Anti-capitalism and Culture: Radical Theory and Popular Politics

Anti-capitalism and Culture: Radical Theory and Popular Politics

Jeremy Gilbert

Language: English

Pages: 224

ISBN: 1845202309

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


What does 'anticapitalism' really mean for the politics and culture of the twenty-first century?

Anticapitalism is an idea which, despite going global, remains rooted in the local, persisting as a loose collection of grassroots movements and actions. Anti-capitalism needs to develop a coherent and cohering philosophy, something which cultural theory and the intellectual legacy of the New Left can help to provide, notably through the work of key radical thinkers, such as Ernesto Laclau, Stuart Hall, Antonio Negri, Gilles Deleuze and Judith Butler.
Anticapitalism and Culture argues that there is a strong relationship between the radical tradition of cultural studies and the new political movements which try to resist corporate globalization. Indeed, the two need each other: whilst theory can shape and direct the huge diversity of anticapitalist activism, the energy and sheer political engagement of the anticapitalist movement can breathe new life into cultural studies.

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the analysis of the popular racism pioneered in the earlier study Policing the Crisis (discussed in detail below). From a historical vantage point, however, perhaps the most significant contribution to the multi-authored volume was one which made no reference at all to that analysis. Hazel Carby’s ‘White Woman Listen! Black Feminism and the Boundaries of Sisterhood’ raised an explosive set of questions over the relationships between feminism, anti-racism and class politics which would set the

which tore apart central Europe in the 1990s; and the rise of Hindu nationalism in India. In many cases these tendencies derive in part from older traditions of social conservatism and authoritarian populism, traditions which have undergone a parallel renewal in countries like the United Kingdom and France where, in particular, hostility to cultural change has crystallised around hostility to immigration. In other cases there are almost entirely unprecedented developments, as in the revolutionary

New Left–inspired cultural studies. At the same time, the fact that these professions attracted many of the most militant members of the post-1968 generation is no surprise: even radicals have to make a living, and if they want to do it working in the public services rather than in the profit-oriented private sector, then this is hardly surprising as it does not compromise the authenticity of their politics. The reality is that the situation is complex. No doubt some liberal versions of cultural

and perpetuation of that discipline will require some active and ongoing intervention into the general field of academic knowledge and the institutions which legitimate it. Any new discipline has to be a project simply in order to emerge, carve out some space for itself, and survive. What’s more, any discipline at given points in its history will have one or more prevailing methodological approaches, and there may be moments when one such approach is so dominant, so distinctive to the discipline

anti-capitalism operates as much as anything as a consumer movement concerned with the ethical and political implications of particular lifestyle choices. At the same time, a network of more conventional media institutions across the world remains committed to the movement and its goals and analyses: these include Le Monde Diplomatique; Z Magazine in the United States (whose Web site http://www.zmag.org/ is a fantastic resource); Red Pepper and New Internationalist in the United Kingdom; and the

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