Polity

  • The planet is sick. Human beings are guilty of damaging it. We have to pay. Today, that is the orthodoxy throughout the Western world. Distrust of progress and science, calls for individual and collective self-sacrifice to `save the planet' and cultivation of fear: behind the carbon commissars, a dangerous and counterproductive ecological catastrophism is gaining ground.
    Modern society's susceptibility to this kind of thinking derives from what Bruckner calls "the seductive attraction of disaster," as exemplified by the popular appeal of disaster movies. But ecological catastrophism is harmful in that it draws attention away from other, more solvable problems and injustices in the world in order to focus on something that is portrayed as an Apocalypse.
    Rather than preaching catastrophe and pessimism, we need to develop a democratic and generous ecology that addresses specific problems in a practical way.

  • `I lived the same life as everyone else, the life of ordinary people, the masses.' Sitting in a prison cell in the autumn of 1944, Hans Fallada sums up his life under the National Socialist dictatorship, the time of `inward emigration'. Under conditions of close confinement, in constant fear of discovery, he writes himself free from the nightmare of the Nazi years. His frank and sometimes provocative memoirs were thought for many years to have been lost. They are published here in English for the first time.
    The confessional mode did not come naturally to Fallada the writer of fiction, but in the mental and emotional distress of 1944, self-reflection became a survival strategy. In the `house of the dead' he exacts his political revenge on paper. `I know that I am crazy. I'm risking not only my own life, I'm also risking ... the lives of many of the people I am writing about', he notes, driven by the compulsion to write. And write he does - about spying and denunciation, about the threat to his livelihood and his literary work, about the fate of many friends and contemporaries such as Ernst Rowohlt and Emil Jannings. To conceal his intentions and to save paper, he uses abbreviations. His notes, constantly exposed to the gaze of the prison warders, become a kind of secret code. He finally succeeds in smuggling the manuscript out of the prison, although it remained unpublished for half a century.
    These revealing memoirs by one of the best-known German writers of the 20th century will be of great interest to all readers of modern literature.

  • Education is a crucially important social institution, closely correlated with wealth, occupational prestige, psychological well-being, and health outcomes. Moreover, for children of immigrants - who account for almost one in four school-aged children in the U.S. - it is the primary means through which they become incorporated into American society.  This insightful new book explores the educational outcomes of post-1965 immigrants and their children. Tracing the historical context and key contemporary scholarship on immigration, the authors examine issues such as structural versus cultural theories of education stratification, the overlap of immigrant status with race and ethnicity, and the role of language in educational outcomes. Throughout, the authors pay attention to the great diversity among immigrants: some arrive with PhDs to work as research professors, while others arrive with a primary school education and no English skills to work as migrant laborers. As immigrants come from an ever-increasing array of races, ethnicities, and national origins, immigrant assimilation is more complex than ever before, and education is central to their adaptation to American society. Shedding light on often misunderstood topics, this book will be invaluable for advanced undergraduate and beginning graduate-level courses in sociology of education, immigration, and race and ethnicity.

  • Anglais The Sacrament of Language

    Giorgio Agamben

    • Polity
    • 28 Février 2018

    Oaths play an essential part in the political and religious history of the West as a 'sacrament of power'. Yet despite numerous studies by linguists, anthropologists and historians of law and of religion, there exists no complete analysis of the oath which seeks to explain the strategic function that this phenomenon has performed at the intersection of law, religion and politics. The oath seems to define man himself as a political animal, but what is an oath and from where does it originate? Taking this question as its point of departure, Giorgio Agamben's book develops a pathbreaking 'archaeology' of the oath. Via a firsthand survey of Greek and Roman sources which shed light on the nexus of the oath with archaic legislation, acts of condemnation and the names of gods and blasphemy, Agamben recasts the birth of the oath as a decisive event of anthropogenesis, the process by which mankind became humanity. If the oath has historically constituted itself as a 'sacrament of power', it has functioned at one and the same time as a 'sacrament of language' - a sacrament in which man, discovering that he can speak, chooses to bind himself to his language and to use it to put life and destiny at stake.

  • Kant is a pivotal thinker in Adorno's intellectual world. Yet although he wrote monographs on Hegel, Husserl and Kierkegaard, the closest he came to an extended discussion of Kant are two lecture courses, one concentrating on the Critique of Pure Reason and the other on the Critique of Practical Reason. This new volume by Adorno comprises his lectures on the former.
    Adorno attempts to make Kant's thought comprehensible to students by focusing on what he regards as problematic aspects of Kant's philosophy. Adorno examines his dualism and what he calls the Kantian 'block': the contradictions arising from Kant's resistance to the idealism that his successors, Fichte, Schelling and Hegel, saw as the inevitable outcome of his ideas. But these lectures also provide an accessible introduction to and rationale for Adorno's own philosophy as expounded in Negative Dialectics and his other major writings. Adorno's view of Kant forms an integral part of his own philosophy, since he argues that the way out of the Kantian contradictions is to show the necessity of the dialectical thinking that Kant himself spurned. This in turn enables Adorno to criticize Anglo-Saxon scientistic or positivist thought, as well as the philosophy of existentialism.
    This book will be of great interest to those working in philosophy and in social and political thought, and it will be essential reading for anyone interested in the foundations of Adorno's own work.

  • In this lucid and stimulating new book, Peter Burger, one of the foremost literary critics in Germany today, addresses the relationship between art and society, from the emergence of bourgeois culture in the eighteenth century to the decline of modernism in the twentieth century. In analysing this relationship, Burger draws on a wide range of sociological and literary-critical sources - Weber, Benjamin, Foucault, Diderot and Sade among others. He argues that in questioning the formal relationship between art and life which had dominated the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the avant gardist movements of the early twentieth century brought about the crisis of postmodernism.
    Burger charts the establishment of literary and artistic institutions since the Enlightenment and their apparent autonomy of the prevailing political systems. However, he argues that the discovery of the obverse of Enlightenment, namely barbarism, revealed the interdependence of art and society and set the scene for the avant-gardist protest against aesthetics formalism.

  • The Disorder of Women

    Carole Pateman

    • Polity
    • 11 Juillet 2018

    Carole Pateman is one of the leading political theorists writing today. This wide-ranging volume brings together for the first time a selection of her work on democratic theory and her feminist critique of mainstream political theory. The volume includes substantial discussions on questions of democracy and citizenship, including the construction of the concept of the political and complex, but largely unrecognized, problems surrounding women's participation and consent, and their relation to the social contract tradition. This work should be of interest to students and researchers in political theory, women's studies and sociology.

  • Anglais German Europe

    Ulrich Beck

    • Polity
    • 17 Avril 2013

    The euro crisis is tearing Europe apart. But the heart of the matter is that, as the crisis unfolds, the basic rules of European democracy are being subverted or turned into their opposite, bypassing parliaments, governments and EU institutions. Multilateralism is turning into unilateralism, equality into hegemony, sovereignty into the dependency and recognition into disrespect for the dignity of other nations. Even France, which long dominated European integration, must submit to Berlin's strictures now that it must fear for its international credit rating.
    How did this happen? The anticipation of the European catastrophe has already fundamentally changed the European landscape of power. It is giving birth to a political monster: a German Europe.
    Germany did not seek this leadership position - rather, it is a perfect illustration of the law of unintended consequences. The invention and implementation of the euro was the price demanded by France in order to pin Germany down to a European Monetary Union in the context of German unification. It was a quid pro quo for binding a united Germany into a more integrated Europe in which France would continue to play the leading role. But the precise opposite has happened. Economically the euro turned out to be very good for Germany, and with the euro crisis Chancellor Angela Merkel became the informal Queen of Europe.
    The new grammar of power reflects the difference between creditor and debtor countries; it is not a military but an economic logic. Its ideological foundation is `German euro nationalism' - that is, an extended European version of the Deutschmark nationalism that underpinned German identity after the Second World War. In this way the German model of stability is being surreptitiously elevated into the guiding idea for Europe.
    The Europe we have now will not be able to survive in the risk-laden storms of the globalized world. The EU has to be more than a grim marriage sustained by the fear of the chaos that would be caused by its breakdown. It has to be built on something more positive: a vision of rebuilding Europe bottom-up, creating a Europe of the citizen. There is no better way to reinvigorate Europe than through the coming together of ordinary Europeans acting on their own behalf.

  • Anglais The Sexual Contract

    Carole Pateman

    • Polity
    • 5 Juin 2018

    Carole Pateman is one of the foremost political theorists writing in English today. In this outstanding new work, she presents a major reinterpretation of modern political theory. She shows how standard discussions of social contract theory tell only half the story. The sexual contract which establishes modern patriarchy and the political right of men over women is never mentioned. In a wide-ranging and scholarly discussion, Pateman examines the significance of the political fictions of the original contract and the slave contract. She also offers a sweeping challenge to conventional understandings - of both left and right - of actual contracts in everyday life: the marriage contract, the employment contract, the prostitution contract and the new surrogacy contract. By bringing a feminist perspective to bear on the contradictions and paradoxes surrounding women and contract and the relation between the sexes, she is able to shed new light on the fundamental problems of freedom and subordination. The Sexual Contract will become a classic text in the politics of gender and will be of major interest to students of social and political theory and philosophy, women's studies, sociology and jurisprudence.

  • Community

    Zygmunt Bauman

    • Polity
    • 6 Juin 2013

    'Community' is one of those words that feels good: it is good 'to have a community', 'to be in a community'. And 'community' feels good because of the meanings which the word conveys, all of them promising pleasures, and more often than not the kind of pleasures which we would like to experience but seem to miss.
    'Community' conveys the image of a warm and comfortable place, like a fireplace at which we warm our hands on a frosty day. Out there, in the street, all sorts of dangers lie in ambush; in here, in the community, we can relax and feel safe. 'Community' stands for the kind of world which we long to inhabit but which is not, regrettably, available to us. Today 'community' is another name for paradise lost - but for a paradise which we still hope to find, as we feverishly search for the roads that may lead us there.
    But there is a price to be paid for the privilege of being in a community. Community promises security but seems to deprive us of freedom, of the right to be ourselves. Security and freedom are two equally precious and coveted values which could be balanced to some degree, but hardly ever fully reconciled. The tension between security and freedom, and between community and individuality, is unlikely ever to be resolved. We cannot escape the dilemma but we can take stock of the opportunities and the dangers, and at least try to avoid repeating past errors.
    In this important new book, Zygmunt Bauman takes stock of these opportunities and dangers and, in his distinctive and brilliant fashion, offers a much-needed reappraisal of a concept that has become central to current debates about the nature and future of our societies.

  • The Anthropocene has emerged as perhaps the scientific concept of the new millennium. Going further than earlier conceptions of the human-environment relationship, Anthropocene science proposes that human activity is tipping the whole Earth system into a new state, with unpredictable consequences. Social life has become a central ingredient in the dynamics of the planet itself.  How should the social sciences respond to the opportunities and challenges posed by this development? In this innovative book, Clark and Szerszynski argue that social thinkers need to revise their own presuppositions about the social: to understand it as the product of a dynamic planet, self-organizing over deep time. They outline `planetary social thought': a transdisciplinary way of thinking social life with and through the Earth. Using a range of case studies, they show how familiar social processes can be radically recast when looked at through a planetary lens, revealing how the world-transforming powers of human social life have always depended on the forging of relations with the inhuman potentialities of our home planet. Presenting a social theory of the planetary, this book will be essential reading for students and scholars interested in humanity's relation to the changing Earth.

  • Anglais Gender and Power

    Raewyn W. Connell

    • Polity
    • 23 Juillet 2013

    This book is an important introductory textbook on sexual politics and an original contribution to the reformulation of social and political theory. In a discussion of, among other issues, psychoanalysis, Marxism and feminist theories, the structure of gender relations, and working class feminism, Connell has produced a major work of synthesis and scholarship which will be of unique value to students and professionals in sociology, politics, women's studies and to anyone interested in the field of sexual politics. Visit www.raewynconnell.net

  • Anglais Ordinary Organisations

    Stefan Kuhl

    • Polity
    • 23 Mai 2017

    During the Holocaust, 99 percent of all Jewish killings were carried out by members of state organizations. In this groundbreaking book, Stefan Kühl offers a new analysis of the integral role that membership in organizations played in facilitating the annihilation of European Jews under the Nazis.
    Drawing on the well-researched case of the mass killings of Jews by a Hamburg reserve police battalion, Kühl shows how ordinary men from ordinary professions were induced to carry out massacres. It may have been that coercion, money, identification with the end goal, the enjoyment of brutality, or the expectations of their comrades impelled the members of the police battalion to join the police units and participate in ghetto liquidations, deportations, and mass shootings. But ultimately, argues Kühl, the question of immediate motives, or indeed whether members carried out tasks with enthusiasm or reluctance, is of secondary importance. The crucial factor in explaining what they did was the integration of individuals into an organizational framework that prompted them to perform their roles.
    This book makes a major contribution to our understanding of the Holocaust by demonstrating the fundamental role played by organizations in persuading ordinary Germans to participate in the annihilation of the Jews. It will be an invaluable resource for students and scholars of organizations, violence, and modern German history, as well as for anyone interested in genocide and the Holocaust.

  • When we speak of global governance today, we no longer mean simply state-to-state diplomacy, international treaties, or intergovernmental organizations like the United Nations. Alongside these `traditional' elements of global politics are a host of new institutions ranging from global networks of governmental officials, to private codes of conduct for corporations, to action-oriented partnerships of NGOs, governments, corporations, and other actors. These innovative mechanisms offer intriguing solutions to pressing transnational challenges as diverse as climate change, financial governance, workers' rights, and public health. But they also raise new questions about the effectiveness and legitimacy of transnational governance. An expanding body of scholarship has sought to identify and assess these new forms of governance, but this young body of work has lacked a sense of the larger picture. This volume seeks to fill that need by presenting a comprehensive overview of new forms of transnational governance. This resource is essential for those who want to explain why transborder governance has changed and to understand what implications these changes have for global politics.

  • When Freud wrote his classic Civilization and its Discontents, he was concerned with repression. Modern civilization depends upon the constraint of impulse, the limiting of self expression.
    Today, in the time of modernity, Bauman argues, Freud's analysis no longer holds good, if it ever did. The regulation of desire turns from an irritating necessity into an assault against individual freedom. In the postmodern era, the liberty of the individual is the overriding value, the criterion in terms of which all social rules and regulations are assessed. Postmodernity is governed by the 'will to happiness': the result, however, is a sacrificing of security.
    The most prominent anxieties in our society today, Bauman shows, derive from the removal of security. The world is experienced as overwhelmingly uncertain, uncontrollable and frightening. Totalitarian politics frightened by its awesome power; the new social disorder frightens by its lack of consistency and direction. The very pursuit of individual happiness corrupts and undermines those systems of authority needed for a stable life.
    This book builds imaginatively upon Bauman's earlier contributions to social theory. It consolidates his reputation as the interpreter of postmodernity. The book will appeal to second-year undergraduates and above in sociology, cultural studies, philosophy and anthropology.

  • Anglais On Voluntary Servitude

    Michael Rosen

    • Polity
    • 23 Mars 2016

    This book addresses a central theme in social and political theory: what is the motivation behind the theory of ideology, and can such a theory be defended?

  • Anglais The Mode of Information

    Mark Poster

    • Polity
    • 29 Mai 2013

    In this path-breaking work, Mark Poster highlights the nature of the newly emerging forms of social life, in the current era. The flexibility of language which the computer allows makes the written word less certain and less concrete. The result of these changes, Poster argues, is a new communication experience, an interaction between humankind and a new kind of reality. Poster discusses the addictive properties of television and arcade video games, as well as the surveillance possibilities which the new communication technologies offer the state. His wide-ranging analysis incorporates the new language-based theories of mathematics, philosophy and literature in Wiener, Derrida and Barthes, among others. This work is a major new contribution to the debate surrounding the future of electronically mediated-experiences.

  • In this ground-breaking new text, Patrick Baert analyses the central perspectives in the philosophy of social science, critically investigating the work of Durkheim, Weber, Popper, critical realism, critical theory, and Rorty's neo pragmatism.
    Places key writers in their social and political contexts, helping to make their ideas meaningful to students.
    Shows how these authors' views have practical uses in empirical research.
    Lively approach that makes complex ideas understandable to upper-level students, as well as having scholarly appeal.

  • In an age where film stars become presidents and politicians appear in pop videos, politics and popular culture have become inextricably interlinked. In this exciting new book, John Street provides a broad survey and analysis of this relationship.

  • Anglais Stress and Freedom

    Peter Sloterdijk

    • Polity
    • 15 Mars 2018

    In this short book Peter Sloterdijk offers a genealogy of the concept of freedom from Ancient Greece to the present day. This genealogy is part of a broader theory of the large political body, according to which Sloterdijk argues that political communities arise in response to a form of anxiety or stress. Through a highly original reading of Rousseau's late Reveries of a Solitary Walker, Sloterdijk shows that, for Rousseau, the modern subject emerges as a subject free of all stress, unburdened by the cares of the world. Most of modern philosophy, and above all German Idealism, is an attempt to reign back Rousseau's useless and anarchical subject and anchor it in the cares of the world, in the task of having to produce both the world and itself. In the light of this highly original account, Sloterdijk develops his own distinctive account of freedom, where freedom is conceptualized as the availability for the improbable. This important text, in which Sloterdijk develops his account of freedom and the modern subject, will be of great interest to students and scholars in philosophy and the humanities and to anyone interested in contemporary philosophy and critical theory.

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