By Warren Breckman
Marxism's cave in within the 20th century profoundly altered the fashion and substance of Western eu radical suggestion. to construct a higher type of democratic idea and motion, well known theorists moved to reject revolution, abandon classification for extra fragmented types 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 proposal open air 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 suggestion of the symbolic is dynamic and complicated, uncannily echoing the early German Romantics, who first complicated a latest belief of symbolism and the symbolic. Hegel and Marx denounced the Romantics for his or her otherworldly and nebulous posture, but post-Marxist thinkers preferred the wealthy capability of the ambiguities and paradoxes the Romantics first famous. Mapping varied principles of the symbolic between modern thinkers, Breckman strains a desirable mirrored image of Romantic topics and resonances, and he explores intensive the trouble to reconcile a thorough 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 very important theorists inside of 200 years of eu proposal and extends their profound relevance to today's political activism.
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Extra info for Adventures of the Symbolic: Post-marxism and Radical Democracy
Post-Marxism involves a confrontation between the relatively rigid semiotic concept of the symbolic order and looser, less formulaic and less deterministic ideas of the symbolic. These more open concepts tap the complicated legacy of the symbolic turn, a history with roots deeper than the twentieth century. On the other hand, the symbolic draws on roots in aesthetic and religious thought to indicate a special kind of representation, a representational form that oscillates between creating a certain kind of presence and remaining permanently ﬂawed, shot through with that which it is not and cannot be.
Finally, chapters 5 and 6 are driven by the relationship between Laclau, Mouﬀe, and Žižek. CHAPTER ONE The Symbolic Dimension and the Politics of Young Hegelianism IS S TRUC TUR A LISM A PRODIG A L CHILD of German Romanticism? If we follow hints from Pierre Bourdieu and François Dosse, the answer would seem to be yes. Thus, in his major work on the history of structuralism, Dosse follows Roland Barthes in suggesting that Saussurean linguistics heralds a democratic model insofar as the conventional nature of the sign establishes a homology between the linguistic contract and the social contract.
So we must add to the questions posed earlier in this introduction about the possibilities and prospects for regenerating critical social and political philosophy beyond the Marxist framework. With the collapse of Marxism, what is the status of the European left’s longstanding commitment to secularism? What is the relationship between the post-Marxist symbolic turn and the Enlightenment project of desymbolization? It seems wise to close this introduction with a note on how one might read this book.