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Ethics and Politics in Contemporary Theory Between Critical Theory and Post-Marxism

The end of Cold War and the subsequent critique of Communism as a viable political alternative to liberal democracies has led to an often uncritical acceptance of an emerging global capitalist order. In this book, Mark Devenney seeks an alternative perspective drawn from a synthesis of critical theory and post-Marxist theory while avoiding the reactionary fundamentalism that rejects altogether the possibility of building an enlightened, secular, social order. In addressing the political and theoretical debates between critical and post-Marxist theorists, this book discusses the politics of communication and rationality, subjectivity, sovereignty, ethics and deliberative democracy, considering questions such as: *Does the theory of communicative action justify deliberative democracy? *Is a theory of hegemony compatible with an account which relies upon an ideal of communicative success? *Is autonomy a good which should be fostered? *Can the ideal of democracy extend beyond the nation state? *Does post-Marxism have anything interesting to say about ethics? Analysing the work of Ernesto Laclau and Jnrgen Habermas - as representatives of different choices made in regard to theory, politics and morality - Ethics and Politics in Contemporary Theory develops a critical response to the contrasting conclusions of these approaches.
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Table of Contents

1. The Ends of Marx(ism)? 2. Language, Communication, Performativity 3. Performativity and Politics: From Habermas to Laclau 4. Politics, Idealisation and Performativity 5. Quasi-Transcendentalism and Critical Theory 6. The Politics of Subjectivity 7. Deliberative or Radical Democracy? The Politics of Performativity 8. Post-Structuralism and Democratic Theory 9. Ethics and Politics in Discourse Theory

About the Author

Mark Devenney is a senior lecturer in politics and philosophy at the University of Brighton, UK. His current research concerns political economy and death, and involves a re-reading of Marx's labour theory of value and Foucault's biopolitics.


'It is extremely hard to do justice in a short review to the complex arguments developed in this book. They touch upon fundamental problems such as the nature of language, relations between language and reality, and rationality.' - Krzystof Jaskulowski in Political Studies Review

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