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Marx Worldwide

On the Development of the International Discourse on Marx since 1965

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Jan Hoff

In his study Jan Hoff charts the unprecedented global boost that has been experienced by critical Marxism since the mid-1960s. In particular Hoff shows the development of interpretations of Marx’s method; of critical social theory oriented towards Marx's critique of political economy; and of significant disputes concerning the different versions and iterations of the critical project that ultimately culminated in Capital. His book investigates the ‘globalisation’ of Marx debates, the complex network of international theoretical approaches that have been devised between the poles of science and politics, the transfer of theory and the historical development of schools of thought beyond national and linguistic borders.

Marx Worldwide provides an overview of Marx reception in various regions of the world, in which the extra-European process of theory formation receives particular attention; and it shows how, despite the supersession of Marxism in the sense of an all-encompassing worldview, the Marxian aim of providing an explication of the internal connection of economic categories and relations, and thereby of accomplishing the ‘de-mystification’ of the ‘deranged world’ of the economy, is as relevant and as theoretically important as it has ever been.

First published in German by Akademie Verlag as Marx Global. Zur Entwicklung des internationalen Marx-Diskurses seit 1965, Berlin, 2009.

Eros and Revolution

The Critical Philosophy of Herbert Marcuse

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Javier Sethness Castro

In Eros and Revolution, Javier Sethness Castro presents a comprehensive intellectual and political biography of the world-renowned critical theorist Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979). Investigating the origins and development of Marcuse's dialectical approach vis-à-vis Hegel, Marx, Fourier, Heidegger, and Freud as well as the central figures of the Frankfurt School—Horkheimer, Adorno, Neumann, Fromm, and Benjamin—Sethness Castro chronicles the radical philosopher's lifelong activism in favor of anti-capitalism, anti-fascism, and anti-authoritarianism together with Marcuse's defiant revindication of global libertarian-socialist revolution as the precondition for the realization of reason, freedom, and human happiness. Beyond examining Marcuse's revolutionary life and contributions, moreover, the author contemplates the philosopher's relevance to contemporary struggle, especially with regard to ecology, feminism, anarchism, and the general cause of worldwide social transformation.

Critical Marxism in Mexico

Adolfo Sánchez Vázquez and Bolívar Echeverría

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Stefan Gandler

In Critical Marxism in Mexico, Stefan Gandler, coming from the tradition of the Frankfurt School, reveals the contributions that Adolfo Sánchez Vázquez and Bolívar Echeverría have made to universal thought. While in recent times Latin America has taken its distance from global power centers, and reorganised its political and economic relations, in philosophy the same tendency is barely visible. Critical Marxism in Mexico is a contribution to the reorganisation of international philosophical discussion, with Critical Theory as the point of departure.
Despite having studied in Europe, where philosophical Eurocentrism remains virulent, Gandler opens his eyes to another tradition of modernity and offers an account of the life and philosophy of Adolfo Sánchez Vázquez and Bolívar Echeverría, former senior faculty members at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).

The Dimensions of Hegemony

Language, Culture and Politics in Revolutionary Russia

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Craig Brandist

Though generally associated with the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci, the idea of hegemony had a crucial history in revolutionary Russia where it was used to conceptualize the dynamics of political and cultural leadership. Drawing on extensive archival research, this study considers the cultural dimensions of hegemony, with particular focus on the role of language in political debates and in scholarship of the period. It is shown that considerations of the relations between the proletariat and peasantry, the cities to the countryside and the metropolitan centre to the colonies of the Russian Empire demanded an intense dialogue between practical politics and theoretical reflection, which led to critical perspectives now assumed to be the achievements of, for instance, sociolinguistics and post-colonial studies.

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Francisco Fernández Buey

Reading Gramsci is a collection of essays by Francisco Fernández Buey with a unifying theme: the enduring relevance of Gramsci’s political, philosophical and personal reflections for those who wish to understand and transform ‘the vast and terrible world’ of capital. Reading Gramsci is of considerable biographical and philosophical interest for scholars and partisans of communism alike.

Fernández Buey distils Gramsci’s intimate thinking on the relation between love and revolutionary engagement from Gramsci’s personal correspondence; he reveals how Gramsci draws on both Marxism and Machiavellianism in order to formulate his conception of politics as a collective ethics; he retraces the trajectory of Gramsci’s thinking in the Prison Notebooks, and elucidates Gramsci’s reflections on the relation between language and politics.

English translation of Leyendo a Gramsci, published by El Viejo Topo in 2001.

Looking for the Proletariat

Socialisme ou Barbarie and the Problem of Worker Writing

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Stephen Hastings-King

Looking for the Proletariat is a contribution to understanding the implosion of the Marxist Imaginary. The implosion is staged in terms of the first English-language history of the French revolutionary group Socialisme ou Barbarie from 1949 to 1957. It explains why Socialisme ou Barbarie was the only Marxist organization interested by worker experience and how the group’s anti-Leninist position on organization led it to privilege first-person worker narratives in order to understand worker experience and its revolutionary possibilities. Using the only first-person accounts of working-class experience in French industry of the 1950s, the book explores the disintegration of collective investment in the Marxist Imaginary that unfolded at Renault’s Billancourt factory in the aftermath of the Hungarian Revolution and the contexts that shaped it.

The Postcolonial Orient

The Politics of Difference and the Project of Provincialising Europe

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Vasant Kaiwar

In The Postcolonial Orient, Vasant Kaiwar presents a far-reaching analysis of the political, economic, and ideological cross-currents that have shaped and informed postcolonial studies preceding and following the 1989 moment of world history. The valences of the ‘post’ in postcolonialism are unfolded via some key historical-political postcolonial texts showing, inter alia, that they are replete with elements of Romantic Orientalism and the Oriental Renaissance. Kaiwar mobilises a critical body of classical and contemporary Marxism to demonstrate that far richer understandings of ‘Europe’ not to mention ‘colonialism’, ‘modernity’ and ‘difference’ are possible than with a postcolonialism captive to phenomenological-existentialism and post-structuralism, concluding that a narrative so enriched is indispensable for a transformative non-Eurocentric internationalism.

Dialectics of the Ideal

Evald Ilyenkov and Creative Soviet Marxism

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Edited by Alex Levant and Vesa Oittinen

In Dialectics of the Ideal: Evald Ilyenkov and Creative Soviet Marxism Levant and Oittinen provide a window into the subterranean tradition of ‘creative’ Soviet Marxism, which developed on the margins of the Soviet academe and remains largely outside the orbit of contemporary theory in the West. With his ‘activity approach’, E.V. Ilyenkov, its principal figure in the post-Stalin period, makes a substantial contribution toward an anti-reductionist Marxist theory of the subject, which should be of interest to contemporary theorists who seek to avoid economic and cultural reductionism as well as the malaise of postmodern relativism. This volume features Levant’s translation of Ilyenkov’s Dialectics of the Ideal (2009), which remained unpublished until thirty years after the author’s tragic suicide in 1979.

Contributors include: Evald Ilyenkov, Tarja Knuuttila, Alex Levant, Andrey Maidansky, Vesa Oittinen, Paula Rauhala, and Birger Siebert.

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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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Frank Rosengarten

Antonio Gramsci was not only one of the most original and significant communist leaders of his time but also a creative thinker whose contributions to the renewal of Marxism remain pertinent today. In The Revolutionary Marxism of Antonio Gramsci, Frank Rosengarten explores Gramsci's writings in areas as diverse as Marxist theory, the responsibilities of political leadership, and the theory and practice of literary criticism. He also discusses Gramsci's influence on the post-colonial world. Through close readings of texts ranging from Gramsci's socialist journalism in the Turin years to his prison letters and Notebooks, Rosengarten captures the full vitality of the Sardinian communist's thought and outlook on life.