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Alfred Sohn-Rethel

Alfred Sohn-Rethel

ALFRED SOHN-RETHEL’S SELECTED WORKS

The Historical Materialism book series at Brill is initiating a project to translate and publish Alfred Sohn-Rethel’s most important work.

Alfred Sohn-Rethel (1899-1990) was a Marxian economist and philosopher. He is best known for developing the notion of ‘real abstraction’, which influenced the work of the Frankfurt school (Adorno), Autonomism (Virno), the Neue Marx-Lektüre, and has recently been the subject of renewed interest.  As Sohn-Rethel himself noted, the idea of ‘real abstraction’ was the core idea he developed, revising it over the course of several decades. Yet the English translations of Sohn-Rethel’s work are hard to find and only offer a partial grasp of his thought, particularly the development of ‘real abstraction’. The selected works will remedy this situation by translating Sohn-Rethel’s most important writings. It will also help contextualize his relationship with the Frankfurt School, Autonomism and the Neue Marx-Lektüre .

 

The Selected Works will broken down into the following three volumes:

Volume 1: A Critical edition of Intellectual and Manual Labour. This edition will make Sohn-Rethel’s magnum opus readily available in English in a new form. This will be done by incorporate changes Sohn-Rethel made in the subsequent Italian and German editions of Intellectual and Manual Labour. It will also include a few notes he made in an annotated edition of English translation of Intellectual and Manual Labour which clarify certain passages on the epistemological dimension of real abstraction.

Volume 2: Collected essays that include the most notable of Sohn-Rethel’s early work, some mid-period essays from Geistige Und Korperliche Arbeit : Zur Epistemologie Der Abendlandischen Geschichte, Warenform und Dankform and the later Das Geld, die bare Münze des Apriori, none of which are available in English. This volume will complement the critical edition of Intellectual and Manual Labour by including the essays that mark the development of the idea of ‘real abstraction’, prior to and following the publication of Intellectual and Manual Labour.  It will also feature Sohn-Rethel’s writings on the Frankfurt School, and other items of interest including essays on technology.

Volume 3: Will consist of a translation of his correspondence with Theodor W. Adorno.

 

Those interested in helping translate, edit and otherwise contribute to the project should contact Chris O’Kane at theresonlyonechrisokane@gmail.com. The project also has a website at alfredsohnrethel.wordpress.com/

First published in http://www.historicalmaterialism.org/news/distributed/alfred-sohn-rethels-selected-works

 

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Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Stagnant’ at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLjxeHvvhJQ (live, at the Belle View pub, Bangor, north Wales); and at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkP_Mi5ideo (new remix, and new video, 2012)  

‘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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