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The Left Hemisphere
Mapping Critical Theory Today
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304 pages / November 2014 / 9781781685594
Ebook
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July 2013 / 9781781682319
Hardback
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304 pages / July 2013 / 9781781681022

A panoramic account of the world’s leading writers and thinkers

As the crisis of capitalism unfolds, the need for alternatives is felt ever more intensely. The struggle between radical movements and the forces of reaction will be merciless. A crucial battlefield, where the outcome of the crisis will in part be decided, is that of theory.

Over the last twenty-five years, radical intellectuals across the world have produced important and innovative ideas. The endeavour to transform the world without falling into the catastrophic traps of the past has been a common element uniting these new approaches.

This book—aimed at both the general reader and the specialist—offers the first global cartography of the expanding intellectual field of critical contemporary thought. More than thirty authors and intellectual currents of every continent are presented in a clear and succinct manner. A history of critical thought in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries is also provided, helping situate current thinkers in a broader historical and sociological perspective.

Contents:

PART I: CONTEXTS

1 The Defeat of Critical Thinking (1977-93)
2 A Brief History of the 'New Left' (1956-77)
3 Contemporary Critical Intellectuals: A Typology

PART II: THEORIES

4 System

Michael Hardt and Toni Negri, or the 'Joy of Being Communist': Operaismo - Empire and Multitude - Towards a Cognitive Capitalism?

The Revival of Theories of Imperialism: Marxism and Imperialism - Leo Panitch - Robert Cox - David Harvey

The Nation-State: Persistence or Transcendence?: Benedict Anderson and Tom Nairn - Jürgen Hambermas and Étienne Balibar - Wang Hui - Giorgio Agamben

Capitalisms Old and New: Critique of Cognitive Capitalism - Robert Brenner - Giovanni Arrighi - Elmar Altvater - Luc Boltanski

5 Subjects

Equality as Event: Jacques Rancière - Alain Badiou - Slavoj Žižek

Post-Femininities: Donna Haraway - Judith Butler - Gayatri Spivak

Class Against Class: E. P. Thompson - David Harvey - Erik Olin Wright - Álvaro García Linera

Conflictual Identities: Nancy Fraser, Axel Honneth, Seyla Benhabib - Achille Mbembe - Ernesto Laclau - Fredric Jameson

Conclusion: Worksites

Index

Reviews

“A dizzying menagerie of anti-capitalist thought.”

“Explains the key ideas, and the contradictions within them, of authors who are often cited but rarely read.”

“A precious tool permitting us to escape the whingeing about the mediocrity of thinkers today and to help us anticipate the tremors yet to come.”

“Written with intelligence and clarity.”

“In this courageous and audacious work, the sociologist Razmig Keucheyan offers a robust ... panorama of contemporary critical theories.”

“An impressive tour de force, providing us with a summary of contemporary critical theories that is both rigorous and clear.”

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