Wednesday, February 27, 2008

May, Todd. "Review of Nick Hewlett's BADIOU, BALIBAR, RANCIERE: RE-THINKING EMANCIPATION." NDPR February 22, 2008.

Hewlett, Nick. Badiou, Balibar, Rancière: Re-thinking Emancipation. London: Continuum, 2007. Badiou, Balibar, Rancière is a critical overview of the political thought of three students of Althusser's, each of whom has moved away from his teacher in a direction different from the others. Hewlett argues that, in a France and indeed in a world that is increasingly neoliberal in both its thought and its practice, there is a need for a renewal of a left theoretical tradition. Each of these thinkers attempts to offer that renewal, with, in Hewlett's eyes, mixed success. The book can be read both as an overview of the work of these thinkers and as a critical engagement with them. However, since the discussions are brisk and often introductory, the critical questions raised to these thinkers do not (and, I believe, do not seek to) have much depth. I will argue that, at least in the case of Badiou, there are straightforward ways to answer the criticisms Hewlett raises. However, it should be said immediately that, aside from the criticisms, the overview he provides of each thinker is valuable, and in the cases of Badiou and Rancière, fairly accurate. As I am not a scholar of Balibar's thought, I cannot comfortably offer judgment of his efforts there. . . . Read the rest of the review here:

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