By Warren Breckman
Marxism's cave in within the 20th century profoundly altered the fashion and substance of Western eu radical notion. to construct a much better type of democratic thought and motion, famous theorists moved to reject revolution, abandon category for extra fragmented versions of social motion, and increase the political over the social. Acknowledging the constructedness of society and politics, they selected the "symbolic" as an idea strong adequate to reinvent leftist concept outdoor a Marxist framework. Following Maurice Merleau-Ponty's Adventures of the Dialectic, which reassessed philosophical Marxism at mid century, Warren Breckman severely revisits those exciting experiments within the aftermath of Marxism.
The post-Marxist concept of the symbolic is dynamic and complicated, uncannily echoing the early German Romantics, who first complex a contemporary perception of symbolism and the symbolic. Hegel and Marx denounced the Romantics for his or her otherworldly and nebulous posture, but post-Marxist thinkers favored the wealthy power of the ambiguities and paradoxes the Romantics first well-known. Mapping diverse principles of the symbolic between modern thinkers, Breckman lines a desirable mirrored image of Romantic subject matters and resonances, and he explores intensive the trouble to reconcile an intensive 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 very important theorists inside of 2 hundred years of ecu inspiration and extends their profound relevance to today's political activism.
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Extra resources for Adventures of the Symbolic: Post-marxism and Radical Democracy
Likewise, Jacques Lacan is an important point of reference for all the ﬁgures under discussion. Indeed, Lacanian thought undoubtedly provides one of the master keys to late twentieth-century thought in France and beyond, as we shall see in the chapters that follow. Yet the idea of grouping the ﬁgures of this book under the name Lacanian left is unsettling. Consider Stavrakakis’s analogy to the Hegelian left of the 1840s. Figures like Ludwig Feuerbach, David Friedrich Strauss, and Bruno Bauer were fully converted to Hegel’s teachings in their youth.
In thus seeking to decipher the social hieroglyph, Marx drew directly on the critical mode ﬁrst formulated by the Left Hegelian critique of religion. He tied the enlightened drive toward desymbolization directly to the epochal task of secularizing the world. Communism was to be the last act in the secularization of humanity. In the light of Marx’s critique of the commodity, it is not particularly surprising that the Hegelian left sharpened its blades for combat with Romanticism; nor, given our discussion thus far, should it come as a surprise that the Left Hegelians attacked Romantic concepts of symbolic form.
On the other side, he continually construes his own work as dialectical, whether we speak of his interwar openness to the Hegelian dialectic of recognition, his 1950s and 1960s structuralist emphasis upon the workings of the symbolic, or his later stress on the agonistic relationship between the symbolic and the real. ” This is a dialectic, sustained by irony, that does not settle into sedimented truth: “The actual dialectic has always been in play around necessity and freedom, the highest good, etc.
Adventures of the Symbolic: Post-marxism and Radical Democracy by Warren Breckman