Marxism's cave in within the 20th century profoundly altered the fashion and substance of Western eu radical inspiration. to construct a better kind of democratic idea and motion, admired theorists moved to reject revolution, abandon classification for extra fragmented types 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 sufficient to reinvent leftist idea 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 complicated 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 liked the wealthy capability of the ambiguities and paradoxes the Romantics first famous. Mapping various rules of the symbolic between modern thinkers, Breckman lines a desirable mirrored image of Romantic subject matters and resonances, and he explores extensive the hassle to reconcile an intensive and democratic political schedule with a politics that doesn't privilege materialist understandings of the social. enticing 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 200 years of ecu concept and extends their profound relevance to cutting-edge political activism.
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Extra resources for Adventures of the Symbolic: Postmarxism and Democratic Theory
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. Viewed in this way, the symbolic opens the possibility for reorienting critical theory toward radical democracy, conceptualizing the power of symbols to body forth ideas, while at the same time viewing the social space as open and unmasterable.
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. Third, I am by necessity forced to use the term post-Marxist somewhat loosely. Among the central ﬁgures of this book, only Laclau and Mouﬀe, and, with some qualiﬁcations, Žižek, have applied this term to themselves. Castoriadis and Lefort are post-Marxists by dint of biography.
This is an intuitively persuasive claim. The notion of the symbol carried far too much weight in the Romantic mind to be merely a rhetorical ﬁgure. Indeed, it seemed to speak directly to an acute sense of need. It was, after all, a time of crisis, when revolutionary upheaval cast existing convictions into doubt. The experience of the age—its politics, its social transformations, its dominant modes of analytic rationality inherited from the Enlightenment—produced a widespread sense of division and dualism.