What does it mean to live in an era of ‘posts’? At a time when ‘post-truth’ is on everyone’s lips, this volume seeks to uncover the logic of post-constructions – postmodernism, post-secularism, postfeminism, post-colonialism, post-capitalism, post-structuralism, post-humanism, post-tradition, post-Christian, post-Keynesian and post-ideology – across a wide array of contexts. It shows that ‘post’ does not simply mean ‘after.’ Although post-prefixes sometimes denote a particular periodization, especially in the case of mid-twentieth-century post-concepts, they more often convey critical dissociation from their root concept. In some cases, they even indicate a continuation of the root concept in an altered form. By surveying the range of meanings that post-prefixes convey, as well as how these meanings have changed over time and across multiple and shifting contexts, this volume sheds new light on how post-constructions work and on what purposes they serve. Moreover, by tracing them across the humanities and social sciences, the volume uncovers sometimes unexpected parallels and transfers between fields usually studied in isolation from each other.
Post-Electronic, Post-Technological, Post-Christian, Post-Freudian, Post-Affluent’
were gaining popularity as labels for the present age. 14 Indeed, already by 1968, sociologist John Porter signalled that
post-industrial, post-capitalist and post-bourgeois had ‘been in currency for some
time’ – although Porter’s apologies for adding yet another neologism
(postmodern) to the list shows that post-concepts had not yet become common parlance. 15
On the one hand, these observations show that concepts like post-capitalism
Sign’ in 1986 to this 2005 article) to reflect the evolution of his thinking about the conflict between Islam and Western liberalism over the previous two decades. He emphasised the clash as one between medieval religion and post-capitalism. Western culture of the 1960s, ‘with its whimsy and drugged credulity … helped finish off the Enlightenment’.
If Islam is undergoing a worldwide resurgence, he suggests, it has been triggered by the failure of Western countries to offer their citizens more in the way of
capitalism from within, and lead to
post-capitalism.2 In discussions with friends (who shared our experience
of a period of widespread ‘true belief ’ in 1960s and 1970s Europe),
however, many still hold on to it as a kind of comfort blanket. Not full
and ardent belief any more, but a default position in the absence of any
powerful alternative. Something to hang on to, but, as times change,
providing threadbare comfort. So, we had an imagined community of
true believers, half-believers and default believers in our minds when
embarking on this work.
At its core, Marx had a
, Autobiography of a German Pastor , trans.
Geraint V. Jones (London: Student Christian Movement Press, 1943), p. 111; Brakelmann,
Hans Ehrenberg , vol. 1, pp. 23, 26–9, 42.
Historicist influences can also be detected in a follow-up article
in which Ehrenberg declared that he used ‘post-Christian’ and
‘post-totalitarian’ in much the same way that words like
‘post-capitalism’ and ‘post-Marxism’ had entered political
discourse in the 1930s. ‘It is not implied that Capitalism, Marxism
of post-capitalism) that impose limits on working time, provide for job safety, and allow for partial participation by workers in management. Also in this category are the relationships that provide for partial redistribution of income from capital to labour (progressive income taxes, social welfare payments, guaranteed minimum wages, and so forth), and that allow citizens access free of charge to a range of benefits (particularly areas of education, health care, culture, and so forth). These transitional production relations are summoned to life on the one hand by
birth of ‘post-capitalism’ achieved wide currency in the second half of the last century. In our view, the conclusion that the world has undergone a transition to ‘post-capitalism’ (Drucker 1993 ), based on arguments about the disappearance of capital as accumulated surplus value and its transformation into the savings of citizens, is fundamentally untrue, at any rate from the point of view of the Marxist theory of surplus value. This is not because we deny the role of pension funds and other forms of savings used for capitalisation; their role is unquestionably
to call for the end of work? By “work”, we mean our jobs – or wage labour: the time and effort we sell to someone else in return for an income. This is a time that is not under our control, but under our bosses’, managers’ and employers’ control’ (Gorz, 2012 : 85).
Mason ( 2015 ) labels his vision of post-capitalism ‘project zero’, which entails ‘a zero-carbon energy system; the production of machines, products and services with zero marginal costs; and the reduction of necessary labour time as close as possible to zero’ (p. 266). In similar terms, for Srnicek
the end of the twentieth century the situation began to change. A nation-state capitalism embedded in the matrix of modernity evolved towards a global capitalism rooted in the sociocultural paradigm of postmodernity. Kurginyan referred to this global capitalism as ‘post-capitalism’ and claimed that its cultural and ideological content was far removed from the ideas of democracy and equality, and is unacceptable to contemporary Russia.
The gradual transition of the Western