The Resources of Critique
The Resources of Critique
Social criticism has enjoyed a renaissance in the past few years. The anti-globalization protests at Seattle and Genoa and the great marches against the war in Iraq have put contestation of capitalism and imperialism back on the political and intellectual agenda. But how does social critique situate itself philosophically today, after the marginalization of Marxism and the impact of postmodernism? In <i>The Resources of Critique</i>, Alex Callinicos seeks to address this question systematically. He does so, in the first part, by surveying some of the most influential contemporary critical theorists Alain Badiou, Jacques Bidet, Luc Boltanski, Pierre Bourdieu, Eve Chiapello, Jürgen Habermas, Antonio Negri and Slavoj Žižek.

The limitations of all these theorists perspectives prompts Callinicos in the second part of the book to outline an alternative approach whose main elements are a critical realist ontology, a Marxist theory of social contradiction, and an egalitarian conception of justice. The main thrust of his argument is to show that Marx's critique of political economy remains inescapable for anyone seeking to challenge the existing world order but only if it maintains an open but rigorous dialogue with other critical perspectives. <i>The Resources of Critique</i> is, above all, a contribution to this dialogue.

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  • April 2006
  • 328 pages
  • 160 x 237 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $72.75
  • 9780745631608
  • Paperback $31.25
  • 9780745631615
Table of Contents


Part I: Four Kinds of Impasse

1. Modernity and its Promises: Habermas and Bidet

1.1 Between sociological suspicion and the rule of law: Jürgen Habermas

1.2 With and against Marx and Rawls: Jacques Bidet

2. Between Relativism and Universalism: French Critical Sociology

2.1 Capitalism and its critiques: Boltanski and Chiapello

2.2 The dialectic of universal and particular: Pierre Bourdieu

3. Touching the Void: Badiou and ?i?ek

3.1 The exception is the norm

3.2 Miracles do happen: the ontology of Alain Badiou

3.3 Unreal: Slavoj ?i?ek and the proletariat

4. The Generosity of Being: Antonio Negri

4.1 All is grace

4.2 Negri's Grundrisse: revolutionary subjectivity versus Marxist 'objectivism'

4.3 The refusal of transcendence

Part II: Three Dimensions of Progress

5. A Critical Realist Ontology

5.1 The story so far

5.2 Dimensions of realism

6. Structure and Contradiction

6.1 Realism about structures

6.2 The primacy of contradiction

6.3 A dialectic of nature?

7. Justice and Universality

7.1 From fact to value

7.2 Equality and well-being

7.3 Why equality matters

8. Conclusion

About the Author
Alex Callinicos is Professor of European Studies at Kings College, London.
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"Sharp, lucid and wide-ranging, The Resources of Critique subjects modern political theory to the test of a robust materialism, and in doing so constitutes a vital contribution to such a theory in its own right."

Terry Eagleton, University of Manchester

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