Postmarxism is often depicted as a point of intersection for a set of inter-disciplinary theories that are in themselves complex and dense.
Bringing the postmarxist theory of Ernesto Laclau into the field of political sociology through a close reading and analysis of postmarxism and its relationship to ‘the social’, A Sociology of Postmarxism develops key postmarxist arguments in an engaging and sociologically applicable way. Indeed, through a threefold method of analysis, Howson first unpacks the relationship between ‘the social’ and ‘the political’ by analysing key allied theories to show where the points of connection occur. This is then followed by an insightful analysis of the key features of postmarxist theory such as antagonism and the inevitability of social dislocation, the political importance of hegemony; and the empty signifier thesis and equivalence to show how such theory can be applied at a sociological level. Finally, through the use of sociological categories such as masculinities, migration and social capital, the foregoing theoretical analyses are synthesised to show the social nature of postmarxism and particularly in the context of aspiration and co-operation.
This enlightening volume will appeal to undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as postdoctoral researchers who are interested in fields such as Political Sociology, Post Marxist Political Theory and Social Theory.
The Sociology of Postmarxism is a pleasure to read, at least for this reader. It combines careful, concise and generic analysis of the relations of marxism, materialism and discourse with an opening up of specific avenues, such as, social capital, migration, and men and masculinities, to the insights of postmarxist approaches in sociology. In so doing, it delivers a profound critique and challenge to Sociology itself, both mainstream and critical, and its mystifications of "society".
Jeff Hearn, Örebro University, Sweden; Hanken School of Economics, Finland; University of Huddersfield, UK
Table of Contents
Chapter One: Introduction
Why The Social?
Why Postmarxism and Social capital
Chapter Two: From the Social to the Political
The Social in Historical Materialism
Setting out a Post- Terrain
Sociology and The Social in Postmarxism
Counter-Positions of The Social
Chapter Three: Classical Approaches to The Social
The Sociological project and the Emergence of Positivism
Karl Marx: Logic to Contradiction to Mediation
Emile Durkheim: Moral Positivism and Mediation
Max Weber: From Rationality to Irrationality as Social Mediation
Chapter Four: Establishing a Basis for Postmarxism
The New Priority
The Social as ‘Sedimentation’ and The Political as ‘Reactivation’
Chapter Five: From Antagonism to Equivalence
Antagonism as the Limit of Social Objectivity
"You Can Only Free Somethings …": Hegemony and The Political
Hegemony and the Constitution of Equivalence
Chapter Six: Finding The Political in Social Capital
What is Social Capital?
Forms of Social Capital
Social Capital and The Political
Chapter Seven: Desert - Migration as Social Dislocation
Quantity and Composition of Global Migration
Migration and (Post)Industrialisation
Foundational Approaches to Migration
Postmarxism and Migration
Chapter Eight: Aspiration – Hegemonic Masculinity as Emptiness
Gender Antagonism in the Modernity-Postmodernity Tension
The Emptiness of Hegemonic Masculinity
From Limit to Hegemony
Chapter Nine: The Impossibility of Society Thesis: Some Final Considerations
Moving Between the Possibility and Impossibility of Society
Towards Syncretism: A Sociology of Postmarxism