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Ernst Bloch’s Speculative Materialism

Ontology, Epistemology, Politics

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Cat Moir

In Ernst Bloch’s Speculative Materialism: Ontology, Epistemology, Politics, Cat Moir offers a new interpretation of the philosophy of Ernst Bloch. The reception of Bloch’s work has seen him variously painted as a naïve realist, a romantic nature philosopher, a totalitarian thinker, and an irrationalist whose obscure literary style stands in for a lack of systematic rigour. Moir challenges these conceptions of Bloch by reconstructing the ontological, epistemological, and political dimensions of his speculative materialism. Through a close, historically contextualised reading of Bloch’s major work of ontology, Das Materialismusproblem, seine Geschichte und Substanz (The Materialism Problem, its History and Substance), Moir presents Bloch as one of the twentieth century’s most significant critical thinkers.

Gramsci’s Laboratory

Philosophy, History and Politics

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Alvaro Bianchi

The purpose of Gramsci’s Laboratory is to interpret the relationship between philosophy and politics in Gramsci’s Quaderni del carcere. A milestone in contemporary Brazilian Gramsci reception, the book argues that in Gramsci’s work the unity of theory and practice is unfolded theoretically through the unity of philosophy, history and politics.

Bianchi argues that this unity was developed in the research project that Gramsci carried out in prison, and was thus a product of the ‘determination in the last instance’ of politics itself. His book demonstrates that a correct understanding of this unity requires us to recognise that history and philosophy are constitutive elements of the political field from which they claim to keep their distance.

This book was first published in Portuguese in 2008 as O Laboratório de Gramsci: Filosofia, História e Política by Alameda, ISBN 9788598325798.

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Daniel Andrés López

Georg Lukács’s philosophy of praxis, penned between 1918 and 1928, remains a revolutionary and apocryphal presence within Marxism. His History and Class Consciousness has inspired a century of rapture and reprobation, perhaps, as Gillian Rose suggested, because of its ‘invitation to hermeneutic anarchy’.

In Lukács: Praxis and the Absolute, Daniel Andrés López radicalises Lukács’s famous return to Hegel by reassembling his 1920s philosophy as a conceptual-historical totality. This speculative reading defends Lukács while proposing an unprecedented, immanent critique. While Lukács’s concept of praxis approaches the shape of Hegel’s Absolute, it tragically fails to bear its weight. However, as López argues, Lukács’s failure was productive: it raises crucial political, methodological and philosophical questions for Marxism, offering to redeem a lost century.

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Wilfried Zoungrana

No Country for Migrants? Critical Perspectives on Asylum, Immigration, and Integration in Germany aims to critically contribute to ongoing debates about immigration, integration, and xenophobia in Germany. Set against the backdrop of Germany’s controversial political decision to open its borders to refugees in 2015, the book realigns this watershed with the broader historical narratives of migration to explain its exceptionality both as an event and transformative force on the migration/integration discourse. The book further uses critical theories to make sense of the shifting socio-political coordinates of Germany. It addresses the history of Germany’s migration policies, its soft and hard power in migration control, language and societal integration, immigration and the revival of right-wing extremism, as well as religion and immigration.

Revisiting Gramsci’s Laboratory

History, Philosophy and Politics in the Prison Notebooks

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Edited by Francesca Antonini, Aaron Bernstein, Lorenzo Fusaro and Robert Jackson

Revisiting Gramsci’s Laboratory offers a rich collection of historical, philosophical, and political studies addressing the thought of Antonio Gramsci, one of the most significant intellects of the twentieth century. Based on thorough analyses of Gramsci’s texts, these interdisciplinary investigations engage with ongoing debates in different fields of study. They are exciting evidence of the enduring capacity of Gramsci’s thought to generate and nurture innovative inquiries across diverse themes.

Gathering scholars from different continents, the volume represents a global network of Gramscian thinkers from early-career researchers to experienced scholars. Combining rigorous explication of the past with a strategic analysis of the present, these studies mobilise underexplored resources from the Gramscian toolbox to confront the actuality of our ‘great and terrible’ world.

Contributors include: Francesca Antonini, Aaron Bernstein, Derek Boothman, Watcharabon Buddharaksa, Takahiro Chino, Riccardo Ciavolella, Carmine Conelli, Anthony Crézégut, Valentina Cuppi, Yohann Douet, Anne Freeland, Fabio Frosini, Lorenzo Fusaro, Robert Jackson, Alex Loftus, Susi Meret, Sebastian Neubauer, Alessio Panichi, Ingo Pohn-Lauggas, Roberto Roccu, Bruno Settis, Anne Showstack Sassoon, Alen Sućeska, Peter D. Thomas, Nicolas Vandeviver, Marta Natalia Wróblewska.

Social Knowledge

An Essay on the Nature and Limits of Social Science

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Paul Mattick

How is scientific knowledge of social life possible? If there are social sciences, must they employ methods different from those of the natural sciences? In Social Knowledge, Paul Mattick argues that the well-known difficulties of the social sciences--in particular the predictive and explanatory failures of economics--are due not to an inherent resistance of social life to scientific explanation, but to the failure of social scientists to include their own categories of social explanation among the objects of scientific study.

Looking at Marx as an anthropological theorist, Mattick compares his critique of political economy with Evans-Pritchard’s analysis of Azande witchcraft. Just as the British anthropologist attempted to explain Azande ideas and rituals in terms of their place in native life, Marx wished to explain the continued faith in economics--despite its striking weakness as a science--in terms of the central role played by this system of ideas in the daily lives of natives of capitalist society. This comparison leads to the questions about the nature of scientific thinking and its relation to our everyday knowledge of social reality that are the subject of this book.

Second edition, with a new Preface by the author. The first edition was published in 1986 by Hutchinson, ISBN 9780091654603.

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Roberto Schwarz

Literary forms travel from core countries to the periphery of capitalism, where they are adopted under social conditions that differ from those in the countries of their origin. Besides being inevitable, the resulting maladjustments lead to new and original aesthetic problems, presenting to the reader the symptoms of the world’s complexity. When properly worked through, these allow for the rise of world-class art, as in the case of the great Brazilian novels by Machado de Assis.

First published in Portuguese in 1977 as Ao vencedor as batatas: Forma literária e processo social nos inícios do romance brasileiro by Duas Cidades/Editora 34, ISBN 978-85-7326-169-2, and presented here in a new English-language translation, To the Victor, the Potatoes! is a major work of one of the most significant Marxist literary critics of our time.

The Dialectical Meaning of Offshored Work

Neoliberal Desires and Labour Arbitrage in Post-socialist Romania

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Miłosz Miszczyński

The Dialectical Meaning of Offshored Work analyzes how offshoring investments function as a platform for intercultural encounters among corporate actors and local populations of hosting communities. The book synthesizes ethnographic research, media reviews, and policy analysis to examine how localized forms of offshoring production occur in social, political and economic processes to highlight dilemmas connected to mobility of capital, modernization, social equality and capitalist expansion. The book delineates the complex interplay between Western neoliberalism and a transforming post-socialist Europe, to show the complex ways in which offshoring production infiltrates local communities. Analyzing issues of labor, work and employment, this book engages with current scholarship on critical management, sociology, anthropology, and East European studies.

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Elleni Zeleke

Between the years 1964 and 1974, Ethiopian post-secondary students studying at home, in Europe, and in North America produced a number of journals. In these they explored the relationship between social theory and social change within the project of building a socialist Ethiopia. Ethiopia in Theory examines the literature of this student movement, together with the movement’s afterlife in Ethiopian politics and society, in order to ask: what does it mean to write today about the appropriation and indigenisation of Marxist and mainstream social science ideas in an Ethiopian and African context; and, importantly, what does the archive of revolutionary thought in Africa teach us about the practice of critical theory more generally?

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Edited by Dawn L. Rothe and Victoria E. Collins

This volume is in honor of William J. Chambliss who has influenced and provided a foundation for new directions and approaches in sociology, criminology, critical criminology in particular, and the sociology of law. This is to name a few of the many inspirational and foundational ways he has changed the course and methods for generations to come, inspiring not only the editors and contributors of this volume. Each of the chapters detail various ways Bill’s work has impacted on our own perspectives and/or research including, but not limited to, the way we understand the value of non-traditional methods, law and power, the very definition of crime, organized crime, and unmasking the power structures and powerful that cause inequality, social ills and pains.

Contributors are: Elizabeth A. Bradshaw, Meredith Brown, William J. Chambliss, Francis T. Cullen, Jeff Ferrell, David O. Friedrichs, Mark S. Hamm, Ronald C. Kramer, Teresa C. Kulig, Raymond Michalowski, Christopher J. Moloney, Ida Nafstad, Sarah Pedigo, Gary Potter, Isabel Schoultz.