Ever since its first publication in 1992, The End of History and the Last Man has provoked controversy and debate. Francis Fukuyama’s prescient analysis of religious fundamentalism, politics, scientific progress, ethical codes, and war is as essential for a world fighting fundamentalist terrorists as it was for the end of the Cold War. Now updated with a new afterword, The End of History and the Last Man is a modern classic.
Noam Chomsky - Pirates and Emperors, Old and New
Pirates and Emperors is a brilliant exploration of the role of the United States in the Middle East that exposes how the media manipulates public opinion about what constitutes "terrorism." Chomsky masterfully argues that appreciating the differences between state terror and nongovernmental terror is crucial to stopping terrorism and understanding why atrocities like the bombing of the World Trade Center and the killing of the Charlie Hebdo journalists happen.
Noam Chomsky - Edward S. Herman - The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism
A brilliant, shattering, and convincing account of United States-backed suppression of political and human rights in Latin America, Asia, and Africa and the role of the media in misreporting these policies The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism relentlessly dissects the official views of establishment scholars and their journals. The "best and brightest" pundits of the status quo emerge from this book thoroughly denuded of their credibility.
Noam Chomsky - Edward S. Herman - After the Cataclysm
With a new preface by the authors, this companion book to The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, dissects the aftermath of the war in Southeast Asia, the refugee problem, the Vietnam/Cambodia conflict and the Pol Pot regime.
Edward W. Said - Orientalism
In this highly acclaimed seminal work, Edward Said surveys the history and nature of Western attitudes towards the East, considering Orientalism as a powerful European ideological creation – a way for writers, philosophers and colonial administrators to deal with the ‘otherness’ of Eastern culture, customs and beliefs. He traces this view through the writings of Homer, Nerval and Flaubert, Disraeli and Kipling, whose imaginative depictions have greatly contributed to the West’s romantic and exotic picture of the Orient. In his new preface, Said examines the effect of continuing Western imperialism after recent events in Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Michael J. Sandel - The Tyranny of Merit
These are dangerous times for democracy. We live in an age of winners and losers, where the odds are stacked in favour of the already fortunate. Stalled social mobility and entrenched inequality give the lie to the promise that "you can make it if you try". And the consequence is a brew of anger and frustration that has fuelled populist protest, with the triumph of Brexit and election of Donald Trump. Michael J. Sandel argues that to overcome the polarized politics of our time, we must rethink the attitudes toward success and failure that have accompanied globalisation and rising inequality. Sandel highlights the hubris a meritocracy generates among the winners and the harsh judgement it imposes on those left behind. He offers an alternative way of thinking about success - more attentive to the role of luck in human affairs, more conducive to an ethic of humility, and more hospitable to a politics of the common good.
Maria Todorova - Imagining the Balkans
"If the Balkans hadn't existed, they would have been invented" was the verdict of Count Hermann Keyserling in his famous 1928 publication, Europe. Over ten years ago, Maria Todorova traced the relationship between the reality and the invention. Based on a rich selection of travelogues, diplomatic accounts, academic surveys, journalism, and belles-lettres in many languages, Imagining the Balkans explored the ontology of the Balkans from the sixteenth century to the present day, uncovering the ways in which an insidious intellectual tradition was constructed, became mythologized, and is still being transmitted as discourse. Maria Todorova, who was raised in the Balkans, is in a unique position to bring both scholarship and sympathy to her subject, and in a new afterword she reflects on recent developments in the study of the Balkans and political developments on the ground since the publication of Imagining the Balkans. The afterword explores the controversy over Todorova's coining of the term Balkanism. With this work, Todorova offers a timely, updated, accessible study of how an innocent geographic appellation was transformed into one of the most powerful and widespread pejorative designations in modern history.
Byung-Chul Han - The Expulsion of the Other
The days of the Other are over in this age of excessive communication, information and consumption. What used to be the Other, be it as friend, as Eros or as hell, is now indistinguishable from the self in our narcissistic desire to assimilate everything and everyone until there are no boundaries left. The result is a 'terror of the Same', lives in which we no longer pursue knowledge, insight and experience but are instead reduced to the echo chambers and illusory encounters offered by social media. In extreme cases, this feeling of disorientation and senselessness is compensated through self-harm, or even harming others through acts of terrorism. Byung-Chul Han argues that our times are characterized not by external repression but by an internal depression, whereby the destructive pressure comes not from the Other but from the self. It is only by returning to a society of listeners and lovers, by acknowledging and desiring the Other, that we can seek to overcome the isolation and suffering caused by this crushing process of total assimilation.
Joseph Heller - Picture This
Picture this: Rembrandt is creating his famous painting of Aristotle contemplating the bust of Homer. As soon as he paints an ear on Aristotle, Aristotle can hear. When he paints an eye, Aristotle can see. And what Aristotle sees and hears and remembers from the ancient past to this very moment provides the foundation for this lighthearted, freewheeling jaunt through 2,500 years of Western Civilization. Picture This is an incisive fantasy that digs deeply into our illusions and customs. Nobody but Joseph Heller could have thought of a novel like this one. Nobody but Heller could have executed it so brilliantly.
Nicos Poulantzas - Classes in Contemporary Capitalism
Nicos Poulantzas’s third major work is a pioneering survey of some of the most fundamental, yet least studied, aspects of the class structure of advanced capitalist societies today. The book starts with a general theoretical essay that for the first time seriously explores the distinction between the “agents” and “positions” of capitalist relations of production, and seeks to avoid the typical errors of either functionalism or historicism. It also provides a polemical reconsideration of the problem of the “nation state” as a political unit today, and its relationship to the internationalization of capital. Finally, and most originally, Poulantzas develops a long and powerful analysis of the much-abused concept of the “petty-bourgeoisie.” In this, he scrupulously distinguishes between the “traditional” categories of petty-bourgeoisie—shopkeepers, artisans, small peasants—and the “new” categories of clerical workers, supervisors, and salaried personnel in modern industry and commerce. At the same time he demonstrates the reasons why a unitary conceptualization of their class position is possible. The difficult question of the definition of “productive” and “unproductive” labor within Marx’s own account of the capitalist mode of production is subjected to a novel and radical reinterpretation. The political oscillations peculiar to each form of petty-bourgeoisie and especially their characteristic reactions to the industrial proletariat, are cogently assessed. Poulantzas ends his work with a reminder that the actions and options of the petty-bourgeoisie are critical to any successful struggle by the working class, which must secure the alliance of important sections of the petty-bourgeoisie if the fateful experience of Chile is not to recur elsewhere tomorrow. Combining empirical and theoretical materials throughout, Classes in Contemporary Capitalism represents a notable achievement in the development of Marxist social science and political thought.
Nicos Poulantzas - The Crisis of the Dictatorships
The Crisis of the Dictatorships is Nicos Poulantzas's fourth book. It is a compact study, at once topical and theoretical, of the historical end of the reactionary and authoritarian regimes that have dominated much of Southern Europe. Poulantzas applies the categories of his now standard general works — on Political Power and Social Classes, Fascism and Dictatorship, and Classes in Contemporary Capitalism — to the specific social structures and political systems of Portugal, Spain and Greece. The international environment and the internal dynamic of class conflict in each country are surveyed. The book then assesses the ruling bloc, the popular classes and the State apparatus in Portuguese, Greek and Spanish societies. The result is a novel and powerful analysis of the causes of the fall of the Papadopoulous-Ioannides Junta, the overthrow of the Salazarist State, and the crisis of Franco's heirs, that contrasts these with the end of German Nazism and Italian Fascism thirty years ago. The Crisis of the Dictatorships will be essential reading for all who are concerned with the political future of Europe.
Francis Fukuyama - Political Order and Political Decay
In The Origins of Political Order, Francis Fukuyama took us from the dawn of mankind to the French and American Revolutions. Here, he picks up the thread again in the second instalment of his definitive account of mankind's emergence as a political animal. This is the story of how state, law and democracy developed after these cataclysmic events, how the modern landscape - with its uneasy tension between dictatorships and liberal democracies - evolved and how in the United States and in other developed democracies, unmistakable signs of decay have emerged. If we want to understand the political systems that dominate and order our lives, we must first address their origins - in our own recent past as well as in the earliest systems of human government. Fukuyama argues that the key to successful government can be reduced to three key elements: a strong state, the rule of law, and institutions of democratic accountability. This magisterial account is required reading for anyone wishing to know more about mankind's greatest achievements.
Bernard-Henri Lévy - The Empire and the Five Kings
One of the West’s leading intellectuals offers a provocative look at America’s withdrawal from world leadership and the rising powers who seek to fill the vacuum left behind The United States was once the hope of the world, a beacon of freedom and the defender of liberal democracy. Nations and peoples on all continents looked to America to stand up for the values that created the Western world, and to oppose autocracy and repression. Even when America did not live up to its ideals, it still recognized their importance, at home and abroad. But as Bernard-Henri Lévy lays bare in this powerful and disturbing analysis of the world today, America is retreating from its traditional leadership role, and in its place have come five ambitious powers, former empires eager to assert their primacy and influence. Lévy shows how these five—Russia, China, Turkey, Iran, and Sunni radical Islamism—are taking steps to undermine the liberal values that have been a hallmark of Western civilization. The Empire and the Five Kings is a cri de coeur that draws upon lessons from history and the eternal touchstones of human culture to reveal the stakes facing the West as America retreats from its leadership role, a process that did not begin with Donald Trump's presidency and is not likely to end with him. The crisis is one whose roots can be found as far back as antiquity and whose resolution will require the West to find a new way forward if its principles and values are to survive.
Byung-Chul Han - Topology of Violence
One of today's most widely read philosophers considers the shift in violence from visible to invisible, from negativity to excess of positivity. Some things never disappear—violence, for example. Violence is ubiquitous and incessant but protean, varying its outward form according to the social constellation at hand. In Topology of Violence, the philosopher Byung-Chul Han considers the shift in violence from the visible to the invisible, from the frontal to the viral to the self-inflicted, from brute force to mediated force, from the real to the virtual. Violence, Han tells us, has gone from the negative—explosive, massive, and martial—to the positive, wielded without enmity or domination. This, he says, creates the false impression that violence has disappeared. Anonymized, desubjectified, systemic, violence conceals itself because it has become one with society. Han first investigates the macro-physical manifestations of violence, which take the form of negativity—developing from the tension between self and other, interior and exterior, friend and enemy. These manifestations include the archaic violence of sacrifice and blood, the mythical violence of jealous and vengeful gods, the deadly violence of the sovereign, the merciless violence of torture, the bloodless violence of the gas chamber, the viral violence of terrorism, and the verbal violence of hurtful language. He then examines the violence of positivity—the expression of an excess of positivity—which manifests itself as over-achievement, over-production, over-communication, hyper-attention, and hyperactivity. The violence of positivity, Han warns, could be even more disastrous than that of negativity. Infection, invasion, and infiltration have given way to infarction.
Alain Badiou - The Meaning of Sarkozy
In this incisive, acerbic work, Alain Badiou looks beyond the petty vulgarity of the French president to decipher the true significance of what he represents—a reactionary tradition that goes back more than a hundred years. To escape the malaise that has enveloped the Left since Sarkozy’s election, Badiou casts aside the slavish worship of electoral democracy and maps out a communist hypothesis that lays the basis for an emancipatory politics of the twenty-first century.
Byung-Chul Han - What is Power?
Power is a pervasive phenomenon yet there is little consensus on what it is and how it should be understood. In this book the cultural theorist Byung-Chul Han develops a fresh and original perspective on the nature of power, shedding new light on this key feature of social and political life. Power is commonly defined as a causal relation: an individual’s power is the cause that produces a change of behaviour in someone else against the latter’s will. Han rejects this view, arguing that power is better understood as a mediation between ego and alter which creates a complex array of reciprocal interdependencies. Power can also be exercised not only against the other but also within and through the other, and this involves a much higher degree of mediation. This perspective enables us to see that power and freedom are not opposed to one another but are manifestations of the same power, differing only in the degree of mediation. This highly original account of power will be of great interest to students and scholars of philosophy and of social, political and cultural theory, as well as to anyone seeking to understand the many ways in which power shapes our lives today.
Didier Fassin - Richard Rechtman - The Empire of Trauma
Today we are accustomed to psychiatrists being summoned to scenes of terrorist attacks, natural disasters, war, and other tragic events to care for the psychic trauma of victims--yet it has not always been so. The very idea of psychic trauma came into being only at the end of the nineteenth century and for a long time was treated with suspicion. The Empire of Trauma tells the story of how the traumatic victim became culturally and politically respectable, and how trauma itself became an unassailable moral category. Basing their analysis on a wide-ranging ethnography, Didier Fassin and Richard Rechtman examine the politics of reparation, testimony, and proof made possible by the recognition of trauma. They study the application of psychiatric victimology to victims of the 1995 terrorist bombings in Paris and the 2001 industrial disaster in Toulouse; the involvement of humanitarian psychiatry with both Palestinians and Israelis during the second Intifada; and the application of the psychotraumatology of exile to asylum seekers victimized by persecution and torture. Revealing how trauma has come to authenticate the suffering of victims, The Empire of Trauma provides critical perspective on some of the moral and political issues at stake in the contemporary world.
Didier Fassin - Enforcing Order
Most incidents of urban unrest in recent decades - including the riots in France, Britain and other Western countries - have followed lethal interactions between the youth and the police. Usually these take place in disadvantaged neighborhoods composed of working-class families of immigrant origin or belonging to ethnic minorities. These tragic events have received a great deal of media coverage, but we know very little about the everyday activities of urban policing that lie behind them. Over the course of 15 months, at the time of the 2005 riots, Didier Fassin carried out an ethnographic study in one of the largest precincts in the Paris region, sharing the life of a police station and cruising with the patrols, in particular the dreaded anti-crime squads. Far from the imaginary worlds created by television series and action movies, he uncovers the ordinary aspects of law enforcement, characterized by inactivity and boredom, by eventless days and nights where minor infractions give rise to spectacular displays of force and where officers express doubts about the significance and value of their own jobs. Describing the invisible manifestations of violence and unrecognized forms of discrimination against minority youngsters, undocumented immigrants and Roma people, he analyses the conditions that make them possible and tolerable, including entrenched policies of segregation and stigmatization, economic marginalization and racial discrimination. Richly documented and compellingly told, this unique account of contemporary urban policing shows that, instead of enforcing the law, the police are engaged in the task of enforcing an unequal social order in the name of public security.
Rutger Bregman - Humankind
It's a belief that unites the left and right, psychologists and philosophers, writers and historians. It drives the headlines that surround us and the laws that touch our lives. From Machiavelli to Hobbes, Freud to Dawkins, the roots of this belief have sunk deep into Western thought. Human beings, we're taught, are by nature selfish and governed by self-interest. Humankind makes a new argument: that it is realistic, as well as revolutionary, to assume that people are good. The instinct to cooperate rather than compete, trust rather than distrust, has an evolutionary basis going right back to the beginning of Homo sapiens. By thinking the worst of others, we bring out the worst in our politics and economics too. In this major book, internationally bestselling author Rutger Bregman takes some of the world's most famous studies and events and reframes them, providing a new perspective on the last 200,000 years of human history. From the real-life Lord of the Flies to the Blitz, a Siberian fox farm to an infamous New York murder, Stanley Milgram's Yale shock machine to the Stanford prison experiment, Bregman shows how believing in human kindness and altruism can be a new way to think - and act as the foundation for achieving true change in our society. It is time for a new view of human nature.
Ross King - Machiavelli
The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli's handbook on power-how to get it and how to keep it-has been enormously influential in the centuries since it was written, garnering a heady mixture of admiration, fear, and contempt. Its author, born to an established middle-class family, was no prince himself. Machiavelli (1469-1527) worked as a courtier and diplomat for the Republic of Florence and enjoyed some small fame in his time as the author of bawdy plays and poems. Upon the Medici's return to power, however, he found himself summarily dismissed from the government he had served for decades and exiled from the city where he was born. In this discerning new biography, Ross King rescues Machiavelli's legacy from caricature, detailing the vibrant political and social context that influenced his thought and underscoring the humanity of one of history's finest political thinkers. Ross King's Machiavelli visits fortune-tellers, produces wine on his Tuscan estate, travels Europe tirelessly on horseback as a diplomatic envoy, and is a passionate scholar of antiquity-but above all, a keen observer of human nature.