Thursday, October 11, 2007

Strathausen, Carsten. "Moving On: Review of Philip Goldstein's Post-Marxist Theory." MINNESOTA REVIEW 65-66 (2007)

Phil Goldstein's book Post-Marxist Theory not only introduces the work of many leading theorists today, but also outlines the major philosophical and political faultlines that separate them. Moreover, Goldstein does not limit himself to the realm of political philosophy, but also considers aesthetics and the current status of cultural studies. In short, Post-Marxist Theory is a comprehensive attempt to delineate the contours of contemporary leftist thought in philosophy, politics, and culture. This ambitious scope poses two major methodological challenges. For one, there is the danger of folding the complexity and internal tensions that exist within the work of a particular author into to a single, overall thesis or a series of unambiguous statements to make the ideas more manageable. Goldstein's book doesn't succumb to this danger. He is always careful to distinguish between the different phases and contexts of Foucault's materialism, Althusser's distinction between science and ideology, or Laclau's and Mouffe's notion of hegemony. Goldstein's own writing demonstrates the degree to which post-Marxist theory still holds fast to a materialist approach of reading that emphasizes the historical dimension of abstract thought. Goldstein also steers clear of the opposite problem that haunts many comprehensive overviews of contemporary theory, namely the lack of a clear perspective. He advocates a Foucaultian inspired, institutional form of post-Marxism as the most promising avenue for leftist politics today. . . . More here:

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