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  1. Giovanni Arrighi: The Social and Political Economy of Global Turbulence In a landmark engagement with Robert Brenner’s account of the long downturn of the world economy since the 70s, Giovanni Arrighi lays out a social and political economy of the roles of labour unrest, national liberation and corporate financialization in the crisis of the post-war order, and the prospects for a militarized US hegemony today.
  2. Franco Moretti: More Conjectures Replying to critics of his ‘Conjectures on World Literature’ (NLR 1), Franco Moretti considers the objections to a world-systems theory of the relations between centre and periphery in the sphere of the novel or poetry, and proposes some new hypotheses about the morphology of forms and the politics of comparative literary studies.
  3. Hui Qin: Dividing the Big Family Assets Where is the PRC heading? One of its leading intellectual iconoclasts, after describing his origins in the Cultural Revolution, offers a long-range comparative perspective on the Chinese state’s strategy for land and industry today. The divisions in the intelligentsia and the fate of the peasantry, the overwhelming majority of the country, as China enters the WTO.
  4. Michael Maar: Teddy and Tommy: The Masks of Doctor Faustus The one-sided love story of Theodor Adorno and Thomas Mann and its comedy of errors, as the philosopher wooed, counselled and was misused or rebuffed by the novelist. What was Adorno’s exact role in the genesis of Doctor Faustus, while the two shared an Angeleno exile? Why did they never meet again after the war? Who was the real original of Adrian Leverkühn?
  5. Servaas Storm, Ro Naastepad: The Dutch Distress For more than a decade the Netherlands was the cynosure of European social democracy: the society where inflation was mastered, growth lifted, unemployment lowered, welfare trimmed and—not least—where stock ownership became more widely diffused than in any other European country. Amid such blessings, how could Dutch voters turn to Pim Fortuyn? A diagnostic of the strains underlying the Netherlands’ variant of neoliberalism.


  1. Susanna Hecht on Peter Redfield, Space in the Tropics: from Convicts to Rockets in French Guiana. Defoe, Kafka and Verne unpacked from an anthropologist’s tool chest to frame new visions of France’s outpost in South America.
  2. Sven Lütticken on Daniel Buren, Mot à Mot. Could a collaboration between avant-garde artist and sociologist escape the logic of the spectacle, or must it in some fashion reproduce it? Bourdieu’s last notes on art, with a view of Paris rooftops.
  3. Michael Wood on Efraín Kristal, Invisible Work: Borges and Translation. Original texts—Gide and Kafka, Wilde and Woolf—and their re-creation in the lotteries of another language, as thought and practised by the author of Fictions.