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The Government of Time

Theories of Plural Temporality in the Marxist Tradition

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Edited by Vittorio Morfino and Peter D. Thomas

Can the Marxist tradition still provide new resources for thinking the specificity of historical time? This volume proposes to transform our understanding of Marxism by reconnecting with the ‘subterranean currents’ of plural temporalities that have traversed its development. From Rousseau and Sieyès to Marx, from Bloch to Althusser, from Gramsci to Pasolini and Postcolonialism, the chapters in this volume seek both to valorise neglected resources from Marxism’s contradictory history, and also to read against the grain its orthodox and heterodox currents. Privileging not the single time of historical development, but the plural temporalities that intertwine in and constitute any given historical conjuncture, and arguing against merely subjectivist theories of temporal multiplicity, this volume studies the articulation of the real, plural temporalities of mass political action. Comprehending their dynamics is a necessary precondition for a renewed politics of emancipation.

Contributors include: Luca Basso, Stefano Bracaletti, Mauro Farnesi Camellone, Fabio Frosini, Augusto Illuminati, Nicola Marcucci, Vittorio Morfino, Luca Pinzolo, Peter D. Thomas and Massimiliano Tomba.

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José M. Aricó

In a work centred on Marx's harsh biography of Simón Bolívar, José Aricó examines why Latin America was apparently 'excluded' from Marx's thought, challenging the allegation that this expressed some 'Eurocentric' prejudice.
Aricó shows how the German thinker's hostility towards the Bonapartism and authoritarianism he identified in the Liberator coloured his attitude towards the continent and the significance of its independence-processes.
Whilst criticising Marx's misreading of Latin-American realities, Aricó demonstrates contemporaneous, countervailing tendencies in Marx's thought, including his appraisal of the revolutionary potentialities of other 'peripheral' extra-European societies. As such, Aricó convincingly argues that Marx's work was not a dogma of linear 'progress', but a living, contradictory body of thought constantly in development.

English translation of the Marx y América Latina edition, Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2010.

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Wade Matthews

In The New Left, National Identity, and the Break-Up of Britain Wade Matthews charts the nexus between socialism and national identity in the work of key New Left intellectuals, E.P. Thompson, Raymond Williams, Stuart Hall, Perry Anderson, and Tom Nairn. Matthews considers these New Left thinkers’ response to Britain’s various national questions, including decolonization and the End of Empire, the rise of European integration and separatist nationalisms in Scotland and Wales, and to the national and nationalist implications of Thatcherism, Cold War and the fall of communism. Matthews establishes a contestatory dialogue around these issues throughout the book based around different New Left perspectives on what has been called “the break-up of Britain.” He demonstrates that national questions where crucial to New Left debates.

Monsters of the Market

Zombies, Vampires and Global Capitalism

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David McNally

Winner of the 2012 Isaac and Tamara Deutscher Memorial Prize.

Monsters of the Market investigates the rise of capitalism through the prism of the body-panics it arouses. Drawing on folklore, literature and popular culture, the book links tales of monstrosity from early-modern England, including Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, to a spate of recent vampire- and zombie-fables from sub-Saharan Africa, and it connects these to Marx’s persistent use of monster-metaphors in his descriptions of capitalism. Reading across these tales of the grotesque, Monsters of the Market offers a novel account of the cultural and corporeal economy of a global market-system. The book thus makes original contributions to political economy, cultural theory, commodification-studies and ‘body-theory’.

Speaking of Animals

Essays on Dogs and Others

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Terry Caesar

Speaking of Animals consists of a linked series of thirteen essays about subjects ranging from deciding to castrate a dog, evaluating recent dog memoirs, observing animals in Spain, reading about the training of big cats, watching Animal Planet, and being unable to kill a racoon in Texas. So often personal, even while analyzing novels such as Water for Elephants or movies such as Giant or Into the Wild, the essays offer both an implicit critique and a continuation of recent discursive trends in animal studies, whose language is too haplessly abstracted from the animals in whose name we humans strive to speak as well as narrate.

Impersonal Power

History and Theory of the Bourgeois State

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Heide Gerstenberger

The point of departure of Heide Gerstenberger’s path-breaking work is a critique of structural-functionalist theory of the state, in both its modernisation theory and materialist variants. Prof. Gerstenberger opposes to these a historical-theoretical explanation that proceeds from the long-term structuring effect of concrete social practice. This is elucidated by detailed investigation of the development of bourgeois state power in the two key examples of England and France. The different complexions that the bourgeois state assumed are presented as the results of processes of social and cultural formation, and thus irreducible to a simple function of capitalism. This approach culminates in the thesis that the bourgeois form of capitalist state power arose only where capitalist societies developed out of already rationalised structures of the Ancien Régime type.