as well as material, there is no
plausible way to erect fixed boundaries separating idealism, legality and
consciousness from materialism, legitimacy and institutions. Chapters 3 and 4 develop this point
in detail by stressing the dialectical movement from law to idealism to new
law, and by looking at the implications of this process of transformation
for determinate relations of production and property ownership. The
Since the Enlightenment, liberal democrat governments in Europe and North America have been compelled to secure the legitimacy of their authority by constructing rational states whose rationality is based on modern forms of law. The first serious challenge to liberal democratic practices of legal legitimacy comes in Karl Marx's early writings on Rousseau and Hegel. Marx discovers the limits of formal legal equality that does not address substantive relations of inequality in the workplace and in many other spheres of social life. This book investigates the authoritarianism and breakdown of those state socialist governments which claim to put Marx's ideas on democracy and equality into practice. It offers an immanent critique of liberalism, and discusses liberal hegemony, attacking on liberalism from supposedly post-liberal political positions. Liberalism protects all individuals by guaranteeing a universally enforceable form of negative liberty which they can exercise in accordance with their own individual will. Immanuel Kant's critical philosophy both affirms and limits human agency through the media of rationality and legality. The conditions of liberal reason lay the groundwork for the structure of individual experience inside the liberal machine. The book also shows how a materialist reformulation of idealist philosophy provides the broad outlines of a theory of critical idealism that bears directly upon the organisation of the labour process and the first condition of legitimate law concerning humanity and external nature. Mimetic forms of materialism suggest that the possibilities for non-oppressive syntheses and realities are bound up with a libertarian union of intellect.
theoretical context that informs my re-engagement with the earlier
work of the Frankfurt School. In particular, I want to chart the recent ‘affective
turn’ in the arts, humanities, and social sciences, which has proven to be a
fertile, if somewhat disorderly, ground for research within the broader field
of ‘new materialism’. My aim is to draw on some of these theories of affect
to prompt new readings of first-generation critical theory, readings that will
emphasize the latter’s often overlooked concern with feeling, in all its senses.
As will become apparent throughout
conflict, struggle and war; non-materialism; irrationalism and anti-intellectualism; nation and race; the leader and the elite; the state and government; fascist economic and social theory.
Conflict, struggle and war
Fascism attached an astonishingly
positive value to war. War was regarded as the ultimate conflict in a world
in which struggle was the essence of existence. Permanent peace was not only
nonsense, it was dangerous nonsense, as humans grow
enjoy a sense both of self-fulfilment and community with
others’ (248). The activity of being a citizen is intertwined with that of
being a whole individual, an individual who could see the beauty in nature,
enjoy music, and at the same time perform the duties of a virtuous citizen.
This, of course, was not a unique ambition for a great philosopher. Plato,
Kant, Hegel and even Mill (to name but a few) aspired to do the same.
Did Rousseau succeed in his endeavour? He recognised – like Burke –
that the advent of Godless materialism was undermining the moeurs, and
This book presents an overview of Jean–Jacques Rousseau's work from a political science perspective. Was Rousseau — the great theorist of the French Revolution—really a conservative? The text argues that the author of ‘The Social Contract’ was a constitutionalist much closer to Madison, Montesquieu, and Locke than to revolutionaries. Outlining his profound opposition to Godless materialism and revolutionary change, this book finds parallels between Rousseau and Burke, as well as showing that Rousseau developed the first modern theory of nationalism. It presents an integrated political analysis of Rousseau's educational, ethical, religious and political writings.
This book offers a unique and timely reading of the early Frankfurt School in response to the recent 'affective turn' within the arts and humanities. It revisits some of the founding tenets of critical theory in the context of the establishment of the Institute for Social Research in the early twentieth century. The book focuses on the work of Walter Benjamin, whose varied engagements with the subject of melancholia prove to be far more mobile and complex than traditional accounts. It also looks at how an affective politics underpins critical theory's engagement with the world of objects, exploring the affective politics of hope. Situating the affective turn and the new materialisms within a wider context of the 'post-critical', it explains how critical theory, in its originary form, is primarily associated with the work of the Frankfurt School. The book presents an analysis of Theodor Adorno's form of social critique and 'conscious unhappiness', that is, a wilful rejection of any privatized or individualized notion of happiness in favour of a militant and political discontent. A note on the timely reconstruction of early critical theory's own engagements with the object world via aesthetics and mimesis follows. The post-Cold War triumphalism of many on the right, accompanied by claims of the 'end of history', created a sense of fearlessness, righteousness, and unfettered optimism. The book notes how political realism has become the dominant paradigm, banishing utopian impulses and diminishing political hopes to the most myopic of visions.
A feeling for things: objects,
And things, what is the correct attitude to adopt towards things?
–Samuel Beckett, The Unnameable
Recent years have seen an explosion of scholarly interest in things. From the
‘new materialisms’ to ‘object-oriented ontology’, from ‘thing theory’ to ‘actor-
network theory’, much of contemporary thought is turning its attention to the
world of objects. What are the reasons for this shift? One of the principal motivations behind the turn to objects is a reaction against the ‘cultural turn’ and its
England at cricket. We both survived the Cuban missile crisis (just), and
were struck by how Oxford University pretended it wasn’t happening,
along with the rest of life outside its complacent elitism and privileged
Across potentially insurmountable sectarian and experiential divides,
both wedded to historical materialism and realism, over the years we
had many never-ending discussions and some fruitfully interminable
disagreements. Yet, late in life we found how we surprisingly agreed on
Marx, and how to move forward from Marx, and so decided to write a
sufficiently promote Ireland as an attractive place in which to do business. The State was concerned with self-sufficiency, was politically deferential
to the agricultural sector, romanticised rural Ireland, and was influenced by an
anti-business church which tied Catholicism to rural life and anti-materialism.
The combination of these factors caused Ireland’s economic health to suffer,
already high levels of emigration to rise, and low levels of corporate activity
to persist. Consequently, the State was not concerned with issues of corporate
and white-collar crime or