Thursday, November 20, 2008

What the mailman delivered today:


Tuesday's conversation about identity and revolution pushed me over the edge on ordering this book. I've been hearing about it from academics I respect for awhile now, and I decided it was time to find out what the hubbub is about. So far I've read the back of the book and the first page of the preface.

Have you read it? Thoughts? Anything I should be looking for in particular?
Here's the back of the book blurb, if you haven't heard anything about it before:
How has injury become the basis for political identity in contemporary life? How have law and other state institutions come to be seen as redressing such injuries rather than as perpetrating them? These questions guide Wendy Brown's critical engagement with modern political theorists, feminist and cultural theorists, and the political effects of late twentieth-century capitalism. Transposing Nietzsche's doctrine of the will to power as well as his account of ressentiment onto the contemporary political field, Brown shows how the regulatory demands of the state encourage the formation of political identities not only founded on injury but invested in maintaining an injured status. In the place of a nation of freedom characterized as collective and transformative, contemporary political formations offer versions of "resistance" prefigured and contained by the very power they purport to oppose. The result is a politics in which the desire for freedom devolves into moralizing, and ressentiment takes the place of freedom as a collective project.
Brown weaves this thesis through a series of essays that consider such topics as Catharine MacKinnon's antipornography politics, the recent resurgence of rights discourse on the Left, academic antipathy toward "postmodernism," and the gendered sexuality of classical liberalism, as well as the centrality of the state in feminist politics. Along the way, she suggests how freedom might be rethought and reclaimed for a progressive political vision appropriate to the conditions of late modernity. 
Now please excuse me while I get back to my reading...but not before googling the word "ressentiment."

1 comment:

T said...

Sounds extremely interesting... keep me posted. I expect daily updates and chapter synopses!!!