Göran Therborn offers a panoramic survey of left social theory since the fall of Communism. The vicissitudes of modernity as contested temporal narrative, and the divergent thematic paths—religion, Utopia, class, sexuality, networks, world-systems—that are emerging in the new landscape.
Radical Social Theory in a Post-Communist World
If socialism and liberalism have both been central to modern political and social thought, during the 20th century it was socialism, in a loose ecumenical sense, that was the most successful of the two in terms of intellectual attraction and public support. Socialism was emblazoned on the banners of mass parties in Brazil, Britain, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa—in fact, virtually every major country of the globe, with the exception of Nigeria and the us. It was embraced as a rhetorical goal, at least, by a range of locally powerful parties from Arctic Social Democrats to African nationalists. Socialism and Communism exercised a powerful attraction over some of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century: Einstein was a socialist, writing a founding manifesto for the American Marxist journal Monthly Review; Picasso was a Communist, who designed the logo of post-World War ii Communist-led peace movements. In spite of its conservatively defined original task and its own staunchly conservative traditions, the Swedish Academy has allotted the Nobel Prize for literature to a series of left-wing writers, from Romain Rolland to Elfriede Jelinek.
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What social forces are likely to challenge the supremacy of capital in the coming decades? An assessment of potential bases of resistance—from traditional communities overrun by the global market to factory workers and an expanding yet amorphous middle class.
Class in the 21st Century
From São Paulo to Beijing, a rising middle class has been hailed by liberal commentators as a bulwark for consumption and democracy in the decades ahead. Taking stock of these claims, Göran Therborn offers a magisterial overview of the global class landscape and the still prodigious numerical weight of manual workers within it.
Göran Therborn on Heinsohn, Söhne und Weltmacht. Political demography of the Mid-East youth bulge as threat to Western power.
The dramatic trajectories of Tbilisi, Baku and Yerevan, and differing roles in the present. Göran Therborn tracks the fortunes of Georgia’s capital, seat of monarchs and Mensheviks, through alterations in its physical fabric, setting these alongside the metamorphoses of its Caucasian counterparts.
A Liberal Provoked?
Is patriarchy a structure of power in the family or something wider? Is it largely a pre-capitalist phenomenon? What have been the principal forces dissolving it—commodity relations, liberal ideas, or radical political action? Where are negative rates of reproduction in advanced societies likely to lead? A sharp exchange of ideas beween Nicky Hart and Göran Therborn.
Capital's Twilight Zone
Göran Therborn on Robin Blackburn, Banking on Death. The fate of pensions in the future of capitalism, as political struggles over them escalate in North and South alike.
Into the 21st Century
States, markets, firms, classes, movements—how are they inter-related and where are they moving in the new century? Göran Therborn offers a panorama of global politics that amounts to a powerful and original alternative to all existing readings of the state of the world.
Göran Therborn on Noel Parker, Revolutions and History, and Fred Halliday, Revolution and World Politics. Two new contributions to the literature on revolution—where does it stand today?
The Limits of Social Democratic Admirableness
The Autobiography of the Twentieth Century