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Reading List

Philosophy: A Verso Bookshelf

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With calls for a reorientation of the Left, how do we find a way to disentangle ourselves from a global order that shapes our politics as well as our imagination? Expect psychopolitics, Big Data, the disobedient precarious, and new possibilities for organization and resistance.

See all our Philosophy student reading here.

What makes a fascist? Are there character traits that make someone more likely to vote for the far right? The Authoritarian Personality is not only one of the most significant works of social psychology ever written, it also marks a milestone in the development of Adorno’s thought, showing him grappling with the problem of fascism and the reasons for Europe’s turn to reaction. Over half a century later and with the rise of right-wing populism and the reemergence of the far-right in recent years, this hugely influential study remains as insightful and relevant as ever.

In this radical and visionary new book, McKenzie Wark argues that information has empowered a new kind of ruling class. While techno-utopian apologists still celebrate these innovations as an improvement on capitalism, for workers—and the planet—it’s worse. Drawing on the writings of a surprising range of classic and contemporary theorists, Wark offers an illuminating overview of the contemporary condition and the emerging class forces that control—and contest—it.

Fredric Jameson takes on the allegorical form.

In The Security Principle, French philosopher Frédéric Gros takes a historical approach to the concept of security, looking at its evolution from the Stoics to the social network. With lucidity and rigour, Gros’s approach is fourfold, looking at security as a mental state, as developed by the Greeks; as an objective situation and absence of all danger, as prevailed in the Middle Ages; as guaranteed by the nation-state and its trio of judiciary, police, and military; and finally biosecurity, control, regulation, and protection in the flux of contemporary society. In this deeply thought-provoking account, Gros’s exploration of security shines a light both on its past meanings and its present uses, exposing the contemporary abuses of security and the pervasiveness of it in everyday life in the Global North.