Vegetti’s book tries to decipher and recast the complex history of the interpretation of the political Plato in a compelling historical and philosophical analysis. This review article presents an intellectual profile of Mario Vegetti and a critical engagement with his historical and politico-philosophical approach. It concludes with the suggestion that we should investigate the vicious circle of philosophy and politics in Plato’s Republic in light of Marx’s Theses on Feuerbach.
Massimiliano Tomba’s book, Marx’s Temporalities, stresses the centrality of the body for the critique of exploitation and suggests that a new phenotype is produced by consumerism and by the dynamic of capitalist accumulation, with its plural temporalities. However, both the body of the worker and the new phenotype do not appear to have a sex or a gender in Tomba’s book. In this intervention, I read some of Tomba’s insights about the body, the new phenotype, and primary accumulation in the light of a critical gender and feminist perspective.
This article addresses the notions of gender performativity and temporality in Butler’s early work on gender. The paper is articulated in four steps. First it gives an account of the role and nature of temporality in Butler’s theory of gender performativity. Second, it shows some similarities and connections between the role played by temporality in Butler’s theory of gender performativity and its role in Marx’s analysis of capital. Third, it raises some criticisms of Butler’s understanding of temporality and historicity, focusing in particular on the lack of historicisation of her own categories in both Gender Trouble and Bodies that Matter. This deficit is a consequence of the epistemological framework within which she is operating, in particular of her understanding of social practices and relations through the lens of linguistic concepts extrapolated from their theoretical context. The article concludes by referring to Floyd’s and Hennessy’s analyses of the formation of sexual identities as examples of the fruitful historicisation of gender performativity, which also sheds some light on the ‘the abstract character’ of the temporality of gender performativity.
This paper examines an issue that seems particularly overlooked in the debate on Plato and Popper, namely that of political change. The aim of the paper is to challenge the largely unchallenged assumption that modern liberal democracy can play the role of the general standard, upon which basis we can judge the thinkers of the past. Indeed, in the Open Society liberal democracy sets the boundaries of what is considered as a ‘rational’ political change, thus revealing that Popper holds a form of teleological conception of historical development. The paper argues for a different interpretation of Plato’s approach to the question of political change, against Popper’s claim that the final aim of the utopian city of the Republic is the elimination of change. The conclusion is that Plato’s utopian construction provides us with better tools than Popper’s framework for thinking of change in politics.
Cinzia Arruzza and Patrick King
This text introduces a symposium on the thought and legacy of the French Marxist, Daniel Bensaïd. The authors consider Bensaïd’s theoretical contributions to Marxism, especially the concepts of temporality, political strategy, and revolutionary organisation, as well as his ability to fuse militant activism and intellectual work. This is followed by brief summaries of the articles gathered in the symposium, and a reflection on Bensaïd’s relevance for future Marxist research.