The Frankfurt School
“In France and Italy, the post-War period has seen the emergence of new schools of Marxist thought (Althusser, Della Volpe). In the German-speaking world, on the other hand, there is a complete continuity from the pre-War years. The veterans Lukács and Bloch are still active and influential, but . . .” read more
The Idea of Hope
Reflections on continental philosophy from both sides of the Rhine, tracing complex inter-relations between post-structuralism and the Frankfurt School. Problems of subjectivity and nature, social determination and individual responsibility. Philosophical contexts of critical theory—and German Idealism as laboratory for system-building and experimentalist thought.
How and why has Portugal differed from Spain since the downfall of their respective dictatorships in the mid 70s? The course of political and economic development since the Revolution of 1974 was contained, and its current discrepant outcome: a conventional social-democratic government obliged to break with Euro-austerity under the pressure of a pact with the radical left.
Syriza’s Rise and Fall
Why did the Tsipras government sign up to a third Memorandum, within days of the massive popular rejection of austerity in the July 2015 referendum? Stathis Kouvelakis tracks Syriza’s repositioning since 2012 and its self-imprisonment inside the single-currency regime.
Culture and Society, Then and Now
The idea of culture in Raymond Williams’s classic work, and discrepant readings of it, fifty years on. Gestation amid CP debates on the English tradition, hidden affinities with the Frankfurt School, and counterposition to the verities of today’s liberal multiculturalism.
Idolatry and its Discontents
Amid rhetorical dust-storms over purported Islamist threats to Western values, Sven Lütticken finds antecedents for contemporary struggles over the image in Judaic and Protestant bans on idolatry. Multiple meanings of the veil and varying forms of iconoclasm, under the aegis of the spectacle.
Replying to Stefan Collini in NLR 7, Francis Mulhern extends his critique of the pretensions of culture to general social authority, to the Marxist versions of Kulturkritik in the Frankfurt School. What defines the difference between politics and culture as practices?
In coolly proclaiming itself to be essentially the application of technique to matter, to what further consequences did modern art discover it was committing itself? Christopher Prendergast traces the ‘frightful clockwork of the world-structure’ in the games of Mallarmé, puppets of Flaubert and Kleist, musings of Mann, and the hurdy-gurdy of Cézanne overheard by T. J. Clark.
Between the elite traditions of Kulturkritik and the populist enthusiasms of Cultural Studies, nominal antagonists, Francis Mulhern’s Culture/Metaculture discerns a covert bond—a common hostility to politics proper, as the antonym of culture. Stefan Collini queries his way of resolving the tension between these two.
Rosa Luxemburg’s Political Heir: An Appreciation of Paul Levi
“Seventy years after his death in 1930, a full biography of Paul Levi is still awaited. In English, the material available on him is scant indeed. Yet the most basic facts of his life, cut short in middle years, suggest an individual whose contribution to the socialist cause . . .” read more
The Grand Hotel Abyss
“A considerable part of the leading German intelligentsia, including Adorno, have taken up residence in the ‘Grand Hotel Abyss. . . a beautiful hotel, equipped with every comfort. . . And the daily contemplation of the abyss, between excellent meals or artistic entertainments, can only heighten the enjoyment . . .” read more
From the Collective to the Collection: Curating Post-Communist Germany
“Who still has souvenirs of Autumn 1989 stored away in the cupboard? To mark the tenth year of post-communism, curator Bernd Roder of the Prenzlauer Berg Museum in Berlin recently put out such a call for donations. His planned exhibition, The Time Is High, sets out to punctuate . . .” read more
Social Theory Put to the Test of Practice: Pierre Bourdieu and Anthony Giddens
“The 1990s have presented a particularly contradictory aspect to social theorists. On the one hand, the ideological climate was dominated by the collapse of the Soviet Union and its East European extensions. While the most widely noticed intellectual trends took different forms—for example, Fukuyama’s announcement of the End . . .” read more
Introduction to Adorno/Marcuse Correspondence
“On 12 January 1969, Herbert Marcuse wrote to Theodor Adorno announcing a June visit to Frankfurt. He wanted to give a lecture. He requested that the meeting be small and intimate, and solicited an official invitation, so that he could get leave from the University of California. This . . .” read more
Grand Narratives of Prehistoric Europe
“Economy and Society in Prehistoric Europe consists of twenty papers written by Andrew Sherratt over the past quarter of a century. Taken together, these articles represent a uniquely coherent and consistent vision of Old World prehistory. They present the Neolithic and the Bronze Age periods in Eurasia . . .” read more
Confronting Neoliberal Regimes: The Post-Marxist Embrace of Populism and Realipolitik
“The dominance of neoliberal policies in Anglo-American countries during the past two decades has not only had a profound impact on the character and programmes of major parties, but has also led to dramatic changes within the ranks of former Marxists and critical theorists. These former radicals now . . .” read more
The Multiple Identities of Walter Benjamin
“In the August issue of Biography, a popular us magazine, the editor-in-chief prefaces some musing on that month’s star profiles, General George C. Marshall and Tina Turner, with an outline of the magazine’s core philosophy: ‘No two life stories are even remotely the same, even the ones . . .” read more
Confessions of a 'New Aeshete': A Response to the 'New Philistines'
“Pausing to allow the waves of sound of the last movement of Mahler’s Third Symphony to ebb away, I return to the delights of my glass of Californian Chardonnay and reflect on the way Dimitri Mitropoulos’s interpretation of the symphony steers the vital course between long-term structure, sudden . . .” read more
Bisexuality, Capitalism and the Ambivalent Legacy of Psychoanalysis
“By the time Freud died in London in 1939, he was already a legend. By the 1950s, he exerted a grip on many imaginations comparable to that of the great figures—Moses, Leonard, Goth, Dostoyevsky—about whom he wrote. Equally important, Frankfurt School theorists placed his work at the centre . . .” read more