Representative politics is in crisis. Trust in politicians is at an all-time low. Fewer people are voting or joining political parties, and our interest in parliamentary politics is declining fast. Even oppositional and radical parties that should be benefitting from public disenchantment with politics are suffering. But different forms of political activity are emerging to replace representative politics: instant politics, direct action, insurgent politics. We are leaving behind traditional representation, and moving towards a politics without representatives. In this provocative new book, Simon Tormey explores the changes that are underway, drawing on a rich range of examples from the Arab Spring to the Indignados uprising in Spain, street protests in Brazil and Turkey to the emergence of new initiatives such as Anonymous and Occupy.
Tormey argues that the easy assumptions that informed our thinking about the nature and role of parties, and `party based democracy' have to be rethought. We are entering a period of fast politics, evanescent politics, a politics of the street, of the squares, of micro-parties, pop-up parties, and demonstrations. This may well be the end of representative politics as we know it, but an exciting new era of political engagement is just beginning.
"Tormey and Townshend have succeeded not only in making accessible the notoriously evasive ideas of `Post-Marxist' thinkers, they have begun the vital work of critically examining their contribution to Marx's project of overcoming capitalism."
- James Martin, Goldsmiths, University of London
"Excellent textbook - critical, challenging and thoroughly engaging!"
- Richard White, Sheffield Hallam University
"In language which is clear without being simplistic, Tormey and Townshend help readers think about ways to live 'with and without Marx' in the wake of Marxism's historical failures as well as its continuing relevance to life under globalizing capitalism."
- Mark Rupert, Syracuse University
Key Thinkers in Critical Theory to Post Marxism is a comprehensive introduction to perhaps the most key intellectual trend in contemporary critical theory. In jargon-free language, it seeks to unpack, explain and review many of the key figures behind the rethinking of the legacy of Marxism in theory and practice.
Key thinkers covered include Cornelius Castoriadis, Jean-Francois Lyotard, Deleuze and Guattari, Laclau and Mouffe, Agnes Heller, Jacques Derrida, J rgen Habermas and post-Marxist feminism.
Each chapter covers a key thinker or contribution and thus can be read as a stand alone introduction to the principal aspects of their approach. Each chapter is followed by a summary of key points with a guide to further reading.
Underlying the text is also the central question: What is Post-Marxism? Instead of viewing Post-Marxism as an ideology, movement or tradition of theorizing, the authors advocate Post-Marxism as a loose appellation describing those who have problematised Marx's approach to understanding and challenging contemporary capitalism. As such the book also offers an engaging commentary on some of the key political developments of our time including, for example, the anti-globalisation movement.
Key Thinkers in Critical Theory to Post Marxism provides an ideal introduction to a hitherto complex subject and will be essential reading for students of contemporary social and political inquiry.