Read e-book online Bearing Society in Mind: Theories and Politics of the Social PDF

By Samuel A. Chambers

ISBN-10: 178348022X

ISBN-13: 9781783480227

Political and fiscal types of society usually function at a degree of abstraction so excessive that the connections among them, and their hyperlinks to tradition, are past succeed in. Bearing Society in Mind demanding situations those disciplinary barriers and proposes another framework—the social formation.

The idea of social formation demonstrates how the material of society is made from threads which are concurrently monetary, political, and cultural. Drawing at the paintings of theorists together with Marx, Althusser, Butler, Žižek and Rancière, Bearing Society in Mind makes the most powerful case attainable for the theoretical value and political necessity of this idea. It at the same time demonstrates that the social formation proves to be a really specific and bizarre kind of “concept”—it isn't really a mirrored image or version of the realm, yet is definitively and concretely sure up with and constitutive of the area.

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Extra info for Bearing Society in Mind: Theories and Politics of the Social Formation

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Specifically, I show how in Butler’s 1997 text, The Psychic Life of Power, she reads Althusser in such a way as to actively expunge his theory Bearing Society in Mind 29 of the social formation from the very texts she addresses. The elimination of an account of the social formation leads Butler to a dead end theoretically: she must substitute the psyche or a universalising ethics for her own missing account of the social formation. But worse still, in Butler’s more recent works this failure to account for the social formation has led her toward a thin set of philosophical generalisations—what Bonnie Honig negatively describes as Butler’s “mortalist humanism” (Honig 2010; Honig 2013).

In addition, I would note that social order is simply a more generic term for describing the structure or ordering of a social whole, while social formation is a specific concept that Althusser derives from/attributes to Marx. Thus, those chapters that focus more on Althusser and Marx (Chapters 2–4) also tend to use the language of “social formation” more frequently, while the other chapters shift more frequently to the term social order. The movement back and forth between these terms reflects my effort to make use of Althusser’s idea of the social formation without limiting myself to the Althusserian terminology or theoretical framework.

In so doing, this hypothesis seeks to capture the relation between the social and the political by delineating a specific understanding of the way in which a social formation is political. In addition, I would note that social order is simply a more generic term for describing the structure or ordering of a social whole, while social formation is a specific concept that Althusser derives from/attributes to Marx. Thus, those chapters that focus more on Althusser and Marx (Chapters 2–4) also tend to use the language of “social formation” more frequently, while the other chapters shift more frequently to the term social order.

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Bearing Society in Mind: Theories and Politics of the Social Formation by Samuel A. Chambers


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