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Time and world politics

Thinking the present

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Kimberly Hutchings

This book offers the first authoritative guide to assumptions about time in theories of contemporary world politics. It demonstrates how predominant theories of the international or global ‘present’ are affected by temporal assumptions, grounded in western political thought, which fundamentally shape what we can and cannot know about world politics today. In so doing, the book puts into question the ways in which social scientists and normative theorists diagnose ‘our’ post-Cold War times. The first part of the book traces the philosophical roots of assumptions about time in contemporary political and international theory. The second part examines contemporary theories of world politics, including liberal and realist International Relations theories and the work of Habermas, Hardt and Negri, Virilio and Agamben. In each case, it is argued, assumptions about political time ensure the identification of the particular temporality of western experience with the political temporality of the world as such and put the theorist in the unsustainable position of holding the key to the direction of world history. In the final chapter, the book draws on postcolonial and feminist thinking, and the philosophical accounts of political time in the work of Derrida and Deleuze, to develop a new ‘untimely’ way of thinking about time in world politics.

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The biopolitics of the war on terror

Life struggles, liberal modernity, and the defence of logistical societies

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Julian Reid

This is a book which aims to overturn existing understandings of the origins and futures of the War on Terror for the purposes of International Relations theory. As the book shows, this is not a war in defence of the integrity of human life against an enemy defined simply by a contradictory will for the destruction of human life as commonly supposed by its liberal advocates. It is a war over the political constitution of life in which the limitations of liberal accounts of humanity are being put to the test if not rejected outright.

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Unstable universalities

Poststructuralism and radical politics

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Saul Newman

How do we think about radical politics today, in the wake of the collapse of Marxist-Leninism and the triumph of neo-liberal capitalism? How should radical political theory respond to new challenges posed by globalisation, postmodernity, the ‘war on terror’ and the rise of religious fundamentalism? How are we to take account of the new social movements and political struggles appearing on the global horizon? In addressing these questions, this book explores the theme of universality and its place in radical political theory. It argues that both Marxist politics of class struggle and the postmodern politics of difference have reached their historical and political limits, and that what is needed is a new approach to universality, a new way of thinking about collective politics. By exploring various themes and ideas within poststructuralist and post-Marxist theory, the book develops a new approach to universality — one that has implications for politics today, particularly on questions of power, subjectivity, ethics and democracy. In so doing, it engages in debates with thinkers such as Laclau, Žižek, Badiou and Rancière over the future of radical politics. The book also applies theoretical insights to contemporary events such as the emergence of the anti-globalisation movement, the ‘war on terrorism’, the rise of anti-immigrant racism and the nihilistic violence that lurks at the margins of the political.

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Rethinking Equality

The challenge of equal citizenship

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Chris Armstrong

This book provides a critical account of contemporary egalitarian theories. It challenges their focus on issues of choice and personal responsibility, and questions their ability to address the major inequalities that characterise the contemporary world, before presenting an alternative vision of egalitarian politics based on the challenge of a genuinely inclusive form of citizenship. This vision is defended through a critical discussion of four key issues in political theory: the recognition/redistribution debate, the connection between equality and responsibility, the ideal of equal opportunities, and the significance of ‘globalisation’ for the politics of equal citizenship. The book provides a critical account of the most important contemporary egalitarian theories, including the work of John Rawls, Ronald Dworkin and the luck egalitarians, Anne Phillips, Iris Young and Nancy Fraser. It also relates these theories to contemporary political (and especially citizenship) practice, assessing them in relation to the impact of neoliberalism on contemporary welfare states, and the shift from ‘social’ to ‘active’ forms of citizenship.