Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Foreword: The Left and Ontopolitics

William E. Connolly

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pp. ix-xviii

In Sustaining Affirmation (2000), Stephen White examines four contemporary political theorists to ascertain how the ontology each adopts filters into his or her political theory and how the latter infiltrates into ontology.1 By ontology, he means the most fundamental assumptions each makes about the world, ...

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Introduction: Thinking Outside In

Carsten Strathausen

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pp. xix-xlvi

The title of this anthology calls for an explanation. It has become customary these days to denounce any reference to the Left as mere rhetoric devoid of substance—a position propagated not only by John Stossel and mainstream media, but also in academic circles. ...

I. Agamben, Violence, and Redemption

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pp. 1-2

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1. The Structure of the Political vs. the Politics of Hope

William Rasch

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pp. 3-18

There is no Leftist ontology. Let me phrase this less ontologically. There ought not be a Leftist ontology. To think one hears the music of the spheres and recognize in it the tune to “La Marseillaise” is a sign of desperation, a sign that the political game is being lost and therefore ought to be rigged. ...

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2. The Function of Ambivalence in Agamben’s Reontologization of Politics

Eva Geulen

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pp. 19-30

Ontology has never been a great concern for the German Left. Since Adorno’s The Jargon of Authenticity at the very latest, critical theory’s fearful distance from ontology has turned into open hostility. With the exception of Hannah Arendt and Leo Strauss (who in this regard must be considered Americans), ...

II. The Persistence of Marxism

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pp. 31-32

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3. Twenty-five Theses on Philosophy in the Age of Finance Capital

Nicholas Brown, Imre Szemán

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pp. 33-53

“During long periods of history,” Walter Benjamin wrote, “the mode of human sense perception changes with humanity’s entire mode of existence.”1 One would expect no less of thought itself. It should come as no surprise to assert today that philosophy is historical through and through. ...

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4. Periodizing the 80s: The Cultural Logic of Economic Privatization in the United States

Jeffrey T. Nealon

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pp. 54-79

After the economic meltdown of fall 2008, it may seem like the era of unbridled faith in free-market or neoliberal capitalism is waning in the United States. With the federal government busy orchestrating huge bailouts of the private sector, it would seem that the slick era of “small government and big business,” ...

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5. Marxist Theory: From Aesthetic Critique to Cultural Politics

Philip Goldstein

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pp. 80-99

Since the 1990s, Terry Eagleton, Fredric Jameson, and others have revived the aesthetic theory of Theodor Adorno on the grounds that, unlike Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, and other poststructuralists, who accommodate the social system, Adorno’s aesthetics subverts its foundations.1 ...

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6. Is Socialism the Index of a Leftist Ontology?

Benjamin Robinson

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pp. 100-122

The more one thinks about the historical socialist experience bounded by the years 1917 and 1990, the years of European state socialism, the more embarrassing a positive intellectual engagement with it might seem. Besides the practical questions posed generally by an amoral raison d’état, ...

III. Deconstruction/Politics

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pp. 123-124

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7. Deconstruction and Experience: The Politics of the Undeconstructable

Roland Végső

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pp. 125-146

The question I want to raise concerns the possibility of a leftist ontology from the perspective of deconstruction. The difficulty of the question, of course, lies in the fact that it is not entirely clear whether such a theoretical object is possible to conceive from this perspective. ...

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8. Politics and the Fiction of the Political

Sorin Radu-Cucu

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pp. 147-169

The main purpose of this essay is to determine the rapport between rhetoric and ontology in contemporary Left political thought and its relevance for a “philosophical questioning of the political.”1 By dealing with the concept of the political and its intersections with philosophy, my research will focus on the distinction between politics (la politique) and the political (le politique), ...

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9. The Last God: María Zambrano’s Life without Texture

Alberto Moreiras

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pp. 170-184

María Zambrano (1904–91) studied with José Ortega y Gasset at the University of Madrid in the 1920s and was intimately connected to the intellectual events surrounding the Second Spanish Republic. She was at the time something like a radical liberal, in the complicated Spanish tradition, ...

IV. Psychoanalysis and the Political

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pp. 185-186

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10. Signification and Substance: Toward a Leftist Ontology of the Present

Christopher Breu

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pp. 187-207

A deadlock haunts contemporary theory. On the one hand, there is all the powerful work that has been enabled by social construction theories, by Foucauldian theories of discourse, and more generally by poststructuralist interventions into culture. ...

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11. A Politics of Melancholia

Klaus Mladek, George Edmondson

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pp. 208-234

To understand why leftist thought has traditionally held the melancholic in such deep suspicion, one need look no further than Walter Benjamin’s brief essay “Leftist Melancholia.” The trouble with leftist melancholic poets like Erich Kästner and Kurt Tucholsky, argues Benjamin, is that they have sold out to amusement, to the cult of eccentricity, ...

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Afterword: Thinking, Being, Acting; or, On the Uses and Disadvantages of Ontology for Politics

Bruno Bostee

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pp. 235-252

Faced with the ubiquitous return of the question of being in the field of political thought today, put into relief most eloquently by the present collection of essays, I am tempted to repeat Theodor W. Adorno’s gesture when in part I of his Negative Dialectics, as he explains, “ontology is understood and immanently criticized out of the need for it, ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 253-254

This project has been many years in the making, and I thank all of our contributors for their dedication to this topic. It truly was a pleasure working with you, and I have profited enormously from the close intellectual relationships that developed over the past few years. ...

Contributors

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pp. 255-258

Index

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pp. 259-283