The Left Hemisphere: Mapping Critical Theory
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As the crisis of capitalism unfolds, the need for alternatives is felt ever more intensely. The struggle between radical movements and the forces of reaction will be merciless. A crucial battlefield, where the outcome of the crisis will in part be decided, is that of theory. Over the last twenty-five years, radical intellectuals across the world have produced important and innovative ideas.
The endeavour to transform the world without falling into the catastrophic traps of the past has been a common element uniting these new approaches. This book – aimed at both the general reader and the specialist – offers the first global cartography of the expanding intellectual field of critical contemporary thought. More than thirty authors and intellectual currents of every continent are presented in a clear and succinct manner. A history of critical thought in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries is also provided, helping situate current thinkers in a broader historical and sociological perspective.
normative structure of human behaviour adopts the converse position. For him, the capacity of individuals to conceive themselves as such, and engage in rational calculation, presupposes that they have already been recognized as individuals by others. The interest of Benhabib’s social theory compared with those of Fraser and Honneth is that it investigates the effects of globalization on contemporary inter-subjective processes. Benhabib also identifies with the legacy of the Frankfurt School.
temporality, no social change is conceivable. 1 See Razmig Keucheyan, ‘Les communauté des fans de Matrix sur Internet: une étude de sociologie de la connaissance’, L’Année sociologique, no. 56, 2006. 2 See Alain Badiou, Metapolitics, trans. Jason Barker, London and New York: Verso, 2005, chapter 1. 3 Alex Callinicos, The Resources of Critique, Cambridge: Polity, 2006, p. 84. 4 See Martin Jay, Marxism and Totality: The Adventures of a Concept from Lukács to Habermas, Berkeley: University of
those of the preceding period. For a start, they no longer had organic links with the workers’ movement and, in particular, with the Communist parties. They no longer held leadership positions. In those instances where they were members of Communist parties (Althusser, Lukács, Della Volpe), they had complex relations with them. Forms of ‘fellow-travelling’ can be observed, exemplified by Sartre in France. But an irreducible distance between intellectuals and party remained. It is not necessarily
dawn of the age of nationalism but the dusk of religious modes of thought. With the ebbing of religious belief, the suffering which belief in part composed did not disappear.’57 According to Anderson, in the modern age nationalism took over some of the functions previously performed by religion. This does not mean that nationalism is the direct result of secularization. But one of the factors explaining its emergence and persistence is the fact that it responds to ‘existential’ questions akin to
wage relation therefore does indeed have an impact on the trajectory of profitability. But in no instance is it the principal explanatory factor, which is to be sought (according to Brenner) in uncoordinated international competition between producers. Among the arguments advanced by Brenner to refute the Regulationists is the idea that the crisis has affected all developed countries – both those where the balance of forces was favourable to wage-earners and those where it was not. The former