Arts of the Political: New Openings for the Left

Duke University Press
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In the West, "the Left," understood as a loose conglomeration of interests centered around the goal of a fairer and more equal society, still struggles to make its voice heard and its influence felt, even amid an overwhelming global recession. In Arts of the Political: New Openings for the Left, Ash Amin and Nigel Thrift argue that only by broadening the domain of what is considered political and what can be made into politics will the Left be able to respond forcefully to injustice and inequality. In particular, the Left requires a more imaginative and experimental approach to the politics of creating a better society. The authors propose three political arts that they consider crucial to transforming the Left: boosting invention, leveraging organization, and mobilizing affect. They maintain that successful Left political movements tend to surpass traditional notions of politics and open up political agency to these kinds of considerations. In other words, rather than providing another blueprint for the future, Amin and Thrift concentrate their attention on a more modest examination of the conduct of politics itself and the ways that it can be made more effective.
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About the author

Ash Amin is Professor of Geography at Cambridge University. He is the author of Land of Strangers and coauthor (with Patrick Cohendet) of Architectures of Knowledge: Firms, Capabilities, and Communities.

Nigel Thrift is Vice-Chancellor of the University of Warwick. He is the author of Non-Representational Theory: Space, Politics, Affect and Knowing Capitalism. Amin and Thrift are the authors of Cities: Reimagining the Urban.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Duke University Press
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Published on
Feb 25, 2013
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9780822399056
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / Political
Political Science / History & Theory
Social Science / Human Geography
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Nigel Thrift
'This is an ambitious, original, and complex treatment of key aspects of contemporary capitalism. It makes a major contribution because it profoundly destabilizes the scholarship on globalization, the so-called new economy, information technology, distinct contemporary business cultures and practices'
- Saskia Sassen, author of Globalization and its Discontents

'Nigel Thrift offers us the sort of cultural analysis of global capitalism that has long been needed - one that emphasizes the innovative energy of global capitalism. The book avoids stale denouncements and offers instead a view of capitalism as a form of practice'
- Karin Knorr Cetina, Professor of Sociology, University of Konstanz, Germany

Capitalism is well known for producing a form of existence where `everything solid melts into air'. But what happens when capitalism develops theories about itself? Are we moving into a condition in which capitalism can be said to possess a brain?

These questions are pursued in this sparkling and thought-provoking book. Thrift looks at what he calls 'the cultural circuit of capitalism', the mechanism for generating new theories of capitalism. The book traces the rise of this circuit back to the 1960s when a series of institutions locked together to interrogate capitalism, to the present day, when these institutions are moving out to the Pacific basin and beyond. What have these theories produced? How have they been implicated in the speculative bubbles that characterized the late twentieth century? What part have they played in developing our understanding of human relations?

Building on an inter-disciplinary approach which embraces the core social sciences, Thrift outlines an exciting new theory for understanding capitalism. His book is of interest to readers in geography, social theory, anthropology and cultural economics.

Ash Amin
The impersonality of social relationships in the society of strangers is making majorities increasingly nostalgic for a time of closer personal ties and strong community moorings. The constitutive pluralism and hybridity of modern living in the West is being rejected in an age of heightened anxiety over the future and drummed up aversion towards the stranger. Minorities, migrants and dissidents are expected to stay away, or to conform and integrate, as they come to be framed in an optic of the social as interpersonal or communitarian. Judging these developments as dangerous, this book offers a counter-argument by looking to relations that are not reducible to local or social ties in order to offer new suggestions for living in diversity and for forging a different politics of the stranger.

The book explains the balance between positive and negative public feelings as the synthesis of habits of interaction in varied spaces of collective being, from the workplace and urban space, to intimate publics and tropes of imagined community. The book proposes a series of interventions that make for public being as both unconscious habit and cultivated craft of negotiating difference, radiating civilities of situated attachment and indifference towards the strangeness of others. It is in the labour of cultivating the commons in a variety of ways that Amin finds the elements for a new politics of diversity appropriate for our times, one that takes the stranger as there, unavoidable, an equal claimant on ground that is not pre-allocated.

Nigel Thrift
'This is an ambitious, original, and complex treatment of key aspects of contemporary capitalism. It makes a major contribution because it profoundly destabilizes the scholarship on globalization, the so-called new economy, information technology, distinct contemporary business cultures and practices'
- Saskia Sassen, author of Globalization and its Discontents

'Nigel Thrift offers us the sort of cultural analysis of global capitalism that has long been needed - one that emphasizes the innovative energy of global capitalism. The book avoids stale denouncements and offers instead a view of capitalism as a form of practice'
- Karin Knorr Cetina, Professor of Sociology, University of Konstanz, Germany

Capitalism is well known for producing a form of existence where `everything solid melts into air'. But what happens when capitalism develops theories about itself? Are we moving into a condition in which capitalism can be said to possess a brain?

These questions are pursued in this sparkling and thought-provoking book. Thrift looks at what he calls 'the cultural circuit of capitalism', the mechanism for generating new theories of capitalism. The book traces the rise of this circuit back to the 1960s when a series of institutions locked together to interrogate capitalism, to the present day, when these institutions are moving out to the Pacific basin and beyond. What have these theories produced? How have they been implicated in the speculative bubbles that characterized the late twentieth century? What part have they played in developing our understanding of human relations?

Building on an inter-disciplinary approach which embraces the core social sciences, Thrift outlines an exciting new theory for understanding capitalism. His book is of interest to readers in geography, social theory, anthropology and cultural economics.

Ash Amin
The impersonality of social relationships in the society of strangers is making majorities increasingly nostalgic for a time of closer personal ties and strong community moorings. The constitutive pluralism and hybridity of modern living in the West is being rejected in an age of heightened anxiety over the future and drummed up aversion towards the stranger. Minorities, migrants and dissidents are expected to stay away, or to conform and integrate, as they come to be framed in an optic of the social as interpersonal or communitarian. Judging these developments as dangerous, this book offers a counter-argument by looking to relations that are not reducible to local or social ties in order to offer new suggestions for living in diversity and for forging a different politics of the stranger.

The book explains the balance between positive and negative public feelings as the synthesis of habits of interaction in varied spaces of collective being, from the workplace and urban space, to intimate publics and tropes of imagined community. The book proposes a series of interventions that make for public being as both unconscious habit and cultivated craft of negotiating difference, radiating civilities of situated attachment and indifference towards the strangeness of others. It is in the labour of cultivating the commons in a variety of ways that Amin finds the elements for a new politics of diversity appropriate for our times, one that takes the stranger as there, unavoidable, an equal claimant on ground that is not pre-allocated.

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