Revolt, Revolution, Critique
The Paradox of Society
By Bulent Diken
Routledge – 2011 – 204 pages
In contemporary society the idea of ‘revolution’ seems to have become obsolete. What is more untimely than the idea of revolution today? At the same time, however, the idea of radical change no longer refers to exceptional circumstances but has become normalized as part of daily life. Ours is a ‘culture’ of permanent revolution in which constant systemic disembedding demands a meta-stable subjectivity in continuous transformation. In this sense, the idea of revolution is painfully timely. This paradoxical coincidence, the simultaneous absence and presence of the desire for radical change in contemporary society, is the point of departure for the symptomatic reading this book offers.
The book addresses the social, political and cultural significance of revolt and revolution in three dimensions. First, it analyzes revolt and revolution as ‘events’ which are of history but not reducible to it. Second, it elaborates on theories that grant revolt and revolution a central place in their structure. Thirdly, it discusses revolutionary or emancipatory theories that seek to participate in radical change. Further, since both revolt and revolution involve the critique of what exists, of actual reality, the implications of the intimate relationship between revolt, revolution and critique are explicated.
Introduction: Life Without Idea Part I: Revolt and Counter-revolt 1. Revolt and Repetition 2. The Profane 3. Revolt as Pure Politics Excursus I: The Ghost of Spartacus Part II: Revolt and Counter-Revolution 4. The Infinite Revolution 5. Nothing and Everything 6. Strategy and Intoxication 7. Mass Movement, Elections and the Medieval Man 8. Antagonisms and Disjunctive Syntheses Excursus II: Huxley’s Brave New World – and Ours Part III: Critique and Counter-Critique 9. Critique of Critique of Critique… 10. Critique as Communism, Communism as Critique Afterword: De Te Fabula Narratur!
Bülent Diken is Senior Lecturer at Lancaster University, Department of Sociology. His research fields are social theory, post-structuralism, political philosophy and urbanism. His books include Strangers, Ambivalence and Social Theory (Ashgate 1998). He is author of The Culture of Exception – Sociology Facing the Camp (Routledge 2005), I Terrorens Skygge (Samfundslitteratur 2005), Sociology through the Projector (Routledge 2007) and Nihilism (Routledge 2009).