Rethinking Marxist Approaches to Transition

A Theory of Temporal Dislocation


In Rethinking Marxist Theories of Transition, Onur Acaroglu traces the concept of transition across the tracts of Classical and Western Marxism. Rarely directly invoked, transition between different societies appears as an imminent social reality, and a useful conceptual tool for critical social theory.

Transitions as qualitative shifts between societies are often considered as eventual historical stages, or effaced altogether. Theorising transition in a new direction, Onur Acaroglu elaborates a theory of temporal dislocation. Considering transition through a framework of out-of-joint temporalities, the notion comes through as an undervalued tendency in social reproduction.

Prices from (excl. shipping):

Add to Cart
Onur Acaroglu, Ph.D. (2020), University of Birmingham, is a doctoral researcher. He has published articles and reviews on contemporary Marxism and political theory, including Paris 1871 and Fatsa 1979: Revisiting the Transition Problem (Globalisations, 2019). He is an editor of Marx and Philosophy Review of Books.

 1 The Curious Neglect of Transition in Left Theory
 2 The Structure of the Book

Part 1: The Theoretical Heritage: Transition in Classical and Western Marxism

Introduction to Part 1

1 ‘Poetry of the Future’: Marx and the Problematic of Transition
 1 The Primacy of Production
 2 Production and Alienation
 3 The Separation of the Political and the Economic
 4 The Tasks of Social Revolution and Non-contemporaneous Contemporaneity
 5 Communism as Positive Supersession
 6 Marx and Transition
 7 Towards a Theory of Transition

2 Interlacing of Times: the ‘Althusser Effect’, Temporality and Transition
 1 Expressive Totality to Ruptural Unity: Althusser Reading Marx
 2 Temporal Dislocation: Balibar Reading Althusser
 3 ‘Revolution against ‘Capital”: Gramsci Reading Marx
 4 Time of Times: Althusser Reading Gramsci

3 The Discursive Turn: the Post-Marxist Gramsci of Laclau and Mouffe
 1 Class, Popular Interpellations, and Populism
 2 Discourse and Hegemony
 3 The Impasses of Discourse Analysis and the Melancholy of Radical Democracy

Summary: The Marxist Transition Debate and the Notion of Plural Temporalities
 1 Transition and Historical Materialism
 2 Transition Problematised: Althusser, Balibar, and Gramsci
 3 Post-Marxism: the Discursive Turn and the Disappearance of Transition
 4 Temporality, Transition and Debates on the Left

Part 2: Transition as Hermeneutic: the Dichotomy of Melancholy and Utopia

Introduction to Part 2

4 Left Melancholy: Obstacle or Resource?
 1 Mourning and ‘Left’ Melancholy
 2 Melancholy as Obstacle
 3 Melancholy as Resource

5 Through the Melancholic Impasse: Utopia
 1 Anti-utopianism and the Neoliberal Closure of the Future
 2 Reformulating the Utopian
 3 Marx, Engels and Utopia
 4 Bloch and the Not-Yet
 5 Spatio-temporal Utopianism as Method: Harvey and Levitas
 6 Timelessness of Utopia

Summary: Melancholy Utopia, and Transition as a Hermeneutic
 1 Mourning and ‘Left Melancholy’: Freud to Benjamin

Part 3: Enacting Transition: Substantive Left Visions

Introduction to Part 3

6 Lineages of Postwork Theory
 1 Antiwork Politics: the Critique of Productivism
 2 The Autonomist Corollary
 3 Accelerationism
 4 Postwork Departures

7 Postwork: a Contemporary Left Vision
 1 The Postwork Agenda
 2 Postcapitalism: Mason on the Information Economy
 3 Inventing the Future: the Post-accelerationist Techno-utopian Strain
 4 Techno-utopian Futurity

8 Demands, Agency and Strategy
 1 Postwork Demands: Non-reformist Reforms
 2 Social Reproduction and the Agency of Transition
 3 Organising Transition: Prefiguration after Occupy
 4 Transition as Prefiguration

Summary: Transitional Politics and a Prefigurative Left Vision


All interested in historical materialism, left theory, and anyone concerned with the theoretical and practical aspects of anti-capitalist social movements and political parties.
  • Collapse
  • Expand