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New Left Review 78, November-December 2012

jacob collins


The Unseen Paradigm in Modern French Thought

A unique combination of developments laid the groundwork for a new intellectual configuration in the France of the 1970s. The ebbing of the leftist surge of the 1960s; the advance of a liberalized consumer economy amid an international capitalist recession; the prospect of a pspc Union of the Left, and possibility of Communists in government; signs of a renewed Cold War against a backdrop of revolutionary advances in Africa and Asia: these were components of a new social and political order. The advent of post-structuralism and deconstructionism has generated a vast literature, with ramifications still felt—for better or worse—to this day. In what follows, I will argue that another, less noticed outcome of this conjuncture was a marked turn toward the anthropological in French thought, which involved a systematic rethinking of politics and social relations from a kind of point zero.

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Jacob Collins, ‘An Anthropological Turn?’, NLR 78: £3

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