Razmig Keucheyan's The Left Hemisphere: Mapping Critical Theory Today has recently appeared in its first Greek edition, published by Angelus Novus. Earlier this month, Keucheyan spoke with Tasos Tsakiroglou of Efimerida ton Syntakton about the book and contemporary critical theory — in the context of climate change, and in relation to recent European electoral contests, including the 2017 French presidential election.
In the panorama of the different critical theories that you analyze in your new book The Left Hemisphere, and despite their diversity, do you discern a common thread that unites them? and what is it?
Pessimism certainly is a common thread. None of these thinkers believes that overthrowing capitalism and replacing it with another, relatively better, system is an obvious possibility. Some of them believe it is not possible, and think “resistance” to power and “micropolitics” is our only option. This pessimism is a consequence of the tragic experiences of the 20th century, especially Stalinism.
via Wikimedia Commons
Eric Hobsbawm, in his final chapter of a survey on the history of nationalism, claimed that the nation-state had embarked on a declining curve of historical viability, and that the beginnings of its fossilization would clear the way for deeper explorations into its origins, impact and possible futures. Not long afterwards, this judgment appeared to be refuted by the resurgence of national causes in the former Communist world. Hobsbawm, however, had suitably qualified his prediction so as to take into account the outbreak and intensification of national conflicts in such contexts. His claim that the nation-state was no longer a ‘vector’ of historical development meant only that the trend lines in the most dynamic zones of the world system had begun to push beyond familiar national dimensions.