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The capture of the postmodern by Jameson has set the terms of subsequent debate. It is no surprise that the most significant interventions since his entry into the field have likewise been Marxist in origin. The three leading contributions can be read as attempts to supplement or correct, each in its own way, Jameson's original account. Alex Callinicos’s Against Postmodernism (1989) advances a closer analysis of the political background to the postmodern. David Harvey's Condition of Postmodernity (1990) offers a much fuller theory of its economic presuppositions. Terry Eagleton's Illusions of Postmodernism (1996) tackles the impact of its ideological diffusion. All these works pose problems of demarcation. How is the postmodern to be best periodized?
In the second of a three-part series on Giacomo Marramao's The Passage West: Philosophy After the Age of the Nation State, Hayden White responds to Marramao's reconceptualization of the world system in our era of eroding state sovereignty. The first article in the series, originally published in Política común, can be read here.
It is a daunting task, certainly, to try to grasp the intrinsic character of the present: to identify its logic and structure beyond the hubbub of contemporary events and to conceptualise this logic and structure in an adequate and appropriate fashion.
(Marramao, 2012, 221)
Feeling underwhelmed by your orthodox assigned readings? Expand your knowledge of left theory, give your political arguments some bite, and spark a love for revolutionary writers with this updated list of essential Verso books for undergraduates.
Whether you're a student of history, sociology, political science, or geography, look no further for key radical texts and indispensable primers on today's top thinkers.
The list is divided into Politics, Philosophy, Feminism, Postcolonial Studies, History and Geography - see below for our recommended reading in these areas.