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Tag Archives: Enlightenment

Postcolonial

Postcolonial

POSTCOLONIAL THEORY AND THE SPECTRE OF CAPITAL

Vivek Chibber, Professor of Sociology at New York University (NYU) and the author of Locked in Place: State-Building and Late Industrialization in India (2003), will present his new book at SOAS on: Thursday 17 October, 7pm, SOAS main building, DLT (G2).

Chair: Gilbert Achcar, Development Studies

From the book’s back cover:

Postcolonial theory has become enormously influential as a framework for understanding the Global South. It is also a school of thought popular because of its rejection of the supposedly universalizing categories of the Enlightenment. In this devastating critique, mounted on behalf of the radical Enlightenment tradition, Vivek Chibber offers the most comprehensive response yet to postcolonial theory. Focusing on the hugely popular Subaltern Studies project, Chibber shows that its foundational arguments are based on a series of analytical and historical misapprehensions. He demonstrates that it is possible to affirm a universalizing theory without succumbing to Eurocentrism or reductionism.

First published in http://www.historicalmaterialism.org/news/distributed/postcolonial-theory-and-the-spectre-of-capital-with-vivek-chibber-soas-17-october

 

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‘Cheerful Sin’ – a song by Victor Rikowski: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIbX5aKUjO8

 

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Capitalism

THE ELLEN MEIKSINS WOOD READER

Now Out! The Ellen Meiksins Wood Reader 

http://www.brill.com/ellen-meiksins-wood-reader

Edited by Larry Patriquin, NipissingUniversity

 

Volume: 40

Series: Historical Materialism Book Series

ISSN: 

1570-152

ISBN: 9789004230088

Publication Year: 2012

Edition info:  1

Version: Hardback

Publication Type: Book

Pages, Illustrations: xiii, 335 pp.

Imprint: BRILL

Language: English

Ellen Meiksins Wood is a leading contemporary political theorist who has elaborated an innovative approach to the history of political thought, the ‘social history of political theory’. She has been described as the founder, together with the historian Robert Brenner, of ‘Political Marxism’, a distinct version of historical materialism which has inspired a research program that spans a number of academic disciplines. Organized thematically, this Reader brings together selections from Wood’s groundbreaking scholarship, published over three decades, providing an overview of her original interpretations of capitalism, precapitalist societies, the state, political theory, democracy, citizenship, liberalism, civil society, the Enlightenment, globalization, imperialism, and socialism

Readership

All those interested in the history and theories of capitalism, socialism, imperialism, Marxism, liberalism, social classes, democracy, civil society, and citizenship.

 

Table of Contents

Preface

Acknowledgements

Introduction: The ‘Method’ of Ellen Meiksins Wood

1. Capitalism
The ‘economic’ and the ‘political’ in capitalism
Class-power and state-power
Feudalism and private property
Capitalism as the privatisation of political power
The localisation of class-struggle
England vs. the dominant model of capitalism
The bourgeois paradigm
Begging the question
Opportunity or imperative?
The commercialisation-model
Marx on the transition
Towns and trade
Agrarian capitalism
Market-dependent producers
A different kind of market-dependence?
Competitive markets

2. Precapitalist Societies
Class and state in China and Rome
Rome and the empire of private property
The city-states of Florence and Venice
Master and slave vs. landlord and peasant
Free producers and slaves
Slavery and the ‘decline’ of the Roman Empire
The ‘logic’ of slavery vs. the logic of capitalism
The ‘slave-mode of production’
Agricultural slavery and the peasant-citizen
The nexus of freedom and slavery in democratic Athens

3. The State in Historical Perspective
Class and state in ancient society
The emergence of the polis in ancient Athens
The ‘essence’ of the polis
Class in the democratic polis
Village and state, town and country, in democratic Athens
The rise and fall of Rome
The culture of property: the Roman law
From imperial Rome to ‘feudalism’
Absolutism and the modern state
The idea of the state
The peculiarities of the English state
Contrasting states: France vs. England

4. Social and Political Thought
The social history of political theory
Political theory in history: an overview
Plato
The Greek concept of freedom
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
John Locke
Revolution and tradition, c. 1640–1790

5. Democracy, Citizenship, Liberalism, and Civil Society
Labour and democracy, ancient and modern
From ancient to modern conceptions of citizenship
Capitalism and democratic citizenship
The American redefinition of democracy
A democracy devoid of social content
From democracy to liberalism
Capitalism and ‘liberal democracy’
Liberal democracy and capitalist hegemony
The idea of ‘civil society’
The civil-society argument
‘Civil society’ and the devaluation of democracy

6. The Enlightenment, Postmodernism, and the Post-‘New Left’
Modernity vs. capitalism: France vs. England
From modernity to postmodernity
Modernity and the non-history of capitalism
Themes of the postmodern left
Enlightenment vs. capitalism: Condorcet vs. Locke
Enlightenment-universalism
The periodisation of the Western left
Left-intellectuals and contemporary capitalism

7. Globalisation and Imperialism
Globalisation and the nation-state
Nation-states, classes, and universal capitalism
The indispensable state
Precapitalist imperialism
The classic age of imperialism
Globalisation and war
Globalisation and imperial hegemony
The contradictions of capitalist imperialism

8. Socialism
The end of the welfare-state ‘compact’
There are no social democrats now
Market-dependence vs. market-enablement
Left-strategies of market-enablement
The political implications of competition
The working class and the struggle for socialism
Class-conflict and the socialist project
Socialism and democracy
The state in classless societies
Liberalism vs. democracy
‘Universal human goods’
The self-emancipation of the working class
The socialist movement
Democracy as an economic mechanism

Bibliography of Works by Ellen Meiksins Wood, 1970–2012

References
Index

Originally published in: http://www.historicalmaterialism.org/news/distributed/now-out-the-ellen-meiksins-wood-reader

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PROGRESS IN MARX

Denis Mäder, Fortschritt bei Marx (Progress in Marx). Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2010, pp. 367

ISBN 978-3-05-004916-8

http://www.oldenbourg-verlag.de/akademie-verlag/fortschritt-bei-marx/9783050049168

In the 20th century, both Marxists and their opponents took it for granted that Marx’s work contains an elaborate theory of history rooted in a decidedly optimistic mindset. This theory was usually considered to be essentially a sketch of an ideal future society – a theory of salvation merely dressed up as science. It is all the more surprising, therefore, that Marx’s thoughts on progress have so far not been the subject of a thorough investigation.

Denis Mäder’s study analyses the modern idea of progress and the way in which it is being discussed today. This analysis serves as the background to a reconstruction of the original concept of progress that emerges as a result of Marx’s critical confrontation with his own philosophical milieu (especially with Hegel, the Hegelians, and Proudhon).

Progress is the historical movement of goodness. Yet, for the dialectician Marx there can be no progress without opposition. He sees in progress the possibility of positive development without, however, obliterating alternative or contradictory forms of development.

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No Future

NO FUTURE

NO FUTURE: AN INTER-DISCIPLINARY INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
Durham University, UK
25-27 March 2011

First Call for Papers

From biblical apocalypse to the nihilism of the late nineteenth century, from the Enlightenment invention of progress to the counter-cultures of the late twentieth century, from technological utopianism to contemporary anticipations of environmental catastrophe, western civilization has been consistently transfixed by the figurative potential of the future. ‘No Future’ seeks to connect and inter-animate these disparate ways of thinking about the future, while at the same time questioning the basis of the various discourses of futurity they have produced, and which have proliferated in recent years. ‘No Future’ thus also implicitly questions what it is – other than the preoccupations of the present – that is invoked when we talk about the future.

The conference aims to stage a series of inter-disciplinary encounters around these different senses of ‘No Future’, and to examine the value and implications of adopting a ‘futurist’ position across and between a range of disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Contributions may take retrospective form, re-assessing significant moments in past discourses of futurity such as apocalypticism, Enlightenment ideas of progress, the persistence of the apparent dialectical unity of utopia/dystopia, the constructions of Modernism and the Historical Avantgarde, the symbolic projections of psychoanalytic theory. Others might examine the disciplinary shifts that have displaced or dispersed avantgardism in postmodernity, opening out onto such themes as transhumanism, post-postmodern reinflections of the dialectic, and various forms of contemporary utopianism. All of these are related to the central question of the ideological and aesthetic implications of any appeal to futurity, at the heart of which lies the tension between the future as rhetorical evasion and the future as the most persistent and deeply embedded of all heuristic devices.

Keynote speakers:
Mikhail Epstein (Emory)
Jean-Michel Rabaté (Pennsylvania)
Patricia Waugh (Durham)

Plenary panels:

Apocalyptic Futures
Lenin and Futurity
Bloch and Utopian Futures

Proposals for individual papers or integrated panels that engage with any aspect of the central theme are invited. Papers should be of 20 minutes duration to allow adequate time for discussion, and proposals for integrated panels should comprise a chair and three speakers.

Proposals that specifically engage with any of the following themes are particularly welcome:

Ontologies of the Future
Forms of Utopia
Dystopian Futures
Aesthetics and Technology
Eco-criticism and Ecotopia
Gendered Futures
Transhumanism
Futurism(s)
Futures of Freud
Dialectics of the Future
The Future of Theory

Proposals should be no longer than 250 words and should be submitted as an attachment to: alastair.renfrew@durham.ac.uk by Friday 2nd July 2010.

Further information will be available in due course at the conference web-site: http://www.dur.ac.uk/mlac/research/nofuture

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Dan Hind on the Financial Crisis

 

Essay: Dan Hind on the Financial Crisis

Many explanations have been offered for the current economic crisis – regulatory failure did it, or President Carter, or sub-prime lending, or Alan Greenspan. Maybe we all did it. Dan Hind, author of The Threat to Reason: How the Enlightenment was Hijacked and How We Can Reclaim It, points out the problems with the stories most often offered by journalists, politicians and broadcasters. And he offers an alternative reading of the crisis that draws on the work of Richard Wolff, Graham Turner, Richard Stiglitz and others to provide the best brief account yet of what has really been going on in the global economy. It’s 10,000 words long, and it is sensitively entitled Jump! You Fuckers!

You can download it from the Verso website here: http://www.versobooks.com/books/ghij/h-titles/hind_d_threat_reason.shtml

 

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NEW IN PAPERBACK

The Threat to Reason: How the Enlightenment was Hijacked and How We Can Reclaim It

DAN HIND

 

“Fine, lucid and sharp … well written and worth reading before the next wave of western tanks crosses a border, somewhere in the Middle East” Rod Liddle, The Sunday Times http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/non-fiction/article2028138.ece

 

“In this thoughtful polemic Dan Hind argues that we are being misled by a debased “Folk Enlightenment” which has little in common with the Enlightenment initiated by Bacon and championed by Voltaire, Hume and Kant” – Financial Times http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c538a9e0-3fe6-11dc-ad26-0000779fd2ac.html?nclick_check=1

 

“Since September 11 2002, the idea of Enlightenment has been ripped from university textbooks and airlifted into battle between the West and its irrational enemies. In this elegant polemical essay, Dan Hind rightly quibbles with this supposedly Manichean tussle between the guarantors of Enlightenment in the West and everyone else. Hind wants to rescue the idea of Enlightenment from its usurpers, while pressing it into the service of something better.” James Harkin, The Independent http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/the-threat-to-reason-by-dan-hind-460030.html

 

Nick Lezard’s paperback choice in The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/jun/14/saturdayreviewsfeatres.guardianreview19

“In the tradition of those great works that ask big and fundamental, yet curiously unexamined, questions. A profound and much-needed contribution … In the spirit of Enlightenment thinkers, he both reveals the contradictions and hypocrisies of contemporary politics, and also points a way forward” – Joel Bakan, author of The Corporation.

From Dan Hind:

“A few years ago I started to notice that the word ‘Enlightenment’ was cropping up a good deal in political and cultural debate. For example influential commentators and journalists regularly described the ‘War on Terror’ in terms of a wider struggle between ‘Enlightenment values’ and their irrational enemies. Secular liberals complained that Christian fundamentalists were undermining America ’s enlightened inheritance. The defenders of conventional medicine squared off against New Age healers and mystics. On campus avowedly anti-Enlightenment post-modernists were supposedly undermining traditional scholarship. According to writers like Richard Dawkins, Francis Wheen, and Dick Taverne a rising tide of mumbo-jumbo was threatening to overwhelm us.

I wanted to see whether it made sense to think of the Enlightenment in these terms, as something to be defended against external, self-declared enemies. And I wanted to look again at what it might mean to be enlightened in the present day. Was it enough to quote a bit of Voltaire and fret about the rising tide of unreason? Or do the ideas of the historical Enlightenment have a more interesting role to play?

I am convinced, and here try to show, that our understanding of the Enlightenment has become far too narrow and that often the ideas associated with it are being used to mystify the public and to protect unaccountable power.

So, what was the Enlightenment? And what might it be now? The Threat to Reason is an attempt to answer these two questions.”

AUTHOR: Dan Hind has worked in publishing since 1998. He is currently editorial director of Bodley Head. His journalism has appeared in the Guardian, New Scientist and the Times Literary Supplement. The Threat to Reason is his first book. He lives in London

•     Publication: 13th June 2008

•     Binding: Paperback

•     ISBN: 978-1-84467-253-0

•     Price: £7.99 / $15.95

•     Extent: 192 pages

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Rowan Wilson, Sales and Marketing Manager, Verso, 6 Meard Street, London W1F 0EG

Phone: +44 (0)20 7437 3546, Fax: +44 (0)20 7734 0059

email: rowan@verso.co.uk

http://www.versobooks.com

 

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