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Debt

THE ACTUALITY OF COMMUNISM – BY BRUNO BOSTEELS

PUBLISHED: 1 AUGUST 2011

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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

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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.

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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.

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

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

http://www.versobooks.com/books/962-the-actuality-of-communism

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Also available from Verso’s POCKET COMMUNISM series:

Alain Badiou – THE COMMUNIST HYPOTHESIS: http://www.versobooks.com/books/484-the-communist-hypothesis

Alain Badiou – THE POCKET PANTHEON: http://www.versobooks.com/books/397-pocket-pantheon

Boris Groys – THE COMMUNIST POSTSCRIPT: http://www.versobooks.com/books/446-the-communist-postscript

Slavoj Žižek and Costas Douzinas – THE IDEA OF COMMUNISM: http://www.versobooks.com/books/513-the-idea-of-communism

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Visit Verso’s website for information on our upcoming events, new reviews and publications and special offers: http://www.versobooks.com 

Become a fan of Verso on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Verso-Books/205847279448577

And get updates on Twitter –  @VersoBooks

http://twitter.com/VersoBooks

Tamar Shlaim

 

Marketing and Publicity

Verso

6 Meard Street

LondonW1F 0EG

Tel: 44 (0) 207 437 3546

Fax: 44 (0) 207 734 0059

Email: tamar@verso.co.uk

http://www.versobooks.com    

 

View Verso’s Spring 2011 catalogue

http://twitter.com/VersoBooksUK

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Jacques Ranciere

STAGING THE PEOPLE: THE PROLETARIAN AND HIS DOUBLE

BY JACQUES RANCIÈRE
PUBLISHED: 10 JULY 2011
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These essays from the 1970s mark the inception of the distinctive project that Jacques Rancière has pursued across forty years, with several interwoven themes: the study of working-class identity, of its philosophical interpretation, of “heretical” knowledge and of the relationship between work and leisure.

For the short-lived journal Les Révoltes logiques, Rancière wrote on subjects ranging across a hundred years, from the California gold rush to trade-union collaboration with fascism, from early feminism to the “dictatorship of the proletariat,” from the respectability of the Paris Exposition to the disrespectable carousing outside the Paris gates. Rancière characteristically combines telling historical detail with deep insight into the development of the popular mind.

In a new Preface, he explains why such “awkward words” as “people,” “factory,” “proletarians” and “revolution” must regain their currency.
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PRAISE FOR JACQUES RANCIÈRE

“Forceful…persuasive…surprising…penetrating” – GUARDIAN

“Rancière’s writings offer one of the few conceptualizations of how we are to continue to resist.”  SLAVOJ ŽIŽEK

“An heir to Foucault” – ALAIN BADIOU

One of our most stimulating thinkers” PARIS MATCH

“It’s clear that Jacques Rancière is relighting the flame that was extinguished for many – that is why he serves as such a signal reference today” – THOMAS HIRSCHHORN

“In the face of impossible attempts to proceed with progressive ideals within the terms of postmodernist discourse, Rancière shows a way out of the malaise” – LIAM GILLICK

PRAISE FOR HATRED OF DEMOCRACY:

A piercing essay on the definitions and redefinitions of the term “democracy” … the present catastrophe in Iraq provides more than ample proof of Rancière’s bold assertion that we need to rethink the relationship between democracy and power before setting in motion any more wars in the name of “freedom”.” TIMES HIGHER EDUCATIONAL SUPPLEMENT

“This tastily sardonic essay is partly a scholarly sprint through the history of political philosophy, and partly a very enjoyable stream of insults directed at rival penseurs.” GUARDIAN

PRAISE FOR THE FUTURE OF THE IMAGE:

“Like all of Jacques Rancière’s texts, THE FUTURE OF THE IMAGE is vertiginously precise” LES CAHIERS DU CINEMA

“A series of gratifyingly knotty and close discussions of 19th- and 20th-century literature, film and painting” GUARDIAN
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JACQUES RANCIÈRE is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Paris VIII. His books include THE EMANCIPATED SPECTATOR, THE FUTURE OF THE IMAGE, HATRED OF DEMOCRACY, ON THE SHORES OF POLITICS AND PROLETARIAN NIGHTS.
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ISBN: 978 1 84467 697 2 / $29.95 / £19.99 / $37.50CAN / Paperback / 240 pages
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For more information about STAGING THE PEOPLE: THE PROLETARIAN AND HIS DOUBLE
or to buy the book visit: http://www.versobooks.com/books/964-staging-the-people
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Visit Verso’s website for information on our upcoming events, new reviews and publications and special offers: http://www.versobooks.com
Become a fan of Verso on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Verso-Books/205847279448577

And get updates on Twitter –  @VersoBooks
http://twitter.com/VersoBooks

 

 

 

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Ilana Verdansky

NEW RADICAL PHILOSOPHY WEBSITE

We’re delighted to announce the launch of the new website for Radical Philosophy. The address remains the same – http://www.radicalphilosophy.com – but as well as updating the way the website looks and works, we have added every single item from our back catalogue to the online archive, from the first Radical Philosophy published in Spring 1972 through to the very latest issue.

Subscribers continue to have full access to and unlimited downloads from the archive, including all articles, interviews and reviews now available from RP1 to the present. If you would like full access to the archive and the journal delivered direct to your door, please consider supporting Radical Philosophy by taking out an annual subscription from as little as £24 (full details of subscription rates and information on how to subscribe can be found at: http://www.radicalphilosophy.com/subscriptions

Our non-subscribing readers will enjoy free access to all the commentaries, obituaries, conference and news reports, plus highlights from back issues and new access to hundreds of items from the expanded archive. A new feature of the website will also allow non-subscribers to purchase and download pdfs of individual items from the archive at an affordable price of £3 for any article or interview and £2 for the reviews sections from recent issues.

Articles and interviews, from 1972-2011, include important work by some of the most seminal philosophical writers of the last 40 years, including: Alliez, Badiou, Balibar, Berardi, Bhabha, Bourdieu, Buck-Morss, Butler, Canguilhem, Cassin, Caygill, Connolly, Critchley, Derrida, Didi-Huberman, Feyerabend, Foucault, Groys, Hallward, Harootunian, Haug, Horkheimer, Koolhaas, Lacoue-Labarthe, Laplanche, Lazzarato, Le Doeuff, Macherey, Malabou, Negri, Osborne, Rancière, Segal, Sloterdijk, Sohn-Rethel, Soper, Spivak, Stengers, Virilio, Zizek, and many others.

When the first issue of Radical Philosophy was published in January 1972, it sought – in the wake of the rise of the New Left and the student movements of the 1960s – to challenge the institutional divisions that it saw as contributing to the impoverishment of contemporary philosophical practice: divisions that existed between academic departments, between teachers and their students, and between the university and society. “Our main aim,” the Editorial Collective declared, “is to free ourselves from the restricting institutions and orthodoxies of the academic world, and thereby to encourage important philosophical work to develop: Let a Hundred Flowers Blossom!” In the ensuing forty years much has changed about contemporary philosophy, in the UK and elsewhere.  But as testified by our recent dossiers on transdisciplinarity, our campaign reports on the revitalized student movement, and our regular philosophically-informed commentaries on contemporary social and political issues, those problematic disciplinary, pedagogical and social divisions continue to be challenged by those writing in Radical Philosophy.

To access our expanded archive, subscribe to the journal, check out selected content from our latest issue, or download the current free gift from our back catalogue – Jacques Rancière’s `On the Theory of Ideology’ (originally published in RP7, Spring 1974) – please visit us today: http://www.radicalphilosophy.com

The Radical Philosophy Editorial Collective

 

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Education Crisis

MARXIAN ANALYSIS OF SOCIETY, SCHOOLS AND EDUCATION SIG OF THE AMERICAN EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH ASSOCIATION (MASSES)
CALL FOR PAPERS

2012 Annual Meeting – Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Friday, April 13 – Tuesday, April 17, 2012
http://www.facebook.com/l/7ba756tNF7qOe9ItKjSdc1iil3A/www.aera.net/

*Why Marxism? Whose Marxism? Let’s Begin from the Beginning.*

*Rethink Class, Race and Gender Inequalities and Education*

The current global momentum is a profound paradox. On one hand, our era has been witnessing huge and dramatic transformations propelled by the biotech movement including genetic and biotechnological discoveries, as well as, the electronic revolution of communications and information both of which have had a huge impact on the way knowledge has been produced and reproduced.

Despite such progress, on the other hand, global societies have been experiencing, among other things, the shocking exacerbation (and in some cases the return) of horrendous social evils, namely, the return of slavery, legitimization of human genocide, new pandemics, the return of high vulnerability to old sicknesses that seemed to have been eradicated and now appear to be linked to new pandemics like HIV/AIDS, and naturalization of war, the domestication of revolting social inequalities (cf. Sousa Santos, 2005), the need of a more predatory capitalism to sustain neoliberal capitalism, the emergence of a new economy propelled by the need to fight terror(ism) (cf. Giroux, 2011).

Despite the fact that we never had a society that produced as much knowledge as today’s society, the fact is such production not only has been incapable of building a fairer and just society, but also as it has just served to increase and multiply social inequality. Such shocking paradoxes bring to the fore the vitality of (neo)Marxist analyses, as the ‘most rigorous, comprehensive critique of capitalism ever to be launched’ (Eagleton, 2011).

The 2012 Marxian Analysis of Society, School and Education SIG program asks scholars and educators around the globe, profoundly committed with the struggle for social and cognitive justice, to rethinking not only class, race, and gender inequalities and education, but also if the reinvigoration of the (neo)Marxist analyses and contributions to society and education implies the need to ‘begin from the beginning’ (Zizek, 2009). We asked scholars to critically address questions such as why (neo)Marxism and whose (neo)Marxism is a key to rethink and understand the current global disruption of capitalism and its implications of the daily live of teachers and students.

AERA: http://www.area.net

MASSES Yahoo Group (Marx and Education SIG): http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/MarxSIG/  

 

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Revolution

REVOLUTIONARY VOICES: MARXISM, COMMUNICATION, AND SOCIAL CHANGE

National Communication Association (NCA) Preconvention Seminar
“Revolutionary Voices: Marxism, Communication, and Social Change”
10:30 am-5:00 PM, Wednesday, November 16th.
New Orleans, LA

In the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse, and the subsequent worldwide retreat of the communist and socialist Left, the very concept of “revolution” was deemed by many theorists to be outdated and passé. Liberal, poststructuralist and conservative intellectuals jointly proclaimed Marxist project -with its emphasis on class struggle, anti-imperialism and a totalizing critique of capitalism– no longer relevant to an understanding of our “postmodern” world. Today, with the popular uprisings associated with the “Arab Spring” roiling dictatorships in countries like Egypt, Tunisia, Syria and Yemen and with the global capitalist economy just barely emerging from the throes of its worst crisis since the Great Depression, Marxism is not so easily dismissed. The recent popularity of thinkers like Giovanni Arrighi, Alain Badiou, Antonio Negri, David Harvey and Slavoj Zizek suggests a renewal of scholarly interest in Marxist and post-Marxist theory. The fact that Karl Marx himself was featured on the cover of the February 2, 2009 TIME Magazine suggests that this revival of interest is not confined to the academy.

This pre-convention conference aims to explore the continued relevance of Marxism and Marxist theoretical concepts (i.e. ideology, hegemony, class, dialectics, reification, commodification ) to the study of communication, focusing on communication’s instrumental role in maintaining, perpetuating and contesting capitalism’s structures of domination. Unlike other theoretical orientations within the social sciences and the humanities, Marxism has long insisted that theory be informed by and inform social and political praxis. Thus, one special emphasis of our discussions will be on the way that Marxist work in field of communication can help to advance and clarify current struggles for progressive social change in the US and around the world. Moreover, at a time when even the mainstream corporate press speaks openly of the revolutionary currents spreading across North Africa and the Middle East, we will devote special attention to the concept of “revolution” and the way that it can refine and enhance our understanding of communication, political conflict and social change.

We hope that by bringing together a critical mass of scholars whose work is informed by Marxist theory, our seminar will “make a difference” both in our discipline and in the larger fight for social justice. Ultimately, we plan to publish an edited volume or a special issue of an academic journal as a way of bringing the scholarship produced by seminar participants to an even larger audience.

This mini-conference builds on a series of NCA panels, pre-conference seminars and publications about Marxism and communication that began with a well-attended panel at the 2003 NCA convention in Miami. Last year’s mini-conference “Bridging Theory and Practice” drew dozens of participants to a series of three inter-related panels at the national conference in San Francisco. The year before that, in Chicago, our panel “The 2009 Crisis of Neoliberalism: Marxist Scholars on Rhetorics of Stability and Change,” drew a standing-room-only crowd. And in 2006, three of the co-organizers of this seminar (Artz, Cloud and Macek) published an anthology — Marxism and Communication Studies: The Point is to Change It (Peter Lang)-composed almost entirely of conference papers delivered at our NCA panels and seminars. This seems to us an opportune moment for yet another pre-convention seminar and yet another publication devoted to this topic.

The organizers invite potential participants to submit complete papers or extended abstracts (350-500 words) relevant to the subject of Marxism, communication and social change for inclusion in this pre-convention seminar. Work in political economy of the media, cultural studies, rhetoric, critical theory, social movement studies and political communication is especially welcome. Send your submissions along with complete contact information (mailing address, e-mail and phone #) to both Steve Macek (at shmacek@noctrl.edu) and Dana Cloud (at dcloud@mail.utexas.edu) no later than August 8th, 2011.

Steve Macek
Associate Professor
Speech Communication
Program Coordinator, Urban and Suburban Studies
North Central College
30 N. Brainard
Naperville, IL 60540-4690
Phone: 630-637-5369
Fax: 630-637-5140
Webpage: http://shmacek.faculty.noctrl.edu/

Out now from U of MN Press:
Urban Nightmares: The Media, the Right, and the Moral Panic over the City. Winner of the 2006 Urban Communication Foundation Publication Award.
ISBN: ISBN 0-8166-4361-X
http://www.upress.umn.edu/Books/M/macek_urban.html

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Wie Streiken?

MARX IS MUSS 2011

Berlin Conference

2 – 5 June 2011

Alte Feuerwache, Axel-Springer Strasse, 40/41, Berlin

Speakers include:

Alex Callinicos

Slavoj Zizek

Elmar Altvater

Janine Wissler

Nicole Gohlke

Claudia Haydt

Dietmar Dath

Lucas Zeise

Frank Deppe

Marx is Muss: http://marxismuss2011.wordpress.com/

With Marx21 Magazine

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Karl Marx

MARXISM AND PHILOSOPHY SOCIETY REVIEW OF BOOKS – UPDATE 20th APRIL 2011

New reviews just published online in the Marx and Philosophy Review of Books

·        Sutton on Jameson

·        Landa on Marx and progress

·        Calderbank on Vighi on Žižek

·        Short on Zartaloudis on Agamben

·        Garland on Crack Capitalism

New comments and discussion

And a new list of books for review all at: www.marxandphilosophy.org.uk/reviewofbooks/

For notices of new reviews, comments, etc. join the Marx and Philosophy Society email list: (http://lists.topica.com/lists/mpslist)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Professor Sean Sayers,

Editor, Marx and Philosophy Review of Books

School of European Culture and Languages
University of Kent, Canterbury CT2 7NF, UK
Tel +44 1227-827513; Fax +44 1227-823641
http://www.marxandphilosophy.org.uk/reviewofbooks/

***** 

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World Crisis

SLAVOJ ŽIŽEK: ‘THE SITUATION IS CATASTROPHIC, BUT NOT SERIOUS’

Co-sponsored by the Center for Place, Culture and Politics

Launch of the Committee on Globalization and Social Change

A talk by Slavoj Žižek: “The Situation Is Catastrophic, but Not Serious”

April 4 / Proshansky Auditorium / 6:30 p.m. 
CUNY GRADUATE CENTER/ 365 FIFTH AVENUE (AT 34TH STREET), NEW YORK CITY

Free, reservations required.

For more information, call 212-817-8215.

Slavoj Žižek is “the world’s hippest philosopher,” according to the British newspaper The Telegraph. He “can spin you from Heidegger to Hershey bars (by way of Hitchcock and Hizbollah).” Žižek is a “master of the counterintuitive observation,” according to The New Yorker.

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Zizek

Radical Thinkers

RADICAL THINKERS SET 5 & RADICAL THINKERS CLASSIC EDITIONS

OUT NOW

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RADICAL THINKERS SET 5

Verso presents Set 5 of the highly popular Radical Thinkers series,
continuing its commitment to bring classic works of philosophy to a new
audience readership through affordable, attractively designed new editions.
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LAUNCH EVENT with TARIQ ALI and PETER OSBORNE

MEDITATIONS ON SPINOZA: THE APOSTLE OF REASON
http://www.tate.org.uk/modern/eventseducation/film/22966.htm

Part of the ‘In Defense of Philosophy’ series at Tate Modern

Friday 25th February 2011, 18.30
Tate Modern, Bankside London SE1 9TG

Christopher Spencer’s SPINOZA: THE APOSTLE OF REASON (1994) is the second film to be shown in the In Defense of Philosophy series. Written by Tariq Ali, the film presents the life and thought of Baruch Spinoza against the turmoil of seventeenth-century Europe. A fascinating modern man, Spinoza challenged orthodoxy in both religion andpolitics, angering his traditional contemporaries. Spinoza’s remarkable intellectual legacy has influenced thinkers as varied as Ludwig Wittgenstein, Gilles Deleuze, Albert Einstein and John Berger.

The film will be followed by a conversation with Tariq Ali and Peter Osborne.

Tate Modern Starr Auditorium
£10 (£8 concessions), booking recommended

For tickets book online here: http://www.tate.org.uk/modern/eventseducation/film/22966.htm or call 020 7887 8888.
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RADICAL THINKERS SET 5

OUT NOW

ALL BOOKS / PAPERBACK / ONLY ?8.99/$15.95
BUY THE FULL SET FOR THE DISCOUNT PRICE OF ?85
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Louis Althusser – MACHIAVELLI AND US, 978 1 84467 675 0
“Althusser, poised between modernism and postmodernism, meets Machiavelli, poised between the Middle Ages and modernity.”–Antonio Negri.
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Etienne Balibar and Immanuel Wallerstein – RACE, NATION, CLASS: AMBIGUOUS
IDENTITIES, 978 1 84467 671 2
The modernity of racism and its relationship to contemporary capitalism.
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Jean Baudrillard – PASSWORDS, 978 1 84467 676 7
In the spirit of Deleuze’s Abécédaire, PASSWORDS offers twelve entry
points into Baudrillard’s thought.
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Jeremy Bentham – THE PANOPTICON WRITINGS, 978 1 84467 666 8
A definitive collection of Bentham’s work on the model prison, key to Foucault’s theory of power
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Guy Debord – COMMENTS ON THE SOCIETY OF THE SPECTACLE,
978 1 84467 672 9
“Guy Debord is a time bomb, and a difficult one to defuse.” – Michael Löwy
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Hal Foster – DESIGN AND CRIME, 978 1 84467 670 5
“DESIGN AND CRIME is cool, measured, and steady, like a Gunsmoke shootout.”–Greil Marcus
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André Gorz – CRITIQUE OF ECONOMIC REASON, 978 1 84467 667 5
“Gorz’s greatest work, and a crucial book for our time” — LE MONDE

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Fredric Jameson – BRECHT AND METHOD, 978 1 84467 677 4

“Elegant dissection of Brecht’s method, from estrangements to allegory and beyond”– MODERN DRAMA
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Peter Osborne – THE POLITICS OF TIME: MODERNITY AND AVANT-GARDE, 978 1
84467 673 6
Elaborates a dialectics of modernity, eternity and tradition.
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Edward W. Soja – POSTMODERN GEOGRAPHIES: THE REASSERTION OF SPACE IN
CRITICAL SOCIAL THEORY, 978 1 84467 669 9
“One of the most challenging and stimulating books ever written”—David Harvey
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Sebastiano Timpanaro – FREUDIAN SLIP: PSYCHOANALYSIS AND TEXTUAL
CRITICISM, 978 1 84467 674 3
“A firework display of erudition.”–Perry Anderson
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Slavoj Žižek, Ernesto Laclau, and Judith Butler – CONTINGENCY, HEGEMONY,
UNIVERSALITY, 978 1 84467 668 2
The Hegelian legacy, Left strategy, and post-structuralism versus Lacanian psychoanalysis
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RADICAL THINKERS SET 5 (full set) 978 1 84467 678 1
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Praise for RADICAL THINKERS:

“An extremely pleasant surprise: a new imprint from Verso called Radical Thinkers, and a pile of white-covered paperbacks by the likes of Theodor Adorno, Fredric Jameson, Guy Debord and Walter Benjamin. Not only do they have nifty cover designs, they are ridiculously cheap.” Nick Lezard, GUARDIAN:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/aug/15/jean-baudrillard-transparency-of-evil

“A compendium of left-wing philosophical and political thought, inoculating it against the ‘great idea’ of philosophy-as-self-help. As a way of transforming… formless disgust into educated critique, these books are a fine, cheap and decidedly elegant starting point.” —  Owen Hatherley http://www.3ammagazine.com/3am/radical-thought/

“A golden treasury of theory” — Eric Banks, BOOKFORUM

“Verso’s beautifully designed Radical Thinkers series, which brings together seminal works by leading left-wing intellectuals, is a sophisticated blend of theory and thought. The 12 authors whose writings are included in the series have worked tirelessly to expose the mechanisms by which culture and knowledge are manufactured, managed and controlled” — Ziauddin Sardar, NEW STATESMAN http://www.newstatesman.com/200604170041
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For more information & to buy the books visit: http://www.versobooks.com/series_collections/5-radical-thinkers
—————————————-
RADICAL THINKERS CLASSIC EDITIONS
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To celebrate 40 years of radical publishing, Verso is reissuing four of the most popular and seminal titles from previous Radical Thinkers series in beautiful new hardback editions with black and red foil-embossed covers.
—————————————-
RADICAL THINKERS CLASSIC EDITIONS:

HARDBACKS (EACH) ?14.99/$24.95
BUY THE FULL SET FOR THE DISCOUNT PRICE OF £45
—————————————-
Theodor Adorno – MINIMA MORALIA: REFLECTIONS FROM DAMAGED LIFE, 978 1 84467 661 3

“A classic of twentieth century thought…whose translation is by far the best yet done of any work of Critical Theory.” – TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

“A volume of Adorno is equivalent to a whole shelf of books on literature.” – Susan Sontag
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Louis Althusser – FOR MARX, 978 1 84467 662 0

“Louis Althusser influenced so many discourses, actions and existences by the radiant and provocative voice of his thought” –– Jacques Derrida
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Raymond Williams – CULTURE AND MATERIALISM, 978 1 84467 663 7

“The left’s foremost cultural historian and critic” – COMMENT
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Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Ernst Bloch, Bertold Brecht, Georg Lukács
– AESTHETICS AND POLITICS, 978 1 84467 664 4

“They are key texts in the study of modernism, of expressionist drama and of realism, and of many closely related general questions … It is genuinely an indispensable volume” — Raymond Williams
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Radical Thinkers Classic Editions (full set) 978 1 84467 665 1
————————————
For more information and to buy the books visit: http://www.versobooks.com/series_collections/14-14-radical-thinkers-classic-editions
————————————
Become a fan of Verso on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Verso-Books-UK/122064538789
And get updates on Twitter too: http://twitter.com/VersoBooksUK

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Zizek

THE IDEA OF COMMUNISM

Edited by SLAVOJ ZIZEK AND COSTAS DOUZINAS

Published 7th February, 2011

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ALAIN BADIOU

JUDITH BALSO

BRUNO BOSTEELS

SUSAN BUCK-MORSS

COSTAS DOUZINAS

TERRY EAGLETON

PETER HALLWARD

MICHAEL HARDT

JEAN-LUC NANCY

ANTONIO NEGRI

JACQUES RANCIERE

ALESSANDRO RUSSO

ALBERTO TOSCANO

GIANNI VATTIMO

SLAVOJ ZIZEK

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‘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.

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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

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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.

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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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Feminism

DIMINISHING RETURNS? FEMINIST ENGAGEMENTS WITH THE RETURN TO ‘THE COMMONS’

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An international workshop hosted by the Kent Centre for Law, Gender, and Sexuality and Kent Law School

Wednesday 23 March 2011
Kent Law School
Canterbury, UK*
12-6pm

With presentations by:

Rosemary Coombe (York University, Canada)
Radhika Desai (University of Manitoba, Canada)
Denise Ferreira da Silva (Queen Mary, UK)
Nina Power (Roehampton, UK)

Discussed by:

Donatella Alessandrini (Kent, UK)
Brenna Bhandar (Kent, UK)

The day will consist of two sessions, broken up with a light lunch (provided) and followed by dinner (not provided). Please join us for part or all of the day. More information about the theme of the workshop can be found below.

The event is free but spaces are limited. To book a spot please register by emailing Stacy Douglas at: S.M.Douglas@kent.ac.uk before 1 March 2011.

*There are some funds available for postgraduate students who wish to travel to Kent for the workshop. If you are interested please email Stacy Douglas at S.M.Douglas@kent.ac.uk with a brief case for support as well as an estimated cost for your train travel. Information about traveling to Kent can be found here.

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Background:

Garrett Hardin’s now infamous essay “Tragedy of the Commons” (1968) stands as a Hobbesian analogy for what he claims are the inherent destructive capacities of human beings that perpetually stand in the way of realizing a free community of individuals with shared resources. Hardin’s essay suggests that, when faced with the responsibility of sharing the commons, individual human self-interest – or fear of it – will win out over practices of collectivity, sharing, and mutual aid.

More recently, there has been a resurgence in political theory and political philosophy in addressing the concept of “the commons”. Some of the most popularly cited references to the idea can be found in the work of Slavoj Žižek (2009) and Hardt and Negri (2009). This work has further been expounded upon in international conferences devoted to the “Idea of Communism” in London (2009) and Berlin (2010).  Steeped in the philosophy of Spinoza, Hardt and Negri use a notion of the common that “…does not position humanity separate from nature, as either its exploiter or its custodian, but focuses rather on the practices of interaction, care, and cohabitation in a common world, promoting the beneficial and limiting and detrimental forms of the common” (2009). For Žižek, the commons is comprised of culture (“primarily language, our means of communication and education, but also shared infrastructure such as public transport, electricity, post, etc…”), external nature (“from oil to forests and the natural habitat itself”), and internal nature (“the biogenetic inheritance of humanity”), and are all increasingly enclosed by the forces of global capital. It is the process of our exclusion from these commons (“our own substance”) that Žižek argues should effectively proletarianize us into fighting for something more than capitalist liberal democracy – a system whose laissez-faire violence is justified through the empty gesture of “universal inclusion” without any material bite. Žižek’s answer to this political conundrum is a call for communism.

And yet, the past century has seen vast and varied critical feminist engagements with historically changing concepts of communism and “the commons”. Struggles for universal suffrage, critiques of universality, denouncements of the hollowing out of the welfare state as a result of neoliberalisation, and challenges to the concept of the human, are all examples of a rich and diverse feminist tradition of engagement with the concept of “the commons”. Given the popular return to the idea of the commons, what more does feminist analysis have to give to this conversation? Does the concept still have potential for future feminist projects? If so, what is this potential and what do these projects look like? How do they resonate – or not – with those of the past? Further, given the broader theme of the workshop series, what role – if any – does the “the state” play in these imaginings?

The Kent Centre for Law, Gender, and Sexuality (KCLGS) and Kent Law School invite you to participate in a workshop exploring the contemporary feminist work of Rosemary CoombeRadhika DesaiDenise Ferreira da Silva, and Nina Power as it resonates or clashes with these questions. For more information or to register, email S.M.Douglas@kent.ac.uk or visit www.kent.ac.uk/law/kentclgs/

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Richard Wagner

FIVE LESSONS ON WAGNER

By ALAIN BADIOU

Published 8th November 2010

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Featuring an extensive afterword by SLAVOJ ZIZEK

Translated by SUSAN SPITZER

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PRAISE FOR ALAIN BADIOU:

“A figure like Plato or Hegel walks here among us!” Slavoj Zizek

“An heir to Jean-Paul Sartre and Louis Althusser” NEW STATESMAN http://www.newstatesman.com/books/2009/02/sarkozy-france-badiou-french

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For over a century, Richard Wagner’s music has been the subject of intense debate among philosophers, many of whom have attacked its ideological—some say racist and reactionary—underpinnings. In this major new work, Alain Badiou, radical philosopher and keen Wagner enthusiast, offers a detailed reading of the critical responses to the composer’s work, which include Adorno’s writings on the composer and Wagner’s recuperation by Nazism as well as more recent readings by Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and others. Slavoj Zizek provides an afterword, and both philosophers make a passionate case for re-examining the relevance of Wagner to the contemporary world.

As the first example of a “mass art”, Wagner’s operas are portrayed as a forerunner to David Bowie and gangster rap, promoting a “terrorist function” of music that breaks down the boundaries between high and low culture.

Wagner’s crucial role in the thinking of Nietzsche, Adorno and Heidegger leads Badiou to posit the composer as the “litmus test” for the role of music in philosophy. Whilst these philosophers tended to criticize Wagner’s attempt to marry nationalism and art as “proto-fascist”, Badiou vigorously defends the positive energy of Wagner’s “enthralling, alluring, deceptive, hysterical, shimmering, seductive, sexual musical edifice.”

Badiou argues that “musicolatry” has replaced idolatry in contemporary society as music plays an increasingly important role in how we define ourselves. Youth culture identifies with music more than any other art form, festivals have created a new type of sociability, and the music industry is a billion dollar enterprise.

In a surprising conclusion, Badiou responds to the criticisms of Wagner by suggesting that the composer represents the possibility for a coming resurrection of high art. This new artistic “greatness” will embrace multiplicity, revel in possibility, tolerate subjective differences, dispense with resolutions and allow endless formal transformations. Badiou forecasts a high art which embraces postmodernism, rather then being destroyed by it and which, instead of focusing on nationalist nostalgia, sees Wagner as preparing the way for future artistic celebrations.

In Slavoj Žižek’s comprehensive 60 page afterword, “the most dangerous philosopher in the West” applies his usual brand of acute anecdotal evidence and astounding critical insight to turn perceived notions of Wagner’s Christianity on their head, comparing Parsifal to the pagan triumph of Lord of the Rings as opposed to the “failure” of C.S. Lewis’ Narnia.

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ALAIN BADIOU teaches philosophy at the Ecole normale superieure and the College 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 five recent books THE COMMUNIST HYPOTHESIS, THE MEANING OF SARKOZY, ETHICS, METAPOLITICS and POLEMICS are available from Verso.

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PRAISE FOR THE MEANING OF SARKOZY:

“An enjoyably bilious essay” THE GUARDIAN http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/feb/06/alain-badiou-meaning-of-sarkozy

“As the recession worsens and social unrest increases apace, there is every likelihood that the ‘communist hypothesis’ will re-emerge to capture the political imagination.” Michael Cronin, IRISH TIMES http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2009/0225/1224241762583.html

“Compared to Guy Debord’s prophetic 1967 masterpiece, THE SOCIETY OF THE SPECTACLE… a thundering, rallying tirade.” Lucy Wadham, NEW STATESMAN http://www.newstatesman.com/books/2009/02/sarkozy-france-badiou-french

 “Strangely compelling.” THE OBSERVER http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/01/nicolas-sarkozy-politics

 “Badiou’s concluding, rousing call for an emboldened left to rediscover and reassert ‘the communist hypothesis’ through new kinds of thought and collective action can’t be dismissed as the pipe dreams of an old militant any more.” Mark Fisher, FRIEZE — http://www.frieze.com/issue/article/the_meaning_of_sarkozy/

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 ISBN: 978 1 84467 481 7 / US$26.95 / £16.99 / CAN$33.50/ 256 pages

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 For more information and to buy the book visit http://www.versobooks.com/books/530-530-five-lessons-on-wagner

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