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  • Critical Social Sciences x

Series:

Dana Neacsu

The Bourgeois Charm of Karl Marx & the Ideological Irony of American Jurisprudence employs a well-known body of work, Marx’s, to explain the inevitable limits of scholarship, in hopes to encourage academic boldness, and diversity, especially within American jurisprudence.
While scholarly meaning-making has been addressed in specific academic areas, mostly linguistics and philosophy, it has never been addressed in a triangular relationship between the text (T1) and its instigator (S1), as well as its subsequent interpellator (S2). Furthermore, while addressed as a result of difference, it has never been addressed for today’s liberal theory, which includes liberal jurisprudence, through the mirror of Marxist difference.
Scholarship is the unique product of the instigator’s private and public subjectivity, as all theory is aimed to be communicated and used by the scholarly community and beyond. Understanding its public life, textual instigators (S1) aim to control its meaning employing various research methods to observe reality and then to convey their narrative, or “philosophy”. But meaning is not fixed; it is negotiated by S1 and those theories interpellate (S2), according to their own private and public subjectivity, which covers their ideology. Negotiated meaning is always a surprise to both S1 and S2, surprise which is both ironic and ideological. The book has ten chapters, an index and a list of references

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Carlos Eduardo Martins

The Marxist Theory of Dependency (TMD) managed to articulate the insertion of peripheral societies into the international market with the capital accumulation processes of each country. It has become an essential theory for the understanding of our societies. Since Ruy Mauro Marini laid out its foundations, many transformations have occurred in global capitalism and in our societies, leaving us the challenge of updating it against a more complex context.
The real test of theory is its adequacy as an instrument of understanding contemporary reality. The TMD has been enriched and renewed from this work of Carlos Eduardo Martins. It considers capitalism from the perspective of anti-capitalism, dependence from the standpoint of emancipation and reality through a vision for its revolutionary transformation.
Emir Sader - CLACSO General Secretary (2006-2012)

This book is a revised edition of a work first published in 2011 as Globalização, dependência e neoliberalismo na América Latina by Boitempo Editorial, São Paulo, Brazil.

La teoría marxista de la dependencia (TMD) logró articular la inserción de las sociedades periféricas en el mercado internacional con los procesos de acumulación de capital de cada país. Se ha convertido en una teoría esencial para la comprensión de nuestras sociedades. Desde que Ruy Mauro Marini expuso sus fundamentos, muchas transformaciones ocurrieron en el capitalismo global y en nuestras sociedades, poniendo el desafío de actualización en condiciones más complejas
La prueba real de la teoría es su adecuación como instrumento de comprensión de la realidad contemporánea. La TMD sale enriquecida y renovada de esta obra de Carlos Eduardo Martins dedicada a pensar el capitalismo bajo la perspectiva del anticapitalismo, la dependencia en la óptica de la emancipación y la realidad en la perspectiva de su transformación revolucionaria.
Emir Sader - Secretario General CLACSO (2006-2012)

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.

Nietzsche and Critical Social Theory

Affirmation, Animosity, and Ambiguity

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Edited by Christine A. Payne and Michael James Roberts

Nietzsche and Critical Social Theory: Affirmation, Animosity and Ambiguity brings together scholars from a variety of disciplinary background to assess the salience of Nietzsche for critical social theory today. In the context of global economic crises and the rise of authoritarian regimes across the U.S. and Europe, the question asked by these scholars is: why Nietzsche now? Containing several innovative interventions in the areas of queer theory, political economy, critical race theory, labour history, hip-hop aesthetics, sociology, the Frankfurt School, social movements studies, science and technology studies, pedagogy, and ludic studies, this volume pushes Nietzsche studies in new directions, seeking to broaden the appeal of Nietzsche beyond philosophy and political theory.

Power and Impotence

A History of South America under Progressivism (1998–2016)

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Fabio Luis Barbosa dos Santos

Fabio Luis Barbosa dos Santos delves into the history of South America to understand the rise and fall of the so-called 'progressive governments'. In the wake of mobilizations against neoliberalism in the 1990s, most countries elected presidents identified with change. However, less than twenty years after Hugo Chávez's victory, this trend seems to be reversed. The times of Lula are now Bolsonaro's. What happened? Supported by an extensive bibliography and hundreds of interviews, the author addresses each South American country, including those who did not elect progressives, in addition to Cuba. The national focus is enriched by an analysis of regional integration attempts, providing a detailed and necessary recent history of the subcontinent.

Originally published in Portuguese as Uma história da onda progressista sul-americana (1998-2016) by Elefante, São Paulo, 2018.

Fabio Luis Barbosa dos Santos mergulha na história da América do Sul para compreender a ascensão e queda dos chamados ‘governos progressistas’. Na esteira de mobilizações contra o neoliberalismo nos anos 1990, a maioria dos países da região elegeu presidentes identificados com a mudança. Contudo, menos de vinte anos depois da vitória de Hugo Chávez, essa onda chega ao fim. Os tempos de Lula agora são de Bolsonaro. O que aconteceu? Apoiado em extensa bibliografia e centenas de entrevistas, o autor aborda cada país, inclusive os que não elegeram progressistas, além de Cuba. O enfoque nacional é enriquecido por uma análise das tentativas de integração regional, oferecendo uma detalhada e necessária história recente do subcontinente.

Marx’s Experiments and Microscopes

Modes of Production, Religion, and the Method of Successive Abstractions

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Paul B. Paolucci

In Marx’s Experiments and Microscopes: Modes of Production, Religion, and the Method of Successive Abstractions, Paul B. Paolucci examines how Marx brought conventional scientific practice together with dialectical reason to produce his unique approach to sociological research.
Though scholars often interpret his work through either a dialectical framework or as an aspirant scientific contender, less common are demonstrations of how Marx brought these two forms of inquiry together in ways as familiar to the conventional scientist as they are to the experienced Marxian scholar. The book elaborates on how Marx used a method successive abstractions in his study of modes of production as well as how to apply that method to studies in political economy and the sociology of religion.

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

Revisiting Gramsci’s Notebooks 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: F. Antonini, A. Bernstein, D. Boothman, W. Buddharaksa, T. Chino, R. Ciavolella, C. Conelli, A. Crézégut, V. Cuppi, Y. Douet, A. Freeland, F. Frosini, L. Fusaro, R. Jackson, A. Loftus, S. Meret, S. Neubauer, A. Panichi, I. Pohn-Lauggas, R. Roccu, B. Settis, A. Showstack Sassoon, A. Suceska, P.D. Thomas, N. Vandeviver, M.N. Wróblewska.

Varieties of Post-communist Capitalism

A comparative analysis of Russia, Eastern Europe and China

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Iván Szelényi and Péter Mihályi

This book intends to be a contribution to the “varieties of capitalism” paradigm. The theoretical background is Weber’s theory of legitimacy. Was communism ever “legitimate”? What kind of legitimacy claims were made in the transition from communism to capitalism? Central Europe was closer to the Western “liberal” model. Russia built capitalism in a patrimonial way. China followed its own unique way; some called it “socialism with Chinese characteristics”. Putin experiments with an innovation for post-communist capitalism. He confronts the “oligarchs” and reallocates property from those who challenge his political authority to old and new loyal ones. In conclusion, the central question is to what extent is “Putinism” a generic model for post-communist capitalism?

Karl Marx

Abstract

This archive manuscript is an English translation of a 25-page excerpt from Marx’s Manuscript of 1867–68, which was published for the first time in German in 2012 in the MEGA, Volume II/4.3. This excerpt is Marx’s first and only attempt to incorporate unequal turnover times across industries into his theory of the equalisation of the profit rate and prices of production. The excerpt considers three cases: unequal turnover times across industries, unequal compositions of capital across industries, and both of these inequalities together. It also emphasises two concepts of the rate of profit: rate of profit on capital advanced and rate of profit on the cost price (capital consumed).

Herbert Panzer

Abstract

This Introduction describes the approach and rules applied when translating a 25-page excerpt from Marx’s Manuscript of 1867–68, as published in MEGA, Volume II/4.3. The draft status and terseness of the text required that the translation (see <https://doi.org/10.1163/1569206X-27041855>) proceed along with a working-out of its mathematical content. The translation’s main guideline was to translate the draft such as it stood, while correcting figures and formulas wherever possible. Remaining major deficiencies and inconsistencies are discussed in depth, showing also what an outstanding level of acuity Marx had already achieved in a manuscript at first-draft stage.

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Edited by Christine A. Payne and Michael J. Roberts

Giulia Dal Maso

Abstract

The paper investigates the distinctly Chinese intertwining of expertise and state & financial capital to enrich the current understanding of neoliberalism as a hegemonic governing rationale. Since the summer of 2015, China has been experiencing one of its most severe financial crises since the adoption of a ‘socialist market economy’ in 1978. However, globally circulating narratives have failed to look beyond a Western-centric corollary, rehashing a critique of the Chinese one-party system and its lack of a ‘genuine’ free market. By exploring the specific genealogy of Chinese capitalism, and the distinctive Chinese financial-market structure, the article will show how the scientific authority of experts formulated amongst neoliberal thinkers never permeated the Chinese idea of knowledge. In the Chinese variety of financial capitalism, expertise is seen to lie not so much in the wisdom of individual experts as in their socio-political support, which legitimises their economic interventions.

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Fabio Luis Barbosa dos Santos

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Carlos Eduardo Martins

Translator Jacob Lagnado

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Fabio Luis Barbosa dos Santos

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Carlos Eduardo Martins

Translator Jacob Lagnado

Matt Vidal

Abstract

I articulate a classical-Marxist theory of technical change in the capitalist labour process, highlighting two contradictions. The management contradiction is the conflict managers experience between coordination (to increase efficiency) and discipline (to ensure valorisation). The workforce contradiction is the tension workers experience between productive socialisation and alienation. I submit that both contradictions were substantially muted from the earliest stages of capitalism through the Fordist stage but have become intensified in the postfordist period. Under postfordism, the basis of efficiency is economies of scope and flexibility, and thus there is a real efficiency advantage to empowering workers, via both multiskilling and employee involvement in problem-solving and decision-making. Postfordist capitalism has thus initiated an intensification of the management and workforce contradictions. In response, capitalist management is increasingly impeding the growth of the productive forces by failing to empower workers.

Carlos García Mac Gaw

Abstract

This paper briefly examines the concept of the ancient mode of production as expressed in Karl Marx’s Formations. It looks at how twentieth-century Marxist historiography picks up this concept in its characterisation of the Greco-Roman city-state. It explores the feasibility of the use of the concept in relation to the advancement of knowledge of the city-state, especially through the development of archaeology. It examines how social classes are structured and relations of exploitation are presented. And it analyses the need for politics in the organisation of this socio-economic form in terms of how it is joined up with the social relations of production.

The Frightful Hobgoblin against Empire

Karl Marx, Ernest Jones, and the World-Revolutionary Meaning of the 1857 Indian Uprising

Thierry Drapeau

Abstract

Karl Marx and the Chartist leader, writer and poet Ernest Jones developed a close intellectual and political partnership from the late 1840s through the late 1850s. Their friendship invites attention because it places Marx in the company of one of Chartism’s leading anti-colonial advocates, precisely at a time when he was simultaneously moving in that direction. This article explores the ways in which Marx and Jones converged in their estimation of the 1857 Indian uprising. It is argued that the shift in Marx’s thought, whereby the dialectics of colonialism and anti-colonialism are integrated within his materialist conception of history, was not independent of Jones’s influence.

Fred Moseley

Abstract

This is an introduction to an English translation of a 25-page excerpt from Marx’s Manuscript of 1867–68, which was published for the first time in German in 2012 in the MEGA, Volume II/4.3. This excerpt (see <https://doi.org/10.1163/1569206X-27041855>) is Marx’s first and only attempt to incorporate unequal turnover times across industries into his theory of the equalisation of the profit rate and prices of production. The introduction attempts to clarify the overall logic of this excerpt as well as to point out Marx’s many small errors in this messy first draft. The introduction concludes with the implications of this excerpt for the general interpretation of Marx’s theory of prices of production (i.e. the transformation problem).

Marxism, Structuralism and Psychoanalysis

Althusser’s Paths of Reception in Argentinian Psychoanalytic Culture (1965–76)

Marcelo Starcenbaum

Abstract

Althusser’s reception within Argentinian psychoanalytic culture assumed a variety of different forms. For the purposes of delimiting mediations between Marxism, structuralism and psychoanalysis in Argentina during the 1960s and ’70s, this work seeks to reconstruct historical readings of Althusser according to his reception within three distinct interpretative communities. The first group, centring on the figure of Oscar Masotta, concerns Althusser’s role in the development of Argentina’s incipient Lacanian groups. For the second group, primarily dissident-psychoanalytic and Freudo-Marxist, the reception of Althusser will be considered in tandem with ensuing debates between Freudo-Marxism and Althussero-Lacanism. The third group asks us to consider the role of Althusserianism in discussions around the professionalisation of psychology, where the careers of Carlos Sastre and Roberto Harari showed the strongest connections to Althusser’s work.

Money versus Value?

Reconsidering the ‘Monetary Approach’ of the ‘post’-Uno School, Benetti/Cartelier, and the Neue Marx-Lektüre

Elena Louisa Lange

Abstract

Even after the demise of the influential Uno School in the 1980s, Japanese economists have been continuously engaged in the categorial reconstruction of Marx’s Critique of Political Economy, especially the theory of value and money. Writing in the 1980s–2000s, authors of the ‘post-Uno School’, such as Ebitsuka Akira, Mukai Kimitoshi, Kataoka Kōji etc., broadened the value-theoretical views of Uno School orthodoxy to include, among others, the Neue Marx-Lektüre (predominantly H.-G. Backhaus and M. Heinrich) and the French economists C. Benetti and J. Cartelier.

This paper will confront the ‘post-Uno School’s’ reading of Marx’s theory of value, which poses the theories of value and money as unreconcilable, leading them to discard the theory of value in favour of a ‘monetary approach’. We show that the dismissal of value theory leads to an introduction of Baileyan and neoclassical elements into Marx’s theory, which we believe to be both theoretically and practically precarious.

Filippo Menozzi

Abstract

This essay traces a Marxist notion of cultural heritage drawing on the work of twentieth-century thinkers Daniel Bensaïd and Ernst Bloch. Both authors, indeed, address the act of inheriting as a way of rethinking Marxism beyond determinist and teleological concepts of history. In particular, Bensaïd’s 1995 Marx for Our Times and a 1972 essay on cultural heritage by Ernst Bloch reimagine the handing-on of cultural inheritance as the political reactivation of untimely and non-synchronous survivals of past social formations. For this reason, the heritage of Marx conveyed by these authors does not result in a nostalgic preservation of the past but in reviving unrealised possibilities of social transformation. In a comparative reading of Bensaïd and Bloch, the act of ‘inheriting Marx’ analysed in this essay hence formulates a de-commodifying conception of cultural heritage set against the violence of capital.

Omar Acha

Abstract

Ernesto Laclau’s Marxist and post-Marxist works are best understood when they are embedded in the history of Argentina’s National Left. This socialist-populist current underpinned his strategic horizons onward of at least 1963. While purely theoretical interpretations of Laclau can sometimes be enlightening, they tend to lose sight of the historical density of the Argentine’s thought. Over the course of his working life, Laclau’s theories presented the Argentinean Left with a challenge concerning how to engage with Peronism: specifically, how to develop a leftist hegemonic project in an era when the working class remained stubbornly linked to a Peronist political identity. Laclau’s political trajectory and his understanding of Marxism are analysed here in order to explain the nature of his post-Marxism.

Geoffrey McCormack

Abstract

One of the leading explanations for Canadian banking stability through the global financial crisis of 2007–08 is the Concentration-Stability Hypothesis (CSH), according to which the oligopoly of Canadian finance stabilised the credit system by cushioning it with above-average profits. These provided a buffer against fragility and incentives against excessive risk-taking. In this article, I critically examine CSH and show that classical Marxian analysis more effectively illuminates Canadian banking stability. I demonstrate that robust corporate profitability and capital accumulation before the crisis strengthened the balance sheets of the banks and supported them through those turbulent years. Thus, financial stability is linked explicitly to broader economic stability, and the latter is linked to the profitability of business enterprise.

Neil Davidson

Abstract

This article is a response to some of the criticisms made of How Revolutionary were the Bourgeois Revolutions? by Gerstenberger, Post and Riley. In particular, it focuses on two issues of definition – that of capitalism and the capitalist nation-state – which arise from the book’s ‘consequentialist’ claim that bourgeois revolutions are defined by a particular outcome: the establishment of nation-states dedicated to the accumulation of capital.

The Central Office of Factory Councils in 1919–20

A Forgotten Chapter in the German Council Movement

Axel Weipert

Abstract

This article is a shortened version of a chapter from Axel Weipert’s 2015 book, Die zweite Revolution.

Luis Tapia Mealla

Abstract

René Zavaleta set out to deepen the explanation of the history of Bolivia by developing a set of ideas about long-term structures of pre-Hispanic and colonial origin and their forms of overlap. This paper analyses the conceptual structure of Zavaleta’s proposal and the place of history within it.

ʻHow Bourgeois Were the Bourgeois Revolutions?ʼ

Remarks on Neil Davidson’s Book

Heide Gerstenberger

Abstract

While the overview concerning debates on bourgeois revolutions is impressive, it cannot elucidate the theoretical concept of bourgeois revolutions. Neil Davidson’s own suggestion centres on the removal of hindrances to the breakthrough of capitalism, especially the pre-capitalist state. This formalistic definition is based on the assumption that revolutions occurred when the superstructure became a hindrance to the further development of productive forces. It deprives the theoretical concept of bourgeois revolutions of any concrete historical content. This paper suggests restricting the use of the theoretical concept ‘bourgeois revolution’ to those revolutionary changes of domination and appropriation which occurred in European societies of the ancien régime.

Charles Post

Abstract

The canonical version of the ‘bourgeois revolutions’ has been under attack from both pro-capitalist ‘Revisionist’ historians and ‘Political Marxists’. Neil Davidson’s book How Revolutionary Were the Bourgeois Revolutions? provides a thorough review of the intellectual history of the notion of the bourgeois revolution and attempts to rescue the concept from varied criticism. Despite distancing himself from problematic formulations of the bourgeois revolution inherited from Second-International Marxism, Davidson’s own framework reproduces many of the historical and conceptual problems of this tradition.

Jeffery R. Webber

Abstract

This introduction situates the work of Zavaleta in the field of Bolivian intellectual history, Latin American Studies, and Latin American Marxism. It also explains the objectives of the symposium and the logic underlying its constituent parts.

Motley Society, Plurinationalism, and the Integral State

Álvaro García Linera’s Use of Gramsci and Zavaleta

Anne Freeland

Abstract

This article examines Bolivian vice president Álvaro García Linera’s use of concepts originating in the work of Antonio Gramsci and Bolivian sociologist René Zavaleta Mercado. Zavaleta’s concept of sociedad abigarrada (usually translated as ‘motley society’) has a history of misappropriation in which García Linera participates by articulating it with the related concept of the estado aparente to claim that the merely ‘apparent’ state which does not effectively represent the heterogeneous social reality of a country like Bolivia is abolished with the official establishment of the Plurinational State in 2009. This ideologeme of the Plurinational State as one that faithfully represents Bolivia’s abigarramiento is equated with the Gramscian stato integrale, which in Gramsci refers to the state proper plus civil society where these are thoroughly integrated to function as an organic whole (the modern capitalist nation-state). Beyond merely misusing the borrowed terms of this discursive operation, García Linera gives a prescriptive value to concepts developed for an analytical purpose to validate the existing regime.

Self-Knowledge and Self-Determination at the Limits of Capitalism

Introduction to René Zavaleta Mercado’s Towards a History of the National-Popular in Bolivia: 1879–1980

Sinclair Thomson

Abstract

This text is an introduction to the new English translation of critical theorist René Zavaleta Mercado’s Towards a History of the National-Popular in Bolivia: 1879–1980. It surveys principal themes in the book and discusses why Zavaleta (1935–84) is a pertinent thinker for the global South and capitalist periphery today.

Brian Kelly

Abstract

For more than a generation, historical interpretations of emancipation in the United States have acknowledged that the slaves played a central role in driving that process forward. This is a critically important advance, and one worth defending. But it is also a perspective whose influence seems increasingly precarious. This article explores the complex relationship between the slaves’ ‘revolution from below’ and the bourgeois revolution directed from above, in part through an appraisal of W.E.B. Du Bois’s argument about the ‘slaves’ general strike’ and the wider revolutionary upheaval encompassing civil war and reconstruction. Grounded in a close familiarity with sources and interpretive trends, the article offers a detailed reading of shifting perspectives in current historiography, a comprehensive review of left engagement with Du Bois’s work, and an extended ‘critical and sympathetic’ appraisal of his major work from within the framework of the Marxist tradition.

Esther Leslie

Abstract

Avant-garde filmmakers in the Soviet Union argued over the merits of the played film and the documentary film. They argued about the duration of shots, long or short. They questioned what constituted filmic material, camera subjectivity, the objective fact and whether film extended the eyes, and the capacity to see, or whether it wielded a fist, augmenting or bashing feelings. Shub contributed to these discussions, not least through her own film work, produced out of a combination of commitment and necessity. This paper traces these discussions and Shub’s role within them through a focus on two objects and the way in which they come to appear in film and film-discourse: strawberries and cream. The strawberries are drawn initially from Shklovsky’s comments on the inequities of US agriculture in his Journey to the Land of Movies (1926) and the cream stems from Eisenstein’s mechanical separator in The Old and the New (1929). Shub’s particular take on the object in her film work will emerge through the dialectical tensions of two objects.

René Zavaleta Mercado

Abstract

In this passage, Zavaleta describes the connections between the moment of real subsumption, social totalisation, the production of social-scientific knowledge that takes the resultant totality as its object, including Marxist theory, and finally, the emergence of a broad intersubjectivity with the capacity to become a revolutionary historical actor.

Nadia Breda

Can anthroposophists be considered environmentalists? Based on the author’s recent ethnographic research, this article seeks to delineate the profile of the anthroposophical environmentalist, a figure belonging to a particular form of environmentalism. In the last two centuries, anthroposophy (founded by Rudolf Steiner, 1861-1925) has elaborated a universalistic narrative named “spiritual science.” Today, through a “salvific approach” and a “karstic life,” anthroposophy informs different, blended, environmental practices intertwined with ecological and social issues that include spirituality, anti-modernism, human-nonhuman relationships and alternative sciences. Consequently, the ecological movements inspired by anthroposophy have a wide and increasing diffusion globally and this, in turn, stimulates anthropology to produce appropriate ethnographic knowledge of this form of environmentalism.

Greg Beckett

The humanitarian is often seen as the great moral figure of our time. In this article, I explore how the idea of the humanitarian, as a global public figure, is related to broader ideas of liberalism, agency, ethics, and care. I draw on ethnographic examples from Haiti to first paint a portrait of the humanitarian as a person concerned with certain ideas of care, suffering, and salvation. I then offer a more general theoretical account of the figure of the humanitarian and suggest that this figure is tied to a larger story about liberal responses to cruelty and suffering. In the end, I suggest that the figure of the humanitarian tells us much about the normalization of emergency around the world and about what I call the banality of care.