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

By Warren Breckman

Marxism's cave in within the 20th century profoundly altered the fashion and substance of Western eu radical concept. to construct a better kind of democratic conception and motion, famous theorists moved to reject revolution, abandon type for extra fragmented versions of social motion, and bring up the political over the social. Acknowledging the constructedness of society and politics, they selected the "symbolic" as an idea robust adequate to reinvent leftist suggestion outdoor a Marxist framework. Following Maurice Merleau-Ponty's Adventures of the Dialectic, which reassessed philosophical Marxism at mid century, Warren Breckman seriously revisits those exciting experiments within the aftermath of Marxism.

The post-Marxist concept of the symbolic is dynamic and intricate, uncannily echoing the early German Romantics, who first complex a latest 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 varied rules of the symbolic between modern thinkers, Breckman strains a desirable mirrored image of Romantic subject matters and resonances, and he explores intensive the hassle to reconcile an intensive and democratic political time table 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 of 200 years of ecu idea and extends their profound relevance to today's political activism.

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Sample text

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.

So it is in the world of commodities with the products of men’s hands. ” 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.

9 INTRODUCTION The group at the heart of this book does not form a school or a movement. The differences that divide them are at least as important and interesting as the commonalities that unite them. But there are commonalities. Two recent books suggest possible ways of understanding these.  Certainly, all the figures I will concentrate on are postfoundational; they all participated in and have been shaped by the larger intellectual context I have already sketched. Likewise, Jacques Lacan is an important point of reference for all the figures under discussion.

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