Horrorism

Author: Adriana Cavarero
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231144571
Format: PDF
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In this brilliant book, one of the world's most provocative feminist theorists and political philosophers introduces a new word? horrorism?to capture the experience of violence. Unlike terror, horrorism is a form of violation grounded in the offense of disfiguration and massacre. Numerous outbursts of violence fall within Adriana Cavarero's category of horrorism, especially when the phenomenology of violence is considered from the perspective of the victim rather than that of the warrior. Through her searing analysis, Cavarero proves that violence against the helpless claims a specific vocabulary, one that has been known for millennia, and not just to the Western tradition.

Critical Theory in Critical Times

Author: Penelope Deutscher
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 023154362X
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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We live in critical times. We face a global crisis in economics and finance, a global ecological crisis, and a constant barrage of international disputes. Perhaps most dishearteningly, there seems to be little faith in our ability to address such difficult problems. However, there is also a more positive sense in which these are critical times. The world's current state of flux gives us a unique window of opportunity for shaping a new international order that will allow us to cope with current and future global crises. In Critical Theory in Critical Times, eleven of the most distinguished critical theorists offer new perspectives on recent crises and transformations of the global political and economic order. Essays from Jürgen Habermas, Seyla Benhabib, Cristina Lafont, Rainer Forst, Wendy Brown, Christoph Menke, Nancy Fraser, Rahel Jaeggi, Amy Allen, Penelope Deutscher, and Charles Mills address pressing issues including international human rights and democratic sovereignty, global neoliberalism, novel approaches to the critique of capitalism, critical theory's Eurocentric heritage, and new directions offered by critical race theory and postcolonial studies. Sharpening the conceptual tools of critical theory, the contributors to Critical Theory in Critical Times reveal new ways of expanding the diverse traditions of the Frankfurt School in response to some of the most urgent and important challenges of our times.

The Return of Work in Critical Theory

Author: Christophe Dejours
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231547188
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From John Maynard Keynes’s prediction of a fifteen-hour workweek to present-day speculation about automation, we have not stopped forecasting the end of work. Critical theory and political philosophy have turned their attention away from the workplace to focus on other realms of domination and emancipation. But far from coming to an end, work continues to occupy a central place in our lives. This is not only because of the amount of time people spend on the job. Many of our deepest hopes and fears are bound up in our labor—what jobs we perform, how we relate to others, how we might flourish. The Return of Work in Critical Theory presents a bold new account of the human significance of work and the human costs of contemporary forms of work organization. A collaboration among experts in philosophy, social theory, and clinical psychology, it brings together empirical research with incisive analysis of the political stakes of contemporary work. The Return of Work in Critical Theory begins by looking in detail at the ways in which work today fails to meet our expectations. It then sketches a phenomenological description of work and examines the normative premises that underlie the experience of work. Finally, it puts forward a novel conception of work that can renew critical theory’s engagement with work and point toward possibilities for transformation. Inspired by Max Horkheimer’s vision of critical theory as empirically informed reflection on the sources of social suffering with emancipatory intent, The Return of Work in Critical Theory is a lucid diagnosis of the malaise and pathologies of contemporary work that proposes powerful remedies.

The Highway of Despair

Author: Robyn Marasco
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231538898
Format: PDF, Docs
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Hegel's "highway of despair," introduced in his Phenomenology of Spirit, is the tortured path traveled by "natural consciousness" on its way to freedom. Despair, the passionate residue of Hegelian critique, also indicates fugitive opportunities for freedom and preserves the principle of hope against all hope. Analyzing the works of an eclectic cast of thinkers, Robyn Marasco considers the dynamism of despair as a critical passion, reckoning with the forms of historical life forged along Hegel's highway. The Highway of Despair follows Theodor Adorno, Georges Bataille, and Frantz Fanon as they each read, resist, and reconfigure a strand of thought in Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit. Confronting the twentieth-century collapse of a certain revolutionary dialectic, these thinkers struggle to revalue critical philosophy and recast Left Hegelianism within the contexts of genocidal racism, world war, and colonial domination. Each thinker also re-centers the role of passion in critique. Arguing against more recent trends in critical theory that promise an escape from despair, Marasco shows how passion frustrates the resolutions of reason and faith. Embracing the extremism of what Marx, in the spirit of Hegel, called the "ruthless critique of everything existing," she affirms the contemporary purchase of radical critical theory, resulting in a passionate approach to political thought.

Social Acceleration

Author: Hartmut Rosa
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231519885
Format: PDF, Docs
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Hartmut Rosa advances an account of the temporal structure of society from the perspective of critical theory. He identifies three categories of change in the tempo of modern social life: technological acceleration, evident in transportation, communication, and production; the acceleration of social change, reflected in cultural knowledge, social institutions, and personal relationships; and acceleration in the pace of life, which happens despite the expectation that technological change should increase an individual's free time. According to Rosa, both the structural and cultural aspects of our institutions and practices are marked by the "shrinking of the present," a decreasing time period during which expectations based on past experience reliably match the future. When this phenomenon combines with technological acceleration and the increasing pace of life, time seems to flow ever faster, making our relationships to each other and the world fluid and problematic. It is as if we are standing on "slipping slopes," a steep social terrain that is itself in motion and in turn demands faster lives and technology. As Rosa deftly shows, this self-reinforcing feedback loop fundamentally determines the character of modern life.

Mute Speech

Author: Jacques Rancière
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231528000
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Jacques Rancière has continually unsettled political discourse, particularly through his questioning of aesthetic "distributions of the sensible," which configure the limits of what can be seen and said. Widely recognized as a seminal work in Rancière's corpus, the translation of which is long overdue, Mute Speech is an intellectual tour de force proposing a new framework for thinking about the history of art and literature. Rancière argues that our current notion of "literature" is a relatively recent creation, having first appeared in the wake of the French Revolution and with the rise of Romanticism. In its rejection of the system of representational hierarchies that had constituted belles-letters, "literature" is founded upon a radical equivalence in which all things are possible expressions of the life of a people. With an analysis reaching back to Plato, Aristotle, the German Romantics, Vico, and Cervantes and concluding with brilliant readings of Flaubert, Mallarmé, and Proust, Rancière demonstrates the uncontrollable democratic impulse lying at the heart of literature's still-vital capacity for reinvention.

Media of Reason

Author: Matthias Vogel
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231527756
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Matthias Vogel challenges the belief, dominant in contemporary philosophy, that reason is determined solely by our discursive, linguistic abilities as communicative beings. In his view, the medium of language is not the only force of reason. Music, art, and other nonlinguistic forms of communication and understanding are also significant. Introducing an expansive theory of mind that accounts for highly sophisticated, penetrative media, Vogel advances a novel conception of rationality while freeing philosophy from its exclusive attachment to linguistics. Vogel's media of reason treats all kinds of understanding and thought, propositional and nonpropositional, as important to the processes and production of knowledge and thinking. By developing an account of rationality grounded in a new conception of media, he raises the profile of the prelinguistic and nonlinguistic dimensions of rationality and advances the Enlightenment project, buffering it against the postmodern critique that the movement fails to appreciate aesthetic experience. Guided by the work of Jürgen Habermas, Donald Davidson, and a range of media theorists, including Marshall McLuhan, Vogel rebuilds, if he does not remake, the relationship among various forms of media—books, movies, newspapers, the Internet, and television—while offering an original and exciting contribution to media theory.

The Disclosure of Politics

Author: Maria Pia Lara
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 023153504X
Format: PDF, ePub
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Postmodern political critiques speak of the death of ideology, the end of history, and the postsecular return of religious attitudes, yet radical conservative theorists such as Mark Lilla argue religion and politics are inextricably intertwined. Returning much-needed uncertainty to debates over the political while revitalizing the very terms in which they are defined, María Pía Lara explores the ambiguity of secularization and the theoretical potential of a structural break between politics and religion. For Lara, secularization means three things: the translation of religious semantics into politics; a transformation of religious notions into political ideas; and the reoccupation of a space left void by changing political actors that gives rise to new conceptions of political interaction. Conceptual innovation redefines politics as a horizontal relationship between governments and the governed and better enables societies (and individual political actors) to articulate meaning through action—that is, through the emergence of new concepts. These actions, Lara proves, radically transform our understanding of politics and the role of political agents and are further enhanced by challenging the structural dependence of politics on religious phenomena.

Radical Cosmopolitics

Author: James D. Ingram
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231536410
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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While supporting the cosmopolitan pursuit of a world that respects all rights and interests, James D. Ingram believes political theorists have, in their approach to this project, compromised its egalitarian and emancipatory principles. Focusing on recent debates without losing sight of cosmopolitanism's ancient and Enlightenment roots, Ingram confronts the philosophical difficulties of defending universal ideals and the implications for ethics and political theory. In morality as in politics, theorists have generally focused first on discovering universal values and second on their implementation. Ingram argues that only by prioritizing the development and articulation of universal values through political action in the fight for freedom and equality can theorists do justice to these efforts and cosmopolitanism's universal vocation. Only by proceeding from the local to the global, from the bottom up rather than from the top down, on the basis of political practice rather than moral ideals, can we salvage moral and political universalism. In this book, Ingram provides the clearest, most systematic account yet of this schematic reversal and its radical possibilities.

Starve and Immolate

Author: Banu Bargu
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231538111
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Starve and Immolate tells the story of leftist political prisoners in Turkey who waged a deadly struggle against the introduction of high security prisons by forging their lives into weapons. Weaving together contemporary and critical political theory with political ethnography, Banu Bargu analyzes the death fast struggle as an exemplary though not exceptional instance of self-destructive practices that are a consequence of, retort to, and refusal of the increasingly biopolitical forms of sovereign power deployed around the globe. Bargu chronicles the experiences, rituals, values, beliefs, ideological self-representations, and contentions of the protestors who fought cellular confinement against the background of the history of Turkish democracy and the treatment of dissent in a country where prisons have become sites of political confrontation. A critical response to Michel Foucault's Discipline and Punish, Starve and Immolate centers on new forms of struggle that arise from the asymmetric antagonism between the state and its contestants in the contemporary prison. Bargu ultimately positions the weaponization of life as a bleak, violent, and ambivalent form of insurgent politics that seeks to wrench the power of life and death away from the modern state on corporeal grounds and in increasingly theologized forms. Drawing attention to the existential commitment, sacrificial morality, and militant martyrdom that transforms these struggles into a complex amalgam of resistance, Bargu explores the global ramifications of human weapons' practices of resistance, their possibilities and limitations.