Edgework: Critical Essays on Knowledge and Politics

Princeton University Press
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Edgework brings together seven of Wendy Brown's most provocative recent essays in political and cultural theory. They range from explorations of politics post-9/11 to critical reflections on the academic norms governing feminist studies and political theory. Edgework is also concerned with the intellectual and political value of critique itself. It renders contemporary the ancient jurisprudential meaning of critique as krisis, in which a tear in the fabric of justice becomes the occasion of a public sifting or thoughtfulness, the development of criteria for judgment, and the inauguration of political renewal or restoration. Each essay probes a contemporary problem--the charge of being unpatriotic for dissenting from U.S. foreign policy, the erosion of liberal democracy by neoliberal political rationality, feminism's loss of a revolutionary horizon--and seeks to grasp the intellectual impasse the problem signals as well as the political incitement it may harbor.
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About the author

Wendy Brown is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of Politics Out of History and States of Injury: Power and Freedom in Late Modernity (both Princeton).
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Jan 10, 2009
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Pages
176
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ISBN
9781400826872
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / History & Theory
Social Science / Feminism & Feminist Theory
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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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What happens to left and liberal political orientations when faith in progress is broken, when both the sovereign individual and sovereign states seem tenuous, when desire seems as likely to seek punishment as freedom, when all political conviction is revealed as contingent and subjective? Politics Out of History is animated by the question of how we navigate the contemporary political landscape when the traditional compass points of modernity have all but disappeared. Wendy Brown diagnoses a range of contemporary political tendencies--from moralistic high-handedness to low-lying political despair in politics, from the difficulty of formulating political alternatives to reproaches against theory in intellectual life--as the consequence of this disorientation.

Politics Out of History also presents a provocative argument for a new approach to thinking about history--one that forsakes the idea that history has a purpose and treats it instead as a way of illuminating openings in the present by, for example, identifying the haunting and constraining effects of past injustices unresolved. Brown also argues for a revitalized relationship between intellectual and political life, one that cultivates the autonomy of each while promoting their interlocutory potential. This book will be essential reading for all who find the trajectories of contemporary liberal democracies bewildering and are willing to engage readings of a range of thinkers--Freud, Marx, Nietzsche, Spinoza, Benjamin, Derrida--to rethink democratic possibility in our time.

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