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Allyn Fives

Throughout this book we have seen Shklar adopting a distinctive approach to her work as a political theorist. To start with, there are very sound reasons to place her work in the same camp as so-called political non-moralists. In putting cruelty first among the vices, she sees herself as offering a version of liberalism understood primarily as a protection against the worst abuses of power (Sagar 2016 , p. 370). Hers is also a sceptical form of political theory, and so she endeavours to engage in political thought without having to rely on a

in Judith Shklar and the liberalism of fear
On late modernity and social statehood
Author: Darrow Schecter

Populism, neoliberalism, and globalisation are just three of the many terms used to analyse the challenges facing democracies around the world. Critical Theory and Sociological Theory examines those challenges by investigating how the conditions of democratic statehood have been altered at several key historical intervals since 1945. The author explains why the formal mechanisms of democratic statehood, such as elections, have always been complemented by civic, cultural, educational, socio-economic, and, perhaps most importantly, constitutional institutions mediating between citizens and state authority. Critical theory is rearticulated with a contemporary focus in order to show how the mediations between citizens and statehood are once again rapidly changing. The book looks at the ways in which modern societies have developed mixed constitutions in several senses that go beyond the official separation of legislative, executive, and judicial powers. In addition to that separation, one also witnesses a complex set of conflicts, agreements, and precarious compromises that are not adequately defined by the existing conceptual vocabulary on the subject. Darrow Schecter shows why a sociological approach to critical theory is urgently needed to address prevailing conceptual deficits and to explain how the formal mechanisms of democratic statehood need to be complemented and updated in new ways today.

The politics of modern thought and science

Epistemology should be the axe that breaks the ice of a traditionalism that covers and obstructs scientific enlightenment. This book explores the arguments between critical theory and epistemology in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Focusing on the first and second generations of critical theorists and Luhmann's systems theory, it examines how each approaches epistemology. The book offers a critique of the Kantian base of critical theory's epistemology in conjunction with the latter's endeavour to define political potential through the social function of science. The concept of dialectics is explored as the negation of the irrational and, furthermore, as the open field of epistemological conflict between rationality and irrationality. The book traces the course of arguments that begin with Dilthey's philosophy of a rigorous science, develop with Husserl's phenomenology, Simmel's and Weber's interest in the scientific element within the social concerns of scientific advance. In structuralism, the fear of dialogue prevails. The book discusses the epistemological thought of Pierre Bourdieu and Gilles Deleuze in terms of their persistence in constructing an epistemological understanding of social practice free from the burdens of dialectics, reason and rationality. It also enquires into issues of normativity and modernity within a comparative perspective on modernism, postmodernism and critical theory. Whether in relation to communication deriving from the threefold schema of utterance- information- understanding or in relation to self- reflexivity, systems theory fails to define the bearer or the actor of the previous structural processes. Critical realism attempted to ground dialectics in realism.

The affective politics of the early Frankfurt School
Author: Simon Mussell

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.

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Anastasia Marinopoulou

1  4 Systems theory They can speak like Hegel. But they have no language left but the dialectical one. The countermeasure I have in mind is to make the theory decisions as transparent as possible. Niklas Luhmann, Introduction to Systems Theory1 Damit fehlen ausreichende Anhaltspunkte für ein Ausschöpfen des Möglichen, für Rationalisierung. Wir leben, wie man seit dem Erdbeben von Lissabon weiß, nicht in der besten der möglichen Welten, sondern in einer Welt voll besserer Möglichkeiten. Niklas Luhmann, Theorie der Gesellschaft oder Sozialtechnologie2

in Critical theory and epistemology
Author: Paul K. Jones

Critical theory and demagogic populism provides a detailed analysis of the relevance of the Frankfurt School’s work to understanding contemporary populism. It draws on the research that the Institute for Social Research conducted concerning domestic demagogues during its period of ‘exile’ in the USA. The book argues that the figure of the demagogue has been neglected in both orthodox ‘populism studies’ and in existing critical approaches to populism such as that of Ernesto Laclau. Demagogic ‘capture’ of populist movements and their legacies is thus a contingent prospect for ‘left’ and ‘right’ populist movements. An account of ‘modern demagogy’ is thus detailed, from the Institute’s own dedicated demagogy studies through to their dialogue with Weber’s work on charismatic leadership, the US liberal critique of demagogy and Freud’s group psychology. The Institute’s linkage of ‘modern demagogy’ to the culture industry speaks to the underestimation in ‘populism studies’ of the significance of two other ‘modern phenomena. The first is ‘cultural populism’ – the appeal to a folkloric understanding of ‘the people’ and/or ‘their culture’. The second is the pivotal role of modern means of communication, not only in the recent prominence of social media but demagogic exploitation of all media since the rise of literacy and the widening of the suffrage in the nineteenth century. The dialectical dimensions of these processes are also highlighted in reconstructing the Institute’s work and in extending these analyses through to the present. The book so concludes by weighing up potential counter-demagogic forces within and beyond the culture industry.

EP Thompson, the New Left and postwar British politics
Author: Scott Hamilton

This book tells the story of the political and intellectual adventures of Edward Palmer Thompson, one of Britain's foremost twentieth-century thinkers. It shows that all of Thompson's work, from his acclaimed histories to his voluminous political writings to his little-noticed poetry, was inspired by the same passionate and idiosyncratic vision of the world. The book demonstrates the connection between Thompson's famously ferocious attack on the ‘Stalinism in theory’ of Louis Althusser and his assaults on positivist social science in such books as The making of the English working class, and produces evidence to show that Thompson's hostility to both left- and right-wing forms of authoritarianism was rooted in first-hand experience of violent political repression.

An Introduction
Jerrold Hogle and Andrew Smith

This tenth anniversary issue of Gothic Studies reconsiders how the study of the Gothic mode in many venues (from fiction and drama to cinema and video) has been deeply affected by a wide range of psychoanalytical, historicist, cultural, and literary theories that have been, and can still be, employed to interpret and explain the Gothic phenomenon. This collection builds on the most fruitful of existing theoretical perspectives on the Gothic, sometimes to transform them, or by suggesting new alliances between theory and the study of Gothic that will enrich both domains and advance the mission of Gothic Studies, as well as Gothic scholarship in general, to provide the best arena for understanding the Gothic in all its forms.

Gothic Studies
Peter Barry

Legacies of theory ‘Is there life after theory?’ a major UK conference wanted to know in 2003. The book of the conference was called Life. After. Theory (ed. Michael Payne and John Schad, Continuum, 2003) and it contains interviews with the major participants – Jacques Derrida, Frank Kermode, Toril Moi, and Christopher Norris. Interestingly, the title of the conference itself was a question – it had been advertised as ‘Is there life after theory?’ – whereas the title of the book might be taken as a profession of faith in the view that there is indeed life

in Beginning theory (fourth edition)
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Cultural critique in film and television
Author: Edward Tomarken

Why theory? takes six major literary theorists and explores their work using examples from contemporary film and television. Each chapter is devoted to a single theorist and addresses three of their ideas in particular – a methodical approach that, coupled with the concrete and accessible illustrations, helps to strip away the obscurity that has built up around the discipline.

The theorists discussed, representing the cultural critique of the period 1970–2000, are Clifford Geertz, Hayden White, Julia Kristeva, Homi K. Bhabha, Pierre Bourdieu and Martha Nussbaum. The diverse illustrations are taken from the mainstream film and television of the past two decades, and include The West Wing (1999), Spider-Man 2 (2004), Frozen (2013) and Twelve Years a Slave (2013). Providing a broad range of specific examples drawn from everyday life, they allow for sophisticated ideas to be quickly grasped, while demonstrating the enduring power of cultural theory to explain the world around us.

Ideal for students of literature and cultural studies, Why theory? will also be of interest to academics and general readers looking for a new way to approach the discipline, as well as a convincing reassertion of its value.