This book examines what value, if any, the state has for the pursuit of progressive politics; and how it might need to be reimagined and remade to deliver transformative change.
Is it possible to reimagine the state in ways that open up projects of political transformation? This interdisciplinary collection provides alternative perspectives to the ‘antistatism’ of much critical writing and contemporary political movement activism. Contributors explore ways of reimagining the state that attend critically to the capitalist, neoliberal, gendered and racist conditions of contemporary polities, yet seek to hold onto the state in the process. Drawing on postcolonial, poststructuralist, feminist, queer, Marxist and anarchist thinking, they consider how states might be reread and reclaimed for radical politics. At the heart of this book is state plasticity – the capacity of the state conceptually and materially to take different forms. This plasticity is central to transformational thinking and practice, and to the conditions and labour that allow it to take place. But what can reimagining do; and what difficulties does it confront?
This book will appeal to academics and research students concerned with critical and transformative approaches to state theory, particularly in governance studies, politics and political theory, socio-legal studies, international relations, geography, gender/sexuality, cultural studies and anthropology.
List of contributors
The politics of reimagination
1 The political work of reimagination
2 Reimagining the state: Marxism, feminism, postcolonialism
Shirin M. Rai
3 State as pharmakon
4 Why Africa’s ‘weak states’ matter: A postcolonial critique of Euro-Western discourse on African statehood and sovereignty
Anna Maria Krämer
5 The ethical state?
María do Mar Castro Varela
6 Christian Israel
7 Using the master’s tools: Rights and radical politics
8 Anticipatory representation: Thinking art and museums as platforms of resourceful statecraft
Chiara De Cesari
9 Conceptual prefiguration and municipal radicalism: Reimagining what it could mean to be a state
10 Regulating with social justice in mind: An experiment in reimagining the state
Morag McDermont and the Productive Margins Collective
11 Harmful thoughts: Reimagining the coercive state?
12 Border abolition and how to achieve it
13 Refusal first, then reimagination: Presenting the Burn in Flames Post-Patriarchal Archive in Circulation
Sarah Browne and Jesse Jones
Janet Newman and Nikita Dhawan