Dialectics and Contemporary Politics recasts dialectical thought for a post-Marxist age in which labour movement politics is just one political option among many. The book is organized thematically around concepts such as immanent critique, ideology, experience, and resistance, and according to figures who are vital to the present trajectory of dialectics, including Hegel, Adorno, Foucault, Jameson and Žizek. New analysis of these concepts and theorists is used to show how they transform our understanding of social life as well as offer a way of understanding social transformation.
Interspersed throughout this theoretical work are dialectical examinations of political phenomena from tolerance, democracy, and the rise of Barack Obama, to state-economy relations as well as those of power and resistance. A radical and often revolutionary theory of society is pursued that is no longer confined to the terms of Marxism or any other school of thought. In this regard a novel advance is made by presenting the history of dialectical criticism as an ‘anti-tradition,’ which is defined as a practice that is characterized by a history of discontinuity, discord, and incompatible applications. A theory of dialectics emerges that is flexible, coherent, and which can account for much more than capitalism and class politics.
This work will be of great interest to all scholars of Marxism, critical theory, social and political theory and political philosophy
Table of Contents
Introduction: Critique and Transformation 1. "Hegel again, always . . .": The Ground Zero of Dialectics 2. Critique’s Muse: Althusser’s Adventure with Dialectics 3. Trials of Experience 4. The Depth of Ideology 5. Total Society or Heaps of Fragments? 6. The Logic of Transformative Dialectics 7. Conclusion: Dialectical Futures
John Grant is a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto. He has taught political theory and Canadian politics at Brock University and McMaster University. His research addresses modern and contemporary political thought, especially critical theory, conceptual frameworks of political criticism and the roles of citizens in democracies, and has been published in Contemporary Political Theory and Science & Society.