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Andrew Feenberg’s critical theory of technology

This is the first monograph devoted to the work of one of the foremost contemporary advocates of critical theory, Andrew Feenberg. It focuses on Feenberg’s central concept, technical politics, and explores his suggestion that democratising technology design is key to a strategic understanding of the process of civilisational change. In this way, it presents Feenberg’s intervention as the necessary bridge between various species of critical constructivism and wider visions of the kind of change that are urgently needed to move human society onto a more sustainable footing. The book describes the development of Feenberg’s thought out of the tradition of Marx and Marcuse, and presents critical analyses of his main ideas: the theory of formal bias, technology’s ambivalence, progressive rationalisation, and the theory of primary and secondary instrumentalisation. Technical politics identifies a limitation of Feenberg’s work associated with his attachment to critique, as the opposite pole to a negative kind of rationality (instrumentalism). It concludes by offering a utopian corrective to the theory that can provide a fuller account of the process of willed technological transformation and of the author’s own idea of a technologically authorised socialism.

Marxism and the culture of “millennial socialism” in the United States
Tim Jelfs

society or even a habitable planet are to be realized. Marx and Marxism in the new socialist culture The ways that Marx and Marxism have tended to function in the culture of “millennial socialism” speak to some of the complexity of its historical and ideological inheritance. Outside academic debates, references to Marx are often part of a wider engagement with the global history of socialism in all its variety, rather than a rigid reengagement with specifically American Marxist traditions. At times, indeed, references to Marx may seem merely gestural. Witness young

in Marxism and America
Scott Hamilton

inherent in all prophecy. All of Marx’s concepts, even concepts as fundamental as ‘proletariat’ or ‘capital’, were dialectical abstractions, slices of an infinitely complex and continually changing reality.16 Kolakowski, though, insists on freezing the concepts of Marx and his followers, and treating them like the definitions of a dour analytic philosopher or a numbercrunching sociologist. Judt’s essay is oblivious to the weaknesses in Kolakowski’s understanding of Marx and Marxism. Indeed, he repeats some of Kolakowski’s most dubious arguments, insisting that ‘neither

in The crisis of theory
Abstract only
The Marx–America dialectic
Christopher Phelps
Robin Vandome

Capital in the years following the 2008 financial crisis made it all the way through the book, stopped short by its notoriously turgid opening chapters, a new generation on the left has grown comfortable with Marx and Marxism. American interest in Marxism reciprocates the intense interest in the United States evinced by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Despite residing for their whole lives in Germany, France, and England, Marx and Engels wrote for the New York Tribune , exchanged letters with Americans, and provided analyses of American events for European audiences

in Marxism and America
Ali Rattansi

simply says nothing about the questions that are raised for Marx and Marxism when systems that deified Marx and Lenin, and were constructed with Marxism as the official ruling ideology, collapsed; nor does he comment on Marxism’s huge investment in modernity, in rational planning, and he pointedly does not draw upon the resources of Western Marxism to critique consumer capitalism; indeed he rarely uses the concept of capitalism in any systematic way except as an anodyne substitute for talking about the West or consumerism (see, for example, Intimations: 168). By the

in Bauman and contemporary sociology
Theorizing sexual violence during the feminist sex wars of the 1980s
Mara Keire

pornography as a commodified and commercialized tool of women’s oppression. Whether perpetuating a false consciousness, or demeaning women at work, pornography contributed to women’s enduring second-class citizenship. Women, violence, and social transformation Radical second-wave feminists coming out of the New Left built their interpretation of women’s oppression on the theoretical foundation of Marx and Marxism. Through the 1970s, in consciousness-raising groups, workshops, and speak-outs, as they analyzed women’s inequality in the family and on the job, an important

in Marxism and America
A distinctive politics?

English radicalism has been a deep-rooted but minority tradition in the political culture since at least the seventeenth century. The central aim of this book is to examine, in historical and political context, a range of key events and individuals that exemplify English radicalism in the twentieth century. This analysis is preceded by defining precisely what has constituted this tradition; and by the main outline of the development of the tradition from the Civil War to the end of the nineteenth century. Three of the main currents of English radicalism in the twentieth century have been the labour movement, the women’s movement and the peace movement. These are discussed in some detail, as a framework for the detailed consideration of ten key representative figures of the tradition in the twentieth century: Bertrand Russell, Sylvia Pankhurst, Ellen Wilkinson, George Orwell, E.P. Thompson, Michael Foot, Joan Maynard, Stuart Hall, Tony Benn and Nicolas Walter. The question of ‘agency’ – of how to bring about radical change in a predominantly conservative society and culture – has been a fundamental issue for English radicals. It is argued that, in the twentieth century, many of the important achievements in progressive politics have taken place in and through extra-parliamentary movements, as well as through formal political parties and organisations – the Labour Party and other socialist organisations – and on occasion, through libertarian and anarchist politics. The final chapter considers the continuing relevance of this political tradition in the early twenty-first century, and reviews its challenges and prospects.

Robert Fine
Philip Spencer

more disgracefully defended Marx's second essay ‘On the Jewish Question’ on the grounds that it revealed the real links that existed between Judaism and the ‘spirit of the usurer and the trickster’. 12 The legacy of this misreading of Marx has been to encourage Marxists to work on the assumption that there was a ‘Jewish question’ to solve and to encourage scholars of antisemitism to treat Marx and Marxism as part of the problem. 13 We argue that both

in Antisemitism and the left
Costas Panayotakis

different form after the end of the Cold War. In particular, with the defunct Soviet Union no longer serving as the bogeyman of choice, Marx and Marxism are more likely today to illustrate the contrast between serious academic research and media propaganda. On the academic side, even scholars who do not necessarily share Marx’s analysis and politics locate him “in the great line of economic viewpoints that have successively clarified, illuminated, and interpreted the world for us” (Heilbroner 1986 : 139). It is not controversial, among scholars, to regard Marx as a

in The capitalist mode of destruction
Graeme Kirkpatrick

identifies the values embodied in current designs with the essence of technology as such … By contrast, the design critique relates the values embodied in technology to a social hegemony’ (Feenberg 2002 : 64). 16 Identifying the authoritative character of technology with its purported rationality is now so ingrained in the Marxist tradition as to be almost a habit. For example, Gregory Claeys, in his introduction to Marx and Marxism, suggests that, for Marx, ‘technological rationality seemingly defines the limits of political will’ ( 2018 : 211), yet the phrase never

in Technical politics