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Thinking the present

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.

Open Access (free)
Jenny Edkins

lines in the sand with’.3 In other words, returning to academic work, the attachments it clings to, for example, its assumptions about time, space and existence, become ways of making distinctions between cause and effect, problem and solution, perpetrator and victim, distinctions that turn out to not only be untenable but to produce the very ‘problems’ we wish to ‘solve’. Frantz Fanon’s description of his encounter in the streets of France might thus be an example of cruel optimism. He had built his world around the fantasy of being French. When he encountered

in Change and the politics of certainty
Kimberly Hutchings

of time. Unlike the Kant of the Critique of Pure Reason, however, I am concerned with the inter-subjective time of politics, rather than with time as a condition of individual sensible experience of empirical objects; and I take the conception of political time to be essentially contested, rather than being tied to a singular (in Kant’s case, Newtonian) definition.2 The purpose of my argument is twofold. Firstly, my aim is to examine the role played by assumptions about time in different theories of contemporary world politics. In all cases, I will argue, such

in Time and world politics
James Clifford

extinction reappearing rather suddenly, as Marx might have put it, ‘on the world stage’).7 I write here largely from the perspective of this Indigenous emergence, the focus of my recent research. Of course, curatorial practices, as conceived in this book, embrace a very wide variety of social contexts, historical constraints and sites of intervention. I am certainly not privileging the experiences of ‘Indigenous curating’ I will be evoking. But I do think they shed important, cross-cutting light on some persistent assumptions about time and history that have organised the

in Curatopia
Abstract only
Migrant bodies and uncanny skin
Lisa Mullen

working-class cultures at the mid-century. Collections of aestheticised things, both in fiction and in exhibitionary practice, echo the uncanny animation and agency of the objectified bodies of post-colonial gothic: they instantiate absent subjects through their implacable presence, and complicate assumptions about time, space and identity. This chapter will trace the connections between culture, nationality and the uncanny, bringing together two different but mutually illuminating strands of enquiry. First, we see how Barbara Jones’s 1951 exhibition of ‘British popular

in Mid-century gothic