Adventures of the Symbolic: Post-marxism and Radical by Warren Breckman PDF

By Warren Breckman

Marxism's cave in within the 20th century profoundly altered the fashion and substance of Western ecu radical inspiration. to construct a stronger kind of democratic idea and motion, fashionable theorists moved to reject revolution, abandon category for extra fragmented types of social motion, and raise the political over the social. Acknowledging the constructedness of society and politics, they selected the "symbolic" as an idea robust adequate to reinvent leftist idea outdoors a Marxist framework. Following Maurice Merleau-Ponty's Adventures of the Dialectic, which reassessed philosophical Marxism at mid century, Warren Breckman significantly revisits those exciting experiments within the aftermath of Marxism.

The post-Marxist inspiration of the symbolic is dynamic and intricate, uncannily echoing the early German Romantics, who first complex a contemporary notion of symbolism and the symbolic. Hegel and Marx denounced the Romantics for his or her otherworldly and nebulous posture, but post-Marxist thinkers liked the wealthy power of the ambiguities and paradoxes the Romantics first well-known. Mapping assorted rules of the symbolic between modern thinkers, Breckman lines a desirable mirrored image of Romantic issues and resonances, and he explores intensive the hassle to reconcile a thorough and democratic political schedule with a politics that doesn't privilege materialist understandings of the social. attractive with the paintings of Claude Lévi-Strauss, Cornelius Castoriadis, Claude Lefort, Marcel Gauchet, Ernesto Laclau, Chantal Mouffe, and Slavoj Žižek, Breckman uniquely situates those vital theorists inside 200 years of ecu suggestion and extends their profound relevance to today's political activism.

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Warren Breckman's Adventures of the Symbolic: Post-marxism and Radical PDF

Marxism's cave in within the 20th century profoundly altered the fashion and substance of Western eu radical inspiration. to construct a higher kind of democratic conception and motion, famous theorists moved to reject revolution, abandon classification for extra fragmented versions of social motion, and bring up the political over the social.

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Additional info for Adventures of the Symbolic: Post-marxism and Radical Democracy

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True as that image of cooperation is, Mauss departed from Durkheim in important ways. Durkheim ultimately subordinated symbolic forms to a realist ontology, in which symbols are seen as representations of an anterior social reality.  Far from offering to “decode” symbols, Mauss emphasized their polyvalent meanings and multiple associations. Again, unlike Durkheim, Mauss did not locate the epistemological value of symbols in their capacity to “represent” society, but rather in their capacity to create the order, relation, and bonds of society.

If we can agree with François Dosse that Romanticism broke with mimetic theories of art, this did not produce a Romantic theory of a selfenclosed and endlessly self-referential discursive system. Rather, the break from mimesis led to a new appreciation for the constitutive role of representation, for the power of language to reveal or disclose a world. Of course, this could and did produce an exalted sense of the imagination’s autopoietic power and of an artistic freedom operating beyond existing rules.

The French context is crucial for reasons I have already indicated; yet, as I will argue, the collapse of Marxism in France during the 1970s and 1980s created an inhospitable atmosphere for the task of responding positively to the crisis. Certainly one can point to important and creative efforts within France to rethink radicalism, such as those of Alain Badiou, Étienne Balibar, and Jacques Rancière, but some of the most influential deployments of French intellectual resources developed beyond the Hexagon.

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