’s structuralist anthropology. This led him to a methodological formalism, particularly when addressing the Real and the psycho-dynamics in which it is involved. The presence of Althusser and Lacan at the École Normale Supériere during this time formed the intellectual milieu in which students such as Alain Badiou, Jacques-Alain Miller, Étienne Balibar, and Jacques Rancière would begin to develop their own thought. An important forum for this was the journal the Cahiers pour l’Analyse (1966-69). The current project to translate itinto English has prompted a surge in research related to these themes. In the Cahiers, efforts were made to reconcile Marxist politics with a Lacanian account of the subject. Lacan’s notion of the Real was essential to this and, along with the other elements of his thought, came to be developed by Badiou to address political and ontological domains.

More recently, formalism in philosophy has expanded to address issues beyond these origins. For instance, formalistic reconstructions of Heideggerian and Husserlian thought have proved intensely productive and have problematized the opposition of philosophies of the concept to phenomenological philosophies. Moreover, recent efforts to address questions in aesthetics and politics with formal approaches has further expanded the boundaries of formalism’s theoretical scope. Paul Livingston’s book, The Politics of Logic: Badiou, Wittgenstein, and the Consequences of Formalism, examines the landscape of political criticism and change given the results and paradoxes of 20th century projects of formalization in mathematics and logic. Following this, his current project focuses on Heidegger’s philosophy, and will re-examine our inherited notions of sense and truth. After writing a book on Lacan’s concept of the Real, Tom

Eyers has analyzed the intellectual foundations of structuralism in 1930s and 1940s French epistemology and philosophy of science. He is presently writing a book entitled Speculative Formalism: The Poetics of Form in Literature, Science, and Philosophy which will bring that work to bear on poetics and literary theory. In addition to translating Badiou’s Theory of the Subject and Wittgenstein’s Antiphilosophy, Bruno Bosteels has devoted numerous books to Badiou and issues in political thought. In his recentMarx and Freud in Latin America: Politics, Psychoanalysis, and Religion in Times of Terror, Bosteels investigates ways art and literature provide insight into processes of subjectification at the core of Marxist and psychoanalytic concerns. This summer symposium will bring together interested graduate students, postdoctoral students, and junior faculty for a week of discussion, lecture, and close textual study. Together, we will pursue questions regarding formalism and its relation to the Real in contemporary ontology, politics, and theories of the subject and their consequences for understanding knowledge, history, state, language, art, and literature. Lacanian and Badiouian thought will form a key theoretical backdrop. Yet, we expect our studies will include work by a number of other figures, including Plato, Marx, Nietzsche, Frege, Freud, Heidegger, Wittgenstein, Lautman, Bachelard,Canguilhem, Althusser, Deleuze, Derrida, Macherey, Milller, Butler, Jameson, Žižek, Hägglund, and Malabou.

All texts and discussion will be in English.


We invite current graduate students, postdoctoral students, and junior faculty in philosophy orrelated disciplines to submit an application composed of a C.V. and a short letter of intent (500words maximum) to

The deadline for applications is Friday, April 25th, 2014.

We expect to respond with notifications regarding acceptance to the symposium by Thursday, May 1st, 2014 to help facilitate summer plans. The seminar will be limited to 30-40 participants. For more information as it becomes available, we have created a website for the symposium:

Participants’ Conference (August 2–3):

In order to facilitate a further exchange of ideas and research, a participants’ conference will be held the weekend before the seminar begins. Applicants who receive notice of acceptance as participants will be asked – if interested – to submit an abstract of up to 500 words on any theme related to the topic of the seminar. The participants’ conference will take place on Saturday and Sunday, August 2-3, 2014.

Financial Information:

There will be a $200 registration fee for each participant of the seminar. This money will be used for event expenses like a conference dinner, celebration, daily coffee, etc. Please note that participants will be responsible for arranging their own housing as well as financing most of theirown meals for the duration of the symposium. However, with respect to lodging, we expect alimited number of arrangements with graduate students will be available on a first come, first serve basis.


James Bahoh, Dept. of Philosophy, Duquesne University,

Martin Krahn, Dept. of Philosophy, Duquesne University,

Jacob Greenstine, Dept. of Philosophy, Duquesne University,

Dave Mesing, Dept. of Philosophy, Villanova University,



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Friday December 6, 2013, Princeton University


Opening Panel: 12-3PM

Robert J. C. Young (NYU) 
Rereading the Symptomatic Reading
Bruno Bosteels (Cornell University)

Reading Capital From the Margins: The Logic of Uneven Development
Alain Badiou (ENS Paris)

Title TBA

Closing Panel 4-6PM

Emily Apter (NYU)

The ‘Real’ Object in Question: Flat Ontology and Productive Agency in Marxist Philosophy
Etienne Balibar (Columbia University)

A Point of Heresy in Western Marxism: Althusser’s and Tronti’s Antithetic Readings of Capital in the Early 60’s

This is a conference in advance of the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Reading Capital by Louis Althusser, Etienne Balibar, Jacques Rancière, Pierre Macherey, and Roger Establet.

The publication of Lire le capital (Reading Capital) in 1965 undoubtedly marked a watershed in Marxist philosophy and critical theory more generally, constructing a dazzling array of concepts that still today can be said to constitute the syntax of radical philosophy. Reading Capital united Althusser with some of his most brilliant and precocious students in a common front against both the empiricism of Postwar Phenomenology and Sartrian Existentialism, as well as against the latent Idealist humanism of a certain Structuralism (Lévi-Strauss, Barthes).

Though the conference is free and open to the public, seating is limited, so please:

Register for the event here:

More information: Nick Nesbitt,

Sponsored by: The Department of French and Italian, PLAS, Department of Spanish and Portuguese


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Edited by Slavoj Žižek


Published July 2013


Key theorists discuss the future of communism in New York.

The first volume of The Idea of Communism followed the 2009 London conference called in response to Alain Badiou’s ‘communist hypothesis’, where an all-star cast of radical intellectuals put the idea of communism back on the map.

This volume brings together papers from the subsequent 2011 New York conference organized by Verso and continues this critical discussion, highlighting the philosophical and political importance of the communist idea, in a world of financial and social turmoil.

Contributors include Alain Badiou, Etienne Balibar, Bruno Bosteels, Susan Buck-Morss, Jodi Dean, Adrian Johnston, François Nicolas, Frank Ruda, Emmanuel Terray and Slavoj Žižek.

To see footage from the conference, visit:


Paperback / ISBN: 9781844679805 / $26.95 / £14.99 / $31.00CAN / 224 Pages

Hardback / ISBN 9781844679812 / $95.00 / £60.00 / $95.00CAN / 192 Pages

Available as a shrinkwrapped 2 volume set with the first volume of THE IDEA OF COMMUNISM / ISBN 9781781680728 / £25

For more information on THE IDEA OF COMMUNISM 2: THE NEW YORK CONFERENCE or to buy the book visit:

For information on THE IDEA OF COMMUNISM 1 or to buy the book visit:


Visit Verso’s website for information on our upcoming events, new reviews and publications and special offers:

Sign up for the Verso mailing list:

Become a fan of Verso on Facebook

And get updates on Twitter too!


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‘A Dangerous Method’


Bruno Bosteels on Marx and Freud in Latin America

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Combining political philosophy, art history, and literary criticism, Bruno Bosteels’s new book, Marx and Freud in Latin America, presents a sharp and highly original analysis of the continuing influence of Marxism and psychoanalysis on the continent of Latin America. Presenting ten case studies, Bosteels eloquently illustrates how art and literature have matched even the most searing of militant tracts in terms of creating radical modes of understanding subjectivity within regions that have undergone decades of political and social upheaval. Demonstrating how these cultural forms rupture binaries such as object/subject, criticism/theory, and literature/philosophy, Bosteels turns a critical eye on works ranging from detective pulp novels in Mexico to experimental film in Cuba, advancing a renewed interdisciplinary method of inquiry.

Bosteels, in conversation with Professor Federico Finchelstein, will discuss his new work, and the untimely relevance of two radical thinkers alien to the continent who inspired its activists and artists alike.

This event is sponsored by The Janey Program in Latin American Studies at the New School for Social Research and Verso Books. 


Thursday, November 8, 2012


The New School

80 Fifth Avenue, Room 529

New York, NY10011


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Jacques Ranciere


September 18, 2012
The Kitchen
Staging the People: Jacques Rancière and Bruno Bosteels in Conversation

The last two years have seen cataclysmic global uprisings and mass protest, from the demonstrations in Tahrir Square to the ongoing student strikes in Montreal. In this time of political upheaval, three pivotal texts from philosopher Jacques Rancière deliver striking insight into the constructions of social movements and the representations of the people who form them.

Proletarian Nights and Staging the People (volumes 1 and 2) comprise essays from the 1970s that mark the inception of the distinctive project that Jacques Rancière has pursued across forty years, with four interwoven themes: the study of working-class identity, of its philosophical interpretation, of “heretical” knowledge and of the relationship between work and leisure. Newly translated and republished, these books remain uncannily relevant as protestors across the globe continue to push toward new formations of radical democracy and redistribution.

On September 18, Jacques Rancière and Professor Bruno Bosteels (author of Marx and Freud in Latin America) will discuss these early works, investigating Ranciere’s expansive endeavor to understand the failures of May ’68 and chart the dissonance between the actual history of workers’ social movements and the theory that is grafted to it.

Free and open to the public, but seating is limited and will be given on a first-come-first-served basis.

7.00pm – 8.00pm
The Kitchen
512 West 19th Street
New York, NY 10011 United States of America

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It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

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Disguised as maximum fun’

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‘Human Herbs’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:

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‘The Lamb’ by William Blake – set to music by Victor Rikowski:


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Dear All

We’re writing to announce the publication of several new reviews accessible at We’d also like to invite you to contribute to RCT by offering to review one of the books listed in the latter half of this message.

New Reviews

The Pig Stays in the Picture: Visual/Literary Narratives of Human-Animal Intimacies: Susan McHugh. Animal Stories: Narrating Across Species Lines. University of Minnesota Press, 2011. 280pp.

No Exit? Imagining Radical Refusal: Simon During. Exit Capitalism: Literary Culture, Theory, and Post-Secular Modernity. Routledge, 2010. 280 pp.

Architectural Positions: Pier Vittorio Aureli. The Possibility of an Absolute Architecture. MIT Press, 2011. 251 pp.

Pattern Pre-Recognition: Richard Grusin. Premediation: Affect and Mediality in America after 9/11. Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. 208 pp.

Reading Age and Disability in Film: Sally Chivers. The Silvering Screen: Old Age and Disability in Cinema. University of Toronto Press, 2011. 213 pp.

The Meaning of Christ and the Meaning of Hegel: Slavoj Žižek and John Milbank. The Monstrosity of Christ: Paradox or Dialectic? Ed. Creston Davis. MIT Press, 2009. 320 pp.

Affecting Feminist Subjects, Rewriting Feminist Theory: Clare Hemmings. Why Stories Matter: The Political Grammar of Feminist Theory. Duke University Press, 2011. 272 pp.
Books Available for Review

In addition to inviting reviewers for the books listed below, we also welcome proposals for longer review essays, focusing on recently published (2012-) titles. If you are interested in contributing a review or a review essay to RCT, please write to us at

Charles R. Acland. Swift Viewing: The Popular Life of Subliminal Influence. Duke University Press, 2012.

Giorgio Agamben. The Kingdom and the Glory: For a Theological Genealogy of Economy and Government. Trans. Lorenzo Chiesa and Matteo Mandarini. Stanford UP, 2011.

Alain Badiou. Trans. Gregory Elliott. The Rebirth of History: Times of Riots and Uprisings. Verso, 2012.

Lauren Berlant. Cruel Optimism. Duke University Press, 2011.

Bruno Bosteels. Badiou and Politics. Duke University Press, 2011.

Susan Brown, Jeanne Perreault, Jo-Ann Wallace, and Heather Zwicker, eds. Not Drowning But Waving: Women, Feminism and the Liberal Arts. University of Alberta Press, 2011.

James V. Catano and Daniel A. Novak, eds. Masculinity Lessons: Rethinking Men’s and Women’s Studies. John Hopkins University Press, 2011.

Eric Cazdyn. The Already Dead: The New Time of Politics, Culture, and Illness. Duke University Press, 2012.

May Chazan, Lisa Helps, Anna Stanley, and Sonali Thakkar. Home and Native Land: Unsettling Multiculturalism in Canada. Between the Lines Press, 2011.

Rey Chow. Entanglements, or Transmedial Thinking about Capture. Duke University Press, 2012.

Jean Comaroff and John L. Comaroff. Theory from the South: or, How Euro-America is Evolving Toward Africa. Paradigm, 2012.

William E. Connolly.  A World of Becoming. Duke University Press, 2011.

Grant H. Kester. The One and the Many: Contemporary Collaborative Art in a Global Context. Duke University Press, 2011.

Vicky Kirby. Quantum Anthropologies: Life at Large. Duke University Press, 2011.

Tonya K. Davidson,OndinePark, and Rob Shields, eds. Ecologies of Affect: Placing Nostalgia, Desire, and Hope.  Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2011.

Kit Dobson and Áine McGlynn, eds. Transnationalism, Activism, Art. University of Toronto Press, 2012.

Boris Groys. Introduction to Antiphilosophy. Verso, 2012.

David Harvey. Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution. Verso, 2012.

Sharon Patricia Holland. The Erotic Life of Racism. Duke University Press, 2012.

Andrew Karvonen. The Politics of Urban Runoff: Nature, Technology and the Sustainable City. MIT Press, 2011.

Garry Neil Kennedy. TheLastArtCollege:Nova ScotiaCollegeof Art and Design, 1968-1978. MIT Press, 2012.

Katie King. Networked Reenactments: Stories Transdisciplinary Knowledges Tell. Duke University Press, 2012.

Michael G. Lacy and Kent A. Ono, eds. Critical Rhetorics of Race.New York University Press, 2011.

Stephanie Li. Signifying Without Specifying: Racial Discourse in the Age of Obama. Rutgers UP, 2011.

A. Ricardo López and Barbara Weinstein, eds. The Making of the Middle Class: Toward a Transnational History. Duke University Press, 2012.

Lucio Magri. The Tailor of Ulm: Communism in the Twentieth Century. Verso, 2012.

Walter D. Mignolo. The Darker Side of Western Modernity: Global Futures, Decolonial Options. Duke University Press, 2011.

Nicholas Mirzoeff. The Right to Look: A Counterhistory of Visuality. Duke University Press, 2011.

Martha Nussbaum. The New Religious Intolerance: Overcoming the Politics of Fear in an Anxious Age. Harvard UP, 2012.

Elizabeth A. Povinelli. Economies of Abandonment: Social Belonging and Endurance in Late Liberalism. Duke University Press, 2011.

S.S. Prawer. Karl Marx and World Literature. Verso, 2011.

Jacques Rancière. Staging the People: The Proletarian and His Double. Verso, 2011.

Jacques Rancière. The Intellectual and His People: Staging the People, Volume 2. Verso, 2012.

Sherene Razack, Malinda Smith, and Sunera Thobani,eds.Statesof Race: Critical Race Feminism for the 21st Century. Between the Lines Press, 2011.

Mark Rifkin. The Erotics of Sovereignty: Queer Native Writing in the Era of Self-Determination. University of Minnesota Press, 2012.

Gayle S. Rubin. Deviations: A Gayle Rubin Reader. Duke University Press, 2011.

Peter Sloterdijk. Bubbles: Spheres Volume I: Microspherology. Trans. Wieland Hoban. Semiotext(e), 2011.

Joe Soss, Richard C. Fording, and Sanford F. Schram. Disciplining the Poor: Neoliberal Paternalism and the Persistent Power of Race. University of Chicago Press, 2011.

Joan Wallach Scott. The Fantasy of Feminist History. Duke University Press, 2012.

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization. Harvard UP, 2012.

Bernard Stiegler. The Re-Enchantment of the World: The Value of the Human Spirit vs Industrial Populism. Trans. Trevor Arthur. Continuum, 2012.

Tiqqun. Preliminary Materials for a Theory of the Young-Girl. Trans. Ariana Reines. Semiotext(e), 2012.

Jini Kim Watson. The NewAsianCity: Three-Dimensional Fictions of Space and Urban Form. University of Minnesota Press, 2011.

Robyn Wiegman. Object Lessons. Duke University Press, 2012.


‘Human Herbs’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:

‘Stagnant’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:  

‘Cheerful Sin’ – a song by Victor Rikowski:

‘The Lamb’ by William Blake – set to music by Victor Rikowski:

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Cooper Union, New York, October 14th-16th 2011

Livestream at:
A new conference with leading thinkers to discuss the continued relevance of the communist idea.

“The long night of the left is coming to a close” wrote Slavoj Zizek and Costas Douzinas in their introduction to THE IDEA OF COMMUNISM. The continuing economic crisis, the shift away from a unipolar world defined by American hegemony, and the ecological crisis mean that growing numbers of people are keen to explore an alternative, and to re-discover the idea of communism. With the advent of the Arab awakening millions have sought new ways to overcome corruption and dictatorship.

Responding to Alain Badiou’s proposition of the ‘communist hypothesis’, the leading thinkers of the left convened in London in 2009 to discuss the perpetual, persistent notion that, in a truly emancipated society, all things should be owned in common. Two years later, the discussion continues—this time in New York.

Organised with Verso Books, eight leading thinkers will be discussing COMMUNISM: A NEW BEGINNING? at Cooper Union on the weekend of October 14th-16th.

Verso is glad to announce that we will live stream the conference on our website, from Friday, Oct 14th at 6pm. You’ll need to log in to access the video page, so please register now if you don’t yet have an account.

FIRST SESSION: Friday Oct 14, 6-9 PM (moderator: ZIZEK)
Alain Badiou: POLITICS AND STATE, MASS MOVEMENT AND TERROR (read by Bruno Bosteels)

SECOND SESSION: Saturday Oct 15, 10AM-1PM (moderator: ZIZEK)

THIRD SESSION: Saturday Oct 15, 3-7 PM (moderator: BOSTEELS)

FOURTH SESSION: Sunday Oct 16, 10AM-1PM (moderator: BOSTEELS)
UPDATE: Alain Badiou unable to attend

With great regret we have to announce that, due to illness, Alain Badiou will not be able to attend the conference Communism, A New Beginning? this weekend. We are all extremely disappointed but we hope you’ll join us in wishing Alain a swift recovery. He has prepared a text to be read (by Bruno Bosteels) so will still be able to contribute to the conference, and we still expect the conference to be an extraordinary event.

“The most formidably brilliant exponent of psychoanalysis, indeed of cultural theory in general, to have emerged from Europe in some decades.” – TERRY EAGLETON

“Superstar messiah of the new left.” – OBSERVER

“An intellectual whirlwind.” – TELEGRAPH

“Slavoj Zizek is a superstar of Elvis-like magnitude–a bogglingly dynamic whirlwind of brainpower.” – DAZED AND CONFUSED


“An heir to Jean-Paul Sartre and Louis Althusser” – NEW STATESMAN

“Badiou is at his strongest in pointing to the inconsistencies of a facile multiculturalism, the pluralism of the food court and the shopping mall, which wilts in the face of any genuine expression of cultural hostility to liberal values.” – RADICAL PHILOSOPHY

“Alain Badiou could be the most important philosopher alive today” – IRISH LEFT REVIEW

“Badiou is by turns speculative, provocative…and droll.” – TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
SLAVOJ ZIZEK is a Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic. He is a professor at the European GraduateSchool, International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, BirkbeckCollege, University of London, and a senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. His books include LIVING IN THE END TIMES, FIRST AS TRAGEDY, THEN AS FARCE, IN DEFENSE OF LOST CAUSES, six volumes of the ESSENTIAL ZIZEK, and many more.

ALAIN BADIOU teaches philosophy at the École normale supérieure and the Collège international de philosophie in Paris. In addition to several novels, plays and political essays, he has published a number of major philosophical works, including THEORY OF THE SUBJECT, BEING AND EVENT, MANIFESTO FOR PHILOSOPHY, and GILLES DELEUZE. His recent books include THE MEANING OF SARKOZY, ETHICS, METAPOLITICS, POLEMICS, THE COMMUNIST HYPOTHESIS, FIVE LESSONS ON WAGNER, AND WITTGENSTEIN’S ANTI-PHILOSOPHY.
For more information on the Verso livestream from New York:
The contributions at the 2009 London conference have been collected in:



ISBN: 978 1 84467 455 8 / $95.00/ £55.00/$118.50 / Hardback / 240 pages

ISBN: 978 1 84467 459 6 / $26.95/£14.99/$33.50 / Paperback / 240 pages

For more information:
Visit Verso’s all-new website for blog updates, information on our upcoming events, news, reviews, publications and special offers:

Become a fan of Verso on Facebook

And get updates on Twitter too!


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“The idea of communism is rising from its grave once again—but what does it effectively amount to?…A beautifully written work which is a must for everyone interested in what’s left of the contemporary Left”  – Slavoj Žižek


One of the rising stars of contemporary critical theory, Bruno Bosteels discusses the new currents of thought generated by figures such as Alain Badiou, Jacques Rancière and Slavoj Žižek, who are spearheading the revival of interest in communism.

Bosteels examines this resurgence of communist thought through the prism of “speculative leftism”—an incapacity to move beyond lofty abstractions and thoroughly rethink the categories of masses, classes and state.

Debating those questions with writers including Roberto Esposito and Alberto Moreiras, Bosteels also provides a vital account of the work of the Bolivian Vice President and thinker Alvaro García Linera.

This book is the latest title in Verso’s POCKET COMMUNISM series. The series publishes new strands of left theory and has featured work by Alain Badiou, Slavoj Žižek and Boris Groys.


BRUNO BOSTEELS, Professor of Romance Studies atCornellUniversity, is the author of THE ACTUALITY OF COMMUNISM, BADIOU AND POLITICS and, forthcoming from Verso in 2012, MARX AND FREUD IN LATIN AMERICA. He is the editor of the journal, DIACRITICS.


ISBN: 978-1-84467-695-8 / $24.95 / £12.99 / $31.00CAN / Hardback


For more information about THE ACTUALITY OF COMMUNISM or to buy the book visit:


Also available from Verso’s POCKET COMMUNISM series:




Slavoj Žižek and Costas Douzinas – THE IDEA OF COMMUNISM:


Visit Verso’s website for information on our upcoming events, new reviews and publications and special offers: 

Become a fan of Verso on Facebook:

And get updates on Twitter –  @VersoBooks

Tamar Shlaim


Marketing and Publicity


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Published 7th February, 2011


















‘The long night of the left is coming to a close’ write Slavoj Zizek and Costas Douzinas in their introduction to The Idea of Communism. The continuing economic crisis which began in 2008, the shift away from a unipolar world defined by American hegemony, and the ecological crisis mean that growing numbers of people are keen to explore an alternative, and to re-discover the idea of communism. This volume, which emerges from the landmark ‘Idea of Communism’ conference in 2009, marks the theoretical beginning of that re-discovery.

Bringing together an all-star cast of radical intellectuals, including Alain Badiou, Slavoj Zizek, Terry Eagleton, Michael Hardt, and Antonio Negri, The Idea of Communism explores the historical, philosophical, and political dimensions of the communist ideal, in order to clarify its meaning and relevance today. The volume brings together their discussions from the landmark conference, highlighting both the idea of communism’s continuing significance and the need to reconfigure the concept within a world marked by havoc and crisis.

The contributors argue that multiple crises of the modern world lay bare the limits of mainstream liberal capitalist ideology. Blending astute analysis with compelling theoretical sophistication, The Idea of Communism complements the themes and arguments in other works in Verso’ ‘Pocket Communism’ series, including Badiou’s The Communist Hypothesis, Boris Groys’ The Communist Postscript, and Bruno Bosteel’s forthcoming The Actuality of Communism.

The collection opens with an exhilarating call to arms by France’s greatest living intellectual, the ‘last man standing’ of ’68. The iconic Badiou examines the link between the communist idea and political practice, highlighting what he calls “the anonymous action of millions of militants, rebels, fighters” who, although “unrepresentable as such”, have throughout history represented, “elements of the Idea of Communism at various stages”.

Capturing the sense of intellectual confidence and excitement in renewing the communist ideal, Slavoj Zizek concludes the collection with a characteristically wide-ranging contribution taking in Lenin, Bill Gates and Samuel Beckett. He addresses the question, ‘how to begin from the beginning?’ and posits an answer by way of identifying new revolutionary subjects which correspond to today’s ‘post-industrial’ capitalism.


Praise for SLAVOJ ZIZEK:

“Zizek leaves no social or cultural phenomenon untheorized, and is master of the counterintuitive observation.” New Yorker

“A great provocateur… Zizek writes with passion and an aphoristic energy that is spellbinding.” Los Angeles Times

“The most dangerous philosopher in the West.” New Republic


SLAVOJ ZIZEK is today’s most controversial public intellectual. His work traverses the fields of philosophy, psychoanalysis, theology, history and political theory, taking in film, popular culture, and literature to provide acute analyses of the complexities of contemporary ideology as well as a serious and sophisticated philosophy. The author of over 30 books, SLAVOJ ZIZEK’S provocative prose has challenged a generation of activists and intellectuals. His latest book is LIVING IN THE END TIMES. He is a professor at the European Graduate School, International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck College, University of London, and a senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.

COSTAS DOUZINAS is a Professor of Law and Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, University of London. He is the author of numerous works, including HUMAN RIGHTS AND EMPIRE, THE END OF HUMAN RIGHTS, and LAW AND THE IMAGE: THE AUTHORITY OF ART AND THE AESTHETICS OF LAW.


ISBN -13: 978 1 84467 459 6 / $26.95 / £14.99 / $33.50 / Paperback / 240 pages

ISBN -13: 978 1 84467 455 8 / $95.00 / £55.00 / $118.50 / Hardback / 240 pages

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Alternative Culture



Please join us for “Commonalities: Theorizing the Common in Contemporary Italian Thought,” a conference sponsored by the journal diacritics. The event, to be held at Cornell University on September 24-25, 2010, will bring together a number of leading thinkers around the theme and question of the common. Participants will include Kevin Attell, Franco “Bifo” Berardi, Remo Bodei, Bruno Bosteels, Cesare Casarino, Roberto Esposito, Ida Dominijanni, Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri (by video conference), and Karen Pinkus. More information can be found at the conference website ( or by contacting Professor Timothy Campbell (

Il manifesto
For the better part of a decade the position of Italian thought in the Anglo-American academy has increasingly grown in importance. From issues as far ranging as bioethics and bioengineering, to euthanasia, to globalization, to theorizing gender, to the war on terror, works originating in Italy have played a significant, perhaps even the dominant, role in setting the terms and conditions of these debates. Indeed it might well be that no contemporary thought more than Italian enjoys greater success today in the United States. If twenty years of postmodernism and poststructuralism were in large measure the result of French exports to the United States — Derrida, Lacan, Deleuze, and Foucault — today a number of Italian philosophical exports are giving rise to a theoretical dispositif that goes under a variety of names: post-Marxist, posthuman, or most often biopolitical. Yet the fact that Italian thought enjoys such enormous success in the United States and elsewhere begs an important question, one put to me polemically recently by a prominent Italian philosopher. Is there really such a thing as contemporary Italian thought? And if there is what in the world do its proponents have in common?

By way of responding, it might be useful to recall some details about the recent reception of Italian thought in the American academy. In the aftermath of the end of the postmodern — which a number of American observers savored as spelling the end of the use and abuse of philosophy by large numbers of literary critics — two works appeared in English within a span of three years: Giorgio Agamben’s ‘Homo Sacer’ and Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s ‘Empire’. Stepping into the void left by the departure of what in the United States was known as “theory,” these works made a number of bold theoretical claims about the relation between political power and individual life (Agamben) and globalization and collective life (Hardt and Negri), claims that uncannily – sometimes almost prophetically – addressed some of the most pressing issues in our current state of affairs. Equally a number of important works of Italian feminism appeared over roughly the same period. Works by Adriana Cavarero and Rosi Braidotti, among others, deeply influenced a whole generation of American theorists in fields like gender studies, political philosophy, and law. Looking back it’s difficult to overestimate the influence of all these figures when accounting for the intellectual success of Italian thought today. Certainly it became possible for other voices to be heard, Paolo Virno, and more recently Franco Berardi, Roberto Esposito, and Maurizio Lazzarato among others.

But to take up again the question at hand: what do authors as seemingly different as Agamben and Negri, Berardi and Esposito, Braidotti and Bodei, or Cavarero and Virno have in common outside of the mere fact of writing in Italian? Beyond a common language, is there, for example, such a thing as a common Italian philosophical tradition of which they are all a part? Some, most notably, Mario Perniola, would say yes, one found in the elements of repetition, transmission, mixture, and body that together forged an Italian philosophical culture over the last 300 years. Deleuze and Guattari would have said no, arguing that Italy has historically “lacked a milieu” for philosophy. For them the reason for this lack could be found in Italy’s proximity to the Holy See, which continually aborted philosophy across the peninsula, reducing Italian thought to mere rhetoric, philosophy’s shadow, and allowing only for the occasional “comet” to briefly light up the philosophical sky. Yet what if Italian thought today does in fact enjoy a milieu? What “event” or “events” in the recent past might have fashioned a milieu for the emergence of Italian thought? What would the features of that milieu look like?

Undoubtedly, the decade-long Italian 1968 would have played the decisive role. The votes on abortion, the emergence of counterculture and student and feminist movements, and changes in labor and production all deeply changed the space in which politics — as well as philosophy – was practiced. Indeed one of the central features of the Italian 1968 was precisely the emphasis on politics as philosophy and philosophy as a form (among others) of politics. We can see this in the place 1968 and 1977 awarded political militancy; in the increasing prominence given to questions of subjectivization; and more broadly in the birth of new forms of social and political life separated from those that had previously dominated.

Yet Italy’s long 1968 wasn’t enough on its own. It was only with 1989 and the fall of the Berlin Wall that politics and philosophy truly begin to pass intensely into each other, to stay with the language of Deleuze and Guattari. Although it may seem less the case for those writing in Italy, when seen from the outside 1989 was experienced as trauma more in Italy than in the rest of Europe. The result forced a number of thinkers to re-examine the fundamental political and philosophical categories that had underpinned decades if not centuries of thought: what meaning would the end of a certain form of common life have for politics, for philosophy, for culture? Such a calling into question of the previous understanding of the common had the effect of reterritorializing politics and philosophy under new terms and new problematics, one of which will be “life,” broadly speaking. It is only when 1968 is considered as the motor for deterritorialization of the common in political theory and philosophy and 1989 as the turn toward its reterritorialization as newly mapped by (among other things) biopolitical theory that something like a milieu is constructed for contemporary Italian thought.

This is not to say that proponents of Italian thought share the same understanding of the common or even celebrate it. Clearly they do not. Yet the centrality of the common raises a number of questions about Italian thought and Italian public life today. What does it mean to be or have in common in 2010? What are the effects of questioning the weight of shared life and what possible futures are there for the common? How might singularities be thought together so as to create new forms of life and what kinds of co-habitations or contaminations might reinforce these new forms of life? These kinds of questions are ones Italian thought, in all its diversity, has placed at the forefront of contemporary theory, questions that in turn raise fundamental questions about the nature of relationality and of a politics that would seek to strengthen relations and to extend them in order to create yet further relationality. Such is the force of Hardt and Negri’s discussion of the capacity for love near the end of Commonwealth, though one can well imagine others, including a capacity for play, for attention, and for compassion too.

Yet the relationality implicit in these new forms of shared life doesn’t only lead to greater and more positive capacities for relationality among singularities. The deterritorialization of the common as biopolitics, the posthuman or even insurrection by no means conjures away the specter of power; thus with greater capacity on the one hand comes the possibility of more intense and invasive forms of power on the other. The question then becomes: how are new forms of the common that are being forged today — shared singularities, mirror neurons, impersonality – also being reterritorialized and recontained, and by whom? Is it possible that more intense forms of relationality might signal a return to the very terms that earlier critiques of the common had attempted to uncover? On the one hand the recent success of social networking sites like Facebook suggests that new forms of virtual relations involving vast numbers of “friends” are not only possible but involve ever greater exposure to others. On the other hand such exchanges continue to be premised on the notion that my body and my opinions belong to me, what the Invisible Committee unforgetably characterized as treating “our Self like a boring box office,” using whatever prosthesis is at hand “to hold onto an I.” In such a neo-liberal scenario, the circulation of information, of goods, of persons, of persons as goods is taken to mean a return to a common mode of being-together. It’s a film we’ve seen countless times before: the common’s reinscription in contexts less open to affect that are continually based upon a conflation of connnectivity with more open modes of relating.

These questions among others will be the foundation for a two-day conference sponsored by the journal Diacritics to be held on the campus of Cornell University on September 24-25, 2010. The conference, titled “Commonalities: Theorizing the Common in Italian Thought,” will bring together a number of Italian voices so as to think together not only the relation between Italy and the common but to consider emerging forms of the common and common life today as well as consider the efficacy of a term like the common for a progressive (bio)politics. Equally, the event, the first of its kind of recent memory in the United States, is an occasion to register the state of Italian thought today. When seen from the other side of the Atlantic, no other contemporary thought more than Italian seems better suited today to offer what Foucault called an ontology of the present. At a minimum, and pace my doubting Italian philosopher, the editorial and intellectual success of Italian thought merits a closer look.

Featured at the conference will be some of the leading philosophical figures from Italy today, including Franco Berardi, Remo Bodei, Cesare Casarino, Ida Dominjanni, Roberto Esposito, Michael Hardt, and Antonio Negri. The conference will be transmitted over the internet at A number of Cornell students will be blogging the conference live over the two days.

Antonio Negri

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Global Capitalism


Call for Papers

17th Annual DePaul University
Philosophy Graduate Student Conference


Globalized Capital: Subjects, Spaces, and Critical Responses
April 9th & 10th, 2010

Keynote Speaker: Bruno Bosteels
Department of Romance Languages, Cornell University

Questioning capitalism is no easy enterprise. Discourses interrogating capitalism have mirrored the trajectory of capitalism itself, proliferating in a variety of directions and spawning new conceptual and historical problems with each new decade of confrontation. This conference aims to open up a space of convergence and dialogue for disparate trajectories of critical reflection and practical response. Its title aims to emphasize not only capitalism’s global character—its relentless expansion beyond various geographical, cultural, and political “limits”—but at the same time its particularized and often discontinuous local effects—the subjects, practices, and increasingly micro-managed spaces it carves out en route.

We would like to solicit papers dealing with a broad range of topics including, but not limited to:

* Legacies and Boundaries of Expansion: Inside, outside, and beyond the capitalist Nation-State

* Alterity, subalternity, and critiques from the margins.

* Postcolonialism, decolonization, and anti-colonial resistance.

* The metropolis and the collapse of the city/countryside dialectic. Historical and conceptual origins of capitalist economic thought

* Collectivities and Communes in Resistance: Communism

* From parties to groups, from crowds to constituent power

* Capitalism and Internationalism

* Partisanship and/or universalism

* Spaces of work and labors of thought: “immaterial labor,” intellectual culture, and the marketplace of ideas

* Subjects, Selfhood and Culture: Entrepreneurialist cultures of selfhood

* Consumerist ethics and the conscience market

* Neo-archaisms: the role of tradition and faith under capitalism

* Counter-conducts, indocility, and strategies for “de-individualizing” and “decapitalizing” the self

* Images, Representations, and Symbols: Ideology and “ideology critique”

* Narratives and mythologies of capitalism in cinema, art, architecture, and literature

* The semiotics of capital

* Power and Neoliberal Governmentality: Biopower and biopolitical economy

* Marxist critique in a paradigm of perpetual crisis management

* “Total Governance”: from managerial rationalities to the management of life itself

* Counter-insurgency, preventative war, and the securitization of liberty.

Authors should email their submissions to  
Papers should not exceed 3000 words and should contain a short abstract. As all papers are subject to anonymous review, papers should not include your name or any other identifying marks. Your paper title and personal information (name, institutional affiliation, and phone contact) should be included in the body of the email. For further information and updates on the conference, if you have any questions or problems regarding submissions, or in the event that you do not receive a confirmation email, please contact Neal Miller at

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